Marketing a service or product is crucial in achieving organizational goals and objectives. Formulating a marketing plan can be used in circumstances where fundraising or spreading awareness is required. In the United Kingdom, animal cruelty is frequently occurring with cases being reported on a daily basis; however, the true extent of animal cruelty within the country is not known, as most times incidents of animal neglect and cruelty are not reported. In this assignment I will propose a marketing plan for RSPCA, one of the country’s leading NGOs that tackle issues related to animal neglect and cruelty.
RSPCA is the country’s oldest welfare charity that has been protecting animal rights from for many decades. They operate most parts of the country with most major cities possessing at least one centre. They have been promoting animal welfare in all parts of the country and is considered one of UK’s most trusted animal NGOs. Their popularity is represented by the fact that they receive calls every 30 seconds from all parts of the country, on their 24x7 animal cruelty helpline; this however demonstrates the scale of the problem within the UK, with 1,299,163 calls received in 2014 (rspca.org.uk, 2016).
Figure 1: RSPCA, company logo
(Source: rspca.org.uk, 2016)
Zeithaml et al. (2010, p.14) mentioned that in order to understand the current situation of a company within the environment in which it operates, it is vital to conduct an analysis on the external environment. PESTLE, an analytical tool, facilitates this purpose. The tool takes into consideration six factors which may affect the organisation’s activities or general functioning. These factors include political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental.
-Government attitudes towards the importance of protecting animal rights
-Laws to prevent animal cruelty like Animal Welfare Act 2006, The Pet Animals Act 1951, and The Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925.
-Laws controlling business related activities like breeding and selling; Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999.
-Rising costs of medicines
-Culture for having pets where 46% of all households in the United Kingdom possessed a type of pet in 2015.
-High levels of pet abuse
-Rising levels of business related activities with animals
-Microchip tagging facilities readily available
-Innovations in medical industry
-Charities Act of 2011
-Cases of animal abuse registered against RSPCA
-Rising consciousness towards ecological and sustainable operations
-Environmental Protection Act of 1990, Environment Act of 1995,
- Wildlife protection Acts
Table 1: PESTLE analysis, RSPCA
(Source: Created by Author)
Prior to formulating a marketing plan, it is important to understand strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are apparent to the company Lovelock et al. 2014, p.14). Hence, using a SWOT analysis I will identify RSPCA’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
-Large working force that includes paid and voluntary workers
-Experience in animal protection and rescue
-High donation accumulation via online website
-267 full time, 46 part time inspectors allow large numbers of cases to be investigated
-Animal welfare not a major priority among other charities
-Small number of partners
-Workforce not available at full strength at all times
-Forming partnerships with local schools
-Purchasing new land at subsidised rates
-Setting up a pet store to sell rescued pets to responsible owners
- Dwindling funds
-Difficulty finding major sponsors
-Increasing numbers of animal trafficking
Table 3: SWOT, RSPCA UK
(Source: Created by Author)
Segmenting customers to smaller more specific groups is vital to success of the marketing plan. By separating customers from generalised groups to more specific ones, allows organisations to identify different characteristics and target niches. In regard to RSPCA an animal charity, segmentation is slightly different from other companies due to the non-profit nature of the organisation. RSPCA’s segmentation is represented in the following table:
General customers (all age groups) are the key audiences required to keep the NGO functioning
All across the United Kingdom
Students (5 to 18 years)
-Animal handling demonstrations
-Presentations regarding animal cruelty in the UK
Local schools and universities
Other NGOs are key to raise funds and make operations sustainable
-Sharing knowledge regarding animal cruelty
-Engaging in co-op missions to bust animal abusers (bird fighting and dog fighting)
-Working together to introduce new Laws
At monthly meetings in RSPCA HQ
Table 2: RSPCA customer segmentation
(Source: Created by Author)
Clarification of objectives:
The primary objective of the plan is to raise awareness regarding good animal care and cruelty. In addition, while in the process of doing so, raising funds will be considered a secondary objective. The rising incidents of animal cruelty and lack of awareness in cities justifies the chosen primary objective. While the threat of RSPCA’s dwindling funds make the secondary objective justified.
Since being a charity, the RSPCA’s key targets are general people all around the country. The NGO’s existence relies on the number of customers it can service, and the number of animals it can save at any given point of time. When people avail the services of RSPCA, the NGO’s effectiveness is realised by investors and other charities; this in turn raises funds for the company. Hence, targeting generalised customers allows the NGO to meet its objectives and goals while being financially sustainable.
Specifying tactics and required action:
According to Hoffman and Bateson (2010, p.22), a marketing plan can be determined using the marketing mix tool, where Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Processes and Physical Evidence are proposed. Traditionally the marketing mix consisted of 4 Ps as created by E. Jerome McCarthy. However, modern marketing theorists introduced the three additional Ps, Processes, People, and Physical Evidence to add depth and make the mix more functional. Below I have used the 7 P's marketing mix model as framework to formulate a marketing plan for RSPCA (Refer to appendix 1 for more information).
Product - When selecting a product to market it must well designed to meet the target group or customers; hence, it should meet the purpose it is intended for or what people expect from it as mentioned by Mudie and Pirrie (2012, p.100).
In regard to RSPCA, being a charity they offer services rather than products; hence the ‘service’ selected to market is ‘veterinarian services’. The service will be able for all pets and will include a general check-up, x-ray and advice for further diagnosis. In addition, a one hour presentation over maintaining and keeping good care of the service user’s pet.
Price: - Moeller (2010, p.361) stated that setting the price of the product/service is a critical aspect of organisational success. Before setting the price it is important to understand the customer’s perceived value. If price is set too low then it could lead to a loss for the organisation. On the other hand if prices are set to high it could detract customers as argued by Boksberger and Melsen (2011, p.231)
The service will be marketed as free service, to encourage the more customers, allowing the RSPCA to spread awareness about animal care in the process. Although the initial service will be free, additional procedures like clipping nails, dental work, stitching etc will be offered at 50% discount. This will allow the company to meet its objective of raising funds.
Place - When selecting a place to offer the service, marketers must choose a location that is easily accessible to target audiences. Whether the service will be provided in a mall or via the online platform, location or place can act as deterrent to attracting customers if selected incorrectly as mentioned by Cadle et al. 2010, p.141).
Stratford Centre Mall located at 54a Broadway is selected as the place to offer the service. The Mall has received 4.1/5 star ratings from online reviews, and has become extremely popular among people in East London. A corner location will be hired near the pet accessory and supply stores to catch the attention of passing pet owners, maximising the potential to attract customers.
Promotion – Sashi (2012, p.261) stated that promotion is the essential tool for spread awareness about a product/service. It serves to send a message to people, affecting their impressions over the product. Marketers must select the correct promotional strategy to match the service offered while taking budget restrictions into consideration (ErdoÄŸmuÅŸ and Cicek, 2012, p.1355).
Online promotion will mainly be used to promote the veterinarian services. The use of social media like facebook and twitter will be prioritised, where details of the service and location will be advertised on company profile pages. In addition, advertising through printed banners will be placed outside the Mall to attract potential pet owners (Lovejoy and Saxton, 2012, p.340).
People - Gordon (2012, p.125) mentioned that a well designed marketing plan will select people that match the service being offered. This may include maintenance staff, front counter service staff, sales staff and service personnel.
The service will be available 24x7 with staff changing shifts every 8 hours. 6 experienced veterinarians will be available: 2 per 8 hour shifts from Monday till Friday. While during the weekends, veterinarian trainees and college interns will be responsible for services. In addition, all ‘people’ selected will wear white and grey uniforms with the organisation logo. Moreover, all staff will be trained in PowerPoint and ICT, to facilitate the 1 hour awareness presentations post the service. In addition, maintenance and cleaning of equipment will be carried out by ‘Med Serve’, an organisational partner of RSPCA.
Physical evidence: - Chikweche and Fletcher (2012, p.517) stated that every service or product has some physical evidence or tangibility that makes it real. Physical evidence in this regard refers to the environment and physical objects that interact with the customer while delivering the service. Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene of the store will be prioritised to ensure that the customer feels comfortable. All equipments will be sterilised using alcohol and anti-bacterial liquids prior and after use. Three vet tables will be provided allowing multiple pets to be checked simultaneously. The tables have extended flaps, soft cushioning and wheels to ensure easy movement and comfort.
Processes – Arseculeratne and Yazdanifard, (2014, p.130) stated that processes include all steps that allow the product/service to be delivered to the customer. These processes include manufacturing of items, managing supplies, ordering new inventory items, customer handling etc.
In regard to the service being offered by RSPCA at Stratford Centre Mall, customer service is prioritised and stressed upon. Staffs are expected to be gentle to the animals that arrive at the store, as customer’s hold their pets dear. In addition, cooperation with customer views will also be stressed. When customers arrive their information along with their pet medical history will be entered in RSPCA’s online database, following which a medical checkup and x-ray if required. Upon completing the examination customers will be given the option to avail the 1 hour presentation regarding their pet. Moreover, the option to donate will also be presented which will help gather additional funds.
In order to measure the performance of the plan the following steps will be implemented-
Identifying performance indicators that are measurable and observable
Fixing a value on theses identified indicators, by setting thresholds ranges
Measuring values from these indicators
Benchmarking the measured values by comparing them with the threshold ranges set, enabling performance to be measured
How the promotion mix was used
Each element of the promotional mix plays a crucial role in successful promotion of a product or service. The elements of the promotional mix include advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, publicity and direct marketing. Using this mix non-paid advertising on social media and paid advertisements through banners was selected.
Theory supporting the decision
According to the ‘pull’ strategy, for a service to be successfully promoted, marketing communication must be heavily relied and stressed upon, allowing the campaign to spread awareness among potential service users.
Why the choice was made
This decision to promote the service on the company’s facebook profile page and twitter account is not only cost effective but also targets a range of pet owners, NGOs and potential donors. Since the RSPCA faces dwindling funds, engaging in paid advertising over other forms media would prove difficult. However, banner advertisements outside the Mall were fairly cheap to setup and maintain, hence their selection.
The reason for selecting RSPCA was that the organisation possess a rich history in fighting against animal cruelty within the United Kingdom. Moreover, they possess vast amounts of assets in the form of manpower and specialised personnel that will help make the promotion plan a success. In addition, the RSPCA is currently facing fund shortages within various departments, which the proposed promotion plan could help in sorting out. While the popularity of the organisation will help it spread awareness and promote good pet care across the country.
Figure 2: Sample Brochure for Social media promotion
(Source: Created by Author)
Marketing planning plays a pivotal role in an organization's strategy, by assessing the internal and environment. Strengths and weakness can be identified by using analytical tools, and making the correct decision with regard to launching a service. Using the proposed plan RSPCA can only better their cause towards fighting animal cruelty but also raise funds in the process. The NGO’s dwindling funds makes this plan vital for their continued success as a charity.
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