International Foods Group is the leading manufacturer of packaged food in the industry. Growing rapidly, International Foods Group must start developing new marketing strategies. The company recently acquired Glow-Foods owned by Josh Novak (International Food Group, 2014). Josh Novak has been brought to the Information Technology team of IFG. The company owned by Josh Novak though was small in size but has powerful strategies which helped them to gain new consumers. The strategy used by Glow Foods was viral and interactive marketing which helped the team to target the youth population unlike the strategy of International Foods Group which lacked direction and targeted on women with children. Marketing the products of IFG to the under-thirty demographic group will help them to get brand recognition and awareness in the market.
The success factor of Glow-Foods was social network marketing, mashups and multimedia marketing. Innovation required in IFG is in its marketing strategy and like Glow Foods, the company can use various strategies like interactive website, multimedia/mobile applications and social media networking. In the digital era the consumer awareness is increasing and they demand information, value and customization from their products and they demand it through multimedia platform. It is almost impossible to increase brand awareness without taking help of multimedia platforms and which won’t increase foot traffic in the organization. Therefore in order to gain popularity and to get the marketing benefits just like Glow-Foods got the company needs to work on its innovation and experimentation skills.
The main obstacle in the path to gain customers at IFG is that the unidirectional website of IFG only makes contact with the tip of marketing technology that is generally available to all the organizations today. Platforms of marketing like social media marketing, mobile applications etc are helping companies to adapt to the situation and fit consumer’s needs (Kenny, 2017). These platforms assist organizations to create a partnership with suppliers, consumers and environment. Consumers help an organization to co-create product through feedback via social platforms, this feedback helps organizations to serve communities in a better way.
At Glow-Foods, brand awareness campaigns were carried on by consumers via snapping their pictures drinking beverages in different locations, commenting on videos on YouTube and by participating in competitions (Orton, 1997). The consumers also added to the company’s innovation by the concept of modernization and they also created interactive packaging design for company’s products. This symbiotic relationship between the consumer and producers has never been stronger and has helped both the parties.
International Foods Group needs to engage consumers on a platform that will be accessible and most relevant to them i.e. online marketing. the company can use social networking sites like Facebook which has over 500 million users and mobile applications to connect with consumers as no one is now interested in traditional marketing methods. The consumers use and engage with these platforms on daily basis and they use this as a medium to reach their desired products as well.
When consumers are satisfied by an organization, they are likely to share their experiences and recommend others to use the products offered by the organization, this helps a company to create brand awareness (Minor Food, 2011). This viral phenomenon is called word-of-mouth. The technique is so powerful that it may either create or destroy the reputation of the brand. The problem at IFG is that it will never experience any of these situations as the company lacks experimentation. For example many organizations use hip-hop songs in advertisements and video campaigns to create brand recognition among youth and attract them towards their product. By targeting youth the company is able to increase the sales by word-of mouth phenomena. If a company lacks experimentation, it will never be able to enjoy such benefits.
Innovation and experimentation are not the only factors that help to create brand awareness but a company needs to use different strategies as well to align company’s ethics and take note of customer’s perceptions (DeCapua, 2011). Many organizations are flourishing their business by including customers in their plan, price and product development strategies. For example, Priceline.com allows their customers to set their own price for a product and even giant producers like Nike allow customers to create their own colour and design for shoes. Apart from this many companies have a check on Facebook and Twitter timelines of customers to get knowledge about their perceptions. Introducing innovation is no more a cumbersome task for companies as consumers now play a significant role in production and design of products (Vanderheijden, 1999). IFG can use these strategies to engage customers into the business and even create new product chain if required. This will not only help the company to establish a relationship with customers but would also increase the sales of the company.
Experimenting is not an easy task especially on these platforms where news spreads like wildfire. These platforms though have brought success to many companies but many companies have desperately failed too (Lupien, 2010). The only approach that can be used is trial and error which can help an organization to know consumer perceptions and stay in the competition. In order to build symbiotic relationship with consumers, IFG is required to capitalize on social platforms and use technology to their advantage as it is expected to give more benefits than traditional marketing.
The change in the technique of marketing via technology will also bring a change in traditional strategies used by International Foods Group. Organizations generally misunderstand the concept and benefits of marketing and think that it will bring benefits in monetary terms but these benefits may vary and in much different forms (Burdock group, 2016). The most essential benefit is knowing the consumer preferences which help the company to manipulate the competition easily. This contribution from customers helps to simplify business activities by their participation in product development and feedback.
IFG’s innovation team needs to work on the development of new tactics that will target the under-thirty demographic. Gaining customer confidence and their involvement will take time and after that time only will the customers would be able to help the company’s innovation team (Heneghan, 2015). For ex Facebook with the help of their customers from different companies was able to translate their site into 70 different languages. Consumer insight at IFG can only be seen with different tactics which can create business value for IFG.
This shift from consumer management to consumers managing their relationship with the organization will help IFG and help to realize the benefits of innovation and experimentation. Alongside this, recreating products and strategies by the means of social media will also increase the effectiveness in the operations of the company (JR, 2002). The management of IFG is worried that this experimentation may not show results but the company can concentrate their funding and strategies towards different communities and assess the results to find out which one will be the most beneficial. This method of marketing is very beneficial and is guaranteed to give results as the method includes detailed research.
The last recommendation for IFG is to bring a change in their organizational model. At the moment to implement these changes, IFG will have to alter many process and procedures (Mutume, 2006). If the company follows the traditional method of marketing, this processes and procedures may be valuable but the company through these processes will fail to attract the below-thirty demographics. Therefore the process of management is also required to welcome the method of experimentation.
In order to spread brand awareness, the company needs to let go of some control measures and let consumer decide what they want then only the organization will be able to tap strategies like word-of-mouth advertising, simplified business process, co-creation of products and social advertising (Melchior, 2015). The change in organizational structure brought by innovation and experimentation are expected to give International Foods Group many long terms benefits and the company must consider these tactics to not only gain organizational insight but to also gain consumer’s confidence.
Latest marketing trends and technology has changed the way an organization functions and their point of view to implement strategies. The International Food Group needs to work with the strategy of social media marketing, multimedia applications and mashups in order to stay in the competition. A symbiotic relationship between the consumer and the producer can only be created when the company use the help of web based technology to understand consumer preferences. Nowadays with increasing awareness, consumers demand customized products which can be easily accessed and they need to have a say in the market. IFG needs to adapt to this style of marketing and strategies by implementing innovation and experimentation. Company needs to engage with social networking technology in order to increase brand awareness and to know consumer perception. Furthermore then company needs to target the under-thirty demographic group which can only be done by using social media platforms to their rescue.
The food industry is very competitive in nature which brings the need for organizations to be flexible and innovative with their business strategies. For IFG to create business value, innovation and experimentation is very essential as deprivation of this may leave the company in second place.
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