Marketing Plan is defined as a comprehensive written document which identifies specific goals and outlines marketing efforts to achieve that specific goal. It is part of overall business plan. Important objectives of any marketing plan are effective communication of proposed outlined marketing efforts to all stakeholders, verification of internal consistency with proposed plan and helping in management’s decision making (Chernev, 2015). This report discussed Seeka Australia in the aspect of marketing strategy and plan. Seeka was established in 1980 and grown to one of the largest producer, grower, supplier and marketer of kiwifruit in Australia and New Zealand. Seeka Australia Pty Limited is 100% owned subsidiary of Seeka Limited. This company falls under consumer products industry and its sub-industry category is agricultural producers. Australian agriculture industry has competitive advantage due to its strong export focus (Seeka, 2015). The importance of agriculture industry has increased in manifolds all around the world. Seeka has strong domestic market presence and it is working on its expansion plan to enter untapped international market as European market. In European market, quality produce of Seeka has an opportunity to generate higher returns.
Seeka Australia’s product portfolio includes Australian produce such as Apricots, Cherries, European Pears, Nashi Pears and Plums. From Australian orchards, Seeka produce Hayward kiwifruit. It also imports topical fruits like pineapple, banana and papaya from Philippines and Ecuador. Its major service portfolio includes orchard leasing and management, harvest and post-harvest services including packing and storing and integrated marketing services. European market is a major producer and consumer for kiwifruit. In European market, presence of major industry players made the market more competitive. The major market players are Kiwi Fruit Garden Ltd., Zespri and Novagrim and many others. There is huge scope of growth in European market as importance of kiwifruit got increased in consumer health aspect and in turn it has increased market opportunity in a sustainable way. Seeka has to design its value proposition in accordance with its consumer and market dynamics. As the market is characterised with huge customer demand, Seeka has to plan detailed consumer orientation including how their products and services may serve market an in better manner. Mentioned competitors have strong presence in the market as their learning about the market is more extensive than Seeka. Sustainable competitive advantage, people, management, leadership, technology and innovation aspect of Seeka will play an important in reducing cost and exploring benefiting opportunities in European market. While entering into the European market, Seeka has to create brand awareness in the niche market and has to create consumer knowledge about their offerings to survive sustainably. The cost of production and transportation has to be well planned to strategies its market operations in Europe (Scrimgeour and Locke, 2015). As the European market is dominated by local players, Seeka has to price its products accordingly to make an impactful entry into the market. Also it has to maintain its quality as they offer “select excellence”. To strategize future growth of Seeka in European market, it has to adopt market development strategy as it is entering into new market with its existing product offerings. It has to use its strong domestic national market brand image, recognition and specific product category to make this strategy successful. To develop its market, Seeka needs to re-strategize its advertising programs and position its brand into the market as valuable alternative to the consumers (Nuttavuthisit and Thøgersen, 2017).
Business organisations operate in dynamic business environment and they need to be adaptive with some uncontrollable forces. In this context various political, economic, social, technological and legal aspects are discussed.
Political - European kiwifruit industry is highly regulated and its export is accompanied by phytosanitory certificate to ensure the kiwifruit is pest and disease free. In recent scenario, imposed stipulations regarding country specific exports are not present in European market.
Economical - The economic situation is favourable as there is increasing expenditure on kiwifruit per capita. This industry is experiencing huge price decline due to increased supply from larger number of growers and industry de-regulations.
Social - There is considerable social impact of supplying kiwifruit as it impacts life of consumers and growers. Inclusion of kiwifruit in healthy diet also increases the demand for kiwifruit.
Technology - Technological innovation is impactful as market is competitive and it is necessary to grow more kiwifruit with less land and use of labour.
Legal - To maintain industry reputation and quality standards, adaptive legal framework has been adopted. It impacts the business operations and context competition (Mowat, 2014).
Industry potential and profitability can be determined through five forces model. Threat of new entrant is low as in European market there are established local players which are dominating this market such as Kiwi Fruit Garden Ltd., Ziel Company, WG Mora Freres SA, Zespri, Enza, Novagrim, SAS Blue Whale, Sperchios Kiwi, Intermediazioni Ortofrutticole Trestini, Sunnykiwi Co. Ltd., Nergi, Bruno Elio SRL and Kiwi Arta. Bargaining power of buyer is high as kiwifruit is a niche market product. As buyer power is high, Seeka has to adopt differentiation strategy to survive in European market. Bargaining power of supplier is low as there are many suppliers present in the market. To grow in such market, Seeka must produce and supply quality products. Threat of substitution is high as consumers can easy shift to another related fruits, in such case Seeka has to plan for consumer education and awareness programs regarding unique nutrition value of kiwifruit. Degree of rivalry is very high as kiwifruits have very small portion of supermarket shelves space. This competition is increasing with time as kiwifruit is fighting to gain increased shelves space in grocery stores. Also, Seeka needs to compete with other industry players for the same. Seeka must strategically plan out their business with differentiation strategy, educating target consumer groups, and satisfying consumers with unique value proposition (Huggins and Izushi, 2015).
Overall European market can be segmented as institutional customers for business to business and individual consumers for business to consumers’ aspect. For b2b segment, Seeka should target luxury hotels, food processing industries, cafes, wholesalers and retailers which are organised; and for b2c segment the target would be health conscious consumers. As, European market is populated with established players, Seeka has to plan strategically about their positioning strategy. To get into the mind of customers, they need to plan and implement kiwifruit positioning in a modern prospective. In this aspect, collaborative marketing program can be an important strategic choice as this strategy adopted by Seeka earlier in its domestic market such as Australia and New Zealand. The brand introduction of Seeka has to be aligned with company’s core competencies and business strategies to create a sustainable impact in the market aligned with its domestic scope of business. Regarding branding process in European market, Seeka must focus on parameters like safety standards, quality standards and customer relationship. In this, market availability of the same products from competitors makes this market more competitive. To grow and survive in this market they should focus on niche marketing and focused marketing programs to create customer knowledge about brand Seeka (Gengler and Mulvey, 2017).
While in market, other competitors are focused on costing of the kiwifruits, strategy for Seeka would be quality kiwifruits and diversified verity of kiwifruits. More ranges of offering from Seeka will provide customers a wide range of choice and to be connected with Seeka as prime choice of kiwifruits brand. In a cost competitive market, Seeka can engage its business operations through creating more customer value. Seeka had produced 32.3 million trays of kiwifruit in past year and also produced 1,791 tonnes of European pears. Seeka is now focused with their rebranding program in their domestic market so they can optimise their market opportunities in European market alongside (Seeka Annual Report, 2016).
Attractiveness of Kiwifruit Industry in Europe is increasing, Seeka with their entry into the market needs to prepare and meet the market requirements through designing and implementing changed marketing mix which is predominantly focused with target market. Product - Seeka has desired product line width such as only green, shallow, gold, and organic but they do not have reasonable depth of their product line. Seeka Management should focus on increasing the product line depth through introducing new products like canned kiwifruit and kiwifruit juice. It would help Seeka in getting much longer shelf life and display of Seeka brand would be more. It will help in brand recognition in long term. This company has narrow brand recognition level in external market space; they should focus on building brand community in both b2b and b2c context.
Place - In a highly competitive market, Seeka must revamp their distribution strategy with much more focused orientation towards technology. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology can be helpful in this aspect as it can provide information regarding when and where products are moving. It would be also helpful in handling returning products more efficiently. Focus on supply chain of Seeka would be helpful in success in European market. Seeka operates its own Supply Chain Company and for intermediary supply they have also partnered with Woolsworth. But partnering with such retailer can increase profit margin but it will impact Seeka as brand as Woolsworth is also supplying other kiwifruits brands along with Seeka. In present context, Seeka should consider the fact of increasing their supply scope through partnering with more local supermarkets in European market. It would mitigate the risk of distribution structure.
Price - Ability to maintain lower internal cost will help Seeka to price low its products. Automation in internal processes will decrease labour cost and focus on paying higher rates to growers will maintain continuous supply of kiwifruits. With partnership with local supermarket, Seeka can plan out various different pricing strategies aligned with bundling, discounts and sales promotions.
Promotion - Seeka has very strong promotional aspect as it deals with renowned supermarkets and b2b context it has an image of safe and reliable company. This company is lacking in its online presence, now it has to focus on its online presence strategy. It can introduce mobile app for its b2b and b2c customer group as it will improve customer interaction. It will lead to more brand recognition. It can also focus on brick and mortar promotional activities and these can impact awareness of kiwifruit to larger customer group. Specific marketing message should be developed in order to make a place in the customer’s mind (Barrett and Weinstein, 2015).
Overall, Seeka has to reinvent its marketing mix for its European market and should strategize its marketing strategies more concerned with b2c target market. It should create a strong business position in retail market prospect. As European kiwifruit market is growing, Seeka must take this opportunity of ideal market entry into Europe market. Internal cost effectiveness; strong distribution channel partnering and use of innovative technologies will guide them in designing their marketing mix more market oriented.
In European market, industry players are focused with cost leadership strategy and strategically enjoying more market share. Seeka as new entrant in the market should adopt differentiation strategy to counter established market players like Zespri which is a global leader, Enza, Sunnykiwi, Nergi, Novagrim and many more. The local market knowledge will play the substantial difference creator in European kiwifruit market. Seeka needs to establish its brand image as quality provider in the market as well as cost effective to customers. Strategic development of supply chain can put Seeka at upper position to counter intensified competition. Product innovations also impact the competitors by influencing customers in their purchase decision making. Seeka must profile its related competitors on the basis of products offered, pricing tags, target customers, resources strengths and marketing strategies (Jones and Mowatt, 2016).
Estimated 1.5 Billion USD Kiwifruit market is attractive business opportunity. It can be concluded that Seeka as an established market player in Australia and New Zealand should explore European market to grow its present business in international market. Seeka can stay ahead of competition in chosen market as they have strong experience in producing, growing, supplying and marketing kiwifruits (Seeka, 2016). It should focus to increase accessibility, creating more connectivity with customers, designing its pricing strategies to fit in chosen target segments, increased importance on online channel and must engage in brand awareness programs in new market. These activities will help Seeka to hold a strong position in European market.
Barrett, H., & Weinstein, A. (2015). Corporate entrepreneurship, the marketing mix, and business performance. In Proceedings of the 1997 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 144-150). Springer, Cham.
Chernev, A. (2015). The Marketing Plan Handbook (4th ed.). Cerebellum Press.
Gengler, C. E., & Mulvey, M. S. (2017). Planning pre-launch positioning: Segmentation via willingness-to-pay and means-end brand differentiators. Journal of Brand Management, 24(3), 230-249.
Huggins, R., & Izushi, H. (2015). The Competitive Advantage of Nations: origins and journey. Competitiveness Review, 25(5), 458-470.
Jones, G., & Mowatt, S. (2016). National image as a competitive disadvantage: the case of the New Zealand organic food industry. Business History, 58(8), 1262-1288.
Mowat, A. D. (2014, August). Market oriented assessment of the environmental impact of the New Zealand kiwifruit value chain. In XXIX International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture: Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (IHC2014): 1112 (pp. 439-446).
Nuttavuthisit, K., & Thøgersen, J. (2017). The importance of consumer trust for the emergence of a market for green products: The case of organic food. Journal of Business Ethics, 140(2), 323-337.
Scrimgeour, F. G., & Locke, S. M. (2015). Review of Kiwifruit New Zealand.
Seeka (2017). Corporate Profile 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2017, from https://www.seeka.co.nz/vdb/document/140
Seeka (2017). Annual Report 2016 Retrieved 15 September 2017, from https://www.seeka.co.nz/vdb/document/182
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