The report aims to develop a food marketing strategy for Weet-bix, which is an emerging brand in the food sector with potential opportunities for growth. For obtaining a plan that is effective, the paper will refer to determining factors of product sales like consumer decision, branding, target segment, marketing mix and industry analysis.
Industry analysis and product description
Weet-bix has emerged as one of the most favorite breakfast meals of youths and aged alike. This Australian-based company was taken over by Sanitarium, a famous company that can be accredited for the global success of the product. Weet-bix is available in 8 different flavors that also differ in ingredients. All these ingredients are natural, some of which are mutilgrain, oat bran, apricot bites and berry bites. According to market researches, product marketing is crucial to growth of the company and the strategies employed by Sanitarium have been effective in making weet-bix one the most demanded meals in the market. Sanitarium is a non-profit health and well-being company that is privately owned by Adventist Church and the profits earned by the company are donated to the charitable activities of the Church. Weet-bix has several nutritious benefits. It is high on carbohydrates and fibre, contains seven essential minerals and vitamins including iron, zinc and magnesium, it has low fat compounds (Cashman 2014). The product is suitable to be put under a sub-market for cereals that can be eaten readily, but will still be a major component if the whole market of baking mixes and cereal food.
Consumer behavior/ market
Weet-bix targets children aged between 4 to 8 years as potential customers and also attempts to reach out to health conscious and physically active youths. People interested in sports are attracted to cereal based fast diet like weet-bix and they make for about 60% of the total sales. Young adolescents with the ability to process information are also potential targets for the product. Young adults and university students who value a healthy and balanced lifestyle or citizen who are healthy food enthusiasts opt for products like Weet-bix. The current target market of Weet-bix is the younger generation, athletic girls and boys more specifically who require regular sustainable breakfasts to be able to perform the sporting activities all throughout the day and remain healthy at the same time. The market segment of the mature healthies are equally strategic with the target base consisting of individuals aged between 30 to 40.
The Sanitarium market targets mainly European countries since the population prefer cereal-based diet unlike the Asians who survive on rice-based meals. Consumer with a minimal purchasing power can avail weet-bix since the cost is moderate and the product type is not luxury, hence the target segment consist of consumers belonging from all sections of the society. Although the primary target is aimed at teenagers and young-adults, athletic individuals and health-conscious people.
Consumer decision making process
In the opinion of H. Mitchell, the buying behavior of the consumers is highly affected by opinion, interests and attitudes which are subjected to constant change (2017). Some buying tendencies are rooted in the lack of proper food at school or home or the inability to influence or change the food habits at home. Privately conducted surveys suggest that consumer decision-making process is highly affected by eating habits and life-style preferences. A section of the target might shift their preference to having porridge for breakfast for a palette change. Consumer decision is also affected by price sensitivity; since weet-bix is priced a little higher than other cereal products, some cost conscious customers might be discouraged from buying the product. The knowledge of consumers is another determinant in the decision making process. A consumer who knows how to evaluate the alternatives will arrive at a logical conclusion based on the knowledge they acquired through marketing campaigns and advertisements of different companies. The emotional experiences of the buyers is also a driving factor in their process of decision-making.
Weet-bix demonstrates a high benefit in terms of health and nutrition if compared to competitive brands, and health experts, pediatricians are in agreement with that. The product brands itself as the Aussie icon and through effective promoting has attained a long standing the marketplace. Weet-bix has tactfully associated itself with the sporting clubs of Australia and also sponsored the Australian rugby and cricket teams. In terms of tasting Weet-bix faces competitions from rival companies despite introducing the new flavors but when it comes to nutritional benefits, Weet-bix is one of the top leading brands in the food industry of cereals.
Currently, Weet-bix aims to emerge as the top nutritionally balanced breakfast cereal available in the market. The company is working towards widespread distribution and the product is readily available in different chains of supermarkets, service stations, corner stores and convenience stores. However, it is difficult to position a product as premium in the cereal market, worthy of charging higher prices that the alternative products. It must be kept in mind that the main motive of consumers is looking for cereals that meet both their health and taste preferences and simultaneously providing with the greatest value (Broom 2013). The promotion strategy employed recently by the marketers of the product is aimed at mother and young children. The company further retain the nutritional values, features and existing attributes of the product with the new introduction of Omega 3 into the ingredients by microencapsulation. This refers to the addition of particles to the already existing ingredients for increasing the product benefits for the consumer and camouflaging the taste of the new added ingredients with the earlier ones. The company is recently strategizing policies for interrupting routine behavior. Some of them include more deals and exclusive offers on new products, promotional coupons and lucky winners on purchase.
Since the product aims to attract new and a larger number of buyers in the market, the strategy of pricing is based on Market-penetration. The new, original bites of Weet-bix and the earlier flavored and traditionally sized products is tagged with lower prices. They will be sold at 20% discount prices, different from the traditional sizes of Weet-bix which will appeal to more potential customers. This is designed to gain the largest market share in the first six months, while in the next 18 months the original price of the Weet-bix bites and the flavored products will be sold at the same prices as the traditional products. For increasing market share, the supermarkets will be the main channel of distribution as the largest amount of sales is recorded there. The product distribution is decided as 65% in supermarkets, 20% in retail convenience stores, 10% in independent food stores and 5% for discounters. The products of Weet-bix are comparatively more expensive than the substitutes, since shoppers today are extremely price sensitive, they need to be explained about the greater value and differentiations of the product.
Parents of children who are career oriented are aimed as specific targets for promotional strategies. These targets, in a majority have busy lives and need continuous exposure in different ways. Firstly, these highly potential customers need to grow awareness of new products, secondly they need to be convinced about trying out the new product. Thirdly and most importantly the must be instilled with the desire to purchase the product on a regular basis (Martin et al 2014), all with good reasons. Promotional prizes, giveaways and constant advertising increases the possibility of turning this target market into regular consumer of Weet-bix. Featuring celebrities in the advertisement of the product to convey a specific message is also a strategic promotional tool. Considering the classical conditional and the vicarious learning of the consumers, this will be highly favorable for the sales of the product. This would also build up the esteem of the product in the market and meet the need for product modelling. The slogan used for the promotion of the product have become iconic over the course of time. It just needs more consistency for thriving in the target market. Weet-bix have also been associated with internationally famous event sponsorships like kids triathlon, Australian cricket, AFL. This are notable aspects of classical conditioning and increases the brand value of the product (Rosenbaum et al 2015). It is also interesting to note that Weet-bix was initially introduced in the market as a health biscuit that is budget-friendly back in the 1920s. The promotional strategy that the company has resorted to is a marketing blend of product placement, advertising, exclusive sales promotion and advertising, all of which is targeted at attaining loyal customers. Further, the promotional mix includes personal selling, radio slots and television. The retailers and Australian public are made aware of new products and nutritional values though personal selling. Ads run from 7 in the morning to 9 at night in radio slots. The televisions will run commercials during the cricket seasons and summer. The A league system will promote products as Weet-bix will remain sponsers for them. The new commercials will be aired during the opportunistic times so the target market can see them (Sidalli 2015). For targeting mature men and women, the company will print advertisements on newspapers and magazines along with offering an Australian chef journal free with purchase of at least three Weet-bix products. The advertisements will have to be focused on the weekend editions for appealing to a larger crowd. Sample distribution is also crucial to promotion strategy (Nhundhu 2017) . A buy-one get one free offer for the first one of consumption will be well-received by the customers. For increasing the amount of sales, the company will even offer a buy 2 get 1 free deal.
The Weet-bix tryathlons will be hosted all over the different parts of the country for both kids and parents. It will initiate participation and increase awareness of the product among the target audience. The company will further arrange for monthly competitions where competitors can win fitness gear prizes and cash. It will be conducted on the official website of Weet-bix. Coupons and codes included within the packaging of the product would also propel the purchasing tendency since the purchaser will now be keen on winning prizes. Apart from monthly prizes, the company will be running competitions over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where any consumer can post a picture of himself/herself with a Weet-Bix product and win a trip around the country. Rubio notes that bill boards and posters are another set of effective marketing activities that help grow awareness and boost sales (2014). Around the country, the capital cities will have larger bill boards and the shopping complexes will have posters. A unique action program will be implemented for attaining the sales objectives. Introducing Omega 3 through the process of microencapsulation and adding more nutritional value to the products of Weet-bix is a fruitful action, both for sales and the brand evaluation of the product (Stevenson et al 2016). The new luxury packaging will be aimed at children and consumers who tend to judge products at face value. The introduction of new flavors is another strategy to attract younger audience whose purchases are driven by palatial preferences (Solomon et al 2014). The promotions on social media is effective in combatting competitors and securing a wider consumer base since individual in today’s society spend the majority of their time online. The televisions, magazines and radios, says Baker will air new bill boards and advertisements (2014).
Consumers of the 21st century are well aware of the environmental impacts of improper packaging. Eco-friendly packaging is essential for both for health of the consumer and preservation of the environment (Ottman 2017). The food policy of Sanitarium is designed to exercise recycling of the packages used for selling products. The company will implement, develop and review the ecological standards that apply to the design of product packaging. A whole-of-chain approach has been initiated for ensuring that the employees of the company are aware of and also take necessary accountability for reducing the environmental impact of packaging products. Via thorough packaging reviews, the company engages with consumers and major supplier for product labelling. All packaging is revised against the guidelines of sustainable packaging. Additionally, the company also ensures that the disposal of wastes is handled properly. The wastes are segregated and the recycled materials is collected at the facilities. The products developers have recently introduced a new luxury touch to the packaging, which has been attracting a new category of consumers. The coupons and prizes included in the packaging is another benefit that extends the consumer base.
The A league system will promote products as Weet-bix will remain sponsers for them. The advertising team has approached eminent sportsmen for shooting commercials that will be aired worldwide. Fitness conscious celebrities who promote health and well-being will be requested to use and promote the product.
The discussion traces the gradual evolution of Weet-bix through strategic management and effective marketing techniques. The brand positioning of the product is highly favorable as it uses strategic promotional tools for securing a valuable position in the market. however, the company is required to extend and advance the methods of marketing mix for emerging as the leading brand in food industry. Another suggestion would to reduce the prices of the products wherever possible since Weet-bix is under constant threat of substitution as the alternatives are available at lower prices. The advertising schemes of the company is quite on point and the primary reason for attracting more customers that are loyal. The packaging of the product will attract environmentally conscious consumers, although the designers could work a little more in making the packets more visually attractive. Additionally, Weet-bix should also consider a variety in the offered product range. Although the new flavors are quite appealing to the consumers, a lack of variety might compel them to opt for alternatives which are available at cheaper prices. Moreover, with the brand value of the product, Weet-bix will reach even higher heights by implementing the suggested strategies.
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