The physical, cultural, socioeconomic and political factors of consumer food environments influence the availability, accessibility and adequacy of foods within a given community. The socioeconomic food environment in Qatar is characterised by wide-spread obesity due to the availability of cheap, unhealthy foods which are easily accessible. Our product, Ghada, is a healthy food choice which aims to address some of the nutritional challenges experienced by the public. There are approximately two million wage-earning workers and over 230,137 students in the country (Labor force sample survey 2018 statistical analysis, 2019). Our marketing strategy targeted mainly workers and students, given the number of potential buyers in the market segment. Marketing extends beyond products, services and the maximization of profits; it also includes adding value and meeting or exceeding individualised consumer needs within a competitive market. We believe that our product will meet customers’ needs because it is affordable and easily accessible to all levels of society. This product is priced at only QR 30 to QR 35, which is affordable to all the society levels, including students.
External Marketing Environment
We used PESTLE analysis concepts to ascertain the business environment conditions which would justify the product’s validity in the market. A PESTLE analysis can be used to evaluate the probability of a product’s survival and success in the marketplace (Frue, 2018). The country’s food supply is affected by geopolitical instability in the Gulf. International rules have also blocked food importation on the grounds of sanitation, halal food schemes and food safety (Ben Hassen, El-Bilali and Al-Maadeed, 2020). Furthermore, Qatar has implemented stringent regulatory food policies due to the growing concerns of heavy metals and antibiotic-resistant substances in food and animal products, respectively (Ben Hassen, El-Bilali and Al-Maadeed, 2020). In response to the challenges experienced in the food industry, the nation is promoting initiatives to increase the supply of healthy foods. The country’s economic conditions will facilitate the majority of the public to afford purchasing quality foods. The average monthly wage income for wage-earning workers is QR 11,000 (Labor force survey, 2018). The country’s GDP is likely to increase at an annual rate of 3.5%, while the income per person will increase by 2.8% from 2018-2023 (Ben Hassen, El-Bilali and Al-Maadeed, 2020). The environment is typified by land and water scarcity, which constrain agricultural activities; this consequently exacerbate the country’s dependence on imported foods (Ben Hassen, El-Bilali and Al-Maadeed, 2020). The popularity of social media will also allow the business to connect and interact with its customer base.
From our analysis, we believe that Ghada would resolve some of the issues affecting the food market. Unlike imported rice, our product would be 100% natural and free from health hazards. Ghada also satisfies at least one of the five consumption values which influence consumer choice behaviour. Our product has social value in Qatar’s public eye, government and media. According to the social value conception, a customer’s choice to buy a product is based on the positive or negative stereotypes associated with the product (Sheth, Newman and Gross, 1991). Healthy foods have gained wide-spread acceptance and public popularity due to the attention directed by the media and government towards health issues. Social value is the most important aspect for healthy-living among individuals since peer perceptions and acceptance of green products significantly influence their decisions (Levitt, 2006; Suki and Suki, 2015). These socioeconomic and political factors were the main driving forces that inspired our creation and marketing plan.
Risk or Barriers of the Proposed Idea
The price range of our direct competitors, for instance, Green and Go for the same food product is lower than that of Ghada. The rice salad at the company goes for QR 25 (Green and go, 2020) while our rice salad takeout package retails at 30 QR. Pricing was one of our primary competitive strategies and selling points. However, we might need to restructure our marketing plan and find new selling points to have a competitive edge over our competitors.
The Role of Personal Beliefs and Intuition in the Marketing Plan
Human intuition has remained relevant in marketing despite the development of cutting-edge technologies which currently drives marketing operations. A survey by Google involving 3200 global business leaders showed that 38% of managers use intuition in decision-making, 35% combine data analytics and intuition to make decisions, and 27% make decisions solely based on data (Alton, 2018). Although data from market research influenced our plan, intuition was also crucial. From our perspective, lunch hours come in-between working hours and therefore, individuals might need quick-fix lunch packages to save time. Secondly, we believe that positioning the product near consumers’ workstations would make it convenient for them to get quality lunch hence increasing our sales prospects. Intuition helped us to tap into our human experiences to predict our customer’s behaviours.
External Environmental Analysis Versus Beliefs and Intuition
A macro-environment analysis is beneficial because it can provide an in-depth understanding of the business and the market-related threats and opportunities. However, external business surroundings are always changing, and data obtained from market surveys may need constant reviewing and updates. Companies need to invest heavily in extensive research to ensure their decisions are based on accurate data (potential limitations of the pest analysis, 2016). Another risk is that PESTLE analyses expose an organization’s strategies to discrepancies and uncertainties since their data are based on predictions. It is impossible to collect all the needed data from each PESTLE component and this however, can lead to missed threats and opportunities.
Intuition, on the other hand, enables managers to make complex decisions in unfamiliar situations in ever-changing environments. It can help guide decision-making in cases where there is limited data by filtering out the right information through reflex. The quantity of data is not necessarily a determining factor in instinctual decision-making. They can be timely, cost-effective, and can help businesses connect with humans on a personal level. Companies can also have the advantage of implementing alternative action plans in a timely manner.
Consumer Needs and Behavior Analysis
The theoretical underpinning that guided our consumers’ needs analysis was based on market segmentation principles. The conceptualization mentioned above is based on the theory that different individuals within a company’s consumer base have dissimilar needs, priorities, and wants. We categorized our customer base, as per their typology namely their profile, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics. The psychographic variables included personality, lifestyle, social class, age, and gender. The aim of categorizing our consumers into these segments was to determine how best we could design our products to serve their needs adequately. Based on these variables, we were able to ascertain the preferences and demographics of our potential customers. We used the information to establish our marketing message, communication or promotional channels and the offers which would best suit their tastes.
The first step was to define the segmentation scope by mapping out the geographical area our product would cover. We then used the priori method to determine the variables in each segment. We selected the variables we thought would best describe our market segments through a predetermined criterion. The segmentation variables had to meet predetermined requirements such as accessible, actionable, measurable, substantial, and differentiable. The questions that guided the segmentation procedure included, but not limited to, how the customers are going to access our products; why they should choose our product; how much they are willing to pay; and what kind of people would need the product. The values to these parameters helped the planning team to define the customers and their needs, the marketing message, and the aspects of the strategy which needed prioritization.
Assumptions made on Consumers in Market Segments
- The market segments are all different and, therefore, the market plan should address the individual needs of each component.
- The potential customers in each section will respond to the tailored plan in a similar way.
- The consumer base in each market segment is large enough to be financially viable.
- Each of the clients in the market segments can be reached through some form of communication.
Assumptions Made on Consumer’s Needs
- Consumers in each market segment have busy schedules that will increase the need for packaged lunch.
- Clients will prefer ready-to-eat meals over meal preparation.
Supporting Evidence for Assumptions
Market segmentation recognizes that people in different classes, regions, and cultures have contrasting needs and preferences. Marketing strategies are to be tailored to meet the demands of each individual (Levitt, 2006). For example, the income level of each member in our customer base may differ; this, in turn, might impact or determine their sensitivity to price vis-à-vis the quality of the product. The above illustrations show why it is paramount to segment our customer base. From my perspective, every human is different and has personalized demands or wants. We all have different values, attitudes, behaviours, and preferences that are reinforced by our personal experiences. Since our experiences, beliefs, and values are different, we will have disparate purchasing behaviours. Therefore, market segmentation is vital for any company seeking to satisfy the individual needs of its customers.
Additional Consumer Characteristics, Needs and Behaviors
Consumers might need food delivered to their specific locations. Given the tight schedules of our customers, they may not have enough time to purchase and eat food within the stipulated lunch hour. The customers might need to wait for the billing process to be finalized before buying the food, which might take longer. The problem may be more profound since human and automobile traffic is prevalent in a consumer’s specific locality. Re-strategizing our marketing plan to include office or school delivery would fix the problem.
The Key Components of the Intended Brand Identity or Positioning
Our brand’s identity is based on the Brand identity prism concept. The branding process was centered on physical attributes, personality, culture, customer reflection, and brand relationships. The physical qualities of the brand included logo and colour. The visual identity of the product consists of a green rice tree that symbolizes nature and health. The brand personality will be a green, organic, and healthy food brand that is eco-friendly. Brand’s personality defines the trait or character of the brand from the consumer’s perspective (Nandan, 2005). We want our customers to associate the brand with wellness and healthy living. The product’s retail location will be near supermarkets, food retails, and small booths near universities and workplaces. The product’s packaging will also include all the essential nutritional facts, dates of production, and expiration date; this will reinforce our company’s culture of healthy-living lifestyles. The brand’s culture and values will be promoted through our social media platforms. The price range will be between QR 30 and QR 35, which is lower than some of our competitor’s prices. The promotion will be conducted online through social media and word of mouth.
Ways in Which the Marketing Mix Components Support the Intended Brand Identity or Positioning
Our Brand name, Ghada, effectively communicates our identity as a naturally healthy food product. Because our brand targets people who are enthusiastic about healthy living, we chose a name that will create a unique impression on the customer. Ghada is an Arabic name that means Lunch in English. The denomination will help keep our agenda as lunch suppliers at the top of the consumer’s mind. Given the mistrust created by imported foods in the market, the product’s information (nutritional facts) will help the customers to gain insightful information about the product’s ingredients or contents. Therefore, the product’s packaging, visuals, and name will effectively communicate our brand’s identity.
Product placement has become a vital marketing strategy, both in traditional and modern market settings. A product’s placement directly sends the pertinent marketing message to the consumers at the right time and place. One of our promotional strategies is to market the product through word-of-mouth. By placing our product near other food retails and school/work stations, we will be able to send our marketing message to our clients, including those looking for other food options within their surroundings. Therefore, the product’s placement will allow us to verbally communicate our marketing message to the target group and help to clarify our customer’s concerns.
Our product is cheap; it is priced at QR 30, which is an affordable amount for all income brackets. The low prices directly communicate our goal of being an affordable healthy food option. However, consumers correlate a product’s price with its quality, for instance, expensive or costly goods are associated with high quality while cheap products are linked with low quality (Warsewicz and Kulykovets, 2017). Although cheaper than most brands in the market, our product is enlisted within a reasonable range. Placing our prices within the market range will not only help us to remain competitive but also maintain our customer’s perception of our product’s value and quality.
Product promotion can have positive effects on the brand’s identity and awareness. Sharing positive customer reviews and testimonials in our social media can help build the brand’s identity as well as communicate our values as a company. Brand equity refers to the commercial value that a consumer places on a brand name, rather than the product itself. Therefore, sharing our customer’s experiences as a promotional activity will improve our brand’s equity in the market.
Miscommunication of Brand’s Identity/Position
Most brands have a message that their customers, staff, stakeholders and supplies can identify and connect with. However, disjointed marketing messages can lead to misinformation which can harm the credibility and trust of the brand. Our consumers might associate our brand’s message of healthy living with weight loss which is contrary to the company’s goal. To prevent miscommunication, we will ensure the effective communication of the brand’s mission and vision. The product’s packaging will contain a small section which outlines the company’s goals and values. The organization’s marketing messages will also be included on all social media platforms and food packages to ensure a seamless flow of information.
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