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Coca-Cola Marketing Plan Essay

A. Introduction The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, operating in over 200 countries with a product line that includes over 2,800 diverse items. The company’s primary responsibility is to develop concentrates, beverage bases and syrups, which are sold to bottling companies that comprise the world’s largest beverage distribution system. In addition to product development, the Coca-Cola Company is responsible for product marketing. Their mission is to refresh the world, inspire moments of optimism, and to create value and make a difference.

B. External Environment Socio-Cultural Factors Coca-Cola is recognized as the world’s most valuable brand. The company has been extremely successful in global marketing, and experts indicate that this success is largely based on product variation and adaptation (Lamb, Hair & McDaniels, p. 114). Since the Coca-Cola Company extends to over 200 countries (with headquarters located in Atlanta, Georgia), they have an immense need to diversify their products and create a marketing plan that meets the socio-cultural interests of all their customers (vendors) and consumers (drinkers) around the world.

The Coca-Cola trademark is recognized worldwide, no matter what language is printed on the bottle. However, the Coca-Cola Company must continue to tailor their marketing plan and product development to respect each consumer’s unique values, beliefs and cultures. An example of the Coca-Cola Company adapting to the external socio-cultural environment is in 2007, the Coca-Cola Company received a silver award at the Iberoamerican Advertising Festival for their “Levate la Mano” (Raise Your Hand) commercial that was aired in Latin America (2007 Annual Report: Marketing Highlights).

Coca-Cola has also created a unique formulation for Sprite sold in Japan to meet the cultural preferences (p. 114). Social factors have been carefully considered in the company’s marketing plan. The Coca-Cola Company has successfully developed products to please the 21st century’s health-conscious consumer with brands like Coca-Cola Zero (their best selling brand in over 25 years), sports drinks, and bottled water. Coca-Cola must continue to adapt to the external environmental threat of the healthy lifestyle movement through product development and marketing of healthy options available in the product line.

Economic Factors The United States is currently experiencing an economic recession. This period of negative growth includes higher unemployment, inflation, and cost of living expenses while consumers are experiencing lower disposable income and purchasing power (p. 641). The Coca-Cola Company contracts with numerous bottling companies around the world to create and distribute their beverages. The weakened economy could have a negative impact on any of the bottling companies, which would threaten the stability of the Coca-Cola Company due to the dependent relationship.

The Coca-Cola Company must be profitable in order to sustain their investment in communities around the world. Furthermore, small communities depend on large businesses like the Coca-Cola Company to strengthen their own economy and help create social and environmental programs. The Coca-Cola Company has been very successful in helping other nations grow and become economically stable by investing millions of dollars back into the countries in which they are operating. Legal Factors

Legal factors that could pose an environmental threat to the Coca-Cola Company include new legislation or regulation of food and beverage products. Activists are trying to push for more government involvement in product advertising and labeling. While many laws have already been passed in this regard, expanded or new laws could threaten the company by creating more overhead expenses and decreasing the profit margin. Technological Factors

In today’s marketplace, technology is a key player in helping a business stay profitable. Large businesses, like the Coca-Cola Company, must invest in technological research to find ways to become more efficient, and ultimately better competitors. The Coca-Cola Company should address external technological threats by investing directly in applied research to improve recording and monitoring of the sales, production and delivery process between the Coca-Cola Company and the bottling companies (p. 90). Competitive Factors

Consumer tastes and needs are ever changing. With the new focus on health and nutrition and concerns with obesity, many consumers are changing their behaviors and products choices. Tea products, bottled water and energy drinks have become favored as opposed to the typical soft drink. This is an external threat to the Coca-Cola Company, as these changes in preferences have increased the number of competitors in the industry. The Coca-Cola Company is not only in competition with soft drink companies, like PepsiCo, Inc., but with other unassuming companies like Unilever, Kraft Foods, and Nestle.

The Coca-Cola Company must continue aggressive efforts in responsible marketing, community investment and product development to hold the No. 1 place in sales of juice, ready-to-drink coffees, and teas. Surprisingly, Coca-Cola is ranked No. 3 in soft drinks, but their No. 1 ranking in juices, teas and coffee products indicate that they are in touch with their consumer’s interests, and that they understand that soft drinks cannot be their sole products in order to sustain business.

C. Target Market The primary target market of the Coca-Cola Company is all consumers of all nations that have a thirst for a high-quality beverage from a reputable brand that cares about small communities and saving the environment. The Coca-Cola Company is well known for advertising to persons of all ages, genders, incomes, ethnicity and lifestyles. Nevertheless, more specifically, over the last decade the Coca-Cola Company has focused on a secondary target market, based on specific psycho-graphic characteristics, of consumers that are health conscious and interested in buying products to support their overall wellness. The Coca-Cola Company has reached this market through many product lines, and has customized their website to provide healthy resources and marketing of products that are considered smart choices.

D. Product Coca-Cola is the number one selling sparkling beverage in North America. Coca-Cola is primarily a business product. As a business product, Coke is sold to grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, vending companies and restaurants. Coke could also be considered a convenience product as it is a relatively inexpensive item that merits little shopping (Lamb, Hair, McDaniel, pg. 308). It is can found almost everywhere, from schools, hotel, theme parks, airports, places of business and even rest stops on the highways. Coca-cola was packaged solely as soda fountain drink when it was introduced in 1886. In 1894, a candy storeowner started placing the drink in bottles and approached the owner of the Coca-Cola Company, Asa Griggs Candler, about bottling the drink. Candler declined. Then in 1899, Candler sold the rights to bottle the drink and over the next 10 years, 400 bottling plants would be born. The packaging of red and white Coca-Cola products is a world recognized.


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