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The marketing mix consists of the four P’s; product, place, price, promotion (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p.
48). Product is defined as “everything, both favorable and unfavorable, that a person receives in exchange” (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 48). The Coca-Cola Company’s products consist of beverage concentrates and syrups, with the main product being the finished beverages (Coca-Cola Datamonitor, 2007). Coca-Cola’s products can be viewed as both business and consumer products.
Ultimately, the main goal of the Coca-Cola Company’s is to satisfy a consumer’s personal want, which is the definition of consumer products (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 248). The type of consumer product the Coca-Cola Company creates is convenience product. Convenience products normally require a wide distribution in order to sell sufficient quantities to meet profit goals (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 285). In addition, the Coca-Cola Company often pays a certain amount to retail stores to resell their product.
Therefore the Coca-Cola Company products can be considered a business product. The Coca-Cola Company has a fairly large product mix which contains about 400 brands, including diet and light beverages, waters, juice and juice drinks, teas, coffees, energy, and sports drinks (Coca-Cola Datamonitor, 2007). The Coca-Cola Company has increased its product mix width since 1960. This enabled the Coca-Cola Company to spread risk across many product lines rather than depend only on one and to help generate sales and boost profits within its organization (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 87). The Coca-Cola Company also packages its products different sizes to appeal to certain consumers (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 286). For example, Diet Coke is available in twelve-ounce or even six-ounce cans and various plastic containers, ranging from two liters to twenty ounces (Coca-Cola Company, 2006). The Coca-Cola Company has increased its product mix by product line extensions as well as creating new products. The Coca-Cola Company has extended its product line by introducing a variety of drinks (“Will New Cokes”, 2006).
These include Vanilla Coke, Cherry Coke, Cherry Vanilla Coke, Coke Plus and many more to attempt to meet the needs of all of its’ consumers. The Coca-Cola Company also increases its product mix and broadens its market by the innovation of new juice and sport drink products (Marcial, 2007). This fairly large product mix enables the Coca-Cola Company to satisfy the needs of their consumers’ thirst, whatever it may be. This type of product mix allows the Coca-Cola Company to achieve its mission statement in which it states that it wants to “refresh the world” (Coca-Cola Company, 2006).
Place/Distribution: Another crucial part of the marketing mix is place and distribution of an organizations product. Place and distribution strategies are “concerned with making products available when and where customers want them” (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 48). The Coca-Cola Company states in its mission statement that it wants to offer its products to all consumers globally (Coca-Cola Company, 2006). The Coca-Cola Company uses intermediaries (i. e. retailers and distributors) instead of directly selling to distribute its products worldwide (Coca-Cola Datamonitor, 2007).
The Coca-Cola Company also uses intensive distribution strategies to make sure their products can be available everywhere. One low profile type of retailing that the Coca-Cola Company does to increase its distribution of its product is the use of automatic vending machines. These can be found in a number of places, such as schools and concert venues (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 411). Since their product is a convenience product, it requires a wide distribution in order to meet profit goals (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 285).
Recently the Coca-Cola Company has focused more on their global strategy to help them increase their growth. Much of this growth is coming out of Latin America, the BRIC, and Western Europe (“Innovation, acquisitions”, 2007). Currently many Europeans are beginning to be more worried about their health, which has increased Coca-Cola’s Diet Coke and Coke Zero sales (Fuhrman, 2007). In addition, the Coca-Cola Company is in many other countries including India that are in the growth stage of the product life cycle (“Marketing: New products”, 2007).
The Coca-Cola Company’s growth in these areas are caused by their improved marketing to consumers, better relationships with bottlers, their “live happily” campaign in 200 markets, and the launch of Coca-Cola Zero. They also launched Minute Maid juice in India as well as China and Korea (“Marketing: New products”, 2007). Their innovation and introduction of new products as well as their “winning culture” has helped them begin to grow again worldwide. Price: Price of the product or service is another important part of the marking mix. Price is defined as “what a buyer must give up to obtain a product” (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 9).
Price is the quickest and most flexible element to change in the marketing mix. The prices of the Coca-Cola’s Companies products vary according to the brand and the size in which they come in (Coca-Cola Company, 2006). The Coca-Cola Company’s products are sold by a wide variety of distributors and retail stores, such as convenient stores and gas stations, as well as vending machines (Coca-Cola Datamonitor, 2007). The distributors and retail stores that the Coca-Cola Company deals with often implement their own pricing strategy (Coca-Cola Datamonitor, 2007).
Gas stations and convenient stores usually sell Coca-Cola products at a fixed price. However, the retail outlets use a variety of pricing methods and strategies when selling Coca-Cola products (Coca-Cola Datamonitor, 2007). There is often competition pricing of the Coca-Cola products and prices are set around the same level as its competitors. In addition there are also psychological pricing strategies that are used to make consumers perceive that the products are cheaper than they really are. Promotion: The fourth aspect of the marketing mix is promotion of a product.
The promotions role in the marketing mix is to “bring about mutually satisfying exchanges with target markets by informing, educating, persuading, and reminding them of the benefits of an organizations product” (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 49). Since the Coca-Cola Company operates on a global scale, their promotional strategy needs to consider the external environment in which their products are. These external environmental factors include culture, economic and technological development, political structure, demographic makeup and natural resources (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 7). For example, the Coca-Cola Company promoted its new Coke Zero in Australia differently than it did in the United States because of the different external environmental factors associated with that segment (Alarcon, 2007). In addition, the Coca-Cola Company often has to adapt its advertisements in different cultures.
For example, an ad in Singapore portraying teenagers careening down a store aisle on a grocery cart was perceived as too rebellious (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 129). The ultimate goal of any promotion is to get someone to by a good or service.
There are four main aspects of the promotional mix that integrate together to create a competitive advantage for an organization. The four aspects of the promotional mix are advertising, public relations, sales promotion, and personal selling (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 411) The advertising part of the promotional mix allows the organization to reach the masses with its product. The Coca-Cola Company was built heavily on advertising and marketing investments. Today the Coca-Cola Company spends most of its money on advertising that maintains the brands awareness (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 68).
Thus advertising is a main source in increasing consumer awareness. The Coca-Cola Company uses many forms of advertising, from TV advertisements to magazines and billboards (Steinberg & Vranica, 2004). One target segment that the Coca-Cola Company is having trouble trying to advertise to is the more outdoor, health conscious and environmentally friendly consumer (Steel, 2007). The advertisers are unsure how to advertise to them in a “green” fashion where the advertisement achieves its goals of persuading, informing, and reminding as well as being environmentally friendly.
Public relations part of the promotional mix helps maintain an organizations image and educate consumers (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 444). Many organizations hire outside professional help to deal with public relations within an organization. Public relations are “the element in the promotional mix that evaluates public attitudes identifies issues that may elicit public concern, and executes programs to gain public understanding and acceptance” (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 41). The type of public relations tools that the Coca-Cola Company uses widely are product placements and sponsorships (Steinberg & Vranica, 2004). The Coca-Cola Company often uses is a spokesperson to appeal to the younger more youthful (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 163). An example of this can be seen in China where the Coca-Cola Company has increased advertising containing younger Chinese celebrities to help inform, persuade, and remind their target segment (Flagg, 1999).
The Coca-Cola Company also uses publicity to try and create a good company image. An example of this is when the Coca-Cola Company invested 60 million dollars in creating a recycling plant in South Carolina. By creating this plant the Coca-Cola Company hopes to help eliminate carbon dioxide emissions and recycle a mast majority of their plastic bottles (Truini, 2007). This effort in trying to help reduce the carbon dioxide emissions strengthens the Coca-Cola Company image of wanting to create value and make a difference everywhere they go.
Personal selling allows the organization to build relationships with their consumers or other business associates (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 444). Personal selling is defined as “direct communication between a sales representative and one or more prospective buyer” (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 443). Personal selling in the Coca-Cola Company often is done in a business-to-business fashion. An example of this is seen when the Coca-Cola Company was trying to boost their sales in North America by forming alliances with Nestea to create coffee and tea drinks (McKay & Corderio, 2007).
This demonstrates how the Coca-Cola Company uses personal selling in a business-to-business atmosphere to provide its’ consumers with a larger variety of products that can satisfy their need. The Coca-Cola Company also uses sales promotions to increase their effectiveness of their promotional efforts. The essence of sales promotion is to help stimulate a purchase (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 444). Some examples of sales promotions that the Coca-Cola Company uses are coupons and rebates and are used frequently because they are more likely to influence customers’ buying decision (Hair, Lamb, & McDaniel, 2006, p. 42). Another type of sales promotion that the Coca-Cola Company is currently using is their coke rewards points promotion. “My Coke Rewards” is customer loyalty marketing campaign from the Coca-Cola Company. Customers enter codes from specially marked packages of Coca-Cola products into a website. These codes are converted into virtual “points” which
Another type of sales promotion that the Coca-Cola Company is currently using is their coke rewards points promotion. “My Coke Rewards” is customer loyalty marketing campaign from the Coca-Cola Company. Customers enter codes from specially marked packages of Coca-Cola products into a website. These codes are converted into virtual “points” which can, in turn, be redeemed for various prizes or sweepstakes entries (Coca-Cola Company, 2006). The ultimate goals and tasks of promotion mix are to inform, persuade, and remind the target audience.
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