Vita Green is a medium sized international company with the Head Branch in Hong Kong. It deals with the manufacture and sale of Health care and Beauty products based on employment of environmentally friendly techniques. The company was founded in 1993 and has since expanded to be one of the greatest award winning companies in health care, as well as in beauty products. All products manufactured by Vita Green are made from Chinese natural herbs which grow and are harvested from their natural habitats in the Chinese ecosystem. The company focuses on quality, reliability and safety in its manufacture of products. At the organization’s factory in Hong Kong i.e. Vita Green Pharmaceuticals, the company’s products are manufactured from the herbs that have been previously processed at the Guangxi factory. Currently, the company boasts a total of more than 400 employees (Vita Green).
One of the major products of the company is the Doctor’s Choice Brand of vitamin products which have gained global market shares in the 20 years of the company’s existence. In its production process, Vita Green adheres to high levels of International quality standards. By keeping customer satisfaction as one of its greatest objectives, the company seeks to open its third factory in Hong Kong, within the Taipo area. The company carries out corporate social responsibility through its Vita Green Charitable Foundation (Vita Green).
In order to keep and maintain its customers, the company uses the growth matrix marketing strategy, which focuses on organizational expansion and growth both in terms of customer retention and acquisition as well as the development of a higher variety of brands. While aiming at expansion, the marketing department of the organization has to plan its marketing strategies effectively so as to ensure that the right target market is reached with the information regarding the company’s products so as to attract their attention and loyalty. In doing this, the company focuses on the quality of products and aligns this to the customers’ demands. For this to be done effectively, the company has invested in a robust and specialized research and development department which aims at finding out information regarding customer demands and expectations as well as using customer service strategies that encourage customer loyalty and retention. Some of the strategies that the company prides in include the development of an active online presence, which includes provisions for online shopping, product advertisement through both print media and electronic media, great methods of handling customer enquiries, faster handling of enquiries, and a refund policy for products purchased within seven days of their purchase. The multiple awards that the company has earned through its products have also helped to build its reputation among customers (Vita Green).
The present study aims at researching the marketing plans of the company, including the strategies that have been used by the company to attain a large market share. In order to achieve this, the strategies will be discussed with reference to their effectiveness in ensuring customer loyalty. While marketing along may not be sufficient to maintain brand recognition and awareness among consumers, it is the position of this paper that safe, reliable and high quality products from Vita Green cannot penetrate the market without effective marketing. At the same time, marketing without quality is a recipe for loss. It is necessary that the organization combines the concepts of quality and marketing to reach more customers for its products. The paper will therefore also discuss the role of product quality in customer satisfaction.
In order to achieve the main purpose of this is to determine the effectiveness of the marketing strategies in the organization’s success. The following specific objectives will be addressed by this paper.
- To determine the approaches that the organization has been using to plan for their product marketing and to find out the effectiveness of the company’s marketing strategies
- To find out how effective the strategies used by the company have been in ensuring the company gains a high market share and customer loyalty
For this research to be effective in addressing the objectives laid down, it will be guided by the following research questions:
- What approaches has the organization been using in marketing its products?
- How efficient have the marketing approaches used by the company been in the growth of the company in terms of customer acquisition and retention?
By answering these questions, the study will be able to develop recommendations for the organization to use better strategies in marketing and/ or modify the currently used strategies for improved effectiveness. The study will be based on the following hypotheses:
H1: The organization currently takes a market growth strategy model of marketing with focus on the five Ps of marketing to access the market
H3: The combination of market growth matrix and 5 Ps of marketing have proven to be efficient in the attainment of organizational market share at Vita Green.
Research scope and Limitations
The study covers the areas of marketing strategy in Vita Green organization, and the effectiveness of the marketing process. As such, the scope of the research is limited; hence, the information obtained may not satisfactorily address all issues related to marketing at Vita Green health and beauty products. This implies that while the information obtained may be essential as it addresses an area in which there is limited information, it also calls for further research in the organizations capabilities in keeping up to speed with the market dynamics in health and beauty products
Significance of the research
This research is essential to the field of marketing as it provides evidence of the effectiveness of the 5 Ps strategy to marketing by focusing on a real life organization. In addition to this, it is also essential to the marketing department in Vita Green as it results in recommendations for improvement.
The present study will be carried out using a qualitative approach. This approach has been selected for the study due to its confirmed effectiveness in the accomplishment of theoretical information collection, analysis and presentation. The approach, based on grounded theory was selected due to some of the potential advantages such as its ability to facilitate the capturing of essential communication from study participants by determining the values and beliefs of participants from the participants’ primary communication; the ability to focus on inductive conclusions based on observations of the participants; it also produces textual data that is mainly obtained through open-ended questionnaires and discussions carried out in a natural rather than experimental settings (Curry and others 1442).
In addition to the already outlined advantages, the qualitative approach also produces hypothetical conclusions drawn from iterative processes which give the type of data that is require by this study. Curry and others (1443), highlight the conditions under which the use of qualitative methods in research studies should be considered. The conditions include: when the phenomena to be investigated are of a complex nature that cannot be described quantitatively such as investigation of factors contributing to a certain occurrence or the effectiveness of certain processes; where the data to be generated is to aid in comprehensive understanding of a problem in a study; and where there is need to investigate the causes of a given phenomenon. The present study questions are in compliance with the conditions for the consideration of qualitative study hence this method has been selected.
The research design for the present study is to enable unambiguous and logical problem resolution. In deciding upon the right research design, the research hypotheses have been defined clearly as well as the research questions. After the definition of the research hypotheses, it was necessary to describe the data type that is required in order to test these hypotheses. From the nature of the hypotheses and the research questions, it has been confirmed that the research desires theoretical information regarding the effectiveness of a process (Cuthill 79). The problem to be addressed requires answers of how and what processes are involved in the marketing strategies of the company. To address these questions, a combination of exploratory and meta-analysis research designs will be adopted for the present study. Exploratory research is essential in studies where mainly theoretical information is required (Cuthill 79). The aim of the exploratory research is to gain in-depth information as to what constitutes the marketing plans for Vita Green and the effectiveness of the plans towards the achievement of the organization’s goals with respect to customer acquisition and retention. On the other hand, the meta-analysis design focuses on the evaluation and summary of results from a variety of sources with the aim of drawing viable conclusions (Timulak 486).
Primary Data collection
In an exploratory qualitative study, several methods of data collection are proposed by Curry and others (1444). Methods such as interviews, focus groups, case studies, observations and document reviews have been found to be instrumental in qualitative studies. In this study, structured in-depth interviews have been chosen as the mode of data collection from primary sources. The collection procedure involved the random selection of 10 customers at a retail facility for Vita Green products and carrying out a very short interview to determine the marketing process that was responsible for customer attraction and the factors that have contributed to the customer’s retention.
The interview was designed to comprise of only 6 questions, which will be attached as an appendix to this report. The questions required a yes or no answer in most cases. Only 2 of the questions called for further explanations. The first question was designed to determine whether the customer made the purchase based on his/ her own decision. This was necessary since the aim of the interview was to determine whether the company’s marketing strategy is effective. The choice of interviews questions was based on the study objectives and research questions. This method of data collection was decided upon because it is time saving and helps to obtain first hand information from busy customers. It can also aid in obtaining customer feedback from the customers leaving the retail center.
Secondary Data Collection
The secondary data for this study was collected from relevant sources through in-depth literature reviews. In collecting information, the study used a content based approach in deciding how relevant a piece of literature was to the study. In this approach, the research hypotheses were first recorded then a search carried out using the desired information as key guide. Literature containing the desired information was considered relevant to the study.
Ensuring validity of information
To ensure that the information collected was valid, four factors were taken into consideration. The factors described by Shenton (64) include credibility, confirmability, transferability, and dependability. According to Shenton, any valid research data should possess these qualities. The data should be obtained from credible sources for it to be credible. For this study, the credible sources include interview results and relevant literature. The data should also be confirmable from the sources and transferable in an accurate and reliable manner. In addition to this, the data should also be dependable and trustworthy. All these features have been satisfied by the data used in this study.
Interpretation and presentation of collected data
The data collected was interpreted through iterative summary aimed at making valid conclusions relevant to the research objectives. In qualitative research, the analysis of data is often carried out through iterative abstraction since this is the most applicable way of obtaining conclusive information from generalized data. In presenting the collected data, a combination of a printed report and PowerPoint presentation formats were selected as these are considered to be effective in relaying complete and accurate information regarding the subject of study.
Ethical Issues in the Research
In carrying out the study, various ethical issues were considered. The ethical issues were mainly in relation to the collection of primary data. With respect to this, the researcher had to take specific consideration of the confidentiality of information provided, particularly with regards to customer identity. This was achieved through anonymity in feedback delivery by the customers. In addition to this, the researcher also had to uphold the company’s policies regarding interaction with customers by ensuring that the customer’s interests were upheld at all times. One way of achieving this was through ensuring that interview durations were short. Moreover, the researcher also had to adhere to codes of conduct in interacting with respondents in an interview set up through maintaining respect for the respondents. Issues of transparency with the data collected were also taken into consideration as this is reported to be essential by Nicholson and Bennett (2).
According to Vita Green Website, the company’s products have penetrated the market effectively to an extent that the organization continues to grow exponentially. This is based on the company’s philosophy of producing products aligned to customer demands. The products offered by the company are tested for quality and safety under the guidance of the robust research and development team at the organization. The company also operates based on a philosophy of producing high quality products and maintaining effective market entry. To achieve this, the company carries out effective product marketing. The marketing plans on various platforms focus on highlighting the product strengths, the affordable pricing strategies, the place of product marketing, promotion strategies and People. This is achieved through focusing on product quality and safety; assigning product prices according to the market conditions as well as to the product demand; marketing their products within China where Chinese herbal medications are held in esteem; use of people oriented promotion strategies such as offering friendly product purchase terms (Vita Green). The company has registered prolific development since its inception due these marketing strategies and still aspires to continue growing with the development of its third factory in Taipo (Vita Green).
Kotler describes the 5Ps of marketing as being effective, particularly for consumer products with high competition levels in the market. The 5 Ps include: the Product, Price, Place, Promotion and People. By focusing on these concepts during marketing planning, any organization has the potential of growing and expanding its market shares. According to Kotler, producing quality products, allocating suitable prices and marketing in the right locations go a long way in ensuring organizational success. However, the products must also be marketed within the most suitable target markets and the optimum use of available human resources also contrib.ute to the organization’s success (Kotler 203).
From the literature reviewed, it was determined that the 5 Ps strategy to marketing is effective for health and beauty products like in any other consumer directed businesses. The five Ps include: Product, Price, Place, promotion and People. By maintaining a strong and positively influential in all the five areas, any organization places itself at a suitable position for growth and profitability (Doole and Lowe 5). Vita Green has effectively applied this strategy in gaining market penetration with its products. Of particular interest has been the Doctor’s choice brand of products. The concentration of 5 Ps in marketing the company’s products has been effective towards gaining market share. However, results from the interview indicate that while the company’s products are of high quality and are marketed effectively towards the right target market, the product pricing is limiting. For instance, the customers reported that the Vita hair brand is more expensive than other hair care brands in the market. It would thus be necessary for the organization to find strategies of aligning the product prices to the overall market prices. In addition to this, the organization also invests more in online promotion strategies than the use of print media. Most of the customers reported that they prefer print media to online platforms and that they only received information regarding the products from their friends who use online platforms frequently.
From the observations made in the study, it is recommended that the organization should engage in research to find more cost effective production strategies so as to enable the reduction of product prices to the market levels.
Secondly, it is also recommended that the organization should also invest in intense advertising, with focus on print media and electronic media. This is because these forms of advertising reach a larger audience compared to online advertising.
The study has been effective in answering the research questions that were used as guidance to the research. It has been ascertained that the research hypotheses are both true since the organization uses the 5 Ps marketing strategy, and it has been very successful due to the use of this strategy. However, it has also been confirmed that the organization has to do more in terms of product pricing and promotional strategies to better its operations.
Curry, Leslie, Ingrid Nembhard and Elizabeth Bradley. “Qualitative and Mixed Methods Provide Unique Contributions to Outcomes Research”. Circulation, 119(2009):1442-1452.
Cuthill, Michael. “Exploratory Research: Citizen Participation, Local Government, and Sustainable Development in Australia”. Sustainable Development 10 (2002): 79-89.
Doole, Isobel and Robin Lowe. International Marketing Strategy: Analysis, Development and Implementation. Cengage Learning, 2008.
Kotler, Phillip. Marketing Management, Millenium Edition. Pearson Custom Publishing, 2002.
Nicholson, Shawn and Terrence Bennett. “Transparent Practices: Primary and Secondary Data in Business Ethics Dissertations”. Journal of Business Ethics, 2008.
Shenton, Andrew. “Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research projects”. Education for Information, 22(2004): 63-75.
Timulak, Ladislav. “Qualitative Meta-Analysis.” In Uwe Flick,( ed) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis. Los Angeles, CA: Sage, (2013): 481-495
Appendix: Interview Questions
- Are you above 20 years of age?
- Have you ever purchased the product you bought today at any other time?
- How did you first learn about the product?
- Does the product meet your expectation in terms of quality?
- Does the product price fit its quality? Is it affordable?
- Is the customer service satisfactory?