With Bauer’s products like the performance skate sock and hockey fit pant being premium brands, the company’s integrated marketing communication plan has been drawn on consideration of several factors ranging from customer and products characteristics to the suitable communication tools that suits the target group. In that respect the brand’s target market has been described as the young males aged 24 -36 years who are active in sports, have significant income ranging from annual income of $150,000, sports personnel whose lifestyle can be defined as modern, the urban population who are highly likely to be involved in hockey and also educated persons with a college level education and above.
Further, the buyers’ motivation has been identified to be dependent on several factors including a need to identify with certain brands that define the customers’ personality as sports personnel as well as their need for high functionality apparel products that enhance their performance in sports. In order to address competition from competitors who have similar products including Reebok and Drymax, the products price will be $14.99 for socks and $42.99 for pants both reflecting value for the brands’ high technology designs that enhances performance and safety.
Marketing communication will entail integrating the brand’s communication channels with an aim of delivering a consistent, clear and compelling message to the target audience about the brand. The communication will also seek to recognize the contact points between the brand and the customers through messages that enhance the customers contact with the organization and its brands.
The communication positioning strategy will be tailored depending on products and target group’s characteristics in order to apply marketing Communication strategies that will include:
- Advertising tools like print media including newspapers and magazines, digital media including internet advertising as well as the traditional media including the radio advertising. This will entail sports celebrity engagement in order to reach a significant market and be more persuading.
- Personal selling and sales management which will involve direct mails and personal contacts
- Consumer sales promotion plan which will entail use of coupons, free samples and price deals as well as point of sales promotion.
- Reseller support plan will take the form of the push marketing strategy where the business will push other businesses in the supply chain channel to take its brands and promote them to their customers
Budget allocation has been done using the objective budgeting method that follows the defined communication objectives, involved tasks and estimating the strategy’s costs while the methods of evaluating the IMC plan will include process, outcome evaluation and impact evaluation. Finally, the assumptions and other conditions for success of the plan include availability of adequate resources like finances, target market remaining less dispersed, least competition in the continued trend of the well known brand name and image for the company
- Objectives and Strategies
Target market description
Bauer’s target market for its brands including the Bauer performance skate sock and the hockey fit pant comprises of the hockey sport personnel who are looking for specific apparel that can enhance performance as well as guarantee the player’s safety. In that respect, the products target segment can be defined by a number of aspects as below.
- Age: The segment comprises of the young males aged 24-36years who are active in hockey; an age that marks a significant of US population whose median age is 37years. (CIA, 2013)
- Income: The segment comprise of the employed young males with a significant annual income of $ 150,000 hence can afford the premium products with a need for enhanced functionality that the products offers them
- Lifestyle: The segment comprise of sports personnel whose lifestyle can be defined as modern hence a need for state of the art products which defines their sports personality and a need to identify with the sport. (IBIS World, 2013)
- Education: The target group can be defined as comprising of educated persons who are involved in sports. (Clow & Baack, 2013)
Target buyer motivation and decision making process
The buyers’ motivation is the drive that leads the segment to specific choice of products in the midst of several choices and which is dependent on several factors. Such factors include among others the need to identify with certain brands that define the customers’ personality as sports personnel. Further, the motivation drives include the need for high functionality apparel products that enhance their performance as well as player’s safety in sports. (Smith, 1993)
Thus Bauer products buyers are driven by need for high performance and value for their money hence the motivation to seek products that enhance performance and which have a price that reflects value. In that respect, the products features and pricing that suits the two brands to the target market needs include the fit pants’ features like being made of cotton for comfort, having moisture management and anti-odor technology; thermo-max as well as having a lock seam that allows chafe free fit and a locker hang loop that is at the inside centre back and retails at $42.99. Those features and the pricing compares favorably and enhances a competitive edge over competing brands like Reebok 20k player pant whose locker hang loop is inside but not set at the centre back to allow comfort. In addition, the Reebok brand does not have the high technology anti-odor and moisture management as the Bauer fit pant. Further, although the Reebok brand is made as a pant that a player can grow into and which makes it expensive retailing at $169, the feature is less desirable because the target segment comprises of males aged 24-36 who are less likely to grow much like the junior players. In respect to the skate socks, Bauer’s premium performance stake socks has a targeted mesh ventilation zones that help in keeping the feet comfortable and dry in addition to having a knit rib arch that supports the foot to reduce fatigue. Further, the product features a double wall construction that minimized the skate lace bite. With those features and a retail price of $14.99, the brand compares favorably with competing brands like Drymax Litemesh skate socks that retail for 10.99 and Easton Stealth socks that retails for $14.99 but both which lacks in those high technology features offered by Bauer. (Total Hockey, 2013)
In respect to the decision making process, the segments busying is defined by a process that begins with identification of the specific needs that needs to be served by the products and then finding the suitable products that serve the need in a satisfactory way. In that respect, the most crucial aspect informing the buying behavior is the product’s effectiveness that can be established by observing professional players like Chelios use the same. With that, reference from the other sports personnel plays a great role in determining the buyers’ behaviors with the product that is observed as being associated with the highest performers getting being highly sought after. In respect to the aspects of the decision making and buying, the product user acts both as the decision maker and the buyers since they are the sole user and have responsibility of enhancing their performance in sports. On the other hand, the buying frequency and time is seasonal given the seasonality of the sports events hence a need for the business to focus on the high activity seasons when the products are likely to have high demand. (Smith, 1993)
Marketing communications objectives
The communication strategies will be geared towards taking the target segment through the six steps of the hierarchy of effects model beginning from when they see the promotion information to the time they make the purchase. With a focus on males aged between 24to 36 years who earn an annual income of $150,000, live in the urban centers as well as being educated, the following will be the focus and objectives of the communication campaign at each level.
Awareness level: The advertisements and other communication strategies will seek to create awareness about the products existence as well as their features functionality that can serve the target segment’s needs. In a market where potential customers are exposed to many advertisements on a daily basis, the messages and information delivery will be eye catching through endorsement by star hockey players who will educate potential customers on the products benefits.
Knowledge level where customers begin gaining knowledge about the products will be addressed with the products’ packaging and availability through several distribution channels in order to increase access of the brand’s information. This will also be done through online promotion which will seek to deliver the information that the potential customers could be seeking about the products. That is in consideration that the segment has access to online platforms being a young generation that is educated.
Liking and preference levels: These two levels that involve the customers liking Bauer’s product and preferring them over the competing brands will be addressed by proving information as to the special features that the products have compared to the competitors’ brands. This will have an objective of providing information on the protective capacity that the skate socks and fit pants offers compared to less effective competing brands with which some players have suffered injuries.
Conviction level at which customers need a reason to buy the product will be addressed through sales promotions that will have an objective of getting the customers to test the brands and establish their effectiveness in delivering high performance and protective benefits.
Purchase level in which the purchasing process is expected to be simple and easy for the customers who require the products hence a need for the product’s availability through several outlets including simple online purchase platforms. This will be enhanced through push strategy which will have an objective of making the purchase process simple with ease brands’ access and ordering. (Smith, 1993)
Message strategies and execution style
The messages strategies to be applied will be emotional techniques addressing the target segments moods with celebrities’ endorsement. Further, the marketing communication will entail integrating the brand’s communication channels with an aim of delivering a consistent, clear and compelling message to the target audience about the brand. The communication will also seek to recognize the contact points between the brand and the customers through messages that enhance the customers contact with the organization and its brands. To achieve this, a sport celebrity will be engaged to pass the message through that traditional media like the radio. The celebrity to be chosen is one with a great capacity to attract the age group 24-36 and whose message will get a significant audience. In that respect, the celebrity engagement is expected to cost $100,000 as part of the traditional media advertising budget. (Smith, 1993)
The execution style will involve an identification of the suitable target audience and then shaping well coordinated communication program that will obtain the response in terms of the desired action by the audience. This will be geared towards management of customer relationship over time. In summary, the execution will take the following process of; target audience’s identification, determination of the communication’s objectives, message design and media’s choosing, selecting the message source as well as feedback collection. (Clow & Baack, 2013)
Positioning strategy and creative brief
- Marketing Communication Expert Plans
Introduction and overview
With Bauer being in business whose products can be defined as premium brands, the business requires a suitable integrated marketing communication strategy that suits the products and its target market. In that respect the elements of the marketing campaign should entail a message that informs, persuades as well as reminding the potential and existing customers of the brand’s existence and functionality. In addition, the business will also be targeting the sporting institutions which are involved in buying the apparel products for their teams. (CIA, 2013) In respect to the market’s description, there are several factors that should guide the marketing communication strategy including:
The target group’s lifestyles define the type of products that they would prefer. In that respect, the communication campaign should seek to promote Bauer’s brands as products that fit the segment’s preferences in terms of features and functionality. Social reference groups also tend to define the kind of brands that individuals would want to be identified with hence a need for the marketing campaign to consider the target segment’s social reference group that would have significant influence on the buying behavior. (Smith, 1993)
Income level determines the ability to afford a product hence a need to consider the income level of the target audience since the brands are premium products which requires the marketing communication campaign to be focused on high income earners who can afford the products. (CIA. 2013)
Development of new communication avenues with increased technological advance and the urban population increasingly becoming technologically savvy, there is a greater opportunity for the business to utilize the efficient technological means to reach the target segment that can easily use online platforms to access information about the products. (Smith, 1993)
Age is a crucial factor in determining the target segment as well as the promotion strategies to be applied. With the key target segment comprising of the youth males as US have a median age of 37 years; the business can easily reach them through platforms like the social media. Population size: With a significant urban population, the business has a significant potential market that requires a lot of communication activities in a bid to take advantage and increase market share. Further, education is a key factor and given that US have a high level of literacy, the business has an opportunity of effectively marketing to the target group that has a good understanding of the products value. (CIA. 2013)
Advertising expert plan
Advertising campaign’s tools, scope and focus will be dependent on several factors that shape the target market. Such factors include the target group’s characteristics, advertising avenues access and effectiveness, target group’s geographical dispersion and the budget effectiveness (Smith, 1993)
In addition, the advertisement campaign will have objectives that include informing the potential of the enhanced features and functionality of the products and persuading them to buy. Further, the campaign will seek to remind the existing customers of the existing brands as well as their features and value with an intention of influencing them to buy. (Clow & Baack, 2013) In that respect, the campaign will specifically seek to reach about 10,000,000 people. The advertising tools through which the products will be endorsed by sporting personality; Chelios for his greatness in the Hockey sport will be involved for print media including newspapers and magazines, digital media including internet advertising as well as traditional media including radio advertising.
- Print media that is expected to cost $100,000 in newspapers and magazine adverts will be appropriate in targeting the sporting institutions with tools like newspapers and magazines that are most likely to be used in the institutions.
- Digital media will seek to target the youths as individual customers who are most likely to use the online platform to seek for products’ information. The media is expected to cost $100,000.
- Traditional media like radio are necessary for targeting the aged segment that could comprise of the institutions and sport teams management and coaches who are most likely to use the media and have a great influence on teams’ purchase of apparel products. This will involve engagement of star hockey players who have had experiences with the products’ use. In that respect, the skate socks and fit pants will be advertised with engagement of hockey player Erik Karlsson who had been involved in an accident for using less effective apparel products that resulted to a much publicized injury. The star’s engagement is expected to cost $200,000. (CBC, 2013)
Personal selling and sales management plan
The purpose of using this strategy is its ease in reaching sports institutions and directly communicating with the authorities responsible for purchases decision making. The tools key objectives for personal selling and sales management will be informing and persuading customers to buy the products and establishing trust and loyalty through addressing the groups’ concerns over the products. Further, the strategy will seek to get feedback from the market that would be useful in tailoring the brands to suit specific needs. (Clow & Baack, 2013) To achieve this, there will be an application of tools like direct mails and personal contacts mainly to reach sports institutions and which are expected to cost $150,000.
Direct mails could be used as a promotion tool for institutions as well as individuals and is suitable for its ability to reach more people as well as for its cost effectiveness. In that respect, the business will utilize its customer list contacts to reach the target segment in addition to identifying the customers’ location for purpose of personal contact visits by the marketing personnel. (Smith, 1993)
Consumer sales promotion plan
With increased concern over the effectiveness of performance apparel to deliver some expected benefits like protection to the players, it is necessary to get the market to test the functionality and effectiveness of the two brands hence a need for consumer sales promotion. The strategy will entail engaging the consumers through offering special discounts and value with an aim of attracting them to try the products. Thus, the key objectives will be to attract new customers who may have never tried the product and helping potential customers sample the products of functionality hence personally identify their value. (Smith, 1993)
The sales promotion is expected to cost $250,000 in terms of coupons, free samples, price deals and point of sales promotion. Coupons will include offering special discounts for new customers in order to entice them to try the brands and compare the value with that offered to competitors. On the other hand free samples will be offered to sports personalities in different teams as a way of marketing the product to the teams with the players acting as the products ambassadors in the teams. Further, price deals will be established with those customers who will seek to buy the products in large quantities. This will promote huge quantity purchases for teams. Finally, point of sale promotion will be done through the distribution channels seeking to introduce new customers to the brands. (Clow & Baack, 2013)
Reseller support plan
This will take the form of the push marketing strategy where the business will push other businesses in the supply chain channel to take its brands and promote them to their customers. This is necessary in order to increase the products and their information’s reach to the market with increasing competition from other brands like Reebok and Drymax. The strategy is expected to cost $250,000 in terms of new partnerships with retail outlets and other distribution channels. (Bauer, 2013)
- Scheduling, budgeting and evaluation
Calendar of events and budget allocation
Methods of evaluating the IMC plan
Process evaluation will be applied for its usefulness in measuring the communication direct output and efforts through identification of the best massagers, identification of the target segment’s perception of the issue in the communication and establishing the messages that suit certain segments and audience. (Clow & Baack, 2013) Further, outcome evaluation that aims at measuring the effects of the communication campaign will be applied to measure policy change, behavior change as well as effective change. (Smith, 1993) Finally, there will be application of impact evaluation that is useful in measuring the changes in the society that are driven by the communication campaign. In that respect, it will involve identifying any system level changes as a result of the campaign as well as identifying whether the campaign has resulted to the intended outcome. (Clow & Baack, 2013)
With those types of evaluations, the specific techniques to be applied can be classified into two groups namely the pretest and post test evaluations.
- Pre-test evaluations will include focus groups, eye tracking, comprehension and reaction tests as well as theatre test. (Smith, 1993)
- On the other hand, post-test evaluations will include inquiry test, recall test, tracking adverts, test marketing and day after recall tests. (Clow & Baack, 2013)
Assumptions and other conditions for success of the plan
In order for the marketing communication campaign to be successful, a number of factors have to be in play and certain conditions must be met. Such conditions that define the plan’s assumptions include the availability of adequate resources like finances in order to enhance the campaign’s funding. This will ensure that the expensive campaign tools like advertising; personal selling and sales promotion are adequately funded. Further, the campaign assumes that the target market will remain less dispersed in order to suit the selected campaign tools that mainly target a concentrated market that is assumed to be located in urban centers as well as easily reachable in common places such as sports grounds and venues. (Clow & Baack, 2013) It is also assumed that the least competition in the market will still be upheld with the brand’s differentiation which gives it an edge over competitors. Finally, it is assumed that the already well known brand name and image for the company will enhance the market campaign hence keep the campaign budget to the minimum and within the target. (Bauer, 2013)
In light of the analysis, it is clear that Bauer’s products are premium brands whose target segment is mainly the high income sports personnel and the sports institutions that purchase apparel products for their teams. In that respect, the suitable integrated marketing communication strategies include those that promote the brands by considering the segment as well as the product’s characteristics. In that respect, the suitable strategies have been found to be advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and resale support all of which aim at persuading the target segment to buy the brands. Further, the budget allocation has been done with application of the objective tasks method which identifies suitable tasks and allocates funds according to the tasks needs. Finally, the integrated marketing communication campaign will be done through process, outcome and impact evaluations with an aim of identifying the success of the programs as well as necessary adjustments to enhance results.
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