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City Services Group Marketing PlanMarketing Plan

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Marketing Plan part C

Branding, pricing, and distribution strategy

Brand building to depict a firm's strategic direction is a very crucial and frontline issue for the top management in an organization (Ho Yin & Merrilees, 2007). Brands cannot work without strategies, and the role of strategic marketing is brand building or implementing branding strategy (TODOR, 2014). On the other hand, pricing strategies form the base for mapping customer value, i.e., perceived quality received by customers per unit price (Smith and Nagle, 2005).

Brand strategies are strategic, and denote the firm's plan for achieving desired positioning (how a firm can be recognized for a certain 'something'). It defines the steady experience a firm wishes to deliver, at every point, to its market (Moderandi Inc., 2013).

For selling goods for some price, value, which represents consumers' perception of overall capacity of a product to meet their needs, is the first creation required of a firm. When high value is placed on some product/service, customers are satisfied. Consumers are sensitive to product value and will opt for products on the basis of satisfaction levels corresponding with product price (Arab British Academy for Higher Education, n.d.).

Pricing strategy of AB City Services impacts the market's perception of the firm's product mix. If the market considers City Service Group as some commodity, the firm must either alter this perception through new, improved positioning, or compete, based on price, and concentrate on innovation for cost-cutting to continue making profits. The most optimal situation for maximizing company returns and profits is when a firm's distribution channels, and branding, pricing and positioning strategies, are aligned (Moderandi Inc., 2013).

The firm's distribution channels encompass innovative product differentiation, innovative marketing and using price breaks. This may imply buyer-seller relationships or even a service location or position in society. The firm, for instance, forges connections with real-estate contractors and owners, resulting from years of relationships and networking. Dealings between the firms date back generations; thus, new firms entering the market should be creative, for reaching client markets effectively (AB City Service, 2015; Arab British Academy for Higher Education, n.d.).

Competitor analysis

1. Nil Services

This is one of the main intra-brands competitors of AB City Services, offering and dealing in an identical brand; thus, price is given emphasis. Fierce intra-brand rivalry exists between the two companies.

Strengths

Wide product portfolio enables achievement of sustainable company performance

Strong financial outcomes support initiatives of future growth

Portfolio of firmly established brands

Weaknesses

Overdependence on American market has negative influences on returns

No geographical diversification

Strengths

The firm is positioned strongly in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey (NJ) markets in America. The firm's U.S. branches are 135 in number, located in ten out of the highest 50 U.S. counties, ranked on the basis of median household income. The market in northern NJ constitutes the greatest income and population concentration in NJ. This market also is also the hub of operations of Nil Services. The NJ shore market also makes up a powerful income and population concentration- it is popular for being a retirement market zone and resort, thus providing for healthy opportunities. Connecticut's Fairfield County, and New York's Putnam, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester counties are similar in economic and demographic characteristics when compared with the northern NJ market. The firm's entry, in 2004, into the above counties has enabled it to extend its geographic footprint and retail operations.

Weaknesses

Decline in value of real estate may have adverse effects on property value and, may impact cost of utility services. Adverse economic changes may also negatively impact the firm's customers' ability in making timely service payments, which would negatively influence its returns. Additionally, if unfavorable economic conditions decrease real estate demand, profits of Nil Services will decline as its alternative investments may make lesser income compared to real estate services.

ii. Master Cleans

Master Cleans is another intra-brand competing firm, like the afore-mentioned Nil Services. Similar to AB City Services, Master Clean also offers utility facilities for real estate.

Strengths

Wide product portfolio safeguards against adverse business conditions

Simultaneous expenditure management and revenue expansion causes increase in net revenue and profitability

Substantial market share offers competitive advantage

Presence in strong and emerging markets

Weaknesses

Heavily reliant on European market

Profitability impacted by strained company cost structure

Legal problems taint brand image

Strengths

The company is involved with strategic investment and property development. Master Cleans constitutes one among the largest real estate developers of residential, industrial, and commercial properties in Europe. Though property management is the key focus of the organization, the firm has made itself a household name in many other business segments too, whether by direct involvement or through investments in related firms. Master Cleans, an international utility-related industrial investor, also carries out operations in with the domain of development of infrastructure.

Weaknesses

Master Cleans' primary operations are in Europe; most of the firm's revenue comes from European markets. Therefore, Master Cleans is highly reliant on the region's economic, social, legal and political conditions. Because of numerous external factors prevalent in Europe, Master Cleans expects some amount of instability. Governmental tightening of measures in anticipation of further rise in interest rates and the measures taken to curtail speculation with regards to property sector may potentially hinder its market development.

Differentiation strategy

Brand identity forms a strong tool in creation of value, thus making it a challenge for new market entrants to win customer loyalty. The company, AB City Services leads the market; customers are inclined to show loyalty to brands whose services they employ, and heavy expenditure would be required to lure away customers from the brand. Apart from brand identity and first-mover advantage, advertising and product differences also shape customer loyalty, giving AB City Services a competitive edge; Master Cleans will find it extremely expensive to try and take away the firm's market share (Arab British Academy for Higher Education, n.d.; Moderandi Inc., 2013).

Company intentions

The company's customers are not interested in unnecessary, extra services. All they seek is the lowest- priced quality service. Therefore, City Services aims to lead the market at lowest cost, by concentrating its efforts on operational quality, for offering constant, lowest market price. The firm does not endeavor to develop a new or improved product; it only aims to create more services within existing portfolio at lower costs. Operational excellence is adopted by the company for value delivery; it forms a major driver of the long-run strategy of AB City Services, and is reflected by the positioning strategy.

Impact of salient macro-environmental issues

One of the more relevant factors to consider when making one's entry into foreign markets is the market's political scenario; investigating and understanding an existing or new market's political situation is imperative. Current governmental principles and policies can discourage new players from entering a market, especially in developing or underdeveloped regions, or can abruptly influence industry incumbents with new regulations and procedures that may show either negative or positive results (Moderandi Inc., 2013; Arab British Academy for Higher Education, n.d.).

A state/nation/region's economic welfare and health also influences decision-making of a company. If a region is economically healthy, and its consumers possess the potential or means for creation of purchasing power, a firm may think about selling its goods/services in that region (Arab British Academy for Higher Education, n.d.; TODOR, 2014).

Environmental scan explores market factors and trends; e.g., population shifts or societal attitudes which may either count as a threat or an opportunity to an organization's overall strategy. This part of the assessment, perhaps, includes local market's educational level, concerning creation of workforce and company customer base. In case of too-low levels, one must take into account costs of developing training initiatives (for prospective employees) and means for educational marketing (for prospective customers) (Moderandi Inc., 2013; Arab British Academy for Higher Education, n.d.).

Rapid technological evolution necessitates continuous market analyses and swift alterations of product portfolio. Mature- market fragmentation and emergence of segments of customers with specific wants and needs necessitates a market segmentation strategy possible only through detailed information availability (TODOR, 2014).

Governments can exercise power over companies by way of licenses, restricted raw-material access, environmental standards and regulations, and taxation (Arab British Academy for Higher Education, n.d.).

Marketing research tools

Web surveys

A web survey, in most instances, is a web-based questionnaire, accessible through a browser on the internet (like Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer). This kind of survey is typically developed and runs using a special online- survey software (e.g. products from Nebu, Confirmit, Voxco, etc.) The survey may be offered through various tools, such as HTML, Flash and JavaScript, and may take the form of many screens (each displaying a question or more than one question) or alternatively, a single, long page. While other alternatives exist to web surveys (downloadable surveys and email surveys), those are not used extensively (Poynter, 2010).

Email surveys

Email surveys garnered popularity during the beginning phases of research through the internet, as people didn't need to remain online whilst completing the survey.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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