Absolut Vodka has experienced a steady growth tendency over the years. The firm faced several obstructions arising from the economic slumps as well as the ever-changing marketing needs. However, Absolut Vodka offers diverse products in the global market that meet the demands of the clients. As such, Absolut Vodka has adopted different strategies in its marketing planning. The marketing planning of the company has also changed over the years taking into consideration the needs of the market as well as the organization strategies.
The organization description (overview)
Name of the organization and the geographical location
Absolut Vodka is one of the worldwide brands of Vodka located in southern Sweden. Established in 1879, the company has grown to be among the largest alcoholic spirits brands in the globe. By 2008, the company has expanded into over 126 countries manufacturing distributing and selling various flavors of alcoholic spirits. Headquartered in Sweden, Absolut Vodka was introduced into the international market in the late seventies and expanded both in geographical presence and product varieties. Currently, Absolut Vodka’s distribution channels have spread to over 126 countries worldwide and selling over fifty product varieties.
Absolut vodka is committed to the provision of product lines that ensures reliable and superior quality, competitive prices and fulfillment to clientele. In addition, Absolut Vodka has existed to provide the highest quality alcoholic spirits and beverages. In this endeavor, the company has managed to manufacture, distribute and sell variety of high quality alcoholic spirits products. The introductions of high quality flavors of alcohol spirit continue up to today. In fact, since its inception into the global market, the company has maintained its quest to capture the largest global market share in the product line.
The product mix
The company is manufacturing a single product line. Originally, the company favored the winter wheat to manufacture most of the products’ brands. The winter wheat provided a special quality on the final alcoholic spirit company branded flavors, which differentiated the products from similar brands. However, with technological changes and increased competition, the company changed its concoctions that provided added quality on the final product. Currently, the company’s products are manufactured from variety of ingredients that provides both value and quality.
The description of new product (Apple Roc)
Apple Roc will be one of the new flavors manufactured and sold by Absolut Vodka. The flavor is a blend of two brands of Absolut Vodka comprising of the Hard Rock Vodka and the Apple Vodka. The two brands have remained to be among the brands favorites of Absolut Vodka currently distributed in the market. The blend produces the best flavor both in terms of content and in terms of quality. Moreover, the product will be distributed in sizes and branded containers that reflect shapes considered by customers as of superior quality. The sizes will also mirror the expected prices of the target market segment. Further, the high quality of the new product replicates the company philosophy of choosing the product lines that ensures reliable and superior quality, competitive prices and fulfillment to clientele.
The importance of marketing to Absolut Vodka’s success
Essentially, marketing forms the backbone of any business organization. In other words, the success of the organization depends on its marketing. Through marketing, the organization will realize its sales and financial objectives (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). Besides, marketing will increase the product awareness. In addition, it is through marketing that the consumers know the company brands. Therefore, Absolut Vodka will benefit from marketing in terms of increased product and brand awareness, which eventually culminates into augmented sales and revenues.
The product’s brand forms its major strength. Vodka is a global brand, which is known to all consumers. In addition, the company trademark also provides additional competitive advantage. Consumers perceive the company brands as superior and original. The brand name differentiates the product from other similar brands of alcoholic spirits. Moreover, the distribution channels ensure the presence of the products to the target consumers. Further, the perceived value of the product has made it more appealing to the clientele (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Most of the alcoholic flavors Absolut Vodka are preferred among the consumers for their originality and contents. The branded products with diverse prices ranging from the up-market finest to low-price value have proven useful in covering diverse classes of clientele from low-income to high-end consumers.
The economic depression currently experienced has an effect on the soaring expenses associated with livelihood and diminishing earnings in the hands of the consumers. Absolut Vodka is likely to experience reduction in the demand of its products due to reduced earnings. Further, in maintaining its status as a price leader in the alcoholic spirits market, the firm has to charge lower prices in all market segmentations, which in effect squeezes its margins. The other weakness that Absolut Vodka encounters arises from the fact that numerous brands of soft drinks are merging and offer stiff competition.
The ever-changing alcoholic spirits flavors and contents have greater effects on the client purchase tendencies. Absolut Vodka has a responsibility of regular appraisal of its products to meet the expectations of the customers. Further, the slump in the consumption of some of the company brands in a number of countries is likely to initiate decreased proceeds. The outcome would divert the company’s attention from high to low pricing strategies thereby restructuring the pricing system.
Absolut Vodka also faces the threat of competition from various similar brands of alcoholic spirits from other companies that has been pursuing the motive of invading the market. In addition, the steady increase in the cost of raw materials is a concern for Absolut Vodka since it has an impact on the company’s products prices and revenue. Further, alcoholic content drinks are highly regulated in most countries. Such tight regulations pose a greater threat to the operations of the company, which in effect have impact on prices and sales volumes (Kotler & Keller, 2012).
Absolut Vodka has the prospect of expanding into new markets through the application of various strategies. In other words, the company has increased opportunities to expand in countries where the products are not present. In addition, the company has a prospect of developing its customer base through the application of its advanced technological prowess. Further, there is a prospect of immense online business developments including catalogue purchases through the application of online facility enabling the company to serve a large customer base. As a result, the firm will be able to achieve increased revenue margins.
Moreover, according to the industry trends, the increased consumption of alcoholic spirits among the younger generation offers a greater opportunity for the company to launch a new product in the market. Besides, new prospects for the launch of the company’s new products are emerging in the low and middle earnings category of the market. In fact, the younger generations as well as the low and middle-income earners are the highest in terms of demographic market segmentation.
The alcoholic drink industry data indicate an increasing trend in the consumption of the alcoholic products despite tight government regulations and rising prices. In addition, the alcoholic beverages intake also increases among the younger generation. In other words, alcoholic drink and beverages consumption have doubled among the younger generations particularly the ages between twenty-two to thirty years. According to income categorization, consumption is highest among middle and low-income earners. The increasing trend in the alcoholic drinks and beverages consumption is significant for Absolut Vodka since new products launched into the market will be sold.
The marketing research approach
Market research is the organized process of collecting information that would be useful in the creation of selling and promotional choices. The logical process of collecting information will involves specifying the type of information that is needed, developing the method that would be used to collect the data, administering and executing the data collection process, analyzing the findings as well as communicating the findings for decision-making (Kerin et al., 2012). The marketing research into the products marketing strategy will follow the qualitative approach and focusing on determining the demographics, psychographics, market needs, consumer insights, market trends and growths.
The market demographics
The market research will focus on the profile of customers consisting of individual and geographical demographics, behavioral factors and psychographics.
In individual demographics, the focus will be on market segmentation according to age, income and sex.
- The new product will be targeting individuals of ages between twenty-two to fifty-five years, which makes over 73% of the total population
- In terms of income, the target market will be individuals with earnings of between $5,000 to over $40,000. However, this will vary depending on the country.
- According to gender, the product will be consumed by males of between the ages of twenty-two to fifty-five years while women will be between the ages of thirty to fifty-two years.
In behavioral factors, the focus will be on
- The consumers willing to purchase premium for high quality tastier alcoholic spirit.
- Consumer consideration of value characteristics.
The psychographics considerations will center on
- Consumer enquiries concerning the products recipe, health effects and the alcohol content.
- The lifestyle of the consumers.
- The social effects of consumers on consumption of the products.
- The emotional attachment to the brand.
The major aim is to provide a product with high-quality content in the market. The market needs will be fulfilled through
- Offering variety choices in terms of size and prices.
- Competitiveness in terms of quality.
- Customer services.
- Competitive prices.
In consumer insight, the following will be taken into consideration
- The need for alternative alcoholic spirits drinks.
- The consumers’ individual feelings concerning the product.
With increased consumption of alcoholic beverages and spirit, various brands have exploded into the market. In explaining the trend, the following will be in focus
- The market supply.
- Presentation and appearance.
- The consciousness of health and harmful effects of alcohol consumption.
The company takes cognizance of the health and harmful effects of alcohol consumption. The health and social concerns have been found to be the driver of the industry growth. The company will tend to offer quality products with contents that have reduced harmful effects to remain relevant in the market. The quality alcohol spirit with high nutritional and energy content value will be pleasurable to the majority of the consumers.
Absolut Vodka targets various potential consumers and purchasers who recognize the worth of Apple Roc. Actually, Apple Roc market will be aggregated according to potential purchasers exhibiting similar requirements and responding in the same way to the marketing actions. For the purpose of segmentation analysis, the firm will emphasize on the customer demographics, consumer insights, psychographics, market trends and growths.
Regarding the consumer demographics, Absolut Vodka focuses on market division according to age and gender as well as income. Depending on age, the firm’s Apple Roc targets individuals within the drinking age. Specifically, the company targets individuals within the ages of twenty-two to fifty-five years that account for over seventy-three percent of the entire populace.
Considering the consumers’ sexual categories, Absolut Vodka will emphasize on males between the ages of twenty-two to fifty-five years. The firm will also focus on females between the ages of thirty to fifty-two years. Moreover, according to income, Absolut Vodka will target individuals with remunerations of between $5,000 to over $40,000. Nevertheless, the firm will vary income segmentation depending on the countries in which it operates.
In terms of behavioral aspects, consumers’ willingness to purchase premium for high quality tastier spirit as well as the consumers’ concern for value attributes will be taken into consideration.
Absolut Vodka will also segment its market based on inquiries of customers regarding the products recipe, consumers’ lifestyles and the clients’ emotional attachments to the company’s brands. In addition, the firm will concentrate on the social impacts of the consumers on consumption of the products.
The segmentation of the market based on market needs will enable Absolut Vodka to offer a variety of alternatives in terms of size and prices of Apple Roc as well as enhance competitiveness in terms of quality. Further, this kind of market dissection benchmark will enable the firm to offer competitive prices for the product.
Consumption of alcoholic spirits experiences declining trends in developed economies whereas there are increasing trends in consumption of spirits among the emerging economies as well as the youth. The firm will take the advantage of these inclinations to improve its target market and to create worldwide markets for Apple Roc. Therefore, the target market for Absolut Vodka will mainly consist of citizens between the ages twenty-five to thirty-five. The market will consist of individuals who are young, outgoing and full of life.
In addition, Absolut Vodka will utilize premium tactics to appeal to specific consumer division thereby augmenting the volume of sales. Studies show that males represent approximately sixty-five percent of alcohol consumers while females accounts for the remaining proportion. Most importantly, the young populace between the ages of twenty-four to thirty-four years forms the bulk of Absolut Vodka market since the age bracket accounts for twenty-four percent of entire spirits consumption. On the other hand, individuals between the ages of forty-five to fifty-four years account for approximately sixteen percent. Moreover, individuals of over fifty-five years consume estimated twenty-one percent.
Young women populace especially between the ages of twenty-four to thirty-five will also be major market target for Absolut Vodka due to their elastic reactions to marketing. Additionally, Absolut Vodka will target high-income earners since the richest individuals consume at least twice Apple Roc compared to the poorest individuals. Specifically, higher income earners account for approximately thirty percent of alcoholic drinks compared to the fifteen percent consumed by the less income earners worldwide. In essence, Absolut Vodka will target individuals whose incomes range between $5000 and above.
The organizational buyers and consumers
The market of Apple Roc has been growing at a rate of about seven percent annually. The growth has been attributed to better and clear positioning as well as segmentation of the consumers. Apple Roc remains the consumers’ tipple of choice worldwide. In fact, in 2011, the total consumption of spirits amounted to over sixty-six million liters. Additionally, some consumers of Apple Roc drink inexpensive brands whereas other buyers drink expensive super-premium labels. Currently, the super-premium and premium segments of Apple Roc are major contributors of increased sales accounting for approximately fourteen and twelve percent correspondingly. During periods of economic downturns, consumers trade down to low-priced Apple Roc products. However, other consumers stick to the consumption of expensive products due to higher quality-to-price ratio.
Considering celebrity status for brands, the consumption of Apple Roc is the front-runner followed by Svedka. In addition, the firm plans to introduce new flavors to attract many buyers. Indeed, Absolut Vodka is contemplating introducing Whipped Vodka to attract consumers. Moreover, spirits market is being controlled by savor modernizations because consumers value Apple Roc’s vibrancy as well as innovation to sustain freshness. As such, Absolut Vodka will utilize flavor innovation to respond to the needs of the consumers. Further, through massive campaign commercials, video clips as well as online ads, Absolut Vodka consumers will be encouraged to drink the company’s Apple Roc.
Factors influencing purchasing decisions and the effects on marketing strategy
Several aspects influence consumer choices in the purchase of products (Kotler & Armstrong, 2013). To begin with, consumers’ preferences are essential in determining the decisions that customers make when buying products. Therefore, the firm will consider the promotion of alternative products to Apple Roc that suit the consumers’ preferences (Cole, 2013).
Secondly, the tactics used in packaging also influence purchasing decisions of the consumers. For instance, Absolut Vodka packs Apple Roc in different packages that appeal to the consumers. In essence, the consumers are provided with various packages that are considered of higher quality. In principle, the packaging strategies applied by Absolut Vodka will influence the buyers’ purchasing decisions through shape and creation of perception. For instance, Absolut Vodka will feature the shape of Apple Roc distinctive products’ bottles in the adverts.
As such, the consumers will be capable of differentiating the tastes of Apple Roc not through blind taste test but through the different packages. In reality, Absolut Vodka has gained remarkable strides in marketing the products through the creation of idiosyncratic products that appeal to consumers (Solomon, 2012).
Third, the manner in which products are positioned influences consumers buying decisions. Based on this, Absolut Vodka will label products regarding alcoholic concentrations. The labels affect the consumers’ perceptions on the products. Additionally, consumer incomes are essential in determining the purchasing habits of buyers. For instance, high-income earners are likely to purchase greater proportions of alcoholic spirits compared to low-income earners. As such, Absolut Vodka will produce both premium and super-premium spirits to appeal to different consumer segments.
Sociological drivers such as buyer lifestyles are major influencers of consumer purchasing decisions. For instance, with increasing disposable incomes and busy schedules among customers, buyers’ lifestyles have changed leading to demand for higher levels of pleasure from Apple Roc. As such, Absolut Vodka will diversify products to meet the demands of such consumers.
Absolut Vodka continues to experience stiff competition from Smirnoff, Grey Goose and Bacardi. Currently, the Absolut Vodka enjoys a market share of eight percent, whereas Smirnoff has a market share of approximately twenty percent.
Founded in the 1860 by Pyotr Arsenievich, Smirnoff is the leader in the spirits industry controlling approximately twenty percent of entire alcoholic spirits market share. In addition, Smirnoff has become tantamount with quality and tastier brands. In fact, Smirnoff has over three hundred distributors worldwide. Further, the spirit has distinct trademark as well as efficient delivery channels. Moreover, Smirnoff’s product philosophy is centered on quality and consumer satisfaction thereby gaining competitive advantage over rivals.
Founded in the 1862 by Don Facundo Barcadi, the privately owned company receives revenue of about $6 billion annually. The company has diversified its operations in four continents and with operations in over 150 states. The business brilliance of the firm’s management has led to its rapid expansion overseas. Further, the firms increased acquisitions has enabled the diversification of operations in various countries. Bacardi’s low-price strategy has been vital in the attraction of consumers purchasing the company’s products. The firm has also received various international quality accolades thereby amassing numerous consumers. The firm has been experiencing an increasing trend in revenues leading to augmented levels of growth.
Established in 1996 by Sidney Frank, the premium alcoholic spirit firm is a major competitor of Absolut Vodka. The company has experienced massive growth due to its aggressive promotion strategies as well as convergence of timing. Through the production of super-premium Apple Roc, the firm creates a better product that suits the consumers’ demands. Additionally, the company was the first to utilize flavor innovation in the manufacture of its products leading to attraction of large customer base. In fact, researches show that the Grey goose brands goes down smoothly compared to brands of Absolut Vodka making it preferable among various consumers.
The alcoholic spirit industry has experienced significant steps over the years. Brands such as Smirnoff and Barcadi have been instrumental players in the industry. Conventionally, larger companies enjoyed economies of scale due to the availability of capital to fund huge promotion and advertising initiatives. However, presently, the situation is different. Several companies have sprung up and Absolut Vodka has changed tact to remain competitive in the industry. For instance, Absolut Vodka has undertaken measures to increase the Apple Roc brand image through creativity, innovation as well as cultural leadership. Further, with the advancement in technology, the firm achieves efficient production of the Apple Roc. Actually, Absolut Vodka’s technology-propelled packaging designs have been significant in the maintenance of Apple Roc. Moreover, the packaging designs enable efficient cost controls as well as swift distribution of Apple Roc.
Absolut Vodka still holds leading position in the industry after Smirnoff. However, with the emergence of other companies such as the Grey Goose, Pinnacle and Svedka, Absolut Vodka exploits designs and packages to maintain its trademark since the advertising has increasingly become disjointed.
The product description and brand positioning
As indicated, Apple Roc will be one of the new flavors manufactured and sold by Absolut Vodka. Apple Roc is a blend of two brands of Absolut Vodka comprising of the Hard Rock Vodka and the Apple Vodka. Manufactured from Apple Vodka Maritini and Rock Vodka recipes, the blended flavor differentiates Apple Roc from similar brands of alcoholic spirits. The combined formula enables Apple Roc to be an alcoholic spirit drink with pleasant and tangy fruit flavor.
Moreover, the blended flavor provides a break from the original recipes often applied in the alcoholic spirit brands. In addition, the co-branding from the Rock Vodka and Apple Vodka will definitely appeal to the younger generation, which is the major target market. In fact, the content associated with extra vitamin and energy is significant for the customer segment that values health and sensitive to harmful effects of alcohol. The brand is currently the darling of the market segment and is expected to be successful with the youth category particularly the female demographic.
Apple Roc is loaded with highest levels of powerful ingredients having both nutritional and medicinal value. In addition, the formulas have energy content almost twice the caffeine of the leading energy drinks. Indeed, Apple Roc energy content is about 125mg in every 8 oz against other Vodka alcoholic spirit brands that contains about 75mg in each 8 oz. In addition to the energy content, Apple Roc is loaded with maximum vitamin B. The alcoholic fruit flavor is about 100% vitamin B6 and B12. The energy, nutritional and medicinal values are measured against the alcoholic content, which is kept at reasonable and required levels. Essentially, Apple Roc will be known as the energy alcoholic drink with nutritional and medicinal value. As mentioned, the rich contents of the spirit will differentiate and position Apple Roc above other alcoholic spirits. In addition, the users will know the brand as not only an alcoholic spirits but also a drink with both nutritional and medicinal value. The content makes Apple Roc be analogous to the energetic characteristics of the youth, which is the main target market segment.
The stage of the product life cycle
The expectations are that Apple Roc will move quickly through its life cycle due to superior quality and the planned marketing mix. In addition, Apple Roc is expected to move fast through the introduction stage because the flavor is favorite among the target market. Moreover, applied promotional techniques will enable Apple Roc be known and socially accepted by the target clientele. Additionally, the products content as well as branding will increase the competitive advantage of Apple Roc over similar alcoholic spirit drinks. Further, technological knowhow applied to produce the blended flavor enables Apple Roc have no rivals at the introductory stage (Kotler & Armstrong, 2013). In other words, Apple Roc will have no close competitors making it the only alcoholic spirit with unique features in the market. Nevertheless, at the introductory stage of the Apple Roc’s life cycle, sales are expected to remain at low levels since much effort will be spent on popularizing the product.
From the introductory stage, Apple Roc is expected to move into the growth stage of the life cycle where the target clients will have full knowledge of its existence. Moreover, at the growth stage, the firm will start realizing increase in sales. At this stage, the expectations are that there will be prolonged increased sales growth since no close competitors will be availed in the market. Even though Apple Roc is expected to be popular among the target clients at this stage, it will still be penetrating through the market niche. Moreover, Apple Roc presence will still be low at the distribution channels.
In other words, Apple Roc will be lacking in some of the distribution channels. However, the firm will be working on the promotional and distribution strategies to enable Apple Roc reach the target clients. At the growth stage, Apple Roc will move fast compared with other brands of the firm due to fewer competitors, advanced formulas and contents as well as its popularity among the target market particularly the youth.
At maturity stage, the product’s sales growth is expected to have reached the peak. According to the plan, the product is expected to reach its maturity stage at the third year of its existence in the market. Moreover, at the maturity stage, the product is expected to take time before the sales begin to decline. The sales will be sustained because competitors will take time before coming up with similar or advance product into the market. The consumption rate will remain constant for long period since it will take time before close products are introduced into the market.
The product will finally move to the declining stage though within a short period. Besides, the move into the declining stage will be due to new entrants into the market and the need to change the brand. In addition, tastes and preferences will drastically decline. The decreased brand loyalty will cause the sales to decline while new developments in Apple Roc will be undertaken. Due to declining demand and increased competitive pressure, Absolut Vodka will be seeking new enhancements on the product in particular ingredients as well as rebranding. The sales growth will increase again from declining stage.
The way life cycle of Apple Roc will affect marketing strategies
As indicated in the above discussion, the life cycle of Apple Roc will involve introduction, growth and maturity as well as decline stages measured in terms of changes in sales growth within a given period (Kotler & Armstrong, 2013). According to the concepts of life cycle, Apple Roc will be successful in the first stages but will eventually be unappealing to the target clients due to changes in demand and taste. However, holding on the life cycle principles is significant for the development of Apple Roc and marketing strategies.
First, Apple Roc life cycle will affect its marketing in terms of planning process. The knowledge that the demand for Apple Roc will decline overtime enables marketing department to allocate resources in relation to the activities in each phases of the product life cycle. In addition, emphasis will be put on the competitiveness of Apple Roc particularly at the maturity stage. Moreover, the life cycle marketing approach will enable improvement on quality of the product as it advances towards declining stage.
Another positive effect of life cycle on marketing Apple Roc is the practical approach to the promotional strategies. The reason is that Apple Roc will not be faced out rather proactive approach will be applied to make the most of sales as well as returns on every stage of the life cycle. For instance, during the declining stage, Absolut Vodka will do away with the unprofitable distribution channels to maximize profits. However, the life cycle of the product is not often dependable gauge of accurate existence of the product. As such, stringent observance to the model can be disingenuous. Therefore, Absolut Vodka will be cautious not to trim down the promotional mix particularly during the growth stage. The decrease in sales during the growth stage may be due to short-term pause in demand but not that Apple Roc has reached maturity.
The other effect is the uncertainty in the life cycle of Apple Roc. As indicated, abrupt changes in consumer demand as well as introduction of similar products into the market can make marketing planning based on life cycle of Apple Roc unproductive. There is no certainty that Apple Roc will go through all stages in its life cycle.
Positioning and the differentiation strategies
Apple Roc positioning
Apple Roc will be manufactured to remain appealing to the younger generations, which is the major target market. Among the youth, the product will be appealing most to single males that makes the largest percentage of the market segmentation. In addition, Apple Roc will be attractive and socially acceptable to the feminine gender in relation to other alcoholic spirits. Further, the flavor of the Apple Roc containing nutritional, energy and medicinal values balanced with alcoholic content remains superior to the competing alcoholic spirits. The contents of the flavor make Apple Roc more popular among females.
The product differentiation
What differentiates Apple Roc from similar spirit in the market is its superior taste. The good taste is accompanied with smell and color achieved from variety of flavors. With most consumers concerned with health and effects of alcohol, diverse flavors provide a sense of belonging as well as care to their health status. In fact, attributes such as taste, smell and color creates feminine appeal though the alcoholic content makes it popular among the younger generation. Pricing will also be applied as a major differentiating factor (Cole, 2013). Even though the Apple Roc is of high quality, it will remain affordable to the target market. In fact, fair prices charged on the product will attract the middle and low-income earners, who are the main target market.
The pricing strategy
Apple Roc will be provided at the right price to encourage the purchase of products and sustain its attractiveness to the consumers. Theoretically, prices of items are determined by the consumers’ willingness to pay (Kotler & Armstrong, 2013). As such, Apple Roc will be provided in prices that are affordable to target clients. However, costs involved in the production, sales, distribution and management will be considered.
Most importantly, Absolut Vodka will consider the value of Apple Roc and the motivation of the customers to pay. In other words, the prices charged on Apple Roc will be commensurate with the value and quality (Cole, 2013). As such, Absolut Vodka will apply high-quality low-prices strategy to attract middle and low-income earners as well as to outperform the competitors. In addition, the pricing strategy of Apple Roc is aimed at widening the spectrum of customers Absolut Vodka is targeting (Solomon, 2012). The prices of Apple Roc will not only target customers at middle and low-income level but also high-income earners.
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