Autonomy Corporation’s Marketing Communication Plan

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Background

Autonomy Corporation was started in 1996 as a software company in, England, Cambridge. The company is headquartered both in Cambridge and San Francisco in the UK and the US respectively. Autonomy Corporation has offices in many parts of the world including Germany Japan and Australia (autonomy.com 2010, p. 1). Other major offices are situated in Singapore, Canada, and France in addition to the head offices in the United Kingdom and the US. In Latin America and Europe, Autonomy Corporation has smaller offices where it operates and has a big market. The company deals in software like enterprise search applications that enable the enterprise to make content from diverse sources. These sources may include intranets and databases of the enterprise. Other applications include knowledge management that enables the management to create and distribute skills and experiences within the organization. The company is growing at a very high rate and is currently the second largest in the software industry in Europe. The estimated market share for Autonomy Corporation is 6 billion dollars.

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The objective of this paper is to draw up a market communication plan for the company for one year or 12 months.

Situational analysis

This situational analysis explores the autonomy corporation Plc.’s current market position and environment in relation to software products or applications like knowledge management and enterprise search applications. This guides the way forward for the company and determines the strategies that the company is going to have. We shall discuss consumer analysis, target market, and the current trend in the market.

Consumer analysis

Most of the company consumers are those businesses or companies that buy the products for resale. According to autonomy.com (2010, p. 1), Autonomy Corporation is the second-largest provider of business solutions software has many customers. With a market share of 6 billion dollars, it shows that the company has many clients. The company’s customer base is very broad with both public and private businesses. These include Cisco systems, Forbes, intelligence agencies of the government among many others. Other corporate customers include media organizations that use the award-winning technology developed by Autonomy Corporation to cut production costs and keep the journalists posted about the emerging developments.

The revolutionary technology developed by Autonomy Corporation is used by e-commerce providers to facilitate conversion rates, assess customer satisfaction, and upgrade customer loyalty among others (autonomy.com 2010, p.1). Providers of telecommunications are also major consumers of Autonomy corporation products and services. For example, Nokia, Ericsson and Vodafone, and others use Autonomy in order to mitigate operating costs and offer quality services to their customers. The food and beverage companies like coca-cola use Autonomy to investigate commodity development and change in customer preferences. Autonomy is used by the finance and banking sector to investigate customer expectations and changes in the regulatory bodies. The other consumers of Autonomy include manufacturers, IT firms, consulting and professional firms, pharmaceuticals, health care, aerospace, government, and public sectors among others.

This broad consumer base shows that the company has great potential to continue leading the market. This also gives the company a strong financial position.

Target market

The company targets to increase the number of corporate clients who buy the company’s products for resale. The main target markets are companies that distribute or sell the software applications and systems to education sectors, financial services, and government, media, and health services because the products are widely used in those sectors. The distributors will therefore have a big market in those sectors.

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Current trends in software market/industry

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (2001, p.1), Most organizations today are widely using IT and computers in their daily businesses. This has increased efficiency in their operations. Computer networks and systems are maintained using computer software. Software publishing is increasing globally by the day. The demand for software applications and systems is also increasing tremendously. Software publishing is done using CD-ROMs or through the internet. Current computers are sometimes preloaded with software when sold to customers. Application and systems software are common in this market. Applications software helps one in using the computer to perform different purposes. Systems software refers to operating systems through which computers operate.

The Internet has now revolutionized the software industry.

Most of the software is for use by internet users. Current software must be capable of being connected to the internet. Some software like Enterprise Resource Fund (ERP) has come up as companies advance in the use of technology. This is software used in bringing together all the functional departments of the organization.

The other current trend is the need for computer security culminating from the increasing use of the internet and intranets. There is therefore a dire need for software like firewalls and antivirus applications for computer security.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (2001, p.1), Autonomy Corporation has kept pace with these developments in the industry. It remains the second-largest company in Europe dealing in pure software. According to the industry analysts like Forrester Research and others, the position of Autonomy Corporation is recognized in the industry. They acknowledge that the company is the fastest-growing in the industry. There are so many companies that have come up in the industry. This has caused great competition in the market. To maintain its position globally, Autonomy Corporation has to strategize on how to beat its competitors.

McKinsey seven (7) S Model in analysis of Autonomy Corporation

Under this framework, we shall analyse how Autonomy Corporation has improved its effectiveness and efficiency within the Mc Kinsey 7s model. The 7s include the analysis of the company under the shared values, structure, systems, strategy, style, skills and staff.

7s Explanation
Shared values
  • these are believes and the mindset of the company as a whole
  • Autonomy Corporation believes in providing the quality software applications and systems. The company believes in delivering expertise and guidance. The company also believes in customer satisfaction.
  • The stakeholders work together to ensure that customers get the best value and are satisfied
  • he company is committed to providing excellent services and support to the customers
  • The company also believes that providing innovative solution will create health and interactive relationship with the customers.
Structure
  • This shows how the company authority flows from the top to bottom. Autonomy Corporation has a very comprehensive structure headed by the CEO Dr. Mike Lynch. There are directors like Sushovan Hussein who is also the chief financial officer (CFO)
  • Under the CEO are other executives of the organization. This allows fluent flow of authority within the organisation and enhances efficiency.
Strategy
  • The company’s strategy is to dominate the market for software systems and application. To achieve these strategies, the company has strategized to offer to provide excellent services to customers in order to win a big market share in every market it ventures.
Systems
  • Systems enable Autonomy Corporation to have a continuous flow of activities via application of support systems like performance management system, innovation systems among others (Russell &Taylor 2004, p.46). For instance, the company has a strong information system and database management system. It also has ERP that improves its management efficiency
Style
  • This means the actions taken by the key managers of the company in order to achieve the goals of the organisation Russell &Taylor 2004, p.132). Autonomy corporation style of management is driven by the hard work of Sushovan Hussein, the company’s chief executive officer and other company officials. Every manager in autonomy corporation works hard towards giving excellent services to the customers
Staff
  • Autonomy Corporation trains its employees before they undertake their responsibilities in the company. The company considers training as inseparable part of the work environment. Workers develop their through training and skills assessments. New employees are taken through intensive training to ensure that they are competent enough to execute their responsibilities. All employees are supposed to act in tune with the company’s goals and objectives.
Skills
  • Autonomy Corporation offers employees training and development to ensure that the workers have the necessary skills. The company has high skilled workers.

Analysis of Autonomy Corporation current Marketing Mix using the seven (7) Ps

This section analyses the current marketing mix of Autonomy Corporation under the 7Ps. The 7Ps are product, price, place, promotion, packaging, positioning and people.

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Product-autonomy Corporation sells a variety of software applications and systems. It sells a complete package of enterprise applications like pan-enterprise search, customer relation management, and security applications among many others. The product policy of the company is to offer good quality products to satisfy the customers. The products are apt for today’s people needs. The products are of different sizes in order to suit the taste of the company (Egan 2007, p.76).

Price– Autonomy Corporation charges fair prices for all its products. The price of the products is worth the quality of the product bought. The company believes that customers buy quality at a reasonable price. They therefore charge a fair price for its products.

Place-autonomy Corporation has offices in man parts of the world. The company is headquartered both in Cambridge, UK and San Francisco, US and is in operation in several countries globally. It has offices in china, Japan, and Australia among others. Promotion– the company creates awareness of its products through TV advertisement, print advertisement and online among others. The company website has a lot of advertisement for every product it sells. More awareness is created by the people who already know the company and likes its products.

Packaging- the company packs its products in a professional manner. In away that attracts the customers. The packaged products are very portable by the customers.

Positioning– the company is well positioned in the minds and the hearts of the customers. Customers perceive the company as friendlier than other companies because of its affordable price. Autonomy Corporation offers quality products and excellent services. Due to good quality of the product, the company has won the confidence of the people.

People-according to Smith and colleagues, these are all the people that take place in the marketing strategy of the company are taken care of. The company treats the employees well. The outsiders also pray a big role. The company has won their confidence by giving them quality products and low prices.

SWOT analysis

The table below summarises Autonomy Corporation SWOT that is strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the company experiences in the market.

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Internal factors

Strengths Weaknesses
MARKET SHARE- autonomy corporation has expanding market share in the software industry. It is the market leader in Europe and the market share in increasing even further.
GROWTH- the company has very strong growth prospects in the industry. The industry is also growing at a high rate as the users of the products increases.
OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY-the company efficiency is high because of its high quality and efficient systems.
STRONG CUSTOMER BASE- the company has a very broad customer base and this increases its growth prospects. The company has over 20,000 customers.
FINANCIAL STRENGTH-strong customer base ensures financial strength. Revenue for 2009 amounted to $740 million which was an increase of 47% of the previous year. Net profit was up by 57% hitting $233 million.
OVERDEPENDENCE ON THE US- the company over depends on US market which is dangerous because it can be hit by economic crisis. RELATIVELY LOW COVERAGE- though the company is global, it is operating in a few countries globally. It has not exhausted the market.

External factors

Opportunities Threats
Focus towards research and development- since the market is growing and there is increasing need for software, the company can embark on research in order to come up with the needed products. Product development can also be done.
Acquisition of interwoven- autonomy corporation acquired interwoven and this is a good opportunity to grow. It can be able to grow its market easily and broaden its customer base.
Growing demand in Global IT service market-this gives the company an opportunity to grow its services as the market grows.
Target of competition- autonomy corporation being the second largest in the industry is also the target of the competing firms.
Global economic slow down-due to its overdependence on US, it is likely to be affected by economic slag.
High competitive environment-there is many companies coming up in the industry causing competition to be very stiff. This is not a desirable environment.
The nature of the company as a global retailer exposes it to political pressures wherever it operates.
The company might face stiff price competition as the cost of producing consumer goods reduces. Reduction in the cost of production causes prices to reduce. The competitors will have a chance to charge low prices.

Autonomy market share market share

The company is the second largest in Europe in the software industry. It has a market share of $6 billion. It has over 20,000 customers and over 400 vendors making the company to have the biggest market share. It has market capitalization of about 5.5 billion dollars. The market share is expected to grow as the marker grows.

Competitor analysis

The competitor chosen for this is global graphics. Global graphics was born in 1996 and has been in operation for over 13 years. It deals with web design and internet commerce solutions.

Global graphics SWOT analysis

The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of global graphics are as discussed in the table below:

Internal factors

Strengths Weaknesses
STRONG GROUND IN UK- the company is well established in UK with over 500 clients. The company has very high retention rate for clients. It is also registered with the chamber of commerce and therefore it can conduct business legally.
STRATEGIC POSITIONING-in both the crowded and mature market, the company has a strong distinctive position. The company is having so many clients and is able to retain them. This shows that the company is growing at a commendable rate (Egan 2007, p.46).
PRODUCT DIFFERENTIATION- the company has been coming up with new products in the market to satisfy the customers. e.g. different types of web design
The company has high reliance on domestic market where chances of growth are slim.
The company has limited sector coverage dealing only with ecommerce and web design. This means that it will suffer should the consumers shift from these areas.
Global graphics has slim chances of expanding because of concentrating on UK market alone.

External factors

Opportunities Threats
The company can expand to other countries where it does not have an office.
Global graphics has a chance to develop new products that are in high demand in the world today.
Global graphics has a chance to expand internationally and beyond the domestic mature market.
One of the threats is poor economic gait for UK. The company has concentrated in domestic market and therefore this becomes a threat.
Lack of international experience will hamper the company’s international expansion.

Global graphics marketing mix analysis

Product– the company offers a variety of products that can be accessed through the internet. These products are web design, ecommerce and web marketing among others.

Price– prices are relatively low.

Place-the company operates in UK alone.

Promotion– global graphics spends a lot of money through advertising. Internet advert is posted to the internet regularly.

The competitor’s target market

The company target corporate clients within UK region who sell its products. Since UK is highly developed in terms of technology, the company gets customers from all sectors of the economy.

Autonomy Corporation objectives to be achieved

  • To create brand awareness globally through advertising on TV and use of print adverts within one year
  • The communication plan is also targeted to identify the needs of all targeted market within one year
  • To encourage all targeted people to take action and buy the products that is offered by the year end.
  • Know how to get the customers the value of what they want and when they want them by the end of the year.
  • The plan is aimed at building a lasting relationship with all the customers within one year.

Market communication plan annual budget

EXPENSES JAN FEB MAR APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
TV $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500
INTERNET $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800
PRINT ADs $990 $990 $990 $990 $990 $990 $990 $990 $990 $990 $990 $990
Personal selling $2000 $2000 $2000 $2000 $2000 $2000 $2000 $2000 $2000 $2000 $2000 $2000
Direct marketing $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500 $2500
Public relations $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800 $1800
Sales promotion $1500 $1500 $1500 $1500 $1500 $1500 $1500 $1500 $1500 $1500 $1500 $1500
TOTAL $13090 $13090 $13090 $13090 $13090 $13090 $13090 $13090 $13090 $13090 $13090 $13090

The overall budget will be $157,080 which is 10% of the total projected sales. The projected sales value is $1,570,900. Advertisement includes internet, print ads and TV costing a total of $5290 per month. The budget approach selected is percentage of projected sales. This is because it is easier to construct and shows constant budget allocation for each month. It is also possible to note when a figure for certain month is overstated.

Marketing communication elements, strategies employed and objectives

According to Egan (2007, chap 4), there are five elements of communication mix that can be used in marketing communication. These will be discussed below in depth. The suitable element is selected according to 4Cs criteria. That is convenience, cost to the user, communication and relevance to customer needs and wants.

Advertising. Advertising has a wide coverage but it is expensive. Customers believe in advertised goods. It is a one way communication and may not communicate the whole information. The objective to be achieved is creating awareness.

The strategy to be used will be to advertise on TV in the evenings before 9 am when most of the people are in the house. Advertisement through internet will be updated frequently or on weekly basis to incorporate any amendments. Print ads will be placed at strategic points where many people can see them.

Personal selling

According to Smith and colleagues (1999, p.74), personal selling is very expensive but it builds buyers preference hence quick action. It is more convenient as the buyer is given full information as they may need it and builds long-term commitment. The objective to be achieved is to create awareness and make sales.

The strategy will be to offer installation services of the software for free. Items will be sold at a relatively low price in order to attract many people. Visits will be made to potential customers.

Sales promotion

Sales promotion has diverse methods of communication like contests premiums etc. It May not build long-term brand preference. It May have a limited coverage. The objective to be achieved will be to create awareness and make sales. The strategy here will be lowering the cost to a reasonable level in order to attract buyers. Sales promotion will be accompanied by free samples of some other products.

Public relations uses many forms of communication like events, news stories etc. It is relatively cheap and has a wide coverage. The objective will be to create awareness and make sales. The strategy will be to organize activations at strategic points where many customers can be captured. The activation will be accompanied by free samples and some forms of entertainment related to the product use.

Direct marketing also uses many forms like phone calls direct mail etc. It is more interactive and convincing. The objective to be achieved will be to make sale and also create awareness. The strategy to be used will be to make phone calls during lunch time, mornings and evenings when people are not too busy.

Considering the autonomy corporation products life cycle and the 4Cs, advertisement will be more effective because of its wide coverage and low cost per exposure. Advertisement will reach many people globally. It will be combined with direct marketing in order to identify the needs of the customer.

Effectiveness of communication Methods

According to Terence (2008, p.59), the effectiveness of the methods will be measured respective of the target market response. Both qualitative and quantitative methods will be used in measuring the effectiveness of the methods. Under qualitative methods, interviews will be conducted on the persons targeted to ascertain their individual response (Egan 2007, p23). For quantitative assessment, we will assess the general needs of the target market so that strategies can be laid down to meet the needs. Random sampling will be used to choose the respondents.

Timescale; the communication method, time applied and objective to be achieved:

Shape1methods
year
advertising Personal selling Sales promotion Public relations Direct marketing
January Create awareness Identify needs and sell
Feb Create awareness and attract customers Create awareness and sell Identify needs and sell
March Create awareness Create awareness and sell Identify needs
April Create awareness Identify needs
May Create awareness make sales and awareness Create awareness
June Create awareness make sales Create awareness
July Create awareness make sales Build strong relationship Build strong relationship
August Create awareness Build strong relationship
September Create awareness Build strong relationship
October Create awareness L Build strong relationship
November Create awareness Create awareness and sell
December Create awareness Create awareness and sell

Conclusion

Autonomy Corporation will be able to communicate the product to the consumers effectively using the methods used above. The company will continue to lead she market should this plan be implemented effectively. The choice of the method of communication based on the 4Cs is reliable because it ensures the objectives are met or realised.

Reference

Autonomy.com. 2010. Autonomy-the leader in meaning. Web.

Bureau of Labour Statistics, U.S. Department of Labour. 2010. Career Guide to Industries: Software Publishers. Web.

Egan, J. 2007. Market communications. Canada: Cengage learning EMEA

Russell S. &Taylor J. 2004. Marketing communications: an integrated approach. London: kogan page limited.

Smith P., Berry,C.& Pulford ,A. 1999. Strategic market communications: new ways to Build and integrate communications. London: kogan page limited.

Terence A. 2008. Advertising promotion and other aspects of integrated marketing Communications. Canada: Cengage learning EMEA

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