BUPA stands for British Union Provident Association. It is a health care firm that provides care services and health insurance internationally. It has been in operation for over sixty years since its establishment in the United Kingdom in the 1940s. The company specializes in healthcare providing such services as health insurance, care services, health services for the insured, and self-pay clients. In addition, the firm is also involved in health promotion by conducting doing medical research and disseminating health information globally. BUPA serves over six million members worldwide. The company has lately been rated as the biggest health insurance provider in the world.
A SWOT analysis entails the assessment of a company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Under strengths, the company’s strong points are determined considering the internal and external environment. The strengths of a company depend on the resources that the company has and which give it a competitive edge in its market of operation (Baggot 2007, p.43) BUPA’S strengths are guaranteed by its recognition worldwide. It operates in over 200 countries internationally compared to its close competitor SABB Takaful, a member of the HSBC group that operates in only 82 countries. This means that BUPA has a wide market compared to its competitor. It also has a strong capital base, meaning that it can execute more projects than its competitors. BUPA’S international recognition gives it a comparative advantage in the market.
On the other hand, an analysis of the weaknesses of a company entails determining the limitations of the company’s resources concerning those of the customers (Stuart 2001, p.78) This can be determined both from the point of view of the customers and that of the company itself. Weaknesses are evaluated relative to the competitor’s strengths. For instance, BUPA only concentrates on health care services while its close competitor HSCB group deals with general insurance. General insurance entails various activities in comparison with health care insurance.
Opportunities analysis helps in assessing how the company will attain growth in the market (Diorio 2002, p.54). It is an evaluation of the potential chances of growth that the company has over its competitors. For instance, BUPA has more potential to expand its business to the unreached areas of the world. With the wide network and the recognition that the company already has, it can expand more easily.
Threats are unfavorable external situations that can affect the growth of a company. For instance, the global economic crisis affected the growth of companies in different fields. Economic crisis hits the incomes of people and therefore the performance of the company (Tapp 2002, p.34).
Competitor analysis involves finding out the close competitors of a company and how to conquer them. In the case of BUPA, the main competitors are SABB Takaful a member of the HCSB group, TAWUNIYA that concentrates on health insurance, and CIGNA. CIGNA is an international health insurance company. These competitors target the same market as BUPA thus making competition very stiff. To maintain a competitive edge in the market, BUPA has to come up with strategies that will enable it to conquer the competitors and maintain its position as the international market leader.
SABB Takaful- the company deals with both family and general insurance. Ti is a subsidiary of HSCB and is incorporated in Saudi Arabia.
TAWUNIYA has been in operation since 1986 when it was established in Saudi Arabia. It was a stepping stone to the establishment of insurance companies in Saudi Arabia. It deals with cooperative insurance. The strength of the company is in its wide range of products that it offers and constant development of the product since 1986. The company mainly deals with motor insurance, medical insurance, and miscellaneous accident cover. The other key strength of the company is its innovativeness in coming up with new products to meet the needs of the customers and achieve the high expectations of customers. Other strengths are a sound financial base, well-developed professional human resources, and goodwill. The major opportunities of the company include improved customer awareness, strong sales, and service channels among others.
CIGNA is an American health insurance provider. It deals in individual health insurance, self-employed health, and family health. CIGNA is a group of companies made up of CIGNA group insurance, CIGNA international, and health care. Its strengths rest on its diversification.
Analysis of current internet strategy
The wide availability of the internet has made it possible for customers to connect with business owners online for access and provisions of products and services (Annette 2006, p. 67). Companies can now use the internet to market their products and communicate prices to customers. This has made it easier for customers to easily trace products online and then make a purchase. In some cases, prices can even be negotiated online between the businesses and the customers. Currently, firms use internet business models to do business to generate revenue. A business model is a method of doing business by a company to generate revenue. Internet business models, therefore, mean doing business through the internet to generate revenue.
According to Groves (2009, p. 129), the most useful internet business model is advertising. In the case of internet business strategy, more than one model can be combined and be used to make business online. The marketing model is combined with the manufacturer’s model to close the deal with the customer. The manufacture’s model helps the manufacturer to meet with the customer online and make the sale.
Identification of Internet marketing strategies
Internet marketing entails creating awareness to the customers about the products that the company is selling via the internet. Customers build a very strong relationship with the customers through the internet (Colborn 2006, P.57). Internet marketing strategies use models. Internet marketing attracts people to buy products as they visit the website created for that purpose by the company. The following are examples of internet marketing strategies; the first is to come up with a promotion plan via the web. The web has to be well designed to support the promotion plan.
Join the search engines and develop a comprehensive search technique that the customers can use to access your information (Dave 2006, p.43.). Gain the knowledge and skills for effective use of email marketing. This will help you to be able to contact your customers and to communicate with them one on one. This will also enable customers to ask questions about a certain product or its price. Customers can also order products via the internet.
Strategize your marketing niche and build a strong relationship with the associate programs, your partners, and the people who do the resale. Also, work well with the internet marketing consultants who might provide you with e-marketing analysis.
The company can then publicize its articles and have them available in the news stories or on online press releases (Ranchhod 2004, P.34). This will enable the customers new and existing to access information about the company.
One can then organize online promotions. This is done to attract many customers and maintain them. The last in the strategies is to interact with the customers via making sales, giving information, or any other point of interaction (Harte, 2008, p.54).
BUPA has applied the strategies with Futrix, a business intelligence software company. This has enabled many customers to access BUPA data online. Communication with customers has also become quick and of good quality. Citrix is a reliable software provider. It delivers business intelligence solutions to customers around the globe. This satisfies the customer and makes them build confidence with the company.
Evaluation of BUPA internet marketing strategies
Through internet marketing, BUPA has achieved a lot. Customer satisfaction is the greatest achievement that BUPA has attained. Its relationship with Fitrix has been the key driver of these achievements. Customers have been able to access relevant information about BUPA like the products information. With this strategy, BUPA has been able to engage in better contracts with the customers. It has also maintained its big number of customers. Citrix has helped BUPA to analyze its multiple data on medical treatment and hospital claims. According to the BUPA media canter press release for 22nd February 2010, the company is launching an advanced online system for intermediary traders who trade the company’s award-winning protection products. The system is meant to smoothen transactions and allow the intermediaries to upload multiple products at one go to meet the needs of their clients. The director of BUPA health assurance, Steve Payne, as noted by BUPA media center, stated that the company is committed to making the products accessible to the intermediaries and their clients.
According to BUPA Foundation annual review, with internet marketing strategies, the company has improved on medical research grants available to professionals in private and public organizations. They can apply for these grants online. Also, the company’s annual awards for 2010 and the elections are announced online on its website.
According to the Daily Insurance Industry News for 14th August 2009, the company recorded a 1% increase in pre-tax profits. For the 2009 1st half, the revenue rose by 26% hitting 3.38 billion pounds. Pre-tax profits hit 163.8 million pounds after a 1% rise. This performance was attributable to internet marketing strategies.
Internet strategy for doing business is very beneficial, relatively cheap, and a convenient way of reaching out to customers (Harte, 2008, p.54). It is far much better than manual strategies. BUPA has benefited a lot and has grown tremendously because of the use of internet business strategies. With the big number of customers internationally, BUPA could not have managed to maintain them without internet marketing strategies. It has worked for BUPA. It can therefore work for many other companies. Internet marketing is recommendable for any business, company, or firm wishing to excel in the current business environment. (Lurie 2006, P.76)
To publicize the company and reach out to many customers, the company can use internet marketing. A big percentage of customers in the world today learn about companies through the internet (Erdener 1993, p.46). BUPA is currently serving over 200 countries worldwide and every country can access the information about the company.
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