Jones-Blair Company’s Product Marketing Problem

Executive summary

The Jones Blair company is experiencing problems with the best way to make their products known to their customers. This is particularly amid the high prices of their products and market dominance of other well-known and international companies in the sector. The company intends to increase the sales of their products and increase their market dominance in the paints industry and related goods. The company has several options that they can put in place to ensure that their products get a competitive edge when compared with those of its competitors. One of the options is the advertising of their products which are already in place. However, better and cheaper ways need to be sought to produce better results more effectively.

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The other option for the company is a price reduction for its products. According to the analysis done in the paper, critical research seems to be the major area to watch for if the problem is to be solved. The reason why this has been chosen as the best approach is that the quality of the company’s products is not questionable, according to the case, but the consumer will more likely consider the product of the competitors since they are cheaper. Therefore, for the product of the company to gain an increase in sales, it is important to make these products affordable to the consumer. This strategy, when supported by the more effective advertising and free samples for the consumers, will produce a significant increase in the sales and consequently a higher profit margin for the company.

Problem

The issue at hand for the company is to increase its market presence and making its product known to the consumer to increase the sales of the company. However, there is the challenge of the high prices that their products are sold when compared to their other competitors. This gives their competitors an upper hand when products are being bought by a customer whose major consideration is the price of the product (Importance of pricing 1). It is very paramount for the company management to come up with a clear way forward for the problem if at all the company will continue to be relevant in the market and still gain its significant market share to continue making a profit and reach their intended consumers for the product.

As seen from the case study, the first consideration by the consumer of paint, especially for the do-it-yourself, consumers is the analysis of the availability of time and money for the painting. The next step for them is information collected from reference people which is a key area when targeting sales of the products. The reason for this is that proper information must be availed to all the consumers so that they can be able to refer others to purchase the product from the company due to either the good quality of the product, the good price, the service that the product has given to them or the convenience of getting the product from a nearby store.

All these considerations must be put in place for the right decision on the way forward to be arrived at and for the company to achieve its goals. The most notable issue at hand for the company is the problem of making the already existing product that they are selling to their consumers to be more known and preferred by the consumer. Whichever approach that the company will arrive at, whether its advertising or reduction of their prices among the many other options that they have, the final result that will be expected is the increased sales and significant market presence.

The decision to be made will have a great impact on the operations of the company. Various plans of action will also experience major constraints when being implemented. Finances are one of the major constraints that any decision taken will have since an increase in the cost of production will translate to an increase in the price of the product if the cost is not redirected to other areas. As noted by the company, the price of their product is already significantly higher than that of their competitors and they cannot, therefore, afford any price increment but instead, it should be reduced. A decision to reduce the price of the product will be much welcome but there is the question of whether the profit margin of the product will still be large enough to ensure that the company stays in business profitably. Care should be taken to avoid a case whereby there is an increase in the sales but the profit after the reduction of the cost of production for the goods is not significant. On the contrary, the aim of the price reduction should be to ensure bulk sales of the products. Therefore, even if the profit of the product is lower then, due to the high number of sales it will still be significantly high.

As seen above, a proper decision needs to be made so that it will not only solve the current problem but will be a long-term solution to the issue. Additionally, depending on the urgency of the situation bearing in mind the approaching painting season according to the case then, a solution for the problem can be made in phases so that a short-term solution is arrived at to first deal with the current situation while long term measures are being put in place to deal with the situation for a longer duration effect.

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Analysis of alternatives

There are several approaches to the solution such as the ones that have already been put forward by the management team of the company and also depending on the market. Other approaches can also be put in place to ensure that the right solution for the company’s problem is arrived at.

Advertising

Advertising is one of the possible solutions for the problem at hand and clear steps must be taken to ensure that advertising is not only done but the type done should be the most relevant for the problem to be solved. Advertising helps to front the goods and services of the company to the potential customers (Reference for business 1). The question of whether to advertise in the television, print media, through word of mouth, or other smaller approaches should be considered carefully for the desired effect to be got. Another issue to be considered is the cost implication of the advertising and the effect that such a move will have on the product cost and the company as a whole.

First, before any method of advertising is used, a clear analysis of the consumer and the most likely avenue for the information to reach them should be determined. For example, sometimes print as much as it may be effective for advertising may not be relevant to the consumer if most of the consumers do not read the print media or that the print company used for advertising is not the most preferred by a majority of the consumers and therefore limiting the number of people that are reached by the information. The cost implication of the various approaches of advertising should also be considered so that the avenue used will not have major cost implications for the company and the product.

One of the benefits of advertising is that the product is made known to the consumer and therefore to a great extent will increase the chances of the products of the company being considered for purchase and the likelihood of purchase itself. However, with high prices, advertising will not necessarily increase sales. It is for that reason that advertising alone cannot be considered as the only solution to the problem. Other considerations to be made include the consumers to target when advertising and whether they are likely to respond positively to the information that will be given to them. An important consideration is whether to market their product in Dallas-fort Worth (DFW) area or the non-Dallas-fort area bearing in mind that the DFW area is the major area for the company sales and business. This decision should be arrived at depending on whether there is an area that is not reached by the company and if at all there is the need for further information for the targeted consumers. However, if the market is exhausted therefore all factors such as the price of the products constant the product should not be advertised since the effect of this will be very minimal in the profit of the products. It is also very paramount to consider the availability of funds to support the advertising campaign and if they are available then the advertising should be kept as an open option.

Price reduction

This is another viable and possible solution to the problem being faced by the company. As noted, the price of Jones Blair’s paint product is significantly higher than that of the competitors. Therefore, this raises the likelihood of the consumers who prefer the product of their competitors over theirs based merely on the price of the product (Price changes 5). Even if the product is of superior quality than that of its competitors, a large number of the consumers will still consider the price of the product when purchasing it. For this reason, adjustments need to be made to reduce the price of the paints for them to be easily available to the consumer at a reasonable and competitive price. This does not, however, mean that the company should reduce the profit margin, but rather it should act as a motivator to try all means possible to reduce the cost of production of the products. This will lead to a reduction in the price of the product without affecting the profit margin of the product and even where possible, this will increase.

Price reduction will most likely have a very tremendous effect on the sales of the product, especially when it is combined with high-quality paint products and the advertising that has already been done. The company notes that advertising covers 60% of the cost of production. This would be a possible avenue to try and reduce the cost of production. This can be done by getting more effective ways of advertising which may be less expensive and which have a higher likelihood of reaching the intended consumer. This is possible with proper planning and strategizing so that the budget that is already allocated to advertising is not increased but reduced leading to better results. The issue here is about service delivery. If the already existing methods of advertising are not giving the desired results, then they should be substituted with more effective ones (McGladery manufacturing Survey Para 4).

Sales representatives

As has been suggested, an increase in the sales representatives becomes one of the alternatives for solving the problem. This, however, may not be of priority for now since an increase in the staff will result in the cost of production for the product which is already high and possible ways of reducing it are being sought. Instead, the existing ones should diversify their approach to cater to the entire needs of the company. For example, they should reach the do it yourself consumers, the contractors, and the specialists within their areas of operation and maximize their advertising of the product and the sales to these people (Roger 103). Additionally, they should be able to report to the company managers on the specific needs of the consumers since they have more contact with them and can directly get feedback from the consumers themselves. This information will be very crucial to the managers when making decisions on the necessary adjustments to better meet the needs of the consumer.

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Another possible strategy for the sales representatives is to set targets for them to ensure that they deliver more on their work. As the company’s vice president of sales puts it, that they would be more effective and therefore that should be maximized to ensure that they deliver to the maximum before the issue of additional staff in that area can even be considered.

Free samples and other promotional strategies

This is another consideration when deciding on the way forward to solve the problem facing the company. The major target persons for this will majorly be the contractors and specialists, who, when given a free sample of the product then they can test the quality of the product and when this is put together with the price reduction, then the chances of them buying the product for their work is greatly increased (Small biz 3). This approach is a possible big chance for problem-solving since people are likely to purchase the goods in bulk. Therefore, a large tapping of this group of customers will possibly have the desired effect on the sales of the company. The high quality of the products of the company will get a preference for the specialists who prefer to give a perfect job to their customers and therefore, go for high-quality products.

For the do it yourself customers, the company may decide to give promotional items to them such as painting manuals and guidelines on purchase. This could attract the attention of such curious painters. This strategy, if well implemented, can significantly increase the market share of the company. It will also get significant recognition by the consumers (McQueen 2). The past consumers will also help in referring to other potential clients to the company products due to the good services that they will have received (Roger 102).

Diversification of products

This is yet another option for the problem, which entails the sale of more than one product in the company’s outlets. This will give the customer a large variety of products to purchase on a single stop as opposed to having to make several stops to purchase the items. Research has shown that customers find it more convenient to buy goods that they require from a single stop shop. They will even buy products which on a normal occasion they would not have bought but they buy it anyway due to the convenience of not having to make another stop at another shop for that item only (Michael and Hicheon 767). If the Jones Blair company provides more products for their consumers, then they increase the chance of them being selected as the preferred shop by the consumer. The products that they can avail may not necessarily be what they produce. However, upon a critical customer and market survey, they will be able to determine the needs of the customers and seek to provide such goods or services.

Plan development

As shown above, there is not one standalone solution that can be employed by the company in isolation to solve the problem that the company is experiencing. It is for this reason that I would suggest more than one approach to the problem at hand. One of the major approaches that need to be put in place is the price reduction of the products of the company since this is one loophole that is giving the competitors an upper hand when selling the product. Proper measures, as has been suggested above, need to be put in place to ensure that the price of the product significantly reduces. This may be done by reducing the cost of production of the paints, which may include removal of unnecessary cost which are not adding value to the process or reducing the amount of money spent on a given item if it is rated to be on the higher side and which can still be reduced without significant effects to the quality of the paints.

That is the major catch for the problem but it has to be supported by other factors for it to be relevant and for it to achieve the desired effect in the company. One such factor includes the change in marketing strategies of the product. It is important that when the price of the product is reduced, the customer is made aware of it. This can be done through advertising and free samples. This, however, should be cost within the already existing promotion and advertising costs and should in no way add to the cost of the product.

The use of free samples and promotional items will help to increase the customer awareness of the products and services of the company as well as the quality of such. This should, however, be done with care so as not to cause a significant increase in the costs incurred by the company. Diversification of the products may not be a solution in the short term but is a good area to be considered for the long term after proper research and market survey which will to a great extent be facilitated by the sales representatives.

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Works Cited

Importance of pricing. Principles of marketing, n. d. Web.

McGladery, Robbert. Manufacturing Survey. Business growth strategies: Innovate New Products Diversify into New Markets, Improve Sales and Marketing, 2007. Web.

McQueen, Val. product sampling as a marketing strategy, 2010. Web.

Michael, Robert and Hicheon John. ‘International diversification: effects of innovation and firm performance in product diversified firms’. The academy of management journal, 40.4 (1997) 1-767. Web.

Price changes. Principles of marketing. 2008. Web.

Reference for business. ‘Marketing strategy’. Encyclopedia for business, n. d. Web.

Roger, Robert. Strategic marketing problems, London: Pearson Prentice-Hall, 2007.

Small biz. Why free samples should be part of your marketing strategy, 2011. Web.

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