Marketing Communication for Heinz’s Desktop Beanzawavel

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Executive Summery

Heinz plans to launch the world’s smallest, portable microwave to the market. The device dubbed “Beanzawave” can be powered by a PC through its USB port. It is targeting modern office workers who are busy and may not have time to leave their desks to make food in the office kitchen. The other group of target is those who are ever on the move, e.g. traveling journalists, salesmen and tourists. Its convenience is found its unique USB-enabled gadget; hence the ability to get access to the hot beverage and warm snacks with ease and at anytime.

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Studies have also shown that employees waste a lot of time taking breaks to have lunches and breakfasts. In order to increase its market adaptability, appropriate marketing communication is needed. The integrated marketing communication that will involve print, electronic and internet ads will be applied in order to reach target market.

Background

Heinz Co. is a U.S food company based in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Registered in the New York Stock Market, the company is known for the marketing slogan, “57 Varieties” (Dienstag 1994, p.21). But the most common global identity that Heinz has developed is in its ketchup, where it manufactures numerous food products all over the world. Heinz’s manufacturing plants are spread all over six continents, and supplies its food products to over 200 countries around the globe.

To increase their food service provision for its increasingly busy customers, the company plans to launch “the world’s smallest, portable microwave and can be powered via a link to the USB port on a laptop computer” (Poulter 2009). The device is known as Beanzawave. The main targets are workers who are busy and may not have time to leave their desks in order to get the desired warm and hot snacks and drinks respectively (Poulter 2009).

It’s more convenient because the user can control from a laptop computer, hence ability to get access to the hot beverage and warm snacks with ease and at anytime. In other words, the turquoise device will be used to fulfill the workers and employers desire to increase productivity with comfort and minimize time wasting. Studies have shown that significant number of employees’ waste a lot of time in making beverages and snacks, while the need to make maximum use of available time is a prerequisite for more productivity.

Service quality has been the bedrock for many food companies. To expand the consumerability of their food products, food companies have introduced several service supporting devices to cut within their own niche market. The first microwave was made in 1880 by John Hammond. So far several changes have been made to the original microwave over the years, with its original feature less changed. However, the most revolutionized microwave was introduced in 2003 by Elber (Poulter 2009). Although the first ever portable microwave was introduced in 1977, Elber’s agile product has been the most used portable microwave, especially in modern work environment (Poulter 2009).

Market Description

Chefs have always complained that microwaves are not the best means to get a well cooked food for consumption (Dienstag 1994). Microwaves are believed to lack the capacity to cook variety of foodstuffs because they cannot brown, caramelize foods adequately, for they have small temperature to warrant such a task.

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Heinz’s unveiling of the world’s smallest microwave (Meanzawave) is tipped to be the first of its kind, given its computerized nature. It enables busy people get comfortable by allowing them to make beverages and warm snacks in their offices, and in cars while traveling, with simple touch of laptop keyboard. The device will therefore be useful as it will increase the acceptability of the products, which subsequently encourages word-of-mouth marketing.

Word-of-mouth marketing communication is known to be one of the most effective ways to increase sales of products and services. Although other types of portable microwave have done enough to serve the market needs, it cannot serve the increasingly busy employees’ or travelers’ needs as far as time management and convenience are concerned. For instance, the Elber portable microwave demands that the user gets out of the car or get off the desk to the office kitchen to make the beverage they want. Meanzawave will therefore increase the customers’ convenience,

Situation Analysis

The situation analysis will first focus on the brief situation as presented by the present marketplace environment for portable microwave products. Because Meanzawave will be the first product of its kind in the market, information about other less technological products have been left out of this report.

Consumer Analysis

Microwaves were first introduced into the market in the early 1950s. Its usage became more popular in 1980s and 1990s when the portable versions were introduced. Since the introduction of the portable microwave, the market penetration has been fast and many households found it convenient, particularly those on the move. However, with increased technological advancements, potential growth still exists and the market seems better as far as adaptability is concerned.

The potential growth is not only present in the domestic market but also globally. There are new households formed everyday, more so those of the working class and elite families. There is an increased culture of work and traveling, young working households on long tours, either for business or leisure. These people would want to increase their convenience by carrying portable appliances that can serve same purpose as kitchen microwave would do when they are at home, albeit with more convenience.

Heinz is a well established food company and their introduction of the Meanzawave is one step in strengthening their brand image and popularity of its line of business. With a well designed product aimed at busy working people, the company will release the new world’s smallest portable microwave to the global market. Its unique feature is that it has the ability to be powered by a PC such as a laptop. Its size is also of more convenience and will play an important role in marketing communication initiatives we will undertake.

The PC usage has been in steady increase for the past decade. The growth has been supported by the increased usage of laptop computers. The 2008 report indicates that laptop usage grew by 8% and the prospect is still great (My Digital Life 2008). Furthermore, the newly designed notebook has increased the consumerability of the laptop computers, with annual growth of 40% in the past 2 years (My Digital Life 2008).

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This is a good prospect and is likely to be the driving force to successfully launch Meanzawave. The group of consumers who have the financial ability and are computer-savvy will be the driving force behind the successful launch of this product. According to studies, 70% of office workers are not able to take time off during working hours to make lunch or breakfast (Poulter 2009). This group is dominated by people of age group between 18 and 32, and in some cases extends to those aged forties (the baby boomer generation) (Blythe 2000, p.58).

Another group of potential users are people who spend long hours traveling (in their own vehicles, taxis, trains or in planes). They include sales people, truck drivers, journalists, tours and travel agents, tourists on long vacation, commuters, etc.

SWOT Analysis

Internal Factors Strength Weaknesses
Management The management is ready and already supports the introduction of this innovative product to the market for accessibility by the potential consumers Past failures experienced by microwaves may persuade management to control production to the minimum
Service and Product offerings The Heinz food products to accompany the portable microwaves sold to enable easy testing. It would also encourage the people to associate the Heinz food product with the new device, hence strengthen brand identity. New entrants into the global market segments (e.g. nestle). The unveiling of the new product by Heinz is likely to provoke other food companies to move swiftly and look for deals and venture into the same market. It’s therefore likely to bring new competitive products.
Marketing There is an increased usage for market segments for young but busy workers and households and travelers all over the world. The initial target markets will be in Europe and America. Internet, TV, Print media, word of mouth, etc are some of the most popular communication medias that will be used to communicate about the product existence and reliability in usage. Sales promotions will also be used alongside the support of Heinz food products. The use of some communication market mix may not be feasible especially now that the product sales would be targeting the global market segments. Designing sales promotion for each market segment may not be feasible due to financial strain it will cause the company. In other words, the budget is limited.
Personnel The availability of committed, innovative Heinz staff will ensure product launch and subsequent sales mechanism a success. With food products as the main line of Heinz brand, some key employees will have to be reassigned to new products line. This may be detrimental to other line of core businesses.
Finance There is huge potential for growth in market share and hence revenue from the sale of new product. Other than the sale of the Meanzawave, other lines of business are likely to increase as the company will be using the device to promote its 57 varieties of food products in the market. The cost of developing Meanzawave may need a lot of capital and hence increase the costs of production. Such costs if transferred to the consumer may limit the consumerability of the product.
Manufacturing The manufacturing unit has assured the marketing team of their ability to manufacture 90% of the needed products for the mass market Meeting the expectation may not be possible as it mat take time to gain substantial recognition among the potential users.
R&D There is surety to continue with all the efforts so as market position may be maintained or improved further. The market position will be consolidated with the help of differentiation of the products through various features and developments of more unique capabilities. It’s known that a lot of capital is needed to enhance R&D and this may not provide enough surety as it may either work or fail.
External Factors Opportunities Threats
Consumer/ Social factors The growing market for portable microwave may be the point of success. The potentiality for growth lies in the increased number of young professionals who may not have time to get off their desks to the office kitchen to make lunch or beverage for breakfast. The number of professionals who travel a lot e.g. journalists, sales people, tourists, and truck drivers present ripe opportunity to increase the product potentiality. The technology limit in some market segments may limit the penetrability of the new product.
Competitive factors Heinz is one of the top ten market leaders among global food companies. The company can therefore use this new venture to cut its market niche and increase brand identity further. The potentiality of Pepsi Co., Nestle, Danone and Unilever is immense. With their huge capital base, the companies may decide to get into the market as soon as Heinz products start to realize success.
Technological factors Heinz is a recognized technology-dependent food company and it’s the only one in the industry that has pursued this kind of innovation. It must be noted that speech portable USB powered microwave is a vendor specific product. It means that if Pepsi, Nestle or any other top food company decides to partner with our traditional partners, conflict will emerge. This may also encourage duplication of our product and approach by competitors.
Economic Factors Keeping the price within the production and overhead cost will ensure market acceptance. The sticker price should be modest if mass market is to be properly penetrated. Consumers may opt for the traditional non-USB microwave product instead of the new technology. Consumers may also find it a little bit costly to purchase new product at its base unit price. Basically, the price will definitely be higher for the new product considering the higher cost of production.
Regulatory Many global market segments have their employers and law regulatory bodies approve food substances taken in office environment, and when one is on the move. This may be favorable to increase sales. If one incident occurs for a traveler for using the device, it may cause problems with the law and lobby groups. For example, if an accident occurs and investigations reveal the person was using our device while driving, a total ban on such usages may be imposed. This will definitely reduce our market segments and share.

Communication Objectives

The first part of the report shows that the audience to be targeted has been identified. The next step is to focus on the objectives of this marketing communication. Studies have shown that consumers have a developed response mechanism for new products (Blythe 2000; Porter 2001). The response is always hierarchical, with step by step behavioral conduct that consumers show before they do any purchase of any new product introduced into the market (Burnett & Moriarity 1998). They first get aware of the new product and purchase becomes the last part of the long conceptualization and action processes.

Marketing Communication Framework

According communications mix and levels of decision marketing communication framework, about 12 to 20 tools of marketing communication exists (Fill 1999; Kotler 2003). Basically, they are jointly called promotional mix in the integrated marketing communication.

Communication Mix Elements: Hierarchy of Effects

  • Creating Awareness: A newly introduced product designed in uniquely manner needs awareness for it to succeed within the target market segment. It’s recommended that making 60% of the market segment aware of the new product will be critical for the preliminary process of marketing communication. We will subdivide the market into current users and non-users of portable microwaves. The whole idea is to get them aware of the product availability, and its functional features. This will call for advertisements on both print and electronic media, and of course online
  • Developing Interest: the second stage of hierarchical effect where customers begin to develop their interests or the desire to own the product. Once 60% have been made aware of the product existence, the assumption is that 40% will have developed interest to own it. To achieve this target, we will sponsor events that will showcase the new product. We will make use of celebrities to help attract interests of participants and attendants of the event.
  • Evaluation: the 40% interested in the new product are expected to help in the evaluation process. They are to be used to compare the portable USB-enabled microwave and the traditional one. Our product should be in a position to make a minimum of 30% of their possible purchase at anytime of their interest in the product line. The first thing would be to make the product available to the consumers hence drawing the desire to purchase.
  • Trial: considered the most critical part of the stage for buying. Once the our portable USB-enabled microwave has been evaluated, consumers should be able to select it as a preference, at minimum 20% of the time due to its uniqueness in USB applicability and small size advantage.
  • Adoption: an office worker using the product will adopt it if they find it comfortable and easy to use. Again, if they find it time saving and convenient, then they are likely to adopt it. Travelers who choose to buy the product and find it better option for their busy schedule will also encourage adoption. However, if one user find it not appealing and not satisfying their need, he of she is not likely to adopt its. The person may damage the product brand though word-of-mouth negative statements, subsequently encouraging negative publicity. To prevent the possibility of such response or occurrence of such event, we target adoption rate of 75%. It therefore means the consumer will purchase the product and return positive feedback about the product benefits.

Advertising

Many marketing experts have concurred every advertisement must contain a message, the real core content of the product (Kitchen & Schultz 1997, p.9). It’s through core message that the potential customer will develop interest or make trials and eventually adopt the product use (Kitchen & Schultz 1997, p.9). Adverting for Meanzawave will have a message a brand message for advertisement in order to appeal to the target market segment, office workers and travelers.

The message and information to be passed will be simply designed to appeal to the target market. The basic message for Meanzawave will be that it can save time and increase productivity. All technical details will be avoided at all cost prevent potential buyers from being overwhelmed by the ads.

Persuasive Content and Message Appeal

  • Sex Appeal: the gadget targets young office professionals who are known to love fashionable things. Sex appeal as a theme is important because it attracts attention of the potential buyers (Schroeder 2002, p.49). A physically good-looking male or female seated in an executive office and making use of Meanzawave will form the major part of the sex appeal criteria
  • Appeal to travelers: for those busy people who are always on the move will form critical part of the ad contents. A journalist on a train, trying to catch up with the several events as and taking snacks warmed by Meanzawave.

Evaluation Criteria

The marketing communication goal is to reach the biggest market target segment. The first analysis will be to analyze how the consumers responded to different Medias used during campaign. In other words, the effectiveness of the ads will be paramount. The second issue to evaluate is the experience customers had with the new product. This would be achieved through surveys of the events attendants and participants. Additionally, mailing of questionnaires as well as telephone interviews will be conducted. Through these approaches, we are able to identify the effectiveness of both the marketing communication techniques used and that of the product.

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Reference List

Blythe, J. (2000) Marketing Communications. Edinburgh, Pearson Education.

Burnett, J., & Moriarity, S. (1998) Introduction to Marketing Communications, An Integrated Approach. Englewood Cliffs, NJ.Prentice-Hall.

Dienstag, E. (1994) In Good Company: 125 Years At The Heinz Table. New York, Warner Books.

Fill, C. (1999), Marketing Communications, Context, Contents and Strategies, 2nd ed. Hemel Hempstead, Prentice-Hall.

Kitchen, P.J., Schultz, D.E. (1997) “Integrated marketing communications in US advertising agencies: an exploratory study”. Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 37 No.5, pp.7-18.

Kotler, P. (2003) Marketing Management, 11th ed. Englewood Cliff, NJ Prentice Hall/Pearson Education.

My Digital Life (2008) “Netbook Doubles the Growth Rate of Notebook Market”. Web.

Porter, M.E. (2001) “Strategy and the internet”, Harvard Business Review.

Poulter, Sean (2009) “Heinz creates world’s smallest microwave (and you can plug it into your laptop)”, Dailymail. Web.

Schroeder, J. (2002) Visual Consumption. Routledge, London.

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