Strategic Marketing: Bates Farms and Dairy

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Introduction

When entering a new market, companies have to consider various challenges related to different brand-customer relations and the individual traits and expectations of each community. The previously discussed idea was for a United Kingdom-based dairy business, Bates Farms and Dairy, to enter the United States market with their range of fresh milk and dairy products. Here, it is vital to discuss the current image of the brand and whether it needs to adopt some of its elements for the new field of competition. This report will focus on the marketing efforts for Bates Farms and Dairy in the US. First, the marketing mix of the brand will be reviewed, looking at the necessary changes to enter the new market. Second, the brand’s presentation will be addressed to ensure returning and loyal customers. Next, the report will review three effective communication methods that should be incorporated. Finally, measurement tools for the marketing success of Bates Farms and Dairy will be listed.

Marketing Mix Adaptation

The dairy segment is a highly developed area of the foods market. Milk has been a staple product for families for centuries, and people consume it on its own as well as an ingredient in drinks and meals. As a result, the demand for milk is generally high, especially in such countries as the US and UK where multiple cultures value milk as a necessity (Ahmadi Kaliji et al., 2019). Such high demand also means that the competition is robust in the market, and Bates Farms and Dairy has to balance its marketing mix to survive and flourish in the US.

The marketing mix is usually comprised of four main elements – product, place, price and promotion. Currently, the company produces milk and cream; however, it also supplies these ingredients to cheese and yoghurt manufacturers and sells these goods as well. The products are local to the UK and fresh, some varieties of milk are packaged in recyclable glass bottles, others use plastic as the primary material for containers. According to the firm’s website, the products are pasteurised, and milk (whole, semi-skimmed and skimmed) is sold in pints (About Bates Dairy, 2020). Similarly, the brand offers several cream and butter varieties in different portions, including wholesale options and large containers for businesses and big families. In this case, the packaging for products may need adaptation for the US market – dairy products have a short shelf life, and glass is more challenging to transport than plastic-lined cartons. Alternatively, to preserve the organic image, the company may focus on adapting other parts of the mix instead.

In this case, the place of distribution has a great role in the brand’s success. Bates Farms and Dairy has several local channels for product dissemination, using a combination of doorstep delivery and shops and wholesale supply businesses. To support the first method in the new market, the company can focus on its online store. However, first, Bates Farms and Dairy needs to engage with US businesses to deliver its products to local shops – bigger chains can be suggested to increase the public’s awareness of the goods. In the US, different brands of milk are sold across states and large and small stores. The UK brand may not compete by establishing its shops, but it can appeal to places that focus on import products.

The price is the next point of consideration; the recommendation is to implement geographical pricing to cover the potential tariffs, taxes and shipping costs. To enter the market, Bates Farms and Dairy can run several campaigns with promotional pricing to introduce the clients to its products. Overall, the price has to be based on intense competition, thus necessitating psychological strategies to make the price not too low or high to balance the image of sustainability and value with cheaper alternatives.

Finally, the brand needs to pay great attention to its promotion. Many promotional activities in the US are aggressive, and companies reach audiences on television and online (Venaik and Midgley, 2019). These channels should become the focus of Bates Farms and Dairy to connect with individual clients. For wholesale relationships, direct marketing can be considered, using email and PR companies. The value of internet marketing is significantly increased for multinational companies as it offers a much cheaper way of reaching a broad audience than paper-based and other traditional media.

Building and Managing a Strong Brand

The presence of many competitors and the import position of Bates Farms and Dairy means that the company has to build a strong brand image to attract a loyal customer base. Using the Customer-Based Brand Equity model as the foundation for this report, the first step is to define a brand identity. Two of the pillars that Bates Farms and Dairy currently uses are its close relationship with the customers and its local, sustainable practices. It is also a family business that has been established and run by Bates’ family members for decades.

Many customer groups can be targeted when selling dairy products. One of the groups that seem to interact with Bates Farms and Dairy is people interested in deliveries, sustainability and responsible wholesale businesses. Thus, the brand has an image of fresh milk delivered to one’s home or local store. This portrayal is close to customers’ feelings of nostalgia, and US customers may have similar wishes when thinking about dairy products. Moreover, clients concerned with packaging and sustainability may pay attention to the brand as a potential alternative to carton-packaged milk and companies with low transparency of their supply chain.

These points can be used for the second step, creating the company’s meaning in the US. The brand can translate this information to portray a company that is greatly concerned with delivering organic foods and caring about customer input. According to Li, Peterson and Xia (2018), the demand for natural products is growing steadily, and people often consider firms’ actions and beliefs about animals, the environment and health. Therefore, the strength of Bates Farms and Dairy is its consistent interest in sustainability. Bates Farms and Dairy should continue expressing their concerns about the environment and emphasise their use of recyclable materials, especially glass bottles.

The simplistic design of the products, the use of simple graphics and minimalistic fonts and imagery are, therefore, preferable to strengthen the idea of simplicity and nostalgia. The brand can be associated with traditional doorstep delivery, implementing electric milk floats and recycling to attract younger customers concerned with environmental preservation. It should be noted that the company employs electric milk floats in the UK, which means that it has experience with sustainable practices and customer recognition. To establish this meaning in the US, Bates Farms and Dairy can collaborate with local recycling plants and lead initiatives for clean-up, package returning, and sustainability awareness.

A problem may occur due to transportation challenges that companies using sustainable materials face. Glass is heavier and more fragile than plastic and paper; it requires more attention during packaging, handling and shipping. Nevertheless, this point can be marketed as the company’s commitment to sustainability, explaining a price increase in comparison to cheaper brands of milk that use unsustainable materials. As the image of the company as delivering fresh and natural products is stable in the UK, this message should transfer to the international market as well.

The next step for the brand is to evaluate the customers’ response to the message and products. In this case, Bates Farms and Dairy should emphasise its long history in the dairy market. Moreover, it should talk about their ability to remain a family business that serves firms and individual customers with similar commitments. Customers, judging the relevance of Bates Farms and Dairy’s’ milk and cream, have unique needs in terms of diet preferences and environmental concerns. Moreover, people have different access to dairy products, as some people go to supermarkets, while others prefer small shops or local markets. The brand’s strategy with deliveries and collaboration with smaller shops can create a sense of relevance for these groups of clients, while its history of the brand should improve credibility.

Finally, the last step of the model is brand resonance – the connection with and loyalty of customers. Here, the company’s goal is to engage clients and ensure that they will return and bring other people to purchase their products. If Bates Farms and Dairy successfully establish itself in the US and gains positive feedback from its sustainable practices, the business can focus on this stage and further its interactions with the community. Nevertheless, the brand should start building loyalty in the early stages through social media interaction and programs to award repeat purchases. The first initiative should increase active engagement and raise awareness of the brand. Online conversations, reviews, raffles, real-life events and social media posts are included here. (Gürhan-Canli, Hayran and Sarial-Abi, 2016). The second has the potential for fostering a sense of community and lowering the power of competitors.

Effective Marketing Communication Methods

The concept of integrated marketing communications (IMC) poses that any company should use a combination of channels to reach its customers and be mindful of their interconnectedness in the eyes of the public (Finne and Grönroos, 2017). In the case of Bates Farms and Dairy, three channels can be recommended for increased success. The first and most important one is internet marketing, including both online advertising and the management of public relations (Finne and Grönroos, 2017). Many people shop online, including purchasing groceries, and the internet is one of the most available platforms for sharing information in real-time.

Moreover, this channel is not linked to major media companies, and Bates Farms and Dairy’s image as a family brand can benefit from using platforms that provide a direct connection with the public. The basic tool for this method is social media platforms that allow posting links and information as well as talking to clients. Several platforms, including Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, have advertisement options to promote content to people based on their location and interests (Finne and Grönroos, 2017). Bates Farms and Dairy can also update its online shop and connect it to social media accounts for increased accessibility.

The second potential method for marketing is promotions that can help a new brand increase recognition. These can be based online and offline, including limited sales, raffles and bundles related to events. For example, an opening event can be held online, giving the first group of people placing a delivery order a lower price or a gift. Next, physical locations selling Bates Farms and Dairy goods may hold a short-term sale to increase initial customer interest. These promotions are a necessary step to overcome the barrier of uncertainty some customers may feel when considering an alternative to the product with which they are familiar.

Finally, public relations are the third recommended communication method for Bates Farms and Dairy. In this case, the company creates a precedent for a news or magazine article that includes product promotion and introduces the brand. Bates Farms and Dairy can use this method due to its unique approach to delivery and packaging. Publications interested in sustainability may pick up the news of the new market entry and disseminate the knowledge to the public and businesses with similar values. However, this type of communication has the risk of negative coverage and feedback from readers which may damage the brand in the long term.

Marketing Success Measurement

Many tools exist to measure marketing success, and Bates Farms and Dairy should employ short- and long-term data analysis. The first instrument is Return on Investment (ROI) which allows one to measure the revenue of each marketing campaign (Liang, Gao and Ding, 2018). As Bates Farms and Dairy has a website and online orders, it can use the Conversion Rate of visitors and Purchase Funnel for advertisements. In the long term, Customer Lifetime Value is a crucial tool for evaluating the retention and loyalty of clients. The brand needs to use multiple calculations to find potential problems and weaknesses of each marketing method. Social media and traditional advertising have their instruments that show which of the two channels can be prioritised in the future.

In the future, the marketing success of the company will significantly depend on whether its brand image corresponds to the identity the business wanted to show. On the internet, people may respond negatively to a post or image that does not align with their perception of the brand. The reach of online services is much stronger than traditional media, especially in cases of negative coverage (Liang, Gao and Ding, 2018). Bates Farms and Dairy has to consider the issues of sustainability and how it can continue appealing to the customers in this group.

Conclusion

The marketing plan for Bates Farms and Dairy to enter the US market requires the company to review its brand image and consider the elements of its marketing mix. Upon entry, the brand should focus on promotional pricing that attracts attention but does not diminish the value of the product. Bates Farms and Dairy can offer unique product delivery, decreasing the power of competitors. Considering the company’s presentation, Bates Farms and Dairy should emphasise the longevity of the brand and its interest in sustainability. The company should connect with the public through modern channels such as social media and public relations marketing. Bates Farms and Dairy should also consider a variety of success measurement tools to determine the most effective channels for communication.

Reference List

About Bates Dairy (2020) Web.

Ahmadi Kaliji, S., Mojaverian, S.M., Amirnejad, H. and Canavari, M. (2019) ‘Factors affecting consumers’ dairy products preferences’, AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, 11(2), pp. 3-11.

Finne, Å. and Grönroos, C. (2017) ‘Communication-in-use: customer-integrated marketing communication’, European Journal of Marketing, 51(3), pp. 445-463.

Gürhan-Canli, Z., Hayran, C. and Sarial-Abi, G. (2016) ‘Customer-based brand equity in a technologically fast-paced, connected, and constrained environment’, AMS Review, 6(1-2), pp. 23-32.

Li, X., Peterson, H.H. and Xia, T. (2018) ‘Demand for organic fluid milk across marketing channels’, Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 47(3), pp. 505-532.

Liang, X., Gao, Y. and Ding, Q.S. (2018) ‘“What you measure is what you will get”?: Exploring the effectiveness of marketing performance measurement practices’, Cogent Business & Management, 5(1), p. 1503221.

Venaik, S. and Midgley, D.F. (2019) ‘Archetypes of marketing mix standardization-adaptation in MNC subsidiaries’, European Journal of Marketing, 53(2), pp. 3660399.

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