Unilever Company: Consulting Business-to-Business

Abstract

Consultancy services on B2B marketing draw on different marketing principles that Unilever should seek to establish a strong market base, maintain its lead in the market B2B lead against competitor firms such as Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, ConAgra, among others. Typically, the baseline competence Unilever enjoys in the current UAE market draws on competitive intelligence information. Thus, the marketing strategies that the current consultancy provides draws on basic B2B marketing principles that draw on communication technologies that include emails, blogs, social media, and the internet in general.

The latter are besides product discussion lists, communication opportunities, sequence communications, meetings, seminars, and additional communication strategies, besides drawing on Porter’s five forces. Thus, the entire paper is dedicated to the consultancy services on Unilever’s different product offerings against its competitors, a SWOT analysis, pricing and pricing mechanisms, and integrated communication strategies with a number of recommendations based on the paper.

Basic Marketing

Competitive Intelligence

To offer business-to-business consultancy services for the Unilever Company, it could be important to borrow from the concept of competitive intelligence. Competitive intelligence requires that the consultant gather information about a variety of products sold by the designate company, in this case, the Unilever Company and the rival competitors. In offering the consultancy services, there is a need to gather information about Unilever’s customer loyalties, competition about competitor products that rival companies offer against Unilever, and the business environment that could offer executives in making strategic organizational decisions always to position the company ahead of its competitors.

According to market intelligence, Unilever’s competitors include Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, ConAgra, Danone, Pepsico, and Reckitt Benckiser, among others. Unilever specializes in product offerings that cover household items and chemicals, beverages, personal care products, and foods. According to market competitive intelligence information, Unilever offers a range of products that include blue band, Lux/Radox, Knorr, Heartbrand, Dove, Wishbone, Omo/surf, Rexona/Sure, Axe/Lynx, VO5, and Ben & Jeryy. However, the ranges of products have competing brands offered by Unilever’s competitors. Among the products offered by companies such as Nestlé that compete with Unilever, including Ice cream, and healthcare products in a long list of other products.

Findings from the market research intelligence show that other competitor companies offer a range of household items and chemicals, beverages, personal care products, and foods that compete with Unilever’s products in the current market. Thus, the rivalry between Unilever and its competitor is in the company’s core brands, hence, there is a strong need for Unilever to seek for consultancy services to ensure it remains and maintains a leadership position in the market to generate sufficiently sustainable revenue and profits.

Studies based on the concept of competitive intelligence show that Unilever and its competitors keep waging wars on branding, innovatively change product characteristics, which the competitors offer to the market. In addition to that, competition ranges in the target market targeting specific needs of the target market in promotional campaigns, including marketing strategies that focus on different brands, and on product pricing. Thus, there is a need to establish strong reasons that make Unilever’s products appeal to the customer above their competitors based on competitive intelligence.

Competitive intelligence is a legally recognized and ethical marketing and business practice accepted by all legal entities involved in the business without the need to conduct industrial espionage on rival companies mentioned above. Typically, the entire business marketing approach is characterized by a focus on the external business environment that is a vital component for conducting business. In addition to that, the CI process focuses on widely available statistical business information on Unilever and competitor companies in the same business domain. Thus, information to rely on in conducting the consultancy services is available in information centers such as libraries and other information sources. In addition to that, CI relies on information available to make competitive decisions and enable effective decision making that could position Unilever at a competitive edge with its rivals.

On the other hand, another approach to use in evaluating Unilever products against competitor products includes underlying competitive intelligence principles. The competitive intelligence principles draw on competitive market benchmarks, which constitute strategic intelligence and tactical intelligence. Typically, the approach to use includes identifying the volume of products sold by Unilever and its competitor companies with a long-term focus on the relative performance of the companies. In addition to that, the technique will focus on long-term implications of available information on Unilever’s competitiveness and its competitors with regard to the dynamic nature of the business environment.

Thus, in the process of providing intelligence consultancy services, the most critical issue to arise is the strategic position of the company within a projected period in the future. In addition to that, a number of strategic issues such as product risks and opportunities that the company should exploit to gain a position that is stronger than its rivals are additional issues to consider. Typically, this involves identifying weak signals related to product positions in relation to competitor product positions. In addition to that, an additional variable to apply includes strategic early warning within the framework of company performance.

In providing consultancy services, early warning draws on product features, other attributes compared with features inherent in competitor products, and additional features that require evaluation against competitor products that offer similar completion. In addition to that, implementing intelligence consultancy services requires that information be gathered designed to provide strategic information for making short-term decisions that are dynamically oriented toward improving the short-term position of Unilever against its competitors. The main objective could be to maintain the current market share, improve the customer base, and generate higher revenues in terms of profits for Unilever.

In addition to that, information gathered about competitor products could enhance the consultancy position in identifying the best techniques and product selling processes. It is important to realize at this point that the range of products offered by Unilever and competitors should be evaluated and comparative advantages from the perspective of the consumer identified and defined when making marketing decisions. Thus, the information could constitute the type of products sold between Unilever and competitor products, the relative pricing of the products in comparison with the competitor product prices and pricing policies, and the real-time aspect of product information.

It is critically important for the consultancy to evaluate the aspect of competitor products and the designate company products facing competition from other companies offering products that serve the same purpose. In addition to that, having determined competitor products, it is important to identify the market trends and especially the target market where Unilever products are sold that other competitors either have shares or are involved in making entry into the designate organization market.

Unilever Market

Unilever is an international company with branches in various parts of different countries and economies. Its products are tailored to address diverse needs in the market. As mentioned elsewhere in the paper, Unilever has made products that address household needs such as food products, personal care brands, Nutritional brands, Health, hygiene, beauty products, Homecare brands, and personal care products. These products are tailored to meet varying consumer needs and to address needs across the demographic distribution of consumers in the market. On the other hand, Unilever competitors, including Nestlé and Procter & Gamble separately, have product offerings that compete with Unilever’s range of products. However, it is important to note these as some of the firms that offer competition to Unilever, among others, mentioned at the beginning of the paper.

Thus, a number of markets that Unilever sells its products include markets that are influenced by consumer needs with specific individualized needs. Typical examples include food brands in the local UAE market, where the company asserts its presence as one of the world’s leading companies in the supply of foodstuff products. In its advert, Unilever asserts itself as a company that understands the type of food people need and endeavors to provide the customer with the most appropriate food. In addition to that, the affirmative nature of the advert is witnessed in the provision of foodstuffs such as Blue Band, which addresses the margarine needs of the population. Blue band

Another product in the line of products offered by Unilever includes Heartbrand. Heartbrand is an ice cream formulated to address the ice-cream needs of different consumers in the market without any age limit. Thus, demographically, people of different age groups based on individual needs consume the product. However, there are specific needs specific-to-specific individuals that have been addressed by Unilever to fulfill their market needs. Typically, therefore, the company has formulated different Heartbrand ice creams with different energy needs for people intending to watch in their energy consumptions. In addition to that, the product is tailored to address different taste needs for different consumers in the market.

Unilever asserts that when consumed responsibly, Heartbrand is a cream that provides additional health needs of the consumer based on the formulations of ingredients incorporated into the ice cream. A typical example includes the ice cream that is composed of two scoops of Carte d’Or Light, providing 79 calories of energy to the consumer with a paltry 2.4 grams for every 100 ml of the ice cream. In the range of ice creams, Unilever produces includes magnesium ice cream, Ben & Jerry, Box of magnesium ice creams, Solero ice creams, among other variants of the brand. Typically, it is important to note that some of the ice creams address the needs of young children.

As mentioned above, Blue Band is one of the oldest brands that are synonymous with Unilever that has given Unilever’s competitors a run for their marketing programs. Blue Band has been marketed among the consumers with the perspective developed in the consumer that it is a critical component in the development and growth of children. Thus, Blue Band has a significant market in households due to the additional benefits consumers perceive to get from its consumption. Typically, that might be partly due to the additional benefits, which include the composition of essential ingredients that include vitamins for the growth of children with limited dietary sources.

On the other hand, the Blue band is viewed as one basic source of margarine that provides supplemental nutrients for the body of young children instead of using butter, a finding, and the company bases on the world health organization report. According to the competitive intelligence report, the margarine is regarded as a supplement that enables children to grow well, is an important source of vitamin supplements such as vitamin A, D, and E. Among the Blue Band margarine, products in the markets include Blue Band Good Start spread, Doriana cream cheese alternatives, and country crock yogurt, Rama idea cream, and Blue Band liquid margarine. Thus, these are some of the range of products offered by Unilever.

According to competitive intelligence reports, Unilever’s personal care brands include Rexona, Vaseline, Lux, Dove, and signal close, among others. These products are dynamically innovated to address changing market needs and consumer behavior. In offering the consultancy services, it could be sufficient to provide some details about samples of personal care products. These include Axe designed for the male population across the demographic divides to address the physical and psychological needs of men.

In the company adverts, competitive intelligence information indicates that the product, Axe, is formulated with ingredients that address the needs of users in areas such as in showers and in hairdressing needs. In addition to that, the product is tagged among the best for male grooming, which has won 10 prestigious awards, a show of excellence attached to the product. However, different branches sell the product with a different brand name, which reflects the needs and culture of the target market.

In comparison with other products from other firms, competitive intelligence reports identify a number of competing for products that included laundry detergents such as Ariel, Bold, CoverGirl, and Ambi by Procter & Gamble (P&G),

Unilever, First Mover Company

Competitive intelligence reports show Unilever to be a first-mover rather than a late mover company compared with its competitors. Typically, conclusion is derived from the benefits management and the entire workforces have realized the company gains when making first mover attempts in penetrating the market with any new product. Typically, that is based on the mechanisms the company has integrated into its marketing approaches and market penetration strategies. In addition to that, the consultancy draws on theoretical studies that organizational managers and the consultancy considers the foundations of the advantages and disadvantages of first mover organizations.

One of the factors that categorize Unilever as a first mover business organization in the current market is its ability to pioneer products into different new markets with an early lead in positive profit generations. In the UAE, Unilever had an early lead in pioneering a number of products in different categories to address different market needs in personal care products, food products, and chemicals for domestic use.

According to market intelligence findings in view of the theoretical foundations first mover organizations, Unilever had various advantages that included readily available financial resources to penetrate the market besides trained and seasoned human resources. Typically, that has also been due to the endogenously asymmetry established over time in the entry and product innovation process. That has given Unilever in market share, but also in revenue and profits generation ahead of its competitors. Once critical advantage established by the company includes the established symmetry and consumer attitude toward Unilever products. Thus, the company has successfully established customer loyalty and profile among the competitors.

On the other hand, the company has continued to dominate the market based on the theoretical and empirical evidence adduced on evidence on product and technology leadership against the competing firms.

In theory and practice, Unilever primarily considered theoretical factors that positively influenced first mover firms. These factors include technology leadership in innovation and products creation to address customer needs, preemptive use of available assets and human resources, and ability to influence positively buyer-switching costs.

Competitive intelligence reports show that Unilever was able to provide competitive and technological leadership over its rivals in product creation and innovation address current market needs. Typically, that is based on cumulative outputs with falling unit costs. Thus, in the production process, Unilever experienced a fall in the cost of each unit of product produced with rising outputs. In addition to that, the leadership in technology also draws on greater experience the Unilever has accumulated over the years it has been in the market leading to a huge benefit in long term cost advantage by the for the company, thus positioning the company at a competitive advantage over its rivals.

Thus, the low unit cost due to accumulating products typically enables the company to offer competitive price reductions. In addition to that, Unilever has a significant market share based on technology leadership that draws on learning preemption and product innovations to address the needs of the local market.

Typically, Unilever, according to competitive intelligence report had entered the UAE market with an early lead leading the firm to earn huge and sustained profits for a significant period before competitors could make an entry into the market. One of the methods the firm used to gain an upper hand against the competitors included reverse engineering its products to address user and consumer needs, simplified technical communication about the products, and workforce mobility that is rich in cross cultural and marketing experience.

On the other hand, Unilever has consistently used patented technology and endeavored to conduct research and development on all products. In addition to that, the paradigm draws on economic theories that enable first mover organizations rake in profits due to research exploits due to preemptive patenting. However, it is important to add that Unilever rarely uses the patenting technique to deter others from gaining a new market share weakly uses patenting.

Another area competitive intelligence (CI) provides upper hand advantage includes preemptive use of scarce resources, geographic locations, product characteristics, and preemptive investment in plants. Typically, Unilever entered the market by gathering superior information about the demographic trends in consumer needs, thus invested by evaluating approaches used in manufacturing consumer products. On the other hand, Unilever, compared with its competitors employed first mover techniques base on pure economics.

Thus, the first mover approach used by Unilever included using available assets and resources to gain economic advantage by making low payments with big accruing profits. On the other hand, the approach used by first mover includes the potential for spatial preemption. Thus, the strategy creates the impression among competing firms that no further room exists for further competition. In relation to the strategy of spatial preemption, besides geographic factors such as distribution channels and outlet locations, a niche in product characteristics including product innovations addressing changing customer behavior.

Thus, it becomes typically expensive for new comers and other competitor to make entry into the market without incurring large entry costs. Thus, most new entrants find it difficult to make entry into the UAE market.

Typical examples of the approach Unilever uses to effect geographic preemption includes the retail-level distribution channels covering the entire country, efficient and effective distribution networks, which are regionally located to address the availability of the products, thus making the company gain large profits against competitor products and their distribution channels. In addition to that, competitive intelligence shows that Unilever’s distribution channels are effective in that retail selling enables product delivery to the market directly.

On the other hand, competitive intelligence provides the consultancy with the information that competing firms are placed at a disadvantage against competitors due to buyer switching costs. A typical example is the switching costs competing firms have to incur in influencing consumer who have established a loyalty to Unilever products since customers need to learn more information on new products.

Further competitive intelligence information shows another advantage related to Unilever as a first mover in the UAE market. That includes brand loyalty that is established strongly in consumer minds. Thus, Unilever products occupy a unique position in consumer minds, thus any new product must show superior characteristics before being accepted in the market. However, there are strengths and weaknesses associated with the competing firms in the current market, according to research findings on competitive intelligence. Thus, the firm positions require a discussion on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis to offer the consultancy services.

SWOT Analysis

Unilever’s strengths & weaknesses Rival’s strengths and weaknesses
Strengths Weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses
  1. Strong position
  2. Huge resources
  3. Strong reputation
  4. Household name
  5. First mover advantaged. IT process systems
  1. Overconfident
  2. Failure to adopt to changing environment
  1. Gaps in sales and marketing strategies
  2. Product differentiated
  3. Second mover
  4. Lack of sufficient infrastructure
  1. Weak position
  2. Minimal resources
  3. Starter up cash drain
Threats Opportunities Threats Opportunities
Environmental,
Political
Marketing obstacles due to culture
Global influence
Significant market niche
Research and development
New entrants Second mover advantages
wide and increasing market

Channels

The marketing channels within the UAE integrate the concept of efficiency and effectiveness. Different marketing channels are used based on their effectiveness for target markets. Among the channels includes electronic channels, which include blogs, emails, charts, and social media. On the other hand, vertical and horizontal marketing channels are also used to implement the sales and marketing activities. Vertical marketing includes contractual marketing, and administered marketing. Factors considered in the marketing channels include consumers, product characteristics, and the firm’s supply chain assets.

On the other hand, the most profitable channels, which are company secrets are vertical and horizontal marketing channels. The rationale behind the profitability is based on direct contact with the customer and use of the internet to conduct the sales with additional points of sale. However, the potential to sell more products on existing channels abound due to the growing number of users who access information through the existing channels such as the internet. On the other hand, the potential to open new channels exist based on geographic distributions and level of product turnover over these regions.

A close study reveals the existence of channel conflicts, and the main approach to resolve the conflicts is to identify market jurisdictions and assign, to each of the sales managers, areas to cover. In addition to that, the importance for the sales managers to communicate also contributes to conflict resolution.

Pricing

Pricing is a key component that enables Unilever get an edge against its competitor firms. Thus, the firm keenly ensures that pricing reflects products quality, perceived value and is modeled after Porter’s five industry forces. One of the approaches is price discrimination. According to Porter’s five forces, Unilever focuses on a range of alternative products targeted at different market segments based on cultural, income level, and demographic distributions.

Other factors include market distribution changes that occur due to changes in distribution channels, and legislative changes that occur within the country. Thus, product-pricing focuses on technology to innovate products tailored at specific market segments, the power of the buyers which includes variables such as consumer choices, population distribution, and demand for any particular product, and the dynamic nature of price changes due to global and regional financial changes.

On the other hand, the pricing mechanism factors the number of rivalry firm’s industry trends, differentiation strategies, and supplier power. Typically, the pricing is based on geographic coverage of the competitors and the bidding processes used to identify raw materials suppliers.

On the other hand, product pricing factors threats from new entrants by identifying competitor’s entry prices, geographic factors that might favor or disfavor competitors from entering the market, and strategies laid by the new entrants. Then, the Unilever formulates pricing strategies to counter the threats from new entrants. Of critical significance are entry routes that play a critical role in enabling entry into the local market. However, the firm has strategic methods of countering implications of the entrants by formulating objectives and techniques on a regular basis.

Direct Marketing & Sales Management

One of the strategies to use based on competitive intelligence is direct marketing. Direct marketing, in theory and practice is a marketing approach where organization uses to access, gain, and maintain its B2B lead in the market. Among the approaches includes Building and using the company database.

Building and using the database

The company has maintained an active database profiles that lists companies by their size and type. In addition to that, the database contains information about products sold by the companies, and relative costs of interacting with the companies in conducting business transactions. In addition to that, for the firm to remain abreast with new trends in market on competitor firms and collaborating firms, it has used both methods of developing the list of companies.

Typically, the list companies constitutes that developed in-house and bought from external sources to evaluate both sources to Unilever’s the advantage. Another issue considered in the development of market penetration. The underlying principle is to evaluate the strength of competitor and collaborating firms in terms of market share and penetration to enable management formulate strategies for advertising to maintain a lead in the market.

In the profiling list, a number of items are complementary in the profiling approach. Typically, the firm realizes that using a single and dedicated profiling method could not address diverse need of the market. Thus, demographic trends provide one profiling approach as different products are tailored to meet the needs of people in different age brackets. On the other hand, business sales cycles also contribute significantly in decision-making in the sales and marketing strategies. In addition to that, other components used in the profiling include behavioral trends, competition, and customer needs.

A close study of the marketing intelligence of the firm is target buying. Target buying enables the firm to put the customers in a buying mood before driving them into purchasing the firm’s products. Typically, therefore different products are tailored to address the needs of different target markets based on different needs. In addition to that, the firm endeavors to address the needs of each individual customer and tailor products to address their needs as closely as possible. In this case, therefore, orders are made through the internet and in most cases; the brick and motor purchasing methods are used.

At times the firm sells to a buying center that later distributes the products to the target customers. However, the firm and particularly the sales and marketing manager endeavor to establish the motives of the buying center to evaluate the position and nature of the purchases. Thus, the motives of the initiator are understood well, while gatekeepers ensure plays the critical role of ensuring the purchases are not espionage missions.

However, when the motives of the buyer are perceived to be against organizational goals and especially when it is aimed at seeking for competitor information or any act against the current firm, the sales and marketing manager strategies on best methods to influence the influencer positively. In addition to that, the sales and marketing department work concertedly with the communications department to influence positive decision-making at different managerial levels, besides endeavoring to identify how the products sold to the centers are used. Typically, it is difficult to determine how the users use the product, but the purchases are based on utmost good faith.

Additional strategies direct sales and marketing strategies include making soft product sales offers, which are sent to the sales centers who later distribute the products through the retail outlets. However, once the product offers have been distributed, responses are categorized according to geographic areas, demographic distributions, and typical product ratings and demands. In addition to that, the marketing department ensures that product leads are screened using software to list and rank them.

On the other hand, the marketing department takes the initiative to qualify leads through a through vetting and evaluation process and in comparison with competitive intelligence reports on B2B product leads. On the other hand, the firm qualifies leads through strategic approaches such as direct marketing and uses communication media to contact the leads.

The sale and marketing department in liaison with the communications department have strategies to contact leads through a number of communication channels. Typically, the firm uses telephone as one of the communication tools to reach a particular individual, while other communication tools include charts, and blogs. However, each of the communication tools are tailored to address needs of the customer and specific market segment.

Other strategies use by the firm includes sales development accelerators, while turning over qualified leads into sales forces to reactivate former customers.

IMC

Integrated marketing communication strategies, according to the competitive intelligence report and the theoretical definitions of IMC is a marketing approach used to build brand awareness, build brand preferences, differentiate product brands, build brand equity, build company image, remind consumers of the existence of the firm. In addition to that, integrated marketing communication is a strategy that used to integrate a range of existing marketing tools to reach and ensure market share are maintained dynamically improved.

Typically, integrated marketing includes the use of technologies such as the internet, TVs, Newspapers, rebates, and magazines, social media and any other channels used to reach the customer. Thus, Unilever has identified and endeavored to use these channels to reach the target customer. Typically, among the best tools used to market Unilever products is the internet that hosts the company’s website.

The Internet

Competitive intelligence information shows various aspects used to develop the current organizational websites including a number of well throughout principles that characterize the current website. Among characterizing elements is the usability level and the logic associated with the design. In addition to that, issues borne in mind included the ability of the websites to attract customer attention, provide additional value to the messages being communicated, provides graphical display of product images, which enhances readability.

In addition to that, another concept integrated into the design of the website is organization and ability to navigate from the home page to pages, provides emphasis on different products details, and enhances unity in its usage. Thus, the website is simple and user centered. That is because users are the only ones who interact with the website on their own. Making the site complicated could reduce the number of users, thus reduce the profitability of the business. In addition to that, the user centric design considers the rationale behind users’ login into a website to be mainly in search of information.

On the other hand, simplicity of the firm’s websites draws on the principle of economizing cues and visual elements used in the design. Among the issues considered in the design includes simple navigational styles and graphical presentations with the most important elements integrated for communication. Other critical elements considered in the design include clarity, emphasis, and distinctiveness. When navigating through the websites, one is able to navigate to the right page without any ambiguity.

Typically, one can access the details of any product on the home page with clarity and simplicity. In addition to that, every element that leads to the respective page displayed on the webpage is accessed without any ambiguity. In addition to that, the most important elements on the home page are clearly visible to any user with ease of usability.

On the other hand, making the website more users friendly included identifying the target audience and designing the site to meet different demographic distributions. Typically, that included identifying demographic distributions, which require that users use the site differently. Thus, the content that includes the products offered by the company includes fixed anchors that guide users to navigate with ease through the home page and pages linked to the homepage.

On the other hand, visual information is another point of focus. Visual information allows the user to navigate through the home page and other pages provided in the site map of the homepage. Additional issues considered in the design of the website include making the site self-explanatory and obvious to the user. Thus, when looking for an item on the firm’s website, users are always taken from the main page through links that clearly point to the details of the product one is looking for.

In addition to that, the site borrows rom the concept that does not allow the user to think critically before navigating to the appropriate page. However, in the design of the website, one realizes that technical issues and names are avoided in the design of the website, making it further user friendly. In addition to that, the number of additional fonts used in the design of the website is limited thus, making a good visual contrast between text blocks and other features. Other issues considered in the website-included color. Color is a fundamental element used to set the user’s mood. Right colors that reflect Unilever and its products give the site an elegant ambience, which radiates with warmth and tranquility, depending on the target audience.

However, additional issues relating to color draws from the color physiology, where users view different colors with different meanings. One of the strategic benefits realized from the use of colors includes the ability to influence the user’s psychology. An important consideration in the development of the site includes the impact of color in difference audiences and cultural considerations about color. On the other hand, during the development of graphics, consistence, communication, functionality, and simplicity are some of the factors considered.

It is worth concluding that Unilever’s websites are simple, easy, and user friendly to people different people, and some with little experience and knowledge in the use for the internet.

Measuring the Impact of Website Marketing

One of the strategies employed by the firm to measure the impact of internet marketing includes a number of indicators and established trend. These include identifying the number of committing interactions from the web users. That includes the number of users that log into the website and purchase using the company online database. In addition to that, the number of subscriptions to organizational documents such as newsletters also contributes to determining the number and level of usage.

The number of online requests for catalogues and quotes is another indicator on the usage level of the website. Other indicators include the number of visits to the website, recurrent visits, and the depth of browsing from the users. In addition to that, actual exposure of the site to the customer and the advertisements, and the display surface are additional indicators used to measure the impact of online marketing.

On the other hand, social media that plays a critical role in marketing of the firm’s products includes use of indicators to measure the impact on marketing includes evaluating through data availed from above. One of the underlying characteristics of online advertising and social media such as Facebook is their simplicity, ease of access to a wide audience, and high level of involvement due to the relatively inexpensive adverting costs.

Thus, measures such as influence due to brand reputation provides a measure of how well a brand has gone with the audience, level of brand awareness include another indicator on the impact of online marketing. In addition to that, the consultancy views search engine ranking as another technique to measure the effectiveness of the website while the level of web traffic also indicates how much people spend on the website in search of the organization’s products.

Another measure is the trend in online sales. When online sales increase as mentioned elsewhere, it reinforces the assumption about the positive impact of online marketing, on the other hand, when sales volume decrease, there is the perception that less and less impact is experienced on online marketing, keeping other factors constant. Other issues worth of consideration in the use of social media includes principles employed in targeting specific customers. A number of suggested approaches include demographic targeting that is based on the age of the customers, status of the family the customer comes from, and the socioeconomic characteristics of the target market.

To capture succinct information on the impact of online marketing, recommendations have it that the firm use behavioral analysis to make clear decisions based on online information and trends. On the other hand, behavioral analysis on target products provides additional information on the impact of online marketing. In addition to that, message traffic analysis includes additional measures on the impact of online advertising by measuring the number of messages customers respond.

Use of blogs, charts, emails

Blogs, charts, and emails are some of the basic tools used to offer real time communication between the customer and the marketing department for any inquiry or to offer delivery of information about a specific product. Thus, these tools play a critical role in enabling direct contact and communication with the customer on all issues related to products, inquiries, complaints, monitoring of the supply chain, and any comments related to Unilever’s products to the customer.

Emails play a central role in communicating product information to the customer. Typically, the baseline is that some customers send email messages and allow some time before they check responses to their inquiries. The organizational marketing department and other departments and the communications department make necessary inquiries and send back a response in relation to the inquiries.

On the other hand, blogs play an additional role in disseminating information about the range of products the company offers. Blogs provide direct communication from customers and their comments are values and evaluated against the product in making further innovation decisions and any enhancements that, might be required for a product. However, it is important to note that not all comments are always positive about company products.

It is also important to note that the firm uses chart as a real time communication strategy when clarifying important product issues with the customer. In addition to that, charts provide the touch and interaction customers value especially when intending to clarify difficulty issues related to a particular product. Charts also provide an anonymous platform upon which to clarify positive and negative issues.

Measuring the Impact of the Communications

Unilever, one of the firms that uses online marketing continually evaluates the impact of online communication strategies on product turnover, response to messages, number of blogs, and emails sent to the firm’s communications department. In addition to that, the firm monitors the effect of online marketing by monitoring and measuring product turnover across the demographic divide and other communication activities especially inquiries on various products designed for different uses and users.

However, it is important to note that the company has integrated in its communication tools an automated IT system for sequencing communications. The system provides communication abilities for the B2B marketing as one of the tools to enable real-time synchronized communication.

Public Relations

Public relations is a critical tool in establishing relations between the customer, the sales and marketing department, the firm’s management, and the society at large. Thus, the effectiveness of the public relations network of the company is critical in creating positive image of the company. In addition to that, it forms the baseline for evaluating customer relationships and satisfaction, and the long-term value of target customers. In view and context of the public relations, it could be prudent to argue that the public relations is effective due to the use of technology to reach the customer, continued gain of new customers, and the synergy of using websites, social media, blogs, and emails to communicate to the target customer.

Typical areas that provide further information on the effectiveness of public relations include publications Unilever has experienced in referred journals and other distinguished publications, and the frequency with which the firm featured in the journals. Typically, that is done by independent organizations that evaluate companies and list the best companies on their magazines and websites.

On the other hand, another strategy that the company employs in establishing public relations is corporate sponsorships. In addition to that, the corporate sponsorship program adds value to Unilever’s visibility across the product line offerings to the consumer. In addition to that, the program allows the company to reach a larger audience, offer more product promotions, enhance any marketing initiatives, support business activities, and enhance and improve relations between the firm and the customers. These include support and sponsor program sin educational events and other social events such as games to establish more presence.

Observations and market intelligence reports have established that the firm conducts frequent seminars particulars for organizational employees in various respects. These seminars are tailored to impart knowledge and motivate employees in new marketing approaches and strategies, new trends in the market, and new management approaches and styles that evolve with dynamic market behavior. One of the approaches used in ensuing the company name and image stays clean and positive is damage control.

In offering consultancy services, the researcher has participated in damage control on a number of occasions based on available data. Typically, the approach used in damage control included establishing general information about the problem related to product expiry date and failure of the product to meet customer expectations as advertised.

The next phase in damage control included measuring the impact caused by the damage on the target household and establishing client dissatisfaction on the specific product involved in damage control. In addition to that, documented information played a critical role in enabling success in damage control.

The success of the damage control strategy revolved around using control groups. These were characterized by consumer complaints related to expiry date and product characteristics. Success was measured on an evaluation process conducted to determine the consumer profile of the customers in the specific area. In addition to that, the approach used included evaluating the success of the public relations n damage control.

Thus, a number of approaches used to measure success in public relations included measuring outputs from the sales volumes and communication through blogs, charts, and emails. In addition to that, the company established clear communication strategies, clear project programs, and tactical objectives to attain and evaluate outputs, outtakes, and inputs. These inputs include resources used in damage control, advertising, and other resources used to establish and built positive brand image. On the other hand, one strategy is to differentiate between PR inputs, PR outputs, and PR outcomes.

On the other hand, media content plays a critical role in measuring the PR Unilever success factors. Typically, that includes media content, survey conducted through the internet, blogs, and email responses. In this case, PR outputs direct quotations from communications from respondents via communication media, white papers, among other tools. On the other hand, measuring PR outcomes included identifying and responses received from messages disseminated from and to the customers, through different media tools, and accumulated data from the responses and market trends.

Trade Shows

Trade shows form one of the fundamental tools for business organizations reaching the market and creating and overwhelm market presence. At the bottom of the marketing approaches strongly valued by Unilever are trade shows that include exhibition of products, which is a critical B2B event. In the trade show, Unilever provides a range of products, which are open to the public. In addition to that, the company participates in other trade shows that provide the opportunity for people, particularly business colleagues to sign contracts and other commitments on site.

Typically, distributor and industrial users of the products characterize the trade shows. On the other hand, Unilever participates in mixed shows, which combines the public and other industry players with specific attendance days. In addition to that, other tradeshows Unilever participates in include virtual fairs, which rely heavily on the internet. The baseline reasons for participating in these tradeshows are to give opportunities for interactive sharing with distributors, industry players, and customers.

Unilever Booth

Unilever tradeshow booth used in the tradeshow had the complications associated with attracting target customers in the B2B marketing strategy. However, basic considerations included identifying features that could impress upon the customer to stop by and inquire on the products being sold by the firm. On the other hand, a comparative analysis of competitor booths showed some level of ambiguity in visual presentations and impressions upon the customer. By observations, Unilever was attracting more customers than the competitor booth. In addition to that, blogs an

Advertising

Unilever is a keen company in the approaches it uses in conducting adverts. One of the journals the company has entered is the international Journal of Business studies and other international trusts based on the band trust report that listed Lux, one of the products by Unilever, among the best-selling and valued products in the market. Typically, that was attained due to the competitive edge in advertising Unilever enjoys against its competitors.

One of the factors that have enables the firm gain a competitive edge against its competitors is the advertising approaches it uses. These include use of social media, TV, radio, internet, and available forums that enable the company reach the customers. Thus, it is critical to evaluate the competitiveness of the advertising techniques used by Unilever to crystallize the level of complexity Unilever’s advertising against the competitors.

The firm uses adverts and slogans that focus on application of the products and the benefits from the use of the products, designs its products to enhance Unilever image, and endeavors to put the benefits at the head of its adverts. The approach gives the company and edge against its competitors. In addition to that, the advertising strategy adopted by Unilever makes it easy and simple for customers to capture the easily meaning of the advert. On the other hand, additional approaches include creation of benefit-oriented adverts for the target customer, use of advertising coupons, and use of phone numbers that are readily available for communication.

Among the methods used by Unilever to measure success from advertising includes evaluating short term and long-term impact of the adverts by using short term and long-term data on product movements. In addition to that, the number of inquiries made on advertised products, messages sent about advertised products, responses from the target market, and product turnover are some of the methods used to measure the impact from advertising. Thus, measures of consumer response, inquiry messages, effect of B2B business partners in use of interactive media, a measure of the level of brand awareness, and more importantly evaluating the level of attainment of the objectives set in adverting.

Personal Sales

Marketing and sales functions are integrated into Unilever based on a number of strategic approaches. Typically, the entire approach involves organizational managers and the sales executives throughout the organizational hierarchy and across departments getting involved in the marketing and sales functions. On the other hand, the sales function focuses on short-term gains and sales. On the other hand, the marketing function focuses on the long-term impact to enable the company maintain a lead in the market. Thus, the marketing function is a strategic tool for long-term B2B lead in the market.

To realize the benefits accruing from the use of these functions effectively and enable the firm gain a B2B lead in the market, the approaches used to integrate the functions include organizing the marketing and sales forces in the company. These includes line staff who specialize in sales and marketing activities, integrating B2B marketing strategies over geographic areas specifically targeting distribution channels, focusing on product characteristics, and evaluating and integrating communication strategies to reach the target customer. Thus, the organizational structure is a two, line structure that with specialized marketing and sales functions.

A sales and buying cycle at the firm involves in-house manufacturing of the products. In addition to that, the quantity of orders for a specific product is identified in an inventory for a specific buyer. This activity is conducted specifically at the business unit of the firm. Once the destination is identified, then, a cost effective supply chain in identified. In addition to that, the pricing component is established for each of the products before being.

On the other hand, alternative supply chains are evaluated for cost effectiveness. However, there is a team responsible for inbound and outbound supply chain with other businesses and customers. Typically, the buying and selling in large quantities is characterized by the price masked component to ensure competitor are not aware of product pricing, assurance of product supply based on the inventory balancing, and other cost savings strategies.

On the other hand, the sales and buying process in small quantities typical a major event in the firm included a strategic approach of ensuring quantities that could lead to cost savings. In addition that, the strategy was to ensure, optimal use of time to reach and advertise the product in the market to eliminate additional costs and ensure quality, and assuring the current market of sustained supply of the products.

On the other hand, observations show that product lines and geography divide the sales and marketing. The approach is based on demands by region which constitutes demographic distributions, exposure to information, product perceptions, and access to internet use.

For the company to be effective, maintain a B2B lead in the market continues generating sustained profits, and grow sustainably, the firm sets sales and marketing objectives frequently. A number of alternatives have been evaluated on the methods used to set objectives and the most relied upon includes indemnifying the communication needs, identifying techniques to address effective marketing, evaluating different marketing strategies to increase sales, identifying customer needs, and ensuring awareness is created.

Once these areas are identified, then objectives are set to drive the sales and marketing attain organizational goals. On the other hand, objectives are set to as frequently as need arise. In place are methods f handling AA, BB, and CC accounts through specialized personnel who in return prepare reports which are communicated to the higher management hierarchy.

Training and development forma part of the firm’s strategies to ensure employees develop their skills and remain abreast with changing trends in the markets. Typically, in-house training and development is a dynamic process and reflects market trends. Among the methods used to increase sales based on training and development includes identifying market trends, real-time market characteristics, and using the information to effect marketing communication.

Thus, employees who participate in training and development evidently become competent in executing sales and marketing activities. Thus, the process involves coaching, events that are attended regularly by the sales manager through seminars organized frequently and at times when situations demand.

Different strategies are used to measure the reward and success or failure of the marketing force. These include inquiry responses on products; purchase orders received, behavioral changes, and immediate sales.

Recommendations

B2B marketing is a marketing strategy Unilever has adopted that deviates from the old marketing approaches adopted by organizations strategizing to gain and maintain a market lead against rival companies. The main objective therefore is to gain a market lead, being a first mover firm, maintain and grow its revenue base and sustainably grow its profits while creating strong customer and brand loyalties in the current market. To maintain a market lead and sustain its revenue base, a number of recommendations based on competitive intelligence reports point out that the management and especially the sales, marketing, and communications departments focus on empirical issues related to first mover firms.

These include collecting data on firms that have made late mover entries, have established a significant market share, and adopt Porter’s strategies in countering the marketing strategies of competing firms. In addition to that, a well-balanced approach in decision-making based on an evaluation of the negative effects of first mover firms should form a string basis for decision-making. Typically, initial success might provide avenues and a ready market for rival firms.

On the other hand, the firm should continuously enhance its website to enable refined targeting, optimal branding, high flexibility, rapid return on investment, and characterize the search with customized search listings. In addition to that, the firm should include the cost calculation component to establish the true cost of seminars, adverts, and tradeshows and corresponding return on investment.

That includes travelling costs, the cost of rooms and total event costs, promotional costs, average salary of people involved in the events, and the total time involved in the events. The latter calculations could enable the company acquire actual data and evaluate the return on investment, thus make informed decisions on strategies to remain and maintain a B2B lead in the current market.