After a 20-year reform and opening, China's economic system and operating mechanism have undertaken great changes and formed a frame of diversified ownership where the public ownership is primary. As one of the biggest business partner, New Zealand firms are going to enter into Chinese market. The author believes it is very important to make a considerate marketing plan before the firms face to the competitive Chinese market. Therefore, the author will draw up a detailed marketing plan for a toy company which is going to explore its clown into Chinese market.
Market of Interest
Our firm is a New Zealand toy company which produce different kinds of toys to children. However, the New Zealand population is limited. It is good idea to explore the new market in Asia where has a large amount of population. Our firm is going to explore its overseas market through introduce the Western style toys to Asia countries.
We attempt to bring different experience into playing toys for Asian children. Our new product is a clown with a funny face, green cloth and red hat, and the main appearance of it is a clown. Its two arms make an arc sharp that easy to be hold for children. The nose of the clown is a control button, through which the video be operated. The special feature of it is a 10cm square screen in the tummy of clown which is easy to watch video. The main function of it is playing video, singing songs and tell story. We realized the children looks very lonely after the "one child" policy carried out in China. Our products target to these children and try to create a friend to their childhood. China's huge amount of population determines the large potential market for our products.
Our product is trying to act as a good partner to play with the children who aged from 3 to 9 years old. Please note parents will purchase the product instead of end-customer. Therefore, we should position those people who are around 35years old. This group of people usually have stable family relationship and income. However, I recommend that our firm should try to arouse the children's interest thus ask their parents to purchase the product. The relationships between product, parents and children are as followed (see Figure 1):
We should make the product not only meet the end customer's needs but also create a simple life for consumer. Parents sometimes feel tired after they finish eight hours work, they hope to have time for rest or relax. The main function of the clown can solve the problems for parents. The clown can sing songs, play video or tell stories to children over and over. Parents will have time to do something they really want to do while children will have a friend to play with them.
To be successful, a marketing organisation must do a better job of satisfying target consumers than its competitors. The company constantly compares the value and customer satisfaction delivered by its products, prices, channels and promotion with that of its close competitors. Through this way it can discern areas of potential advantage and disadvantage. Therefore, our firm should formally or informally monitor the competitive environment. We should understand how many competitors in this market, and their marketing objective and strategies. We can also position our target market exactly after we analyse the competitor's situation. Compared with our firm, most of toy manufactures usually target the market in the children above 10years old. They focus on foster children's operation ability. For the children under 10years old, they only produce the simple and single function toys. Marketing mix strategies that these manufactures carry out are too boring to catch parent's attention.
The organization carefully watch and respond to the external environment will lead to flexible compete with other firms. There are five interrelated forces usually effect on a firm's marketing system (see figure 2).
However they are totally not equally influenced to a firm's marketing programs. Marketers who follow and use technology, rather than oppose it, will discover that it creates and lead directly to new market forms and opportunities. For example, our clown is a new product with advanced technology will change the people's lives in one area. We can find the new technologies will bring in new opportunities for our company. Except this, the free trade agreement creates the good business environment for us enter into Chinese market. It will provide a peaceful political environment for us to run our marketing plan. China's large amount of population is a very exciting point for us to occupy the market share. The huge number of population must lead to enormous purchase activities. We believe the population will partly determine the potential buying power. Buying power also depends on current income, prices, savings and credit. Nowadays, Chinese people's living standard has improved faster and faster. Parents have enough money to make purchase of different kinds of toys for their children. As to the cultural environment, Chinese people are used to create a prefect growth environment for their children. Our firm can start from this point and convince parents to purchase our high-tech clown for their children.
The firm's production, financial, personnel, research and information systems capabilities influence its marketing system. For example, when we are going to add a new product, we should determine whether existing production facilities and expertise could be used. We should also take financial capability into consideration and make sure whether the new product requires a new plant or machinery. Our company's location will also determines the geographic limits of a company's market. We may need to set up a new plant location in order to reduce the high transportation cost. Management is also a factor should be taken into consideration. Marketing and sales executives want a variety of models, sizes and colours to satisfy different market segments. Financial executives typically want tighter credit and expense limits than the marketing people feel is necessary to be competitive. People in production department like to see long production runs of standardized items. The main issue is the process of delivery of the service to a customer. In order to successful marketing Chinese market, we should emphasis on team building, training and reward systems to satisfy the customers.
In this section of the marketing plan, our manager uses the strengths/weaknesses analysis to define the main issues that the plan must address. At the beginning, we should understand whether the planned distribution channels, price and promotion strategies can be worked for a long term. Secondly, we should know whether we have the enough capability to compete effectively with competitors. Also, we should adopt some valuable incentives to build up long-term relationship with our customers. Last but not least, we should make clarify at which stage we need invest more money in research and development.
After we have summarized the issues involved with the product line, we should decide on the plan's objectives. I think marketing objectives should be taken into consideration firstly. Set a unit sales volume target for Chinese market and obtain more market share should be primary take into account. Continuously enlarge consumer awareness of our firm brand from 5% to 20% over the planning period. As our brand is new to Chinese customer; it is hard to estimate the higher brand awareness at beginning. Enter the higher income segment of the around 35-year-old market with Internet services and ordering capability. Last but not least, re-evaluate the product price in order to compete with others.
Strengths should be the most important benefits we can bring to customers. One of main benefits we deliver to customers is the spare time created for parents to relax themselves. Parents need not to spend the rest of time play with their children except work. For the end-customer, the children will obtain a good friend who can listen to them and play with them all the time. Take advantage of advanced technology, our products can make changes constantly. We attempt to make it become a long-term product.
There are many toys in Chinese market. It is hard to differentiate our product with other competitor's products. Compared with existed toy manufactures, our promotion strategies and distribution channels will be hard to set up in a short period.
How to figure out the market gap and use of it thus to compete with other firms is a very important task for our firm.
The free trade agreement determines the more and more business opportunities for both parties. The increasing living standard and education expenditure explain the children's importance role in Chinese families. The advanced technologies create the endless business opportunities for our product. Even many competitors in this market, we can obtain a certain amount of customers due to the large amount of population.
More and more consumers take friend's suggestion into consideration when they purchase the products. Therefore, positive word-of-mouth is important than any other selling activities. As a new product, it is too hard to use word-of-mouth to promote the sales volume. Besides this, more and more customers get latest product information from web site. We did not build up our own web site for our company and product.
We are planning to launch the product into China market by piecing together the following 4p's marketing mix:
International product strategy
In the product strategy, we should take many factors into consideration, such as technical factor, package factor, education factor and so on. The product will be sold as a high-tech and educational product with the easy-to-use operation system and together with a detailed instruction brochure in Chinese. Because the product will be sold in China, we should change the English name "Jackie" to a Chinese name "xiao chou wa" which will help us to promote our next generation product in the same 'family' name. As to the package of our product, we used to use a handy package for our product in New Zealand, but we should change it into a big red package for the product in China, because the buyers are not the end user, we need to decorate it in a big package to satisfy the final consumer's needs. In Chinese culture, the big and red package must be a wonderful present for children. Most the children willing to receive this kind of present. Also, the big package stand on the shopping mall will catch potential's attention more than a small one.
International pricing strategy
When we setting the price for our product in China, we have to think about the impact of taxes and tariffs, exchange rate fluxions, competition pricing or income factor. Although the average income cannot be compared with the people in New Zealand, nowadays in China, there is a strange situation: the more expensive product, the more people willing to purchase. So, we planning to use set the high price to satisfy the early adopter's needs, while we can build up our high-tech products' image. However, we will provide special discount for early adopter when they make purchase in future. And when the product into growth stage and maturity stage, we will try to use market-penetration pricing to enhance the market share.
International promotion strategy
When we think about the international promotion strategy about China market, we should use the advertising and public relation or sales promotion firstly, followed with personal selling. Because advertising is a most popular way in promote a new product in China, at least, it can give people a reminder when they decide to buy a new product. China is a well-know relation-based economy country; it means public relation is one of the most import tools in promotion a new product. We can send the new product as a present to the primary school and kindergarten; it will give a chance to let our potential consumer to touch the product. Also, we can use these places to do sales demonstration, and using this way to close the relationship with potential consumer. Of course, we should better to do all promotion message based on the slogan "the earlier you take me home, the earlier to make your child clever" and set again the theme of the "educational toy".
International distribution strategy
Because China is a big potential market, it is hard for us to control all the matters by our limited staff. So, we will try to select 2 or 3 local distributors as our agents to deal with the customer problems. In order to keep our good quality product and our company's image, meanwhile, we will set up a call-centre in China, than we can not only get the sales volume from our agents, but get the exactly feedback from our customer directly. Of course, we will train all the local staff in call-centre in order to build up good company's image for all consumers.
Marketing plan is the central planning tool combine with all the marketing strategies, therefore it play an important role for a firm to explore a new market. The clearer a firm know about its weakness and challenges, the easier it is to draw up a favourable marketing plan. We can make success in marketing Chinese market if we monitor Chinese market constantly and revise our marketing plan accordingly.