Monday, 28 May 2018

Is Ryanair's 'Always Getting Better' strategy working?

The low-price, no-frills airline Ryanair implemented a strategy for improvement, 'Always Getting Better,' in 2014. Is this strategy working?

In a word, yes. The airline recently announced record profitability. Despite glitches like last year's pilot roster problems, the airline is attracting passengers because of its cheap, cheap flights. In fact, most flights are nearly full, which means finding room for carry-on baggage can be a hassle.

But the 'Always Getting Better' strategy helps keep Ryanair competitive by focusing the company on affordability, punctuality, sustainability and expansion of connecting flights.

Recently, Ryanair announced a refund offer for customers who book early and then find a lower airfare elsewhere. Not only will Ryanair return the airfare paid, it will credit customers with €5 to their Ryanair accounts. In other words, it's telling customers to go ahead and buy tickets without worrying about overpaying.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Beverage marketing evolves

From Innocent's new dairy-free beverages to Pepsi J-Cola for Japanese taste preferences, marketers are expanding their product mixes to expand their customer base and appeal to variety-seeking loyal brand fans.

Another reason for the proliferation of product extensions and brand extensions is consumers' desire for healthy, nutritious beverages. At the same time, beverage marketers are responding to governmental efforts to encourage healthier lifestyles.

In the UK, there is now a levy on high-added-sugar drinks. Beverages that are made of 100% fruit or vegetables will not be subject to this levy. Ireland and South Africa are also taxing high-sugar beverage products. Individual US cities are similarly taxing high-sugar soft drinks, all part of the effort to encourage healthy eating.

In this UK marketing environment, Britvic has experienced strong demand for its no- and low-sugar soft drinks. Barr is also experiencing strong demand for its low-sugar and no-sugar soft drinks. Watch for more product introductions as beverage marketers compete for the attention of consumers during the high-demand summer months.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Barbie and Ken show market segmentation in action

The original Barbie doll, made by Mattel, had blonde hair, blue eyes and long legs. Today, Barbie dolls (and Ken dolls) come in so many sizes, shapes and colours that there is a Barbie or Ken for everybody--market segmentation in action!

Royal dreams? Mattel markets the Dreamtopia Barbie and Prince Ken. A fan of Jurassic World movies? Buy a Claire Barbie or an Owen Barbie. Got a pocket? Barbie on the Go is sized to go with you to school or play or anywhere (see photo above). Want to try on different hair colours? Try the Barbie Colour Surprise Doll, with hair that changes colour when sprayed with water. 

As these products demonstrate, segmentation is not just a matter of age and gender. Mattel segments the market for dolls according to factors such as lifestyle ("on the go" for instance), desire for variety or novelty (Barbie Colour Surprise), interest in a blockbuster movie (like Jurassic World) and royalty fantasy (both prince and princess).

Not that Barbie is alone in the doll world. Bratz, for instance, is a direct competitor. And Barbie also competes with other types of playthings, not just dolls--including videogames and other digital play possibilities. Barbie and Ken have had mixed sales results in recent years. Will further market segmentation have a positive effect on consumer behaviour?

Monday, 14 May 2018

Riding the Royal Wedding marketing wave

On Sunday, 19 May, Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle will be wed at St George's Chapel. Both traditional and social media reflect the global excitement about this Royal Wedding. Above, the Instagram post announcing that Queen Elizabeth officially signed the Instrument of Consent for this wedding to take place.

Even before the Royal Wedding, consumers fascinated by Harry and Meghan began buying products they favour. Meghan's dresses and coats? Sold out within hours of her appearances. When she arrives for the actual wedding, expect media frenzy over her choice of designer and her accessories, not just her wedding gown--as marketers frantically scramble to produce similar products for non-royal consumers.

Wedding-related marketing continues strong on both sides of the Atlantic. In the UK, one estimate suggests that tourism, product sales and all other marketing connected with Harry and Meghan could add an economic boost of up to £ 1 billion this year. From wedding souvenirs sold by John Lewis to white chocolate hearts with the bride and groom's faces, there are a variety of products to satisfy every budget and interest. One UK charity is already marketing wedding products to raise money for helping homeless people.

Across the pond, brands are finding different ways to ride the wedding marketing wave. A salad dressing looking to promote a royal connection? Yes. A New Orleans hotel showing off royal flair for the royal occasion? Yes. So many US media outlets are airing programmes about Harry and Meghan and the royal family, it's easy to lose count.

Congratulations to Prince Harry and his bride, Meghan!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Marketing fashions with sustainability in mind


Inditex, which owns Zara and other well-known fashion brands, now disassembles old apparel to remake into 'garments with a past'. Its Join Life label features clothing made in part from reclaimed materials and made using processes that are more earth-friendly.

The company also invites customers to bring old/unwanted clothes to selected stores for recycling. If you live in Spain, where Inditex is headquartered, you can have the courier who drops off your Zara purchases take your old clothes back for recycling--quite convenient!

Inditex and other fashion marketers are becoming more active in adopting sustainability and promoting this aspect of their products to customers, suppliers and partners.

H&M, the fast-fashion retailer based in Sweden, has set the ambitious goal of sustainably manufacturing all its fashions by 2030. 'H&M group is . . . pushing the development towards a shift to a circular model; where materials are maximised and waste is minimised', according to its 2017 Sustainability Report. It is investing in startups that search for ways to make fabrics and recycle materials without environmental harm. 'We need to speed the shift toward waste-free models [of business]', says H&M's CEO.

Watch for more sustainability activities as companies seek to conserve natural resources, reduce waste, help the planet and differentiate their brands in the competitive global marketplace.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Latest in Specsavers marketing

Specsavers, the multinational chain of more than 2000 retail shops, appeals to consumers on the basis of local expertise, fashion design and affordable pricing. The company's multichannel strategy appeals to multiple market segments.

Local Specsavers shops examine the external marketing environment for spectacles and other eyewear products and offer products and services to meet the needs of their retail clientele.

Specsavers particularly wants to be known for its community involvement and social responsibility. So, for example, some UK stores recently participated in charity efforts like fundraising for Brain Tumour research.

The UK Specsavers organisation is highly social...and has attracted hundreds of thousands of views for its YouTube videos over the years. Its Twitter account, opened eight years ago, has nearly 40k followers. Its Instagram page features stylish eyewear for men and women, a complement to the pricing promotions in other media.

In Africa, nearly 300 franchised Specsavers shops emphasise affordable eyewear via social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The organisation offers free try-on of glass frames by mail, so customers can see how frames look at home.

In Australia, the Specsavers organisation uses the strapline 'Good looking styles at feel good prices' on its website. Its Instagram account asks brand fans to 'snap a spec selfie' and upload with the tag #LoveGlasses for a chance to win a prize. Its Facebook page has more than 110k followers and its YouTube account has nearly 1000 followers. The Australian Specsavers stores support hundreds of local community causes.

This updates the Specsavers example in the chapter on Analysing Customers and Markets, in my book Essential Guide to Marketing Planning.