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Job Product Analysis, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Clayton Christensen’s milkshake example underscores the importance of communication with customers because many companies have inaccurate understanding of why their customers buy their products or services. As a result, they design faulty and ineffective marketing and competitive strategies. Some of the ways to understand why a consumer buys a product or service includes learning aboutcustomers’ background as well as the context in which a particular product or service is consumed.

The restaurant in Christensen’s article was selling milkshake and they wanted to increase milkshake’ sales so they conducted customer survey in order to understand what customers wanted the milkshake to be like in terms of taste and other product characteristics. Even though they took customers’ ideas and incorporated them into the product, they failed to see any results in terms of improvement and they only found the answer after they decided to focus on the customer instead of the product itself which confirms the importance of customer-oriented marketing strategy (Richards).

I enjoy sports but I don’t engage in active sports lifestyle anymore. But at the same time, I religiously follow NFL and NBA games and one of the products that are regular presence in the hands of the athletes is Gatorade sports drinks. I initially started drinking Gatorade during high school when I would regularly play basketball and football because the company’s marketing campaign convinced me it is a superior alternative to water in terms of replenishing lost energy. Watching professional athletes drinking Gatorade sports drinks only lent credibility to the marketing campaigns in my mind even though sports teams are paid by marketers to bring visibility to the products. I don’t play sports as regularly as I used to yet I still drink Gatorade regularly. After reading Christensen’s article, I realize that I became a regular consumer of Gatorade products not for the fact that I really felt a difference after substituting water for Gatorade sports drinks but because I wanted to emulate the athletes I admired. Another reason was that it made me feel hip and cool as compared to those who drank soda drinks because being a Gatorade consumer sent the message that I take my health seriously and don’t consume unhealthy products.

Gatorade has several substitutes because celebrity endorsement has become a major part of overall marketing strategies for many companies and at the same time, consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the health aspects of snack food and drink products they consume. One substitute is Glaceau’s Smartwater which is endorsed by actress Jennifer Anniston (Mendoza, 2012). Smartwater is a close substitute because Jennifer Anniston is known for her attractive figure and flawless skin despite being in her 40s now and looks quite younger than her age. Smartwater enjoys association with one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood which may make the product especially appealing to female customers. In addition, smartwater is relatively more expensive than other packaged water products as such Aquafina and Nestle Pure Life, thus, smartwater consumers may also feel standout from other packaged water consumers. Another substitute may be Fuze juice and tea products. Fuze products have a reputation for having low calories and in addition, tea gets considerable coverage in the media for its health benefits (Rayski). Fuze has been endorsed by popular singer Rihanna in the past(Creswell, 2008) and the brand can always sign new celebrities as its spokesperson. A combination of health perceptions and celebrity endorsement will make Fuze a close competitor to Gatorade which also enjoys both traits.

There are two marketing strategies that Gatorade may follow to expand its market and even strengthen brand loyalty among existing customers. One strategy is to sign musicians, especially those that often go on tours and/or popular for their energy during performances. Stage performances and world tour also require tremendous hard work and Gatorade could send the message in the ads that the drink is not only for sports but every activity that requires lot of efforts and energy. Currently, Gatorade has too strong an association with sports activities. Another strategy may be to place products in movies and TV shows to send the message that Gatorade is perfect as everyday beverage due to low sugar and calories and is a perfect substitute to soda beverages and other healthy drinks such as tea. These marketing strategies will significantly expand the company’s marketing reach. As of now, Gatorade’s primary target market are customers who lead an active sports lifestyle but these strategies will help the company target the general population just as soda brands like Pepsi and Coca Cola do. The company can convince customers that Gatorade is not only suitable for replenishing energy but also as everyday drink.

As far as current customers are concerned, they may increase consumption of Gatorade. One reason is that they may already have developed a taste for Gatorade’s products and now they will have more reasons not to limit the consumption to sports activities only. Another effect may be that the consumers may start demanding more flavors so that frequent consumption of available flavors doesn’t lead to product exhaustion. The number of flavors available under Gatorade brand is comparatively limited as compared to some competitors such as Fuze and even Vitamin Water.

But Clayton Christensen’s milkshake analogy is not without risks in case of Gatorade. First of all, pursuing the above-recommended marketing strategies may confuse the company’s most loyal consumers regarding the brand’s image. Gatorade has been linked to sports activities for so long now that it will be difficult for some consumers to view it as just another everyday drink and may even create doubt in their minds regarding the brand’s benefits claims. It is also possible that the brand’s pricing power may decline because some customers will see little point in paying a premium price for an everyday beverage.

Clay Christensen’s approach helps customers maintain peace of mind that they do not have to sacrifice taste for health and healthy products can also be tasty. The approach also lets some consumers emulate the lifestyles’ of their favorite sports and entertainment celebrities. Similarly, by better understanding the psychological needs of its customers, the brand marketers can design marketing campaigns with greater emotional appeal to targeted customer segments. Another benefit of the approach is that the shift focuses from the product to the customer which will help the brand expand its customer base.

The strongest argument made by Clay Christensen’s analogy is that the companies should not focus on product attributes but the needs that customers are trying to meet or the problems they may be trying to solve. This ensures that the companies better understand their customers but at the same time, this approach should be taken with caution so as not to confuse customers regarding brand’s promise and perceptions.

References

Creswell, J. (2008, JUen 22). Nothing Sells Like Celebrity. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/22/business/media/22celeb.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Mendoza, N. (2012, May 15). Jennifer Aniston the water babe turns back the clocks in youthful advert for H20. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2144959/Jennifer-Aniston-turns-clocks-youthful-black-white-Glaceau-advert.html

Rayski, A. (n.d.). 10 Soda Alternatives. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/photogallery/soda-alternatives.aspx#/slide-10

Richards, L. (n.d.). Four Phases of a Customer-Oriented Sales Strategy. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/four-phases-customer-oriented-sales-strategy-5261.html

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