Honda is a global automobile and motorcycle company. The company’s headquarter is in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. The company was founded in the mid 1940s by Soichiro Honda. Honda is the leading automobile and motorcycle manufacturer in Japan. Globally, Honda is among the largest automobile manufacturers. Besides automobiles and motorcycles, the company also produces generators, maritime engines and vessels, jet engines, and domestic equipments among others (Honda 1).
The company has subsidiaries/assembly plants all over the world, including United States, India, Pakistan and United Kingdom. The company’s motto “the power of dreams” articulates its aspiration to achieve and stir astonishing dreams through novelty. Honda is very dedicated to the realization of absolute consumer satisfaction through high quality products in both substance and visible aspects. Beneath the enticing artistic form of its cars and motorcycles lies state of the art technology. Honda is well known for producing luxurious and relatively expensive cars, including Fit, Accord, Legend and CR-V (U.S. News 1: Honda 2). However, for the purpose of our study, we will only concentrate on the Honda Accord.
4 Ps Marketing Mix for Honda Accord
The marketing mix is a set of expedient, strategic marketing instruments that are used to produce a requisite response from the targeted clients. They are also important tools for marketing planning and implementation. In addition, they comprise of all activities that the company takes part in to increase demand for its products (Merrikh 2). The classical marketing mix comprises of the 4 Ps. The 4Ps include product, price, place and promotion. The 4 Ps are adapted for physical products (Merrikh 3).
The Product has numerous definitions. For many consumers, products are basically tangible, physical entities that are available in the market to be purchased or sold. In marketing, product refers to physical goods and services provided, and the principle activities of the company (Akroush 120). According to Merrikh, there are three levels of the product, namely: core product, actual product and augmented product (8).
The three levels are also known as the core of the product. The core product encompasses all the benefits associated with the product. The actual product includes all the tangible attributes of a product, for instance, color, quality, branding and style. Last but not least, the augmented product includes all the activities meant to add value to the product, for example, customer care service, delivery services, warranties and innovative mode of payment (Merrikh 9). The Honda Motor Company has taken into consideration all the three levels of products. This has not only helped the company to enhance consumer loyalty, but has also helped to boost its competitive advantage in the global automobile industry.
The Accord is a state of the art car, which comes in different body styles. Its interior is splendidly built with high quality fabrics and dazzling style. It is the typical four-cylinder engine that gives the car an excellent speed and freeway overtaking power. The car has received numerous commendations for its simple acoustic and weather controls, as well as its spacious back seats. Its trunk size surpasses the expectation of many luxury car lovers, which allows it to comfortably accommodate rear-seat passengers and relatively large items. Other features include: brilliantly designed interior, leather covers, multidimensional dash, power-heated adaptable back seats, inbuilt navigational system, blind spot cameras, satellite radio, airbags, iPod connected music system, audio control steering wheel, touch screen displays, collision warning and much more.
The Honda Accord targets consumers with high taste for luxury cars and those who value comfort, quality and novelty. All these features meet all the three levels of the product in terms of their benefits and consumer satisfaction (U.S. News 2).
Honda Motor Company has adopted the following strategies for its product policy: horizontal range diversification strategy, quality differentiation strategy and assortment/product renewal strategy. The horizontal range diversification strategy guarantees the long-term satisfaction of the clients’ needs. The company’s brand comprises of a complex and contemporary range of product portfolio, even for the generally demanding tastes.
For this reason, it constantly adjusts to the requirements of the market pertaining to the product quality and innovation. The quality differentiation strategy refers to offering superior products to different market segments at different costs. Therefore, the brand provides quality products to both middle income group and affluent group at slightly different prices. Lastly, the assortment renewal strategy is a very intricate and dynamic policy. It results in the creation of novel product lines within the current range. This ensures that the product offered meets the requirements of the prevailing trend and technology. Market modification and product modification techniques, as well as the marketing mix modification strategies are employed in order to sustain a high level of sales by the company (Honda 2).
Price basically refers to the value of the products. It incorporates all the pricing-related subjects, for instance, retail prices, discounts, provisions of payment and credit (Akroush 122). Price is normally regarded as both the simplest and the most difficult means of competition. For example, it will be easy to compare the prices of Honda products with those of the rivals in the global market. However, it will be very difficult to figure out the price that will ensure that the profit margin conforms to the objectives of the company (Lamb, Joseph and Carl 64). Very low prices will translate to lower profits, while exorbitant prices will drive the company out of the business. In addition, owing to possible price wars, business entities are always extra careful in using price as a means of competition (Akroush 123).
The prices of Honda Accord range from $20 000 to $33000. Honda Accord LX is the cheapest ($20830, whereas Honda Accord Touring is the most expensive (33480). The prices of Honda products reflect savings when compared to the actual value of the product. The company’s products are priced at the upper edge to match the general positioning of the company as a high quality product and service provider. This is because low prices are normally associated with poor quality. In addition, the price range depends on the product positioning, target market, sales volume and other marketing inputs. This strategy has helped the company to maximize great opportunities to enhance sales and attain sustainable competitive advantage in the global automobile industry (Honda 3).
Successful products or services are insignificant unless their benefits are conveyed clearly to the clients (Merrikh 10). Merrikh defines promotion as different channels a company uses for its promotional activities. These channels may include printed adverts, electronic media, direct mail, trade fairs and exhibition among others (11). The very recent and most important promotional tool is the social media. Social media has taken the world by a storm.
Promotional strategies are used in defining and locating the target audience for the product and clearly passing specific messages. In addition, they are employed to create awareness of the presence of a given brand in the target market. In addition, they are used to ensure that the targeted customers get the right information about the product or service. This is normally achieved through the use of right medium and policy. By promoting the product, the level of visibility of the product is maintained and the demand for the product is set to an expending margin (Lamb, Joseph and Carl 65; Merrikh 12).
Honda Motor Company is well-known for novelty and high quality products. However, the company has never employed aggressive promotional activities. Instead, the company markets its brand by providing high quality products and excellent customer service. The Honda Accord is among the top five passenger cars in terms of sales. As regards advertising, the company has been extremely cautious and fastidious in their advertisements.
Honda usually projects its image as the most dependable brand in terms of state of the art technology and environmentally friendly products. Even in the TV adverts, the company has always promoted their hybrid cars that do not use petroleum products instead of promoting a particular brand. In other words, most of the Honda ads emphasize on the technological developments and ecological friendly image, which distinguishes the company from its rivals (U.S. News 3).
The company has promoted most of its cars and motorcycle through the print media. The ardent fans of Honda products are very much aware of its policy of upgrading and remodeling its cars and motorcycle on a regular basis to go with the latest technologies. In a nutshell, the company always introduces something new when launching a new model. In a number of countries such as India, Honda has staged road shows to market its products, particularly domestic equipments, generators and other machineries. Honda’s promotional activities earned the company “the best brand survey award” in 2009 due to the reliability of its brand, excellent advertising and Eco friendly image.
Direct sales can be made from the production center and through the company’s websites. Generally, direct sales circumvent the middlemen by availing the products directly to the consumers. Discounts and rewards are normally offered to increase sales volume. The objective of the promotional strategies is to influence the consumer purchasing behavior and to enhance brand loyalty (Honda 2).
Honda Motor Company also makes use of the social media, which has become a very significant platform for marketing in this day and age. Honda is also embracing the use of social media to market its products. The company has an official Facebook and Twitter pages for communicating their product portfolios and interacting with the existing and potential clients. The video adverts are also available in the YouTube. All the company’s social media sites are superbly integrated in such a way that ads on one social media site are linked to other sites. In other words, ads posted on the official Facebook page can also be found on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google Plus (U.S. News 6).
Furthermore, Honda has integrated corporate social responsibility with its marketing and brand strategies. This is because the company’s operations affect many people, not just the stakeholders. Therefore, just like individuals living in the neighborhood, the company is a responsible member of the community in which it operates. The company’s responsibility to the society in term of CSR is in four parts, namely: economical, ethical, philanthropic and strategic. Meeting these four obligations is very crucial for its long term growth. In addition, CSR has helped the company to strengthen its relationship with the consumers and other stakeholders (Honda 4; U.S. News 6).
This is the distribution point through which companies deliver their products and services. The place where consumers purchase goods and the channel used must be well fitting and convenient. In other words, the products should be at the right location, at the right occasion and in the right amount, while maintaining warehousing space, stock and supply cost at a satisfactory level (CIM 5).
Stock control is an important aspect employed by companies to control the flow of physical goods (Lamb, Joseph and Carl 68). As already been mentioned, Honda’s head office is in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. The company has subsidiaries across the continents, including America, Europe and Australia. In some countries, Honda carries out its business through partnership with local companies; this is partly due to legal requirements in those jurisdictions. Nearly 90 percent of the company’s cars are sold in the United States. In the United States, its assembly plant is based in Torrance, California. The company sells its product through an independent retail chain known as Honda Access.
Honda has one of the best sales and distribution network: 120 facilities and dealership in over 60 cities. The company’s supply chain is based on the 3S plan, which provides an array of products to its clients. The 3S stands for Sales, Service and Spares. Having established itself as a top brand in the major cities across the globe, Honda is currently emphasizing on expanding its operations to 2nd tier towns and increasing its dealership in each continent. The company is targeting over 2000 outlets in each continent. Its expansion strategy is based on 1000 cars per dealer. Last but not least, Honda is planning to increase the production capacity of each assembly plant to over 3000 cars per annum (Honda 5).
Honda is one of the top companies in the global automobile industry. The company’s success is attributed to product quality and innovation, as well as its Eco friendly image. However, the company’s prices for luxury cars, for instance, Honda Accord are higher than that of its rivals. For this reason, the prices should be re-evaluated. The company should also shift its focus to the emerging markets, particularly the Asian market where the demand for luxury cars is growing day by day.
In addition, the company should carry out more studies to understand the culture of different jurisdictions. This is because the company has been criticized a number of times for its frail brand image in the European and African cultures. Last but not least, it is high time the company starts to embrace aggressive promotional strategies and tactics like its rivals. This is because the current strategies have proven to be ineffective. The strategies used should focus on particular brands to increase consumer awareness and enhance revenue.
Akroush, Mamoun. “The 7ps classification of the services marketing mix revisited: An empirical assessment of their generalisability, applicability and effect on performance – evidence from Jordans services organizations”. Jordan Journal of Business 7.1 (2011):116-146. Print.
CIM. Marketing and the 7 P’s: A brief summary of marketing and how it works, Berkshire, United Kingdom: Chartered Institute of Marketing, 2009. Print.
Honda. Power of Dreams. 2015. Web.
Lamb, Charles, Joseph Hair and Carl McDaniel. Marketing, Mason, Ohio: Cengage –Learning, 2012. Print.
Merrikh, Kian. 7 P’s of Marketing, Guelph: University of Guelph, n.d. Print.
U.S. News. 2015 Honda Accord Reviews. Web.