Introduction: IAMS Company Profile
IAMS was founded in the USA and specializes in the manufacturing of nutrition for animals (Background information on IAMS company 2014). The ideological foundation of the business development stems from the idea of the necessity of the increase of the proteins and fat in the nourishment for cats due to the absence of this matter in the 20th century (Background information on IAMS company 2014). The founder of the firm, Paul Iams, was a famous American nutritionist, who was a primary contributor to the development of sufficient dieting for pets (Background information on IAMS company 2014). The business turned into an international corporation of dog and cat food commerce by the end of the 20th century (Background information on IAMS company 2014). In this instance, the initial goal of the paper is to develop an understanding of UK IAMS targeting and positioning strategies while comparing it with the core competitors such as Purina and Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
Target Marketing and Positioning
Theoretical Essentials of Target Marketing
Firstly, STP (Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning) approach is a strategic approach that is frequently used in modern marketing for the successful development of the marketing plans to identify the prioritizing positions and develop new activities and programs to increase the attractiveness of the company among customers (Lilien, Rangaswamy & Bruyn 2013). A target market can be defined as the company’s primary audience selected for the development of the value proposition and delivery of the services or products (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel 2008). In this instance, it provides insight information about the market and determines the ability of the company to discover the preferences of the consumers to generate demand. Nonetheless, the differences in the targeting marketing strategies tend to be present, as some companies tend to select the same marketing mix for the whole market while others diversify it for the different segments (Weistein 2013).
In this instance, the presence of these strategies has a reflection on the functioning of IAMS. It could be said that the company positions its products differently to each segment, as IAMS provides diversified product lines for cats to enhance different characteristics (IAMS: cat food 2016). In this case, different design and features to attract the owners of the cats of different age groups (IAMS: cat food 2016). The presence of this matter contributes to the understanding that the company utilizes slightly different approaches to target its segments. As for the description of the consumer group, this tactic will be discussed in the consumer segmentation section.
In turn, its marketing mix highly focuses on the ability of the company to deliver the right message to the users, as the positioning includes market representation and advertising strategy (Ashe-Edmunds 2012). In this instance, as a large international firm, IAMS utilizes the visual representation of the firm’s quality products and consider pets as an actual consumer group. For example, the website offers separate nutrition guides such as Why large-breed kitten formulas are different? To attract the attention of the audience while cultivating the essentiality of the effective dieting for the animals (Kitten care guide 2012). Nonetheless, despite the ability to attract the attention of the customer, IAMS should modify its marketing strategy by conducting research about the potential customers of its products.
Another part of the marketing mix and targeting is a price, as it can be considered as core definer of demand (Weistein 2013). IAMS focuses on the price politics to justify its quality of the products while determining a rationale for the current price to quality ratio (Carraro 2003). It remains apparent that the company’s success is dependent on these factors, as it helps determine the sufficient strategies to reach the target market and increase the customer’s base. Nonetheless, despite the essentiality of the emphasis on the actions of current clients, it is vital to determine potential users of the products of the UK subsidiary of IAMS while conducting the analysis of the individual preferences and various biological influences.
IAMS Target Audience: Market Segmentation
Firstly, consumer segmentation theory implies grouping customers into groups based on the different variables, which define consumer’s characteristics (Sengumpta 2005). In turn, the segmentation helps develop the substantial understanding of the characteristics of the users by considering of various segmentation factors including demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, education, and level income), psychographics (alterations in behavioral patterns), lifestyles and beliefs, and geographical locations (Weistein 2013). In this instance, it remains apparent that the customers can be diversified based on the characteristics mentioned above.
The initial goal of this section is to describe the segmentation based on the different variables in IAMS. Firstly, the demands have to be vehemently considered, as they define the ability of the company to have an enlarging market share. One of the latest IAMS initiatives is addressed to the adults (both men and women) between 30 and to 40, who consider the essentiality to increase the benefits from the nutrition of their pets (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel 2010). In turn, the potential customers of IAMS’s products have to cherish the pets’ health and emotional condition. The family-oriented customers can be considered as the primary target group, as they tend to appreciate the possibility to have healthy and safe pets at homes. In turn, single people who consider their pets as their family members.
Potential customers of IAMS are characterized by such intentions as traveling with their pets, visiting special shops, and salons that take care of pets’ styles and looks, participating in special shows and competitions (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel 2010). Furthermore, children can be viewed as the initiators of having pets at home due to the positive influence on their development and socialization (Wilmshurst 2008). In this case, parents can play a role of the transmitters of the information while delivering the importance of food to the children. Additionally, the owners of the different kind of pets can be aimed at different product lines depending on the age of the animals (IAMS: cat food 2016).
Nonetheless, healthy nutrient diets are not inexpensive. It is expected that the customers of IAMS have middle or even high incomes to be able to meet the initiated price policies of the company. IAMS understands the essentiality of the products to the customers due to the premium value of their product and relevant price to quality ratio (Carraro 2003).
Main Competitors and Worth of IAMS
During a long period of time, IAMS has differentiated itself by means of producing nutritionally complete food for pets and the promotion of animal proteins. The main competitors of IAMS are Purina and Hill’s Pet Nutrition (Carter 2015). These companies are associated with a similar idea to provide animals with health and protection in terms of feeding (Carter 2015). The possibility to identify the leader of the market is questionable, but it is possible to analyze the effectiveness of their tactics and approaches. Hill’s Pet Nutrition is unique by its intentions to control scientific research and eliminate the presence of dangerous experiments (Wortinger 2013). Purina offers a new program to provide testing to the individuals to assure the compliance of the product with their pets’ needs and safety requirements in terms of dieting (Wortinger 2013). In turn, the exceptional feature of IAMS is the quality of food and supplementary material that can be offered to pets belonging to different age groups (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel 2010).
The positioning of IAMS and Its Competitors: 4Ps
Firstly, it has to be mentioned that the positioning implies the creating of distinct competitive advantages to differentiate itself from the competitors by using a unique marketing mix (Sengumpta 2005). In this case, 4Ps is used as a substantial instrument to determine the company’s incomparable qualities while comparing it to the features of the competitors (Barker & Angelopulo 2005). This approach is applied in the context of IAMS to evaluate the company’s pricing, product, marketing, and distribution strategies.
Price and Product
The pricing strategies tend to be based on the marketing strategy of the products and their quality and include premium, market penetration pricing (lower than competitors), skimming (higher than competitors), and low-quality to the low-price ratio (Shindler 2011). In this case, market penetration pricing and skimming take place during the market entry strategy while others take place during the maturation stage (Shindler 2011). As for the product, it has to combine unique features, comply with the demands of the customers, and have competitive features (Shindler 2011).
The prices for the firm’s food are high in the UK, and this fact implies that it uses premium pricing (Carter 2015). Thus, the cost standards of the business’s main competitor, Purina, are twice lower than the proposal at IAMS (Cat food guide 2015). The discrepancy may be traced on the basis of the Petsmart review, which provides an account of leading pet food products. One may deduce that one kilogram of the basic Purina food costs approximately $15 (Cat food guide 2015). The prices for IAMS, in contrast, reach $30 per kilogram (Cat food guide 2015). Due to the price discrepancy, IAMS is superseded by Purina, according to the marketing assessments and evaluations (Cat food in the United Kingdom 2015). However, the company management refuses to change the cost policy due to the claim that the firm follows medical recommendations and standards of healthy pet nutrition, which requires exclusively high-cost resources.
In turn, the product differentiation is portrayed with the assistance of the price to quality ratio. The UK IAMS firm claims that the primary positioning orientation of the business does not include price regulation but is directed to the satisfaction of the customers’ demands and assurance of safety (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel 2010). The strategy serves as a direct characteristic feature of the global brand positioning (Gelder 2005).
Place and Promotion
In turn, the place implies the choice of the relevant distribution channels (direct/indirect, retailers, wholesalers, and establishment of own locations) for practice, and the promotion suggests the application of the various marketing tools to reach the target audience including the advertisement, content marketing, sales promotion, and others (Weistein 2013). Concerning place and advertisement positioning, they are primarily realized through Internet marketing and content management in the context of IAMS. According to the assessment of global sales, the rates of IAMS purchasing through the Amazon store supersedes the income ratings of regular pet food shops (Cat food guide 2015). The crucial advantage of the IAMS website is its nutrition philosophy statement, as it is based on the achievements of the company, which are unique nutrition formula usage, the introduction of protein-based feeding, and kitten stage formulas (Nutrition philosophy 2015). As for the distribution, it utilizes the retailers to assure the delivery of the products to the target audience with the assistance of mass distribution via Proctor & Gamble (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel 2008).
Regarding the current position in the market, IAMS needs to develop a strong brand-switching platform that would employ clients’ equity and transform the needs of the pets to comply with the company’s value and vision (Rust 2004). The first limitation of successful IAMS marketing evolved in the UK, where the firm’s management was accused of the violation of animals’ testing (Johnson par. 1). The problem stemmed from the scandal that was recounted by the IAMS’ primary competitor, Purina. The company sustained pets’ exploitation with the aim of verifying the new nutrition formula (Johnson par. 1). The evidence proved that hundreds of animals experienced terrible agonies as a result of stage nutrition testing, which was launched by the British firm in 2012 (Johnson par. 1). The accusation adversely affected the reputation of the business and was the critical cause of the decrease in the demand for IAMS products. Therefore, today, IAMS needs a new marketing planning, which would guarantee a clear production platform to eliminate the presence of controversial matters.
Moreover, the IAMS may create individual formulas of consumption, which would be certified by veterinary and would be directed to the specific groups of pets regarding the features of their nutrition. Finally, the IAMS might launch the program of owner care. In turn, it can introduce a new line of dry substances, which would be mixed by the owners of the pets to assure the clients’ ability to verify the content of every IAMS product. This tendency stimulates the development of a positive form of relations between animals and their owners (Dooley 2014). The principal marketing theory applied by the management of the business is the STP doctrine that helps to consider the information gathered concerning IAMS’ potential customers, their needs, and expectations and to define the opportunities of IAMS regarding the achievements of its main competitors and positioning in the market.
The development of a successful marketing strategy relies on the establishment of some stable long-term as well as short-term business goals, which outline the directions of business development and predetermine the increase in selling rates (Cavusgil 2004). The central long-term objective of the UK IAMS firm implies a complete redefining of the product positioning. The new tendency would allow the employment of inexpensive pet food solutions that would differ from the original substances with the assistance of usage of the alternative ingredients. The company may prevent further extension of individual testing and passes the responsibilities of production verification to the medical establishments with respective licenses (Valdivia 2010).
The second chief goal of IAMS is to embrace a multilevel psychographic marketing orientation. The concept represents an efficient appeal to the needs of the customers through the use of social media advertising (LeBret 2015). Today, the company is responsible for introducing new target auditory cohort (Knowing your audience – demographics and psychographic 2015). This goal may be reached through launching a new blog post system, which would allow public appraisal or condemnation of IAMS’ success.
Conclusion: Estimating the Advantages of the Global Subsidiary
The complex overview of IAMS strategies provides an understanding of the nutrition ideas. The analysis of the respective market segmentation demonstrates that IAMS production has a well-established customer’s base. Despite the positive changes in the consumption rates, the company’s positioning lacks consistency in comparison to the competitors’ marketing strategies and tactics. The overview of Purina and Hill’s Pet Nutrition depicts the ability of these companies to outperform IAMS in terms of pricing efficiency, distribution accessibility, and advertising strategies. Additionally, the study highlights the presence of the challenges and consequence of the scandalous testing. Lastly, the company’s management need to initiate the enhancement of the positioning of the brand the pricing policy while improving the level of accessibility for all customer segments and modifying the knowledge regarding the questioning of the production testing could be rebutted (Liefner 2014).
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