Part 1: Marketplace Situation Analysis
Analyze the internal and external influences of the company or brand marketing communication situations.
While interpreting the needs of the customers, as indicated in the proper discourse of internal marketing, Chrysler has determined that the customer desires a vehicle that is both capable on city streets, as well as in the country. By developing such a product, which is the Jeep Compass, Chrysler is appealing to this need of the customer and the marketplace. The information collected by Chrysler in making the Jeep Compass is brought to all departments so that they are able to create a product that appeals to their target market. In attaining this information, Chrysler would have listened to what its employees had to say about the needs of the public in this internal analysis. The support of the employees would also be needed when bringing the plan back to the employees for their input. This will continue to help identify who the customer is, and then customer valuation.
Quite often, the Jeep customers are also employees, and it is important for them to help key decision-makers with the company know what their needs are in order to identify customer touch points. This is a key way to analyze the internal influences that let the management know what the needs of the public are. A training program, such as the one employed by Nissan to help employees understand what needs to be done for proper identification of the needs of the buyer, would be a way to influence the employees to make effective suggestions. This would include identifying problems that customers have had with previous models of the Jeep brand.
In analyzing the external influences of the marketing communication situation, Chrysler must be aware of the brand message, which is the information and experiences that affect the public’s view of the brand. Chrysler is also influenced by the company’s behaviour, physical facilities. What others say about the company are also important. The company also considers what the people at the company are saying to the public. If something is said that the public doesn’t like, it can erase a lot of good messages that have been communicated by the company. These messages may not be exclusive to what the company chiefs have said, as it could also be communication in the form of an aspect of the vehicle that isn’t functioning properly. The company also considers the look of their vehicles at the sales lots. It would be ideal if the cars were clean and unabated by other vehicles on the lot. The price of the vehicles is another are that would need to be carefully looked at when developing the MC. Prices too high or too low could turn people away from the product.
Relative Strengths and Weaknesses of the Brand/Product
In analyzing the SWOTs it is important to look at the marketplace conditions. Because there are more people with less cash, since the onslaught of the global recession several years ago, Chrysler has added a line of vehicles to address the customers who don’t have as much money. The Compass is one of those vehicles. The ability of the company to add a line of cars that are more affordable is a definite strength, and a reaction of a weakness in the economy, though that weakness is out of the company’s control and considered a threat. The company has learned to adjust to the demands of its product due to the weak economy.
The Jeep Compass has reached the public, which is a strength. It has done considerable marketing to put this product into the minds of the public. The price is another factor that is a strength of the company, as it gives Jeep a competitive advantage over many of the other companies that perhaps can’t afford to manufacture the vehicle at a price as low as Jeep. The brand’s image is also very strong, which is another strength, as well as the financial strength of Chrysler and its wide range of vehicles.
The Jeep Compass is weak in the number of sales it has over many of its competitors. However, the brand has a wide range of vehicles compared to the offerings of other companies. For example, the Wrangler, Patriot, Liberty and Cherokee are in similar categories as the Compass. The wide selection is another competitive advantage and strength.
Customer Behaviour Analysis
When determining the behaviour of the customers, it is important to investigate the likes of the company’s employees. After all, many of these employees are customers as well. In making this determination it is helpful if the employees know what they should be looking at when determining their behaviour. A workshop can help them become focused on what they should pay attention to and what types of questions they should be asking themselves. The customers of the Jeep Compass are looking for a vehicle that will be suitable for the city and the outdoors, and it should cost around $20,000. The typical customer has a median income and likes to go on adventures during the weekend. They are often city dwellers and need one vehicle to perform the tasks of the city and of the country.
Looking at the brand-customer touch points will help in determining the customer’s behaviour. An investigation into customer feedback after their interaction with the company will help make the determination of their needs, and the things that they might not be happy with.
In determining the behaviours, the company needs to look at prospect buyers. They have the wants and needs of the target market but haven’t yet made a purchase from the company. Jeep needs to find ways to attract these people. The existing customers require a different approach. The focus is on making these people repeat customers. The company has ways to retain customers. For example, after buying a Jeep Compass, the purchaser will receive mail from Jeep about new offers. Jeep will even offer to buy back the vehicle that was sold and offer a new and more expensive vehicle in return.
Previous Promotional Programs Competitive Analysis
It is difficult to determine which previous promotional programs helped the company to attract customers. There are many promotions offered with the Jeep Compass, such as low financing, rebates and trade-ins. However, knowing which promotion has really brought the customer to the store to buy a Jeep Compass is relatively unknown.
In attempting to identify which promotional program the customer responded to, Jeep could look at the hierarchy-of-effects model, which is the series of stages that a decision maker with Jeep goes through in identifying four persuasive steps and effects that the promotion should go through, which is attention, interest, desire and action (AIDA). The action is talking to the customers to find out why they have decided to purchase the vehicle. This helps identify the previous promotion programs’ success. It’s important that the customer is included in a conversation about the effectiveness of a certain promotion, because the managers’ opinions can’t be trusted, due to the fact that it is very common that they all think alike. A customer view is needed.
The brand’s image isn’t enough for it to resonate with the customers. More work needs to be done in order to make a connection. That work is with advertising and the image that the brand wants to present is a reflection of what the customers perceive the brand to be. Because Jeep has been around for so long, the public now expects the company to continue its rugged image. And the company does that, but it has added a city element. A line of the vehicles, including the Compass, now appeal to the city dweller. And it’s the desire of this customer base that has led the brand to image itself after what the customer wants. The Jeep’s image is not only what it has been in the past, which was originally a military vehicle, but it is now combining that with the desires of the customers, as their tastes in the SUV market have adapted with the times.
Jeep’s conduct has been influenced by the economy. The company didn’t have much of a line of cheaper vehicles until the global recession. When that happened, the company started offering a line of vehicles, including the Compass, which are more affordable. This has allowed the brand to take that environmental factor and applying to several lines of the Jeep brand, and the number of sales has shown that the company has targeted the proper market, though there is room for improvement.
The company has also reacted to the trend in the SUV market. While Jeep could be considered one of the first SUV companies, it never really targeted its product to this class of vehicles since about one decade ago when higher lines of SUVs were being released to the market. Jeep’s reaction to this was to create several types of SUVs, and this is an environmental factor that has put Jeep among the top of its class in the SUV market. The rugged vehicles that Jeep was once known for are now higher quality and designed in a way that won’t just appeal to those who are looking for a vehicle that they can take into the backcountry. The demand for SUVs and the global recession has resulted in Jeep vehicles that are affordable, but have the luxury SUV quality.
Promotional Organization and Capabilities
When developing promotions, it is important to create a consistent message. The company should consider what has already been said to the customers and this should be consistent unless the company wants to change the brand identity. The promotions should include features that are important to the customers. For example, during the recent downturn in the economy, it would be wise for Jeep to have promotions that deal with rebates, as many people don’t have as much money to spend. Because the company is able to manufacture its product at a relatively cheap rate, the capabilities of Chrysler to reduce the price of the vehicles has increased.
While promoting the Jeep products is important, it is also wise not to bombard people with advertisements. This will cause the company to fail to get the message across to people and they often become annoyed with the company. Finding the right amount of promotions is an important aspect to the company. While Chrysler can afford to have many promotions, as it is in the company’s capabilities, it isn’t always a wise choice to have many advertisements.
What are the marketing implications (context of 4 Ps) of your situation analysis for your brand strategy and the development of your IMC plan?
The product needs to be something that can handle the terrain of off-road conditions, while performing well in the city. The vehicle needs to be marketed to the demographic of people who want this lifestyle. People already associate the brand with the function of off roading, but now they want something they can also use in the city.
Jeep wants to send the message that there is a vehicle for virtually any budget. The wide range of products the company offers appeals to various demographics. The status of the vehicle is quite high, as it has a lot of fans. It has in the higher-price categories the idea of status, but the lower-priced models appeal to those who want affordability. The company has to be careful not to slice the price too much, so it can avoid being perceived as a commodity by the public.
The company is careful to advertise on mediums that are associated with a quality product. Jeeps are often advertised on major television stations that many people are watching, and never on stations such as MTV or similar channels where the product wouldn’t be perceived as being sophisticated, plus the crowd watching MTV likely wouldn’t be the top market for the Jeep brand anyway. Chrysler products are sometimes advertised in newspapers, with full-page ads near the front of the newspaper or at the back, where people can see it. This is strategic placement because the company wants to have the best ads in the paper, so it comes across as being the best brand.
The company should keep in mind with its promotions the view that the public has of the product being clean, affordable and functional. The communication message should be marketed very carefully, so that the brand is perceived in the best possible light.
Part 2: Target Market and Segmentation
Use the five types of segmentation variables discussed in the textbook to select and describe three target market segments for your brand/product.
Behaviorial and Benefit Segments
The behaviorial and benefits segment would indicate that the customers that Jeep deals with should be broken up into those who are existing purchasers of Jeep vehicles and those who haven’t bought them before. This could be further broken down into those who have bought a Jeep Compass and those who have not.
The customers could be further broken down into those who buy the high-end Jeep products and those who go for the more affordable options.
Jeep can also determine the age, gender and ethnicity of its customers by documenting that information when a purchase is made. These demographics are often valuable indicators of the behaviours of the public. People who are paid well are more likely to buy a Wrangler than those who are not paid very much. The challenge here, though, is that customers often experience changes in education, age, income and various other factors.
Age, Life Stage, and Generational Cohorts
Jeep might want to consider appealing more to the senior citizens, as many people are now becoming seniors due to the aging baby boom generation. This means that Jeep could benefit from providing more ease and comfort with its vehicles.
The life stage could reflect on Jeep with the brand offering more cargo space for families, and seating that accommodates small children, such as what the Compass does. Cargo space would be good for family camping trips and other similar events.
The ethnic segments don’t greatly affect Jeep, as the vehicle is appealing to all demographics. There is not racial profile that can be attached to the type of people who enjoy having a vehicle that is reliable both in the city and in the countryside.
In this category, Jeep would be wise to market the Compass to any area where the driver has the capability of going to the country side while being in a city as well. The four-wheel drive vehicles that Jeep has should be marketed to people living in areas such as the Rocky Mountains, where four-wheel drive could be necessary.
The lifestyle activities are important components of this category when it comes to determining who to market the Jeep Compass to. This vehicle is targeted to a customer who has a certain lifestyle. They want the ruggedness that Jeep is known for and they want the ease and comfort that is needed for driving in the city.
Recognizing the relationships and establishing those relationships is important to Jeep. Once someone buys a Jeep vehicle, they will receive regular mail-in offers to buy newer vehicles from the company.
Selection of Three Target Markets
Jeep should target those who are repeat customers, those who are first-time customers and seniors. The company should use the principles of the relationship segment to establish and continue long-term relationships with the repeat customers and the first timers. This is also including the behaviorial and benefit segments in judging which customers are first timers and which are repeat. In addition to the existing customer base, the company should market to the baby boomers by promoting the comfort and ease of driving of the new line of vehicles, including the Compass. While the company wants to stay consistent with its message of being a rugged vehicle, it has already begun the transformation into a company that wants to appeal to those who want ease of driving. Seniors are a valuable category of consumers that are growing at a startling rate. Marketing to them would help bring on a larger customer base.
Identify the important consumer characteristics of the target market.
The target market varies quite widely in its characteristics. But to remain focused on the theme of this question and how it relates to the five segment variables, it is important to note that the customers are often repeats. However, there is also a lot of customers who are first-time buyers of the Jeep vehicle. Also, a lot of the customers are already relatively young people who have families and need a reliable vehicle to go on excursions with their families.
Explain how profiling a brand’s current profitable customers can assist in identifying segments and selecting segment characteristics that can help in creating MC messages and media selection to reach a targeted prospect segment.
When profiling a brands profitable customers, a company is able to see the age, education, family size, family life stage, residence type, ethnicity, religion, nationality, geography, occupation, gender and income, for example. This is often the best way to predict the customers’ behavior and the main means of segmentation. The type of vehicle a person buys is often directly associated with their age, income and education, for example. A younger adult is more likely to buy a Compass than a Wrangler because a Compass is cheaper. This means that the young adults would be the target of advertising. This also includes the type of advertising that is used. For example, a young family could be used in a commercial for the Jeep Compass. They might be unpacking the vehicle as they get ready to set up a tent while they are camping. This type of advertisement would be well suited to a TV station that is family friendly, such as Disney Channel, for example.
Part 3: Customer Relationship Management
Include the Module 2, Activity 8, Data-Driven Communication, in your assignment and comment on the status of your brand’s data-driven communication efforts.
In building relationships with its customers, Jeep undergoes several strategies that help the company get to know its customers better. After making a purchase at a Jeep dealer, the customer is placed onto a mailing list and receives promotions every couple months. These promos offer the client deals such as the ability to trade in the vehicle that they purchased for another one. There are often also big rebates on vehicles that are available “exclusively” to the customer that made the initial purchase of the vehicle. In this database are the names of the people and, if they used a credit card at any point to make the purchase, there is likely also information about the age of the person. The gender is also likely known from the customer’s name. The information is gathered during the sale itself, through scanner data.
Jeep chooses to send the mail via the post, which is a better way for the customer to see what they are sending them. When put on a mailing list for emails, the customer can easily decide to unsubscribe from the list or have the emails sent to the “junk” folder.
The data being collected is quite extensive, and it doesn’t take much work for the company to collected a large database of information. This is because the company has a Facebook page. Once a person connects with Jeep on Facebook, the company is able to access a lot of information about the person. Essentially whatever is included on the person’s profile page is fair game for Jeep to see. Once a person “likes” Jeep on their Facebook, then Facebook advertising can send promotions to the person that are related to the Jeep product. The advertisements appear on the person’s Facebook page. Jeep also utilizes Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest to connect with customers. Each one of the social networking sites has a profile attached to its user and Jeep can access that for information about the customer that can be added to the company’s database. These social networking sites also allow Jeep to have a conversation with the clients. The customer not only receives content from Jeep, but they can also reply to that content, so that Jeep knows what their customer is thinking and they are more able to create products that relate to the wants and needs of the customers. The customer loyalty is also built when Jeep is able to have a conversation with its base of customer from this form of data management.
Recommend a minimum of two areas to address in the IMC plan to improve the use of your brand’s database management systems.
Jeep could make use of offering to customers the option to have a card to make their purchases with. This wouldn’t be confined to the purchase of new vehicles, but also to part and accessories for the vehicle. The card will provide customers with deals on various promotions within the company. The card would give customers rewards after they receive a certain level of purchases. This would encourage the customers to come back to the Jeep brand for all their vehicle needs. By making the level of purchase only extend to a certain time period, this will encourage the customer to buy a new vehicle more quickly than they otherwise would. For example, if they wait for five years instead of their normal six to make a new purchase, then they will receive the benefits of owning the card. By extending the use of the card to the Jeep parts and accessories as well, people will be encouraged to choose Jeep products instead of the products that are offered to the competition. Offering this card would be a great way to attain additional information about the client, such as their age, occupation and education. Many companies do this to find out more about their customers. Some companies even offer credit cards, so that information about the buying habits of the customer can be collected. With Jeep’s card, an extensive questionnaire could be required to fill out before the card is given. That information could be used for the second recommended suggestion to help with the IMC plan.
The second suggestion is to use the information given during the card sign-up to personalize messages to the customer. After the information has been mined from the customer when they were signing up for the card, messages that are tailor made for that customer can be used. The information can be used to send out emails that have the person’s name at the top. That will make people far more likely to actually read the message that is contained within the email, rather than brushing it aside. The information contained within in the email can also be custom made for the customer once the information is known. For example, if the person has a family, the types of vehicles that are convenient for families should be marketed to that person. The images shown on the advertisement should help the customer picture themselves in the vehicle. For example, the image could be of a family on a camping trip.
What are the marketing implications of your marketplace situation analysis for your brand strategy and the development of your IMC plan?
The marketplace situation analysis has shown there is a need to have a newsletter to bring the Jeep community together. This newsletter is a way to help the Jeep customers create a culture, such as the one that is shared by people who own Harley Davidson. Owning a Jeep shouldn’t just be about getting from point A to point B, it should be about a lifestyle. Because the Jeep brand has such a loyal following, there should be ways for those who love Jeep to get together to share their experiences. While the Facebook and Twitter accounts that Jeep has are a good way to connect with the customers and build the conversation, there isn’t enough of a way for the fans of Jeep to get together and talk. A newsletter will help people in the database understand what Jeep is up to and what the company represents. This will create a deeper culture in the Jeep community and help people know of the new lines of vehicles are out. This type of customer loyalty building will prevent the need to customer reacquisition because many of the customers will never leave. Some will even like the brand so much that they will want to collect Jeep vehicles, much like how many people collect Harley Davidsons.
The IMC plan will have to focus on building this community, because it isn’t just the lack of an email list that is hurting the communication between customer and the Jeep brand, it’s also a lack of activity on the Facebook and Twitter pages. These pages should feature updates about the company relatively often (only every week or so). Because while it is important to ensure that lines of communication are open between the company and its clients, it’s also important to note the importance of not bombarding the customer with advertisements. This could be the reason why the company hasn’t created a mailing list on email yet, but it’s key to understand the importance of having a mailing list that allows the customers to communicate back to the brand. This interaction is a great way to ensure the customer is participating in the dialogue. Currently, the mail that the company is sending out doesn’t allow the customer to participate in any form of communication. This could mean that Jeep is missing an opportunity to connect with its customers.
Part 4: SWOT Analysis
From the information analyzed in Parts 1-3 above, summarize the external opportunities and threats and internal strengths and weaknesses for your brand.
The SWOT Analysis for Jeep helps point out some of the internal strengths and weaknesses of the brand. In discovering these issues, the company is better able to make a determination of the best course of action to ensure the most profitability in the future. The company is relatively strong, but there is room for growth in the database management systems, as previously mentioned with the email mailing list. Information provided from people who are signed up for a card will be helpful in developing this mailing list. Having the card will also help in ensuring that the company has the information needed to develop this list and to have a conversation with the customers, which will ensure there are many loyal customers who continually come back to Jeep.
The company is extremely strong in the identity that is has, as being a vehicle many people love to drive. Not to mention its identity with the U.S. military and the reliability people associate with a vehicle that was used during World War II. The company has a real opportunity where it can use that connection to build its customer loyalty and to create a product that identifies with people. Building a culture that is comparable to what Harley Davidson did is a real opportunity for Jeep and the way in which it can build that culture is by starting a conversation with the public, through its online resources such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as through the development of an email mailing list. In order to understand more of the strengths and weaknesses of the company, it should ask its customer, including the employees about where the company can do a better job.
Because the company has been so successful with other products, such as the Wrangler and Cherokee, it was able to leverage some of the risk in relation to launching its relatively new line of economy class vehicles, which have actually caught on. The success of the tough vehicles that the brand was known for is a help to the company because it was able to afford the risk of taking a loss on some vehicles that changed the image of the company. These include the Compass and Patriot. These two products are relatively new steps for the company, as it is moving away from just being a business that caters to those who are looking to drive off-road, and more towards those who need a vehicle that they can drive both in and out of the city.
Prioritize your brand’s SWOTs to complete SWOT Analysis.
The email list, while seemingly trivial in the brand’s success, can be used as a catalyst to building the culture with the Jeep brand. There is realistic damage the is being suffered by the company because it is not connecting enough with its customers through an email list. The snail mail that is being sent out doesn’t provide for the opportunity to connect with the customer, and the mail can very easily be thrown out with the rest of the flyers. The email list isn’t a quick and easy fix, as there needs to be a process where the company is able to develop a list of the email addresses. This could be accommodated in several ways. The first way is the most challenging, and that would be through the development of a card that provides the customers with a way in which they can keep track of the dollars they spend, and if they spend a certain amount within a specific timeframe, they receive a significant rebate on their next Jeep purchase. When people sign up for the card, they are asked personal information, including their email address, which then goes into a database that is used by people on the email list. The other way is to have an option on the company’s website that allows people to sign up for email notices.
By following through with this plan, the company will see a realistic benefit if the opportunity is leveraged. The mailing list will facilitate the communication among Jeep owners and it will begin to form a community. The following that Jeep could receive will form the type of atmosphere that could leave to meet-ups, where people meet with their Jeep to go off-roading, for example.
This type of a plan would require some start-up costs for implementation, but once rolling, it could be well worth it. The most expensive option would be the card that provides people who sign-up with discounts when they spend a certain amount of money on Jeep products. This type of a plan has a relatively wide window of opportunity, but the sooner it is executed, the quicker the database can form and the quicker the Jeep culture can begin to take hold. But there are also quick fixes, such as updating Facebook and Twitter statuses more often and having an option on the company’s website to register for newsletters. There would, of course, have to be a certain amount of work involved with writing the newsletters and updating the Facebook and Twitter pages, but the company is well-positioned to afford projects such as these.
Part 5: Communication Objectives (2-3)
Based on the prioritized SWOT findings, develop three specific marketing communication objectives to guide the development of your IMC plan.
The first objective is to develop the strategies by which to gain the customers’ email addresses. Once these are attained, either through the card sign-up process or through a registration option on the company’s home page, the company can begin to build the Jeep culture and the customers’ loyalty. The objective is to have a database of thousands of customers who would be interested in learning more about the Jeep activities. The goal should be to have the email addresses of roughly 75 per cent of those who buy a Jeep. Building the customer loyalty with that many people would help build the Jeep culture.
The second objective is to start a conversation with the customers online via Facebook and Twitter. There currently isn’t enough activity on these social networking sites and this needs to be approached in order for the company to continue its customer loyalty and culture building practise. It is interesting to note that Jeep already has a culture of people who love the vehicles, and the brand has appeared in many pop songs. This says there is a desire for people to be more involved in the activities of Jeep. The brand can easily calculate the number of people who approve of the brand via Facebook by the number of “likes” it receives on its status updates.
The third objective is to have the customers communicating with each other without the need for Jeep to get involved. Once Jeep has set the wheels in motion, the customers will likely take the wheel and start having their own conversations about their products. While it is difficult to set a number to this objective, it would be nice to have the first Jeep fan club page set up on Facebook by an outside source within six months of launching the dialogue on the Facebook page.
Describe how your objectives have evolved from the marketplace situation analysis, the target market segments, and the SWOT analysis for your brand.
There has certainly been an evolution in the way that the objectives have altered. In the marketplace situation analysis, I was more concerned with relying on employees to determine what the people want. But after learning about database management, it became clear that there is perhaps a more efficient way to collect information about the behaviours and desires of the customers. Then, from what I discovered in the target market segments, the two main divisions of customers that I want to target, which is those who buy often and those who are first-time customers, could be accommodated with the email list that is there for the customers to communicate with the company. Getting to know these customers better through the newsletter and the interaction via email, Facebook and Twitter will help in the process of ensuring both types of customers are targeted. Finally, with the SWOT Analysis, it became apparent that the company wasn’t doing enough to engage in conversation with its customers, and this is a customer base that already feels quite loyal to the Jeep brand. By engaging these customers more through the online tools, the company can begin to make that culture grow and see more people join the Jeep community.
Explain whether you are using communication and/or behavioural objectives for your IMC campaign and the rationale for your choice.
I am using both behavioural and communication objectives in the IMC campaign. The behavioural objectives seek to discover what type of person wants to Jeep vehicle, and it looks at the profiles of these people to determine its targeted marketing plan through the online resources, which is the communication objectives. In combining these two aspects, the Jeep brand can begin to communicate more clearly with its customers and gain feedback about what the company can do to thrive. I believe that the communication methods facilitate gathering information about the behavioral methods, so that the company can build the relationship with the customers and improve the Jeep culture.
State each objective in a concise manner that is concrete, specific, time specific, and measurable.
· Go through the process of data mining with every vehicle purchase.
· Offer a card for people to register with and have them fill out an sheet for information, with 75 per cent of customers signing up for a card.
· Develop an email mailing list that 80 per cent of customers sign up for.
· Communicate more often via Facebook and Twitter.