Executive Summary The report seeks to analyze and assess the integrated marketing communication mix strategies adopted by Toyota Company for the United Kingdom market. The main communication strategies embraced by the company include advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and personal selling. These marketing communication strategies are implemented into its target markets through selected media channels, such as print media, broadcast, display, and online media. The company also uses other marketing techniques like market segmentation, positioning, and branding strategies with the aim of making the integrated marketing communication strategies more effective and competitive. The United Kingdom automobile market is very competitive with Toyota Company facing stiff competition from Ford, Vauxhall, and Volkswagen. However, the company has segmented the market based on behavioral attitude and lifestyle of the consumers to appropriately position the different brands on specific target segments
Analysis of the Integrated Marketing Communication Mix Strategies of Toyota Introduction Integrated marketing communication is a comprehensive marketing plan that is designed to evaluate and establish the strategic roles of different promotional techniques, such as advertising, public relations, sales promotion, and personal selling. The integrated marketing communication mix provides various strategies that can be used to enter new markets or expand the existing market reach for a certain brand. Toyota Company is committed towards devising new marketing strategies for expanding its market share in United Kingdom. As the international strategic brand manager for Toyota Company, I purpose to analyze and assess the integrated marketing communication mix strategies that are applicable for the United Kingdom Market. Upon analyzing these strategies, I will recommend future actions for Toyota Company, which will facilitate the expansion of United Kingdom’s market outreach.
Literature Review Academic researches on different theories of marketing have been conducted by different researchers; thus, providing detailed academic literature on the subject. The main focuses of different academic researchers are the theories of market segmentation, positioning and branding strategies as well as the integrated marketing communication mix (Syed & Saint, 2013). The literature review focuses on conducting an extensive review of the existing academic literature on segmentation, positioning, branding strategies, as well as the integrated marketing communication mix.
Market segmentation is described as a marketing strategy that involves division of the broad target market into small groups of consumers in accordance with their perceived needs, interests, and priorities. Market segmentation is perceived as one of the most convenient marketing strategies for acquiring market share in a competitive market. In the study of segmentation of the car market in China by Adrien Saint and Imran Syed, they considered four main bases for market segmentation. According to the research, geographical segmentation is described as a marketing strategy whereby the consumers are categorized according to their needs geographically (Syed & Saint, 2013). It means that the consumers from different geographical areas are entitled to specific product designs depending on their needs and preferences. The demographic segmentation focuses mainly on the age, gender, income levels of the target consumers for the products.
According to the findings of this study, market segmentation has been a very critical marketing strategy for the emerging Chinese car market (Syed & Saint, 2013). The fast growing Chinese economy, as well as the huge population makes the market segmentation strategy to be the most convenient for ensuring that all the segments of the car market are fully captured by the automobile companies.
The geographical and demographic segmentation were more significant compared to the behavioral and psychographic segmentations. The choice of the aspect of market segmentation as one of the main marketing strategy for the Chinese car market has produced better results as the car dealers are able to address the behavioral and preferential profiles of the Chinese car customers by segmenting the entire market on different bases of market segmentation (Syed & Saint, 2013).
The findings of this study can be used as the bases for determining the effect of market segmentation of the United Kingdom automobile market on the sales performance of the Toyota Company.
Market positioning strategies are adopted by companies that operate in very competitive markets to ensure that they remain competitive in the market. Brand positioning strategy is the commonly used market positioning strategy for the automobiles markets that ensures that the different automobile brands occupy a distinct position relative to other competing brands.
A research conducted by Jeannie Bhatia in 2013 sort to study the marketing strategies of car manufacturers in India. The study focused on the brand positioning strategies adopted by the car manufacturers and the effect of brand positioning on the sales level of the companies (Bhatia, 2015).
The car manufacturers in India use specific brands to identify and differentiate their automobiles from those of their competitors. Brand positioning of the automobiles creates both short term and long-term benefits to the manufacturers.
In the short term, the manufacturers gain much from brand recognition, which translates to a competitive advantage on loyalty in the long term. According to the findings of this study, the existing marketing strategies adopted by the car manufacturers in India have led to adverse effect on consumer preferences, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty towards a specific brand (Bhatia, 2015).
However, the buying behavior patterns of the customers are changing drastically because of globalization. Therefore, the current marketing strategies adopted by such manufacturers do not respond to the current individual expectations, preferences, and brand loyalty of customers because of existence of many diverse factors that influence the buying behavior patterns of the customers.
The study recommends for the need to analyze other specific factors that influence the car owner’s decision of acquiring a specific car brand as opposed to other brands available in the market.
Detailed analysis of such factors will enable the car manufacturers to identify the most suitable marketing strategies for promoting their cars on India and beyond. The study on the impact of integrated marketing communication on consumer behavior by Camelia Mihart provides a useful insight on the need for well-coordinated promotional tools to guarantee a perfect execution of the complex strategic marketing processes.
The integrated marketing communication mix has been described as one of the major ways of achieving strategic marketing goals for many multinational companies that seek to influence the buying behavior of the consumers of their products.
The marketing mix has incorporated key concepts into the integrated marketing communication mix, such as the product, price, placement and marketing communications. This study focused on establishing the effects of integrated marketing communication on the consumer behavior, which in turn affects the consumer decision making process.
According to the findings of this study, the research on the integrated marketing communication is very complex and it needs an in depth analysis of the impact of this mix on customer need recognition, information search and the evaluation of the various factors that influence the customer strategic marketing decisions (Mihart, 2012).
Market Environment Review The United Kingdom automobile market has turned out as one of the most competitive markets around the world because of the existence of numerous automobile companies that are committed to offer quality vehicles to the customers.
Toyota Company has secured a significant section of the automobile market in United Kingdom in the recent past due to the adoption of strategic marketing techniques such as the integrated marketing communication mix, market segmentation and brand positioning (Grybs, 2014).
The market share for Toyota Company in United Kingdom has risen from 2.73 percent in January 2014 to 4.17 percent in June 2016. This consistent rise in market share is an indicator that the company is striving to acquire a larger market share having been ranked ninth highest car sales in United Kingdom market in 2015.
The Toyota Group in United Kingdom owns Audi; thus, making it to have a larger market share since it captures the Toyota and Audi customers in United Kingdom. The United Kingdom automobile market is very competitive due to the presence of numerous automobile companies who are committed towards providing efficient and quality vehicles to the people of United Kingdom. The main competitors for Toyota Company in this market include Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen, which are among the leading car companies in United Kingdom. These three companies are the main competitors for Toyota because they are well established in the market and their brand positioning has been very effective. Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen have proved to be the most dominant car companies in United Kingdom in that order as other companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan and BMW try to acquire a significant market share in United Kingdom (Dvir & Strasser, 2014).
The business operations of Toyota Company in United Kingdom market has faced numerous challenges that have prevented the company from competing effectively with other leading car manufacturers. The Toyota vehicles have experienced some technical problems in the past forcing the company to recall millions of cars due to faulty steering wheels and seats. These problems have ruined the reputation of the brand in United Kingdom market; thus, paving way for its competitors to take advantage of such defects and maximize on the market acquisition (Talbot, 2015). The efficiency and reliability of the Toyota cars has been rated lowly in United Kingdom due to the numerous defects that have been identified with the brands. In addition to the defects in the cars, Toyota has not been engaged in strategic marketing like other well-established car manufactures in the market.
Considering the nature of the market trends experienced in the United Kingdom automobile market, Toyota Company needs to make strategic marketing decisions in order to remain relevant in this competitive market. The company needs to embark on brand positioning to ensure that the Toyota brand is well recognized and its reputation strengthened in the minds of the customers (Muthumoni & Priya, 2015). Since Toyota produces cars of different sizes, quality and design, the company ought to engage in comprehensive market segmentation in order to target specific customers for specific brands. The company also needs to embrace the concept of integrated marketing communication in order to integrate all the marketing tools available for such market and maximize on advertising, sales promotion, public relations, among other marketing techniques.
Company Strategies Integrated marketing communication involves the integration of a company’s marketing communication channels to ensure that they deliver a clear, consistent, and compelling message about the company brands and the entire organization at large. Toyota Company needs to embrace the integrated marketing communication strategies to identify the target customers for their brands and create well-organized promotional programs to ensure the needs of the customers are clearly identified. It has adopted various integrated marketing communication strategies such as advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations and direct marketing (Subramaniam & Nair, 2013). In addition, the company has embraced market segmentation strategy on the basis of geographic, demographic, behavioral and psychographic segments as well as market positioning and other branding strategies.
Toyota has identified specific target audience for their products in the United Kingdom market in order to deliver the right brands according to the needs of each segment. These segments have been established through a rigorous market segmentation process that seeks to classify the customers based on their behavioral attitudes and their lifestyle. The Toyota brands are specifically designed for different segments because they consist of different sizes, models, prices, quality and designs. Therefore, is very easy for the company to identify a specific target segment with a certain car model because of the nature of the diverse variety of vehicle brands manufactured by Toyota (Dibb, Simões, & Wensley, 2014). Toyota land cruiser and Toyota Prado are designed for the high class customers who have massive wealth and have high preference for quality cars.
On the other hand, the Toyota Fortner and Toyota Kluger are designed for middle class customers who are not able to afford the classy models available in the market. The Toyota Company realizes that the middle class customers are able to afford most of the car models availed in the market by different automobile companies.
Therefore, the company is committed to ensure that it produces quality brands, which can compete effectively with other brands in terms of efficiency, reliability and price (Blasco & Sobbrio, 2012). In addition, the Toyota corolla and Toyota Rav4 are designed for low-income earners who strive to save their earnings in order to buy such Toyota car models, which are perceived to be cheaper.
The company targets this segments because it does not have a classy lifestyle but rather purpose to acquire personal cars for the sake of convenience in transport. Such customers not only require cheap cars in price but also require cost effective cars that are cheap to run and maintain in the long term.
Toyota has embraced the concepts of competitive positioning and differential appeal in its United Kingdom market because of the high competition experienced from other automobile companies across the world. The company is committed to make strategic marketing approaches in terms of brand positioning, brand image and brand effectiveness. The brand positioning by Toyota seeks to position the image of their brands in a proper location in the mind of the consumers in the target market segment (Ho, 2015).
The good branding positioning for the Toyota Fortner and Toyota Kluger, which are designed for middle class customers, has enabled the company to effectively compete with other automobile companies for the United Kingdom market. The brand imaging of the Toyota models has been done through creating adverts that try to persuade the customer to change their perception and preferences for the Toyota brands. The target customers for the Toyota vehicles have been issued with guarantee for the brand effectiveness of the cars through recalling any car that has a manufacturing defect (Walker, 2015). This has created a very competitive positioning and differential appeal for the Toyota brands thus enabling the company to remain competitive in the United Kingdom automobile market.
The Toyota Company has paid a lot of attention on media selection and communication mix management because if the need to develop an efficient integrated marketing communication mix. The company purpose to use specific media for the purposes of marketing its brands in order to ensure that the message reach all the target segments within the United Kingdom automobile market. The major media channels selected by Toyota Company include the print media, broadcast, display and online media (Kagali, 2014).
The company uses print media for the purposes of exhibition of the different car models, broadcast is used in public tours to publicize the brands, display is used in the showrooms, which are located in strategic streets within the major cities, and the online media involves the advertisements using different celebrities. Toyota Company has invested many resources in the management of its marketing communication mix in order to increase its market share. The company manages the marketing aspects of advertising, sales promotion, publicity, personal selling and direct marketing with the aim of ensuring that the marketing communication mix is fully integrated into the company systems (Roux, 2014).
Recommendations and Conclusions According to the findings of this research, it is clearly evident that Toyota Company has been experiencing a rising trend in the market share in United Kingdom but still experiences stiff competition from other global automobile companies. The choice of the integrated marketing communication strategies by the company has played a major role in promoting the increase of the company’s market share. However, Toyota Company ought to do more in order to make the integrated marketing communication strategies more effective and competitive by ensuring full adoption of these marketing strategies in all market segments in United Kingdom. This can be achieved through selecting the most suitable media channels to facilitate the communication of the information about the various brands to the target customers.
The use of print media, online media, broadcasting and displaying will ensure the sales promotion initiatives, personal selling, advertising, public relations and direct marketing techniques are effective. In addition, the company should embrace the market segmentation strategies and brand positioning strategies for making the integrated marketing communication strategies more effective and competitive.