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Marketing Tools: How Small Companies Can Use Them to Succeed

Updated on November 30, 2017

MARKETING TOOLS: HOW SMALL COMPANIES CAN USE THEM TO SUCCEED.

Marketing is today an indispensable tool for any physical or non-physical company that wants to sell a product or service that meets the expectations and needs of the final consumer. As Kotler & Dubois said, "Marketing is the economic and social mechanism by which individuals and groups meet their needs and desires through the creation and exchange of valuable products and services with others." The primary purpose of marketing is to determine the non-expressing needs of consumers. This is tantamount to undertaking a prior study that will help to understand consumer behavior. Knowing your target, knowing their needs and expectations are the key factors.


“Africa’s sweetness” is a young company specializing in the preparation of African dishes. This business has been the subject of a marketing assessment to give it a sturdy foundation as it evolves in a very competitive environment. Our assessment focuses on three aspects that we think are important to consider for any young company, especially a restaurant, whose main concern is to increase customer loyalty and have greater visibility. Its three aspects are how to segment its market, how to position itself or targeting its customers, and finally how keep them loyal

The purpose of any business is obviously profit and the development of its business. Unfortunately, this is far from easy and it starts with a study of its environment. The first step is the segmentation of its market. Indeed, in a competitive environment where competitors such as McDonald's, Burger King, Papa John, Chilis, have a financial advantage, it is important for a young restaurant to segment this market and found neglected niches by these big competitors. As a result, Africa’s sweetness can segment its market with respect to lifestyle, belief and value, demographics, attitude. The goal here is to clearly identify the base of its clientele and thus adopt a mix marketing strategy that coincides with the needs and expectations of consumers. Thus, this first step will allow this restaurant the age of its customers, its income, its behaviors, their culture, their lifestyle, or their beliefs and values.

Segmentation is the process of portioning market into groups of potential customers with similar need and/or characteristics who are likely to exhibit similar purchase behavior (Art Weinstein 2004). Segmentation is a key element in the marketing strategy plan. It allows companies to analyze different markets, discover new opportunities(niche), which will allow them to position themselves. According to Jerry Thomas, “The purpose of segmentation is the concentration of marketing energy and force on the subdivision (or the market segment) to gain a competitive advantage within the segment.” Basically, segmentation help companies to concentrate their forces in a specific area and focus on the goal to achieve. It is impossible to go after every market opportunities. Companies, especially “Africa’s sweetness” should be able to make strategic choices.

Once the segmentation of the market has been done, the definition of the target and the positioning intervenes. The definition of the target can be done using some tools such as Marketing Mix 4Ps, promotion, place, price and product. This tool goes through all aspect of the company in order to create a specific market mix to fulfil the needs, as well as market conditions of each specific target segment (Kotler 1994). In our case, Douceur d'Afrique was the subject of an analysis that allowed us to identify its target, which is mainly to constitute African, young students who identifies with their culture. With the main product of African dishes and flavors, this restaurant dares to make a difference by offering dishes from all over West, South, Central and Eastern Africa. According to Kotler (1994, p293) the only sustainable generic strategy in a segmented market is differentiation. Indeed, Africa’s sweetness opts for a friendlier relationship with its customers. Located in Oklahoma City, this small restaurant opted first for a price strategy different from these competitors. Prices are fixed depending on what food are prepared and on what ingredient are used. Plates are made most of the time by order. Yes, some plats can be expensive, but where this small business play smart is that it does not give a chance of his customers to denied what they pay. All food cooked represent an escape from all other food they use to eat like pizza, burgers, Chinese food and so on. Living abroad far from your country and from your home food make customers forgot about the price. Another good thing is all food are well cooked with fresh products. “Positioning is not what you do to the product, but what you do to the mind.” (Ries 1996). Understand how customers receives information, trait them, and chose to accept or refuse these information, is what make any positioning goals matches with actual positioning in the target audience. Customer sometimes are easy to read. They have hidden needs that make them very important.

Africa’s Sweetness has been able to see that feeling of home missing and to transform that in a business opportunity for them. However, even client can be easily attracted to a new thing, no matter what if they like it, they still need to be trait as they deserve. A happy customer, an enjoyable environment that make them schedule a stop by each week is a proof of loyalty. The customer loyalty definition Kotler stated is great customer service leads to customer loyalty. Customer service is made up of the benefits outweighing the costs in addition to the competitive advantage.

References:

Art Weinstein (2004), Handbook of Market Segmentation : Strategic Targeting for Business and Technology Firms, Third Edition

Jerry Thomas, Market Segmentation retrieved from https://www.decisionanalyst.com/whitepapers/marketsegmentation/

Jorge A, Restrepo (2003) SEGMENTATION – TARGETING – POSITIONING.

Kotler P. (1996) Principles of marketing 7th Ed, International Ed. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. ; Singapore : Prentice Hall, c1996.

[WC – 971]

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