Bark and Brew has developed a new strategy of differentiating its products and services from those of its competitors in the coffee industry. The company allows pets, especially dogs in its stores. Besides, they intend to offer dogs as well as human-being products such as snacks and soft non-alcoholic beverages. This paper presents Bark and Brew’s target markets centred on different segmentation variables. It also contains a customer retention program as well as a product differentiation plan, including examples of products that the company should offer.
The three segmentation variables that Bark and Brew should consider are psychographics, behaviours and demographics in its market segmentation. In regards to behaviours, the consumer groups the company should consider attracting include high and moderate-income earner families with no children and those with grown-up children. When it comes to psychographics, ark and Brew should look into families that consider pets a part of their families. Lastly, in terms of demographics, the company should market to ages 18 to 24 as well as aged 25 and 30. Segmenting the market will ensure that marketing efforts do not go to waste.
In order to retain its customers, Bark and Brew must invest in different measures. Such measures include the development of customer feedback loop, customer loyalty program, company newsletters and CSR (corporate social responsibility) programs. These programs aim to increase business involvement with its customers to create good relationships. However, the company must understand that customer retention is a progressive approach.
Lastly, the company must comprehend how to satisfy both the secondary and primary needs of its customers and their dogs. To meet the fundamental needs of the dogs, Bark and Brew can offer dog biscuits. However, meeting secondary needs will involve providing customers with the ability to order foods served in dishes for the dogs. The management should also ensure that it provides customers with quality snacks and drinks.
#1. Target Market
Target market identification is an important step for a startup in the creation of a marketing strategy. Winer and Dhar (2016) define a target market as a group of consumers to whom the business wants to market its services and products. Consumers in this group have common characteristics such as purchasing power, income levels and demographics. In order to create a target market, the company needs first to segment the entire market. Different variables such as demographics, psychographics, as well as behaviors, should be considered when segmenting the market.
Behavioral segmentation involves dividing the market into small but homogenous consumer clusters based on their patterns of making decisions, usage frequency, as well as behavior (Winer&Dhar, 2016). It assists businesses in marketing and product promotion as they capture consumers based on their needs. This type of market segmentation could be useful for Bark and Brew as it would help them understand how different consumers behave.
Americans are spending more on pets than ever before. According to Holmes (2019), upon analyzing the market, APPA (American Pet Products Association) found that in 2019 Americans spent more than 72 billion dollars on pets. The customer most likely to be attracted by Bark and Brew products and services are those with moderate and high income and with no children as well as those with grown up children. In most cases, couples or parents with preschool children tend to avoid pets. In order to stimulate its growth, Bark and Brew could target its marketing efforts to the above mentioned consumer groups.
Consumers have different characteristics, attitudes and interests. Psychographic segmentation categorizes customers based on these differences. It also constitutes psychological aspects such as consumer behavior (Winer&Dhar, 2016). Breaking the market down based on consumer attitudes, interests as well as traits allows a business to appropriately target products and services to people who might be want them. Not only does such an approach save funds but also helps the company grow exponentially.
Based on psychographic segmentation, Bark and Brew could target consumer who consider pets, in this case dogs, as part of their family. Such consumers normally maintain a healthy and active lifestyle of dogs, for instance, going for walks and even travelling with them. Information about such families can be retrieved from pet owners’ organization’s databases. Due to their emotional connection to dogs, these consumers would form a potential customer group for Bark and Brew.
This is arguably the easiest and widely used type of market segmentation. Demographic segmentation describes a market breakdown approach based on income, gender and age variables (Winer&Dhar, 2016). Interestingly, demographic features such as level of education, type of religion, age, gender and sexual orientation are mostly used in research particularly in the field of marketing. Understanding how different demographics behave towards product and market changes helps marketers to better position their products and services.
Bark and Brew marketers could focus their marketing strategies towards attracting teenagers as well as millennials. According to a survey conducted by OppLoans in 2018, millennials ages 18 to 24 spend more on pets than all the other age groups. Those aged between 25 and 30 ranked second (“Survey examines US pet ownership demographics“, 2019). Consumers with high-income are also more likely to spend higher on pets than their low-income counterparts. Bark and Brew’s marketing efforts would be more effective when targeted towards these consumer demographics.
#2. Consumer Retention
Every business wants to retain its customer and attract new ones. A consumer retention plan is a strategy aimed at retaining clients and improving their relationship with the company. In other words, such an approach focuses on creating customer and brand loyalty. There are different methods of achieving this as will be discussed in the upcoming paragraphs. However, it is important to note that consumer orientation is the key to customer retention.
Concept of Consumer Orientation
Customer-oriented companies use satisfaction of their customers as a measure of their success. Customer orientation can be defined as a strategy of consumer relations and sales in which employees concentrate on assisting business clients meet their needs (Winer&Dhar, 2016). In companies using customer orientation strategies, the management as well as the entire staff align their objectives around customer retention and satisfaction. Contrary, businesses that are sales oriented based their business approaches on the needs of the employees and the firm at the expense of those of their customers (Winer&Dhar, 2016). Often, organization oriented towards customer satisfaction prevail over those that are not.
Importance of Customer Retention Programs
There are many reasons why a company would want to retain its customers. Firstly, to determine as well as explore product promotion through word of mouth. Secondly, to create and stimulate healthy and inspiring relationships with its clients. Thirdly, to assist in recognizing and rectifying weaknesses in its business policies as well as enhancing its image. To benefit from these advantages and others, Bark and Brew could use customer loyalty programs, company newsletter, corporate social responsibility programs and customer feedback loop as its main customer retention approaches.
Customer feedback loop. It is difficult to enhance business performance if the management is unware of how clients feel about the organization and its products. For this, the customer needs to get customer feedback. Customer feedback loop helps an organization in collecting, examining as well as sharing customer comments and other feedbacks. This feedback can be used to shape products and business policies.
Several methods are used to collect feedback. One of the most extensively used method is survey. Different websites provide survey services which Bark and Brew can use to solicit comments and reviews from their customers. In addition, the company can develop its survey platform in its websites where customers leave their product and services reviews. Asking clients to engage in focus groups as well as user testing could also provide the organization with relevant information to improve its products.
Once survey data is collected, Bark and Brew should analyze the results by searching for consumer behavior trends as well as areas that require improvements. This information should then be shared with all employees. For instance, product reviews and comments should be shared with product development department so that they can rectify product design flaws. Using this tactic, Bark and Brew will be able to effectively and efficiently improve user experience and tackle criticism.
Customer loyalty program. Although it is crucial to concentrate on attracting new customers, forgetting about loyal customers can be detrimental to the company(Hofman-Kohlmeyer, 2016). After all, it would not look good to loyal customers if the management always focuses on people who do not even know about the brand. Additionally, loyal customers contribute heavily to the development of a business. A lot of businesses today survive due to the continued support and business from loyal customers.
Customer loyalty programs reward clients for their allegiance to the business. Bark and Brew should develop a program which rewards customers based on the number of times they return to the coffee shops. In addition, they should offer more rewards to repeat customers who buy both coffee and dog products. This is guaranteed to keep them happy as their user experience has increased.
Company newsletter. Bark and Brew can use emails to send offers and new product updates to its loyal customers when necessary. This is a cost-effective and effective method of retaining loyal customers. More importantly, the company can use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed to avoid manually updating content(Todor, 2016). Though simple and easy, this method reminds customers of their loyalty to the business.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Bark and Brew management should understand that the company is not just the product and services they offer. Clients look at virtually everything the company does, buys, advertises and sells to the consumers. If a customer senses an inconsistency between the adverts and the behavior of the organization, he or she will most likely recognize the ingenuity of the management(Hwang &Kandampully, 2015). Such a thing could ruin the reputation of the company and eventually result in decreased sales.
Instead, Bark and Brew should be more involved with the clients. The company should think about the attitudes, core values, principles and orientations of its target market and develop a CSR program that intends to pursue a moral objective. For example, Bark and Brew could invest on making its coffee cups environmentally-friendly. This could mean serving take-out coffee in biodegradable cups that will not harm the environment. Such a measure would put the organization in good standing with customers as well as the authorities, ultimately enhancing its reputation.
Overall, there are several factors that Bark and Brew have to understand about customer retention. The most important factors are provision of value for its loyal customers, creation of an effective communication line, consistency in their products and services in order to retain and attract customers. Moreover, the company must also be sincere with its advertising efforts, maintain a healthy relationship with customers and create trust between management team as well as customers. Lastly, the management must understand that customer retention is an ongoing practice and not a one-time thing.
More importantly, the organization must put in mind that consumer preferences and needs should always inform their product development process and strategies. Customer expectations from products and good relationships with clients must never be overlooked. As mentioned earlier, consumer information will be easily collected using surveys, questionnaires as well as suggestion boxes placed inaccessible location in the business premises.
#3. Consumer Needs and Product Differentiation
Although segmentation is important as discussed earlier, Bark and Brew should understand that they will not be selling to demographics. Rather, they will sell to real people who despite being in similar demographics, have different needs and wants. The main or primary needs or wants are necessary for survival and could be physiological or even. In contrast, secondary needs are tactical and only related to perceptual benefits (Winer &Dhar, 2016). The business should aim to provide strategic benefits to consumers through it products it delivers.
Companies use product differentiations to create a competitive edge over others operating in the same industry. Product differentiation refers to a marketing approach that distinguishes an organization’s services and product from those of competitors (Winer &Dhar, 2016). Effective product differentiation embroils determining and successfully communicating the special features of a business products and service offerings while emphasizing the distinct variations between them and others in the same industry. Product differentiation improves brand and customer loyalty. In order to compete effectively, Bark and Brew has differentiated its offering from those of other coffee shops buy allowing dogs into its premises.
Needs Satisfied by Bark and Brew Product and Services
Product differentiation strategies should be solely based on the needs and wants of the consumers. The company should only offer those services and products that consumer demand and should be unique. Bark and Brew should include dog biscuits in its product offering in order to meet the primary needs of the dogs, that is, providing biologically required nutrients. Furthermore, providing customers the capability to order food served in dishes for their dogs as well as a place for them to eat will satisfy the secondary needs of the pet. These products and service are differentiated from those of the rival coffee shops and will complement those offered for humans and ultimately make the business more competitive.
Additionally, Bark and Brew should also establish a fenced area behind its buildings where the dogs can play with other dogs as well as exercise. This service will surely satisfy both secondary and primary needs of the dogs. Namely, the dogs will be able to flex their muscles which is important for good health as well as interact with other dogs. Bark and Brew distinguishes consequential wants and needs by offering value-added products and services for the dogs. The customers will only have to provide care and affection for their dogs.
Hofman-Kohlmeyer, M. (2016, September). Customer loyalty program as a tool of customer retention: literature review. In CBU International Conference Proceedings (Vol. 4, pp. 199-203).
Holmes, T. E. (2019). Americans Spending More on Pets Than Ever. Retrieved from https://www.valuepenguin.com/news/americans-spending-more-on-pets
Hwang, J., &Kandampully, J. (2015). Embracing CSR in pro-social relationship marketing program: understanding driving forces of positive consumer responses. Journal of Services Marketing.
Survey examines US pet ownership demographics. (2019). Retrieved 12 February 2020, from https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/7255-survey-examines-us-pet-ownership-demographics
Todor, R. D. (2016). Marketing automation. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov. Economic Sciences. Series V, 9(2), 87.
Winer, R. S. and Dhar, R. (2016). Marketing Management (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Prentice Hall.
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