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Mini is a British automotive brand owned by BMW which specializes in manufacturing and selling of small cars. MINI was introduced in 1959 in United Kingdom and in 1994 it had become an independent brand of BMW group. Modern Mini Cooper is an economy car introduced in 2001 with three engine options. The car is available with different styles of wheels, colors and a convertible top option. The report aims to critically analyze contemporary issues and future developments in marketing of Mini Copper. It explains PEST and SWOT analysis of the company and the marketing mix strategies of the brand. Marketing strategy of BMW mini copper has also been described.
Mini Cooper is a small car that was produced by the BMW. In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th Century and it is considered an icon of the 21st century. Its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout allowed 80% of the area of the car's floor pan to be used for passengers and luggage. This feature influenced a generation of car-makers and made it the most preferable car among the customers. In order to capture the market share, BMW has focused on developing new technology and improved the product substance and quality noticeably. The vision of company behind introducing the MINI copper is to create uniqueness through diversity (BMW GROUP, 2009). The firm wants to lead the market. The objectives of organization are to increase the market share in United Kingdom market and to improve the productivity. The company has adopted the product replacement strategy in which they have kept the originality of car but from the point of technology, Mini Copper is totally different. The product technology used by BMW is called conspicuous technological substitution. The company has focused on the strengths of the brand and made consumer aware with the uniqueness of the product. MINI Cooper ensures a reliable brand image because the quality of MINI is associated to the well known “BMW quality”. The strong brand image not only leads to customer identification but also makes it possible to differentiate the product from that of the competitors ( Madslien, 2010).
MINI Cooper has unique design and image in the minds of customers and the product also includes multiple customizable options. The car is designed with the fuel efficient technology. The greatest strength of the BMW product is its strong marketing strategy as the customers recognize the strong brand name of BMW Group Company. In every 2-3 years, company introduces the product with a new version. The parent company of Mini is constantly indulged into innovation and technology. The unique appeal of the product is quite impressive and it attracts the customer toward Mini cooper (Toxel com, 2010).
The product is facing strong competition in the compact car segment and their sale of mini copper in this segment has declined over the past decades. Mini and BMW both are the premium car brands and the prices are relatively high from the competitor’s products. The biggest weaknesses of the product is that the number of duplicate spare parts of BMW and MINI Cooper are increasing. The manufacturing cost of car is high compared to its competitors, which is the reason of its high prices (Lewin, 2003).
The company does not deal in the mass market so the mass market positioning can be a good opportunity for the product. Innovation and technology up gradation in products can also be an opportunity for the Mini cooper. The positioning of brand as the premium brand can be a justification in case of high prices. The company can look to make new collaborations with other car manufacturers to promote the sale of new brand products. Low price cars with better innovation and technology can be an advantage for both BMW and Mini. BMW is expanding its business in other countries such as Asia Pacific, Asia, Africa and Australia it will give a hike to mini cooper’s sale (Lamb and McDaniel, 2008).
Substitute products and the high prices are the biggest threats for MINI Cooper. The rival companies are offering the cars at lower price that affect the sale of the company’s own product. It is very difficult to maintain the same level of innovation and performance after a declining phase of product cycle. The growing competition in the automobile industry i.e. competitors of BMW Group such as Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Ford, Lexus also pose great threat for the mini cooper. The earning of parent company is received in Dollars which is having a depreciating value, so the increasing strength of Euro is another threat for the company and its products (Robson, 2009).
Market audit is the process of analysis and evaluation of a firm's marketing approach. BMW wants to serve the small car segment and to enlarge their product portfolio in order to reach a different customer segment. For that the company has designed a new model with the name of MINI Cooper (Shimokawa, K, 2010.). The car is a small car focusing on trendy and lifestyle demands of consumers. Market audit of mini copper is focused on the three dimensions which are explained below:
Segmentation: It refers to the process of identifying a group of customers having specific characteristics. The segment decided for the product included the people looking for comfortable, compact and the small cars. The people, who are willing to spend a lot of money on things which shows their status and their attitude, are targeted as the product market. In the process of launching mini cooper, the upper class people are considered under segmentation (O'Connor and Faille, 2000).
Targeting: Targeting refers to the selection of a particular market towards which all the marketing efforts has to be directed. The target consumers for Mini Cooper are the people looking for fun, adventure and mobility with ease of driving. The customers are mostly young and well educated with a wealthy background. Majorly of young girls and the female sector was targeted for the car.
Positioning: Positioning is the process of influencing consumers' perception for a brand or product. BMW has positioned mini cooper as a British iconic brand with classic styling. With the use of new brand development and product replacement strategies, company has well promoted the product. The corporation has done lot of investments into an e-Marketing campaign to make customers aware about the product. All the positioning strategies were based on reposting the brand on international level. In case of Mini Cooper the firm has used newspapers, internet and hoardings for positioning the brand in the minds of consumers (Heding, Knudtzen and Bjerre, 2009).
Product: Mini cooper is a premium care in the small car industry. The car is designed with the use of better fuel efficient technology. The product is under the brand of BMW group, which is known for efficient and dynamic look of their products and it is designed to represent classic style and modern interpretation of automobile products. The major emphasis of BMW mini cooper is on innovation and development. The car is also available in special color and pattern. MINI has been designed with the idea of an optimal recycling as the 10% of the plastic components are made with recycled material (Trehan and Trehan, 2009).
Price: BMW has adopted price differciation strategies for its products. This means that they charge extra for premium quality. This difference in Mini Cooper’s price is due to its different engine size, gear levels, fuel consumption, and sports version. The prices of Mini Cooper are placed differently for different customers. It has set high prices in a small car industry. Thus the company is providing high prices for the unique features (Sribnyak, 2012).
Place: Place refers to the area of distribution. Distribution of the product has to be in a manner such that it provides customer convenience. The company uses direct-marketing channel for the sale of MINI cooper, because direct-marketing channel is simple and efficient compared with other methods. In UK markets BMW has 156 dealers who are responsible for selling the products, with addition to this, there are 148 dealers which are franchised to sell MINI Cooper. Mini cooper is also offered through MINI showrooms, MINI dealer shop, BMW showrooms and many motor events such as motor expo.
Promotion: The promotion strategies used for the selling of MINI cooper are very attractive. BMW uses different slogans, advertising on TV and cinema for the promotion of MINI cooper. WCRS is an advertising agency which is working for BMW. The company has invested a large amount on the film “Austin Powers 3-Goldmember” to promote MINI Cooper. To attract a customer group, the firm has introduced an activity on its website where the customers can design their own car style using a creative tool. An activity on the website where customers can design their own car style using a creative tool involves a discount of 5% on interior accessories for its customers, when they pay the entire amount at once. The corporation also provides the membership for Mini Fan Club on the purchase of MINI cooper (Kotler and Armstrong, 2001).
People: People are the staff members and sales executives appointed for boosting the sale of MINI Cooper. The staff members are capable in attracting the customer towards the product BMW provides special tanning to staff so they can deliver the better services to its customer. It has also appointed an expert sales team to plan the sales Performa for MINI Cooper (Simms. and Trott, 2006).
Process: Process refers to the time and efficiency associated with the delivery of product. BMW is providing outstanding customer services as it has implemented the training program in terms of improving HR efficiency. The quick response time manner is adopted by the company at the time of delivery of the products and services.
Physical evidence: Physical structure should be in a manner that it attracts the customer. In the case of MINI Cooper, physical evidence refers to the design of car. The car is very small in appearance but it has all the technological features included in it. Fuel efficiency feature makes the product more preferable. The ambience in which the product is delivered such as MINI showrooms, MINI dealer shop and BMW showrooms are also attractive and also eye-catching.
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MINI Cooper is mostly preferred by the upper class people of the society. This is because of the price of the product. The high profile people would prefer to buy a bigger and luxury car instead of a small and sporty car. MINI Cooper is a car of status and pride and acknowledged as a girly car all over the world. There are four major factors which influence the behavior of existing and potential consumer towards MINI Cooper.
Cultural factors: Culture plays an important role in the buying behavior of the consumers. The product is focused on the young girls and ladies of the society and their behavior is based on family situation (Rasmus, 2010).
Social factors: A customer behaves according to his/her roles in the society and various reference groups. The customers who are concerned about image will get attracted towards the MINI Cooper as it is the car with symbol of status and pride.
Personal factors: Personal factors are age, income level, occupation, personality, self confidence and family life cycle stages. At the time of purchasing MINI Cooper consumers take into consideration his level of income as the price of the product is high.
Psychological factors: These factors include motivation, learning, attitude and perception. Attitudes and beliefs are very important in the process of launching a product. Advertising of MINI Cooper affects the psychological factors of customers (Parnell, 2002).
The company has adopted the marketing strategies in order to penetrate the market. In its strategies company has the plan to reinforce the brand image of product. The company has set the prices little bit higher form the competitions it is because of best quality features in MINI cooper. In the company’s market penetration strategies it wants to position the product as the premium brand. The advertising campaign for MINI Cooper is focusing on creating a brand image of an existing product. Differentiation strategies have also been adopted by BMW while using porter’s generic module. The motto behind adopting this strategy is to provide quality products and services to customers by charging an extra premium showing high production costs (Ferrel and Hartline, 2008). MINI Cooper has differentiation in its features from the competitors products. The company has distinct its product while having two major aspects, which are Customizability and Fuel efficiency. According to the Customizability, customer has wide range of options to choose the MINI Cooper. Modern MINI Cooper was introduced in 2001 with three engine options. Different styles of wheels, colors and a convertible top option attracts the customers. As per the second aspect the car is made on the fule efficient technology. BMW has to look for ways of improving their supply chain management for the distribution of MINI Cooper. By doing this they can reduce the costs of their cars and could gain more advantage over their competitors (Anne, Pauline and Pei-Yu, 2003).
Globalization: BMW is interested in increasing manufacturing capacities for the production of MINI Cooper. In order to build their intended market proposal it has to bear huge taxation burden. There is a huge risk involved in venturing into new markets. The company can solve this over taxation problem through carefully calculated mergers and acquisitions, this allow the company to gain market share and penetration as well as access to already existing technology in MINI Cooper and its upcoming product line ( Domansky, 2006).
Differentiation of products: In the case of BMW MINI Cooper differentiation refers to developing a marketing mix, distinct from and better than from its competitor. Differentiation is must to gain a healthy market share. The production of car needs a particular region which results to the high financial burden on the company. BMW has adopted advanced technology to increase the quality and gain competitive advantage. BMW’s use of advanced electronics makes MINI Cooper luxurious as well as sporty to drive. BMW can further widen their strategy and can add smaller cars like MINI Cooper and increase volumes of smaller cars that are cheaper in price than the bigger cars (Pride and Ferrell, 2011).
Innovation in the product: BMW is committed to providing quality and innovation in its products. The intricacy and complexity of the functions offered in BMW MINI Cooper has caused the manufacturing costs to rise. It is difficult, time consuming and challenging for the company to develop a new product line after MINI cooper. The use of technologically announced Intel Xeon processor 5500 series helps BMW MINI Cooper to balance hardware, energy and application licensing costs and has increased its performance. The car is made with fuel efficient technology which can be an innovative feature in it. In its future strategies BMW has to make collaboration with other major car manufacturers in order to remain the leader in the automobile industry.
Competition: MINI Coopers’ owner company is BMW and the company has been closely marked by its competitors. The major competitors of BMW are Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Ford, Porsche, Jaguar, Honda, Alfa Romeo etc. Competition strategies are the major contemporary issue for BMW MINI cooper. The rival companies provide the product at low prices. Other competitors are playing in the mass market on the other hand the BMW is deals in a particular market segment which is a niche market. Slow growth in automobile industry intensifies competition and has affected the BMW strategy. To overcome this problem company can seek opportunities to enter in the mass market. BMW has introduced a new model by acquiring the MINI Cooper and Rolls Royce car manufacturers in order to boost their competitive edge.
Substitute Products: The biggest issue in selling BMW MINI Cooper is threat of substitute product. Substitute products’ threat on the auto market relates to products, materials or resources that may cause the demand for a product to shift. The car is designed with a unique feature but there are some marketers such as Mercedes, Audi, and the Porsche which are subsequently becoming a close substitute to BMW MINI Cooper. The brand image and the product differentiation will give a premium market to MINI Cooper and will help it in remaining top and prestigious. BMW is striving in the market in order to reach a leading position in emerging markets. For that it is securing a competitive share of the automotive market segments.
Environmental challenges: BMW MINI Cooper is facing the environmental challenges as the governmental organizations are pushing for manufacturing companies to go green. This implies further costs in innovation of more environmentally friendly engines, fuels and investment into alternative sources of energy to drive their cars. BMW is trying to reduce the negative environmental impact of the companies. For that it has introduced emerging technologies which can help in reducing pollution. MINI Cooper has incorporated this mentality in manufacturing and the car is projected to embrace these environmental friendly features. The car is made from fuel efficient technology which is the biggest strength of the product (Adari, Thrane and Taube, 2004).
The report explains the current marketing strategy for promoting the BMW MINI Cooper. It also explains that the reason of introducing MINI Cooper as a BMW product is to create the uniqueness through diversity. While going through the report a reader can have the Contemporary issues and future developments associated with BMW MINI cooper. A SOWT analysis for MINI Cooper has been done in order to identify the future opportunities and threats for its marketing. The behaviour of individual consumer with the regard of MINI Cooper has been explained. The report concluded that MINI Cooper is an economy car which has segmented the upper class customers and status preferred youngsters as its target market.
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