What is the current situation? Saxonville is a family company from Ohio has existed for seventy years, it produces a range of pork sausage, and they have three types of products: breakfast sausage, bratwurst and Vivio sausage. Products are sold in all the United States, through national and regional distributors. The firm's revenue is estimated at 1. 5 billion dollars in 2005.
Since 2004, the company is experiencing difficulties: Saxonville has seen two of their three main products face growth problems (people were starting to eat sausages on more special occasions, which damaged the breakfast sausage growth, and were also eating more often inside the house, which damaged the brats growth), an underperformance with a double digit revenue decline for consequences; the company ranked out eight national breakfast sausage brands.
The line that is still experiencing fast growth is Vivio Brand (italian sausage), available in only 16% of the nation's large supermarkets. The senior management uses Ann Banks to develop the “Italian Opportunity”, to create a positioning that would not lead to the cannibalization of Saxonville’s products, that enabled the brand to be a national one and, most important, a brand that met customer’s needs. This lack of positioning is due to a non-conducting market research on the Italian sausage custome by the senior management since the business was growing.
How was the research methodology determined? Develop a research design and explain what behaviors, demographics, and lifestyle components you deem important and why. Saxonville Sausage didn't know their target consumer and the research methodology will learn it. Method combines qualitative and quantitative ways through four steps. The first three stages establish the qualitative research which bring out ideas and give the foundations to understand the target customers. The first step was to target customers to understand their behaviors and needs.
Several characteristics were evaluated such as demographics (type of work, number of children, education), behaviors (what type of brand they purchased; if they bought Saxonville’s products), geographic (where were they from). The second step was a group session where they would test different positioning ideas. With this approach, they found out that all women wanted was to cook a meal that would please both their children and their husbands, and more importantly that made them feel like they were doing a good job. They also found out that there was no cannibalism problem between all their three main brands.
Vivio was seen has a “healthier” sausage that could be used more often. Moreover, this Italian sausage was the one that made meals less difficult and time consuming to make (which solved a problem most women had), while it also pleased everyone in the family. In the third step the idea was to come up with actual positioning concepts and have consumers rank them thanks to a brand ladder, to take all of the new information and have consumers prioritize it. The four concepts they came up were: Family Connection, Love, Balance and Creative Cooking.
These four concepts all had the same core value, which was to make the women feel they were doing a good job, while pleasing their entire family, but had different emotional benefits. The quantitative research constitutes the fourth and final step which validates the results of the qualitative research across a greater population and choose a positioning for the company in testing the concepts to evaluate what would work best with their consumers (a monadic testing was carried out to look the purchase intent scores). 1
When conducting the new research the team ran four mini pilot groups to see what the current customers had to say about their product. Following the small groups the team tallied up all of their information and found that women felt their lives were hectic and it would be ideal for them to cook appealing meals that the entire family would love to eat. Resulting was their marketing strategy of Saxonville being a "Family connecting" experience. While researching they found majority of their consumers were women, aged 20-50, working full or part time and some even used sausage as much as three times a month.
This information is important because without it Saxonville wouldn't know who to properly target and resulting would be there awareness still low. We can propose to create also a focus group with more on diverse demographics, preferably diverse groups of women and men: these groups would vary from male and female sets, male only groups and female only groups. This is designed to bring out different conversations and ideas to each of the focus groups and present other opportunities to surface that might never have with a female only group.
The national stereotype is a problem which appears in the market research and influences the focus group opinions. In the case of Italian sausage, the stereotype that the Italians foods are associated with family might influence people opinions positively towards the Italian brand. The stereotype's presence makes connections discovered more unfounded, eliminate it might be considered to neutralize people preconceived notions of Italians foods in order to increase the variables and update the potential findings. What were the research results? Select two different positioning territories identified in case Exhibit 6.
Trace back through the case, using Exhibit 4 and other embedded information, to rationalize the development of these territory ideas. Saxonville later came to a conclusion of several position territories, after examination of research results, it can be concluded that women are the first purchasers of Italian sausage. Six different themes are presented where each one portrayed a different purpose. The benefit of such an exhibit creates six different niches that they could possibly target in the future, which later on defines their brand identity and gives them a more precise direction to how the product should be positioned.
Each one revolves around homemakers but present a different purpose. These six themes are: family connection, clever cooking, confidence, appreciation, quick and easy and tradition. Banks structured these focus groups to bring out various common feeling and ideals from women, then she led her team to analyze all aspects of the focus groups and identify key items and as a result eleven values that characterized the woman’s ideals were identified. The team then developed 4 mock up concepts and exposed consumers to them and asked them to vote on which one the like best. Family Connection” and “Clever Cooking” were clearly the favorites. Most of them work outside of the home and want to be able to prepare a home cooked meal for their families that is easy to make, tastes great and that everyone gathered around the dinner table will enjoy. Many of these women considered Italian sausage as a great "meal-maker", and the Vivio brand was considered to be of exceptional quality. The consumers felt that “Family Connection” was the most important attribute, family and friends eating good food, enjoying each other.
Following that, “Clever cooking” was the second most important attribute because consumers wanted a product that can be combined with other high quality ingredients that could be prepared different ways and still allows her to add her own special touch to the dish. Of all the positioning territories, Family Connection was the most appealing positioning because most of the primary purchasers of the Saxonville Italian sausages were mainly female heads-ofhouseholds.
Through focus group meetings, Ann Banks was able to find that most women expressed a strong desire to be nurturing mothers and homemakers and to create happy childhood memories for their children. Exhibit 4 stipulates that the Italian Sausage had the same effect as popcorn at the movies. 2 Developing this position would easily attract women who want to bring the family together for dinner. As the smell of popcorn draws people in, the smell of the Italian Sausage would bring the family to the table with little or no effort from the mother.
Also, Saxonville Italian Sausages has a home-grown image. This image could make a more home-made feel to the meal. This would attract mothers who want to cook a more authentic meal and create happy memories for their children opposed to a quick-and-easy frozen meal. What alternative do you recommend and why? The alternative chosen for this marketing plan would have to be ‘Family connection’. Choosing this concept triggers new ideas and separates this sausage apart from all of Saxonvilles sausages as well as other competitive brands.
The name of the product shall remain: Vivio, Saxonville’s Italian Sausage, with the positioning of Family Connection. This should not be changed because it already has positioned itself in the market, has its customers and created its brand identity, and by changing the brand or product name, Vivio would have to prove itself in the market from the very beginning, therefore this is a way of improving. The new positioning plan of this brand would be for family’s looking for a home cooked meal to gather all members of the family around the table.
The product should highly appeal to the women since they are the ‘female head of household. The tagline for Vivio should be having « Family Comes First », it shows an immediate depiction of a meal for the family and is attractive to homemakers. Advertising for Family Connection would be so much more easier because they are targeting market is much specific and smaller. On the other side, the concept Clever Cooking is a very self-explanatory concept, easy to make, seems less complicated.
It attracts a larger market, however Clever Cooking might cannibalize Saxonville other line of sausages such as Bratwurst, since it does not have a main target market. Advertising for Clever Cooking arises several conflicts; whom do they aim to target since there is a larger market for individuals (single, divorced, widowed and college students)? How do we appeal to different individuals at the same time? Therefore Clever Cooking has such a broad name that might seem attractive but at the same time work against Saxonville.
What tactics should accompany the product launch? Further research need to be taken into consideration before deciding which tactics need to be used. One possible study that could be done would be one that looks at the number of women or men who watch cooking shows and theirs trends. As for the communication approach, Saxonville would be using both the ‘pull’ and ‘push’ marketing because a balance of both creates a great marketing mix that powerfully entices customers moreover to react to each one differently; however Saxonville is concentrating more on the pull aspect.
If this individuals show affinity to Family Connection a marketing campaign could be set up that would have one or two of the cooks on the show have a number of meals that they prepare using Saxonville's Italian sausage brand and let discover how easy and versatile it is (we can think about a kind of partnering with the famous spokesman Rachel Ray with her TV programs as Food Network, 30 Minute Meals or Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels which could be a real showcase for the brand and allow the word of mouth). Targeting cooking shows, recipe books and various others things in the cooking industry will bring more credibility and substance.
This would appeal cookers and encourage them to spend more time in kitchen and create their own taste, to provide good food that gives to the family the warmth and enjoyment. There will be massive advertising (pull) to build up consumer demand, through advertising in the newspapers, radio and TV commercials, to be able to capture consumer’s attention in every different way. As for the push communication strategy the producer of Vivio will be promoting the product to wholesalers, the wholesalers promote it to retailers, and retailers promote it to consumers.
During the launch of the first month, samples should be given out to customers in store from employees looking as a housewife, it appeals to women, creates an in-store experience and gives 3 Vivio a chance to expand to customers who have never tried there product, and refresh old customers. Vivio’s Italian sausage will expand their line by adding mild, medium and spicy. Saxonville will not expand with the flavors because this might cause family members to fight over wish sausage to buy and cook for the family, by keeping it simple and traditional the Italian will expand a little bit.
On the packaging Saxonville will add different recipes on the box so that a woman can feel creative every time she uses Vivio but in a different way. Saxonville’s packaging can be described in this way it has the same colors and idea as the packaging however ‘Saxonville’ will be place on the right bottom using a very small and discreet font, and on the center of the box ‘Vivio’s Italian Sausage’ will be place in the center with a small Italian flag. The tag line ‘family comes first’ will be writing in italics in a smaller font under Vivio.
The transparency of the package will remain in order to maintain the fresh look of the sausage with a large window so that ingredients are highly visible. The packaging can include recipes for quick meal ideas « Tip and Tricks » to teach clever cooking techniques. Inside the store Saxonville will have huge signs in the sausage area with billboards and pictures of housewives cooking their favorite meal. This is a way to catch consumer’s attention and inform them about our new theme for our Italian sausage.
Saxonville is close to choosing coupons, however coupons is a waste, consumers think they will be using them but they never will. Saxonville does not need coupons to attract customers, because they have a strong customer loyalty and base. The branding strategy will have a deep impact on customer’s buying decisions and will make the brand stronger and sustainable. Through this strategy, the company would like woman goes to the store and asks to the retailer: « Can I have some Vivio? ».