On the other hand the expenses of ING Direct soared 66% in 2006 to 73% in 2007. This is as a result of the expansion of ING Direct into new regions which means the hiring of the new staff and increase in the IT infrastructure setup costs for the new regions (see Appendix B). The future implication for ING Direct is that a continuous increase in operational costs will impact on their short and long term profitability.

This might result in their inability to carry out further planned expansions into new countries and new markets. The management might want to consider the utilization of cost saving synergies to reduce operational costs in the future. Marketing is the process of planning and executing the thought, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, services, organizations, and events to create and maintain relationships that will satisfy individual and organizational objectives. (Boone and Kurtz, 1998).

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In this part of the report, research focuses on ING DIRECT'S main business elements and goes through basic components of each and every products and services and critically analysis the main factors affecting their revenue and review present business strategies . our recommendations for future strategies will be based on the analysis of ING DIRECT'S internal and external environments. ING DIRECT is well established and believes in strong growth of its products and services without compromising on their quality.

ING DIRECT mainly target and requires a unique marketing strategy that would support its strategic objectives. Marketing Mix: Marketing mix, defined as the set of marketing tools the companies uses to pursue its marketing objectives. (McCarthy, 1996) explained these tools into four sections, which he called the four Ps of marketing: Product, price, place, and promotion.

To achieve the goals of an organisation, the organisation set its marketing strategies by mixing its 4P's i.e. : Product, Price, Placement and promotions. Our recommended Marketing mix for ING DIRECT is as follows: The above mentioned diagram shows how ING Direct used its marketing mix to achieve goals by using unique promotional strategies, innovative ideas of placement, attractive product features and amazing pricing offers. Current Marketing Strategy of ING Direct Target marketing:

There was significant growth in the German market from 2006 (i?? 332 million) to 2007 (i??367 million) this is as a result of ING Direct's target marketing strategy, which target mainly average individuals by giving them financial products in their local areas. This is a very good strategy because it means average people can obtain services from NG Direct. The downside is that the rich may want premium cost/services. Innovative promotion: ING DIRECT uses innovative promotion campaigns to attract new customers e. g. the 'save your money at the movies' campaign was reported to have attracted many spectators and publicity in the (see Appendix B).

This may have also accounted for the sharp growth of revenue in the US. While such innovative campaigns are good the downside is that, during economic recession, ING may find it difficult to attract customers that go to the movies because most of those customers would have reigned in their spending pattern which might include cutting off movie/cinema from their budgets. ING DIRECT uses their cafes as a way of introducing their brand to customers in these cafes ING DIRECT offers coffee and free internet to their customers.

These cafes enables ING DIRECT's cafe staff to discuss financial products with customers. This system of marketing has worked for ING DIRECT because it has helped them to grow their customer base globally. This was evident in the PBIT in 2007 (i?? 530m). The downside of this marketing strategy is that a lot of customers would rather have branches to avail them with more time to have person to person interaction with staff. ING DIRECT prides itself in the fact that they provide their customers competitive products & services at a low cost (see Appendix B).

This stems from the fact that IND Direct is an online bank that does not have traditional branches and ATM network. As a result of this strategy ING Direct is able to significantly reduce their costs and so is in a good position to offer financial products & services to their customers at very cost effective rates (see Appendix B). This strategy has yielded positive results for ING Direct because it has helped them to expand into new countries because of the lower costs associated with online banking, when compared with the cost of acquiring physical branches in different countries.

The downside of this strategy is the fact that this strategy would require significant costs to be incurred in setting up the information technology infrastructure for the online financial activities of ING Direct. also in the bid to maintain their current strategy of cost leadership by not having traditional branches, their is the risk of customer dissatisfaction, Which would lead to accounts closure by the unhappy customers and which will ultimately result in loss of revenue for ING direct. Market Share expansion strategy:

ING direct has over the year used this strategy to gain entries into new countries and as such increase their overall global market share. Since their entry in to Canada in 1997, a further entry has been made in to new countries namely Spain (1999), Australia (1999), France (2000), united (2000), Italy (2001), Germany (2002), Austria (2004) & United Kingdom in (2003). The strategy has been a very productive one for ING Direct because they have generated a lot of new revenues and increased their in total income over the years (see Appendix C).

Although the strategy has proved very successful for ING Direct still potential downside to this strategy could result from the cultural or diversity issues related with operations in foreign countries. Band Promotion/Advertising Strategy: ING Direct currently embarks on brand promotional and advertising strategies e. g. by offering free gas in Baltimore to 1000 drivers at specific selected shell fuel stations, asking such recipients to put their saving to orange saving accounts. ING Direct has also large billboard advertisement with the brand logo conspicuously displayed.

They also run TV ads, electronic media as well as print media ads. ING Direct also hires sponsors sports competitions such as the world form U. K one motor racing championship. This has helped to further project ING Direct global brand image because their brand logos always on display as these events (see Appendix B). ING Direct even hires celebrities who promote their brand image. This strategy has been quite successful because prospective customers feel confident to open accounts with ING Direct knowing that some of their respected or idolized celebrities also have account with ING Direct.

Pricing Strategy: ING Direct offers their customers higher interest rates on saving and certificate deposits than their competitors. This has resulted in the ability of ING Direct to price their financial products and services to reflect their low operational cost (see Appendix A). The implication of this is that ING Direct is able to attract new customers and increase their market share because these operational cost saving have been passed on TV the customers in the form of higher -than-market interest rates on saving accounts and lower interest rates on mortgage.

Marketing strategy of competitors: First direct has a customer advocacy strategy through the creation of little black book, which is recommendation site for first direct customers to post advice on money-saving tips, people, shops, reliable builders. This strategy makes new customers to discover first directs customer friendly rather through the recommendation site. This is a bit similar to ING Directs coffee shops which used to introduce customers to what ING Direct is all about.

HSBC which is another competitor of ING Direct has various marketing strategies. They are a global Bank which uses the single brand marketing strategy to position them as the world's local bank. Some of their marketing strategy includes advertising or promotions which use local citizens in their branches to promote the bank as a local bank that provides tailor made financial products (see Appendix A). This strategy has been very successful for HSBC because they have greatly increased their customers based over the years.