Marketing Plan Sample – Red Cross New Product

Executive summary

Marketing planning process of Red Cross largely affects the willingness of potential blood donors to donate blood and current donors to continue donating. This marketing plan proposes the introduction and development of a new product in order to encourage blood donors to donate blood. The new product suggested by this marketing plan is a shirt. Everyone who donates blood is given a shirt with Red Cross logo. This will attract members of the public to donate blood because everyone will see Red Cross shirts around and may develop an interest to have one. Furthermore, the shirt will portray the donor as an ambassador of Red Cross. Therefore, whoever wears it will feel good and more people will be motivated to donate blood in order to attain that status of having something good and be recognized. The shirt will also market the blood donation programme because if people wearing it are seen by others, awareness about the programme will be created automatically.

This marketing plan provides a description of the marketing planning processes involved in the new product. First, it will introduce Red Cross and the Blood Donation Programme. A situation analysis including SWOT and PESTLE will also be provided in order to establish the external and internal environment of the company. The marketing plan will also highlight some barriers to marketing planning and some solutions that can be provided to overcome such barriers. Objectives of the marketing plan will also be provided. The development process of the new product will also be described and elements of the marketing mix be highlighted.

Marketing planning is essential for strategic planning because it is one of the elements that make up the overall operation of the company. Alongside other functions of the organisation, marketing planning drives the strategic purpose of the organisation by setting its objectives and means of achieving them in order to achieve overall strategic objectives of the organisation.

Implementation of marketing planning may be affected by various factors. One of them is lack of funding. Without sufficient funds and resources, the organisation may not be able to run its marketing planning processes. Another factor is geographical barriers which may make it difficult for transportation and communication of the new product difficult. Other factors affecting the implementation of marketing planning include inadequate staff and completion from other organisations.

1.     Introduction

The main purpose of this marketing plan is to enable Red Cross to develop a new product in order to attract blood donors. This new product is a shirt. In order to establish the ability of the organisation to develop the new product, this marketing plan will begin with a SWOT analysis. This analysis will identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that Red Cross may experience. Barriers to effective marketing planning will also be addressed, and its solutions will be highlighted. The product will also be described and its objectives in the company will also be mentioned and discussed. Elements of the marketing mix will also be used diagrammatically to explain the marketing strategy of the organisation in relation to the new product.

Red Cross is an NGO which offers compassionate care to people who need it around the world, including sick people who need emergency attention. Red Cross is composed of generous volunteers and donors, hardworking employees, and supportive management. The mission of Red Cross is to provide relief and prevent suffering in the best ways possible throughout the world. Lifesaving blood is one of the company’s main mission elements. Donating blood is one of the greatest pleas of Red Cross to its generous volunteers and donors. The blood donation programme aims at collecting blood units from donors and distributing them to millions of people who are in need of blood.

2.     Situation analysis

Situation analysis is necessary for this business plan because it enables us to understand the internal and external environment of Red Cross. It involves PESTLE and SWOT analysis. SWOT entails the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and Threats that the organisation face while PESTLE includes political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors affecting the company. Understanding the external and internal environment of the company using these two tools of analysis enables Red Cross to establish the things that are key to the development of the new product.

2.1.          SWOT analysis

Strengths

One of the strengths of Red Cross is presence in large market area through strong networks across the world (Red Cross, 2013). The company operates in many countries of the world, meaning that it can get blood from many donors and support from many volunteers across the world. Therefore, access to donors and volunteers is also strength to the company. The third strength is support from the society and governments. Many people and institutions in the society including governments support Red Cross through donations, charitable contributions and volunteering. Finally, the company has a good knowledge of the market. Its skilled and knowledgeable employees and management understand the needs of patients and donors.

Weaknesses

One of the company’s weaknesses is wide gap between demand and supply of blood and care services. There are more people around the world who demand blood than the donors to donate the blood. For instance American Red Cross is able to collect 6,000 million units of blood annually, yet annual demand for blood is approximately 6.3 million (Red Cross, 2013). The second weakness of Red Cross is that it relies mainly on volunteers for its support services. The company’s employees are few. There is no guarantee that the volunteers will continue working for the company forever.

Opportunities

Red Cross has various opportunities that it may utilize to increase the amount of blood donations in order to meet the demand of blood. One of the opportunities of the company is expanding markets. This is caused by increased population in some countries such as India, USA and China. Favorable policies and government support is also a good opportunity for Red Cross because they allow the company to operate in receptive countries.

Threats

The company faces the threat of cultural differences which may cause diminishing support and few donations. Some cultures including individualistic societies are reluctant to donate blood. Another weakness is poor amenities and infrastructure in some countries. This may make communication, transport and overall operations of the company in blood donation difficult.


SWOT table

 

2.2.          PESTLE Analysis

Political/legal Factors

Legislative and political factors influence the external environment of Red Cross. For instance, legislations that favor infrastructural development and enhancement of social amenities such as hospitals offer good opportunities for Red Cross to access markets and request for blood donations from donors. Political stability also affects blood donation programme of Red Cross. In countries with political stability such as US and UK, Red Cross is able to collect blood donations easily. Furthermore, such political stability allows Red Cross to conduct campaigns in order to create awareness about the blood donation program. However, in politically unstable countries such as Somalia and South Sudan, Red Cross faces a lot of difficulties in blood collection exercise. Sometimes some Red Cross staff even risk their lives trying to save other people’s lives in such areas.

Economic Factors

Blood donations are always more successful in areas with stable economic conditions. Poor people are less likely to donate blood because they are either weak or ignorant about the idea of donating blood. In strong economies, Red Cross receives more blood donations than in weak and poor economies. However, the new shirt incentive may encourage people from poor backgrounds to donate blood. Those who are not able to buy clothes may be encouraged to donate blood in order to get a shirt. Level of confidence is also another economic factor that affects blood donation. Many people across the world have a lot of confidence in Red Cross and the economy in general. This motivates them to support Red Cross and donate blood for people who need it.

Social Factors

The biggest social factor for Red Cross is attitude. People’s attitudes towards blood donation differ. Some people consider it as a philanthropic act while others think that it affects their health negatively. Furthermore, some donors may also view the new shirt offer as a good gesture while others may consider it as a payment for their blood donation. Another factor to be considered in the development of the new product by Red Cross is demographic structures, mainly in terms of gender. Issuing shirts to blood donors will depend on the gender of the blood donors. Red Cross should always ensure that enough shirts for both women and men are available in blood collection centres.

Technological Factors

Research and development is a key component of technological advancement in Red Cross. The organisation has experienced researchers in Blood and Biomedical services. Donor safety issues are key concerns of Red Cross. They are mainly handled by the Research and Development department of the organisation. Blood and Biomedical service experts carry out clinical research in transfusion medicine in order to identify safe and effective blood donation mechanisms. Innovativeness is also another key technological factor in Red Cross. Innovation through the social media has enabled Red Cross to reach existing and potential customers in order market their new product. Innovation capabilities can also be used by Red Cross to produce shirts that convey the message of blood donation effectively.

Environmental Factors

One of the environmental factors facing the new blood donation programme of Red Cross is poor infrastructure in some countries where people require blood. Such people may not get access to blood because it is difficult to transport the collected blood units to them. Furthermore, donors who are willing to donate blood in geographically inaccessible places may not be reached despite the availability of the new product. Another environmental factor is poor reception by the local communities. In some areas, the local communities may not welcome or even reject the efforts of Red Cross to collect blood donations.

3.     Barriers to marketing planning

Marketing planning as a business process has its own barriers. Its effectiveness depends on how managers and employees seek to overcome them. The major barriers to effective marketing planning include: cultural barriers, behavioral barriers, cognitive barriers, systems and procedures’ barriers, and resource barriers.

Cultural barriers to marketing planning cause management to become reluctant to change and avoid marketing and planning for their organisations. An organisation’s culture is difficult to change because doing so leads to new risks for the organisations. However, for a business to succeed in a turbulent environment, it has to take such risks and embrace change. Donating blood for free has been the culture of Red Cross for a long time. With the new product development, it may become difficult for some managers of the organisation to embrace that change. If the company has to increase its donors, it has to accept new changes and take up new risks. Failure to do so will be detrimental to the marketing planning process of the company.

Behavioral barriers to marketing planning refer to the support levels of management and cross functional involvement. Failure of all parts of the organisation to work together may lead to the failure of the organisation to achieve the company’s mission and vision. The top management should support the marketing planning process of the organisation in order to make it successful. The managers should engage all departments in the organisation in order to achieve common objectives for the benefit of the entire organisation.

Cognitive barriers to marketing planning include lack of knowledge and skills. An organisation without relevant knowledge and skills offer products and/or services of low quality. In order to add value for the customer, it is essential for a company to pursue the right set of knowledge and skills for its operational and management activities. Red Cross needs marketers with a good knowledge of customers and technology as well as good communication skills in order to sell the new product of the company and increase its blood donations.

Systems and procedures may also become serious barriers to marketing planning. Lack of data is one of the systems’ barriers that may hinder the effectiveness of marketing planning (Ferrell & Hartline, 2011). For marketing planning to be effective, systems and procedures should be designed appropriately. Poorly designed systems and procedures lead to problems related to ineffective data collection, poor progress monitoring and inappropriate allocation of responsibilities. Functional units function better together if there are simple and clear systems and procedures. Simple and clear systems and procedures enable the functional units to understand their roles and responsibilities in marketing planning within the organisation.

Lastly, resource barriers include lack of money, time and human resources. Without such resources, it becomes difficult to accomplish the mission of the marketing planning process. The organisation’s management should allocate the right amount of each of these resources to various functions of the marketing planning. Without them, there would be nothing to allocate and the marketing planning would fail.

The above barriers to marketing planning can be overcome using McDonald’s Ten S framework. This framework contains ten elements that may be used to overcome the barriers to marketing planning. Those elements are indicated in the Ten Framework below.

Cultural barriers to marketing planning can be overcome by applying element 3 – shared values about marketing (Brennan, 2008). Shared values about marketing planning will allow the company to embrace change. Lack of knowledge and skills (cognitive barriers) can be overcome by developing the right skills and knowledge as indicated in element 7 of the Ten S framework. Systems and Procedures barriers can be overcome using systematization of the marketing process as suggested by element 8 (Systematize) of the Ten S framework.


McDonald’s 10 S Framework (McDonald, 2006)

4.     Objectives

The main objective of Red Cross in its blood donation programme is to increase the amount of blood donation in order to bridge the gap between demand and supply of blood. The new product will help Red Cross achieve that objective. Offering a shirt to every donor whenever he/she donates blood attracts more donors because it acts as a good gesture of appreciation from Red Cross. Furthermore, the writings on the shirt will be a marketing tool to create awareness about blood donation and push people to donate blood.

The shirts provided to donors will be uniform with the logo and theme colour of Red Cross. Some writings should also be engraved in the shirt to advise people to donate blood. The shirt may be written; “I have made my blood donation.” That statement will be read by people and many of them will be motivated to donate blood. The shirt being offered is not a reward with great economic value to blood donors, but it shows recognition and marketing strategy. According to motivation theories, recognition is an important element of motivation. Everyone who donates blood is recognized by being rewarded with a shirt. As a result, donors will be motivated and will be likely to donate again, or encourage their friends and relatives to donate.

Apart from acting as a recognition/motivation factor, the shirt will also be used as a marketing strategy. If blood donors wear their shirts given by Red Cross, people will be seeing it and they will become aware of the blood donation programme. Some people are willing to donate blood but they don’t get time to visit Red Cross, and after some time they forget. With Red Cross shirts moving around, such potential donors will be constantly reminded of their intention to donate blood. In the end, the amount of blood donations will increase.

In order to increase blood donations, there other specific objectives that Red Cross seeks to achieve. These are:

  • To Save lives – the goal of donating blood is to save the lives of those who need blood
  • To increase the amount of daily units of blood collected by 15% – to meet the demand of blood, Red Cross has to increase the amount of blood donated.
  • To increase the number of donors by 10% – in order to meet the increased amount of blood donated, Red Cross should use its new marketing strategy to increase the number of blood donors.
  • To increase the level of awareness – in this case, the company seeks to make as many people as possible know about the blood donation programme.

5.     Tactics and strategy

The techniques of the new product development can be provided through the marketing mix elements’ table. The marketing mix elements include: price, product, place (distribution), and promotion. Pricing is an element of the marketing mix which brings in money to the company. It is formulated to achieve effective returns for the company. However, Re4d Cross will not use pricing as a marketing strategy because customers do not pay for the new product.

Marketing mix element New Product Development Techniques
Price ·         No price will be offered for the new product

·         The new product should not also be resold by the blood donors

·         It should be given free as a gift to everyone who donates blood

·         The only price that blood donors pay is blood.

Product ·         This is an important marketing element

·         Uniform shirts in two categories: those designed for men and those designed for women

·         The shirt should be well designed to make it comfortable and quite appealing

·         It should also have the logo of Red Cross and the marketing words: “I have donated blood”

·         The uniform nature of the shirts is a standardization strategy to ensure that all blood donors get a standardized product

Place (Distribution) ·         The distribution channel for this new product is direct selling – Red Cross sells the product directly to blood donors in exchange for blood

·         The direct sales strategy reduces the costs of being involved with middlemen.

Promotion ·         The new product will be advertised through social media, print and broadcasting media. In the ads, the product is displayed for the public to see, accompanied with a statement to encourage people to donate blood.

·         The new product will also advertise itself and the blood donation programme because its writings can be read by people around.

·         Public relations can also be used to advertise the new product

 

6.     Ethical issues

Blood donors and other members of the society have varying views on the business ethics of Red Cross. What some people consider unethical is considered ethical by others. Ethics refers to what the society considers right or wrong. Sometimes ethical concerns conflict with profitability goals. Some organisations whose main objective is profitability often try to avoid the question of ethics. Red Cross does not aim at making profits. Therefore, ethics is an important aspect of the organisation.

One of the ethical issues that can be considered in Red Cross is marketing research ethical issue. While attempting to develop its new product through marketing research, Red Cross should ensure that its marketing research is ethical.

Product issues should also be considered. Dishonesty is a key ethical product issue (Blythe, 2009). It involves giving the wrong information about a product’s quality. Red Cross should provide the right information regarding to the quality and purpose of its new product.

Another ethical issue to be considered in the new product development of Red Cross is deceptive pricing. The shirts offered by Red Cross to attract donors are intended to be free. However, it becomes unethical when some Red Cross staff or donors price them and sell to make money. In this case, members of the public may be lured to buy what was meant to be free if they donated blood to Red Cross.

7.     Budgets

In this section, the amount of costs incurred in producing shirts and the benefits received from each shirt will be provided. For the purpose of this market plan, one shirt is considered to earn one unit of blood from a donor. In this case, it is assumed that each donor donates one unit of blood.

Month Cost of producing one shirt ($) Number of shirts Total cost No of blood units
March 60 6500 390,000 6500
April 60 6800 408,000 6800
May 60 7500 450,000 7500
June 60 8800 528,000 8800
July 60 10,000 600,000 10,000
August 60 12,000 720,000 12,000
September 60 15,000 900,000 15,000
October 60 20,000 1,200,000 20,000
November 60 30,000 1,800,000 30,000
December 60 50,000 3,000,000 50,000
Total for the year   166,600 9,996,000 166,600

 

8.     Implementation

There are four stages of implementation that the project will undergo. The first stage is to develop objectives. The second stage involves the development of strategy to achieve such objectives, while the third stage entails execution process. Execution involves going to the fields with shirts to collect blood and give the shirts to blood donors. The last stage involves monitoring and evaluation whereby the results of the execution activities are compared with the plan. The chart below shows the four stages of implementation.

The implementation process will require the participation of all functional units of the organisation in order to ensure effectiveness in achieving results. Monitoring and evaluation is an important stage in the implementation strategy because it measures performance in order to determine the success of the new product development. If performance is not in line with the expected outcomes, then the company should initiate changes to ensure that the real outcomes are in line with the expected outcomes.

 

References list

Blythe, J. (2009). Principles of Marketing. Hampshire: Cengage Learning

Brennan, R. (2008). Contemporary Strategic Marketing, 2nd Edition. Basingstoke, Palgrave

Dibb, S. Simkin, L. (2008). Marketing Planning. Hampshire: Cengage Learning

Ferrell, O. C., & Hartline, M. D. (2011). Marketing strategy. Australia: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Hackley, C. (2010). Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Approach. London: Sage.

Henry, A. (2011). Understanding strategic management. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Kotler, P. (2011). Principles of Marketing. London: Prentice Hall.

Levitt, T. (2006). Ted Levitt on marketing: A Harvard business review paperback. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Pub.

McDonald, M. (2006). Strategic Marketing Planning: Theory and Practice. The Marketing Review, 4, 375-418.

Red Cross (2013). What we do. Accessed January 29, 2014 from http://www.redcross.org/what-we-do.

 

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