Type of Project
According to Homburg, Vomberg, Enke and Grimm (2015), the marketing strategy implemented by a company is a fundamental facet that determines its success. However, the development of a marketing strategy is a complex endeavour that requires consideration of various factors and processes such as a marketing audit.
Mandal and Joshi, (2017) observe that this marketing audit is a robust process that can be applied in the development of a digital and social marketing strategy. In line with this, this paper will seek to apply a marketing audit in the development of digital and social marketing for EcoForest Leisure.
Marketing environment for EcoForest Leisure
The EcoForest Leisure operates in the health and well-being resort as well as fitness suite sectors. The customers for these services include corporates seeking retreat and well-being events for staff as well as fitness enthusiasts. The customer base also includes patients that require physical therapy and treatment for bodily injuries.
Lastly, EcoForest can be used by customers seeking meditation and self-care services. However, these customers can also find services from EcoForest Leisure’s competitors.
Hampson (2019) advances that several companies offer wellness, fitness and retreat services. These entities provide competition to EcoForest Leisure. As sited in synergy Experiences & Synergy Jewellery (2019), one of the main competitors is Synergy Experiences, a company specializing in providing luxury weekends and wellness to clients in Peak District and Staffordshire areas.
Concerning fitness, Trafford Leisure (2019) shows that the company faces stiff competition from Trafford Leisure, which offers fitness and wellness programs in Peak district and greater Manchester. In its niche as a corporate retreat provider, the company faces competition from Lowfield Farm Cottage, which provides corporate.
Environmental analysis to determine opportunities and weaknesses
This section will utilize the PESTEL and SWOT analysis to facilitate the analysis of the environment and identify the weaknesses and opportunities for EcoForest Leisure.
The political environment allows for the thriving of the industry because there are limited tariffs or trade restrictions designed by the government and affect the wellness and well-being sector. Today, Sargeant (2016) the government is focused on cutting unemployment by removing restrictions such as age; hence, the costs of hiring workers in the industry are low.
On the economic front, Lea (2018) shows that there are low inflation rates and disposable income in the UK is high. Since EcoForest Leisure offers premium services, the customers are inclined to spend on their wellness and well-being, especially in luxurious settings.
Apart from this, the interest rates are relatively low in the UK; hence, cheaper financing business is possible. However, Chang (2018) shows that the current uncertainty over BREXIT has adversely impacted businesses, especially those dependent on services and products from the European Union. For Eco Forest, this uncertainty may impact on the company’s hiring of employees, especially non-UK citizens.
The social and cultural shifts being experienced in the UK favour EcoForest Leisure. Firstly, there is a growing concern about physical and mental health in the UK (Hartley, Yeowell & Powell, 2019). This precedent makes venturing into wellness, fitness and well-being business lucrative.
The social environment is also characterized by shifting demographics. Ho & Hendi (2018) report that there is an increase in population for older people due to high life expectancy; these individuals have begun prioritizing fitness and well-being. Lastly, Mason, Schnackenberg & Monro, (2017) posit that the adoption of Asian practices such as Buddhism and Yoga is on the rise in the UK.
The UK presents a technologically productive climate primarily due to the proliferation of the internet and computer technologies. Apart from this, Page et al. (2017) shows that a wide range of technology exists to support wellness and well-being activities. Lastly, research and development investments are high.
Currently, McEldowney & Salter (2016) shows that there is a sharp focus on the green environment by the government and the public at significant, owing to climate change and extensive environmental degradation. Hence, business entities are required to initiate sustainable business activities and limit pollution. Additionally, the adoption of natural and organic products, as well as the use of renewable sources of energy for equipment, is essential.
There are different legislation governing the health and safety aspects of leisure, fitness and well-being sectors. For instance, the provision of physical therapies such as hydrotherapy must be undertaken by qualified personnel. Apart from these laws and regulations on taxation, employees, work environment and business licenses are enforced promptly in the UK.
Source: Writer generated
Niche and target marketing strategy for EcoForest Leisure
EcoForest Leisure operates in a market with a wealth of opportunities. However, weaknesses displayed by the company, especially in its marketing strategy, means that it cannot exploit these opportunities. Concerning this, this section will recommend a niche and target marketing strategy that will underpin the exploitation of the opportunities in the market.
From the case study, it is has been established that the company intends to venture into corporate wellbeing events and other retreat activities. Contemporarily, the company faces stiff competition from various competitors in the segments of fitness, wellbeing and retreats.
Hence, this study recommends a niche and target marketing strategy. Niche marketing involves three steps of segmenting, targeting and positioning. Segmentation entails demarcating the market into segments; in this case demographic segmentations with respect to age will be used.
As a result, EcoForest Leisure should focus on attracting millennials should be adopted. Lee et al. (2019) indicate that millennials form a strong customer base for entities providing fitness and wellbeing services. Basically, adoption of niche marketing at EcoForest Leisure will help the company to develop a marketing strategy that addresses the needs of a specific niche.
Akbar et al. (2017) discuss that niche marketing streamlines marketing because the company able to exclusively focus on a specific demographic. In this case, Eco Forest will direct its niche marketing initiatives towards millennials.
Positioning and differentiation
The next phase of niche marketing is positioning, which aims to provide the segment with certain marketing messages that appeal to their unique interests and features. According Porter (2008) a company can choose from four main generic strategies to differentiate itself from competition and position strategically in the minds of consumers.
These include differentiation, low costs leadership, cost focus and cost differentiation strategy. Millennials display various unique features, which make it difficult to marketers to target or rather position themselves in a manner that best appeals to them.
Having grown up during the era of the economic depression, Banerjee & Bhardwaj (2019) show that they make spending, work, and family choices that are peculiar and making it challenging to target. However, with unique marketing strategies, such a group offers an important opportunity to exploit.
It is essential to note that while millennials are fond users of the internet and digital technologies, Narang (2018) shows that customers are quite cost sensitive. As such, Eco Forest needs to adopt a cost-focus strategy, where the company will position itself as a low-cost manufacturer that offers unique designs for millennials.
The company can position itself through optimizing marketing messages to fit mobiles and tablet applications, developing a strong brand personality and engaging them on social media and other online platforms such as company websites. Online targeting will be employed at Eco-Forest Leisure through an integrated digital marketing strategy to augment niche marketing will be essential.
This communication is informed by the fact that millennials are the regular users of digital technologies such as smartphones, social media and the Internet. The plan should encompass search engine optimization, data management, content marketing and social media marketing.
Felix, Rauschnabel, & Hinsch (2017) am apart from being cheap, search engine optimization allows the company’s website to standout from competition given the strong competition in the leisure industry. Given that EcoForest Leisure focuses on health and well-being and fitness suites, the company has sufficient areas where it can create content for marketing.
The company can generate content such as videos, images, articles and info-graphics to engage effectively with the millennial generation. Lastly, Banerjee & Bhardwaj (2019) user-generated content marketing can be used to underpin lead generation and position for millennials as they value feedback.
EcoForest Leisure is a Start-up Company that has ventured into the fitness and well-being niche, which lucrative. The niche market has a wealth of opportunities, but the company is saddled with competition and a weak marketing strategy. Hence, a niche marketing strategy has been recommended.
This strategy involves segmentation, targeting and positioning of the company in such a way that it attracts millennials. This will involve positioning as a low cost quality manufacturer that focuses on modern technology that fits millennials. To augment this, application of integrated digital marketing strategy will suffice in addressing the limitations of the current marketing strategy at EcoForest Leisure and help the company to gain dominance in the niche market.
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