Thursday, July 26, 2012

Selling Ideas: "Gluten Freedom"

Target Customer
          According to Lacobucci (2010; p.30) the idea of targeting “is merely one of selection”, however this selection can, most of the time, lead a company to success or failure. In our case the company is introducing a new line of prepared frozen meals that is gluten free. According to Bower, (2011) diet with gluten free is high in natural fiber and protein thus, more people are becoming interested in this kind of products in order to stay lean and feel healthy.
            As  the Celiac Disease Center indicates, between 5% and 10% of all people may suffer from a gluten sensitivity of some form and more than 3 million people in the US suffer from celiac disease, which is approximately 1 in 133 people (National Institute of Health (NIH), 2011). People diagnosed with celiac disease and all those people who may suffer from a gluten sensitivity of some form are looking for gluten free products and this can represent an opportunity to market our new line of frozen meals to a specific demographic.
            The target customer for the new line of products is going to be focused on a market segment of broader classes of buyers who have similar needs among of gluten free products and who are looking for convenience. The customers in this segment are looking for lifestyle modifications, such as increased physical activity, weight loss and eating healthy meals including a diet rich in fiber, fruit and vegetables. To satisfy our target market the frozen gluten free meal is not going to be a "diet" that will cause weight loss if strictly followed, but a choice for something that seems sustainable to the costumers because it’s reasonably tasty, nutritionally balanced, and filling.

Advertising theme 
            Based on the innovation adoption model cited from Belch, G., & Belch, M. (2012), the advertising theme will be evolved from work on the diffusion of the new line of product. Our advertising theme was developed to give to our consumer a high quality argument which emphasizes the fact that the product is gluten free and how this product can fit in our target customer’s life style. The theme for the product will be “Gluten Freedom” because most people who suffer from some kind of gluten restriction have to prepare their own meals fresh and this can be a considerable inconvenience. With this theme we want to show for our target market that with the new line they will have more time to enjoy life (freedom) by taking advantage of the convenience of our gluten free product which is now available in a frozen format for the first time. In order to create awareness and interest among the potential customers the company will encourage trial by using demonstration and sampling programs to give the costumers an opportunity to adopt the product.
            Since our customers already have gluten awareness, they tend to learn and process information that supports this behavior. The theme “Gluten Freedom” will support that behavior and help direct the customers to our new product which has been clearly differentiated from the alternatives. On the advertising theme we make very clear to our target market the attributes of product to be gluten free and how convenient can be in a frozen format.
            Seeking to maintain brand awareness with the theme “Gluten Freedom” our strategy is to ensure the product will be placed permanently among the high quality brands while reminding people of the convenience of the frozen meal. Finally, the gluten free consumers tend to be passionate and once exposed to our marketing theme they will support the decision by developing positive attitude toward our new line.
Communication process. 
            In the communication process two elements represent the major participants, the sender and the receiver. In this case, since no specific spokesperson or source is going to be showed in the ads, the sender is the company that is introducing a new line of prepared frozen meals to be sold in grocery stores nationwide,. The receivers are the consumers in the target market, consumers who suffer from gluten sensitivity and people who are looking for lifestyle modifications, who read, hear and see our market message and decode it. However, in order for the consumers to decode the communication process must begin with the sender carefully selecting words, symbols, pictures and likenesses to represent the message that will be delivered to the receivers, Belch, G., & Belch, M. (2012).
            Because the receiver’s perceptions of the source is influenced by how the communication is received, to develop the IMC message we are not going to use any celebrity, instead we are going to focus on a message that contains information about the gluten free that the source hopes to convey. Although from a semiotic perspective our message is going to have three basic components: an object (that is the meal), the sign (picture of whole grains, besides writing “gluten free” in green color), finally the meaning delivered would be a healthy, convenient and tasty meal. However, the company must consider the meanings our target market attach to the various signs before launch this campaign.
            After developing the message it will be necessary to have a channel to reach the target audience. Because our target consumers are very specifically oriented we are going to use personal channels in order to have a closer contact with our target. We are going to use the social channels of communication such as groups, associations, social networks of people who suffer of some kind of gluten sensitivity and for people who are looking for some health alternatives. However, web sites, direct marketing, event sponsorships and sales promotion are also going to be part of our focus because they often represent a powerful source of information for consumers (Belch, G., & Belch, M., 2012).
            In summary the communication process begins with our company encoding the message about the new line of frozen food through the right channel. The receivers will receive the message and once decoding it positively they will transform the sender’s message back into thought and buy the product. This is not as simplistic as it seems and our challenge to ensure effective communication occurs is to make sure that the message decoding process of the receiver matches with the encoding of the sender, (Belch, G., & Belch, M., 2012).

            Throughout the communication process, errors can occur beginning from the encoding of the message to distraction at the point of reception in the receiver (Belch, G., & Belch, M., 2012). One factor which can affect our communication process is source credibility, since we are going to deliver relevant knowledge about a new line, the target market must trust that we are going to give unbiased, objective information. For example, having a spokespeople who are not qualified to talk about the product and have no knowledge about gluten restrictions can negatively affect the image of the company. Thus, endorsements from groups recognized as experts, experienced and qualified to talk about the product will create a higher credibility among the target market.
            In the message, issues which might interfere could include the structure of the message which includes order of presentation, conclusion drawing, message sidedness, refutation, and verbal versus visual message characteristics. According to Belch, G., & Belch, M. (2012), more highly educated people prefer to draw their own conclusions and may be annoyed at an attempt to explain the obvious. Since we have chosen to use personal channels for promoting our message such as groups, associations, social networks of people who suffer of some kind of gluten sensitivity and for people who are looking for healthier lifestyle options, the risk of the message being misinterpreted is very high because the company has no control about the consumer’s comments. For example, if the company creates viral buzz to spread the word about the new line by using the some social network that is owned by someone who has a bad reputation for environmental issues we cannot stop people associating us together and this could generate negative word of mouth for our brand.
            Finally, understanding our consumers in the target market it is one of the most important stages in our communication process. For example, if the company doesn’t know where geographically our target audience is located then message can be perfect but it will never reach our target market. One way to address this and other issues is to stimulate response from the target market back to the company, as feedback (Belch, G., & Belch, M., 2012). It will be important to do a market research about our target market before entering into any of the personal channels, because the more knowledge the company has about the target market, the better the company can understand their needs, empathize with them, and communicate effectively. The feedback from market research will give more information about our consumers allowing the company to monitor how the intended message is being decoded and received, and then evaluate the possible changes.

Lacobucci, Dawn (2010). “Marketing Management”. South-Western College Pub; 1 edition. 
Belch, G., & Belch, M. (2012). Advertising and promotion: An integrated marketing         communications perspective (9th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Bower, Sylvia Llewelyn (2011). Gluten-free Lifestyle In: What nurses know... Demos             Health. 2011. eBook. 248p. Subjects: MEDICAL / Endocrinology & Metabolism;             MEDICAL / Nutrition; Gluten-free diet--Popular works; Celiac disease--Popular             works
National Institute of Health (NIH) Retrieved at april 2012 from: –   

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