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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Describe the importance of a customer base and link it to the product (3 marks).

Having a customer base in any business is of vital importance as it ensures that the products or services sell and continue to sell always. A customer base for a tennis racquet means that customers buy a tennis racquet and buy another one over some time, and then another one and so on. Babolat with their tennis racquets must ensure that they update their racquets every year or so — in terms of colour, material, design, performance — to ensure that they have an ongoing customer base. The Babolat Pure Aero tennis racquet is currently the latests version of what once was Babolat Aero Pro which had a very different appearance before, the material and performance of the racquet is the same, however the new appearance and the new name of the racquet, encourages consumers to want to keep up to date with the latest model.

Describe one external factor that may impact on how you will sell the product (3 marks).

Although competition always exists between different tennis racquet brands, more often than not competitors may be the major factor which potentially affects how one tennis racquet is sold. In the tennis racquet industry there are many other brands that exist such as Wilson, Head, Yonex, Volkl, Prince etc. which all are a big competitor to the Babolat racquets, some more than others like Wilson and Head. As just like Babolat all these competitors endeavour to produce their best quality and version of the instrument used by many around the world to hit a tennis ball on the court. They tend to invent other forms of materials used in the production of a racquet, other forms of the racquet and other designs, of course. Which makes it hard to always be the top contender for the best racquet due to the restrictions possible in the variation of the product nowadays, and also it depends on the customers preferences, likes, dislikes, financial conditions, gender, player-standard and social status.

Before improving the product you need to conduct some market research to help you gather information and decide on the best strategy moving forwards. Outline one primary and one secondary data source that would appropriate for you to use and link it to the product (4 marks).

Primary data refers to information that is gathered firsthand by the business owner or market researcher, themselves. A type of a primary data source which can be used to gather more information from people on their thoughts and feelings towards the product, is surveys. Surveys are a very convenient primary data source, as it is easy to distribute — using email for example — and it doesn't have to take long at all. As a Babolat Pure Aero tennis racquet marketer I would distribute a survey or a questionnaire to customers of tennis products, through the tennis merchandise websites that the targeted individuals have an account with, to their relevant email address. The survey would ask for basic information about what the customers are interested in, in tennis racquets, what do they look for in a tennis racquet, price range, likes, dislikes and their player-level corresponding with what racquet brand and type they use.

Secondary data is information that has been previously collected by external sources to the business. A very appropriate source to do some research in, in order to assess the type of advertising that already exists and is successful in advertising the product appropriately, is magazines, more specifically tennis magazines. This will help find how much advertising can be found on the Babolat Pure Aero in tennis magazines, who are the professionals of the game that are associated with the brand in the advertisements and their player level, gender, country representing, and ultimately find whether or not the information presented in the advertisement is clear, enough and effective to ensure the purchase of this product by a consumer.

Explains the product. As a part of your answer, classify the product, include its features/attributes, include an image and a breakdown of the packaging (3 marks).

The Babolat Pure Aero was initially released in 2016 and was first obtained by the relevant ambassadors of the racquet brand, quickly followed by the public. Due to the huge success of the previous model AeroPro which soon after it came out became a best-seller, and the raising of the competitive intensity from other racquet brands, Babolat decided to take a step further in creating perfection with the new Pure Aero. Babolat also took an initiative and created 5 different versions of the racquet, modified to suit every player (standard, age, ability).  And so there is the Pure Aero, Pure Aero Play, Pure Aero Tour, Pure Aero Team and Pure Aero Light. This was a very clever approach of selling the product that Babolat came up with, as it means that every player should be able to use the product, and therefore a wider population will buy the product.

As Babolat gives AeroPro a legendary makeover starting with the name (to Pure Aero) and ending with the tiniest technological modulations, including boasting more aerodynamic beam along with a higher swingweight. The Pure Aero feels solid, accurate and lively, and it has “more than enough put-away power for ending points with authority”. Babolat has made some impressive updates to the new Pure Aero. The combination of spin and pop should prove very dangerous in the right hands. The extra plow-through and comfort is a very nice bonus.

The new vibrant green colour with black makes the racquet stand out even more than the previous AeroPro. No matter your ability this racquet will make you stand out on the court.

The packaging that comes with the racquet is quite simple and nothing fancy, as it comes in a branded racquet case, and nothing else.

Outline the price. As a part of your answer, identify the pricing method and price of the product (2 marks).

Most (4) of the five versions of the racquet come at the same price of A$319.00, when the Babolat Pure Aero PLAY costs A$499.95.  The Pure Aero PLAY costs significantly higher due to it's very special features. As it consists of very advanced technology such as the sensor which comes in the handle of the racquet it self, that tracks all aspects of the player's game and can all be viewed on a smartphone, tablet or computer in detailed snapshots of one's game.  It is designed for much higher-level players/professionals, and thus comes at a greater price.

The price of A$319.00 is a fairly average price for a high level, brand new tennis racquet with such a good name as Babolat. However, big competitors such as Head and Wilson are selling their brand new latest tennis racquets at over A$329.96. Being the one of the most popular tennis racquets being used on the pro circuit, Babolat is selling the Pure Aero at a very reasonable price comparing to it's competitors.

Ultimately, Babolat is using the competition based method when pricing your racquets.

Outline the place. As a part of your answer, identify the distribution channel and place where you can buy the product (2 marks).

You are not able to purchase the Babolat Pure Aero through a direct distribution channel which is the manufacturer Babolat themselves — as a consumer, however you can easily purchase the product through any indirect distribution channels such as the many tennis equipment websites in Australia as well as overseas (vary in prices due to the exchange rate) or any bricks and mortar tennis stores, which also exist in some big tennis clubs.

Describe three elements of the promotional mix the company uses for the product (9 marks).

One element that Babolat uses as part of the promotional mix involves advertising, which is a powerful medium of mass communication that is designed to do a number of things. Advertising can inform potential buyers about a product, it's technical detail, product use, key features, price and where the product may be purchased. Advertising also acts to compare and persuade by creating a distinct image or brand identity for the product. Advertising can similarly, remind and reinforce where effective advertising works to remind consumers of the product's presence and reinforce what the product has to offer to the consumers, so that a switch to the competitor's product is not made. Babolat's advertising acts to remind the consumers of the quality and outcome the product produces for your game.

The next element they use is personal selling where the product is sold but the salesperson present at the store, therefore it is vital that the staff selling the product have extensive knowledge of the product and interpersonal skills. Babolat racquets are sold by staff with experience of selling the product and knowledge of the product features and elements.

The other element Babolat uses as part of the promotional mix is sales promotion whereby they use incentives to encourage increased sales. Babolat offers special promotions such as ‘buy 2 get one half price', or '20% off all tennis racquets', or ‘buy a racquet and get a free AusOpen towel', this then encourages the customers to buy the product.

Select one of the three elements and analyse its effectiveness (4 marks)

Personal selling can be very effective in the sense that the product is presented to the customer in person which develops that trust in the customer for accurate product advice from the salesperson. This can mean that the customer can ask questions about the product and get information directly from the adequately trained salesperson, the good service then help the business sell the item and ensures that the customer is confident in the product that was described and presented effectively by the sales person.

However, personal selling can be the largest single operating expense of a business, as all the personnel working in a business must be paid wages. To ensure that this expense is cost effective, it is vital for a business to know that all their personnel are adequately trained, have knowledge in the products being sold by the business and have interpersonal skills required to carrying their job out in the manner that will be ultimately beneficial for the business. Also, if the sales force is not large enough in a business the reach to more consumers can become limited therefore affecting the business negatively, as not all consumers will be attained to for the potential sale of a product.

Outline three advertising techniques the company uses for the product. As part of your answer, you must include photographic evidence of the advertising technique (6 marks).

Babolat uses tennis magazines as an advertising technique where they promote their products. A consumer would usually be subscribed to be receiving tennis magazines monthly, therefore it is the perfect advertising platform for Babolat as the magazines are fairly small in content and you wouldn't miss a page when reading through it. Magazines are also rather appealing in the colour and paper quality which makes the product almost real, making you want to see it or have it in real life. Another great advantage of using magazines to advertise a product is the longevity of the advertisement's time frame due to the benefit of passing the magazine onto multiple readers.

The next advertising platform Babolat uses to advertise their products is the internet. The internet is regarded as the faster-developing advertising platform, so no surprise that a huge company such as Babolat will also be using this platform to promote their products. Due to the big outreach, the internet provides the business with both a local and global market allowing for more sales of products.

Social media in another advertising platform the company uses to expand and grow their sales. Social media is the great way of connecting directly with the consumers efficiently and reaching more consumers due to the growing popularity of the use of social media by everyone around the world. Facebook is one of the social media platforms used by Babolat.

Consider the three advertising techniques you have selected and justify which one you think is the most effective (3 marks).

I think the most effective advertising technique used by Babolat is Internet advertising. As many people from around the world use the Internet on a daily basis for work purposes as well as consumerism. Is tennis is an international sport it is easier for Babolat to target their consumers on the Internet. Whether it is being a suggested ad when one is checking their email or when they are looking at for a racquet to purchase and it comes up as the first preference on the browser page. It works so effectively due to the power internet maintains as the primary source of any information or many products, now, and holds all information view or searched for by a person. Ultimately, if one day they are comparing tennis racquet models and the next looking at some travel package deals, the little window ad of tennis racquets will appear even if it is completely irrelevant to the information currently being viewed by the person, as it is recorded that at some point in time they were interested in tennis racquets.

It is therefore, a very effective way of targeting customers even when they least expect it and as a result selling the product to them.  

You need to suggest one way the company can improve their current marketing techniques for the product. Come up with one creative way you can improve the advertising for the product and justify your choice (5 marks). You could:

I created a billboard that Babolat can use to advertise their new Pure Aero racquet (which can be seen in the picture) with one of the most influential and leading faces in the game — Rafael Nadal — who also happens to be a huge ambassador for Babolat,  and more specifically the Pure Aero that he is seen holding in the billboard picture. Associating such a successful player of the game with the racquet may influence the perception of the consumer, to regard the racquet being of a high standard, and therefore want to associate themselves with the racquet — by purchasing it — and ultimately with the level of the player presented with the racquet — Rafael Nadal.

Describe why people are essential to successfully selling of the product. As a part of your answer, outline the training/motivation techniques the company uses to ensure their people are effective (3 marks).

All people involved in a business have a huge impact on the performance and the success of the business, these people are staff — who can have a profound effect, either positive or negative on the business.  

In order for staff to have the best effect on the business they must be appropriately trained, motivated, have the right attitude and be suited to their role. As every person in the business who has contact with a customer makes an impression, and often customers associate the service provided with the product. So if the service quality is high no matte the product whether it's a tennis ball — costs $5 — or a tennis racquet — that costs $500 —, the customer will identify that product as being of high quality. And along with the service they are buying the service provided by the staff.

Babolat mainly relies on the experience and knowledge of the buyers about the Babolat racquets when they are purchased through an online website. However, if purchasing the tennis racquet from a bricks and mortar store, the customers rely on the knowledge, expertise and attitude of the provided staff member in the relevant tennis store or sports store such as Rebel.

Describe the physical evidence associated with the product (3 marks).

The physical evidence associated with the product include any evidence that a service was performed which acts to remind or reassure that the service took place. Both online tennis racquet stores and bricks and mortar tennis or sports stores, have what is called a demo program that allows a potential buyer of the product to test it out on a demo trial, such as trying out the tennis racquet for an agreed upon amount days and just paying a fee. This provides the customer with the physical evidence of using a demo racquet prior to the potential purchase of the racquet.

Other physical evidence may include, the physical environment where the service took place whether it'd be online in front of a screen, or at a bricks and mortar store such as a sports store in a shopping centre (Rebel), tennis outlet store on the side of the road, a warehouse (Sportsmart) or at a tennis centre (Melbourne Park Tennis World). Where all these places have parking, signs, lighting, display, store layout, and store conditions — such as temperature, smell surrounding sound, music and colours.

Describe one of the processes the company uses to promote the product (3 marks).

Babolat as many other leading tennis racquet brands aim to keep their customers very aware and exposed to the new launch if any new racquet that may be soon released. Babolat keeps it's customers fully informed through electronic media such as their Facebook page, subscription emails from relevant online tennis stores or member emails from bricks and mortar stores eg. Rebel, Sportsmart, or through latest tennis magazines.

Babolat can also keep their customers informed of the latest racquets and other products in person, at Grand Slam pop-up stores — as the Australian Open — but, it is not their preferred process of reaching out, as it happens only a few occasions throughout the year. However, due to the strong tennis-minded and positive atmosphere (during a Grans Slam) this can be the most effective process of reaching out the potential and current customers.

Identify where the product is in the product life cycle and explain the reasons why you think this is the case (3 marks).

The Babolat Pure Aero is currently in the Maturity stage where the levels of sales are stabilised and the competition from other big brands such as Head and Wilson, is strong. The initial consumer demand is also satisfied by the product and tennis racquets do not be to be replaced (currently), therefore the Babolat Pure Aero can potentially continue to exist for some time as long as Babolat it is able to keep up with the new customer demands, trends and technology improvements, in order to continue to exist as a highly competitive tennis racquet brand.

In order to continue to extend the Pure Aero's maturity stage Babolat should ensure to come up with extension strategies such as the re-launch Babolat did by upgrading the old version of the racquet (AeroPro), by creating a new name (changed to Pure Aero) and changing the design, and a number of technological aspects of the racquet.

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