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Marketing System of Sakhr Software Co

Acknowledgements

This paper is result of work of the number of people among whom I would like to thank the public relations department of Sakhr Software Co., the officials of Sakhr Software Co. who facilitated the conduct of my research in their enterprise, and the scholars whose research works I have consulted for creation of the strong theoretical framework of my research. The cooperation with these people allowed me to acquire much experience in the sphere of marketing and provided me with data precise enough to complete this paper.

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Executive Summary

The main purpose of this paper is to analyze the marketing system in such organization as Sakhr Software Co. This company is located in Kuwait and it specializes in natural language processing or NLP1. It was established in 1982 and since that time its popularity has become immense, especially if we are speaking about Arabic countries2. However, full potential of this enterprise has yet to be fulfilled, and this is mostly connected with the approach they take to marketing and promotion of their products and services. Overall, we may say that Sakhr Software is a product-driven organization, because the management of this firm attaches primary importance to innovation and development, they only emphasize the quality of their software solutions without paying due attention to the needs of potential clients3. Also, this research will focus on the marketing and SWOT Analysis of the Sakhr Software Co.

Research Methodology

The research methodology of this work will combine the qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to get the most comprehensive picture of marketing management in Sakhr Software Co. SWOT Analysis will also be used in this research. This technique will allow this research to explore the situation in Natural Language Processing industry, the demand for Sakhr Software Co. products, and competition in this sphere. Further on, SWOT Analysis will enable the research to inquire about the company’s marketing strategies employed and any amendments necessary in them.

The data to be processed by these methods will be retrieved from mainly secondary sources. They will include all the sources created by or directly related to the performance of Sakhr Software Co. The web site of the company is also a valuable secondary information source as there numerous articles describing the background, products and services, major clients, and marketing strategies of Sakhr Software Co. can be found. The secondary sources of information will also include research works by Dessus and Devlin (2001), Egan (2008), Gomes and Knowles (2006), etc., that provide both general theory of marketing and peculiarities of marketing in Arab countries.

Industry background

Being a rather young sphere of human activity, Natural Language Processing (NLP) industry offers its customers the computerized solutions for translation systems, handwriting recognition, etc (Gomes and Knowles, 2006). The current state of the NLP study is at the initial level of its development, which does not allow making any serious conclusions about the industry; what is known is that Natural Language Processing helps connect Arabic and English worlds by offering language computer systems that operate in Arabic and English and allow users to extend the set of the operations they can do with computers (Jackson et al., 2002). With companies like Harf Information Technology, Google, and Sakhr Software Co. the competition in the industry is developing, but the current growth of the industry is slowed down by the lack of investment (Kerin et al., 2003).

Company information

Sakhr Software Co. was founded in 1982 and proved at once to be the leader of the Natural Language Processing industry, i. e. the software that recognizes the peculiar structures of the Arabic language and helps translate them into English , whose use is valued highly by people who work with Arab and English languages. At this moment, this firm has a wide range of activities; it is engaged with the development of translation systems, software helping to recognize and capture Arabic handwriting, and other projects facilitate human interactions with computer.

Vision

Vision of Sakhr Software Co. is focused on the need to connect both the Arab-speaking and English-speaking worlds. The company sees the computer software systems as the most modern and updated way to do it. Therefore, as a part of its vision, Sakhr Software Co. deals with the development and issue of Arabic natural language processing solutions that work and help numbers of companies and individual consumers.

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Mission

The mission of Sakhr Software Co. is to bring understanding to the intercultural communication, business relations, and relationships between ordinary people from the Arabic and Western worlds. Understanding that computer is the phenomenon that connects millisons of people all over the worlds, Sakhr Software Co. sees its mission in facilitation of the work with computer for the worldwide users.

Strategic Objectives

The objectives that Sakhr Software Co. tries to follow include:

  • To improve the customer orientation of the company;
  • To increase the levels of customer satisfaction in the company by 30%;
  • To monitor the levels of customer satisfaction monthly;
  • To update the promotional campaign policies and company-customer relations within the financial year.

Values

Drawing from the mission and objectives of Sakhr Software Co., the major values of this company obviously include:

  • People;
  • Mutual respect of people and nations;
  • Intercultural understanding;
  • Readiness to help;
  • Peaceful cooperation between nations.

Products, Services & Target Markets

Services

  1. English-Arabic localization;
  2. Translation services:
  3. Machine translation;
  4. Search services for Arabic texts.

Products

  1. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) solutions, which enable users to scan Arabic texts;
  2. Text-to-Speech Solution;
  3. Speech Recognition;
  4. Mobile Translation Engine4.

The above products are directed at matching the company’s values and achieving its objectives. Intercultural understanding and mutual respect can be facilitated by technological and linguistic solutions offered by Sakhr Software Co. Working in the sales and management department I might contribute to the improvement of Sakhr Software Co. marketing and management policies.

Marketing Objectives

The marketing theory tell us that marketing objectives have to be specific, actionable. Please find the marketing objectives given as below:

  • 30% increase of sales over the next year.
  • 10% increase of the market share over the same period.

Thus, although Sakhr Software Co. is considered to be a product-led organization, the importance of customers is obvious from its marketing objectives.

Relationship between marketing objectives and strategic objectives

Drawing from this, the relationship between the company’s marketing objectives and its strategic developmental objectives is direct, as the marketing objectives can be viewed as the practical means of achieving the strategic objectives (Hisrich, 2000). The strategic objectives include the improvement of the customer orientation of the company; increase the levels of customer satisfaction; monthly monitoring of the levels of customer satisfaction; updating of the promotional campaign policies and company-customer relations within the financial year. all this is directly connected to increase in sales and market share.

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Marketing Mix

Element of Marketing Mix Description
Product OCR (Optical Character Recognition) solutions, which enable users to scan Arabic texts; Text-to-Speech Solution; Speech Recognition; Mobile Translation Engine.
Price OCR – $1,999.95; Text-to-Speech Solution – $1,886; Speech Recognition – $2,015; Mobile Translation Engine – $1,986.99.
Place Kuwait and Middle East
Promotion Promotional policies include mass media campaigns, press releases, online informational campaigns, discount systems for loyal customers, etc.
Physical evidence http://www.sakhr.com/
Official web page of Sakhr Software Co. is one of the examples of the physical evidence of its work.
People People constitute the main value of the company. Employees are provided with high income levels, benefits, social security, health care insurance, retirement benefits, etc.
Process Production process in Sakhr Software Co. includes marketing, manufacturing, promotion, sales and after-sale service stages.

Sakhr Software Co.’s marketing mix is rather suitable for its marketing objectives as it allows the company to be more customer-led and aware of the recent supply-demand trends in the market, competition conditions, etc.

Teams contribution in achieving marketing objectives

The work of the sales and management department, in which I am employed, allows Sakhr Software Co. to increase its sales rates, monitor the future developmental trends in the market, and structure the management strategy for the future. The members of our team work on tracking the supply and demand in the market, study the development of the Sakhr Software Co.’s competitors, develop the sales and marketing strategies for the company and thus allow it to achieve its marketing and strategic objectives. Searching for new customers, the sales team facilitates the sales rates’ increase by 30% and thus makes the company closer to another marketing objective, i. e. the 10% increase of the market share of the Sakhr Software Co.

Market Analysis

Competitor Analysis

Parameters Harf Informational Technologies Google Sakhr Software Co. Strengths & Weaknesses
Product Hadyth Ecyclopedia, Alfazh Al-Qur’an, Learn Islam Program. Google Chrome; Google Earth; Secure Access. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) solutions, which enable users to scan Arabic texts; Text-to-Speech Solution; Speech Recognition; Mobile Translation Engine. The variety of products is different. Harf develops islamic NLP products, Sakhr develops Islamic and linguistic software as well, while Google specializes on Middle East NLP software and computerized solutions on the whole which makes it the most advanced company according to this criterion. The products of the three competitors are similar in their appeal to software solutions of NLP industry and focus on the Arab – English connections.
Price Hadyth Ecyclopedia, Alfazh Al-Qur’an, Learn Islam Program – low prices Google Chrome, Google Earth, Secure Access – industry’s average low, but rather high prices for Middle East market OCR, Text-to-Speech Solution, Speech Recognition, Mobile Translation Engine – prices are rather high but competitive Harf offers mainly cheap software solutions, while Sakhr specializes on the high quality and expensive ones. This makes Google into a leader according to this component again as its prices range from cheap to the most expensive ones.
Place Middle East market Harf, Google, and Sakhr are worldwide companies dealing in the Middle East market as the target one.
Promotion Modern web page, active work in Arab educational system and social, military and political organizations World wide media opportunities, the most widely used web browser and search engine on the Internet Promotional policies include mass media campaigns, press releases, online informational campaigns, discount systems for loyal customers, etc. All three competitors use the most updated promotional policies, mass media assistance, and online promotion which places them in equal conditions according to this criterion.
Physical evidence http://www.harf.com www.google.com http://www.sakhr.com/ As the companies specialize in software and computer solutions, the physical evidence of their activity include their web pages first of all. Thus, Harf, Google, and Sakhr are equal in this aspect.
People People are valued as software programs and solutions are aimed at establishing contacts between Arabic and English-speaking worlds People are considered to be the basic value. They are the customers of Google, and the company provides them with the highest quality of services to preserve their loyalty People constitute the main value of the company. Employees are provided with high income levels, benefits, social security, health care insurance, retirement benefits, etc. People constitute the basic value for every company of the three, while the customer- and worker-oriented policies of Harf, Google, and Sakhr make their positions equal in this aspect.
Process Production process covers the marketing analysis results, and includes the demand of the market and competitors’ advances in the area. Production process is oriented on the customers; the company considers the needs of customers to make its products the most fitting ones. Production process in Sakhr Software Co. includes marketing, manufacturing, promotion, sales and after-sale service stages. Production is also an equally highly developed sphere of activity in every of the three competitors.
Market Share 13% 17% 70% Market shares the companies have in the Middle East market differ as Harf is a dominant company in Egypt but in the whole Middle East its influence is not substantial; Sakhr dominates Kuwait and the whole Middle East market, while Google has the market share only 2% larger than Harf.
Positioning Leader of Islamic software development Worldwide leader of computer software and Internet searching developments Software development leader in the sphere of linguistics and business Positioning is equally confident and development-oriented for all three competitors.
Marketing Strategies Work with all customer groups, creation of software for Islamic studies, business, education, etc. Customer-friendly promotion, exemplifying the best quality of products by free download options. Conduct of opinion surveys among Sakhr Software Co.’s customers, monitoring of the customers’ buying habits, examination of the recent demographic changes and demographic-related socio-economic changes including income level shifts, buying habits’ changes, etc. Marketing strategies are similar to some extent, while the international network of Google allows it to succeed more in marketing than Harf or Sakhr.

The competition in the Natural Language Processing industry is not rather strong, and this allows the major NLP players including Sakhr Software Co., Harf, and Google develop their product lines and increase market shares in the mutual competition. Dealing with the software industry, the three companies mentioned meet in the area of NLP where they currently develop their computerized solutions including Hadyth Ecyclopedia, Secure Access, and Text-to-Speech Solution. The products that the competitors present to the market are similar in their focus on introducing the NLP Industry solutions to the Arab – English connection and the use of software solutions for their designing. Being behind Google in the international market, Sakhr Software Co. dominates the Arabic market and tried to improve its international market position.

Analyzing the market segments (segmentation)

One more function of sales and marketing department is the conduct and analysis of market segmentation of Sakhr Software Co (Wrenn et al., 2006). Accordingly, the sales and marketing department has managed to find out the following target market segments which correspond to specific customer groups of Sakhr Software Co.:

  1. Customers needing Arabic language processing solutions;
  2. Customers needing text reading solutions for perceiving e-mail and text messages in the sound form;
  3. Customers needing mobile translation solutions;
  4. Customers with sight or hearing impairments in need of special solutions allowing them to perceive messages, read and translate information.

Thus, market segmentation is rather wide, so the sales and marketing department has to consider all the details of every market segment to report any possible changes. This information might provide production department with the data needed to present the best quality of production to a certain market segment.

Micro Environment analysis

The micro environment of Sakhr Software Co. in the market displays weak competition in the Arabic world, and rather strong one in the international market. Sakhr Software Co. currently dominates the Arab Natural Language Processing industry in the world. The company has numbers of loyal, and the customer base reports the permanent growth. The recent merger of the company with Dial Directions, a leading voice-entry technology provider, is the proof of the growing authority and reputation of Sakhr Software Co. The following table presents Porter’s five forces analysis of the micro environment of Sakhr Software Co.

Factor Description Implications
Threat of New Entrants This factor implies the possibility that new competitors appear in the Natural Language Processing market. For Sakhr Software Co. this factor is the least important as entering the Natural Language Processing market, especially in the Arab world, will demand from the new competitors both strong funding and updated equipment which is lacking in the Arab world currently.
Bargaining power of buyer The factor involves the situation when buyers acquire power over the company Sakhr Software Co. is a balanced organization. Its operations are equally customer and product oriented. This fact makes the second factor not rather significant for the company at the moment.
Threat of new substitute products The factor presupposes the appearance of the new competitors that might introduce modified solutions able of reducing the company’s influence in the market For Sakhr Software Co. this factor is rather important as far as computer technologies develop rather quickly and the market is constantly updated by the new solutions presented either by Harf or Google.
Bargaining power of suppliers The factor implies the excessive power of suppliers over the company and the ability of the former to determine the production volumes of the latter. Sakhr Software Co. cooperates with the number of suppliers but the power of final decisions as for production capacities and volumes is taken by the company’s governance based on the fact that Sakhr Software Co. develops the final products using its own intellectual and human resources.
Industry Competition The factor considering the overall industry competition observed and examining the positions of all the competitors in a market segment. Rather important for Sakhr Software Co. as far as its competition with Harf and Google is rather strong. Industry competition influences the position of the company in the market and determines its strategic objectives in development.

Macro environment analysis

As for the macro environment, Sakhr Software Co. finds itself in somewhat different position. Sakhr Software Co. was affected by the global economic issues. The company experienced demand decrease in the last half of 2008, but 2009 promises the demand and sales rates to return to the traditionally high and permanently growing levels. Demographic and socio-economical factors like population distribution changes and increase/decrease in income levels of social group affect Sakhr Software Co. to the considerable extent. Therefore, adjustment the above changes is one of the main areas that demand improvements. The following table of the PESTLE analysis illustrates the macro environment:

Factor Description Implications
Political factor Politics influences business in every region and conditions its development Sakhr Software Co. is slightly affected by political regimes of the countries it operates in as the company tries to be apart from politics and deal with business operations only
Economic Economic conditions are directly related to the development of every company The 2008 – 2009 economic recession caused serious demand reduction for Sakhr Software Co. products but the forecasts for the future report to be positive.
Social Social factor is the most important one in the analysis as it involves the consideration of the suppliers and customers of the company. Sakhr Software Co. has the network of cooperative suppliers and the base of loyal customers that support the company for the high quality of goods it offers
Technological Technology is paramount in the modern world for the development of every business entity. Sakhr Software Co. deals with technology and tries to stay updated in both the technology solutions it offers and equipment it operates.
Legal Legality of an enterprise is basic for the successful development of the company. Sakhr Software Co. is an absolutely legal organization that pays taxes and is responsible for the quality of the goods and services it offers.
Environmental Being environmentally friendly means much in the modern world and allows the company to extend its customer base. Sakhr Software Co. production process is harmless to the environment. Moreover, the company supports the environmental initiatives in all countries it operates in. This allows Sakhr Software Co. to have the wide network of loyal customer.

SWOT

The SWOT Analysis of the Sakhr Software Co.’s position in the market is necessary for the development of the marketing plan presented above.

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Strengths Weaknesses
The NLP products offered by Sakhr Software Co. are unique:
a) based on original ytechnologies developed by Sakhr and unknown to its competitors;
b) are of the highest quality according to customer satisfaction surveys;
c) are simple in use, which none of Sakhr competitors’ goods have.
Lack of competition that would facilitate the development of company’s goods and services to higher levels of quality
Strong current market position Narrow focus on Arab NLP only
Loyal customer base Insufficient price flexibility and adjustment to socio-economic changes
Opportunities Threats
Uniqueness of goods and services offered might facilitate the further strengthening of market position Lack of competition to weaken the company
Further international expansion is beneficial for the customer base development and market segmentation with the products that include NLP solutions, computerized Arab – English recognition software programs, etc. Inability to adjust to socio-economic and demographic changes to undermine its market position
Further innovations in Natural Language Processing solutions to promote the company internationally International economic situation to damage the company’s market position, demand and sales rates

Conclusions from market analysis

Thus, the market analysis of Sakhr Software Co. allows stating the following areas for improvements as the purposes of the below presented plan:

  1. Increase the competitiveness of prices for the Sakhr Software NLP solutions;
  2. Modernize the international marketing strategy so that to equally compete Google not only in the Middle East but worldwide;
  3. Adjust to the social and demographic changes that the markets usually experience with the ability to match the requirements of every single market segment and customer group;
  4. Encourage competition in the area of Arab NLP as the condition of further development of the company;
  5. Improve the company-customer relations in respect of quality, prices, etc.

Recommendations on 4 P’s

In the marketing mix, product is the strongest point of Sakhr Software Co. as far as the variety of products is rather wide, constantly updated, and accessible to the customers all over the world. Prices need to become more flexible which would allow larger numbers of people to afford translation or text-processing solutions by Sakhr Software Co. Place is also at the proper level of development, meaning that distribution facilities of the company are situated all around the globe. At the same time, promotion is another component that needs improvements, especially in respect of customer involvement and better company-customer communication. The following marketing plan is set up to make those improvements.

Marketing Plan

Objectives

The objectives of the current marketing plan include making improvements to the relations of the company with its customers, facilitation of the company’s ability to adjust to socio-economic and demographic changes of the society, and increasing the quality of promotion Sakhr Software Co. resorts to.

Strategies

The strategies used to achieve the aforesaid objectives will include the conduct of opinion surveys among Sakhr Software Co.’s customers, monitoring of the customers’ buying habits, examination of the recent demographic changes and demographic-related socio-economic changes including income level shifts, buying habits’ changes, etc.

Marketing Mix

Moreover, customers should be invited to the process of product development and their opinions should be considered in respect of Sakhr Software Co.’s product design, functional application, pricing and promotion initiatives. Pricing as such should be put in accordance with the market conditions to allow larger numbers of customers buy Sakhr Software Co. goods and services. Distribution locations of the company should also be updated so that to allow better promotion and contact of the customers with Sakhr Software Co. local officials.

Budget and Cost-benefit analysis

The budget of the planned initiatives should be calculated approximately at the initial stage of the project so that to consider the timeframe of the activities planned, potential costs they involve and benefit expected:

Activity Timeline Costs Benefit
Survey of customers’ opinions July, 2009 $5, 000 $10, 000
Survey results’ processing and conclusion drawing August, 2009 $5, 000 $10, 000
Monitoring of buying habits July – August, 2009 $10, 000 $40, 000
Examination of the recent demographic changes and demographic-related socio-economic changes August – September, 2009 $20, 000 $33, 000
Lowering of prices through application of mass production September, 2009 $135, 000 $346, 000
Launching advanced promotion campaign and modernization of the web site of the company September, 2009 $200, 000 $468, 500

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring of the plan fulfillment will be charged to the head of the sales and marketing department, Vice President Tuyen Ho. The evaluation of the plan results should be carried out monthly by Vice President Tuyen Ho and the management of his department in the discussion with the Sakhr Software Co. Board of Directors.

Proposal to Management, Feedback and Amendments

On receiving this proposal, the sales and marketing department management provided me with the feedback, according to which all the initiatives proposed in the above marketing plan were considered by the department and agreed with the department head. All points included are obviously in need of improvement, except the price lowering initiative, which, according to the sales and marketing department management, cannot be carried out so spontaneously and demands further considerations. Therefore, the management asked me to amend this point so that to cut the expenses for it and extend the time frame to allow such an initiative to be carried out properly. Therefore, lowering of prices in the amended marketing plan should take 6 months (September, 2009 – February, 2010) and involve $56, 000 of expenses for it.

Conclusion

To conclude, it should be stated that the activities of every business company should be customer-oriented, and Sakhr Software Co. is not an exception. Having the product-led structure, the company currently demands a marketing plan that would facilitate its relations with the customers, make its production more available and promotion policies more customer-oriented. The offered marketing plan still demands improvements as it last consideration by the management of the sales and marketing department proved.

Works Cited

  1. Dessus, Sébastien and Julia Devlin. Towards Arab and Euro-Med regional integration. OECD Publishing, 2001.
  2. Egan, John. Relationship Marketing: Exploring Relational Strategies in Marketing. Pearson Education, 2008.
  3. Gomes, Roger and Patricia A. Knowles. Nonprofit Marketing: Marketing Management for Charitable and Nongovernmental Organizations. SAGE, 2006.
  4. Hisrich, Robert D. Marketing. Barron’s Educational Series, 2000.
  5. Jackson, Peter and Isabelle Moulinier. Natural language processing for online applications: text retrieval, extraction, and categorization. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2002.
  6. Kerin, Roger A. and Steven William Hartley, William Rudelius. Marketing: The Core. McGraw Hill Professional, 2003.
  7. Sakhr Software Co. “Sakhr Software: Your Main Gate to Arabic IT”. 2009. Web.
  8. Schmidt, Marcus J. and Svend Hollensen. Marketing research: an international approach. Pearson Education, 2006.
  9. Sears, Andrew and Julie A. Jacko. The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook: Fundamentals, Evolving Technologies, and Emerging Applications. CRC Press, 2008.
  10. Wrenn, Bruce, Robert E. Stevens, David L. Loudon. Marketing research: text and cases. Haworth Press, 2006.

Footnotes

  1. Sakhr Software Co. “Sakhr Software: Your Main Gate to Arabic IT”. 2009.
  2. Sakhr Software Co. “Sakhr Software: Your Main Gate to Arabic IT”. 2009.
  3. Sakhr Software Co. “Sakhr Software: Your Main Gate to Arabic IT”. 2009.
  4. Sakhr Software Co. “Sakhr Software: Your Main Gate to Arabic IT”. 2009.

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