The company presented in the case study is The Soup Spoon, which has 21 outlets in Singapore. Although its menu mostly consists of soups, the customers can also purchase salads, sandwiches, and wraps. The company’s ambitions are strong, and the founders of the company aim to become “the Starbucks of soup”.
It seems reasonable to assume that the company needs to apply the four components of holistic marketing in its marketing activities and programmes. Holistic marketing consists of four components that characterize it: “relationship marketing, integrated marketing, internal marketing, and performance marketing” (Kotler & Keller, 2016, p. 43). Relationship marketing is focused on establishing long-term relationships with key stakeholders such as customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, investors, etc. If a marketing network is established, mutually satisfying relationships between the company and the key stakeholders become possible. The issue the company faces right now is the rebranding and slightly limited menus that are not satisfying for every customer.
Therefore, the company needs to expand the existing line of the goods, gather feedback from customers in different areas (centre of the city or suburbs) to evaluate whether the new meals are suitable. It is also advisable to provide loyalty programs or special offers for those customers who frequently purchase goods or provide feedback (Sheth & Sisodia, 2015). Furthermore, the company also should not neglect partner relationships, since they directly influence supply and distribution (Storey & Kocabasoglu-Hillmer, 2013). Since the company focuses on servicing quality food only, it should also deepen and make relationships with suppliers in other countries (e.g. New Zealand) stronger. For example, the company can provide customers with information about the suppliers and distributors, which will be seen by stakeholders as an additional advertisement (Hollensen, 2015).
Integrated marketing implies that marketing activities and programs are to create and deliver value to customers (Kotler & Keller, 2016). In this case, The Soup Spoon will need to use all the existing channels in order to understand how they influence product sales. Company communications need to be integrated too. For example, The Soup Spoon can use different channels of advertisement, such as social networks, television, radio, banners, and advertisement in stores and malls to deliver the brand message. As it was already mentioned, if the company wants to target families as well, it needs to expand its menu so that it satisfies the middle-class families (but not only). For example, creating a kids menu implies that the company will need to expand the menu of sweets and desserts. Of course, the expansion of the menu will need to be advertised via different channels.
Internal marketing targets the issues within the company; hiring and training employees who will successfully serve customers are its main aims. As can be seen from the case study, the company won a Human Resources Excellence Award. The company needs to maintain or improve existing HR strategies and training in order to ensure customers’ satisfaction. It is unclear whether the company has a reward system or regular salary raises for employees’ excellence. Therefore, the company needs to focus on developing and establishing a strong reward system that will motivate employees to provide quality services. What is more, if the company aims to become a new Starbucks (but sell soups), it also needs to take the internal marketing of Starbucks into consideration. In this company, employees are trained as teams, and there are several reward systems or opportunities to advance in the career for those who are at the beginning of the hierarchical staircase (Smith Maguire & Hu, 2013). Starbucks’ employee management also stresses the importance of ethics and inclusion of different employees with different cultures and social backgrounds (Morais et al., 2014).
At last, performance marketing assesses the financial and nonfinancial returns from marketing activities and programs (Kotler & Keller, 2016). Sales revenue is not the only factors that should be considered by marketers; ethical, social, and environmental effects of marketing activities have to be considered as well (Kotler & Keller, 2016). The Soup Spoon is a company that promotes a healthy lifestyle and quality foods, it also has to work on the environmental and ethical side of the production of their goods. For example, customers might be more satisfied if the purchased meat will come from farmers and not slaughterhouses. Ethical services might increase customer satisfaction and improve the company’s image.
The company also provides another feature that might be interesting for customers: gluten-free goods and calorie counts on the menu (Kotler & Keller, 2016). Thus, the company takes social change (towards a healthier lifestyle) into account to increase sales and attract more customers. This marketing activity, as well as others, needs to be assessed to understand which ones are effective and influence profitability (Kotler & Keller, 2016). Customers’ feedback will indicate whether the company integrates the right marketing programmes. Furthermore, relationships with suppliers (e.g. ethical farmers and providers of quality food) need to be maintained as well to support brand identity (Tasić, Grubić, & Ratković, 2012). If the company aims to provide “healthful meals”, it also needs to provide proof (if needed) that the environmental effects of production and distribution are not harmful. For example, the company can use paper bags instead of plastic bags or cardboard packaging (Rudawska, Čuboňova, Pomarańska, Stančeková, & Gola, 2016). To conclude, the company needs to pay attention to its ethical and environmental responsibilities.
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