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Case study:丰田营销组合使用案例研究

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案例研究 Introduction 介绍
Marketing can be defined through various perspectives, such as selling orientation, production orientation and marketing orientation. Contemporarily, marketing orientation is the most common orientation to define marketing. It puts consumers at the first place, focuses on satisfaction of consumer needs, and then makes appropriate decisions on production, price and place according to market information (Boddy 2008). Namely, consumer demands are the starting point of any marketing activity of a firm. It is consumer-oriented. Therefore, marketing is not just about selling products or services to consumers, but concerning selling products or services they most need to them. 
在制定营销决策时,营销经理必须选择合适的营销组合。根据博迪(2008),是市场营销组合的混合产品的特点,决定价格,通信方法,并借鉴企业营销经理竞争地位的市场产品分布。换句话说,一个营销组合包括四个维度:产品、价格、促销和地点。它涉及到什么产品是以什么价格出售给消费者,什么促进方法和在什么地方。任何元素的缺失将导致营销计划的失败。When making decision on marketing, marketing managers have to select a proper marketing mix. According to Boddy (2008), the marketing mix is the mix of decisions about product characteristics, price, communication methods, and distributions drawn on by business marketing managers to competitively position the product in the market. In other words, a marketing mix includes four dimensions: product, price, promotion and place. It involves what products is to be sold to consumers at what prices, by what promotion methods and at what places. Absence of any element will lead to the failure of a marketing plan. 
组织绩效是一个组织的实际产出或结果相比,其预设的目标和目标(爱泼斯坦和曼佐尼,2004)。据李察等。(2009),组织绩效包括三个方面:财务绩效、市场表现和股东回报。通过各种途径,如提高经营管理水平和质量,加强财务和预算控制,创造适当的工作环境和组织文化,并实施正确的营销计划,以增加销售等(爱泼斯坦和曼佐尼,2004)。Organizational performance is an organization’s actual output or results when compared with its preset objectives and goals (Epstein & Manzoni, 2004). According to Richard et al. (2009), organizational performance involves three areas: financial performance, market performance and shareholder return. It can be achieved through a variety of ways such as improving management operations and quality, strengthening finance and budgetary control, creating proper working environment and organizational culture, and implementing right marketing plan to increase sales, etc (Epstein & Manzoni, 2004). 
The case which is studied here is Toyota Motor Corporation, a Japan-based motor vehicle production and sales company (Toyota, 2013a). The firm, established in 1937, had 325,905 employees around the world as of 2012 and achieved consecutive increase of sales of vehicles from 2010 to 2012 (Toyota, 2013a). It is one of the largest automotive manufacturers in terms of sales in the world. 
This essay is on the purpose of examining the use of a marketing mix as a tool and evaluating its effectiveness by taking Toyota as a study case. It is consisted of two parts. Part 1 mainly discusses how the company uses the marketing mix and evaluates its effectiveness. This is the major part of the essay. Part 2 makes a conclusion. 
Marketing Mix营销组合
Choosing a marketing mix can bring some advantages to a firm. The first is that a marketing mix provides a different perspective for a firm to find out its weaknesses in the four elements and then understand how to distribute their resources in the most appropriately way (Kotler, & Keller, 2006). Another is that it allows a company to promote its products or services effectively in a certain place and in a limited period (Kotler, & Keller, 2006). When choosing a marketing mix, a firm is usually influenced by spending on marketing, needs of the market, actions of competitors, and technology (Kotler, 2001). These factors decide the scale, mode and period of a marketing plan. 
In general, when a marketing mix is used, a firm has to first focus on the products or services which will be sold. Then it needs to price the products and services in an adequate way. The promotional strategies will be determined to market and sell the products to consumers. And finally, a firm decides the places where products and services are distributed most effectively. 

Product 产品
A product is the tangible or intangible goods and service offered by a firm (Boddy, 2008). It is the aggregate of such characteristics as appearance, design, colour, utility, quality, after-sale service, and package of the goods or service. Its purpose is to satisfy customer needs in one or some ways. If a product fails to reach this purpose, it is not attractive to customers and comes to decline. Any firm is applying the greatest effort to offer the most attractive products to the market. Toyota is developing high-tech environmentally vehicles which are fueled not by traditional gasoline but gas fuel, electricity, and hydrogen (Toyota, 2013b). Early in 2002, Toyota had produced the Toyota FCHV, the Fuel Cell Vehicle which was driven by high-pressure hydrogen. The new vehicles have become important components of the company’s product mix. By comparison with its traditional vehicles, the new-generation vehicles reduce CO2 emissions and prevent air pollutions. However, a lot of the new products still need further research and development for improvement in quality and use of energy. 
The development of environmentally friendly vehicles originates from the firm’s product strategy of product life cycle. Any product has its life span and experiences four stages: introduction, growth, maturity and decline (Boddy 2008). In general, in introduction stage, the product needs a large number of investments, and in growth and maturity stage, it brings the greatest sales and profits to an organization. While it comes to decline, no profits will be created. Therefore, companies have to constantly develop new products to maintain the sources of profits. Toyota has realized the trend and therefore is investing much in research of new products. As a matter of fact, gasoline-fueled vehicles have experienced a lot of problems, especially the environmental issues. The natural non-renewable resources such as gasoline are limited. And the use of gasoline has caused serious environmental pollutions. The vehicles fueled by gasoline are more likely to move from the current mature stage to the decline stage. Therefore, with the widespread awareness of environmental protection and concerns for the exhaustion of non-renewable resources, Toyota turns to the research and production of new-generation vehicles to ensure sustainable profits in the future. Certainly, the new products are at their introduction stage since more technological problems need to be solved. 
Toyota has made the most it can to improve its new products. It has been focusing on the research of electronic vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles. The next step is to develop plug-in hybrid vehicles and increase fuel efficiency in these new vehicles. Toyota’s efforts have been increasingly recognized by the global consumers. As of March 2013, it has sold 5 million units of hybrid vehicles around the world in the past 15 years, followed by Honda Motor with some 1 million units and Ford Motor with over 200 thousand hybrids (Green Car Congress, 2013). The company has taken the lead and will reap the rewards in the future when the new-generation vehicles are mature in technologies and can be mass produced. To achieve the greatest organizational performance, Toyota has to make breakthroughs in new vehicle technologies.  


Price is the exchange value that consumers pay when a good or service is purchased (Boddy, 2008). The value of a goods or service is measured by the price. Customers pay a firm to get the goods or service according to the marked price. Price is an important part of the marketing mix as profits are generated from it. Price is not simply the cost of production, but involves the costs incurred by distribution and promotion, and reasonable profit margin for producers and retailers (Kotler, & Keller, 2006). Toyota’s new Toyota Corolla is priced between $15,338 to $19,045, compared with Honda’s new model 2013 Honda Civic whose prices ranges from $16,892 to $25,095 (Newcars, 2013). This model of Toyota vehicle is priced less than that of Honda’s similar product. The price of Toyota’s third generation Prius in Chinese market was $36,508, compared with $20,900 available in Japan (Lee, 2012). The company applies different pricing strategies in different markets. 
Going rate pricing refers to setting price for a product on the basis of the price of existing products in the market (Kotler, 2001). The strategy is usually adopted when the product does not have great differences from other homogeneous products in utility and quality (Kotler, 2001). Toyota Corolla is close to Honda Civic in utility, quality, and performance. Toyota sets the price for its Corolla by introduction of going rate pricing strategy. As a result, the firm charges its Corolla at a price proximate to Honda Civic. This pricing strategy can help the company attract more customers since the product is at lower prices and with higher quality. Toyota’s brand awareness among the audiences has established its high quality image. Therefore, the going rate pricing and lower price strategies ensure Toyota’s price advantage against its rivals. #p#分页标题#e#
In positioning a product competitively within the minds of customers, it is necessarily careful to pricing the product. Firstly, it is not adequate to price too low or too high (Jobber, 2007). If it is priced too low, customers may be impressed that the product is also inferior in quality. Likewise, if it is too high, it may be considered that the price is not consistent with the benefits created by the product. Secondly, it is necessary to research consumers’ perception on the product and expected prices of such product (Pride & Ferrell, 2008). Therefore, a product’s price should be higher than consumers’ minimum expectations. Toyota’s pricing decision on Prius also abides by such pricing theory. 
The company’s pricing strategy on Toyota Carolla is fit for its purposes. In the United States, Toyota Carolla has been sold around 6000 more than Honda Civic year to date. The product is more popular with American consumers. To some extent, the pricing strategy is successful. The effect of pricing decision on Prius in China remains unclear. Up to now, Toyota has not obtained the same success in China as in Japanese and US markets. Therefore, as far as Prius in Chinese market is concerned, the company has not achieved the highest organizational performance. The company may amend its pricing strategy by slightly lowering price of Prius in Chinese market. If it is charged higher, Chinese consumers may consider it is not consistent with its benefits. 

Promotion 促销

Promotion is concerning how to encourage or attract consumers to purchase a product or service (Boddy, 2008). If there is no promotion, consumers will have no access to information of a product and then hardly generate purchasing desires. Therefore, any product needs promotion. Promotion generally include a wide range of communications with the target markets such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and personal selling. 
Toyota has used a variety of promotion methods to get its products to a larger audience. Firstly, for better sales of new vehicles in US, Toyota launched the “#1 For A Season” campaign in 2011 through commercial broadcasting, online media rolling out nationally and print advertisements (Toyota USA Newsroom, 2011). Secondly, it sponsors some important sports such as the IAAF World Championships, FIFA Club World Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Asian Qualifiers and Dream Car Art Contest (Toyota, 2013c). Thirdly, to motivate higher sales in Chinese market, FAW Toyota Motor Sales Co Ltd provided a preferential benefit package to Chinese consumers, which included a compulsory insurance policy, a free test drive, and a gas card worthy of 1000 yuan (Chinadaily, 2011). 
Toyota’s promotion methods are diverse and flexible. Firstly, advertising, the widely used method, takes the form of commercials, advertisements on newspaper, TV, radio, internet and other mass media, which are usually paid for (Armstrong & Kotler, 2006). Toyota’s the “#1 For A Season” campaign is just the combination of different advertising forms. Its brand awareness would be further promoted among American consumers. Secondly, public relations are helpful in promoting the positive image of a firm by developing good relationships with media (Wilson & Gilligan, 2005). The forms involve event reports, exhibitions, conferences, trade fairs, press releases, and sponsorship activities (Wilson & Gilligan, 2005). Toyota has sponsored a lot of important international sports. When the sports are reported, the Toyota brand is also circulated and communicated to wider audiences. At the same time, a positive image of Toyota brand is also established through its participation in such important events. Thirdly, sales promotion is used to motivate purchasing behaviors through giving some benefits such as discounts or trying new products for free (Pride & Ferrell, 2008). It is the most direct and usually most effective promotion. Toyota uses it to help out its unsatisfactory sales in Chinese market by giving some benefits to consumers. 
Obviously, Toyota’s advertising campaign and sponsorship activities are useful in further expanding the company’s brand awareness on the global scale and reminding American consumers of its product advantages. These activities can help promote its products in the certain market. In China, its 2011 sales increased 4 percent more than last year (Chinadaily, 2012). To some extent, the sales promotion was responsible for the sales growth. Considering the increasing intensive competition in global auto market, Toyota’s sales increase had achieved its highest organizational performance. However, the company still needs to improve its promotion strategies. They are separately drawn on in most circumstances. Therefore, in one campaign, it may combine these different promotion methods in the most appropriate and effective way. 


Place is the decisions on how a product is effectively delivered to consumers in the most effective manner (Armstrong & Kotler, 2006). It is about where consumers can have access to a product. A company may deliver its products by setting up its own stores or through some intermediaries or dealers. Any form serves the purpose of delivery of products in the most effective, fast and cost-saving manner. 
Toyota mainly distributes its products through dealers. Besides a small portion of sales dealers run by Toyota itself, the firm has some more than 300 dealers in Japan who operate more than 7000 sales and service outlets (Toyota, 2012). It then establishes the largest distribution network in the country. And independent dealers have an important position in the network. In addition, the company makes full use of the online channel. It opens up a special column, namely “Showroom” in its global website where main models of vehicles are exhibited (Toyota, 2013d). Through the website, consumers can readily and conveniently find the right Toyota vehicles. Furthermore, it has also set up professional online shopping websites ” and o sell Toyota series, accessories and maintenance parts. In the website, 382 models whose prices, features and packages are specified in detail are available (Actontoyota, 2013). Consumers can also purchase any vehicle accessories and maintenance parts directly through the internet. 
When manufacturers can not effectively distribute goods and services directly to consumers, they usually rely on intermediaries. An intermediary refers to a third party offering intermediation service between manufacturers and consumers (Jobber, 2007). They can improve distribution efficiency, better assort products, routinize transactions, and readily search for goods and customers (Jobber, 2007). With the help of intermediaries, a manufacturer’s distribution effectiveness is greatly improved. Toyota distributes its vehicles mainly through intermediaries, the dealers, who help deliver its products to almost every consumer in the country. 
Nowadays, online shopping has become a fashion for most of consumers. It is a form of electronic commerce allowing customers to directly purchase goods and service from sellers on the internet (Fernie, 2005). The greatest advantage of online shopping is convenience since shopping can be done at any time, anywhere and anyplace (Fernie, 2005). It has been adopted as an important mode of distribution to deliver products to geographically remote customers. Toyota also draws on this new commerce mode by setting up special online shopping website. Consumers just browse the website to select the product they want. 
On establishment of distribution network, Toyota is considered to do its most. It has been striving to bring its products and services to every consumer by a large number of dealers and online shopping websites. The strong distribution network also brings the greatest benefits to the organization. By working with dealers to actively implement sales initiatives, the company sold 2071 thousand units of consolidated vehicles in Japan in 2012, with a growth rate of 8.2 percent (Toyota, 2012). Therefore, the company’s efforts on place are fit for the purpose of increasing sales. Nevertheless, its place decisions may be further improved by setting up special online shopping websites in foreign countries and increasing number of dealers in international markets. 
Marketing activities are greatly crucial for any companies. It is one of important approaches to achievement of organizational performance. When marketing decisions are made, a marketing mix is usually used, which is a tool applied by a firm to design and implement marketing plans since it helps understand the weaknesses of marketing plans and the most effective way of allocating its resources. It has four elements: product, price, promotion and place. 
Toyota Motor Corporation is a Japan-based vehicle company. It also uses a marketing mix to market its vehicles. Firstly, it is developing high-tech environmentally friendly vehicles which use gas fuel, electricity and hydrogen as fuels. Secondly, Toyota adopts going rate pricing to price Corolla series, homogeneous with Honda Civic, and reasonable pricing strategy to price its products in Chinese market. Thirdly, the firm applies diverse promotion methods to promote its products, including advertising communications, sponsorship activities and sales promotion. Fourthly, to effectively deliver the products to consumers, Toyota has built a large distribution network through a large number of dealers in Japan. Also, it sells vehicles through online shopping websites. 
Broadly speaking, the company’s use of the marketing mix is effective. Its new products have been sold in large quantities around the world. The promotion strategies further spread its brand awareness to wider audiences. What is more important is the increase of sales in Chinese market and domestic market in 2012. However, the effectiveness is still limited. Whether the environment-protective vehicles will be widely accepted by global consumers remains unclear. Its launch of Prius in Chinese market has also not obtained success. Therefore, Toyota has to improve its marketing mix by making breakthroughs in new vehicle technologies, resetting price of Prius in Chinese market, combining diverse promotion methods, and creating more dealers internationally. #p#分页标题#e#
References 文献
Actontoyota (2013) New Toyota Inventory. Available at: Accessed: 2 May, 2013). 
Armstrong, G. & Kotler, P. (2006) Marketing: An Introduction, 8th ed., Harlow: Financial Times/Prentice Hall. 
Boddy, D. (2008) Management: An Introduction, 4th ed., London: Pearson Education Limited. 
Chinadaily (2011) Automakers Compete Through Price Cut. Available at: (Accessed: 3 May, 2013).
Chinadaily (2012) Toyota’s 2011 Sales Growth in Mainland Slows to 4%. Available at:   (Accessed: 3 May, 2013). 
Epstein, M.J. & Manzoni, J.F. (2004) Performance Measurement and Management Control: Superior organizational Performance, Oxford: Elsevier JAI. 
Fernie, J. (2005) Online Shopping, Bradford: Emerald Group Publications. 
Green Car Congress (2013) Toyota Cumulative Global Hybrid Sales Pass 5M, Nearly 2M in US. Available at:  (Accessed: 2 May, 2013).
Kotler, P. (2001) A Framework for Marketing Management, Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall. 
Kotler, P. & Keller, K. (2006) Marketing Management, 12th ed., Harlow: Financial Times/Prentice Hall.
Jobber, D. (2007) Principles and Practices of Marketing, 5th ed., London: McGraw-Hill. 
Lee, C. (2012) Sales of New Toyota Prius Begin in China, Prices Start at 229800 Yuan. Available at: l (Accessed: 3 May, 2013).
Newcars (2013) 2013 Toyota Corolla vs. 2013 Honda Civic Review. Available at: (Accessed: 3 May, 2013).
Richard, P.J., Devinney, T., Yip, G. & Johnson, G. (2009) ‘Measuring Organizational Performance: Towards Methodological Best Practice’, Journal of Management, 35(3), pp. 718-804. 
Pride, W.M. & Ferrell, O.C. (2008) Marketing, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.
Toyota (2012) Toyota Motor Corporation Annual Report 2012. Available at: (Accessed: 3 May, 2013).
Toyota (2013a) Overview. Available at:  (Accessed: 3 May, 2013).
Toyota (2013b) Toyota’s Strategy for Environmental Technologies. Available at: (Accessed: 2 May, 2013). 
Toyota (2013c) Sports Sponsorship. Available at:   (Accessed: 4 May, 2013).
Toyota (2013d) Vehicles. Available at: (Accessed: 4 May, 2013).
Toyota USA Newsroom (2011) New Toyota Advertising Campaign Reminds Consumers Why it’s the Best-Selling Brand in America. Available at: (Accessed: 4 May, 2013).
Wilson, R.M. & Gilligan, C. (2005) Strategic Marketing Management: Planning, Implementation and Control, London: Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann. 

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