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SAXONVILLE SAUSAGE Current Situation Saxonville is a sausage producing company in Saxonville, Ohio with 70% of its 2005 revenue

from sales of bratwurst, 20% from breakfast sausage, 5% from Italian sausage, Vivio and 5% from store-brand products. In 2006, both bratwurst and breakfast categories across all sausage producers have been flat (0% volume increase), with little or no growth expected in the short term. Saxonvilles bratwurst had been flat and its breakfast category had underperformed the market, with a double digit decline. However, Italian sausage showed signs of growth of 9% in 2004 and 15% in 2005 across all sausage producers. To tap into the growing market, Saxonville aims to expand its sales through marketing. Research Methodology To ensure a successful marketing, the product marketing director for Vivio, Ann Banks has developed a systematic research methodology as shown in Appendix A. The first step involves mining of data from Saxonvilles Attitude and Usage Research in 2001; the companys online updated market database and past 10 years of Saxonvilless market research to decide that the female head of households are the main consumer of Italian sausages and marketing target group. Subsequently, focus group sessions are conducted with them to understand consumers behavior and needs for Italian sausage. With the data gathered from the focus group sessions, Banks and her team sat down to brainstorm for possible positioning territories which allowed them to develop four positioning concepts. These positioning concepts are then tested out qualitatively and quantitatively for the most favorable positioning. Though systematic, the team felt that the research design could be further fine-tuned to not only obtain data more representative of the target market but to allow more customer insights to be drawn. Foremost, bearing in mind that its research objective was to determine the national position of Saxonvilles Italian sausage, the team was convinced that the 103 women from New Jersey involved in the focus group sessions, the 69 consumers involved in the Positioning Concept Voting and the 506 target consumers involved in the Concept Assessment were insufficient. A huge country like USA, evident with Saxonvilles introduction of Italian sausage to the Northeastern market, possesses different subcultures and great demographic diversity. This would require a larger geographical spread for data collection: focus group sessions to be conducted with female heads-of-household who are purchasers of Italian sausage across states, from the West through the Midwest and the South to the Northeastern, where Saxonville intended to roll out its Italian sausage. The differing diets across states, therefore differing perspectives on Italian sausage would give Saxonville a more representative set of data of the sentiments of Italian sausage consumers in the national market.

For the same reasons above and the sheer size of the USA population, Saxonville should also engage a larger sample size across a geographic spread of states for its Positioning Concept Voting and monadic testing in its Concept Assessment. More importantly, in these tests, samples should not be limited to just purchasers of Italian sausages but extend to all family meal preparers and family grocery purchasers, male or female. This would provide more affirmation to any positioning concepts proposed. Also, considering the cannibalization concerns preempted by Saxonville, focus group sessions should also be conducted with male users of Saxonville brats, again across states, subsequent to the determination of a position of its Italian sausage in the national market. These sessions will focus on the possible changes in purchasing pattern of existing brat consumers and thus provide valuable insights to the cannibalization impact of nationalizing Saxonvilles Italian sausage. Nonetheless, the team understands that time and cost factors are constraints that limit the extensiveness of market researches. In the case of Saxonville, the team felt that such fine-tuning costs are necessary to obtain a more representative data set of the national Italian sausage market for its successful penetration of this market. Research Results The focus group sessions revealed that womens ideal was to make easy, quick, wholesome and appealing meals that the entire family would enjoy, as well as to do a good job as mother and homemaker. Many women also considered Italian sausage a great meal-maker, and the Vivio brand to be of exceptional quality (Exhibit 4). These results were used to construct perceptual maps which characterized womens key stressors in their preparation of dinner (Exhibit 5), map out the six initial territories for positioning the brand (Exhibit 6), and build brand ladders that supported the different core values held by the target consumer, which were later narrowed down to four core ideas from which the four positioning concepts were conceived (Exhibit 8). The final round of qualitative research established Family Connection and Clever Cooking as the two most potentially successful concepts which Saxonville could position the Italian sausage to optimize the core values of its target consumers, with Family Connection receiving the most first-place votes (Exhibit 9). Based on these results, the remaining two concepts Balancing Act and Labor of Love were eliminated, while the two topvoted positionings were further developed; potential tactical strategies were devised that would support them and optimize brand identity. Further quantitative testing results showed higher purchase-intent scores for Family Connection of the two final concepts 81% of respondents would definitely/probably buy if the Family Connection concept was employed as opposed to 72% for Clever Cooking (Exhibit 11). These results were evaluated in tandem with the available tactics that would optimally support the two positionings respectively in enabling Banks and her Score team to reach a decision as to which concept to utilize ultimately.

Research Driven Positioning In order to rationalize the development of the Clever Cooking positioning, secondary research was first assessed. Based on market facts, Vivio Italian sausage was used most regularly for dinner time eating. Data from the attitude and usage (A&U) study showed that female heads-of-household are primary purchasers of Italian sausage. Further demographic considerations revealed the heaviest users of Italian sausage as homemakers who may have to juggle this responsibility with work. Exploratory research, in the form of focus groups, then revealed that Italian sausage was a great meal-maker, being used as an ingredient in many dishes. More importantly, Italian sausage was considered to be a product of an exceptionally high quality, yet allowed users to prepare quick meals. Last but not least, a couple of perceptual maps were drawn up to show how Italian sausage met core target needs of female heads-of-households. The trade-offs included the ease of cooking, as well as how pleasing the meals were to both kids and adults. Having ranked highly on ease of use, as well as being pleasing to the entire family in general, was the basis of the development for the Clever Cooking positioning strategy. This positioning was aimed at portraying Italian sausage as a versatile ingredient that could be used to prepare a wide array of high-quality dishes, while adding a little zest to them at the same time. Through its focus groups, Family Connection was also identified as a possible key positioning concept. It was revealed that women wanted to whip up a wholesome and appealing meal that the entire family would love to eat and derived great satisfaction when they successfully did so. These women hope that by being able to prepare a delicious dinner, it would encourage the entire family to come together at the dinner table to share a meal and discuss about the days events. This reflected the womens core life values; they wanted to be nurturing mothers and homemakers. The final round of qualitative research supported this positioning concept. Family Connection received the most first-place votes from consumers who were asked to select and prioritize their favorite positioning concepts. Additionally, quantitative testing also supported the Family Connection positioning as it garnered 54% of first place votes, scoring the highest among the various positioning concepts. Overall, the Family Connection positioning concept seeks to portray Vivio Italian Sausage as the dish that brings everyone around the table to enjoy a wholesome family meal. Research-Driven Marketing Strategy The group decided that Vivios Italian sausages should be positioned under Clever Cooking, ahead of Family Connection.

It was established that a job well done was a value held dear to the customer. Banks put it concisely: the woman holds high standards of herself. Through laddering, in order to realise this user characteristic of a job well done, specific, targeted product characteristics should be utilised. Clever Cooking can rely on specific product characteristics such as premium, fresh ingredients as well as creative recipes to add a personal touch to their meal. The product would offer a position of 0/10 and 10/10 on the Easy To Do and Family Pleasing variables respectively (exhibit 2). Thus, Clever Cooking offers a clear, distinctive yet desirable position relative to competing products in the minds of customers. Furthermore, Clever Cooking would benefit from capturing market share as the first mover in their brand positioning. Family Connection on the other hand, seems to reflect a more generic positioning which brands could claim as their own, making it harder to differentiate itself. It is therefore more challenging to design marketing tactics as well as product characteristics which promote family connection. On the other hand, Clever Cooking seems more durable and distinct. A distinct brand is imperative considering there are 29 regional/local brands jostling to compete as the Italian sausage market grows. Furthermore, even though Family Connection came out of qualitative and quantitative testing as viable options, it raises doubts whether this positioning was indeed more appealing to consumers, or simply a familiar association to the Italian heritage concept. Indeed, Family Connection may cannibalise Saxonvilles other products. Instead, the company should leverage on its competitive advantage as a well-established brand (exhibit 4) to offer premium ingredients through the Clever Cooking position. The firm will try to sieze on a more-for-the-same position through its marketing mix. For the product, high quality, fresh ingredients will be used to whip up a wholesome meal. Food will be packaged with large transparent windows for consumers to see the premium ingredients. The woman will therefore not feel guilty about when feeding her family. Instead, the meal varieties available will signify a job well done, the core value among consumers in brand laddering. A variety of recipes will be provided with optional ingredients that can be added, allowing a personal touch to the dish. More recipes may be created to complement Hot and Mild Sausage flavours since these are the top 2 most popular flavours (exhibit 2). Each recipe should allow the dish to be prepared under 30 minutes. Complementary products such as cooking brochures and cook books with tips and tricks using Vivios Italian sausages will be available. Under promotion, we consider that the national sausage brand seeks to achieve profits for the next fiscal year. Therefore, it is imperative to launch the product before the start of the next peak season, October to February 2007 (exhibit 1). Intensive advertising in the last quarter of 2006 is therefore recommended, to make up for the lack of time to create brand awareness. Sales executives will be at hand in the first month of launch to educate consumers on how to cook creatively and conduct cooking demonstrations and sample tasting at supermarkets. Under pricing, as 6 out of 10 purchases given to a particular brand is considered a loyalist, we can expect a lower

degree of price sensitivity, typical of premium goods. Vivio will be competively priced compared to top competitors, pegged to the top 5 most expensive leading brands. Under distribution, as Vivio is intended for the nationwide market, the product will be distributed to all leading supermarkets. Other functional groups will also work hand-in-hand to support the marketing tactics. Human Resources should begin training sales executives on basic product knowledge and sample cooking demonstrations. Market research to conduct more extensively surveys on popular recipes and flavours. R&D and Manufacturing will ensure ingredients retain their fresh, natural-looking colour to give consumers the perception that our product is a close substitute to fresh produce. Advertising to run cost effective advertisements on popular social media platforms and cut down on mainstream televised media to reduce advertising expenses. Appendix A

Data mining

Conduct focus groups to understand consumer behaviour and needs

Analysing for positioning territories

Developing and testing positioning concepts

Quantitative testing for validation

Evaluation and reporting of findings