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Green Toys Inc. marketing segmentation, strategy, and data collection method Essay

GREEN TOYS INC. Market Segmentation

It is a crucial key for the companies to adapt to their target customers’ needs, wants and values. Larsen (2010) stated that a company could not satisfy all customers in broad and diverse markets and hence divided the customers into segments. Then the company decided which segment they want to target.

Marketing segmentation is, defined by Kotler and Armstrong (2005), “dividing a market into distinct groups of buyers who have distinct needs, characteristics, or behaviour and who might require separate products or marketing mixes”. Market segmentation is a process of dividing into several segments based on demographic, geographic, psychological, and behavioural factors (Thomas, 2007). By that, the company is able to understand better of their target customers and conduct their marketing effectively (Gunter and Furnham, 1992). Target Segments for Green Toys Inc.

According to my research, the target segment for Green Toys is more to psychological – eco-friendly personality and healthy lifestyle.

Resource Conservers

The resource conservers hate waste. They usually will use products that recyclable and reusable. Green Toys can easily target on this segment of customers because their products are produced by recycled milk jugs, which saves energy and save electricity which producing them. The materials and toys are not shipped from overseas, hence save a lot of energy and less transportation that reduces greenhouse gasses. Even the package of the toys is also recyclable. With all these environmentally-friendly production system and ingredients used, the resource conservers will totally get attracted on the products. Health Fanatics

Eco-friendly users are normally people that concern on the health as well. Not only themselves, but the whole family’s health they care about, especially the kids. However, some toys are still concern the parents because the materials that make the toys are not suitable for the kids to put into the mouth; as kids like to explore things by putting into their mouth. Green Toys target on these parents by producing products that are safe for the kids. They produce cookware and dining sets, dish sets, which designed for real foods, easily cleaned with soap and water or put into the dishwasher. They also produce vehicle toys, etc. for the kids, which the parents have no worries on affecting kids’ health while putting into their mouth. Read also about methods of resource allocation

Outdoors Enthusiasts

Green customers are also outdoor enthusiasts who spend their free time camping, hiking, etc. and also like to bring their kids to play outside with the nature. They will use reusable bottles or containers to avoid littering and they seek to minimize the impact of their recreational activities. These outdoors enthusiasts will look for products from recycled materials. Hence, Green Toys able to attract these customers with their products – toys like cookware and dining sets, sand play sets, flying saucer, planting kit, jump rope, which are safe for the kids to play and learn.

Product strategy is the plan of selling the products in a market place (Queensland Government, 2011). Customers today are becoming more educated and demanding; the company might face higher cost if they did not plan well their product strategy. Hence, product strategy is very essential for the company to increase their profits. In my research, the current product strategy that implemented by Green Toys are (1) improve existing products, (2) use recycled, environmental and healthy materials in production, (3) energy saving in production, and (4) earth-friendly packaging.

Improve Existing Products

Any toys can be produced in any toy companies. However, Green Toys has used this strategy to outstand in the toy industry – using eco-friendly material in production. Green Toys selected recycled milk containers as the materials for their products (Edwards, 2010). The milk container is said to be the safest, cleanest plastic, and meets the FDA food contact standards (Greentoys.com, 2013). The choice of recycled milk containers for their products materials provided a unique marketing strategy (Edwards, 2010). They also choose to avoid painted coatings on their products, in order to eliminating the dangerous of surface paints that may contain toxic chemicals (Edwards, 2010). Use Recycled, Environmental and Healthy Materials in Production Green Toys products are made 100% recycled plastic and eco-friendly materials. They use plastic milk containers that are collected curbside from consumer recycling bins in the United States (Greentoys.com, 2013). The milk containers are reprocessed into clean and fresh plastic for the production. The product itself is also 100% recyclable that is compatible with the United States municipal recycling programs (Greentoys.com, 2013).

Energy Saving in Production

By using recycled plastic, instead of new and virgin materials, Green Toys able to save energy, lower greenhouse gas emissions, keep items out of landfills, and conserve natural resources (Greentoys.com, 2013). Edwards (2010) also stated that they eliminate unnecessary transportation. In order to commit to the environment, Green Toys products are all made in United States; all the manufacturing, package printing, product assembly and fulfilment are occurred in the same place (Edwards, 2010).

Earth-Friendly Packaging

The Green Toys’ environmental mission extends to the packaging (Greentoy.com, 2013). All products are packaged in recycled corrugated boxes with no plastics, cellophane or twist-ties, and they are fully recyclable. All packages are printed with soy inks. Green Toys has also created a schematic to describe how the use of recycled milk containers saves energy and the diagrams of its packaging (Edwards, 2010). The production information is all revealed on the packages to allow the customers to read and understand how safe the toys are for the kids.

The marketing department needs to find some effective ways to attract customers and boost sales of its products. Promotion methods are important and efficient marketing strategies for the company to achieve their objectives (Business Studies Online). There are many selections to create awareness and demand for Green Toys’ products, viz. Advertising

Advertising includes using mass media – TV, press, outdoor hoardings and transport media to reach all people (The Progressive Business Group).

Nowadays the Astro will broadcast some daily life products commercials before any hit TV series on show. This is a very good opportunity for Green Toys to advertise their products by producing a commercial about how eco-friendly the toys are and how healthy and safety of the toys to the kids. The parents, especially the mothers who care their kids very much, will certainly notice on the commercials and attract their interests. Other than that, Internet is also one of the fastest advertising medium to attract potential customers. Especially people with cell phones and handheld devices have used them to surf internet. Parents will surf web about kids’ health care; hence Green Toys may advertise the healthiness and the safety of their products by providing production information. Publicity

In order to create awareness of the products to the customers, Green Toys can post articles and news about the environment awareness, about themselves and their products in the media. Green Toys can also inviting all the people to attend their charity events or sponsors on the environmental awareness functions and talks. People who attend the events will get a free gift from Green Toys. From there, they will get to know more about the Green Toys’ products. Besides, Green Toys can involve in the educational services, like holding talks or program to deliver the information and knowledge on the recycle and environments.

Sales Promotion

Sales promotion is happened in a short period of time. Green Toys can increase its product demands by giving some price cuts, BOGOFs (buy one get one free), bonus packs, sample packs, trial packs, charity promotions, and merchandising. Some customers willing to try on new products due to the lower prices sales or trial packs, especially the parents who are price-concerned and health-concerned, hence they will come back to buy more when they satisfied with the products. Contests

Nowadays a lot of parents like to participate in baby or kids contests to win the baby or kids products. From there, parents not only can win free toys for their kids, but also aware of the uniqueness of the toys. When the parents understand the safety and healthiness of the products, they will continue to buy Green Toys products in future. Parents who are eco-friendly users will be attracted with the toys that are made by recycled materials.

Green Consciousness in Malaysia

Green awareness and green branding is growing in most of the countries. However, the green concept is still new in Malaysia (Government of Canada, 2011). The Malaysians would purchase green products if only an educational program on eco-labels and knowledge on environmental issues, health, food safety, and animal welfare are well provided (Phuah, Rezai, Mohamed, and Shamsudin, 2012). Challenges of Marketing Green Toys in Malaysia

Lack of Awareness on Green Purchasing Concept

One of the biggest challenges of marketing Green Toys in Malaysia is that to create the awareness of environment-friendly products. Malaysians are still lack of the knowledge on the green purchasing concept (Government of Canada, 2011). They still do not know the importance of protecting the environment and the environment threats they are facing. Lack of Business Expertise

Moorthy, Yacob, Chelliah, and Arokiasamy (2012) explained that the barrier to green business engagement is the lack of knowledge about environment management issues in terms of legislation and good environmental practice. The lack of knowledge is also the barrier to the success green marketing (Abidin, Yusof, and Awang, 2012). As stated by Abidin and et al. (2012), it is impossible to implement a green marketing without the expertise and supports from the academic.

Patience and Perseverance

Since it is a new concept idea of green marketing, the investors and corporate need to accept that the environment as major long-term investment opportunity (Kiran, 2012). In order to look into the long-term benefits from the new green concept, it requires a lot of patience as it will have its own acceptance period.

Avoid Green Myopia

The important rule of green marketing is to focus on the customer benefits (Kiran, 2012). The Green Toys has to provide a solid reason for the customer of purchasing their products in the first place. It is not an effective marketing if the products is produced in total green in all aspects but does not reach the customer satisfaction (Moorthy, et al., 2012). Hence, it leads to green myopia. Besides, if the marketing strategy does not implement correctly, lack of motivation to customers to switch brands or pay a premium for the greener alternative, it will lose its market acceptability (Kiran, 2012).

Role of Marketing Research in Green Toys

Marketing research is defined as “the systematic and objective search for, and analysis of, information relevant to the identification and solution for any problem in the field of marketing (Green and Tull, 1993).” It is a tool for all levels of management to make strategic decisions about acquisition, divestitures, and expansion.

According to Corporate Document Repository (1997), a variety of aspects of the market can be concerned in marketing research: the product, buyer behaviour, distribution, packaging, sales, promotion, pricing, etc. The researcher must only select on the certain aspect he or she wants to research on. For Green Toys, the management probably wants to conduct the marketing research on the behaviour on the green toys.

Firstly, Green Toys need to conduct a research purpose in order to gain a better understanding of a situation, to exploit for an opportunity or address problems that may impact the company. Their problem would be mainly about the people awareness on green products.

After Green Toys have the research problems, questions, and hypotheses, they have to decide which research design to use to guide the process and outline the way of data to be collected – Descriptive Research. Before conducting the data collection, Green Toys need to select on the sample that they want to study on. The population that Green Toys want to study would most probably be the parents. This is because when the parents are the eco-friendly users, most probably they will purchase on green products for their kids to save greens and ensure health of their kids.

After the data collection conducted, Green Toys will analyse the data. The purpose is to make sense of the data and interprete the raw numbers into meaningful information that management can use to make strategic decision.

Lastly, the Green Toys have to prepare a research report – summarized of the findings, clear, and succinct conclusion and recommendations – based on the analysis in order to present to the top management.

Data Collection Methods

The data collection is an essential aspect for research study (Claire, 2013). An inaccurate data collection will affect the research and hence lead to invalid results. The data collection methods that will be implemented in order to gain more insights to the segments preference will be the quantitative method. Observations

Observation is a way of collecting data by observing the behaviour, events, and physical characteristics in natural setting (Powell and Steele, 1996). In this research, covert observation will be used because the people are more likely to behave naturally if they do not know they are being observed (Powell and Steele, 1996). The observers can observe the likelihood of customers to look at or purchase a green product to determine whether a green product is acceptable or attractive to them. The advantage of observation is that the data collected is where and when the event is occurring. Besides, it does not rely on customers’ willingness to provide information.

Computer Assisted Personal Interview

This method is a kind of personal interview, by bringing a handheld device to enter the information directly into the database (Claire, 2013). This is not only saves time in processing data, it also save the interviewers from carrying around hundreds of questionnaires, as well as eco-friendly because it has wipe out the use of papers which waste the natural resources. Besides, it is easy to configure because people nowadays already have a basic computer and typing skills.

Web-Based Questionnaires

Web based questionnaire is a new growing methodology with the use of Internet. It takes you to a secure website to fill in a questionnaire (Mertens, 2005). Almost every handheld devices or laptops allow people to access into the internet, hence it is save time and money on implementing this web based questionnaires. Questionnaires often make use of the rating scales and checklist (Claire, 2013). This method helps the company to simplify and quantify the customers’ behaviour and attitudes.

Registered Data

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The registered data are always reliable because the information collected through a legal requirement (Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, 1999). For instance, the Government of Canada (2011) has conduct a research on Malaysians behaviour on purchasing green products for fiscal purposes. The registered data allows the company to obtain a timely and complete data as one of the way to review on the customers’ behaviour and the awareness towards the environment and green products.

REFERENCE
Abidin, N. Z., N. Yusof, and H. Awang (2012) “A Foresight into Green Housing Industry in Malaysia,” world Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 67 2012.

Armstrong, G. and Philip Kotler (2005) “Marketing: An Introduction” Upper Saddle River, N.J. Prentice Hall, 7th Edition [accessed: August 25, 2013] Business Studies Online. “Promotion,” [Online] Available from: http://www.businessstudiesonline.co.uk/AsA2BusinessStudies/TheoryNotes/2874/PDF%20Non%20Print/07%20The%20Marketing%20Mix%20-%20Promotion.pdf [accessed: August 25, 2013]

Claire, E. (2013) “Quantitative and Qualitative Data Collection Methods,” Data Collection Methods. University of Winsconsin. [Online] Available from: http://people.uwec.edu/piercech/researchmethods/data%20collection%20methods/data%20collection%20methods.htm [accessed: September 1, 2013]

Corporate Document Repository (1997).

“Marketing Research and Information System,” Marketing and Agribusiness Texts – 4, Version 4 Edwards, S. (2010)

“Green Toys Inc.: Striving to Make Sustainable Products,” Lowell Center for Sustainable Producton. Case Study, University of Massachusetts Lowell. Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (1999)

“Guidelines for the Routine Collection of Capture Fishery Data,” FAO Corporate Document Repository. Version T382. Green, P.E. and D.S. Tull (1993). “Research for Marketing Decisions,” Prentice-Hall, 5th Edition. Greentoys.com (2013)

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