Page 2: The market
The potential market for Assure within the food sector can be divided into two key market segments:
- Industrial sales - This segment includes the walls, ceilings and doors used in cold storerooms at food processing and food manufacturing facilities.
- Retail sales - This segment involves refrigeration units used to keep food cold in retail outlets such as restaurants, butchers and supermarkets.
In some industries the supply chain from the manufacturer to the end user is quite short. In the computer industry, for example, Dell produces computers and sells these direct to customers. In the CES market, however, the supply chain can be much more complicated with many intermediaries.
Suppose a food company is building a new storage facility. It will employ an architect to design the building and appoint a project manager to oversee the construction. The project manager will employ contractors who might also use subcontractors to build the facility. The contractors will need panels produced by a panel manufacturer who in turn will need material to produce the panels.
To be successful, Corus must understand the supply chain and highlight the value of its products to each of them to encourage them to specify Assure. This can be difficult because:
- there are many different intermediaries to deal with
- for each contract there will be a different set of end users, contractors and subcontractors.
A key factor in the process is the needs of the end user, in this case, the food company. Within the food company there are likely to be several people involved in any key decisions. All these people may influence the type of panels used.
Corus must therefore try to understand the needs and objectives of each of these individuals. The hygiene manager, for example, may be most interested in how well Assure kills bacteria, whilst the purchasing manager may focus more on the payment terms.
To stimulate sales of Assure, Corus uses both a 'push' and 'pull' promotion strategy:
- Push - To all the different intermediaries, Corus highlights the benefits of Assure. The aim is to encourage these organisations to recommend that Assure should be used when discussing the project with the end user.
- Pull - Corus tries to stimulate end users' awareness of Assure so that they build it into the specifications they send out to firms bidding for the construction contract.
To promote Assure, Corus has focused on a range of market communications activities such as public relations, advertising campaigns and direct mails. These activities have concentrated on factually based messages showing the technical benefits of the product, often through the use of case studies. A range of sector specific journals were used to reach the relevant targets and key influencers in the supply chain.
Recently the potential market for antibacterial steel within the food sector has been growing. This is the result of:
- changes in consumer tastes that have led to a greater demand for convenience foods e.g. ready-made sandwiches, chilled meals
- tougher legislation on health standards at both national and European level
- greater media focus and public awareness of food safety
- an increasing risk that customers would take legal action if they became ill following infection
- greater focus on risk management, forcing subcontractors to look for ways of demonstrating their commitment to safe methods of production.