The goal of product positioning is to achieve a defined John Deere brand image relative to competitors. As product positioning has a significant impact on the long-term success of the brand, John Deere has to create the desired position in the minds of the retirees, African-American, Hispanic and female consumers. Creating product positions that differentiate John Deere from competitors in ways that are meaningful to consumers is critical. The John Deere brand name and slogan is strong, “nothing runs like a Deere!” however, formulating a general marketing strategy for each segment is required. The marketing strategy will help address how to provide superior customer value to John Deere’s target market by formulating a theme for advertisements, and catchy taglines.
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In the female market segment, four significant segments exist today: the traditional housewife, trapped housewife, trapped working woman, and the career working woman indicate the diverse nature of the adult female population. Products have lost their traditional gender typing, Guns, cars, motorcycles, computer games and equipment, golf equipment, financial services and others that was once seen as masculine products, are now designed specifically with women in mind. The female gender processes and responds differently to various communications elements, including sexual appeals, music, verbal style, and so forth. Women also consume different media and use the same media differently. Since women are quite diverse as a group, John Deere must also consider such factors as ethnicity, age, life stage, and employment status differences in designing marketing communications. Ads portraying women must be careful not to offend any of the various segments. According to researchers, females respond more favorably to a “help-others” type of appeal for a charity of some sort. Therefore, an offering to draw attention to breast cancer efforts would play well into this consumer segment. Additionally, a modified marketing message for the female market segment could be “nothing helps you run better like a Deere”!
Within the retiree segment, the most significant growth area is in the 60 and over groups. The 60-69 age group will primarily be a one or two-person households, with retired or near retirement consumer. Gerontographics is one segmentation approach to the mature market that incorporates aging processes and life events related to the physical health and mental outlook of older consumers. The four segments identified within this group are: The Healthy Indulgers, The Ailing Outgoers, The Healthy Hermits and The Frail Recluses. A John Deere advertising displaying consumer products catering to vacations, restaurants, purchasing or renovating second homes, golfing, fishing, travel, and leisure, retirement homes, health care and financial services will attract the retiree market and flourish. Communications strategies would need to be adjusted to consider media avenue, message content, and message structure as some aspects of information processing, memory, and cognitive performance decline with age. Rapid, brief presentation of information is not appropriate for older consumers; however, the retiree segment would respond well to military/veteran advertising. The marketing message for this market segment could remain the same “nothing runs like a Deere.” It lets consumers know there is longevity and consistency behind the brand.
In the African American market segment, the same marketing principles apply as they would any other group. Adaptation to fit the requirements of this unique segment may be needed if the product line for John Deere expands into body and hair products. For the current product line, a general market approach will be appropriate with careful use of generalizations and stereotypes. Assuming that all members are the same as the larger culture is a mistake. Failure to recognize this often results in commercials targeted at African Americans that replace Caucasian actors with African American actors, without changing the script, setting, or culturally relevant symbols. Messages targeted to African Americans need to differ from those targeting other groups by situation and product for example body and hair products. For the current product line of John Deere, simply changing the race of one or all the models in the ads and perhaps the consumption setting to indicate that the product fulfills the needs of African Americans will work. African Americans also use shopping as a form of recreation more so than Caucasians, which suggests that stores with African American customers should pay particular attention to providing a pleasant and fun shopping environment. African Americans respond to sales differently than Caucasians and have different desires concerning credit cards, cash, credit program and check payments. In addition, African Americans are more prone to buy national brands than store brands as a way to signal status. Advertising that highlights financing options, credit program and resale value for used equipment would appeal to this market segment. Additionally, a modified marketing message for this segment could be “Let us help you run like a Deere”!
The last target segment is the Hispanic consumers. This segment of consumer tends to be highly brand loyal, particularly to marketers whom they recognize as working to adapt their products and services to meet their distinctive needs. Although price is important with the Hispanic consumers, the availability of high-quality national brands is equally as important as they tend to be less receptive than the general market to store brands. Hispanics enjoy their native language and often prefer Spanish-language media. Therefore, although it is possible to reach part of this market using mass media, serious attempts to target Hispanics will often involve Spanish-language media as well. Adding Hispanic product or Spanish labeled product to the John Deere line will attract Hispanic consumers. Home Depot launched a paint line called Colores Origenes in stores that have a heavily Hispanic customer base, and John Deere can do something similar. Designing or carrying T-shirts that targets Hispanic consumers with phrases in Spanish is another attraction. John Deere can also capture the loyalty developed with Hispanic products in Central and South America by distributing them in areas of the United States with large Hispanic populations. Within the John Deere stores, there should be bilingual salespeople; the use of Spanish-language signs, point-of-purchase displays with Latino print; and merchandise assortments that reflect the needs of the local Hispanic community. Advertising that highlights financing options, credit program and resale value for used equipment would also appeal to this market segment. Additionally, a modified marketing message for this segment could be “Únete a Nosotros and run like a Deere”! (Únete a Nosotros meaning “Join Us”).
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