In the introduction of a new or improved product in any market, there is a great need to market it. This endeavor ensures that the actual market for the product is aware about it. However, before this marketing, there is a need for creating a substantial marketing plan. This is the major basis of this essay. The essay is a marketing plan for service robots. Throughout the essay, informative analyses on the product have been carried out. This has been done in such a way that, if any likely customer reads it, it would be easy to relate to the product and know what it is all about. However, it is important to remember that service robots have only been used as a representative of many other products that may need to be marketed. Therefore, a general perspective has been maintained in the essay, while still sticking to the mentioned product. This has assisted in displaying a dynamic; yet, rather specific marketing plan.
Current Marketing Situation
The market that has been targeted for this product is the international market. At the moment, only few companies have been in a position to acquire service robots. This can be attributed to the three main factors. First, most companies do not have the knowledge of this product. This can be attributed to the fact that it is recent invention in the market. Therefore, few people know about it in the world. This can be named as a problem of familiarity. The second issue is that most people in the world are resistant to change. For the jobs that have been previously done by the human beings, companies find it hard to lay them off and start using the service robots. Last, but not the least, the initial cost of acquisition of service robots acts as a potential turnoff for most customers. These are the factors that are making the marketing situation unwelcoming for any company wishing to conduct the business of providing this product (Coen, 2009).
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The potential market for this product is contained in the range of activities that it can perform. The first group to be mentioned is industries. Most of the activities that industries undertake are repetitive. This nature of their activities makes them a potential target for the sale of service robots. Another possible market for this product is every household in the world. The product can be used in the delivery of services in the home environment. Scientists can also make use of this product in most of their research programs. Therefore, it is right to say that the market for service robots is as diverse, as it can get. However, the marketing of this product, in order to reach the market targets, can prove to be a real hurdle for any company to jump over (Prassler, 2012).
Features and Benefits of Service Robots
Service robots have many features depending on the services they are meant to provide. For example, there are some that have been enhanced to perform services that are repeated from time to time. These have specific areas, where they can be applied. However, they have a general feature in that they can withstand harsh conditions without losing their efficiency. The benefits of these robots cannot be exhausted. First, when used well, they do not make mistakes. This means that they perform the required tasks in the best ways possible. Second, service robots can perform the activities that human beings may not be in a position to. For example, they can perform activities in space without the supply of oxygen. Therefore, they can be used there for as long as their owners wish. Another example is that they can work in the industries that have harsh conditions, such as high temperatures, depending on the way they are designed. Furthermore, they can reduce the production costs. After a company has invested in service products, it can perform the duties that are performed by many people. This is because they do not get tired. This means that the labor cost is reduced by a large factor. This widens the profit margin. These are just but a few benefits of service robots to the people, who may decide to purchase them (Schraft & Schmierer, 2000).
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Basically, service robots are the robots that are used to help humans in carrying out of the tasks that are repetitive, dangerous, dirty, distant, or dull. These robots have a control system that is incorporated into them. Therefore, they are not controlled by the external systems. When one acquires them, there is no need for the acquisition of other systems to aid in their running. Furthermore, they are only designed to perform specific tasks. The robots have override options to help the user to control the activities they carry out. For this reason, the options have been made manual. Service robots are of different categories. First, there are the industrial service robots, which can be used in the completion of simple tasks, such as welding. In this category, they can also be used in harsh conditions in industries. For example, an industry might need to dismantle a nuclear power station. This is a dangerous task for humans. In such a case, service robots can be utilized. Another category of service robots is used in restaurants and bars. For example, they can be used in the production of cocktails that might be seen to be complex. Moreover, there are domestic robots. These robots can carry out the services that are frequently performed by humans in their homes. An ideal example is the Roomba vacuum cleaner. Finally, there is a category of robots that perform scientific functions. For instance, they can be used to perform repetitive experiments instead of using scientists to repeat the same experiments. This shows that the product can be used in a range of places, depending on the needs of the consumers (Luther, 2001).
The competition in terms of companies cannot be analyzed for the service robots. This is because they have not been completely accepted into the market yet. Therefore, there is less competition between the companies, which deal with the robots. However, there is competition from other ways of performing the activities of these robots. The hugest competition comes from humans. Human beings do most of the activities that the service robots are meant to perform. The acquisition of these robots in most areas would mean that those people will lose their jobs. Therefore, they are receiving much opposition from the majority of workers due to the threat they pose on employment. More competition comes from simple machinery. With the help of humans, simple machines can be used in performing the tasks that the service robots are required to perform. The advantage of these simple machines to people is that they still provide employment. This means that they are a major source of competition. However, with changing times, most organizations might be willing to incorporate change in their daily activities (Luther, 2001).
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Channels and Logistics Review
Most of the robots are new to the possible consumers. In addition, some may be huge for transportation by individual consumers. For this reason, the task of transporting them is carried out by the company providing them. This way, the company can take it to the place, where it will be used by the consumer, and show them the way to use it. This reduces the problems that consumers could have in the use of a new product. The means of transport to be used mainly depend on the size and number of robots to be transported. The distance to be covered also affects the choice of transportation for the robots from the manufacturing plants to the outlets, as well as to the consumers. Preferably, trucks can be used to transport them over the short distances. For the overseas countries, water transport can be used due to their bulkiness (Prassler, 2012).
Sample of Competitive Products and Pricing
Although the sale of service robots has not lasted long, there are other companies selling simple machinery to perform the same services as the robots. Considering the production costs for the service robots, these machines provided by the companies are cheaply provided. If the company would decide to provide the service robots at such prices, this would mean the incurring of losses. For example, the comparison between the prices of regular vacuum cleaners and the Roomba vacuum cleaner, a service robot, illustrates this difference. The price of the regular vacuum cleaners is a small fraction of that of the Roomba vacuum cleaner. However, the relevant company can handle this issue strategically (Schraft & Schmierer, 2000).
A SWOT analysis of this product is vital in the marketing plan. The major strength of the service robots is that they are reliable. This conclusion is in the sense that they are less likely to err. Consumers would consider this strength. The major weakness of the robots is that they are not inclusive of human activities. The derivation from this is that the service robots place themselves in direct competition with human beings. The major opportunities for the service robots lie in the technological advancements occurring every day. With time, there will be more need for fast, accurate, and reliable services. Most relevant companies will be wishing for these products. The major threat that the service robots face is the opposition they face from the humanitarian organizations. These organizations argue that robots promote unemployment. Therefore, there is major threat that legislation may regulate their sale. For the producing company, this would be a threat to its mere survival (Luther, 2001).
Objectives and Issues
The major objective here is convincing the consumers that this is the best product for their needs. This is because there are other alternatives in the market. Another objective is to ensure that most of the people are conversant with the way, in which these products are used in the field. The advantage of this is that the consumers should be in a position to market the products to other consumers and widen the market. The major issues that come up here include the possibility of the robots failing in their functions, as well as their human friendliness. These are issues that the company needs to strategize on. They should look for the ways to eliminate these doubts in the consumers’ minds. Alternatively, they can invest in trying to change the attitude of consumers towards this product. This will enable them to embrace it; thus, increasing sales (Prassler, 2012).
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Marketing Strategy for Service Robots
There are various marketing strategies that can be effective in the market penetration for the company dealing with service robots. First, advertising is vital for the company. This is because most consumers do not have knowledge of the product. The adverts should be as persuasive as possible. This will convince most people to overlook the options that they may be having. The adverts should also be placed on the popular platforms. For example, the internet and popular newspapers can be used. The best way to approach this issue is employing experienced teams to aid in the advertising process. Another strategy for the robots is in pricing. Although the sale of service robots has not spread all around the world, there are companies that sell them. Any company willing to join this business should study the prices of the products in the market. This way, they can be in a position to establish the equilibrium price. After this, they can sell their products at a price that is slightly lower than this equilibrium price. This would attract more customers to their product. These, among many others, are the major marketing strategies that can be applied (Pisla & Pisla, 2013).
Action programs should be developed by the company dealing with service robots, based on the most important issues for the promotion of sale of the product. These programs should be developed in the most realistic ways, considering the issues, such as the law, as well as financial ability of the company. The first action that would require a program is advertising. There should be the clear way, in which the company will advertise the product to the consumers. This plan should aim at reaching the right market, as well as at reaching as many consumers as possible. One more action would be securing of permits from the government bodies. This would ensure that the company does not disagree with the government concerning its operations. In order to counter competition, the company can also plan on a way to differentiate its products. This would cause it to have an edge over its competitors (Fisk & John, 2013).
In marketing, the company cannot function without a budget. This helps them to determine the activities that they can perform without straining their finances. In case of limited funds, the budget of the company should be focused on priorities. For this product, advertising is the major priority. It will ensure that the company has the consumers, who are willing to buy the products. There is a need for the company to set the budget on the higher limit. This avoids disappointments during the actual processes serviced by the budget. It also ensures that the company does not manage some aspects of the initial plan and leaves out complimentary aspects, without which they are bound to fail (Martinez, 2013).
The company would need to set the standards to be used in monitoring the success that it has achieved. These standards would be in terms of market penetration, profit margins, sales made, as well as many others that would prove to be motivating factors. To avoid disappointments, the company should not set very high standards at the beginning. As time goes, the standards can be adjusted to suit the progress of the company. The progress of competing companies can also be used in the setting of controls. This will be an indicator of the ability of the company to counter competition in this market. It can also be used to motivate the workers involved in the production process, regardless of their positions (Martinez, 2013).
Social Responsibility Marketing
In marketing, there is need to exhibit social responsibility. Apart from the fact that it protects the consumers, it also promotes the image of the company to the world. This is because it shows that they have concern for the welfare of people. For example, some robots may be capable of causing harm to their users. Most companies selling this product may fail to mention this in the adverts. This is because they think it is counterproductive. However, the opposite is true. When a company warns the public on any dangers with its products, they get more comfortable buying it. The alternative would be the conveyance of this information from the consumers, who have already used the product. This would destroy the image of the company. From the above analyses, it is clear that service robots have the potential to cause unemployment. Part of the social responsibility of a company is marketing this product to the audiences that will not replace humans with the robots. This way, the company should show consideration for people in their various places of employment. The company should look for more ways, in which it can express and exhibit social responsibility in their marketing (Fisk & John, 2013).
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