For this assignment, marketing project of a company will be introduced in the paper. This marketing project will develop a strategy for the business to become global and analyze different areas of the company. For the analysis of the marketing project, Unilever is selected in the region of Ecuador. Further, detailed marketing and competitive analysis will be done for the company to expand its business to Ecuador. Unilever is a Dutch-British consumer goods company, which has headquarters in London, UK and Rotterdam, Netherlands (“About Unilever,” n.d.).
Unilever has a huge product line including beverages, food, personal care products, and cleaning agents. According to 2012 revenue report, Unilever is the largest consumer goods company and the largest producer of food items (“About Unilever,” n.d.). It is the seventh most valuable European country. Being the oldest multinational company, Unilever serves in more than 190 countries around the globe. According to 2016 turnover report, Unilever has more than 400 brands to offer to their customers, with a turnover of €50 billion, and sales of almost €1 billion coming from thirteen flagship brands (“About Unilever,” n.d.). These brands are Dove, Flora, Axe, Omo, Knorr, Lux, Hellmann, Heartbrand, Rexona, Magnum, Sunsilk, Rama, and Surf Excel. Unilever is a dual listed company, with Unilever N.V located in Rotterdam and Unilever plc located in London. However, the company works as a single organization with the common board of directors. Unilever is classified into four division; Refreshment (beverages and ice creams), Food, Personal care, and Home care products. There are research and development units in the UK, China, India, USA, and Netherlands, which focus on the brands and development of new brands.
In 1930, Unilever was founded by the British soapmakers Lever Brothers and the Dutch margarine manufacturers Margarine Unie. In the mid of 20th century, Unilever diversified their business from producers of oils and fats, and started business around the globe. Unilever has made certain corporate acquisitions like Lipton in 1971, Ponds in 1987, Brooke Bond in 1984, Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, Best Foods in 2000, Dollar Shave Club in 2016, and Alberto-Culver in 2010 (“About Unilever,” n.d.). In 1997, Unilever deprived their special chemical operations to ICI, discontinuing it operations from the Unilever. However, in 2015 under the strong leadership of Paul Polman, Unilever started shifting its business towards beauty and health brands and the company started showing slow growth in the food brands (“About Unilever,” n.d.). Paul Polman is a Dutch businessman, who was born in 1956 in Netherlands. He as served a long tenure with Proctor & Gamble and later in 2006 joined Nestle. In 2009, he was appointed as the CEO of the Unilever company and is serving the company since then.
Unilever plc has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a primary component of FTSE 100 Index. However, Unilever N.V has been listed on Euronext Amsterdam and is also a component of the AEX Index. According to 2017 reports, Unilever has 169,000 employees around the globe. Unilever’s revenue is termed at €53.7 billion, with net income termed at €6.4 billion, according to 2017 (“About Unilever,” n.d.).
Competitive analysis is a crucial part of a company’s marketing plan which provides a deep analysis that how the product and services are unique as compared to the competitors (Fleisher & Bensoussan, 2015). It also gives deep insight into the elements which need to be considered to attract the target market. By observing competitive analysis in a company, it provides data on the competitors and making evaluations according to it. Analyzing the competitor’s strength in the market, helps the company to understand what the competitors are giving and what type of products/services are required by the customers (Fleisher & Bensoussan, 2015). In this phase, it is important to examine that who are your competitors in the market, and what type of products do these competitors sell. It is also vital to analyze the market share of these competitors, which gives an overview to the company that the competition companies are in this market for how long and what has made them make such a market share. Then, each competitor is analyzed that what is their strategy in the market and what market share they acquire (Fleisher & Bensoussan, 2015). Before entering a new market, the first step of any company is to analyze the market and its competitors. It provides an overview of the competition in the market and what will be faced by the company. It is mandatory for a company to analyze the current and future competitors of the market which can impact the business of your company (Fleisher & Bensoussan, 2015).
When we talk about Unilever entering the Ecuador market, we have to consider the top consumer goods companies which are serving the market of Ecuador for a long and short time. Nestle and Proctor & Gamble are the main competitors which need to be considered by Unilever to enter the Ecuador market. These competitors have been in Ecuador for more than 5 years and have made grounds in the market, by providing cost effective household items and products used in the daily life.
Next, the market share of the competitors needs to be analyzed. Identifying the market share of the competitors helps in understanding that what strategy they have acquired to continue their sales and growth of the restaurants (Giannakopoulos & Koutsoupias, 2015). Here, market share does not mean the numeric value of the market acquired by the companies, but it relates to the business strategies and area which has been acquired by the competitors. Nestle has a wide range of products to offer to their customers, and so do Proctor & Gamble. Both of the multinationals have made efforts in matching the customer need and producing the brands which match those needs. In Ecaudor, Nestle has a market share of 10-12% and Proctor & Gamble have a share of 9%.
In analyzing the market of the competitors, it is important to know about the SWOT of the competitors. It helps in better understanding of the competitors that what internal and external advantages and disadvantages they have in the business (Giannakopoulos & Koutsoupias, 2015). These findings are then compared to the company which is doing the research and helps in eliminating the errors in the company. For Nestle, their strengths are basically the wide range of product line to offer to their customers. The weakness of Nestle is the substitutes available with their product range. Threats to the consumer goods provider are the globally expanding business, which is also a risk for them. Opportunities for Nestle, are the retail outlets of Ecuador and affiliated cities which are not touched yet. However, Proctor & Gamble has the strength that they have made a proper segment for their business where they serve the niche market specifically i.e. shampoo products and women centered products. P&G’s weakness is the dropping out almost 100 of their brands and focusing on the remaining. Threats to the company are the risk of the segmented market which sometimes can make a problem if other competitors show flexibility in their business. Opportunities for the company is to introduce a full range of consumer brands (compared to the competitors), which is limited at the moment (Giannakopoulos & Koutsoupias, 2015).
After all these factors, feedback is gathered by the companies in response to the execution made by Unilever and it will help in better understanding the entry strategies in the market.
Industry analysis is a technique which helps a company to understand their position in relation to the industry and the competitors in the industry. Opposite to the competitive analysis, industry analysis provides insight into the factors which should be considered in entering any industry (Dobbs, 2014). These factors are important to understanding as a marketing strategy plan. In small or large businesses, analyzing the industry helps in identifying the resources which are important for the business, and the capabilities which can lead to a competitive position for the company.
This term tells about how easy or difficult it is for a company to enter any industry. It is important for a company to make sure that it easy for them to enter any industry, as it tells about the ability of a firm to compete in the industry. Ease of entry depends on two factors; competitors reaction to new entrants and barriers in the market (Dobbs, 2014). The reaction of competitors towards new business entries in the market depends upon the factor that how the competitors react to the business. It might be an attacking strategy, where the competitors make it difficult for the businesses to enter the market, and it might not be as effective to the competitors and allow the new entrants to enter the market (Dobbs, 2014). Based on this theory, we can say that the Ecuador market is less segmented and competitive. However, looking at the powerful competitors for Unilever, it will still be a difficult task for Unilever to enter Ecuador, as the competition from Nestle and P&G there is very high and the competitors will make strategy parallel to Unilever to prevent them from having a new competitor in the market. But, Unilever can tackle the entry as the company has a good brand image in the customer’s mind. The Ecuador market is in fast growth structure in terms of consumer goods products/brands and the market has a huge customer database (almost 16.4 million). For this purpose, the competitors acquire a fast business growth and identify that their business is not threatened by the new entrants.
As far as the barriers of the entering the industry are concerned, these barriers are the factors which should be kept in mind when a business has to enter a new industry. In every industry/market, there is always a switching cost of the customer where the customer tends to pay less for a low-quality product or pay high for a high-quality product (Dobbs, 2014). Based on this information, Unilever has to manage their products in such a way that the customers do not find it high or low, but in a middle so that they have a huge customer base. New markets also require high capital and the economies of scale. Economies of scale mean that cost of a single unit is decreased due to a large amount of output produced. Sometimes, it can become dangerous for Unilever as they had to match the quality of their products as well, which cannot be achieved by producing products at the same price as they are sold in other countries. For the start, the prices should be matched with the income of the customers, which is different in different countries.
One of the major factor to be considered in the industry is the power of suppliers. It is determined by the number of suppliers which exist in an industry. Suppliers might have bargaining power over the business entity if there are fewer suppliers in the industry (Shockley & Fetter, 2015). Directly it affects the business flow of the company as the product resources are gained from the suppliers. Suppliers can also move their chain of production to become a manufacturer instead of remaining just as a supplier. The suppliers might take the business and become a competitor to your business.
The reverse situation is where the buyers have some power over the business/industry. In this situation, the buyers tend to behave differently because of a number of reasons. They might have alternate options in the industry to purchase the product, a single customer might have to buy a big volume of product which in return demands low pricing from the business, or require additional services from the business while making a purchase (Shockley & Fetter, 2015). As for the business, it becomes a difficult situation to manage, where they have to offer the best product for the customers with the best service as well. Unilever needs to accept the buyer’s criteria because if a new industry is selected by the consumer goods provider, they have to alter their rules and regulations accordingly. If a customer in Ecuador wants a shampoo with mint conditioner, Unilever might have to manufacture a new brand to match the customers’ needs.
In an industry where there are a number of competitors working at the same time, it is known belief that the customers have a lot of ways to buy the product. The companies then analyze their inner department situations, which are not matching the competitors of that industry. For example, a customer might find that he/she can buy the same product at a low price from a different company, and move towards it. To satisfy this need, companies change their business strategy because of the threat of substitutes imposed on the business (Shockley & Fetter, 2015). In Ecuador market, Nestle and P&G are already serving the market, which are categorized as same as Unilever. Based on this situation, Unilever needs to focus on how their competitors have established themselves in the industry. The strategy might be that serving the customers with low prices or introducing the same products as the competitors have introduced in the country.
Market analysis is about the dynamics and attractiveness of a specific market in the industry. It tells about the market in which a company is going to enter or is already in the industry. In the market analysis, companies tend to talk about their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A SWOT makes it more easy for a company to analyze themselves about the position it is in the market (Pegels et al., 2015). For Unilever, Ecuador market is selected where the company is going to enter Ecuador as a new market to offer their product line to the customers. The strengths of Unilever can be considered the tenure of which the company is serving the customers and that the company is globalized serving almost 160 countries already. They have the power of an old brand, which gives a perception of quality in the customer’s mind. One of the major weaknesses of the company is that Unilever is very limited in their diversification which does not go beyond the consumer goods industry. While entering Ecuador, it should also be a weakness for Unilever that the business depends more on the retailers in terms of product placement and overall business growth. Threats imposed on the company is followed by the tough competition coming from Nestle and P&G, which are their main competitors around the globe as well as in Ecuador. Opportunities for Unilever are the diverse demographic areas where they can display their brands in the retail outlets of different cities. Innovation in their healthcare products, like lotions, shampoos and other products should be introduced.
Market analysis also includes the target market which is selected for the business to serve the specific customers. It can also vary from different industries and places. As Unilever is a consumer goods manufacturing and production company, their main business increases from different retail stores like Metro, Carrefour, and other small city stores. The basic target market for Unilever is the population which comes to buy household items from retail outlets on daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Around 60% of the total Ecuador population comes to visit retail stores everyday.
For the starting business, Unilever will serve Ecuador and its main cities like Quito which has the size of almost 16.4 million people. From this figure, almost 60% of the population comes to visit the grocery or retail stores for shopping of household and utilities. All of the population which does shopping from the retail stores can be considered as the target market. The nature of the target market includes almost every type of nationalities in Ecuador i.e. European, South America, Amerindians, and African. From all over Ecuador, Unilever will target the people coming to the stores for shopping, as this strategy is also a global strategy for Unilever.
As the target market is selected for Unilever, the following describes the profile evaluation of the segment of the industry:
|Segment size measures||Almost 16.4 population of Ecuador. 60% of which are retail shoppers and outlet visitors (Pegels et al., 2015).|
|Segment growth||Affected by the population, almost 3.5% people become residents in different cities of Ecuador (Pegels et al., 2015).|
|Proportion of the market||Specifically, 40% of the population consume goods for their household on daily basis.|
|Geographic||Majority of the segment are heavy workers, almost working all day and living in the suburbs of the city.|
|Demographic||Aged from 18-50, well educated, disciplined, single and married having children, mostly employed, working in flexible shifts.|
|Psychographic||Most people are social, tend to talk less in public, enjoy traveling, likes spicy foods, concerned over their career and future.|
Companies tend to use effective pricing strategies to make higher profits by selling their products in the competitive industry and marketplace (Huang & Sarigöllü, 2014). For this purpose, the managers focus on a range of factors which can include the different pricing methods acquired by the competitors, the positioning of the product image in consumers, demographics of the buyers, and cost of distribution and production. There are a lot of strategies which are acquired by the companies to make effective pricing techniques.
- Premium Pricing: premium pricing is used by businesses when they have to launch a new product in the market. The products have a higher price compared to its competitors, due to some competitive advantage of the product (Huang & Sarigöllü, 2014). For using a premium pricing strategy, companies tend to place an image in the customer’s mind that the product is worth the higher price.
- Penetration Pricing: opposite of premium pricing, penetration pricing tends to offer products at a lower price compared to its competitors (Huang & Sarigöllü, 2014). The purpose of this pricing strategy is to flow the products in the market so that the consumers can conceive more of the companies products.
- Economy Pricing: also known as low pricing program, centers its interest in offering low pricing products and increase the volume of sales (Huang & Sarigöllü, 2014). This pricing strategy is best when a company has a bulk quantity, and in order to sell those products, companies place it at a lower price.
- Price Skimming: in this pricing strategy the company places its products at a higher price to sell, due to fewer competitors in the market (Huang & Sarigöllü, 2014). It is best when there is a little competition in the market, but not effective in high competition markets.
- Psychological Pricing: in this strategy, companies tend to use an emotional pricing rather than going for a traditional sense logic for pricing. For example, a best psychological price product will be displayed as $299, instead of $300. It makes an emotional perception in the consumer’s mind that the product is less expensive than the competitors.
- Bundle Pricing: bundle pricing includes selling multiple products at the same time, instead of giving away just one product. This strategy is beneficial for the company and customer both. Customer tends to think that he/she is being valued for what he/she is paying. Companies get an advantage of freeing up space for new products compared to the products which were not sold separately.
Based on the details listed above, the best pricing strategy for Unilever will be premium pricing. As Unilever is entering the Ecuador market, which means they are expanding their global business where the company was not served before, Unilever will need to enter with a premium pricing method, as they are doing in the other countires. Unilever places their price of a product higher than the competitors to create a sense that the Unilever products are of good quality compared to the competitors. Unilever will also use bundle pricing method as it is their core pricing strategy. Placing a Dove lotion with Lux, or Lipton tea with Lipton tea bags can be an effective bundle pricing technique.
There are a few concepts related to a product strategy when entering any new market or serving an existing market. The product of a company follows a product lifecycle, which is affected by every product in each company (Aras et al., 2017). First, the product starts from an introduction phase, where the product is designed and introduced to the market. With the passage of time, the product gains growth, where the sales and volume tend to rise with speed. By the time, the product achieves it maturity stage where the company enjoys the competitiveness over the competitors (Aras et al., 2017). At last, the product reaches a decline stage which might be caused by changing consumer behavior or better products in the market. Companies deeply analyze the life of a product from launching to discontinue. Each step has linked the reaction of the customers, which determines the time period of a product to be more or less. If the product is doing well in the market i.e. its growth rate is expanded to more than a year, than the company tries to increase its production and distribution in the local market (Aras et al., 2017). Based on the situation, Unilever has a good customer base all over the world. They have made efforts in brand loyalty and improving the image of the products. So, if they are entering the Ecuador as a new market, it will help them in sustaining their products for a long time because Unilever has a good product line and the company is in operations from a long time. Unilever’s brand Lipton was first introduced in the late 1900s and is still in the market. It has not reached the decline phase yet. It means that the company has established global strategy for their products to stay in the market.
For every new product, there is a relation between its response from the customers and the product itself (Huang & Sarigöllü, 2014). The local response of the customer is influenced by diversification in the product line compared to its competitors. In the consumer goods industry, if the product line is different and huge from the competitors, it directly increases the response of customers towards the business (Aras et al., 2017). As Unilever serves as a consumer goods provider with a huge product line ranging from foods, beverages, health products, day care products, the company is already playing diversification strategy in their products. The reaction of customers towards the company will be more because they will be getting a huge range of household items in the area. There will be more consumer turnover which will increase the overall strength of the company. A customer coming to buy a Dove lotion, and finding that Unilever also has tea products as well. The customer will get a positive influence to buy the product more often.
There is a big relation in the company’s product and the culture of the area. As different countries have different cultures, companies tend to adopt the culture of that country to make their product/services more attracted and presentable. Bases on the culture, the consumer preferences also change in terms of a business and its products (Huang & Sarigöllü, 2014). For example, an Italian restaurant culture allows the customers to smoke in the restaurants while US-based culture does not allow that. If the restaurant changes its organizational culture to allow smoking in a restaurant in the US, it will change the preference of the customers as well and they will move to some other restaurants. Same is the case with Unilever, that they need to focus the culture of Ecuador and its culture related to the products which are consumed by the country. The products of Unilever should be having Spanish language on the design of the products. This factor is most important because 93% of the Ecuador population does not know English, and it can effect the overall sales of the company. Unilever will make sure that they observe this culture in their business to make the workplace more effective and adapted to the culture of London.
As Unilever is already a multinational consumer goods company and they have the most desired products to offer their customers. Unilever will go to focus on using the same product line in Ecuador as well, because the brand lines of Unilever are established globally. By observing this stance, it will make the customers more attracted, as some customers might know about the products which Unilever is offering. Their flagship brands includes main foods and household items like Lipton, Walls Ice cream, Dove, Lux and other health products.
Placing strategy is one of the elements of the marketing mix, which tells the strategy that where and how the companies tend to place their products and service in the market (Datta, Ailawadi & van Heerden, 2017). This strategy ultimately helps in gaining market share and increasing customer purchases. Placing strategy is sometimes referred as distribution strategy, which includes the outlet/stores, which make it easy for the companies to reach the customers. As in for Unilever, there is the need to place their brands in the retail stores in the cities of Quito and Quayaquil where the customer interation is more due to the large population. For the more increased sales and effectiveness, Unilever should place their products in retail stores like Quicentro Shopping in Quito (capital of Ecuador) and Scala Shopping Mall in Quito. These areas have more public interaction, and placing the brands at the shelves with full quantity of Unilever brands can help in implementing the placement more effectively.
As far as the distribution of the operations it concerned, Unilever will manage its distribution same as they do it in other countries. The distribution process starts from the producer, then it goes to the warehouses in the area, and further passes to the stock controllers. The stock controllers than pass the quantity to the wholesellers, which is distributed to the retail stores, then given to the customers (Datta, Ailawadi & van Heerde, 2017). Unilever, gets the materials from the producers/suppliers in the market. These materials can include the raw materials like plastics, and things used in different brands and products. After taking these materials, it passes on to the warehousing department for distribution, which is taken up to the stockists, to distribute to the wholesellers. Further, it is taken to the retailers and then to the customers for sales.
The supply chain of the firm will be handled by gathering relations with the inner market contractors, which can help in the improvement of the quality of their products (Datta, Ailawadi & van Heerde, 2017). The supply chain of Unilever will cover everything from making the product, product manufacturing, retailing, and giving the product to the customers. The entry strategy for this purpose will be retail selling which is the most convinent way of entry for Unilever, as the customers and Unilever does not have the third party in between their working channels.
The most important element in the marketing mix is the promotional strategy, also known as the promotional mix. It is the most important part of the marketing mix, as it creates a direct link with the customer base in a specific area (Oladepo & Abimbola, 2015). In the promotional strategy, we are going to discuss the promotional mix strategy which will be acquired by Unilever. As product promotion is very important for a business, it is of great importance that the company manages its promotion to the customer needs (Oladepo & Abimbola, 2015). The promotional mix consists of public relations, advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and direct marketing. Acquiring and implementing the right mix of these promotional activities promises high customer demand and achievement of long and short term customers.
Personal selling is the process in which a company interacts with the customers on face to face conversation or over a telephone to persuade and help in giving the product knowledge. It is sometimes the most effective way to attract a customer, for a company which is engaged in personally selling the products to customers (Oladepo & Abimbola, 2015). For this purpose, sales meetings and sales training are conducted for employees, to make them skilled in interacting with the customers.
Advertising is a paid representation of a company’s goods and services through a mass medium. It is the most effective way of promotion, which is done by a nonverbal technique of presenting the products and services to the customers (Oladepo & Abimbola, 2015). Advertising can be done using billboards, tv ads, print media ads, direct mailing, brochures, posters, web pages, banner ads, and mobile ads.
Sales promotion is a non-media or a media communication, which is used to increase customer demand and improve the availability of a product for a limited time. Companies might put promotions on their most running products for a given limited time, to increase the revenue of the company (Sagala et al., 2014). Sales promotions can be done by offering coupons, product samples, exhibitions, and trade shows for the customers.
Public relation is the strategy of conveying information about a product or service, which is carried by a third party for the benefit of the company itself. It might be a free or paid publicity, depending on the mutual interest of both parties. It is the most effective strategy when a company wants a huge amount of public to interact with the product and service of the company (Sagala et al., 2014). Newspaper ads, magazine articles, charity contributions, and seminars can be included in public relations.
Direct marketing is a form of advertising which make ways for the businesses to directly interact with the customers using emails, mobile messaging, fliers, promotional letters, and outdoor advertisement (Sagala et al., 2014).
The best promotional mix for Unilever will be advertising and sales promotions. As Unilever is entering the Ecuador market, they will make billboard designs in the local areas of Ecuador specifically in the capital of Quito where the public is more. These billboards will display the flagship brands like Lux soap and Lipton tea saying “The luxury household product is in your city now” followed by the product details and description of the location of the outlet. Unilever can also use Social media advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat where an advertisement is played when a person is watching a video or playing a game, telling about the entry of Unilever in Ecuador. These ads will also include the product description like introducing Unilever in a specific area to let the customers know that the company is located in the which part of the city. Keeping in mind that, Ecuador has 93% population which speaks only Spanish, these advertisement should be in Spanish to attract more audience.
For the purpose of sales promotion, at the start of the business Unilever will be focusing on giving an ice cream or beverage free when a customer buys any product like Surf, Lux, or Dove from the outlet. Keeping the retail store in mind, this promotion has to benefit the store and company both. The company will be using memberships cards, in which the customers can have a 20% discount on shopping of more than 10 Unilever brands at one time. As the brands will be located in retail outlets, Unilever should hire indiviuals who can make the customers check the product for free. Like, Dove follows the promotional campaign, where a customer has to apply Dove soap in one part of the face and any other soap on the other part. After washing the face, customer has to identify which one is smoother. This campaign can help increase sales more than any traditional way of promotion.
It is important for Unilever to take account of their marketing prospects while entering the London market. It is beneficial for the company to consider their marketing plans which will help them in increasing sales and revenue of the market (Sagala et al., 2014). Alongside the effective operations of the company, it is also important to satisfy the marketing needs of the company and matching the customer criteria of the market. By following this, it is expected that Unilever can achieve a revenue of 40M in the next year, which is based on the number of stores and keeping the economy of Ecuador in mind. The unit sales can be forecasted at 1200 US units, which are also based on individual store performance.
About Unilever. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.unilever.com/about/who-we-are/about-Unilever/
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