You just got a great job directing all marketing efforts for Canine Care, a chain of 10 “doggie day care” facilities in a large Midwestern city. As the first local service provider of its kind, the firm enjoys a large market share and healthy revenues. It has a reputation for clean, imaginative play spaces and knowledgeable employees.
However, the company faces serious competition from national franchises as well as new mom-and-pop operations. Growth has slowed. Fewer customers are referring their friends to CanineCare, and you’re missing out on business from the burgeoning population of young professional pet owners who are moving into the city.
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Based on the results of a market survey, you are convinced that weak positioning is the major problem. CanineCare is known mainly for being local and long- established – characteristics that aren’t important to the new residents and don’t give current customers a strong reason for recommending your service over alternatives.
There’s no question that CanineCare needs to be repositioned. The marketing research consultant who analyzed the survey recommended either an affordability positioning (“Care you can afford”) or a quality positioning (“The best care anywhere”). The choice is yours.
An affordability promise is almost certain to attract the highest number of new users in the short term, which will make you look good. But a cost-cutting strategy entails the risk of undermining the high-contact customer experience, and is unsustainable over time.
A quality promise will build long-term brand equity. It will also clearly differentiate CanineCare from competitive operators, all of whom offer nearly identical services and facilities. However, this approach could entail a price increase and take months to show results.
As a service marketer, you know that customer trust is the key to successful marketing of any intangible offering. This means that site manager Brian must be able to deliver on any positioning promise you make. Fortunately, he expresses confidence about making CanineCare’s services either more affordable or higher quality.
Should you reposition CanineCare on the basis of value or of quality? Both options are doable, but neither is perfect. Which should you choose and why?
What is the best way for Brian to implement cost cuts renegotiate vendor contracts or give notice to several high-paid employees and replace them with teenagers willing to work for minimum wage? Explain why you chose that option.
How will you promote CanineCare’s affordability rely on social media or promote directly to current customers? Explain why you chose that option.
The responses to each question must be substantive, of original thought, relate to the class material, and consist of at least two summaries for each question. Please include the question you are answering with your answer.
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