Posted: May 24th, 2022
In the case study, Toyota Prius customers sought to achieve different kinds of goals, which the Prius was able to meet, hence helping its customers achieve these specific goals. Prius customers have a mix of immediate and long-term purchase goals, in addition to personal-material and professional goals (Hawkins and Motherbaugh, 2010, p. 448).
Prius satisfies its customers’ long-term, which is to have a fuel efficient car, a concern that is primarily economic and secondarily environmental in consideration. Efficiency was the key to Prius’ success in the automobile market: it is the most efficient car model that it eclipsed the performance of its major competitors, Honda and Ford. In addition to long-term goals of having an environmentally-friendly, fuel efficient car, the Prius also responds to customers’ immediate professional goals to own a car that is environmentally-friendly and fuel efficient, yet technology-savvy enough to demonstrate that the purchase is a “smart” choice rather than just solely economical or creating the image of being an environmentally conscious car owner. Thus, from the professional (technical) aspect of the product, the Prius appeals to the need of customers to be technically knowledgeable about the product they are buying, from the environmental to the technological aspects of the Prius.
More than anything, however, Prius customers wanted to feel personal gratification by purchasing an environmentally friendly hybrid car. The purchase of a hybrid car demonstrates that Prius customers are personally contributing to a global call to use more efficient and environmentally sustainable products. Thus, by purchasing a Toyota Prius, there is personal gratification knowing that the purchase would mean the customer has been conscientious enough to think about the environment and actually “investing” on this cause through the Prius purchase.
Question 2. Considering all the functional benefits of owning a Toyota Prius, the popular car model has four (4) major target groups it could cater to. These target consumer groups are: (1) practical buyers, (2) technologically savvy, (3) environmentally conscious, and (4) young professionals / yuppies. Practical buyers are those who would buy the Prius for its technical features, which include its ergonomic design and economical fuel consumption. This group encompasses all demographics — they could be parents or young professionals looking for a good deal on a hybrid car. Technologically savvy customers, meanwhile, would be most attracted to the Prius’ technological features. It was mentioned in the case that there were customers who used Prius’ car technology, hacked it, and converted it to enable them to watch TV or play video games. Further, the Prius’ car technology includes an energy monitoring system that provides control in the car’s air conditioning, audio, and satellite navigation systems. The young professionals would also be a specific group that Toyota Prius could target and market to because of special promotional programs that companies are offering to its employees. Because of these company programs promoting the use of environmentally sustainable hybrid cars, Prius has benefited and continues to benefit from sales coming from young professionals of these companies. Lastly, the environmentally conscious group would be more drawn to the Prius’ core characteristic as a hybrid car. They could be a combination of the three previously mentioned target groups, as the main reason why hybrid cars are becoming popular nowadays is because of the sudden demand and strong advocacy for an environmentally sustainable car model, and hybrid cars such as Prius responds to this need and goal. Thus, environmentally conscious groups could also be the practical buyers, technologically savvy, and/or young professionals who are enticed by the Prius’ features other than its being a hybrid car.
Question 3. The concept of the marketing mix provides the dimensions or classifications from which a product or service could be determined and evaluated. In a product or service, the marketing mix is its core characteristic. This mix is composed of the following: product or service itself, the price of the product/service, promotional programs for the product/service, and place wherein the product/service is available and accessible.
In the Toyota Prius case study, Product and Price are salient dimensions / characteristics that make it a more enticing to customers. As a hybrid car, it wins over the competition because it has the right balance of being a fuel efficient car and responding customers’ need for an environmentally sustainable car. Further improved with its improved design and economical fuel consumption, Prius has indeed become the leading product in the hybrid car market. An important characteristic that the Prius had that cannot be topped by the competition is that it has value for money. The Prius competes with the competition not through its unit price alone, but mainly because it could deliver most of the customers’ requirements and needs at a price that is also affordable to them. Thus, combining a winning product because of its functional features and competitive pricing against other major car brands and hybrid car models, Prius emerged as the winner as it is the only hybrid car that provides customers with value for their money.
Question 4. The most important thing that Toyota has done well — and this is also an important insight into marketing — is that it was able to develop and produce a winning product. While Prius’ debut was not as profitable as expected as a new hybrid car in the market, Toyota’s eventual improvements in the Prius’ design/ergonomics and fuel efficiency shot up the demand for the car. Thus, while its eventual success was a gradual process supported by an increased demand for hybrid cars, not to mention a combination of increasing fuel prices and the need to have a better performing, fuel efficient car.
The conditions in which the Prius was introduced in the market were ideal. The product was launched into the market when different events are happening at the same time: consumers are demanding for an environmentally sustainable car, fuel prices are up, which makes it imperative for cr manufacturers to provide cars that are economical with fuel consumption, andToyota has constantly sought to improve its product. This perseverance coupled with specific market conditions that favored the Prius contributed to its success.
It cannot also be denied that Toyota’s strategy of segmenting its customers into specific niches or groups also helped. By identifying its target market’s characteristics, lifestyles, and goals as consumers, it was able to customize its marketing strategies and specifically tapped and reached the group it wanted to reach. Through studies and marketing campaigns, Toyota was able to communicate to customers that the Prius is not only a hybrid car, but it is also a high quality, ergonomically designed, fuel efficient, and technology savvy kind of hybrid car. Thus, with this positioning, Prius was able to capture a multitude of consumer groups by remaining within just one category: hybrid cars.
Hawkins, D. And D. Mothersbaugh. (2010). Consumer Behavior: Building Market Strategy. MA: McGraw-Hill.
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