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In Nigeria where the importance of marketing is yet to be fully appreciated, people talk of marketing their products as if they are referring to a particular problem. A successful marketing strategy must tell an organization where they would want to be on a long-term basis, that is why it is often said that marketing strategy is a continuous process. It must rest on a carefully but well planned action, Baker (1995: 17)
The strategy aspect of the plan should be based on what is known of the competitor’s strength and weakness, the physical characteristics of the battle ground, the friendly or hostile sentiment of those who occupied the territory, and of course, the nature of resources available to the organization, Stanton (1982: 35).
In the business organization, there is safely no activity where the marketer must not therefore make the right decision about the four components of the marketing mix - price, product, place/distribution and promotion through the employment of marketing strategy. These key components must be co-ordinated and moved into a unified effective strategy if the product must perform well in the market, Kotler (1997: 315)
The analog to business strategies is direct and useful in business and in marketing, the terrain is the market place in particular and economic, political, social and technological environment in general. The resources are personnel with wide-ranging skills and expertise as well as factory laboratories, transportation system, financial resource and the corporate reputation, Henry (1984: 72)
More so, depending on the nature of business, strategies may have other dimensions as well. At the heart of any business strategy is marketing strategy. Businesses exist to deliver products to the markets to an extent that they serve this purpose efficiently through profit maximization.
All these are marketing efforts. The objectives of an organization have to be considered, particularly on customers’ satisfaction and increasing their sales volume at profits making.
Conclusively, Lever Brother Nigeria Plc being one of the leading manufacturing outfits in Nigeria must reflect and consider marketing strategies as a means of success in the markets and above all must anticipate the action and reactions of their competitors, Nwosu (1996: 112).
1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION OF LEVER BROTHERS PLC:
Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc is among the leading multinational companies that exist in Nigeria. And there is no way the history of Lever Brothers Plc can be treated without relating to the existence and impact of Unilever Brothers (Nig.) Plc, its parent and multinational company in London. Unilever’s history is also linked with the founder, William Hesketa Lever.
William H. Lever started at a tender age of 19 years by 1885. He started by buying the “purest” soap from local soap market. In other words, he was the first to start selling the faslets, wrapping it in bar of specific advertising through local newspaper. “No soap does this buyer business than advertising” was his usual slogan.
In Nigeria, William H. Lever bought a Liverpool from traders in Nigeria mainly in timber in 1910. Palm Kernel crushing mills were erected in 1910 at Oposo and Apapa (Lagos). In 1920, Mr. Lever bought over the Niger company for $8.6 million. It is this company that merged with African and Eastern Trading Company to form what, is presently known as the United African Company (UAC) in 1929.
Unliever extended its business activities into Nigeria when it was incorporated as West African Soap Company (WASC), until 124 at Apapa where laundry soap of key, sunlight and magret brands were first manufactured in -1952. Lux tablet was introduced, magarine factory, which was registered under the name Van Bergh (Nig) Ltd, was opened also at Apapa.
It was named Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc where both WASC and Van Ban Bergh (Nig) Limited merged in 1955. Under the same management in 1957, Aba branch was opened with a soap factory for the production of laundry soap to start.
Presently, Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc has grown in the manufacturing of large varieties of products such as:
1. Cream and lotion products
2. Toilet soaps/laundry soaps
3. Oral care products
4. Baby care products
5. Hair care products
9. Fabric washing/home cleaning
10. Diversely lever/industrial floor care products
11. Cubes etc.
Lever Brothers Nigeria PLc has also bought up the share of Lipton (Nig.) Ltd., makers of Lipton tea bag and Boncape coffee.
The performance of this section is that as early as 1885 Lever Brothers (Nig.) Plc found a need for marketing strategy and has taken innovative steps in penetrating the market for the product.
Source: An unpublished manual history of Lever Brothers and its present organization. Department of Management Training and Development, LBN, Aba, 1997.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM:
Effective marketing strategies have contributed immensely towards the achievement of. post purchase satisfaction, on the side of customers who -make use, of a given product in the market. Well established and implemented marketing strategies have played great roles in the success of business in Nigeria.
Every company which intends to improve on its marketing has to create good marketing strategies for its efficient and effective operations. These strategies if effectively used should increase the sales and profitability of such company/ and will also enable the company to achieve its stated goals/objectives, Nwaizugbo (2004:102)
Various products - line produced by Lever Brothers Plc such as cream and lotion products, Omo detergent, baby care products, oral care products, hair reiaxer, close-up tooth paste and many others have been contributing a lot towards the success of the firm in recent years, due to efficient and effective marketing strategies designed by them, and the maintenance of market share due to good penetration of the products in the market.
However, for some times, Lever Brothers Plc has been experiencing poor sales of its products in the market place as a result of the followings;
- Unfavourable external business environment.
- Inability Of the products to face other competing ones in the market place.
- Customers’ reaction against repeat - purchase
As a result of these afore-mentioned problems the researcher intends to find solutions to the problems and offer recommendations.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:
Most texts, studies, and write-ups have in the past dwelled solely on the marketing concept and 4ps of marketing with little or no attention given to marketing strategies. As a result of this disregard, this study focuses attention on the following:
1. To find out the major causes of poor sales of Lever Brothers products in the market place.
2. To identify, marketing strategies to be used in order to increase the sales and profitability of the product.
3. To determine whether the qualities of different products sold by LBN has helped to increase its sales.
4. To determine whether the pricing strategies used by Lever Brothers Plc have helped to increase the sales of its products in the market place.
5. To ascertain whether the chain of distribution strategy adopted by LBN has helped to increase the sales of its product.
6. To find out if the promotional strategies used by LBN have contributed to an increase in the sales of its products in the market place.
1.4 FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESES:
H0: The product strategies adopted by LBN Plc have not helped to increase it sales.
H1: product strategies adopted by LBN Plc have helped to increase its sales.
H0: The pricing strategies applied by LBN have not helped to increase its products sales.
H2: The pricing strategies applied by LBN have helped to increase “its product’s sales.
H3: The distribution strategies of LBN have not helped to ensure availability of their products in the market place.
H0: The overall promotional strategies used±»y LBN have helped to increase its products’ sales.
H4: The overall promotional strategies used by LBN have not t helped to increase its products sales.
H0: The overall marketing strategies adopted by LBN have not helped to increase the sales of its products.
H5: The overall, marketing strategies adopted by LBN have helped to increase the sales of its products.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
This study is carried out because it was intended to help in solving a problem(s), and if the problem is solved, it will benefit those who are affected by it.
It can be seen from the problems that Lever Brothers Plc’s major difficulties are identified to be marketing strategies. It is then hoped that this study will help the company to adopt better marketing strategies that will improve the overall marketing performance of products and equally enable them to realize their business objectives as well as utilize all their opportunities.
In addition to this, the recommendations made would provide initial steps in major decision areas facing the company, such areas includes; decision on the determination of .the present marketing strategies that can be used by LBN to improve the performance of its products in the market place, and also for vital expansion of business activities.
In addition, the study will enable the readers to know that the success of a business depends on good marketing strategies that will promote good image for the company and as well increase their sales revenue.
It will also widen the marketer’s knowledge about the various marketing strategies available and how they can be effectively applied to any company’s products so as to improve the performance of their business. It will equally aid LBN Plc immensely by providing them with the appropriate marketing strategies to be adopted in making high sales over.
Above all, the study will help other people such as businessmen, industrialists and so on to know the value of marketing strategies and how they can be effectively used to attract new market and also win more market share from the existing market.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY:
The study covers the different marketing strategies with regard to the 4p’s for improved performance of Lever Brothers’ products with special emphasis to management, distributors and customers of Lever Brothers Plc Products, Aba, Abia State.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY:
There were many problems encountered by the researcher during the course of carrying out this project, some of which are:
Inadequate response experienced by the researcher from his respondents posed a hindrance to getting the desired results. Inadequate Finance:
The shortage of funds also affected the number of times the researcher would have visited the company situated in Aba. Insufficient Time: The time expected to carry out this work was too short, and as a result of other academic commitments, the researcher would have gone to different places to get more facts for the study.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS:
1. Market: Buyers or customers.
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