An Analysis of Ecover's Current Position in the Market

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1. Introduction

The assignments mainly consists of the following parts:

Firstly, an analysis of Ecover's current position in the market. Secondly, how Ecover is changing its competitive strategy. Thirdly, consumer behaviour towards detergent.
Finally, an outline for new marketing strategy for Ecover to enter the supermarket.

2. Background

Ecover was founded in 1979 by Frans Bogaerts.It was a modest little detergent company in Malle in northern Belgium. Pierres Magnin a successful Swiss businessman dealing with pharmacies and health food stores, suggested Bogaerts to develop an eco-friendly detergent free of harmful chemicals (which was to be banned by the Swiss government as a part the proposed environmental regulations). Thus they entered the detergent market in Swiss and other key markets. Environmental disasters have made more and more people aware of the urgent need to protect the natural environment.

3 Marketing Audit

Marketing audit give a picture of where the company is, how did it get there and where is it heading. It goes through the through the strength, weakness, opportunities and threat of the company. This analysis is called the SWOT analysis. It is divided into two major parts:

External Factors and Internal Factors

Strength and weakness are concerned with the internal factors and opportunity and threat are concerned with the external factors.

3.1 External Factors

Here only opportunities and threats are analysed as these are supposed to be listed as anticipated events or trends outside the business that have implications for performance. These factors are not controllable by the company.

Some of the factors discussed here are:

1.Macro environment
2.The Market
3.Competition

3.1.1Macro Environment

Macro Environment consists of Political (P), Economical (E), Social (S) and Technological (T) factors that affect the Company. Continuous monitoring of these variables is an important marketing function. As Corporations today, Ecover is also sensitive to Macro Environmental changes. Some of the PEST factors that affected Ecover are discussed below.

Political:

Marketing strategy is deeply affected by political trends. Issues like new laws, regulations, change in foreign policies etc brings change to t he business world.

Opportunities

Ban on environmentally harmful chemicals (1980) contained in detergents by the Swiss government was an opportunity for Ecover to capitalise in the green detergent market.

By 1990, all EU countries except France banned the use of phosphates in washing powders.

Press reports told of the adverse effects of phosphates on river life.

Threats

In December 1991, the European Council's Environment Ministers agreed to set up an eco-labelling scheme. This was a major threat to Ecover as this would undercut the major difference between them and the conservative detergents.

Economical:

Economic trends affecting business include depression (world-wide economic collapse), interest rates, inflation unemployment, consumer price index real GNP, personal income savings rate and capacity utilisation. Companies must choose those economic influences that are relevant to their business and monitor them. Not only the national economic factors should be considered but also the regional and global economic factors.

Social:

Important aspects of social environment are beliefs, attitudes, lifestyle changes, age distribution etc. The relevance of the social environment to a particular business will vary depending on the nature of the business. As Ecover is a consumer-products company, the impact of social environmental is very crucial.

The society in which people grow up shapes their beliefs, values and norms. The people living in a particular society hold many core beliefs and values that tend to persist.

Opportunities

In USA, people are used to promotions and discounts and were price conscious. But recent cases showed...
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