Evaluation of Kia’s Current Marketing Strategy and Marketing Mix

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Introduction
Kia Motors Corporation (KMC), founded in 1944 is Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. Today, the Corporation is part of the 4th largest automotive group in the world, having exported over 5 million cars to more than 155 countries around the world. Kia’ goal is to become a top 5 volume car brand. In order to achieve this status they must increase their market share, both fleet and retail, break through into the corporate fleet sector and sell over 100,000 cars a year. KIA has four key focus areas. Firstly, to deliver quality cars and services so that they are recognised by the media and their customers. Secondly, to become a challenger brand through building a compelling and differentiated, yet fun and dynamic image for the Kia brand. Thirdly, to create a professional dealer network by supporting the development of their dealer partners with better facilities, better people and better processes. Finally, to deliver excellent customer experiences; by ensuring that every contact customers have with the company is enjoyable and memorable

Marketing strategy
Kia’s marketing strategy is designed to answer two questions; firstly, which customers will need to be served? And how value for customers will be created? The first one will be answered through the process of segmentation and targeting and the second one through the process of differentiation and positioning. Kia uses data from surveys such as NCBS (New Car Buyers Survey) and TGI (the world’s leading provider of marketing and media surveys) to gather information about consumers, such as home, family life and attitudes, work and holidays, interests and activities, media, favourite brands and shopping, and their car. Based on this, Kia is able to segment the market using four segmentation variables: geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioural. Kia achieves geographic segmentation through its high-capacity plants outside Korea (headquarters), in the US, Slovakia and China. Using demographic and psychographic variables, Kia’s average age of buyers is forty, though this may slightly vary according to the model of the car. Kia is typically a male biased brand (account for 60%), however the ‘Picanto’ is the stand out model with a female bias. In terms of income, the average middle class Kia buyer who will usually purchase the ‘Pro_cee’d’ or ‘Sorento’ earns £36k, while the more affluent upper middle class buyers earns over £43k per annum and purchases the Sedona or the ‘Sportage’. Although Kia caters to a variety of people, it could potentially expand their range of models to target the younger generations, ‘generation x’ and later ‘generation y’ as well as the lower and upper social classes. Looking at behavioural factors, Kia buyers are typically “outdoorsy”, yet consider the home and family to be central in their lives. They place more emphasis on price but look for a good price-quality ratio. In order to differentiate themselves from other brands, KMUK have introduced a seven year warranty on all their products; being Europe’s best manufacturer-backed protection for new car buyers. This demonstrates to customers that Kia strongly believes in the quality of their products. Furthermore, Kia’s eco dynamic cars are fuel-efficient; which is a key selling point in two ways: it allows people to save money and it suggests the company is concerned about the effect of their products on the environment. At the moment, Kia’s value proposition is ‘same for less’, as it charges lower prices for similar products over its competitors such as Ford and Vauxhall.

Marketing mix
Product

In terms of product, after approximately 18 months of introducing a new model, Kia gives their cars a ‘face lift’ which includes interior and exterior specification changes. During the growth stage, sales start climbing quickly, so whilst Kia still employs methods to educate the market about their product, the ‘face-lift’ is their way of competing with other brands who...
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