This article is about the Analysis of Promotional Program situation of Active Languages with focus on External Analysis. To begin, we want to point out that information and data we used, were collected during a phone call with Ms Thea. In the first part, we studied the consumer behavior, then, we proceeded talking about market segmentation and market targeting and we concluded dealing with Active Languages’s positioning in the market.
In Consumer Behavior part, we explained how and why a consumer chooses Active Languages or not. Actives Languages has two main categories of consumers: Companies and Privates. Companies are companies with subsidiaries abroad (Expatriates companies) or Import-Export companies. Privates are ambitious people, students, retired people.
The first stage to comprehend the behavior of our consumer is to understand its needs. We made a classification of Companies’ needs and Privates’ needs. On one hand, Companies’ needs are language courses, for example executive courses, especially for expatriates companies’ employees, translation and interpreting services, for import-export companies and at the end, the Internationalization service. In this case Active Languages proposes itself to help companies which want to start their business abroad.
On the other hand, we defined Privates’ needs. A private leans on Active Languages to achieve linguistic certifications and for Linguistic after school homework help.
As there are factor influencing consumers in their buying decision process such as personal, cultural, psychological and social factors: if we specifically analyze Active Languages case, many Companies (as a consequence of those factors) address to Active Languages in order to acquire a good knowledge of the languages to communicate with their subsidiaries abroad. Furthermore, turning to a company like Active Languages offering high level services, means also acquiring a professional image and a competitive advantage compared to the other firms operating in the same area.
While Privates refer to Active Languages to attend courses as an hobby as many retired people do in their free time or to communicate with their family members as in the case of mixed families. Besides, Privates address to Active Languages to keep pace with nowadays society, since the use of foreign languages is becoming more and more common in everyday communication, but also for those people interested in starting a study of work experience abroad, who may need at least a basic knowledge of the languages they’re going to use once abroad.
Speaking of the consumer’s decision process, first we have to consider their research of information about the services they are interested in. In the particular case of Active Languages, there are different kinds of channels through which the consumer can get information about the services offered by the company. In fact, since Active Languages uses “Personal Selling” as the main tool to communicate its services and activities to consumers, this is in turn an important channel for the consumer to get information. Then there is the “WOM” (“Word Of Mouth”), which can occur between clients that have already had a good experience with Active Languages and other potential clients that receive positive feedbacks from the former. Anyway, what happens most of the time is that the employees of the companies working with Active Languages talk with their family members, relatives and friends about Active Languages’ services and if these people are interested in linguistic services they get in touch with the company as privates. Of course, Internet is also a relevant channel in the research of information process, indeed by looking at Active Languages website or its Facebook page, but also by receiving its Newsletter, the consumer can obtain info about the company performance. There is to say though that the website would necessitate some adjustments as there are too long descriptions for each section, creepy images ect. Also the Facebook is not so consistent with the services the company provides although it is constantly updated.
The consumer can get a sum up of the services provided also by looking at the brochures or the leaflets that the company distributes around the cities, in the companies where they work or in the schools.
After having accomplished the research of information about a company’s services the consumer arrives to the final phase, namely when they decide which service to purchase. Yet, before getting to this final decision, first they have to make a comparison, in this case between Active Languages’ and its competitors’ offers, quality brand image and price, so as to have the possibility to choose the most suitable alternative to their necessities. Thus, since the majority of the competitors are franchisee, what the consumer will have in front of them after having made this comparison will be: on one hand what Active Languages offers, so high-quality services, high quality teaching materials, professional teachers and cultural insights, considering how important it is in its activities; while on the other hand, what the competitors offer, namely cheaper prices, a stronger brand image, stronger feedbacks and the possibility to take online classes.
Afterwards, we proceeded to segmet the market.
Veneto is the eighth largest and fifth most populated region in Italy. It has about 4.9 million inhabitants.
Vicenza, the city where Active Languages is based, is the third-largest Italian industrial centre as measured by the value of its exports, and is one of the country’s wealthiest cities. In spite of the economic crisis, export rates have been increasing staedily in the past few years.
As for the demographic segmentation, people turning to language schools are usually teenagers, collegiates, but also adults or seniors, so the age range of the customer base is pretty wide. They’re usually high scool or university graduates. They’re ambitious, achievers, strivers and most of them want to learn a new language to be more competitive in the academic or business environment. Therefore they look for high quality services at low prices, if possible.
As the owner of Active Languages herself told us, most private customers (teenagers, retired people, etc.) turn to the company to take just one language course and that’s it, no more than one usually. Whereas companies are more likely to establish long-term business relationship with the language school.
Then we proceeded to analyze the different targets of the market. We identified 2 main sectors: companies – comprising expatriates who need to learn the language to work for their company’s subsidiaries abroad, and companies involved in import and export transactions – and privates.
Active Languages – just like most of its competitors – offers a number of services ranging from language courses, to translation, interpreting, assistance in the internationalization process, certifications and after-school homework help.
Ultimately, we determined that the target that our company may want to select is the one comprising companies, for a number of reasons: because the compan is company is based in Veneto – that, as we know, is one of the most industrialized Italian regions; because the companies’ market size is bigger – according to the Italian national statistical institute (ISTAT) the region had 437,130 active enterprises in 2015; and also because ofmarket’s steady growth, the lower cost of reaching the segment and the compatibility with the oranization’s obectives and services offered.
As for the positioning, in spite of its 10 years of experience, our company is not well know yet. However, its perception in the minds of its existing customers is the one of a company offering high quality services at high prices. Opposed to the perception of its competitors, who offer lower quality services at lower prices.
See our PPT here: Global Group Analysis of Promotional Program Situation