The Application Of Product Innovation As An Effective Strategic Tool In A Competitive Market (A Case Study Of Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba Abia State)

Project and Seminar Material for Marketing

The Application Of Product Innovation As An Effective Strategic Tool In A Competitive Market (A Case Study Of Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba Abia State)


The research list out the problems and prospects of manufacturing and producing firms with a particular reference to Unilever Nigeria Plc Aba. Product is one of the marketing mix why because all other element of the marketing mix revolves around it. However, it does not mean that product planning and development is free from problem but we still have other ways of solving the problems so as to ensure the growth of the firm and at the same time achieve their goals and objectives.

This project is made up of five different chapters. Chapter one is the introduction this include the topic under study, statement of problem, research questions and hypothesis, objective f the study, scope and limitation, significance of the study and definition of terms.

Chapter two deals with the review of related literature and current literature and current mode. Chapter three is the research methodology which includes the design of the study, population and sampling size, method of data collection, instrument of data collection, sources of data collection and data analysis techniques.

Chapter four involves the presentation and analysis of data collected and discussion of results. Finally, chapter five involves the summary, conclusion and recommendations and suggestion for further studies.

Based on this, it will help to find possible solution to improving or enhancing product planning ad development in consumer manufacturing firms.

Table Of Contents

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Approval Page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of study
  • 1.2 Statements of problems
  • 1.3 Purpose of study
  • 1.4 Research question
  • 1.5 Statement of hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of study
  • 1.7 Scope and limitation of the study
  • 1.8 Definition of terms

Chapter Two

2.0 Review of Related Literature

  • 2.1 Brief history of Uilever Plc Aba
  • 2.2 Current literature of the study
  • 2.2.1 Meaning and types of innovation
  • 2.2.2 Product perspective
  • 2.2.3 Product improvement
  • 2.2.4 Product proliferation
  • 2.2.5 Product advancement
  • 2.2.6 Market perspective
  • 2.2.7 Continues innovation
  • 2.2.8 Dynamically innovation
  • 2.2.9 Discontinuous innovation
  • 2.2.10 Sources of innovation
  • 2.2.11 External; sources
  • 2.2.12 Internal sources
  • 2.2.13 Research and development
  • 2.2.14 Top management personnel
  • 2.2.15 Rain storming
  • 2.2.16 Consumer
  • 2.2.17 Scarcity of change of raw materials
  • 2.2.18 Competition
  • 2.3 Models and theories relevant to the study

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research design
  • 3.2 Method of data collection
  • 3.3 Population and sample size
  • 3.4 Sample procedure
  • 3.5 Determination of sample size
  • 3.6 Method of questionnaire distribution
  • 3.7 Validity and reliability of measuring instrument
  • 3.8 Method of data analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Data Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation

  • 4.1 Analysis of questionnaire
  • 4.2 testing of hypothesis and interpretation

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

  • 5.1 Summary of findings
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix
  • Questionnaire

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Product innovation should be a responsibility of top management. Moreover the extent of the top executive activities involvement in new products is a vital determination of a company’s success with new products. To be effectively managed these programmes must be effectively organized. Products innovation is one of the important aspect in marketing. Some evidence suggests that effective product innovations are difficult value to customers timely capable of being exploited commercially through existing capability sand core competence that helps firms develop competitive advantages. Other observers see new products development and its launching into the market place as difficult costly or a dangerous business.

The question that need to be answered are what is innovation?, why so many industries embark on innovation?
Joseph Schumpeter’s classic work on management of the innovation process type on innovation and limitation.
He defines innovation as the act of erecting or developing a new products or process idea while they saw innovation as the price of creating commercial products from innovation.

Finally, he defined initiation as adoption of the innovation by similar firms.

However, initiation usually leads to product or process standardization long man dictionary of contemporary English sees innovation as a new idea method or innovation. But according to the universal English dictionary innovation means something newly introduces, it changed new tangles practice while development is a state or process developing growth evolution gradual process or expansion.

The technology revolution and grater competence is domestic and international markets have increased the competitive importance of innovation. Recent research has shown that firms invest more in innovation and also achieve the highest return in investment. In fact positive or receptive investors, attitude toward introducing new products increase the price of the firms stock in the market place as well as the stock exchange, market.

In view of the economic advantage of the product, innovation and the need to stay ahead of the curve innovation must take risk and be aggressive.

Production ahead and innovation, in the price of their competitors in order to maintain a sustainable success in the future. Therefore application of product is a subject which is more recognized.

The fact, that many of the high quality product needed by consumers are not readily available has left consumers into importing some of them. These problems can only be solved if companies recognized the need fro products innovation and develop their innovation ability with government firing economic investment enabling environment where and when necessary. Further more, all products have life cycle which dictate that at some point their usefulness will decline although there is substantial variation in life cycle by types out class of products. Its product cannot live forever, as aging and marketing attrition will work against it innovation. Stanton likened products to people. They are born; they grow, means time and die. In the height of this therefore the need for the application of products innovation by business firm should not be over emphasized.

Demand is increasingly dynamic and its products life cycle are getting short and the true scale of most product is being compresses by acerbated research and technology, rapidly charging markets, mass distribution. If business firms are to survive in the wake of all the social, economy, political and cultural changes that are affecting their business adversely, they must have a capability fro product innovation. A product that effectively most consumers need reduce problem associated with decision on distribution, pricing, advertising and personal selling in most ideal while a poorly developed products on the other hand creates many problems for the other decision areas in the company.

Organization, are always competing among themselves for survival growth, market share, product line and product mix. All these are necessary strategies for survival which are the overall objective of any corporate entity.

All those hope could be achieved through the application of the product innovation.

Innovation both in theory and practice is not a new phenomena in Nigeria, during the olden days people used to drink from animal horn and carons of calabash, bur the local men in Yoruba land started with cups and utensil through brass catering.

This practice was known only to small groups or professional and its often protected and trade secretes by religions sanctions. Today the innovation ideas and practice have spread to other parts of the country and even beyond. Talking the innovation in the industry and economy may write up and statement lend credence to the fact that the idea of innovation need e.g. Adam Smith expanded the relationship between the innovation in machine building industry and the scientist Marx assigned to technical innovations “the driving force in economic development and competition”. According to max” the bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the means of production.

Finally, innovation can be highly productive but often risking road to success in most industries to day, any company that is not aggressive alert to innovation possibility in taking a competition risk which it ought at least to be intelligently aware.

1.2 Statement Of Problem

Due to rapid change interested technology, and competition, thus becomes risky fro a company to depend on its existing products. This is because consumers taste and references are in most because uncertain and change from time to time.

They are many difficulties involved in products that act as hindrance to their addition to the products line.
One of such factors is the uncertainty in pricing. The question therefore is should firms adopt a skimming pricing strategy or a penetration pricing strategy when introducing a new products into the market? It is also advised that at the early stages in the life span of new products, cost could result. This arises from the fact that management must have employed a good percentage of its resources to product. In addition the supply of raw material and spare parts could become inadequate and or scarce too.

Another area of difficulty in the application of a products innovation is high marketing cost. At the introductory stage of any products, consumers may not be aware of its existing and where it could be obtained.

Aggressive advertising, personal selling and publicity would therefore be needed to accomplish these objectives.
The cost of performing them properly. The competitiveness of the new products at a certain stage in a life span of a products, the market could be characterized by been competitive, if the products lack critical that compare favourable with those of competing products and if the management lacks desired competitive ability to push it, certainly it will gradually die out.

Another problem worthy of consideration in this study has to do with transferability of knowledge. If new products like computer may require technology or say new sales techniques that would require extensive force and middlemen to market the product. It is also advice that money of the management lack the know how and general skills needed to a successful new products development and its subsequent launching into the market due to the ear of failure, risk and uncertainties make them skeptical as regards the implication of products innovation.

1.3 Purpose Of The Study

Having identifies the problems of the study has to solve the general objectives or purposes of this work and they are:

  1. To find out whether there is a signify cant relationship between the sales revenue of a firm products innovation and after innovation.
  2. To determine the dim pact of product innovation on consumers patronage of a firms products.
  3. To determine the various wages in which a firms products could be innovated.
  4. To determine the causes of failure in innovated products.
  5. To offer solution to the problems of innovative products.

1.4 Research Question

The problem and the objective of the study high lighted above allow the researcher into the following questions:

  1. Product innovation does it have any effects on the sales revenue?
  2. Products innovation, does it include or sustain buying response from consumes more than price reduction and promotion?
  3. Products innovation, does it increase firms profit?

1.5 Statement Of Hypothesis

  1. Ho: product innovation has no effects on the sales revenue figure of the company.
    Hi: Products inn ovation has some effects on the sales revenue figure of the company.
  2. Ho: Product innovations do not induce/ sustain buying response from consumer more than price reduction and promotion.
    Hi: Products innovation induces sustain buying response from consumers more than price reduction and promotion.
  3. Ho: Product innovation do not increase firm profit
    Hi: products innovation increase firm profit.

1.6 Significance Of The Study

This research work or study will be very useful to the company to understand, find out how the products planning and development is been run.

It will also help them to discover the problem and prospects encountered in products planning and development and to find solution to the problem in order to achieve the firm objectives and goals. It also helps manufacturing firm to improve on their product planning and development. It will also be of great value to the government in the sense that it will help them in gaining advice to the manufacturing firms on the social responsibility of their products to the countries economy.

The society will also benefit or gain from this research project by having access to the products at the right time.

Quality price, this will generate the derived consumers satisfaction and patronage. This research work will be useful to the researcher as it is one of the requirement for the award of Higher National Diploma and the improvement of his or her academic knowledge in the areas of study.

1.7 Scope And Limitation If The Study

The research work which is aimed at investigating the importance of product innovation as an effective strategy tool in a competitive market.

The major problems encountered was the inability to receives adequate cooperation from the staff of the company more especially from the personnel department.

They made things difficult for the research to get the data required to make necessary findings. Further more, the bureaucrat nature of work, existing in the company acted as a constraint during study.

The researcher was also told to get a covering note from the head of department first before going to the department. They actually prevented the researcher from getting all the information needed, also finance acted as a hindrance during the period of this study. The cost of transportation for numbers of days this research work as carried out become a problem to the researcher.

Time factors also contributed to problem there was unwillingness on thee par of the organizational management to release most of the required information for the study. Despite all these constraint, the researcher work was completed.

1.8 Definition Of Terms


Product is anything that can be offered for sales or acquisition through exchange process that bring or lead to satisfaction or bundle of satisfaction that bring about exchange value between the products and the consumer.


It is the process of improving in changing major or establishing new product or new pattern of usage on consumer behaviour.

Product Proliferation:

It is a process of spreading different types of product both in size and authorize in evry part of the market; but the same quality different size.

Product Development:

It is the process of finding the proposal product to requirement and opportunity of the market place, initiating action, toward the identification and production of product/services which will best satisfy the needs of the consumer.


This is the process of introducing new products fully into the market however its after the testing

Product Life Cycle:

The product life cycle is the sales history of a products, it’s the stage and product passes before it dies, upstarts from the introduction stage maturity stage and decline stage.

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion And Recommendation

This last chapter of this work is devoted to summarizing some of the findings made in the primary investigation. Also, recommendation are made in the company about effects of innovation in her products and to the cosmetics and toiletries categories in particular.

5.1 Summary Of Research Findings

Based on the information gathered from the primary investigation and following observation are made; products innovation has a positive impact in the sales performance of the products concerned. This could be seen from, the sales figure of the level brothers (Unilever Nigeria PLC) Nigeria a PLC Aba before and after the firms products innovation and modification.

  1. Majority of the respondents to this study were of the opinion that innovation should be the better strategy that could guarantee their continued patronage of a firm product. Infact, event the people called the common people to whom most of the questionnaire were administered to have a support for innovation, than for the supposed sales promotion especially in the economic crunch. Therefore all other marketing variable being constant product. Innovation is better that could guarantee consumers patronage more than sales promotion.
  2. The investigation also revealed that products innovation if properly implemented increase a firm’s total profit.
  3. In times of stiff competition in the market, the firm use products innovation to out with its rivals, this is because within the short run, the rivals would find it difficulty to imitate the firm innovated products.
  4. The main marketing encountered by the firms in their application of products innovation is convincing the brand loyalist of the old, that the products was not only made by the same products, but also for an improved quality.

5.2 Conclusion

The summary of findings in this research work showed that competition in virtually all the manufacturing sectors in intensive today. Also following the economic down run, the total demand for most products is now saturated and remain stagnate. Easily copied strategies and counter strategies abound to get a greater stone of the market.
Therefore, since the total demand is stagnant, and increased desperate efforts being made to increase sales of individuals manufactures in the market, it then mean that any increase in sales by one of these rival will have to be determinant of another rival firm(s). this is why some strategies are quickly count treed by a rival, all in a bid to neutralize the efficiency and outcome of the strategies of aggressive opponent or competitors. Then question of what these competitors, especially the smaller ones could prevent this if ding dong competitors arises, her a solution was preferred that is not advisable to chase a tractor. Not even advisable if the rivals are of equal strength. Borrowing form an investor, the researcher says don’t keep forever on the public read, going only where others have gone, leave the beaten track occasionally and drive into the woods, you will be certain to find something. You have never seen before, of course it will be a little things but don’t ignore it follow it up explore all around it one discovery will lead to another before you know it you will have something worn thinking about “Alexander Graham Bell”

In recent times, firms are general recognized that the continuous developing of now and improved products is the gate way to the survival and growth.

They have also imbibed the facts that gone are the days when established products maintain strong market position indefinitely. There are many rival firms with fast moving research, laboratories and efficient marketing strategies who stand to more away customers from their competitors or rivals.

Finally, from the findings it can be seen that products innovation is an integral part of the life of burier organization. It is considered as a strategies and often embarked upon whom present products are in their maturity decline stage or profit gap exist in the company plan. A company should certain seek innovation of new products but this should be done with a rival understanding of the risk involved. It is therefore necessary for a company to adopt innovation since it is important for the survival of any organization.

5.3 Recommendation

Having made some findings in the course of this study, the following recommendation arte this made, not only to Unilever Nigeria PLC Aba, but also to other firms in Nigeria engaged in manufacturing of similar or related consumers products (cosmetics and toiletries).

  1. Given that products, may not bee easily coped at least the short run by rival ( unlike other strategies as advertising and sales promotion etc) given also that it equally gulp[ finance to embark on sale promotion and offering of bonanzas, Naira rain etc, it is advisable for these firms to take resources to products innovations.
  2. The findings also showed the case of misguide marketing missle a case where naira gift and raffle draw and even price reductions, are targeted to the Nigeria due to the present hard time, in a normally, the research showed that it is Infact, the class of consumes that is predominate (given the percentages) in favoring innovation. Therefore manufacturers should rethink their use in terms of cost benefit implementing innovations.
  3. Since it is hard to convince consumers on the source of supply and efficiency of introduced new products ensuring that the fact do not significantly differs from what the consumers already know ( an old products) in this may, huge cost of enlightenment may reduced.

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