Product Innovation As A Strategic Marketing Tool In A Competitive Market (A Case Study Of Unilever Nig Plc Lagos State)

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Product Innovation As A Strategic Marketing Tool In A Competitive Market (A Case Study Of Unilever Nig Plc Lagos State)


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine product innovation as a strategic marketing tool in a competitive market with special references to Unilever Nig plc Lagos State. Specifically, the study aims to examine if new product development can be a strategy to survive competition, find out whether there is a significant relationship between the sales revenue of a firm’s product and its innovation, determine the various ways in which innovation could be brought to a product, analyze if new product development is a good strategy to sustain brand name than the existing product and analyze if product innovation enhances organizational image than old product. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 30 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analyzed, the findings revealed that product development can be a strategy to survive competition. The study also revealed new product development is a good strategy to sustain brand name than the existing product. Lastly, the study revealed product innovation does enhance organizational image than old product. The study thereby recommends that organizations should be proactive creating a cutting edge through innovation as market new needs emerge and translating them to values for consumption ahead of competitors in the market place. Also, level of competitiveness in an organization, Managers should develop strategic thinking and capability that ensure better understanding of the market. This will lead to how best to harness and maximize resources towards enhancing capability towards achieving competitive advantage.


Table of Content


Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • REFERENCES
  • APPENDIX

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Many businesses across the globe are operating in a highly competitive environment with low level of competitiveness (Wang, Han & Lin, 2018). Firms’ ability to engage and compete effectively in a competitive market has been attributed to strength of creating new ideas and values that give superior market performance. The importance of innovation in business is central to firms’ ability to become highly competitive in the market place in response to a situation of intensed competition (Urbancová, 2013).

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 from 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 in interested technology, competition, thus becomes risky for 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. Hence, the need to look into product innovation as a strategic marketing tool in a competitive market.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to examine product innovation as a strategic marketing tool in a competitive market. The specific objectives is as follows:

  1. To examine if new product development can be a strategy to survive competition.
  2. To find out whether there is a significant relationship between the sales revenue of a firm’s product and its innovation.
  3. To determine the various ways in which innovation could be brought to a product.
  4. To analyze if new product development is a good strategy to sustain brand name than the existing product.
  5. To analyze if product innovation enhances organizational image than old product.

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions have been prepared for the study:

  1. Can new product development can be a strategy to survive competition?
  2. Is there a significant relationship between the sales revenue of a firm’s product and its innovation?
  3. What are the various ways in which innovation could be brought to a product?
  4. Is new product development a good strategy to sustain brand name than the existing product?
  5. Does product innovation enhances organizational image than old product?

1.5 Statement of Hypothesis

H01: Product development can not be a strategy to survive competition.

Ho2: New product development is not a good strategy to sustain brand name than the existing product.

H03: Product innovation does not enhance organizational image than old product.


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 of the Study

The will examine if new product development can be a strategy to survive competition. The study will also find out whether there is a significant relationship between the sales revenue of a firm’s product and its innovation. More so, the study will determine the various ways in which innovation could be brought to a product. The study will further analyze if new product development is a good strategy to sustain brand name than the existing product. Lastly, the study will analyze if product innovation enhances organizational image than old product. Hence the study will be delimited to Uniliver Nig Plc, Lagos State.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

The researcher encountered minor obstacles when conducting the study, as with any human endeavor. The significant constraint was the scarcity of literature on the subject due to the nature of the discourse, so the researcher incurred more financial expenses and spent more time sourcing for relevant materials, literature, or information and in the data collection process, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Furthermore, the researcher did this investigation alongside other academic activities. Furthermore, the sample size was limited because only a few respondents were chosen to answer the research instrument, therefore the results cannot be generalized to other secondary schools outside the state. Despite the constraints encountered during the research, all elements were minimized in order to provide the best results and make the research effective.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Products:

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.

Innovation:

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


1.10 Organization of the Study

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Findings

In this study, our focus was to examine product innovation as a strategic marketing tool in a competitive market using Uniliver Nig plc, lagos state as a case study. The study specifically was aimed at highlighting if new product development can be a strategy to survive competition, find out whether there is a significant relationship between the sales revenue of a firm’s product and its innovation, determine the various ways in which innovation could be brought to a product, analyze if new product development is a good strategy to sustain brand name than the existing product and analyze if product innovation enhances organizational image than old product. The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 30 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are drawn from staff of Unilever marketing department.


5.2 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following conclusions:

  1. New product development can be a strategy to survive competition
  2. There is a significant relationship between the sales revenue of a firm’s product and its innovation
  3. The various ways in which innovation could be brought to a product is by brainstorming, through empathy mapping and incremental changes of existing products.
  4. New product development a good strategy to sustain brand name than the existing product?
  5. Product innovation enhances organizational image than old product?

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the conclusions made the researcher proffers the following recommendations:

  1. That organizations should be proactive creating a cutting edge through innovation as market new needs emerge and translating them to values for consumption ahead of competitors in the market place.
  2. To improve level of competitiveness in an organization, Managers should develop strategic thinking and capability that ensure better understanding of the market. This will lead to how best to harness and maximize resources towards enhancing capability towards achieving competitive advantage.

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