Target market: African Youths
In almost all African countries, young people are the majority. It is estimated that there are over 200 million people aged between 15 and 25 years in Africa (Africaneconomicoutlook.org, 2016). According to the African Economic Outlook, about 50% of the African youth are illiterate hence, they are locked out of the productive economic life. Youth unemployment in African states is very high. It is estimated that youth unemployment rate in Sub-Saharan Africa is over 20% (Africaneconomicoutlook.org, 2016). The continent is also plagued by poor infrastructure and poor transport systems, especially in the rural areas. The most used transport means in Africa is road transport with motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles as the main transport means.
Over the last fifteen years, the number of motorcycles in the developing countries of African has more than doubled. Motorcycles have become a convenient means of transport in both towns and rural areas. They have provided employment to many African youths. Motorcycle traders have seen a rise in the demand for the product in among African youths. Besides, some African governments have established favourable policies to allow youths to purchase motorcycles at lower prices. For instance, in 2009, Kenya zero-rated all motorcycles below 2500cc. Other governments have also initiated programs to support the youth such as the youth enterprise fund, among others.
Suitability of the product for the market
The African youth population continues to grow hence the market for motorcycles will also grow. Besides, the increase in the use of motorcycles as a means of transport in developing countries provides a viable opportunity for Toyota Motorcycles. The product will suit the target market and will enjoy favourable treatments from the governments as they try to reduce youth unemployment in African countries.
Questions for each characteristic of the target market
What is your age?
What is your gender?
What is the highest level of education you have completed?
Are you currently employed?
What is your total household income in the past 12 months?
Which part of the country do you live?
What is the distance between your residence and workplace?
What means of transport do you use?
Would you buy a motorcycle?
What is your preferred means of transport?
Which motorcycle brand do you like most?
The company can use both primary and secondary research to answer the above questions. Secondary research can be conducted by obtaining information such the size of the youth population, their average incomes, among others (Baines, Fill & Page, 2013). In this case, the company can get this information from the relevant government bodies. Secondary research is less costly and can be completed within a short time.
The company can also use primary research methods such as surveys, personal interviews and observation (Zikmund & Babin, 2010). The company’s research team can prepare questionnaires and administer them to people in the target market. Questionnaires should be carefully designed to ensure that all the above questions are taken into account. Personal interviews can also be used to gather the above information. This involves administering unstructured questions orally. Personal interviews will allow the interviewees to include other relevant information that could have been excluded from the questionnaires (Zikmund & Babin, 2010). The disadvantage is that personal interviews are costly hence they will increase the cost of market research. Observation can also be used to conduct this market research. The data collectors can go to the target areas and observe the most common means of transport and the riders of motorcycles.
Product development process
Idea generation: In this stage, employees and other stakeholders will be encouraged to present ideas on how the motorcycle project can be implemented (Kotler, 2012). This also involves studying the successes and failures of competitors such as Honda, Yamaha, among others. Information obtained from the market research is also taken into account at this stage. Ideas include when to launch the product, where to sell the motorcycles, among other ideas.
Idea screening: This involves evaluating the ideas generated in the previous stage to select those that meet the objectives of the company and are realistic. This is done by a committee which calculates the return on investment, determining the affordability of the product, among other considerations.
Concept development and testing: In this case, the company identifies a focus group and sells the idea to the group. The company exposes a mock-up of the motorcycle and the whole idea to determine whether the target market likes the idea or not (Sheehan, 2011). Suggestions on ways to improve the idea are taken from the customers.
Business analysis: This involves assessing the viability of the product by forecasting market size, production costs and the prices customers are willing to pay. Internal analysis, external market research and competitor analysis are done in this phase.
Product and marketing mix development: once the idea is approved, the company develops a prototype of the motorcycle for limited production (Ward, Shook & Sobek, 2011). The motorcycles will be delivered to a few customers who will give their feedback on the usability of the motorcycles. It also involves developing the appropriate marketing mix for the motorcycles.
Market testing: This involves delivering the motorcycles to a large group of customers to be sure that the idea is viable. Some companies skip this process.
Commercialization and launching: If the motorcycles pass the above stages, a marketing plan is finalised, the company identifies and trains sales representatives and distributions. The product is then launched and distributed in large scale to the target markets.
Africaneconomicoutlook.org,. (2016). Youth Unemployment - African Economic Outlook. Retrieved 5 February 2016, from http://www.africaneconomicoutlook.org/en/theme/developing-technical-vocational-skills-in-africa/tvsd-in-specific-contexts/youth-unemployment/
Baines, P., Fill, C., & Page, K. (2013). Essentials of marketing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kotler, P. (2012). Marketing management. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Sheehan, B. (2011). Marketing management. Lausanne, Switzerland: AVA Pub.
Ward, A., Shook, J., & Sobek, D. (2011). Lean product and process development. Cambridge, MA, USA: Lean Enterprise Institute.
Zikmund, W., & Babin, B. (2010). Essentials of marketing research. Mason, Ohio: South-Western/CENGAGE Learning.