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FOREIGN TRADE UNIVERSITY

FACULTY OF ECONOMICS AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

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INTERNATIONAL MARKETING REPORT


LAUNCH ECO STRAWS IN JAPANESE MARKET
Lecturer: Ms. Trần Thu Trang

GROUP 1
Name Students’ ID

Lường Hoàng Lâm 1712250035

Trịnh Chi Mai 1716250017

Phạm Phương Thanh 1712250025

Nguyễn Thu Hằng 1717250007

Phạm Nhật Huy 1712250008

Nguyễn Ngọc Thuỳ Trang 1714250026

Nguyễn Phùng Chi 1611150010

Hanoi, 27th September, 2019

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TABLE OF CONTENT

I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................................ 3
II. MARKETING ENVIRONMENT .................................................................................................................. 4
Political environment.............................................................................................................................. 4
Economic environment ........................................................................................................................... 4
Demographic environment ..................................................................................................................... 4
Technological environment .................................................................................................................... 4
Environmental factors ............................................................................................................................ 5
Legal environment .................................................................................................................................. 5
II. SWOT ANALYSIS ...................................................................................................................................... 6
III. MARKET ENTRY MODE ........................................................................................................................... 8
IV. MARKETING MIX .................................................................................................................................... 8
Product.................................................................................................................................................... 8
Place ...................................................................................................................................................... 11
Price ...................................................................................................................................................... 13
Promotion ............................................................................................................................................. 14
CONCLUSION............................................................................................................................................. 18
REFERENCES .............................................................................................................................................. 19

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I. INTRODUCTION

Our environment is constantly changing. There is no denying that. However, as our


environment changes, so does the need to become increasingly aware of the problems that
surround it. With a massive influx of natural disasters, warming and cooling periods, different
types of weather patterns and much more, people need to be aware of what types of environmental
problems our planet is facing.

Global warming has become an undisputed fact about our current livelihoods; our planet
is warming up and we are definitely part of the problem. However, this isn’t the only
environmental problem that we should be concerned about. All across the world, people are facing
a wealth of new and challenging environmental problems every day. Some of them are small and
only affect a few ecosystems, but others are drastically changing the landscape of what we already
know.

In efforts to solve the world’s plastic waste problem, our company has produced edible
rice straws. These eco-friendly straws are made from 100% natural ingredients – organic rice.
And the market that we choose to develop our brand is Japan.

After a lot of crisis about plastic waste, Japan has started to ban plastic straws, which will
force Japanese people to find alternative straws like rice straws. Besides, Japan is a famous
country for environmental protection awareness so that eco-friendly products are trendy now.
Based on the above reasons, entering a market like Japan will give us a great advantage.

To achieve the best result, our team conducted an analysis of the environment as well as
products, created a SWOT, applied appropriate strategies, used Marketing mix tools and other
knowledge of International Marketing course… All necessary information about the plan is
presented in this report. Hence, it will help you gain a deep understanding of our business plan.

Last but not least, we would like to express our deep gratitude to our instructors, Mrs.
Tran Thu Trang for her generous support, coaching and companionship during this course. Which
she has been teaching us is not only her precious knowledge but also her experiences about
psychology, life, working, learning. She shows us a new insight in problems, how to solve
problem in the different ways. It makes her stand out from others and create positive thinking on
us. Again, thank you, Mrs. Tran Thu Trang with our best regards.

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II. MARKETING ENVIRONMENT

Japan is a fascinating country steeped in history and rich in culture. It pursues the
cutting edge technologies while honoring traditions. As member of the G-7, an important leader
in the region, and a close ally of Vietnam, Japan is undoubtedly an important market and
trading partner. Japan’s economy has both a large, middle-class consumer base and a world-
renowned manufacturing base. Japanese companies have a global presence, both in their supply
chains and market share, and exert significant commercial influence in global markets.

Political environment

Japanese politics is like a Christmas Tree. Think of a Christmas tree: the legislative,
judiciary, and executive branches are the tree itself – they pass the laws and provide the support
necessary for the government to work; the Emperor is all the decorations on the tree.

Japan maintains a very close relationship with the United States. This relationship is part and
parcel of Japan’s foreign and security policy. Japan has also been putting a lot of efforts to build
and maintain relationship with other world powers such as India, the UK, France, and Australia.
However, an effort to amend Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution has raised concerns. It is
politically contentious and may impact on trade and foreign direct investment.

Economic environment

Japan is the 3rd largest economy in the world. Japan's nominal GDP is estimated to be
5.150 trillion dollars, making it the 3rd largest economy in the world. Its nominal per capita
GDP is $40,442 which is the 14th largest in the world.

Japan runs under a market economy, with influences from their ancient history.

Demographic environment

10th most populated country in the world (the U.S. Census Bureau, 2017). Total
population in Japan is 126.4 million. Shintoism and Buddhism are two major religions while the
major language is Japanese which is spoken by around 99% of the country’s population.

Technological environment

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Japan’s innovation can be found in a variety of fields. For example, automation systems
are widely used in Japan, particularly in hospitals, airports, and restaurants. Likewise, Japan is
well ahead of many other advanced countries in robotic development. Indeed, it has more than
half of the industrial robots in the world.

The contactless payment system has been in Japan for a long time; indeed, long before
many countries even thought about it.. These developments offer great opportunities for both
Japanese and foreign individuals and companies.

Environmental factors

Japan is a relatively clean and environmentally responsible nation. However, it faces


some environmental challenges today. For example, waste management is one of the biggest
environmental issues in Japan. Trash produced by the modern society, industrial activities, and
agriculture contribute to the production of a great deal of waste. Japan is indeed under pressure
to minimise waste and control environmental pollution.

Japan is one of the countries, most affected by calamities and natural disasters.
Tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, mudslides, cyclones, and volcanic eruptions hit Japan from
time-to-time. These disasters cost Japan billions of dollars for reforms and rebuilding. In fact,
Japan is a less popular tourist destination because of natural disasters, high-cost, and language
barriers.

Legal environment

Japan has concluded 15 free trade agreements (FTAs) and economic partnership
agreements (EPAs) including those with Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand,
Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Mongolia, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Australia and Switzerland.
The Japan‑ASEAN EPA has been effective since 2008.

Japan is a member of APEC, which has established a goal of APEC-wide free trade and
investment for developed economy members. As Vietnam has joined APEC for over 10 years,
this will open wider gates for Vietnam products to make an entry to Japan market.

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II. SWOT ANALYSIS

INTERNAL FACTORS OF SWOT ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES

Innovative, trendy and environment-friendly Shorter lifespan compared to traditional


product plastic products

Clear target market: Convenient stores, No obvious price advantage


School Canteens, Coffee shops,...

Available to be sold online Currently less popular than bamboo straws in


Japan

Safer in terms of customers’ healthy due to Bamboo Straws already got support from the
the edible characteristic Government and famous coffee brands such
as Starbuck .etc

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Adapt to the preference toward single-use Require a detailed promotion strategy to raise
habit of Japanese people product awareness which fits Japan’s culture

Better product taste and quality due to Higher cost due to logistics and exporting
VietNamese rice production importing activities

Variable designs and sizes to fit a wide range Complex preservation system over long
of beverages in Japan. transportation
E.g: Bigger size to serve Boba, flat shape to
use with hot drink cups,...

EXTERNAL FACTORS OF SWOT ANALYSIS

OPPORTUNITIES THREATS

Strong market growth: With the development of technology, there


soon will be many more efficient, convenient
 Straw consumption in Japan is
and environmental - friendly substitutions in
extremely high due to its traditional
the future.
habits of drinking -> high demanding
for different purposes
 Japan is a country which is well aware
of protecting the environment so it
will highly support environmental
friendly product like rice straw -> high
market demand
 Economic condition in Japan is well
developed so Japanese are willing to
spend money on environmental
friendly product regardless of its price

Easy to export products to Japan due to the Current strong competitors in Japan,
fact that tariff barriers are eliminated by especially bamboo straws and wheat straws
International agreements

Untapped market field with innovative, Rising cost of production might be high due
unique and creative product. to taxes when exporting, weather,...

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III. MARKET ENTRY MODE

It is extremely important for a business to choose an appropriate entry mode when


entering a new oversea market. The right entry mode can give a good start, which a new
business really need, while a ‘less-correct’ one can totally ruin a good business opportunity.
After considering all the facts, numbers and insight acquired through extensive researches, we
have decided that our business will utilize a direct exporting entry mode. We will export our
straws directly to Japan and does all the international marketing activities ourselves. However,
this does not mean that we will just selling our product directly through our own physical stores.
We will also push our product through already-established outlets, such as coffee shops,
restaurant, and so on.

We chose this mode of entry for several reasons. First, with a direct entry mode, we can
protect our patents, goodwill, trademarks, and other tangible assets. Being able to protect these
assets is vital to the survival of our company as our product will definitely attract many copy-
cats. Second, the company will get direct interaction with the markets and therefore, can make
any necessary changes to the products, marketing or any other aspect in time. These changes are
bound to happen as the market (or the people) inevitably changes, the matter is whether we can
change with it. Last but not least, this method allows us to fully control the brand image and
all the brand communication activities with the Japan people. Our company exists for the
important goal of giving people with a choice to reduce the use of plastic, to better the
environment and thus, better our lives. We believe it is up to us and only us to convey the
message ourselves.

IV. MARKETING MIX

Product
1. Classification of product

Since straws are made for personal use with a view to improving the way people
consume different types of drink in terms of convenience, our rice straws – which enters a niche
market of straws – is regarded as a consumer product.

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It is important to note that even though we contribute these products primarily to on-
premise drink providers (restaurants, coffee/tea/milk tea shops, etc) instead of directly to the
consumers, it’s still considered as a consumer product for the reason above.

2. Product level

Expected
product: The Actual product:
ability to stay in Vertical design,
shape within the firm, ease of
time of holding and
consuming sucking
drinks, the
variability of size
and colours,
economy

Augmented
product:
Edibility,
biodegradability,
environmental
friendliness, Core product:
durability A means of
(compared to other drinking.
environmental
friendly straws
from competitors)

Potential product: Better


elasticity and durability

3. Product strategy

Rice straws or edible straws, despite being a quite new concept to the most parts of the
world, remain plain and uncomplex. Furthermore, as explained in the product overview, we are
confident that we could cut down the cost of production to a competitive amount thanks to the
geographical advantage - our product origins from the 2nd rice provider worldwide, the
production cost as well as selling price are quite low compared to other competitors.

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These straws are also friendly to every culture globally, and the local trends towards this
kind of product are not remarkably different (environmental protection is a global trend at the
moment and will continue to be one as long as the world keeps developing economically).

All things considered, we find that there is no need to differentiate our product. Instead,
we choose a standardization strategy in order to save resources for future utilization.

4. Product promotion strategy

Although the product is being standardized due to the similarity in preferences, there
exist some differences in customer behaviours and customer insights. Therefore, product
promotion needs to be localized to each potential market. In this specific case, we will
customize the promotion strategy for better perceptions of the Japanese.

5. Product planning

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Using this graph, in combination with parts (3) and (4) above, we decide to use
promotion adaptation. That being said, our product will stay the same but the promotion is
adapted to the country (Japan) in order to attract new customers.

To be specific, we will customize the packaging of the product in terms of shapes,


designs and colours so that it will become more relevant to the Japanese without losing the core
value of being environmentally friendly.

For example, according to tadaimajp, purple, red, back and japan blue (Indigo) are of
preferences to the Japanese. Therefore, adapting the packaging to such colours would please
them more, therefore, ease our way to position our product in customers’ mind.

6. Packaging and labelling

Since this is an environmental friendly product, the product shall be packed into a
container made from biodegradable material (for example paper box). Plus, as discussed
above, the design of the packaging will be adapted to Japanese taste and preference to
compete better.

The product will also be labelled with necessary information, such as origins, methods
of reservation, EXP and MFG, etc.

7. Branding

After considering the value proposition and other aspects of our product, we decide to
build an attribute brand, which is created based on the major function of the product. When
customers mention us, we want to be known as an optimal and economical way of being
sustainable.

Place

We will bring products to customers through 2 main distribution channels, online and
offline.

1. Online:

Our website will provide a beautiful, easy-to-use interface, including all relevant
information such as contacts, products, feedback from old customers,... We believe that
customers will have a good shopping experience

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2. Offline:

 Distribution Approach:

Because our company is a new company, we have just entered the foreign market like
Japan, so we have not grasped exactly the taste of our customers. In addition, the lack of
resources and market experts in Japan also makes it difficult for our business.

Therefore, our company will choose the form of indirect distribution channel to have
helps from local intermediary

This form will help us minimize risks in the Japanese market

 Intermediaries: We choose this model because we are a consumer goods manufacturer


that sells products in large quantities and distributes them in many large and small stores
as much as possible. Trying to achieve this without a detailed distribution channel will
backfire and cost the company a huge amount of money. In addition, we need a local
major distributor that we can keep a close relationship with, they also have to engage in
saling activity.

 Distribution Strategy: Our products are on the list of lowe priced


products that are able to drive purchases and are stockpiled in large
quantities at stores => Our distribution strategy will be intensive
distribution

 Managing Distribution Channels:

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 Selecting: We look for local distributors who are
capable of developing markets, rather than those with a
few good customer contacts. Moreover, they have to be
trustful and loyal

 Motivating: We will treat local distributors as


long-term partners, not temporary market-entry vehicles;
support market entry by committing money, managers,
and proven marketing ideas; give them necessary training.

 Evaluating: We will evaluate local distributors’ performance through detailed market


and financial performance data provided monthly. And then we will give them feedback
to improve effectiveness.

Price

1. Pricing objectives

We develop a pricing system

– Price Floor: VND 500 = 2.3 Japanese yen

– Price Ceiling:VND 1000 = 4.6 Japanese yen

– Optimum Prices: VND 700 = 3.2 Japanese yen

2. Base for pricing

We choose cost based pricing as our company manufactures the whole process from raw
grain of rice to a complete edible straws in-use

3. Pricing products at growth and maturity stage

As we have done research on the straw industry as well as the rising number of
environment-oriented customers, edible strawss have been around for couple of years recently.
With a major interest from consumers all over the world for environmental friendly products,
the idea of a plant based tool has been well aware. When it comes to sustainability, modern
Japan seems to ignore it, and the traditional side seems to embrace it. However, this is not so.
Even the movements like minimalism that are most conducive to sustainability and longevity

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had their roots in Japan. Therefore, Japanese must be well-acquainted with such products like
edible straws, which means you may have seen a few options in the market.

4. Product bundle pricing

Base on the economy of scale, as we produce a great amount of output, which in this
case is edible strawss, the cost for all the procedure will be cut down relatively. Consumers, in
addition, will use a huge amount of straw on daily basis since they tend not to last long in a
single household. They opt for buying a whole package not only to fit their consumption habit
but also reduce the cost when doing groceries shopping. As we may find in the market,
competitors producing edible strawss remain scattering without any key players. Therefore, if
we use product bundle pricing to export to a regional country like Japan, it should be a great
opportunity.

We can operate the factory to pack the edible strawss in great base size like 1000 straw
per box. F&B shop owners should

Promotion

1. Target audience

 Our target would be on-premise drink providers (restaurants, coffee/tea/milk tea shops,
etc) for these reasons:

 Rice straws, when in contact with water, could only last for a shortage of time (less than
1 hour). Even when our product takes a lead in extending the durability of rice straws, it
cannot be used more than one time. Therefore, the product fits better for single-use
purposes, often seen in F&B businesses rather than any individual context.

 Individual consumers or environmental enthusiasts, if buying personal straws, frequently


pick inox or glass straws instead of other flora-based straws. Generally speaking, it is
more economical and sustainable to use straws that can be washed and re-utilized for
multiple times.

=> The promotion plan would follow a B2B marketing strategy.

2. Promotion channels and strategies

2.1 Social media

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In this day and age, we find it essential to improve brand exposure on social media since
it is the most viral network. We aim to raise awareness of an ecofriendly product like edible
straws on facebook. With 28m Japanese facebook users, this platform may be an ideal tool to
attract more of their attention.

Step 1: Select Your Campaign Objective. ...

Step 2: Give Your Ad Campaign a Name. ...

Step 3: Set Up the Audience Targeting. ...

Step 4: Set Up Your Ad Placement. ...

Step 5: Set Up Your Campaign Budget and Bidding. ...

Step 6: Set Up Your Facebook Ads.

Furthermore, since facebook groups remain as a dominant source of information sharing


among people with the same interest, we plan on hitting a major wave in environmental
enthusiasts groups. With our facebook fanpage, not only do we upload our product but also lean
towards an eco-friendly life for users of Japanese.

For example, we can run a weekly post on our fanpage about the threat of plastic straws
against the environment and marine creatures. Japanese consume a great amount of seafood,
which means they need a sustainability quantity of fish, shrimp, ... Water pollution and waste in
the sea do much harm on their essential source of consumption. Therefore, this may hit them
right in the spot.

2.2 SEO

Optimizing our website on Google is one of the best ways to have business customers
know and give trust to us. By building a strong web presence and content for blog/website,
chances for us to be contacted for lucrative deals are much better.

The overall objective would be to educate our oversea customers to “go green” by using
rice straws, positioning our competitive edge (reasonable price, elasticity and durability, health
consciousness) and convert them into purchasers and return customers.

The detail steps would be as follow:

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Step 1: Find potential keywords.

Step 2: Analyze Google’s first page

Step 3: Find an opportunity to do better

Step 4: Add a Hook

Step 5: Optimize for on-page SEO

Step 6: Optimize for user intent

Step 7: Creative content creation

Step 8: Build links to the website

For example, by using SEO tools, we find out that “rice straw” is a potential keyword.
We will then analyze the blogs on the first page of Google to see if there is anything we can
improve and do better than competitors. Assuming that all of them telling readers about the
environmental benefits of rice straws, but forget to mention the positive impact of it on our
health. Based on that, we will create a strategic content aiming at spreading our competitive
edge and educate customers about another excellent aspect of our rice straws in comparison
with other substitutes. If the content is well-written and the keywords are optimized efficiently
(on-page, backlinks, etc), the conversion rate would increase and generate more sales to our
business.

2.3 Email Marketing

87% of B2B marketers use email to generate new leads; 31% of B2B marketers claim
that email marketing makes the most significant impact on revenue if compared to other
channels

=> Email marketing is an effective solution to grow our business, to build strong relationships
with our customers and to improve sales.

To move constantly toward our goals, we will follow these steps:

Step 1: Identify our B2B customer personality; understand their needs and pain points (e.g,
Why is their store's revenue always smaller than organic store’s?, How to build a eco-friendly
brand image in the customers’ eyes?,...)

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Step 2: Segment our mailing list according to the company’s demographics and their previous
interactions with our company.

Step 3: Set goals that can be estimated, i.e. calculated in numbers and compared to previous
results.

For example, our target is to grab the attention of 5,000 users and get 25% of them
subscribed. If, for instance, the number of subscribers is not so important as the number of
sales, we can set up a goal to reach 5% more profit this month compared to the previous one.

Step 4: Build a detailed email marketing plan — timing, frequency, content of our emails —
together with the relevant company’s departments.

For instance, support and sale teams may provide us with possible questions our
customers might ask such as the number of sales of rice straw last year, etc. Marketing
department, which tracks users activity, can always tell us where people click, what they
commonly search for, watch and read (e.g. which topic about rice straw they are interested in)

Step 5: Measure our results on a regular basis: the more often, the better. Test and improve our
B2B emails.

Step 6: Draw inspiration from B2B email marketing best practices and apply these techniques to
our emails.

For example, we can personalize our welcome emails. In a welcome email, we will have
a logo and the company name. We also share links to some useful information about rice
straws. The template of email will have color like the color of our logo. The contact information
is always mentioned in case our customer may want to reach us via phone or in person

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CONCLUSION

Seeing such opportunity with the edible straw, we believe this will thrive further in the
near future. As Japan is chosen for the target market, it is essential for us to know all the details
of our customers and their bahaviors to build a thorough marketing campaign.

Besides the idea of exporting our plant based product to a foreign contry with lots of
potential like Japan, edible straws may deliver a bigger message than just an eco-friendly
product. As we do our marketing research and come up with a marketing strategy for the
business, the environment need more attention and requires more actions from users around the
globe. Japanese are one of those with high awareness of such issue and they are willing to step
in and make the call. We aim to educate more and more groups of society in the world to do
something about the pollution world wide and the consequences our next generations have to
suffer. Choosing edible straws over plastic ones may appear as a small change, but with a major
quantity of people start switching to eco-friendly tools, it can make much difference to our
mother earth. That’s the bigger picture that we thrive to contribute our effort to.

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REFERENCES
 https://japantoday.com/category/features/lifestyle/major-japanese-restaurant-chain-
introducing-bamboo-straws-to-help-reduce-plastic-and-save-forests
 https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/business/20190214/vietnamese-firm-makes-edible-riceflour-
straws-to-help-protect-environment/48930.html
 https://www.japanstrategy.com/business-in-japan/
 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/features/edible-plates-beakers-straws-
future-packaging-tasted-find/
 https://www.export.gov/article?id=Japan-Market-Overview
 https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Is-Japan-eco-friendly-or-eco-hostile

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