TABLE OF CONTENTS
ALIFE Research Center
Purpose, mission & values
Promotional Situation Analysis
Strengths & weaknesses of the brand (image)
Strengths & weaknesses of the service
Segmentation and Targeting
Analysis of existing client segmentation
Segmentation of the potential customer
Insights into different objectives
Ways of decoding promotional message
Promotional Mix & Tool Selection
Criteria for selection of promotional tools
Selected promotional tools
Brand workout and promotional materials
Direct Marketing instead of personal selling
Mass media - only for special magazines
Exhibitions/ tradeshows and information days
Internet & Interactive media
Integrated Marketing Communication
Tables & Illustrations
List of Netherlands food companies
Additional Layouts of the A1-poster
Appendix 3: Additional Layouts for A1-posterAdditional Layouts for the A1 poster
Additional Layouts for the A1 poster
This report gives solutions on how a small sized research center (ALIFE), without established identity, can promote itself in the Business-to-Business market to successfully achieve the communication objectives of creating awareness, interest and preference among the target audience by integrating and employing several promotional tools.
Promotional campaign for the research center ALIFE was created by interviewing existing clients, doing desk research on internet and applying theory from the course book throughout the report.
Findings show that personal approach, cost effectiveness and applicability are the key qualities that the institute posses and consequently occupy the positioning claims. First, the company has to set an identity to be able to promote - logo, business card and poster examples are suggested and visualized. Nature of the service and doing business with organization narrows the target market, to the extent where the mass advertising would lead to overexposure and low return on investment. Thus, effective combination of highly selective promotional tools like telemarketing and direct mail, which would include activities like customer database creation, promotional material selection, advertising item purchase, is recommended. Together with being present on internet through homepage, blogs and business networks, and additional sales promotion support like relation days, tradeshows, exhibitions, and last but not least advertising in highly relevant editions on life sciences and food magazines is a suggested combination of promotional tools for ALIFE to make first steps to claim position in the food research market.
During the fourth year course Integrated Marketing Communications, the assignment was given to execute an integrated marketing communication plan for the research centre ALIFE of the Life Sciences Institute from the Hanze University in Groningen. Fourth year’s International Business School students were given the great challenge to work on this report for about eight weeks.
ALIFE, the centre point of the investigation, educates students on one hand, and on the other hand it carries out research for companies, institutes, etc. in the areas of Life Science; namely food, renewable energy and health.
ALIFE already exists more than two years, but no strategic marketing plan has been written yet. Currently, clients come into contact with ALIFE mostly via the personal network of JanPeter Nap, the head of the expertise center and at the same time lecturer of Life Sciences. In order to reach the target group effectively, a promotional mix will be composed on the basis of an internal and external analysis.
During the first weeks, guest lectures were held by Jan-Peter Nap and Jan-Zuidema from 4Vision to give the students a better impression of the complex market. Besides, the project groups could contact ALIFE any moment to apply for data and our lecturer Mieke Nauta organized meetings with the different project groups to discuss progress and supported them throughout the project with advices.
Eight weeks after the tough beginning, the project is eventually finished and we look back at an interesting and instructive period.
ALIFE RESEARCH CENTER
ALIFE is the centre of expertise of the Institute for Life Science & Technology of the Hanze University Groningen. ALIFE ’ s team of specialists offer specialized research and advice concerning life science and bio-informatics in a highly technical branch. They have been on the market since the summer of 2007 and aim at clients regional, national and international. The centre basically focuses on two different areas; the research they conduct deals with comprehensive computer analyses of biological data and concerns the tracking of DNA molecules or proteins without use of radioactivity.
Purpose, mission & values
ALIFE is on the one hand a centre of expertise that trains and prepares students for a future in science and on the other hand a company that executes highly specialized research for organizations and thus strives for continuity and profit growth on the long-term.
Mission: To offer relative cheap value for money research through keeping the costs down and to listen carefully to their clients and provide them with qualitative research.
Values: Respect and quality are the key values of ALIFE. Secondly the centre attaches more value to contents than to packaging.
The service offered by ALIFE consists of firstly conducting computer analyses of biological data and secondly the tracking of DNA molecules or proteins without use of radioactivity. The expertise centre is focused on advice and applied research in the Life Sciences. Mostly smaller applied research questions that is usually too small for a university or TNO. The projects often have a small lead time of up to 1 year. (Hanze University )
ALIFE satisfies the needs for relative cheap but high impact research. The centre is easily accessible and has short lines what makes it for the clients clarifying and makes it more attractive to approach one of the researchers. The small number of employees makes the centre flexible and agile. ALIFE has the availability on modern facilities for applied research.
How to deliver the right message to potential clients in order to get them familiar with ALIFE and preferably interested in ALIFE and how to maintain the current clients?
The challenge is to on the one hand exploit the brand awareness of ‘The Hanze University’ and on the other hand become a self-sustaining centre with an independent strategic policy that speaks to the target group.
Highly dependent on Hanze University Limited budget
Lack of knowledge concerning marketing
The goal is to expand the research capacity to 4 full time employees within two years.
Gain more contacts in business in the Northern part of the Netherlands Increase reach of the target group through specific target marketing Become more competitive towards WUR and Van Hall Less dependence on the Hanze University
PROMOTIONAL SITUATION ANALYSIS
The internal analysis of the promotional programs situation involves both to keep an eye on the services ALIFE offers, and the information concerning the institute itself. In addition it includes capabilities as well as targets of ALIFE. Since they have no promotional department, we are going to analyze the capability to implement the promotional program and the impact from the industry, target market and nature of the service and use certain promotional tools instead of other ones. Important object of the internal analysis to which one should pay attention while developing promotional program is the image of the brand, which is scrutinized below in the text. Focus as well is put to benefits of the service they offer and last but not least the budget determination.
The targets of ALIFE in terms of the promotion are various. Their main aim is to double their capacities within two years from two to four employees; another is to find new and rather good students to support their team Clients are primarily acquired through the personal network of lecturer Jan Peter Nap and several researchers/teachers. Because of this huge dependence on a few people, ALIFE additionally needs a promotional approach to attract new clients in order to be independent on personal factors. The expertise and content of the work of ALIFE should be on the foreground rather than extravagant packaging of the content because the institute is about highly technical, highly specialized applications.
Strengths & weaknesses of the brand (image)
ALIFE has a huge curriculum of innovation and it strives for continuous, fast and durable operating. It is connected with the professional practice and with the inflow, where appropriate by custom of course. Because of the Hanze in the back, they have big expertise at their disposal. However, the biggest strengths are certainly the professional practice they use as well as the excellent facilities of the Hanze University of applied sciences. Furthermore they profit from their small scale and their personal contact between students and teachers.
Though, ALIFE has not only positive traits. They have a demonstrable competence-oriented assessment and they are dependent on it. In addition, there is a massive capacity fluctuation due to the big amount of students who play a big role at ALIFE and they have a lack of research infrastructure and corporate culture. Another problem is that the amount of returning study-knowledge is not very high due to their tight range of research services. Unfortunately, the introspection on skills acquisition is done by students, which is due to the small staff.
All things considered their dawned image is: A small, innovative research institution, backed up from a University of Applied Sciences with newest infrastructure, with highly expertise employees and highly motivated students who are striving for fast, continuous and durable bio-technical and genetic research methods in order to satisfy their clients’ needs.
Strengths & weaknesses of the service
The services, ALIFE offers are very specific and they have their own research portfolio containing the subjects: Energy, health, entrepreneurship and more. Thus, the portfolio is not unalterable; they are able to react on nearly every offer in terms of specialised research and advice concerning life science and bio-informatics. Due to the fact that ALIFE is not an institute which develops new research methods, and rather use already existing methods, they are much more able to give clear and contemporary answers to their clients’ questions instead of posing new ones. Like Jan Peter Nap mentioned: “There are hardly institutes who are able to do bioinformatics concerning bio computing than ALIFE.”
ALIFE aims to spend a maximum of 10 percent of the turnover on promotion. That comes down to approximately 25.000 Euro. However, keeping the costs low is preferably. This means in terms of the use of promotional instruments to accomplish a balancing act between effective up-to-date promotional activities and a rather efficient kind of way to communicate with prospective clients and students.
An important part of the external analysis is a detailed consideration of customers’ characteristics and buying patterns, their decision processes, and factors influencing their purchasing decisions. Attention must also been given to consumers’ perceptions and attitudes, lifestyles, and criteria for making purchase decisions. (Belch & Belch, 2009)
The customers who are involved in the analysis are voluntary interviewees and their names and positions are successively: Dr. O. van D., from TCNN (Technologie Centrum Noord Nederland), Dr. N. de V. from AVEBE / Averis and Prof. Dr. R. V. from Medical Bionics. All three doctors are familiar with Jan-Peter Nap and have been asked to answer some questions concerning their (potential) business with ALIFE.
On forehand, we had been told that all customers where existing clients and the candidates for the interviewees would already have worked with ALIFE before. After conducting the telephonic interviews we found out that only one professor actually started and finished a whole project with ALIFE. However, some interesting results came out of the interviews.
The first notable fact was the Professor’s connection with ALIFE. Everybody knew ALIFE via Jan Peter Nap. The Hanze University was known among them but two of three of the interviewed where not even sure the research centre was called ALIFE. They seemed not too informed about the institute and were more familiar the appellation “Hanze- Life Sciences”.
If looked at the question about the opinion about product, price and service, the price was not considered as the main concern. In one case the quality was controversial and one person let knew that the service was not satisfying their needs. He hinted that an institute as ALIFE should be prepared to deal with contract-activities. Enough workforces and machines should be in store and very important: They must prioritize the contract-activities so that they can compete with other professional research centers who do have researchers available for conducting research as a first priority.
From all the interviewees it became clear that it was confusing what kind of services ALIFE exactly offers. Even after explaining about ALIFE it didn’t became clear. Especially one person explicitly pointed out that ALIFE should definitely make clear what they do and what they stand for and of course what they can mean for their clients. Brochures, information days and an own website were concrete tips given to promote themselves better.
Last finding concerns the regional aspect. The distance from their house or working place to the research center is definitely important. Especially when no preference on institute appears, the location can be decisive.
Biotechnology has much potential for business applications
“Evidence of the use of biotechnology in agri-food sector is starting to emerge. However, its full potential has not yet been utilized”, according to the Research and Markets report (2002). Not that only the agri-food sector is experiencing, the benefits of technology and biology put together, but other scientists like John Dooley claim that the utilization of bioinformatics is still in infancy stage; nonetheless, food industry does start to release its potential and huge opportunities it could represent.
Its impact could be so impressive that researchers claim it will change the way we eat and what we eat. Nestles research centers report scrutinized by several researchers on the matter tells that the effect bioinformatics in food industry might deliver can be so effective that each of us will be able to select our own food consuming patterns and eat healthy according to them. Bioinformatics will give hope for very effective diets and food processing without losing its natural-positive ingredients in manufacturing and storing process. Much emphasis in bioinformatics potential on food industry is outlining aspects like personalized approach to food choice, faster breeding and genetically modified plants, and of course higher quality and healthier food products for end customers. (Nestlé research center, 2001)
Main force driving all the research and findings for food industry is driven by increasing demand from consumers for better food quality, convenience, tastiness and affordability (Nestlé report, 2002) Biotechnology provides opportunities to exploit and find improvement for all these aspects through applying computer power together with research capabilities. All of these aspects are looked in detailed in following sections.
Making custom and thus effective diets
Bioinformatics analyze reaction to the food a particular person’s body has developed, with further research scientists look forward to help to make personalized diets. They will know what can cause genetic differences effecting metabolism of different individuals. According to Nestles report: “[…]this knowledge is not just academic, but leads to an immediate individual recommendation how to alter the intakes of dietary fat for those affected.”
Improving smell and taste of the food
“Understanding the underlying neuron-physiological processes will lead to optimizing the flavor and texture impact of foods” (Nestle report, 2002). Bioinformatics has been developing very successfully during the past 5 years, contributing much to scientific investigation of the senses. Researchers have identified different molecules and genetic details responsible for various tastes.
Further they argue for possibility to develop flavor systems that will enhance the taste or mask the negative tastes by applying combinatorial chemistry, which nowadays relies on biotechnology. (Nestle report, 2002).
Help to preserve original qualities of the food after cooking
Soon it will be possible to process food in a way that inherited structural properties of products stay, allowing process foods for consumption with a minimum of external energy and retaining a maximum biological and nutritional value (Nestle report, 2002). As to make a safe-to-consume food usually we have to process it and hence food starts to loose the bad and the good ingredients together.
Potential for isolation of food allergy proteins
Researcher from Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Mr. John Dooley in his presentation argues for proteomics (analysis of protein structure) to have ability to reduce allergenicity while conserving product functionality. This can be done by identifying certain proteins and replacing or removing them, so that the usual effect does not take place. In practice, it already has been done with gluten and results were positive. Nevertheless, proteins do have several tasks and by trying to change an existing content of a product may cause side effects Considering the complexity of the process the new developments of allergic free products will take some time and right now are under intensive investigation. (Dooley, 2005)
As ALIFE research center is specializing in protein research and discovery, allergy protein isolation is particularly important to consider. The research center should follow and concentrate on the trend, because trends usually do show possible demand directions from businesses.
Within the Netherlands, ALIFE has first direct category competitors and second indirect ones. Direct competitors are professionally oriented institutes, which claim for the same or similar advantage in nature to compete in the market. Usually it would involve statements of being closer to businesses and having more practical approach to problems. Indirect competition includes government or privately owned research centers and fundamental academic research units.
Provided by Ranking Web of World Research Centers web page in 2009, in the Netherlands are operating many world class research units, which makes us assume that market in this sphere is mature and competition intensity is high. (Ranking Web of World Research Centers, 2009)
All relevant competition in the Netherlands from the Catalogue of World Research Centers of the Netherlands website is grouped below in the 3 categories.
Direct competitors in the Netherlands
1) Professionally oriented institutes:
Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences
Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research National Institute for Public Health and the Environment Kernfysisch Versneller Instituut
Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine Trimbos Institute
Netherlands Institute Primary Health Care
Netherlands Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Indirect competition in the Netherlands
2) Academic units:
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Wageningen University
Leiden University Medical Center
University Medical Center St Radboud Nijmegen University Medical Center Utrecht
VU University Medical Center Academic Hospital Maastricht
University Medical Center Groningen (RUG) Academic Medical Centrum Amsterdam
3) Research centers:
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research Philips Medical Systems
Medical Spectrum Twente Wageningen International
In Groningen there is only one competitor, which is the academic unit Rijks University (RuG). However, research center ALIFE can easily distinguish from them, because the university represents indirect competitor and consequently has clients with different needs, distinctive positioning in the research market can be created. RUG is working with research on fundamental level, while ALIFE has approach to work with already discovered systems and develop further application by demand of seller to consumer market.
From direction and advice from one of ALIFEs existing client Dr. Nick de Vetten, special attention should be placed on Van Hall Larenstein College1 and Wageningen University2. Both institutions are well known in food research category and they also apply bioinformatics and from homepages judging they have tight partnership to each other and to much respected Wageningen International research center, which seems to represent major treat due their capabilities, direct competitor status and close location.
SEGMENTATION AND TARGETING
Analysis of existing client segmentation
ALIFE ’ s current average customer is a commercial enterprise or research unit which is interested to research food items by applying biotechnology; through which these organizations can develop new knowledge or new successful products.
To see trends and get additional information for segmentation and target marketing selection it is handy to analyze who is the current customer of ALIFE within food research category, common characteristics could be drawn (See table 1). Firstly, all of the clients represent organizations; there are no freelancers in existing client list. Secondly, half of the clients with whom ALIFE is in partnership for food research, surprisingly are other research units instead of intermediaries that connect businesses with higher education or businesses themselves. There is only one intermediary and somehow two organizations are specializing in the same field - plant seeds.
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Table 1: Existing client profiles of food specialization
Segmentation of the potential customer
ALIFE should be looking not only at companies having short new product development cycles, but also educational and research institutes, as we can assume from present ALIFE client portfolio. Though, for matter project size and time reasons the analysis will be directed to main customer - businesses. Food producers constantly are in need for distinctive products, so that they can develop competitive advantage in the market. Either they intend to improve and make their product healthier, tastier or being perceived differently, ALIFE can supply their bioinformatics technology on any of these objectives. This constant need for new product development and thus innovation, without which companies cease to exist in long term, because of competition, is perfect fit for research center connected to higher-professional education to supply their practical knowledge based services. The list of 417 food companies from the Netherlands with contact details and specialization can be found in the appendix. Nevertheless, the companies are not sorted in target markets as the focus of this course is to promotion tool selection not marketing plan workout.
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Table 2: Segmenting potential industrial customer
To give an overview who is the target customer in industrial markets and choose relative variables to scrutinize we use the NetMBA Business Center advice from their webpage. (Net MBA - Business Knowledge Center, 2002-2007)
For geographical segmentation the perfect market would be the Northern Netherlands region. Interviewed existing clients of ALIFE expressed value for research unit to be close. In this way they say usual traveling time and expenses related to it are decreasing. Two of the interviewed customers want to check the progress and talk to leading researcher for their research on constant bases, so being closer is beneficial to them. The size of the customer organization does matter, because of ALIFE ’ s profile and supplied services. ALIFE can not undertake huge projects due to its size and concentration on specific fields to research. Furthermore, fundamental research is not a focus of this research center.
By using three key aspects and more detailed characteristics and using grounds of primary research and conclusions made for the target market is selected and described in Table 2.
A small to medium size food company operating in Northern Netherlands and is currently searching or potentially might have a need in future to do protein analysis with biotechnology applications in cost effective, personal and applicable manner for developing new products for its own competitive advantage.
Jan Peter Nap mentioned, “The contents of ALIFEs work are far more important than the packaging”. That may be for the actual work with the clients. For the positioning however, we need exactly this packaging approach.
Due to the fact, that ALIFE has no real current positioning strategy, we neither can refer to an old positioning strategy nor can we do a repositioning. The following positioning of ALIFE is of course especially concerned to its application of the food sector.
Services don't have the physical attributes of products (we can't feel them, touch them or show nice product pictures), so the questions are, whether the potential customers see themselves better off after doing business with ALIFE and whether there is a characteristic that makes their services distinctive from the competition.
The most suitable characteristics for ALIFE could be innovativeness, experimental research, cost effectiveness, applicability and personality. Nearly every company in the world wants to be innovative and of course cost effective, so it is safe to say that the direct competition will have very similar approach to positioning to ALIFE. The research center needs another approach to be distinctive and unique. Furthermore it is a matter of fact, that the human being is just able to remember one or two particular image-attributes of a company or brand. This makes no sense to position ALIFE to several attributes simultaneously. Another reason for ignoring the factors cost effectiveness and innovativeness is that the necessary arguments to back the positioning claims do not really exist. And it’s not a good concept to pretend qualities that you cannot fulfill, or in other words, it is always good to confirm the image to the actual truth. In consideration of all the mentioned aspects the properties for ALIFEs positioning should be “ personal ” and “ applicable ” .
Due to the b2b-context, a quick applicability is more important than ever for the clients, because they are yearning for a competitive advantage in their market. If they work together with ALIFE, they get answers and no new questions. Due to the outcomes of the interviews, it is quite important for ALIFE ’ s clients to have a personal contact person with Jan Peter Nap and not a huge institute, where the clients have various contact persons who do not really know what it is actually about - the clients needs and wishes etc.
A further crucial point is whether to position ALIFE as part of the Hanze or as an independent institution. Our advice is to do neither of them. A stolid positioning as part of the Hanze would restrict the opportunities - to have an individual internet presence for example. To split off of the Hanze though, would derogate ALIFE even more. The delivery of skilled students, possible beneficial monetary partnerships, and the surrounding on the Zernike is certainly not disadvantageous. In addition it has, most of the time, an advertising effective character to be a part of a high educated institution. Our recommendation would be, to stay under the Hanze-umbrella with a slightly disposedness to independence in beneficial occasion.
As there was no straight forward statement of marketing objectives from the marketing plan, since it was never established, guidelines to create communication part are taken from the universities strategic plan.
Rather by setting sales oriented objectives we have chosen to set communication objectives instead. We have done that because the target market is unaware of the centers existence, and in order to start servicing, the research center has to make the relevant audience aware of its presence in the market. For another reason no sales oriented objectives have been given to us.
By using following Communication Effects Pyramid framework from the Integrated Marketing Communication course book, we would like to set following objectives:
1) Create awareness between 50 % of target market
2) Create interest about the brand among 45% of target market
3) Create preference of the brand between 20% of target market
4) Create trial of the services provided by ALIFE among 10% of target audience
5) Create regular usage of the services provided by 8% of target audience
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Illustration 1: Communication effects pyramid, “Reaction from target market”
The Communication effect pyramid suggests movement toward purchase can be done by completing one block after another, in other words, moving up to the pyramids top. To get a better glimpse how the pyramid functions Picture 1 provides visual drawing. Insights to create proper appeal for each of these stages are provided by other type of theoretical frameworks called Response Hierarchy models, which also can be found in the course book. Although various models of Response Hierarchy have different aspects by which they are analyzed, all of them are based on similar stages and 3 stages in common - cognitive stage, affective, and behavioral stage. In other words, first customers learn about the service, after they develop attitudes and in the end act upon attitudes. (Belch & Belch, 2009)
To use to affect these different stages and lead the customers towards purchase intention tactics mentioned below are advised.
Insights into different objectives
At first information about ALIFE is provided and afterwards how it could help to solve customer problems or to make it more successful in his activities. It is advised to create as much interest and appeal to the brand as possible, emphasizing positive distinction points from other competitors as suggests research. “Factors related to success of advertising for new products” done by Evaluecom, Inc.
At this stage, classical promotional tool like teaser campaigns, slogans and jingles are not a good idea, as a service provided by ALIFE is a serious process that ads value and is of high costs. By addressing their target audience with these tools, made for mass market communication, serious overexposure and low return on investment would be inescapable. Instead well personalized descriptive copy with rich information and targeted at the right people, for example, in related forums and exhibitions, is one appropriate way to do Business-to-Business promotion.
Creating a preference for ALIFE
Moving towards influencing affective stage and making emotions, as well as attitudes to change and different feelings to take place, it is not anymore sufficient to just introduce the brand and tell what it can do for the customer; it has to outline why ALIFE is better than its competitors. At this point competitive advertising could help or argumentative print media.
Create intention to conduct an act of purchase
Reassure the motives for choosing ALIFE, provide some guaranties if possible and show testimonials of previous clients. Besides price appeals and further benefits like the ones from local municipality (financing some part of the research) could be used to assure both best quality and price.
To create a successful message, we take Evalucom Inc. conducted research about how to make communication objectives successful and as well taking information from the interviewed clients of ALIFE.
Criteria nr. 1: Communicate that something is different about the service
Most cost-effective food investigations by applying bioinformatics
Criteria nr. 2: Positioning the brands difference in relation to the research institutions in general
Being closer to business applications while using high quality academic knowledge
Criteria nr. 3: Communicating that the product difference is beneficial to consumers
ALIFE understands business needs better, seeing connection between theory and practice clearer
Criteria nr. 4: Supporting the idea that something about the product is different and/or beneficial to consumers
Flexibility and personal approach. Usage of testimonials would confirm personal approach (checked by interviews).
ALIFE can complete the job with knowing where to stop the research.
Reassuring that staff has enough time for research making the teaching in second place and opportunities to hire a personal researcher does exist (advice from the interviewed customers)
Ways of decoding promotional message
To execute a message to a customer for a particular service, it is very useful to understand how the individual perceives and processes the promotional material.
The FCB Planning model by Richard Vaugh and the Elaboration Likelihood model by Richard Petty and John Cacioppo are two theoretical ground works that allow ways to analyze how customers perceive different messages (See appendix for both models). The Elaboration likelihood evaluates how much consumers are interested in a product or service, if the customer is searching for it or its substitutes or will have necessity for it in the future; he has much more will to process an ad. (Belch & Belch, 2009) For ALIFE it would mean that specially targeted individuals, usually the decision makers for the partnership are persons who are able and motivated to process the relevant offer in detailed to secure best deal for their firm. These individuals are crucial and can be effectively found with employing customer relationship programs, which usually involves creation or purchase of sophisticated target customer and after communication through direct marketing or personal selling.
The other, FCB grid provides insight how highly involving and not involving products are connected to thinking and feeling dimensions. The grid suggests that rational and economical appeal have to be used for our case, as the service provided is carefully investigated before the purchase takes place. Further, organizations have more rational decision making rather than feeling based. Therefore, visual or emotional motives will not have significant effect on target audience of ALIFE, as much as for example, costs involved, image and research capabilities.