Hsbc marketing mix


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Hsbc marketing mix

  1. 1. How does international marketing mix of HSBC differ from their domestic marketing mix? 1
  2. 2. HSBC is the UK’s largest banking company, employing around 312,000 people within the UK alone, with 10,000 offices in 83 countries around the world. (Mintel (a)). The CEO of HSBC D D J John boasts great success with revenues of £10,680m and profits of £2,818m for 2006. ( (a)). A recent share price of 815.00p1 reflects how well the company is performing even in the recent credit crisis effecting banks globally. ( HSBC headquarters are situated in London and is listed on five stock exchanges with around 200,000 shareholders in 100 countries. Its branding in the home country is the same all over the world: “The world’s local bank.”. ( (b)). The marketing mix is the core structure of any marketing plan. According to Philip Kotler, the marketing mix is defined as a set of marketing tools used to achieve objectives. It comprises of four factors: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. These aspects are assessed, in order to make the most out the market the company is operating in. When looking at the international marketing mix different factors need to be considered in comparison to when forming a domestic marketing mix. Firstly, it is important to establish what international and domestic marketing mixes are. A Domestic market is the market which is the home country of the company. For example, HSBC’s home country is England, based on the fact that it floats on the London stock exchange and that London is where the HSBC headquarters reside. An international market is a market or country that a business has diversified into. For example, HSBC moved into many countries such as the Americas, France, 1 Shares were bought/sold at this price at 11.32am on 21-11-2007. 2
  3. 3. China and India.2 These are all international markets to HSBC as they are different from their domestic (home) market in England. “International marketing is the performance of business activities that direct the flow of a company’s goods or services to consumers or users in more than one nation.” (Chinsall, P M., 1995.). There are major differences in international and domestic markets that businesses need to consider carefully. According to Egan and Thomas, competition will not be as predictable in international markets. Different strategies of competitors may be used and the consumers may react differently. This is why international market strategy needs to be well researched and concise. For example, what HSBC does in its domestic market will be carried out differently in any international market it operates in. No two markets will be identical. The easiest way to see this is by looking at each element of the marketing mix and looking at the differences in turn. Product Product takes into consideration a lot of things, not just necessarily the product a business sells. It also considers branding, which uniquely identifies a product from competitors. (Hill, E and O’Sullivan, T. 1999). The services HSBC offers in each country vary, even the offers on services vary. For example, in Hong Kong they operate under the Hang Seng Bank and they offer, personal banking, insurance, mortgages, credit cards, loans, and IPOs. However, In Bangladesh, named HSBC Select their services are limited, personal banking is offered as well as advise on managing money and small loans. ( (c)) All of these different product ranges are compiled to suit various economies. Bangladesh is not a wealthy country, therefore, there is no market for extra services such as mortgages and insursance. Whereas in England, HSBC’s domestic market, a country of wealth, all possible services are offered. 2 A selection of countries chosen from the HSBC website - – that HSBC currently operate in. 3
  4. 4. Offers on such products also differ from each country. For example, in England they are currently offering a deal on mortagages.3 They are offering a free valuation and legal fees or a £400 rebate. (The Guardian, Money.). Where as in the USA deals are being offered, whereby you only need a 3% downpayment on a mortgage. ( (c)). HSBC have used product standardisation in countries with a similar culture to its home market. Product standardisation is where a business can market the same product world wide to achieve economies of scale. (Wall, S., and Rees, B. 2004). These are courntries such as USA, the culture is very similar and so services offered are standardised to those in the UK. However, in other countries such as Bangladesh, product adaptation has been used to accommodate to the culture of possible customers. This is a form of product differentiation, a different product strategy is advised since the global segments are different, even if a few characteristics are similar. (Wall, S., and Rees, B. 2004). There is not such a wide range of services, since the population will not respond to this. Price Pricing objectives are vital to the cash flow of the company, survival, profit, market share and much more. (Dibb, S and Simkin, L. 2001). Prices can be set by a number of factors. Classic economists would argue that it is set by the law of supply and demand; however this is simplistic and does not happen in the real world. (Blythe, J 2003.). Competitor’s prices and assumptions of the future market should also be taken into consideration. The rates of interest on HSBC’s accounts and borrowing facilities should also be set to how elastic the market it is, this is what the market will bare. Price discrimination also plays a great part within the international pricing methods. Price discrimination involves charging different prices for an identical product in different markets. (Wall, S., and Rees, B. 2004). HSBC can look at other markets and see that, for example, the GDP Per Capita for Brazil is $7,400, compared 3 4th high street bank for mortgages. 4
  5. 5. to the UK’s of $24,700. ( This makes it obvious that countries such as Brazil will not be as profitable, they will not be able to charge the rates of interest of borrowing that they do in Brazil as they do in the United Kingdom, as the economy simply cannot afford it and will not borrow at these rates. HSBC needs to look at information such as this and set rates which the market will bare, however, also allowing for profit maximisation on their behalf. Other countries may have regulations concerning the interest that can be charged on borrowing, these will not be the same in every country, and HSBC should accommodate for this. For instance, credit regulations in Belguim are very strict, users have to clear credit within a specific interval. Making this very difficult to offer such services. ( And, in the UK there are many regulations, even highlighting how credit should be advertised; its should be understandable and the name of the advertisor needs to be specified. ( Promotion Promotion is a way of communicating with the customer. The main form of promotion is advertisement. “Advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas”. (Kotler, P, Armstrong, G, Saunders, J and Wong, V. 2001). Another method of promotion is sales promotions. This consists of offers to attract customers into making a sale. Promotion is the one factor that is most obviously heterogeneous globally. Psychographic factors play an important role within this, culture helps the business to segment its markets. (Wall, S., and Rees, B. 2004). Firstly, there is the language barrier. HSBC cannot use the same advertising strategies in China as it does in the UK since the population will not understand this. All promotion must be translated into the relevant language for each country. Technological infrastructure also plays a role. For example, if HSBC were to diversify into a poor African country, the technology would not be there to promote on the same level as done within the UK. 5
  6. 6. Advertising strategies are not the same all over the world. Consumers react to different images. Within the UK humour sells, and this is often used within many promotional campaigns by various companies. This would not sell as well in other countries. ‘HSBC Amanah’ is the name for HSBC within Islamic regions. The television advertisement focuses more on, happiness, union and peace. This is to accommodate for what the population will respond to. ( Media habits of nations will also play a role of how HSBC should advertise within a country. A recent survey discovered that consumers in Taiwan spend the most time on the internet, whereas the Argentineans spend the most time listening to the radio. This can be used to change how they advertise globally, as different methods will reach more potential consumers in different markets. ( Place The place element of the marketing mix relates to where a business makes its sales and how it is done. HSBC does not have any distribution channels; this is called a direct marketing channel. This is a channel with no intermediary levels. HSBC promote the service and then await the consumer’s response in order to supply that service. (Kotler, P, Armstrong, G, et al., 2001). HSBC also is very successful on the internet market place. Online marketing is a two-way system which links the consumers with the sellers. (Kotler, P, Armstrong, G, et al., 2001). Therefore the place of HSBC’s market is online and within the branches situated throughout the world. Its branches are very efficient especially within the UK as research in Mintel. 6
  7. 7. b) Select a specific product from the multinational company identified in Part a) of the question. As international marketing manager you have been given the task of developing a market entry strategy for this product into India. Consider the international marketing policies and strategies which might help you achieve this objective. HSBC in India is The Honkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited. There are 33 branches in cities throughout india serving customers of all kinds. They currenttly offer services such as business banking, insurance, personal banking and the list continues! ( (d)). However they still have not diversified into mortgages, which will be the product I intend to develop an entry strategy for. “The sub-prime mortgage lending disaster in the US is propelling HSBC towards a greater emerging markets bias as US profits dwindle.” (Hosking, P, 2007) According to the investor world website a loan is to finance real estate, with payment periods and interest rates. They can be paid at various rates, fixed, variable and sometimes interest only. In order to enter into the Indian market it is important to research into the culture, attitudes and the market itself. DECISION MAKING Firstly HSBC has to decide whether it is worth entering mortgages into the Indian market. The Indian market is currently booming and is offering great potential. “For a third year, the Indian economy has registered a highly impressive growth during 2005-06. The Indian economy has recorded an average growth of over 8 per 7
  8. 8. cent in the latest three years.” Also, the rise in GDP4 for the finance, insurance and real estate sector has risen by 8.8% alone. ( This shows an increase in wealth and demand for the particular service. Also India’s poor infrastructure will not affect delivery of service, as in this case the customer comes to the business. “India accounts for less than 1 per cent of HSBC's group revenues, but it is one of the bank's fastest growing markets.” (Johnson, J 2005). This and a number of other factors5 express how and why India is an attractive destination for HSBC to expand, and the good reason for them to introduce this new service. Shanta Acharya an expert in India investment explains why she believe India is attractive to foreign investment. She argues of the functioning democracy, an independat judiciary, credible legal system and a large amount of skilled cheap labour. She also mentions the fact that India has an increasing middle class and an increasing savings rate. India’s middle class is rising so much that it is estimated to be 983 million by 2015. ( One area that HSBC need to be aware of is the recent US sub prime market. Recent articles have warned of the effect on other international markets. “Leading international organisations have warned that the increased risk of a major slowdown in the US - the world's largest economy - could affect growth prospects for the rest of the world.” ( HSBC need to be aware that this may have an effect on profits and revenues and may prevent them from expanding upon business in India. HSBC may wish in expand further in order to increase their market share within India. This will allow them to keep up with competitors and possibly attain further consumers. Market share is the primary measure of marketing success. (Mercer, D. 1992). If a company has large market share in an industry compared to its competitors then it is seen as successful. HSBC still has a relatively small market share in India of 1.2% of all banks and only 18% of foreign banks.6 ( 4 Gross Domestic product – value of goods and services produced by a company over a period of time. 5 Such as RULC, ease of government regulations, the fact that HSBC is already well conventional in the country it already has its established channels and customers. 6 Foreign banks for India. 8
  9. 9. (e)). There is potential for HSBC to gain more market share and therefore more market power within the Indian market with such small percentages. METHODS OF ENTRY In order to enter a market, the method of entry must be considered. There are various types of market entry, for instance, joint ventures, FDI7 , Exporting, Acquisitions, Greenfield investment8 and liscensing. (Hill, E., O’Sullivan, T., 1999). However, HSBC are already in the Indian market, this took place in the form of an acquisition in 1959 with the Mercantile bank which was founded nearly 150 years ago in 1865. ( (a)). An acquisition is where a company acquires a firm that may already be in a dominant position in that market. (Muhlbacher, H ., Dahringer et al., 1999). An acquisition has immediate benefits of trained labour, established customers, suppliers and brand image. (Doole, I., Lowe., et al 1994). BUYER BEHAVIOUR Buyer Behaviour concerns the information a business needs about its consumers. Marketing looks to identify the consumers, why they would use the service and factors that might influence their decision. (Wall and Rees 2004). In India such consumers will ensure that they are fully aware of all the legal documents and what they entail before they do purchase a mortgage. (The Times of India(a)). Also, television and newspaper advertisements, as well as family and friends opinions have a great influence on buying decsions in India. (The Times of India (b)). 7 Foreign Direct Investment. 8 Starting a business from scratch in a completely new market. 9
  10. 10. SEGMENTATION Segmentation is vital when entering a product into a new market. It is a strategy and a technique used by retailers to focus, and optimise the use of their resources as well as for segmentting the market in to areas such as geographical, demographic, socio-economic and many more. (Mercer, D 1992). The market as a whole should be looked and a decision should be made as to what type of consumer would be interested in the service and where they would be situated. Mortgages do not come cheap and so it is important that they are aimed at the wealthiest part of the population. My research suggests that the wealthiest city is Chandigarh, closely followed by. Panaji and the capital Dehli with an average Per capita of 25,642 Rs. (India Today). Delhi is also the city with the second largest population of 11,914,389, in the country. ( This suggests that these are the areas where there will be most demand for mortgages; and so will the the targeted segments for HSBC. PEST PEST analysis is a common tool in marketing. It highlights changes in the market. (Wilmhurst, J and Mackay, A. 2002). It is important to analyse the market, so that HSBC is fully aware of all factors that may affect its entry strategy for mortgages. It covers 4 areas which need to be looked at within the Indian market, before entering: HSBC’S Political Factors 10
  11. 11. Interest rates effect how HSBC operates with its customers. The current interest rate in India is 7.75% as stated by the BBC in March of this year. ( (b)). If Interest rates were to rise, this will mean customers who are borrowing money to the company will be borrowing more, meaning HSBC debtors will increase, therefore increasing assets. However customers will feel more worried about borrowing money, knowing that they would have to pay back a lot more. Allthough, as customers were saving money, the customers would receive a higher amount of interest and so would HSBC. If interest rates were to decrease, the opposite effects would apply. HSBC’S Economic Factors India has a very good tax system, which levies taxes between the Union and State Governments. ( Taxation will affect HSBC since the higher taxes are the less likely customers are to purchase a mortgage, therefore HSBC will lose out on income to the government. Residents of India are taxed on their worldwide income, and non-residents are taxed on their income only received in India. (www.asiatradehub). A lot of residents’ income therefore does go to the government, slightly threatening this service within the country. HSBC’S Social Factors 11
  12. 12. Source: Demographics will play a large part in the social factors which affect HSBC’s market entry. The majority of India’s richest individuals are males who are middle aged, generally in their 50’s, such as Dilip Shanghvi. ( As you can see from the diagram above there are generally more males than females within the Indian population, however few people within that specific age gap. This could mean that there would be a larger market for mortgages in the future, hinting that there could possibly be a longer life cycle for this service. HSBC’S Technological Factors HSBC has adopted telephone banking, internet banking and mobile alerts in India to keep up with modern technology; fortunately India’s technological infrastructure does allow this. ( As the economy builds the technological infrastructure will improve making these services more reliable. Potentially could consumers check the status of their mortgage online? It is possible, a lot of the transaction will also be made by telephone, when correcting and establishing the mortgage plan. 12
  13. 13. MARKETING MIX The marketing mix must be analysed to determine the strategies that will be used to enter mortgages for HSBC. Product The product, or the service in this case, in India should not be the same model in India as it is promoted in the UK, or indeed the rest of the world. This is because the demand for the product and the value of mortgages will not be equivilant. There will currently be a demand for mortgages in India, however not as much as there would be if they were as commonly known within the country. This will mean the market plan for the service will have to be reassessed when the service is well established within the market to cope with new demand changes. Since demand is low and house prices start from £17,500 (, considerably lower than the UK, there will not intially be a need for so many variations of mortgages. HSBC should research into the market and select a few rates which are appropriate, just while they estbalish within the market. Price The price in this case will relate to the rates of interest charged on the mortgages, the ultimate repayment will of course depend on the property itself chosen by the consumer. The current average rate is roughly 7.5% (, HSBC should base its rates on this as it will follow competitors already within the market. This also is the current interest rate for India, as the economy booms, as it is set to do so, interest rates can be raised making the service more profitable to HSBC. HSBC should ensure the rates are affordable to their consumers yet realistic within the market. Promotion 13
  14. 14. Research suggests that the best methods for advertising in India are in books, on the television and through word of mouth from friends. Indians are the most likely people in the world to read books, this creates an opening for HSBC to advertise through literature on the subject. Also in India an average of 10.7 hours a week is spendt by individuals watching televsion. ( This is an extra 10.7 hours a week HSBC can market mortgages to more than 47million people.9 ( If HSBC establishes a good reputation in a short time, this will be a lot of publicity, since from research stated earlier, indian consumers decide upon products and services from opinions through friends and family. Place As already stated in part a, the place will be the branches and on the internet. A suggestion maybe for branches specifically within the cities being targeted should create an area solely for mortgage advice and establishment. Facilities on the internet should be easy to use and simple in order to make the experience all the more better for the consumer. Employees within branches and helplines should be trained appropriatley on this area to retain a high level of customer services. REFERENCE LIST Acharya, S., 1998. Investing in India. Basingstoke: Macmillan press. Pp. 222 Aneki. 2007. World Amanac. [Online]. Aneki. Available at: Accessed: 12-11-2007. Asia Trade Hub., 2007. India Tax System. [Online]. Asia Trade Hub. Available at: Accessed: 11-12-2007. BBC News: 9 Based on statistics for 1994, figures were expected to rise by 6 million per year, an astronomical amount of potential consumers! 14
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