it is clear from this case study that marketing is critical in ensuring the
longevity of a railway company as winning the public’s trust is key to running
the business. With heightened competition and various policy making, either
rail operator might lose the deal should the government perceive that they are
unqualified to be awarded the rail contracts in future.
Croatia became a member of the European Union and liberalised its rail
transport market, thus threatening the Croatian Railways Cargo’s (CRC) position
as the railway freight transport (RFT) monopoly which used to have the ability
to choose the goods it wants to carry (since it is the only rail freight operator).
Although CRC faces significant competition from both the domestic and foreign
operators, the opening of the rail transport economy has also benefitted the
company through fewer trade restrictions which provided tremendous
opportunities for freight movement. Nonetheless, supply still remained in
excess of demand in this context and CRC had to become more market-oriented to safeguard
its dominance in the industry (Verhoef, Heijnsbroek and Bosma, 2017).
marketing is concerned, CRC can better cater to their clients’ needs by having
regular meetings with major clients to understand their preferences, build
relationships and improve customer retention. Instead of just sending the goods
from station to station, CRC can also advertise its inclusion of supporting
services such as door-to-door delivery to differentiate itself from the other operators.
By engaging its customers and highlighting the contrast in service between CRC
and its competitors, such marketing strategies will be beneficial in adding the
personal touch for CRC’s clients, which might otherwise be tempted to switch to
or seek cheaper means of transport since every rail freight operator is
providing the same service.
one thing to note is that competition with other modes of transport such as by
truck or air is not included in the discussion as RFT is much cheaper for long
distances. Unless the client requires immediate dispatch or delivery within a close
range, RFT will remain as the primary mode of moving cargos because otherwise,
the extent of product differentiation achieved through marketing would be
futile due to the inherent distinction of each mode.