Take note spirals mba new product marketing project


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New Product Development and Marketing MBA Project

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Take note spirals mba new product marketing project

  1. 1. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Marketing Plan Charles Laffiteau, Jr. University of Texas at Dallas
  2. 2. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 2 of 24 TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Marketing Plan Executive Summary The old saying that “Knowledge is Power” is true. Back in the 60’s and 70’s most college students went to school full-time during the day and American universities offered few if any courses for degree seeking undergraduate or graduate students during the summer “vacation” months. This also meant that in order to complete their degree requirements in a timely fashion, (i.e. four years for undergrads) students had to take at least 5 undergraduate courses or 3 courses as a part-time graduate or undergraduate student during each of the fall and spring semesters. But since the 80’s the fastest growing universities in the United States have been the urban commuter schools which offered more options in terms of night-time, weekend and summer month classes for working part-time students who self financed their college education. Increased competition for students has resulted in virtually all universities, even those not located in urban centers, offering a wider variety of night-time and summer courses for full and part-time students. Today we have around 15.9 million college students in the United States educating themselves year round so they too will have the “power” that comes from “knowledge.” Getting an education is about hard work and dedication, but even the smartest of students need great tools to help them to achieve great dreams. Our company, TakeNote Spirals, LLP., gives students “the power” to turn those dreams into a reality by providing them with tools designed to fit their current needs as either full or part-time university students. Tools specifically designed for “today’s” university students instead of the college students of “yesterday”!
  3. 3. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 3 of 24 Problem definition TakeNote Spirals 2SSN is a spiral notebook that is offered as a 2 or 4 subject pocket folder insert notebook. Today we have only 1, 3, and 5 subject spiral pocket folder or lower cost “theme” notebooks as an option. Therefore an average college student taking the usual “full time” schedule, 4 classes or 12 hours, is forced to purchase a 5 subject spiral notebook. Many science and language courses also have 1 hour labs which mean students taking 4 courses are actually taking 13 to 14 hours. We agree that students are different, but some degree of organization is a key to success. Most students are juggling school, work, family and, if they’re lucky, a social life. This product is meant to be a tool to balance and organize their lives to help them realize success. Unfortunately, as time marches forward, the cost of tuition increases. According to the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) the average tuition, room and board (for in-state students) at an average four-year public college or university for an entire academic year is around $9,953; that is up 87 percent from 1990. The average tuition, room and board at a four- year private college or university for one complete academic year is around $29,119; that is up 93 percent from 1990. [1] Most students will buy supplies for school consisting of: spiral notebooks, a calendar, organizer, ruled paper, folders, etc. The cost of buying multiple supplies in addition to rising tuition costs, rising gas prices, and the overall cost of living is unrealistic. TakeNote Spirals is the answer! This product is a notebook with truly unique features such as: 13 month academic year Calendar – the first 7 and the last 7 pages contain the 13 months i.e. August 2008-August 2009 of an academic year with 1 month on each side. The front of the first page and back of the last calendar page are where local business ads are displayed.
  4. 4. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 4 of 24 Stickers – the 15th middle insert page consists of stickers that are used for the calendars with a variety of phrases such as: TEST, QUIZ, PROJECT, PARTY, STUDY etc. Subject Divider Inserts/Tabs – The subject divider inserts are the same grade and thickness as the traditional manila file folders used in most office filing systems. Plastic tabs are attached to the dividers and have a “slide in” that can be written on and changed for any subject. Water Proof – the front and back covers of the spiral notebook are waterproof. Heavier Weight Paper – the college ruled notebook paper used in-between the subject divider inserts is thicker to stop “bleed through” while writing and high-lighting notes. TakeNote Spirals saves students money, time and keeps them organized! TakeNote Spirals saw a need beyond pocket folders that wasn’t being fulfilled. This product fulfills the unmet needs of millions of motivated hard working students. Individuals today know the value of a higher education. The rewards from furthering one’s education are huge. The estimated lifetime earnings of a professional (i.e. medical, law, dentistry, MBA) degree-holder is $4.4 million. The biggest problems facing students today are money, and juggling multiple activities in their lives. We provide the tool that students need to utilize the knowledge they already posses. TakeNote Spirals’ answer to the problem is “YES you can, and we can help!” Situation Analysis Customer TakeNote Spirals’ customer is the full-time or part-time university undergraduate and graduate student who takes 2 or 4 courses a semester. Currently 63% of part-time undergraduate students and 72% of part-time graduate students take only 2 courses per semester, while an
  5. 5. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 5 of 24 average of 57% of full-time undergraduate students and 36% of full-time graduate students take only 4 courses (often involving 1-2 additional one credit hour labs) each semester. [2] This market is not being adequately served by current spiral notebook manufacturers who only market 1, 3 and 5 subject spiral pocket folder and or theme notebooks. These notebooks were originally designed more than 30 years ago to address the needs of that era’s part-time undergraduate and full-time graduate students taking 3 courses per semester in addition to full- time undergraduate students who traditionally took a full load of 5 courses per semester. But in today’s more academically competitive college environment, universities now offer a full schedule of classes during the summer, thus relieving the pressure on fall & spring course loads. This allows a much larger number of full and part-time students to attend school year round than was the case 30-40 years ago. As a result, today’s student can now take fewer courses during the more traditional fall and spring semesters without necessarily extending their matriculation. They can also achieve higher grades in the process because they now have more time to concentrate and study due to their lighter course loads during those semesters. Competition TakeNote Spirals’ primary competitors in the university student market are Ampad’s 3 & 5 subject spiral pocket folder notebooks, Mead’s 3 & 5 subject spiral pocket folder notebooks and in the “value” market, Mead’s 3 & 5 subject theme notebooks (which have lower cost inserts to separate the subjects that don’t provide the same convenience as pocket folder inserts). These competitor’s list prices also provide TakeNote Spirals with an opportunity to provide today’s university student with superior 2 and 4 subject spiral pocket folder notebooks at price points below its competitors and only slightly above its competitor’s “value” products. (See Exhibit 1)
  6. 6. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 6 of 24 Exhibit 1 Ampad Spiral Notebook, 5 Subject, pocket folder, 240 Sheets, 11"x8-1/2", AST List $19.06 / EA Ampad Spiral Notebook, 5 Subject, pocket folder, 200 Sheets, 11"x8-1/2", AST List $21.11 / EA Ampad Spiral Notebook, 3 Subject, pocket folder, 150 Sheets, 11"x8-1/2", AST List $11.09 / EA Grad Twin Bound Notebook, 5 subject, pocket folder, 200 Sheet, 8-1/2"x11" List $10.29 / EA Grad Twin Bound Notebook, 3 subject, pocket folder, 138 Sheet, 8-1/2"x11" List $6.59 / EA Spiral Notebook, 5 Subject, “value” College Ruled, 200 Sheet, 11"x8-1/2" List $7.29 / EA Spiral Notebook, 3 Subject, “value” College Ruled, 120 Sheet, 11"x8-1/2"List $4.99 / EA
  7. 7. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 7 of 24 Company TakeNote Spirals, LLP is a start-up company structured as a Limited Liability Partnership. TakeNote Spirals has seven employees who are all equal partners with 14% equity stakes, except for its CEO, Sara Alston, who owns 16%. Its offices are located at 800 West Campbell Road in Richardson, Texas and it has been in business since May of 2008. TakeNote Spirals is primarily a sales & marketing and customer service business enterprise that designs its own pocket folder theme notebooks. It then contracts with established manufacturers to produce and ship the 2 or 4 subject spiral theme pocket folder notebooks TakeNote Spirals has designed directly to TakeNote Spiral’s office warehouse and in some cases directly to its high volume retail distribution outlets. TakeNote Spirals’ primary retail distribution outlets currently consist of on-campus university bookstores in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, but it plans to expand the distribution of its spiral notebooks nationwide to include all major metropolitan area university bookstores which serve urban communities with large enrollments of part-time undergraduate and graduate students. TakeNote Spirals’ on-campus university book store retail distribution outlets provide sales and service to TakeNote Spirals’ university student customers. This arrangement allows TakeNote Spirals’ sales and customer service employees to concentrate on the order fulfillment and billing services needs of its retail distribution outlets, while its marketing employees are simultaneously working to develop customized covers with names and logos for specific universities. TakeNote Spirals’ marketing personnel also work with local businesses to design advertising pages for other types of products and services for university students. These businesses will pay a nominal fee per notebook shipped to specific local retail
  8. 8. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 8 of 24 outlets to have their ads printed on the front of the first page and or the back of the last page of the academic calendar year inserts at the front and back of TakeNote Spirals’ notebooks. Cost Estimated Costs for 2 and 4 subject spiral theme pocket folder notebooks Two possibilities for developing costing models were considered. The first was an asset- based approach of producing product, and the second was via third-part contract production. The first approach was one whereby the company would purchase or lease assets required to, in broad terms: receive in, store raw materials, manufacture products, store finished goods and distribute from an office / warehouse or a second, satellite warehouse facility located near to the current offices. As part of the study, a steering committee comprised of company management as well as outside consultants was assembled to conduct a conceptual study of required human talent needed and available in the local area to in-source vertically integrated, supply chain operations. Manufacturing activities would include procurement, all the way through channel management: sourcing, material requirements planning, shop floor scheduling, machining, packaging, warehouse management, distribution activities, and reverse logistics (for returns). The second option was to solicit bids from outside printing manufacturers which already were equipped with assets and talent. The selection process used to determine which firms to send the RFP to, was based on a current readiness state-of-operations on a firm’s “as is status.” The criteria were shaped by the requirements discovered during the “in-sourcing” study outlined above. The strategy was that if the printer / manufacturer already had sunk costs in assets, then marginal costs may be at least the same and optimally less, the ramp-up time would be faster, short- and long- term risk would be lower depending on contract terms, and any wasted capacity
  9. 9. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 9 of 24 (machines and labor) would be minimized in a shared-services environment. Further, during the study for in-sourcing, uniform costing templates were included within the RFP for the bidders to submit proposals. The strategic approach relative to outsourcing material procurement, manufacturing, warehouse, shipping and distribution activities was driven by two primary reasons which were then evaluated on the basis of two questions: 1) Is the process of manufacturing and distributing spiral notebooks a core competency of the company; and 2) Is there a cost benefit which may be recognized by in-sourcing? As an outgrowth of both studies, the answer to both questions was generally believed by management, consultants, board members and stakeholders to be, no. The cost evaluation results were very close in terms of per-unit-cost over a 5-year period, depending on equipment brand, depreciation methods, interest and of course, sales volume and sales growth. However, ramp-up time, quality management, risk aversion and production planning were all much more favorable in the case for outsourcing. The studies of in-sourcing all manufacturing and distribution, the results of the RFP process, their associated notes and results of both, defy brevity and are outside of the scope of this Marketing Plan, but have been secured by the purchasing department until after vendor(s) selection(s). For the purposes of this Marketing Plan, the costs have been aggregated in two tables which show costs derived by averaging line- item totals from the top 3 manufacturers’ responses to the RFP. (No single line item cost varied by more than +/- 5%). Warehouse and shipping / distribution costs varied widely depending upon volume and IT systems required (these costs are not included below since all orders will be shipped FOB Factory and S&H costs will be absorbed by the customers). Final selection of one or more contract manufacturers will come after approval of the Marketing Plan. The following 2 pages outline the estimated costs and suggested retail prices associated with both the 2SSN and 4SSN multi-subject pocket folder notebooks.
  10. 10. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 10 of 24 Estimated Costs for 2-subject spiral theme pocket folder notebooks Suggested retail price for 2SSN is $5.89 each or 2 for $10.00 Vs competition 3 multi-subject pocket folder notebooks at $6.59 & $11.09 each Vs competition 3 multi-subject value notebooks at $4.99 each
  11. 11. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 11 of 24 Estimated Costs for 4 subject spiral theme pocket folder notebooks Suggested retail price for 4SSN is $8.59 each or 2 for $15.00 Vs competition 5 multi-subject pocket folder notebooks at $10.29 & $19.06 each Vs competition 5 multi-subject value notebooks at $7.99 each Potential Market in terms of dollars, profits and sales The marketing for the 2SSN and the 4SSN notebook will primarily be targeted at college students. However, the initial roll-out will take place in Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). When combining all the schools, there are approximately 170,000 students enrolled in DFW colleges or
  12. 12. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 12 of 24 universities. (See Exhibit 2) Given that most students must purchase notebooks for the classes that they are taking, as well as the obvious advantages of having either the 2SSN or the 4SSN, there is a good chance that these notebooks can initially capture up to half of this market’s share. Out of these 85,000 students if half order the 4SSN and the other half purchase two 2SSN, this equates to over $300,000 in sales for the spring and fall semesters. If summer school enrollment is factored in at 1/3 of the Spring/Fall enrollment, the annual sales can easily top $700,000. At an average of 17% margin, the DFW market would provide annual profits of approx $120,000. When the 2SSN and the 4SSN become a success, then the market potential will increase exponentially. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates there are close to 18 million students enrolled in US degree-seeking institutions. [3] If the same assumptions used for regional markets are used for the national market, the total market potential is $177milion in sales revenue. Exhibit 2 - List of Major Colleges and Universities in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex DFW College/University # of Students # of Graduate UT Dallas1 15000 5300 UT Arlington2 30000 5600 Southern Methodist University3 11000 4700 Tarrant County College4 40000 n/a University of Dallas5 3255 1855 Texas Christian University6 9000 1600 University of North Texas7 34268 6845 Texas Woman's University8 10973 3905 Richland College9 14000 n/a Total 167,496 29,805 1. http://www.utdallas.edu/ospa/stats/Fall_2007/UTDFall2007HeadcountbyGenderandClass.html 2. http://economics.uta.edu/comparables.shtml 3. http://www.smu.edu/facts/ 4.http://www.tccd.edu/uploadedfiles/divisiondepartment/680/files/2007_Comprehensive_Annual_Financial_Report.pdf 5. http://www.udallas.edu/about/factsheet.cfm 6. http://www.tcu.edu/at-a-glance.asp 7. http://web3.unt.edu/news/story.cfm?story=10619 8. http://www.twu.edu/irp/factbook/EnrlPub.pdf 9. http://www.rlc.dcccd.edu/annex/facts/rlcfacts.htm
  13. 13. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 13 of 24 Marketing plan for the introduction Product: brand name and package The 2SSN and 4SSN will come in the standard 8.5” x 11” notebook dimensions. Both versions will have 1/8” inch hole punches to allow for use in a binder. The pages will be narrow or college ruled as well perforated for easy removal. The cover will be comprised of a water- resistant laminate material. The laminate cover will be available in three colors: red, blue and black. Prominently displayed on the cover will be the 2SSN or 4SSN logo. The back cover will be standard cardboard material with a built in 3rd (2SSN) or 5th (4SSN) pocket to allow the user to store loose pages or documents not related to the subjects or to be used for additional storage. The 2SSN will contain two forty-page sections with a pocket folder divider insert at the beginning of each subject section. It will be divided in the middle by an insert with stickers to be used on the 7 page/13 month academic calendars. At the front and rear of each 2SSN or 4SSN there will be a 7 page 13 month calendar with a month printed on each side. The first page of the calendar in the front of the notebook and the last page of the duplicate calendar in the back of the notebook will be left blank for advertising sales to other business concerns. The 4SSN notebook will contain four forty-page sections each one preceded by a pocket folder and with a sticker page in the middle. The calendars at the front and rear of each notebook will be organized to run through the standard academic calendar year of August-July plus August of the next academic year. The calendars will also be sized to allow room for the user to detail important assignments or exams in the windows for each day of the week in that particular month. TakeNote Spirals LLP is also seeking a patent for its unique spiral notebook’s design. The abstract for TakeNote Spirals’ pending patent filing for the 2SSN or 4SSN reads as follows:
  14. 14. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 14 of 24 The 2SSN or 4SSN is an improved spiral bound notebook with multiple pocket folder constructions which are formed from an integral blank of flexible sheet material. The folder includes a pair of hingedly interconnected opposed cover panels, a pocket-forming panel hingedly connected along an edge of one of the cover panels and a closure flap hingedly extending from the outer edge of the other cover panel. The pocket forming panel includes one edge portion which is adapted to be folded in superposed relation along one side of the hinge line which interconnects the two cover panels. The folder also includes another flap portion which overlays the other side of the hinge line. The folder is punched to provide wire holes on opposite sides of said hinge line through the cover panels, superposed edge portion of the pocket forming panel and the other flap portion of the folder. A continuous wire is helically wound through the wire holes in the folder and through corresponding wire holes or perforations disposed along the inner edge of a pad of loose leaf notebook paper. The spiral bound notebook has 2 or 4 pocket folder inserts separated by an equal number of pages of blank college ruled white notebook paper. Immediately inside the front and back covers of the notebook are seven pages of heavy weight paper panels with 1 of 13 monthly calendars printed on one side of each page beginning with the month of August of the current academic year on the back side of the first panel and ending with the month of August of the next calendar year on the front or back side of the last panel. The front side of the first page of the calendar panels and the back side of the last page of the rear calendar panels are blank so they can be sold as advertising space to businesses selling other student products and services. A 15th page is inserted in the middle of each notebook containing stickers used for the calendars with a variety of word/phrases such as: TEST, QUIZ, PROJECT, PARTY, STUDY, MIDTERM EXAM, FINAL EXAM, LAST DAY TO DROP, LAST DAY OF CLASS etc.
  15. 15. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 15 of 24 Promotion Promotion of TakeNote’s 2SSN and 4SSN will be more heavily focused on personal selling of the products to retailers than retail and consumer advertising. We will concentrate our initial approach towards getting retailers to know our products, selling how it will benefit their customers and, of course, benefit their business with increased sales. Our target for the marketing mix will be 60% personal selling and 40% advertising and sales promotion. (See Exhibit 3) Exhibit 3 As previously noted, the main purpose of personal selling is to get our product into stores. The focus will be on meeting with college bookstore purchasing managers and getting purchase orders from them. Our salespeople will be provided sample merchandise for visual presentation as well as a full four-color product description sheet that summarizes both of the notebooks, their TakeNote Marketing Mix60% 10% 30% Personal SellingAdvertisingSales Promotion
  16. 16. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 16 of 24 features as well as wholesale and suggested retail pricing information. These sheets can be designed and ordered online at a cost of approximately $330 for 500 sheets of 14pt cardstock or $150 for 500 sheets of glossy 100lb paper. [4] The cost includes full-color for both sides and next business day shipping. This will allow us to reorder quickly if necessary. We will also provide the retailer with a product display stand that has a 22"x28" graphic as well as the ability to hold merchandise. The cost of the stand and the graphic is approximately $240 excluding any shipping costs. [5] A sample image of the display stand is provided below in Exhibit 4. Exhibit 4 Based on providing 10 college bookstores with 20 notebooks of each kind (an additional 100 notebooks of each kind were included for contingency purposes), the purchase of a display rack per bookstore (an additional 5 racks purchased for contingency purposes) and a single order
  17. 17. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 17 of 24 of 500 product detail sheets the estimated initial personal selling portion of promotion is an investment of approximately $7,300.00. (See Exhibit 5) Exhibit 5 Sales promotion is being weighed more heavily in our mix than advertising because we believe that we will benefit most from building a mutually beneficial relationship with the retailers. In joining forces with the retailers to get our product to students, we will gain an advantage of sharing advertising costs. Providing coupons or special pricing associated with the bookstores’ current advertising is something we can leverage. In addition, the notebooks are produced with a blank page inside the front cover as well as facing the back cover. These blank pages will serve two purposes. They can be used by the bookstores to further advertise other items that it wants to promote, for free, inside each notebook and/or later by local businesses that would pay TakeNote an advertising fee to place their own print ads. The advertising portion is the smallest because our primary consumer is a very specific portion of the population; university students attending schools in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, therefore, a massive advertising campaign would not be the most effective use of our funds at this time. The monies will be kept in reserve as discretionary funds to be used later in a nation-wide rollout if we believe that the other 90% of our marketing an advertising mix would be supplemented by such an investment. Such an investment may be necessary in larger, more
  18. 18. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 18 of 24 concentrated urban markets in the north-east and on the US west coast. In reviewing print advertising rates for the local universities, the rates we ascertained are shown in Exhibit 6. Exhibit 6 Many of the universities above also offered various discounts for larger ad sizes or bulk rates. Additionally, the majority of them had rates for online advertising as well. Based on the above, any undertaking of print media, or even online advertising, could easily add up to a substantial cost with possibly minimal return. This lends further support to our efforts to focus on personal selling and joint promotional efforts during our product’s introductory period. Distribution 2SSN will have a simplified distribution system in order to provide low prices and better customer service to our retailers. The distribution process begins when the order is placed to our private provider. The provider will create the custom 2SSN to the requested specifications. Once the orders have been made they will be shipped to the office warehouse. In most cases we will store the 2SSN until orders have been placed by the retailers. Once retailers have placed their
  19. 19. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 19 of 24 orders we will ship the 2SSN directly to the store. At that point the 2SSN is placed on the shelves and is ready to sell. (See Exhibit 7 for a flow chart of our distribution process.) Exhibit 7 – TakeNote Spiral’s Distribution Flow Customer Places the order TakeNotes Spiral receives the order TakeNote Spirals receives the customized notebooks TakeNotes Spiral places the customized order with the private provider Private provider manufactures the notebooks and ships them to TakeNotes Spiral Notebooks are then shipped to the customers and are ready for sale Retailers can call to place additional orders at any time. From the time of order it should take approximately two weeks for the 2SSN to arrive. We will allow one week for the order to be completed by our private contractor and an additional week for the 2SSN to arrive at the retailer’s store. By maintaining a streamlined distribution process the 2SSN will be able to minimize costs and provide a lower priced product which our targeted college customer’s demand. The distribution channel for a new product can make or break its success. We believe that in order for 2SSN to be successful and profitable product it should be distributed through indirect channels. Since 2SSN will be targeting university bookstores as its primary distributors, we will be able to provide exclusive rights to distribute and sell our notebooks to our select group of retailers. This will provide a competitive advantage for our new product. Each semester students arrive to the bookstore in search for books and school supplies. By selling the 2SSN in the bookstore year round this also allows for one stop shopping by college students. We will begin distributing the 2SSN to local college and university bookstores on and off campus in the Dallas/ Fort Worth metropolitan area. As the 2SSN grows in popularity we will be able to expand our distribution channels statewide and potentially nationwide. As we look to expand the distribution of the 2SSN we foresee changing to a multi-channel marketing system. [6]
  20. 20. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 20 of 24 The multi-channel marketing system would allow the distribution of the 2SSN include internet sales to its distribution channels. Distributing the 2SSN via the internet will increase potential sales and broaden the market base. We envision that TakeNote Spirals will maintain its simple distribution channel throughout the growth of the product. Price: discounts & incentives In order to appeal to our target segment of college graduate students we will use a value based pricing approach. In order for the 2SSN to be successful in the Value based pricing model we will need to emphasis its economic value to customers. We have also differentiated the 2SSN by including calendars and selling them in packages of two. The 2SSN has a suggested retail price of $5.89 each or 2 for $10.00 and the 4SSN will retail for $8.59 or 2 for $15.00, well below the competition. Many college students are strapped for cash therefore we believe that college students will purchase the product which is lower in price and provides more features and value. We plan to provide incentives to students who purchase the 2SSN by inserting coupons for future product purchases. The coupons will be manufacturer’s coupons so the retailer will be able to recover the discounts. The coupons will help to increase repeat buying and create customer loyalty. The coupons will also help the 2SSN appeal to the price sensitive customers. The retailer’s will be given the opportunity to receive quantity discounts. These discounts will be for the purchase of 100 or more individual 2SSNs or 4SSN packs. This will provide our retailer’s a higher profit margin than the leading multi-subject notebook competitors and when retailers make a higher profit margin they are more likely to advertise and sell such products. By being the low cost provider of notebooks the 2SSN will need to maintain this competitive advantage versus the competition. Entering the market at a low price will help ensure
  21. 21. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 21 of 24 a loyal customer base. College students will never be rich and will always be looking for the best economic value. For that reason, we will need to maintain our lower overhead and costs to sustain our differentiation as the low cost provider of notebooks for the college student marketplace. Product Launch and National Rollout The introduction of Take Note spirals will be initiated at the regional level and the introduction of the new product will be primarily focused on the larger university setting at first in order to allow for as much exposure as possible to larger student bodies. This should have some initial impact on our sales and revenues in addition to positioning ourselves nicely for future growth with additional exposure in the appropriate market segments. Over the next year we will begin a more extensive product rollout with more diversification and service to smaller universities, technical schools, and professional or trade schools. We will focus our marketing efforts initially on the market segment of the population that we are trying to enter and penetrate. This is a segment of the population that places a higher level of importance and emphasis on higher education, organization, and time management. Obviously, we will be targeting the graduate and professional/graduate students who normally take two courses per semester on average. There are those, of course, who take up to four classes per semester if they are completely dedicated to full-time schooling; however the overall trend in today's environment seems to favor the “working student” who averages two courses. Many of these students have already established careers, have a higher level of disposable income, and are more discriminating than the average undergraduate student, yet the value proposition this product offers these students is no less important and is probably far more meaningful.
  22. 22. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 22 of 24 In order to reach this segment of the population, our first contacts will be with retailers like university bookstores and local bookstores close to the university campuses. We will attempt to gain exposure by securing shelf space on either side of our competition’s notebooks.. This should give us some initial exposure and an opportunity for the consumer to have some early "hands-on" experience with the product. In the longer term however, it will be our plan to market directly to the consumer via web based marketing. This will allow the customer to log on and browse TakeNote Spirals’ product line much like consumers can now do with sites like Amazon.com, etc. It will also allow us the opportunity to set up a web-based community of users to exchange information and ideas about various education related topics. This should help us to create some “buzz” among college consumers and allow for other marketing opportunities. Overall, this should also allow us to control or cut our overhead costs and it could also assist in our efforts to offer a more customized product to the student. Limitations of the Product and Potential threats to Success: As we enter what appears to be a maturing market, we will need to be keenly aware of the competition and the need to continually work at differentiating ourselves from our competition through the use of our unique value proposition. A risk we face is not distinguishing ourselves enough to capture the needed market share in order to maintain a healthy and profitable business model. Another risk is not having the appropriate distribution channels and supplies of product in place, thereby damaging our initial entry and impacting our initial sales revenues negatively. These could spell disaster. Still, the largest risk we face is our longevity. Being a mature market, the competition is bound to be fierce and if we are able to capture the eye of the consumer, we will likely capture the eye of our competitors as well. A larger company with the
  23. 23. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 23 of 24 necessary capital could easily copy our product and compete on price, thereby weakening our value proposition. That is why we are seeking a patent on the design of the 2SSN and 4SSN. Our interests will best be served if we continue to monitor the competition closely and perhaps look for opportunities to be purchased by a larger company. This would help us to avoid head to head competition with a much larger company while also reaping some financial rewards. When we are successful with this product launch, then looking for other opportunities to diversify and grow will be critical because a constant flow of innovation will be crucial to our success and growth. Conclusion TakeNote Spirals, LLP has developed the 2SSN and 4SSN multi-subject pocket folder spiral notebooks to meet the needs of today’s hard working full and part-time university student. The patent pending design not only incorporates all of the durability components students need, but also includes important convenience features such as easy to use monthly calendars as well as pocket folders for class papers and handouts. TakeNote Spirals’ low overhead and targeted sales and distribution strategies also allow its notebooks to be extremely cost competitive with its competitors less expensive multi-subject “value” notebooks, (which lack the 2SSN and 4SSN’s convenience features i.e. calendars) and much less expensive than their pocket folder spiral notebooks. Furthermore, the 2SSN and 4SSN’s combination of durability and convenience for a competitive price will also allow TakeNote Spirals to rapidly acquire a significant percentage of sales and market share in the college student market place for multi-subject spiral notebooks. But what really makes the 2SSN and 4SSN products winners, is the fact that they were designed by “today’s university student” for “today’s university student.” We put the needs of our customers 1st, which is also a formula for success for any product in any marketplace in the world.
  24. 24. TakeNote Spirals, LLP. Charles Laffiteau Marketing Plan July 29, 2009 Page 24 of 24 References [1] National Ctr. for Education Statistics http://nces.ed.gov/programs/projections/projections2016/ [2] Grosset, Jane M. “Patterns of integration, commitment, and student characteristics and retention among younger and older students” Research in Higher Education, Volume 32, Number 2 / April, 1991: 159-178 [3] http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98 [4] http://www.nextdayflyers.com/ndf/sites/ndf/product.php?fuseaction=11 [5] http://www.thetradeshowdisplaystore.com/literature/observe.htm [6] Winer, Russell S. Marketing Management 3rd Ed. (Pearson Prentice Hall: New York) 2007