Cover & Carry - Internet Business Marketing Plan

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Cover & Carry is a one-stop shop for protective coverings fit for any electronic device. We offer customized cases from preselected materials and designs, our company stands out by allowing
customers to create new products from their personal belongings.

A pure play business, Cover & Carry will have no bricks-and-mortar storefront and our manufacturer-direct model will focus on creating one-to-one relationships with customers. Our target is composed of heavy electronics users, from the young adults entering college or the workforce to the middle-aged professionals with multiple gadgets they want to cover. We hope to position Cover & Carry as as a high-quality, high-value brand, distinguishing ourselves through our personalized shopping experience and devotion to customer
service.

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Cover & Carry - Internet Business Marketing Plan

  1. 1. TABLE OF CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ................................................................ 2 CONCEPT ........................................................................................ 3 MARKET ANALYSIS ....................................................................... MARKET SEGMENTATION ........................................... 5 COMPETITOR ANALYSIS ............................................... 8 BRAND POSITIONING ............................................................... DIFFERENTIATION ......................................................... 9 POSITIONING STRATEGIES ......................................... 12 MARKETING PLAN ....................................................................... 17 OPERATIONAL PLAN ................................................................. 19
  2. 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Turn old fabrics into new favorites. Cover & Carry provides a way for people to integrate their belongings with new products, transforming an item of their past into something fresh and original that they created. Cover & Carry is a one-stop shop for protective coverings fit for any electronic device. While other businesses offer customized cases from preselected materials and designs, our company stands out by allowing customers to create new products from their personal belongings. A pure play business, Cover & Carry will have no bricks-and-mortar storefront and our manufacturer-direct model will focus on creating one-to-one relationships with customers. Our target is composed of heavy electronics users, from the young adults entering college or the workforce to the middle-aged professionals with multiple gadgets they want to cover. We hope to position Cover & Carry as as a high-quality, high-value brand, distinguishing ourselves through our personalized shopping experience and devotion to customer service. Cover & Carry’s 30 IT, Creative, and Marketing employees will be managed by 3 executive board members. While our unique business concept will allow us to save on production costs, we need approximately $42,000 to cover start-up materials, machinery, website development, facilities, and other costs. 2
  3. 3. CONCEPT The concept behind this new business venture is creating a customized product through a unique service: Cover & Carry allows customers to turn their favorite material – whether an old pair of jeans, team jersey, sentimental blanket, or any other kind of fabric – into a tailor-made cover for their laptop, iPod, phone, camera, or any other digital device. This incorporates the “Do-It-Yourself-Design” (DIYD) system, which puts the customer in the driver’s seat when it comes to creating the product they want. Our service will also allow users to choose from in-stock fabrics to create a customized cover without sending in their own materials. As the idea of customizable laptop cases is not an original one, we will differentiate ourselves by providing greater customizability, a more user-friendly online experience, along with more education and marketing content on how users can take advantage of this service. In the future, we will consider expanding our target market beyond the individual electronics users to include consumers such as: • colleges & schools • sports teams • businesses • clubs 3
  4. 4. Business Model: The pure play business model will be adopted, as Cover & Carry will have no bricks-and-mortar shopfront. This directly complements our main model as a “manufacturer-direct business,” which aims to create personal, one-to-one relationships with our customers. The manufacturer-direct model takes advantage of the web’s powerful ability to allow us to reach customers directly, thereby compressing the distribution channel and reducing costs by eliminating the middlemen. In addition, through this model we can closely monitor sales, inventory purchased, the general industry climate, effectiveness of advertising efforts, and commissions paid to affiliate advertising. From this information, a Return On Investment (ROI) can be established and used to later refine or expand the business. Our manufacturer-direct model will focus on the key areas of efficiency: customer service and customer preferences. Through excelling in these key areas with our customers, we anticipate a strong word-of-mouth channel to develop through our target market. 4
  5. 5. MARKET ANALYSIS Market Segmentation: As Cover & Carry is a provider of electronics accessories, we want to target people who are heavy users of electronics. According to studies conducted by the Pew Research Center: • 71% of teens and 77% of adults have a cell phone • 74% of teens and 46% of adults have a computer • 60% of 12 and 13-year-olds have a computer • 73% of 14-17-year-olds have a computer • 75 %18-24-year-olds have an mp3 player • 66% of 18-29-year-olds have a laptop or netbook • 56% of 25-29-year-olds have an mp3 player • 55% of 30-49-year-olds have an mp3 player • 20% of people 50 or older have an mp3 player
  6. 6. Target Audience: The previous statistics tell us that our target audience of heavy electronics users range from 14 to 50-years-old. Since the target is so big, it needs to be broken up into smaller segments: • young adults aged 14-25 • people aged 25-50+ The main difference between these two groups is the fact that the younger group is more likely to be in school full-time and not yet financially independent. The second group is more likely to be working full-time and self-sufficient. Their Voice: “ My name is Amy, and I am an 18-year-old high school senior. I just got a new laptop to use as I finish up this year “ My name is Thomas and I am a 36 year old sales associate. I use my laptop and Blackberry a lot and want to protect them while I am on the go. I am not a fan of the pre-made options, and would rather spend the money to make one I ” and go to college. I want my computer to be protected really like. since I know my parents spent a lot of money on it. I also want a case for my iPod. I don’t want them be just plain cases. While I was cleaning out my closet, I found a bunch of clothing and blankets that I really like but don’t use ” anymore. 6
  7. 7. Customer Profile: Our target lives in North America and has disposable income. They consume a lot of media, especially electronic-based. Some websites they visit regularly include Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn,YouTube, and Twitter. Many also frequent several blogs. Our target market is people who want to protect their electronics while still maintaining a sense of style and individuality. They value customer service and the ability to customize products to their own specific needs and aesthetic. 7
  8. 8. Competitor Analysis: company overview strengths weaknesses Timbuk2 Bags • mainly internet-based retailer • many varieties of bags • no cases for mobile • recently opened a retail store such as messenger style, devices/mp3 players in San Francisco backpacks, & laptop • must choose from • offers custom bags sleeves pre-selected materials • distributes products to inde- • lifetime guarantee for DIY bags pendent retailers across the • no DIY laptop cases/ country sleeves Personalized Laptop • internet based retailer • bulk discounts • minimum quantity • offers customizable laptop • many options requirements, so not Sleeves sleeves good for individuals • must choose from pre-selected materials Waterfield • internet based retailer • made in San Francisco • only options for di- • offers quality electronic cases • high-quality materials mensions & color • many varieties of cases • must choose from for many devices pre-selected materials 8
  9. 9. BRAND POSITIONING “Differentiation is the process of adding a set of meaningful and valued differences to distinguish the company’s offering from the competitors’ offerings (Kotler and Keller, 2006). [It] is what a company does to the product, as opposed to positioning, which is what it does to the mind (Strauss, 202).” Product Differentiation: Our product is the only one that allows you to send in your own material (or choose from our selection of fabrics on-hand) and create a new, custom product based on a variety of options. Because no other company allows such customization, this will be Cover & Carry’s main selling point. By giving the customer the ability to make and preview their own electronic cover online with our options, we are creating a one-to-one relationship with each consumer. Channel Differentiation: The Internet functions as the communication and transaction channel for Cover & Carry. People anywhere in the world or at any time of day can access our site and, thus, our product. Our highly-personalized experience could only really succeed online, since the Internet gives consumers the Strauss, Judy, and Raymond Frost. ability to feel products out visually or through reviews before actually E-Marketing. 5th ed. Upper purchasing them. Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.
  10. 10. Service & Personnel Differentiation: Our company will have round-the-clock online customer service through email and instant-messaging and the website will also provide a phone number for service calls. Because of our emphasis on one- to-one relationships, we need consultants to handle customer inquiries, such as questions about the process of sending in their belongings and what options would work best with their material. Despite this need to in-office personnel, it is still cheaper and more efficient than operating out of a brick-and-mortar location. It is extremely important for our customers to trust us because we are, in essence, taking something of potentially strong emotional meaning or even monetary value and changing it into something else. We need customers to be assured that we are here to serve them and help turn their ideas into reality. It must be clear that it is 100% the cus- tomer’s idea, their unique product. 10
  11. 11. Image Differentiation: Cover & Carry’s website is also experience branding, because the product is not the only thing that a consumer receives from visiting our site. The whole process – the first step of which can take place entirely on the consumer’s own – ultimately makes the experience special for each shopper: 1. Material Decision: customer decides what pair of jeans/baby blanket/jer- sey they want to transform OR customer chooses from in-stock materials 2. Product Decision: customer chooses what product (ex: laptop sleeve) to create with their material 3. Design Process: customer creates their product (choices for laptop cover may include size, type of protective covering, type of closure, etc.) 4. Review: customer views draft of their product (received from virtual de- signer if using personal materials or received automatically if choosing from in-stock material) 5. Payment & Delivery: customer pays by credit card or PayPal and receives their product in the mail Our company wants consumers to come back to our website, if they get a new technological product or if they simply enjoyed our work. Repeat purchases and word-of-mouth marketing are essential to the success of our brand. 11
  12. 12. “Positioning Strategies help to create a desired image for a company and its products in the minds of a chosen user segment. Positioning is the process of creating this image, and a position is the resulting view of the firm or brand from the consumer perspective (Strauss, 202).” Strauss, Judy, and Raymond Frost. E-Marketing. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2008. Print. 12
  13. 13. Product Attribute Positioning: The product our company specializes in is inherently unique because it is created from the customer’s personal belongings and design preferences. We can also add initials or a logo to their design. Benefit Positioning: Cover & Carry provides a way for people to integrate their belongings with new products, transforming an item of their past into something fresh and original that they created. This adds tremendous sentimental value to an otherwise simple product. Since Cover & Carry will conduct business with domestic wholesalers and per- form all production in-house, consumers can also feel good that they are buying an American brand. 13
  14. 14. Integrator Positioning: We hope that customers will choose us first when they want a one-of-a-kind electronic protector that is made for them, by them. Cover & Carry’s website is a consumer’s one-stop shop for protective coverings for all their portable technology needs: • laptops • cellphones, iPhones, & other smart phones • iPods & mp3 players • cameras • digital book readers (iPad, Sony Reader, Amazon Kindle) • portable DVD players • speakers 14
  15. 15. Technology Positioning: Our website will feature many pull-down menus, allowing people to choose the type of product and the product attributes they want. For example, we will have the following options available for laptop sleeves: • product type: sleeve, backpack, messenger bag, etc. certain layout or design of case, shaped like something, rectangular) • size: 13”, 15”, 17” MacBook & PC models • type of protective covering: none, vinyl, clear or colored plastic for keyboard protection • type of closure: none or slide-in, loose flap, buttoning flap, string, 3-sided zipper, 2-sided zipper, etc. • extra design requests: if customer has specific ideas about layout, wants their product shaped like something, etc. they can leave comments/ instructions As previously mentioned, there will also be a virtual designer that will send the customer drafts of their personalized cover for review and confirmation. If a customer takes the in-stock material route, virtual models will be available for view at each step of the customization process. 15
  16. 16. User Category Positioning: Different portions of the website will target different types of consumers. These include: • colleges & schools • sports teams • professional organizations & brands • hobbies & interests • kids’ area A simple category breakdown is not only helpful to the user but, from an outside perspective, it can help Cover & Carry draw business from other sites. For instance, our future plans to become affiliates with sites such as etsy.com – which features the specialty products created and sold by individual designers – would include advertising on existing hobby/interest- related product pages to pull customers to our own respective categories. 16
  17. 17. MARKETING PLAN Advertising: Since our target market is made up people age 14 to 50, we must have a range of media channels to advertise our new business. The target market spends a lot of time online – browsing, buying, and networking. We will advertise on web sites that have the most user traffic: • digital device review websites (ex: www.notbookreviews.com) • Facebook • Twitter • LinkedIn: this networking site will hopefully be very profitable, as it is for people in the workforce and those searching for job opportunities; our target market is made up of people in or entering the business world who are heavy users of electronics. • blogs: our target market is filled with bloggers; we will advertise on the top blogs within categories such as business, technology and style, which include: - iblogbusiness.com - thesartorialist.blogspot.com - technospot.net/blogs 17
  18. 18. Public Relations & Promotions: Cover & Carry will also have Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as a blog. • Facebook: - general company information - product pictures - post contests to win coupons - “Before & After” customer-designed product shots • Twitter: - post news (upcoming promotions and service options available to customers, new products, contest results, company information, etc.) - post links to contests on the Facebook - post links to webpage and blogs • blog: - satisfied customer comments & stories - pictures of upcoming products - news, updates, results of contests With these media communication strategies, Cover & Carry will gain awareness and traffic from the target market. 18
  19. 19. OPERATIONAL PLAN Organization Structure: As a start-up business, Cover & Carry will initially conduct most operational activities – from material and equipment storage, to production and distribution, to customer service – from one physical office-warehouse unit located in New York. Business growth permitting, a similar unit will be developed on the West Coast in the future. As an e-business, we can also handle some to all of customer interactions remotely once business is established. Management Plan: Based on a projected 10,000 customers served in the first year of sales, Cover & Carry will need the following personnel as broken down by department and activities performed: department activities performed personnel needed Management • executive tasks 3 • wholesaler & distributor relationship -- managing 30 employees management IT • website management 5 • customer service (website, payment, -- servicing an average 40 customers per week delivery queries) Creative • production 20 • design & customer service (provide -- servicing an average 10 customers per week drafts in design process) Marketing • advertising, promotions, etc. 5 • social media management • affiliate relationship management
  20. 20. Capital Requirements: While receiving fabrics materials unit price calculations total cost from customers allows fabric such as $3.50 per yard/unit $3.50 x 1,000 units $3,500 Cover & Carry to save on • foam lining production costs, we still • cotton spandex need bulk fabrics for lining all • cotton flannel (prints) products and for creating the • vinyl more traditional customized thread $1 per 500-yard spool $1 x 1,000 spools $1,000 covers (ones without the trimmings such as $0.75 per piece $0.75 x 500 pieces $375 customer’s personal belongings • designer buttons (a piece can be a bag as the main material). • appliques of 10-50 buttons depending on size) The table to the right provides shipping $350 -- $350 a rough outline of start-up • supplier flat rates (ex: $50 capital requirements. Buying for purchases over $600) materials wholesale from local • shipping materials companies like trimfabric.com will be most economical. equipment industrial machines w/ $1,500 per unit $1,500 x 20 units $30,000 accessories (material pricing based on average trimfabric.com, esupplystore.com listings) rent & utilities $1,000 per month $1,000 x 6 months $6,000 website development $1,000 -- $1,000 (equipment pricing based on average sewingmachineoutlet.com listings and $42,225 allbusiness.com, ) 20
  21. 21. Revenue Breakdown: Cover & Carry will break down revenues to cover costs as follows: 5% 20% marketing overhead equipment/materials 75% 21
  22. 22. Workflow Diagram: • correspondence between • customer payment through credit design & production teams card or PayPal • physical product creation • storage of customer information in C&C database TRANSACTION • retrieval of material from customer PRODUCTION • design process CUSTOMER • review with C&C EXPERIENCE virtual designer • quality testing SHIPMENT • packaging • distribution • order received • follow-up email (discount offers, CONFIRMATION customer satisfaction inquiry) 22

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