Table Of Contents
1. Executive Summary
PURLink specializes in mobile communication by bridging the gap between social and non-social individuals. The company is a startup, preparing the release of its first app during the third quarter of 2017. The app is called PURLink which will give everyday individuals whom cross paths the ability to connect and maintain a healthy connection through a variety of activities that are offered through the application. The app works by scanning a person’s surrounding area through connecting to their phone’s navigation system and pulling up the profile of individuals that have the app and are in the circumference of the user. Users who have PURLink downloaded on their phones have the accessibility to connect with other users of the application. Since the advancement in technology communication has become a challenging activity in today’s society. Technology does streamline many activities but it has also removed the human element from many of these activities. Communication has been substantially redefined because technology has changed the way we communicate with each other. PURLink combines modern day technology with the human element, allowing individuals that are highly sociable and some that are not as sociable maintain a highly sociable friendship through the app.
This marketing plan will design the processes and steps that are incorporated in the strategic rollout of the PURLink app. This report will present an environment and SWOT analysis, the organizations marketing objectives, strategies and implementation, what particular evaluation and controls will we adhere to and finally the conclusion and summary. PURLink presents a new and dynamic way of communication among individuals in today’s society.
2. Environmental Analysis
Reviewing the external and internal elements that can have a substantial affect on an organization’s performance is important. Outlining the market environment, target markets and current marketing objectives and performance is imperative prior to releasing the app.
a. Marketing Environment
Happn, LinkedIn and Facebook are the only competitors of PURLink. Happn strengths are the functionality of the app, which allows people to communicate with each other as they arrive in the same city or circumference. Weaknesses of this app are that the app’s functionalities are not user friendly and the app only works when someone else is a user of the app. This limits the company from capturing individuals whom might not have the app but would like to communicate with individuals who do. LinkedIn is primarily a business networking web-based software that is generally used for business communication. LinkedIn does have an app, which allows users to browse their network and communicate while on the go. The weaknesses of the web based software are that people can only browse individuals in their network and it’s generally limited to business inquiries and partnerships. Facebook is used primarily to connect with friends so you can stay posted on their activities. The Weaknesses is that Facebook has no one purpose, which can sometimes steer individuals away from using it because they don’t want their private lives being open to the public. Happn and LinkedIn will be the greatest threat to PURLink in the future. PURLink has similar functionalities but is marketed around a romance and dating theme but lacks the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth proprietary functionality that PURLink has. LinkedIn marketing strategy is based upon business individuals networking and socializing through this web-based application. LinkedIn is progressively moving into the app business and will eventually upgrade their app to appeal to a larger market. The marketing mix PURLink
incorporates will have a great impact on the industry because of the pricing strategy. The five forces that affect competition are price, suppliers, new entrants, substitutes, and existing rivals. PURLink price point, which is a zero cost, will heavily affect companies like LinkedIn whom charge a fee for their services. We also meet the consumer needs by streamlining communication and building activities into the app to maintain active users.
Suppliers might be an issue if we run into problems with gaining a reliable developer in the future. New entrants will be a major concern for the industry because of new functionalities they might bring to an existing consumer, potentially decreasing PURLink
market share. Substitutes are not a great concern since the company will lease the proprietary software maintaining full control through the app. Finally, existing rivals will be the greatest concern because it can have two large impacts on PURLink
and the industry as a whole. Fierce competition sometimes leads to a decrease in profitability and a fight over market share. As companies try to beat the competitor sometimes they hurt the overall experience by decreasing quality and resources to meet the consumer’s price point.
The three target market segments that PURLink
will focus on are Massachusetts – Boston Area, California – Los Angeles Area and New York State – New York City Area. According to Best Places to Live, these three markets have a low unemployment rate to the United States (US) average, are highly populated areas and have a job growth greater than 4%. The market’s consumers are optimistic about the market and are flexible in purchasing. The median household income is greatly above the poverty level in these areas, increasing their buying power and potential. Legal restrictions on age might prohibit or change the way networking software and apps function. Government continues to push for stricter laws that would prohibit adults from networking with children. We don’t foresee any technological, political or sociocultural forces affecting the way that the organization does business in current or future state. We do foresee that the company will change its practices in the future to continue to meet the needs of the consumer by developing a more responsive approach.
b. Target Markets
The target market for PURLink is professional workingmen and women between the ages of 23 and 43 years of age. Although this age range is particularly distant, professional individuals in the work place have similar interests and personality capabilities when it pertains to networking and connecting with like-minded individuals. The target age demographic is subject to change based upon market trends and how we foresee older individuals working later in their lives and becoming more technologically savvy. Targeting professionals with a high school degree or higher will foster a creative and strong networking relationship. Individuals with an annual salary of $45,000 and above will be targeted. We choose this annual salary range because its double the United States poverty average household income. We are targeting all races in the Boston, New York City and Los Angeles markets. Allowing anyone to join the app and giving users preference on whom they would like to connect with.
Boston, New York City and Los Angeles markets have a need for fast reliable and dynamic choices for communication. These markets are highly populated with over 6 million residents cumulatively. It’s impossible for a person to talk to every interesting person they pass or even find a way to connect with each individual they talk to. PURLink is the bridge to that gap, providing essentials to connecting and staying connected. The competitors are meeting the needs at a rate that is becoming obsolete. People are still using some of these websites and applications because they have not been presented with a new product that addresses their most current wants. People use multiple communication applications in an attempt to fulfill those needs and wants. PURLink goal is to become the default application used by the majority of individuals in these three markets. Highly opinionated and largely demanding are the people that make up these markets. Their interests reflect in their lifestyle and they want technology that compliments these things. The needs of these target markets are more personal and responsive applications. The distant future is undetermined but will build on the responsive systems that will be presented to the market in the near future.
c. Current Marketing Objectives and Performance
The three marketing objectives of the company are to increase market share and product awareness, establish the company in the industry, and build brand management. These three objectives relate to the industry because they all lead to an increase in profitability. All three of these objectives position the organization to develop profitability over the next few years by putting the brand in front of the people and gaining more market shares by increasing active users. Correlating our brand with responsiveness and a user friendly system is our strategy to developing our brand and is a strategy that meets the needs in our target markets today.
According to Statista.com, the mobile app industry will grow from 224 million downloads in 2016 to over 268 million downloads in 2017. The industry has grown from 2.5 million downloads in 2009 to now over 224 million downloads (Statista, 2016). Projections for 2017 are that the app industry will have a revenue stream of over 77 billion dollars (Statista, 2016). The industry is a growing industry with over 61% of adult’s time being spent on smart phones around the world (Statista, 2016). The performance of the industry as a whole has only grown over the last six years and does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Currently, we are in the production stages of the app and moving toward the post production stages, so we don’t have any current sales data as of yet. Since the app will be available to the public for free, after the release we will be able to track the amount of active users and advertisement placement sales which we will use as key performance indicators.
One intricate process of PURLink marketing plan is identifying the organization’s strengthens, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and matching strengthens to opportunities. This analysis equips the organization with a tool to assess what we can and cannot do, while clearly understanding the organizational environment.
There are five main strengths that PURLink has being a startup company in the app industry. The company has low overhead cost, strong relationships with suppliers, a proprietary function, user-friendly system and free signup and access for all users. Low overhead cost is something we want to maintain throughout the life of the company. This allows the organization to apply financial resources in areas of product development and increase the research and development budget. Giving the organization more leverage in becoming responsive and meeting the customer needs. We have developed strong ties with our developers and marketing agency that will help us ensure that the release of the app is successful. Driving profitability and making sure that the app is available to all individuals across the world. Our proprietary functionality gives us an edge over the competitor allowing us to increase our profit margins and also gives the consumer a responsive communication tool.
In todays society people want to use tools that meet their complex needs but is simplistic enough to use without making their day harder. PURLink has a very user-friendly system making it easy for users to use the app without hindering their current activities. Finally, free signup access for all users will affect the organization in a positive way when it comes to advertisement. The more active users we have, the more we can charge for advertisement placement. Giving users a free, cost and time effective system to use will only expand the organizations market share and profits.
The four weaknesses PURLink has are up front financial resources, free signup and access, new product to the industry and no market share and patent legalities. Financial resources are essential to a startup, like many startup organizations this will be a challenge for our company. We need to have quick wins to develop a revenue stream that will allow us to continue to market our product to the consumers. The greatest products can fail when the financial resources are not available to grow the product. Potentially taking something that meets the needs of the consumer off the market. Allowing people to signup for free limits that amount of generated revenue, which could have an effect on cash flow for the company but does have a positive impact on active and potential users.
Bringing a new product to market is an extremely complex process that leads majority of companies to failure. Startup companies have a high failure rate, this is also an obstacle the company must account for when looking at external factors that might affect the success of the product. Since this is a startup company, currently there are no market shares to leverage to the release of this new product. We are starting from ground zero and must build brand loyalty with all of our active and potential users. Market share can affect the organizational operations in two ways, one being expanding too fast or not expanding fast enough. If the organization expands to fast we could deplete the necessary resources by stretching the company too thin. Although we plan for these types of issues, things does not always go as planned. Patent legalities is also a weaknesses, legal fights are costly and could hinder the financial resources available for other projects. Although the company owns the patents that the app has, you will always have legal challenges around these patents that will cost your company a substantial amount of money. In 2012 Apple and Google spent more money on legal fees than they did on research and development (Covert, 2012).
The five main opportunities of PURLink are developing a strategy to maintain and keep active users, research and development, financial resources, fee for services and leasing. Building an affective strategy to keep active and potential users engaged is a primary focus of the company. We want active users because this is a determining factor on how you are meeting the needs of the consumer. There is a direct relationship between an active user and revenue, so this must be a main priority. Research and development is key to being responsive to the market and providing key resources to our consumers. This is an opportunity because we must build a strategic approach to this after the release of the product. The first few years is essential to getting this right because this area will help generate a loyal customer base for the product.
Financial resources is an opportunity that must be revisited after the release of the product to ensure that finances are being allocated to areas that will have the highest return. During the pre production all resources are generally allocated to development and marketing. As we utilize different marketing metrics we will be able to see where we need to provide more resources for the higher yields and profits for the company. Fee for services is the question of should we charge a fee to our active users. This could substantially impact revenue or could hurt our market share if the benefits are not clear to the consumer on why they should purchase our services. An opportunity for leasing to larger organizations is an option that we will need to visit. This could increase our revenue and profits and also popularize our brand with a completely different market segment. Selling the resources for companies to add an automatic connector for their customers would help simplify their efforts and fill a need for their consumers.
Three main threats that are harmful to PURLink are competitor’s exclusive social media engagement, larger companies with larger budgets, and governmental regulations. Competitors can come in two ways, existing and new entrants to the industry. Existing competitors could have very loyal customers that are not willing to change to a new app for their needs because the existing competition covers most of their necessities. New entrants to the industry could take some of our active users by building off of our technology and meeting the newer demands. Both of these threats would hurt revenue and limit the amount of active users PURLink would have. We are faced with larger companies that have extensive budgets and can compete at a much larger and faster capacity. These companies could see a great deal of value in our product and compete more aggressively for the market share. In an event that this happens users could be sold benefits and values that are non-existent in the competitors products but due to a high push in marketing by these companies these could become active users. Leaving the organization with a bigger question, which is how to make the competitors users our active users within our limited resources. At the time we don’t have the answer to this question. Governmental regulations are always a concern that is presented and could cause companies to become obsolete. The risk of a law being passed that could limit the way people communicate is always a factor especially now with the world being on a high terror alert. We face this threat with optimism and preparation through building an effective and successful product line.
e. Matching Strengths to Opportunities
Matching the company’s strengths to our opportunities will help us strategically align our objectives and strategies prior to the release of the app. The company’s low overhead cost helps with the financial resource opportunity. Although this doesn’t alleviate it, controlling our costs and salaries will permit the organization to allocate resources into other areas. A mentioned strength is the app’s proprietary functionalities that align with the opportunity for research and development. Having a proprietary function that the company can continue to build on will give the organization a competitive advantage while meeting the growing needs of the community. Free access to the app gets complicated when we evaluate if we should charge for the use of our application. Although, providing free services to the customer is a benefit this could potential hurt the business making the company obsolete if we are not strategically looking at our revenue streams. If the proprietary functions are leased to larger organizations this will allow Ntrovert to reach a larger market but could create its newest competitor, itself. Although, leasing the functions would benefit other competitors and release the functionalities to the masses faster it could hurt the companies primary business if not correctly promoted.
4. Marketing Objectives
The three marketing objectives of the company are to increase market share and product awareness, establish the company in the industry, and build brand management. Increasing market share and product awareness will be done over a five-year period. Our goals for all three markets are to have the 1st year 100,000 users, 2nd 200,000 users, 3rd 400,000 users, 4th year 800,000 users and 5th year 1.5 million users. This takes advantage of the strengths of proprietary functions, user-friendly system and free access to users by aggressively pursuing using these advantages to pursue our target markets. This goal converts three of our weaknesses and threats that are financial resources, no market share and exclusive social media engagement. This goal aligns with increasing our market share and product awareness to the three target markets.
Establishing the company in the industry will be measured by our revenues and affect on the technology industry as a whole. Our goal is to have a $10 value for every active user of the app, 1st year would be to make 1 million dollars, 2nd year would be to make 2 million dollars, 3rd year 4 million dollars, 4th year 8 million dollars and 5th year 15 million dollars. These are our net profits after expenses. We will also like to see companies including ourselves build off of the functionalities that we brought to the industry. This takes advantage of the strengths of being a startup and having a unique product that meets the consumer needs. Also low overhead cost will permit the organization to gain larger profits from the many revenue streams. This will covert up front financial resources by providing a reliable stream of cash to reinvest into business strategies. Brand Management is the measurement of the company’s brand that is one of the most important intangible assets that the company possesses. Behavior metrics will be intricate in understanding if we are succeeding at our brand management. Behavior metrics will incorporate surveys to reveal how the brand is performing internally and externally to customer expectations. Employee engagement scores, percent of participants in employee referral programs, and the employee understanding of the overall business strategy will be used to measure internally. Intelligence that will be obtained through brand awareness, customer surveys, how the company ranks through web searches, website traffic, visitor and active user conversion rates will give a view on how the company is operating externally. This will help the organization develop strategies that align with the needs of the consumer.
5. Marketing Strategies
PURLink’s marketing strategy is composed of a good marketing mix and product selection that strengthens the overall marketing plan. This marketing strategy will present the specific details of the target market and the marketing mix.
a. Target Markets
The geographic locations of the three target markets are New York City, Los Angeles and Boston. Demographics are women and men, ages 23 to 43 and working class individuals that have an interest to network. These individuals will generally have an average annual household income of $45,000. The psychographic values of the target markets are individuals that want to have a social life with like-minded individuals and like meeting new people with similar interests. They are also always on the go or in a rush limiting the amount of free time they have to go out and connect with people in their industry. These individuals will have expendable purchasing power and are 2x above the average poverty level. We want to get the attention of people who enjoy late night online browsing and applications like Facebook and LinkedIn. The ideal target segmentation will like quality over economy and be career or family orientated. Some product usage characteristics that we would like to see in our target market are individuals who login to apps at least once every four to six hours. We want active users that find a great deal of communication value in technology.
These markets presented a great deal of potentials because of their population growth; there low unemployment rates, annual household income and highly dense areas. These customers will want to buy the product because it streamlines the communication process. Some of the competitors that serve this market are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Happn.
b. Marketing Mix
Branding is essential to the success of the product, so developing a color scheme was an imperative part of the brand process. We used a blue and purple combination because of its appeal to women and men. Also placing a by line in the logo was essential to leaving a phase with our active and potential consumers. You can view the logo in the exhibit 1.1 in the appendix section. The two pricing strategies to generate revenue to the public are a zero cost and leasing method to larger organizations. Providing a app to the public as a free download will help build a loyal base to users that can understand the value of the app. Leasing to larger organizations will strengthen the companies brand overtime.
The company will take a direct and intermediary distribution strategy. We will allow users to go to our website and download our app through our website and we will also make the app available through three main app stores, Google Play, ITunes, and Amazon. Utilizing promotions strategies like social media, mail order marketing, customer referral incentives, branded promotional gifts and celebrity endorsements. This marketing mix touches many different users in the target segments allowing for faster growth and brand awareness. This competitive edge is sustainable but reviewing which marketing approach yields the most responses and adding additional finances to that marketing promotion will help us build on an already strategic approach.
6. Marketing Implementation
Implementation can only be successful if a set of specific actions are outlined and measured to show that projects and goals are being achieved by the due date and within the budgetary guidelines.
a. Marketing Organization
The marketing functions will be broken up into two separate but holistic segments. The first segment will incorporate the corporate and strategic marketing plan. The second segment will encompass the product management and marketing and field marketing. The product management and marketing segment will control majority of the approval power. Our corporate and strategic marketing sector will generally guide the decisions of the company but we want to make sure that the right people are guiding the product’s success. Each target market will have its own two sectors to give each marketing department a personal constraint to their target market. Leaving the power of authority on the product level will allow frontline managers and employees with the authority to implement strategies that align with the company’s overall objectives.
b. Activities, Responsibilities and Timetable for Completion
We want to build a reliable team that believes in the PURLink brand. We want them to have a stake in the decision making process, which will make them a part owner in each company initiative. People don’t generally like to follow people just because so allowing the employees to be in the room where the ideas and decisions are made will be a great employee morale booster. Happier employees are greater producers, and if they believe in the company’s mission we will have a brand loyal user and employee.
7. Evaluation and Control
Determining effective evaluation and control methods allows organizations to gain reliable insight in their operations. Providing leadership with an understanding on what programs work and don’t work or align with the organizational mission and goals.
a. Performance Standards and Financial Controls
Some of the performance standards that the firm will measure are monthly active users, brand surveys, measuring brand awareness through survey metrics, return on market investments (ROMI), and return on investment (ROI). We want to also look at the number of inactive users and website visits compared to active users. Developing metrics that revolve around the organizational goals are essential to developing success in the near future.
In conclusion, PURLink specializes in mobile communication by bridging the gap between social and non-social individuals. Planning for the release of the app in the third quarter of 2018 PURLink has equipped itself with a well strategized marketing plan that will support and ensure the company’s success. PURLink will give everyday individuals whom cross paths the ability to connect and maintain a healthy connection through a variety of activities that are offered through the application. The app works by scanning a person’s surrounding area through connecting to their phone’s navigation system and pulling up the profile of individuals that have the app and are in the circumference of the user.
This marketing plan has mapped out the processes and steps that are incorporated in the strategic rollout and release of the app. This marketing plan presented an environment and SWOT analysis that showed that financial resources will be a challenge and a opportunity for the company. Low overhead cost, proprietary software and market share will be reliable strengths and opportunities as well. Existing and new entrants will present a threat to the business as PURLink establishes itself in the industry. The company’s organizational marketing objectives are to increase market share and product awareness, establish the company in the industry, and build brand management. Implementation to the organization is important and needs to be approached strategically. Marketing in the organization will be broken up into two separate but holistic segments. The first segment will incorporate the corporate and strategic marketing plan. The second segment will encompass the product management and marketing and field marketing. The product management and marketing segment will control majority of the approval power. Keeping the decisions close to the grass roots but mentored by senior leadership will prominent the teams and customers that are affected by these changes.
Determining our evaluation and controls were fundamental in ensuring that we could measure our success and control the project. The metrics and controls that were found valuable were monthly active users, brand surveys, measuring brand awareness through survey metrics, ROMI and ROI. The final metric was comparing our active users who browse our site vs the active users. PURLink’s success is based upon these different elements integrating through the process to make sure this app has a seamless rollout.
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