To everything there is a season, time for every purpose under heaven”
Ecclesiastes 3 (Blue Letter Bible, 2009).
The Marketing Plan’s Starting Season
The “season” to plan the marketing strategy for the Miami University Calendars (MUC) began under the encouraging eye of the researcher’s marketing instructor. Prior to the next season, soliciting sponsorship, the researcher, one of a team of six junior students currently enrolled in a basic marketing class at MU, researched particular details as to how to best develop a business plan. Considerations for this plan, the researcher learned, will include: a. The number of calendars to be fabricated; b: The poses and people for the monthly pages; c: The calendar’s exact start date (year), price, distribution, and promotion strategy; d: Sponsors ad/spot prices. In addition, the success of this particular project, the researcher realizes, relates not only to ensuring costs and profit margins are positively balanced, but also link to the amount of creativity invested in developing and implementing a marketing strategy. During the process of developing the marketing plan, the researcher applies a sampling of the marketing skills, retrieved from the classroom, to the real world. This plan presents the marketing strategy recommended to create and market MUC, for the purpose of earning enough profit to fund one semester of their senior year for each for the six member team. With tuition at $5,000 per semester, this project must earn a minimum of $30,000 to be deemed successful.
To produce a unique, multi-purpose calendar “book” that students will use regularly to schedule appointments; record reminders; clip coupons from back pages to save money.
To earn a profit of $30,000 to cover costs for one senior semester year for each of the six team member.
To sell each of the initial order of 2000 calendars, while selling 120 spots in the back 10 pages that contain advertiser’s discount coupons.
To gain practical experience in business, while actively supporting the school and business communities.
1.2 Mission the MUC Team’s mission is to offer a multi-purpose book style calendar to students to use regularly to compliment their study schedule and savings.
1.3 Keys to Success to succeed in this MUC venture, the team must:
Produce a book style calendar that caters to both students and advertisers.
Provide positive personalized customer service to students and advertisers.
Advertise and promote MUC in areas that our target student base.
Assess sales and review inventory to ensure calendars are available for students and advertisers.
Team Summary Information regarding the MUC Team is presented in this paper’s introduction.
2.1 Company Ownership Each of the six team members equally own this project. The professor of the marketing class will serve as advisor.
2.2 Start-up Summary Costs to produce the book style calendar are listed below. The team is not permitted to raise more than $1,000 for start-up capital.
Rather than utilizing the best photographer, who charged $260 per setting, with a minimum order of 12 settings for each month in the calendar year, the team decided to hire another photographer to shoot only three of the months: February; June; December; and the cover. This photographer does not require a minimum order of settings; however, charges $300 per settings. Costs for the photographer would decrease from $4,120 to $1,200 to, in turn cut production costs by $2,820. The balance of the other nine photos would be a combination of collages compiled from students/parents with photography skills, along with photos assigned from one of the professors in the photo lab.
Start up costs are calculated to be:
9700 printing (includes $1,200 typesetting charge)
10, 900. For 2000 book style calendars.
Each calendar at this point would cost $5.45.
Market Analysis Summary
The primary target customer of MUC will be the Miami University student, enrolled in Miami University, located in Oxford, Ohio. Approximately 16, 000 students attend MU, one of eleven regional universities in Ohio. Academic programs at Miami University cover more than 100 different areas of study at the undergraduate level, and 50 areas of study at the Master’s level. The majority of students live on campus. Less than 10% commute from beyond Oxford. The secondary target customers will include parents of students, and individuals in the community interested in the book calendar.
Oxford, Ohio, a city populated by approximately 22,000, is located 35 miles North of Cincinnati.
Figure 1 portrays student enrollment at a number of other universities that have produced calendars.
3.1 Product Description
The MUC book calendar will measure 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches; a folded 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper. The cover will be glossy heavy cover stock, with photo reflecting theme of the Miami University Campaign for Love and Honor. Additional spaces will be incorporated into the MUC’s pages for students to record notes; etc. A section for addresses and phone numbers will also be included in the back of the MUC.
Figure 2 portrays results from questionnaire relating to student photo preferences. Determinations regarding photos will be made at time collection of photos is completed.
3.2 Competitive Comparison
MUC possess numerous advantages over other previously calendars as this book calendar not only specifically spotlight students currently attending MU, its size and content make it a calendar the student will want to keep nearby. This calendar will be the first book styled colligate coupon version to be marketed.
SWOT analysis consists of the implementation a scan of the internal and external environment. This action proves to be a vital component of the strategic planning process. The environmental factors internal to the firm may generally be classified as:
S: Strengths, or W: Weaknesses; while those factors external to the firm may be identified as O: Opportunities, or T: Threats (SWOT Analysis, 2007).
Figure 3 depicts the factors to be considered in the SWOT analysis; components that fit into the environmental scan of a business.
Figure 3: SWOT Analysis (adapted from SWOT Analysis, 2007).
The following SWOT analysis presents an environmental scan of MUC.
Team of six junior students eager to succeed.
Students and community supportive of student projects
Team possess skills to create and market calendar
Additional support available from marketing professor
Team not permitted to raise more than $1,000 for start-up capital; not enough money available to meet start-up costs even at the minimum order of 2,000.
Each student could only work approximately 20 hours per week.
Only nine months allocated for planning and production of calendar.
Lack of real-world experience
Solicit sales support from other students; possibly offering commission
Offer commission for sales to advertisers if team needs help making quota
Consider offering calendar for sale in advertiser’s businesses
Promote contest to obtain ample photos to select for calendars
Inability to secure advertisers
Failure to sell all of ordered calendars
Potential problems with photos and/or individuals posing for photos
MUC will utilize a local printer to print the calendars.
The team will also hire professional photographer in community.
Strategy and Implementation Summary
4.1 Marketing Strategy
MCU’s marketing strategy primarily includes sales through the University library. The team will rent a booth in a high traffic area of the Student Union Building, which can be rented for $3/day as long as this project is connected with a student project. The team may also set up a booth in the stadium at the homecoming football game. A number of other possibilities exist; however a strategy decision will have to be made about intensive, selective, or exclusive distribution prior to the team selecting other outlets for selling the MUC.
4. 2 Pricing Strategy
The retail price for MUCs will be $20, a “bargain” as the calendar will include 12 pages of 10 discount coupons in the back.
Price for MUCs place in the library will be $9.49.
Figure 4 presents selling prices of calendars, obtained from questionnaire, compared to projected selling cost of MCUs.
4.3 Promotion Strategy the MCU team will adhere to an assertive yet customer-oriented plan.
The MCU team will develop a press release kit and submit to the school newsletter; as well as to the local TV and radio stations in the community.
60 color flyers/postcards will be distributed/posted on bulletin boards; etc. On campus.
4.4 Sales Forecast
The MCU fully team expects to quickly sell all of the initial 2000 printed calendars. The second order of 2000 calendars, except for the 8 additional will be given to advertisers; 16 to each sponsor of one of the 10 coupons on each of the 12 pages corresponding to the 12 months in the calendar, in appreciation for their support.
Management Summary the MCU team will encourage each other to invest their best efforts and to challenge their personal creative, physical, and intellectual boundaries. The team will share all duties; shared according to each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. When necessary, one team member may cover for another.
Costs to Produce Calendar Initial start up costs (also noted earlier in this marketing plan)
10, 900. Each calendar at this point would cost $5.45
Developing costs for pictures taken with digital cameras will be approximately $75. This cost adds approximately $.04 per calendar Costs for placement of 1500 books in the library will be $8,175 + $3,270 (40% mark up) to total $14, 171 for calendars sold through the library calendars. Each calendar now $9.45 + $.04 for developing photos = $9.49. The remaining 500 calendars sold through other outlets such as the booth in a high traffic area of the Student Union Building; rented for $3/da y. The team determined to allocate rent for 20 days to total $60; which adds an additional $.03 per calendar of the 500, plus the $.04 for developing photos, which brings the cost for each of these 500 calendars to $5.52. The receipts for MUCs sold through the library for $20 each, as well as receipts for calendars sold through other venues are projected to be:
10.51 profit per calendar to total $15,76
7240 profit for 500
Sponsors Each team member will aim to fill 2 of the 12 pages in back of MCU with sponsors for coupons. Some sponsors may elect to advertise their services and/or products in more than one month’s slot. Businesses must agree to give at least a 10% discount to coupon holder. Buy one get one free (BYGOF) ads are especially encouraged. Each page will include 10 spots will sell for $250 per spot, for each page to bring in $2,500. When all spots on each of the 12 pages are sold, the total for this will amount to $30,000.
12 pages of advertisers’ spots to total $2,500 each =
Cost for 120 advertisers for each slot to each receive 16 books will cost 4420 (15% for each addition 500 book) + 8500 = $12,920. A surplus of approximately 8 books will be shared by the MCU team; with 2 extras given to marketing professor.
These include subtracting costs from sales, and also ordering an additional 2000 MUCs.
Final figures according to the MCU team include the following:
Initial Start up Cost for Photographer/Printing
Problem Statement Students need and will regularly use MUCs, not only for scheduling tests; appointments; etc., but for clipping coupons from the back pages to save money. Businesses also need this unique venue to lend support to the university, but also to advertise their products and services to the student community.
Blue Letter Bible. (2009). Ecclesiastes 3 – New King James Version. Blue Letter Bible. Retrieved Mar, 12, 2009 at http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Ecc&c=3&t=NKJV
SWOT Analysis. (2007). QuickMBA.com. Retrieved March 08, 2009 at http://www.quickmba.com/strategy/SWOT/