You really enjoy your job as the director of marketing at Sof-A-Logue.com, a personal e-communications company that is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. The anniversary of this social media communications company is so important that the executive management team has requested that you lead the marketing strategy portion of the strategic business plan this year, and include some celebratory branding elements to help continue to push Sof-A- Logue.com into the marketplace as an innovative, low-cost, quality service leader in communication technology. The name Sof-A-Logue evolved from the various personal communication applications that allow family and friends to stay connected from their home. The idea is essentially “dialoguing from your sofa,” in the comfort of your home. The company grew quickly through strategic acquisitions during the past five years. This rapid growth also led to an image problem in the marketplace. A recent survey showed that although the company is successful, most prospective and current customers do not know the brand. Though the software is often located on their cell phones, computers, and other communication devices, they are unfamiliar with the brand name. Your company is now at a place where it needs to concentrate on organic growth to continue to build the brand and grow revenue. Organic growth means that a company builds its revenues by creating new products, increasing productivity, and growing sales. Therefore, organic growth will be the number- one business objective during the next five years, and brand recognition and awareness will be a number-one priority for the company and its new products. New Product Launches to Celebrate Sof-A-Logue’s 10th Anniversary Aligned with the organic growth plan, the company is expanding its services to include three low-cost, personalized, downloadable software applications (apps) known as custom-logues. The three custom-logue apps that you will help market and launch this year include: Book-logues. This is a free e-book application that can be downloaded to an electronic reading device, cell phone, or computer with a low-cost annual subscription rate and has a full customized e-book library of classics, best- sellers, and newly released books. Read-a-logue. This is a free downloadable audio app; it is a cutting-edge technology that is downloadable to a car’s computer system, eliminating the hassle of checking out audio books at a library or purchasing them. A low-cost annual subscription fee entitles the user to a universal library of current and classic books in all genres. The secondary target market for this product is children’s stories, designed for parents to download to a personal media device allowing children to listen to stories while viewing pictures. Coupon-a-logue. This is a low-cost coupon scanning program app that allows the user to download coupons from anywhere into a cell phone. It “dialogues” with merchant computers to add discounts to a special “free money” coupon savings account, which can eventually be automatically transferred to bank accounts. You have been with Sof-A-Logue.com since its inception, so you are attuned to the many changes that have taken place over a very exciting decade, and you are looking forward to the future. Today, you jotted down where the company stands and will use this information as a guide for starting to develop the marketing plan. You decide to use the company’s public relations boilerplate that is printed on all of its news releases as a starting point. You check out the company’s Web site under the tab “About Us: Sof-A-Logue.com At-a- Glance,” which reads: Sof-A-Logue.com is a premier social media company dedicated to enhancing the way customers converse in today’s wireless world and the virtual realities of staying in touch with friends and family by voice, text, picture, and e-mail. Sof-A-Logue.com has 5,000 employees worldwide and a regional headquarters center-of-excellence office in four global regions including the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. With revenues approaching $5 billion, Sof-A-Logue.com continues to expand with a futuristic vision of personal and customized communications systems through strategic acquisition management and organic growth. The company growth slated for this year is centered in the Americas as changing technology offers new and cost-effective ways to reach more markets and customers. Your responsibility for this project is going to include the following: Building the Sof-A-Logue.com brand with a clear market value proposition Creating the plan’s product strategy Using customer segmentation systems to develop product customer profiles Developing hybrid marketing campaigns to position Sof-A-Logue.com as the number-one personal communications company Designing specific marketing programs for the three new custom-logue product launches this year.
Managing a Marketing Project
When a company focuses on organic growth to build its revenues, scanning the competitive landscape is important to develop unique points of differentiation that make the product stand out. Understanding a company’s competition also helps the marketer shape the value proposition, or the reason why the target market should buy the product or service. In other words, why should a consumer buy your product?
You decide to meet with you marketing team to start brainstorming ideas for Sof-A-Log.com. Your team includes 3 branding managers, responsible for specific product lines; 2 graphic artists; 2 copywriters; 1 Web site developer; 1 market research analyst; and 1 advertising manager.
The First Meeting
To prepare for the meeting, it is important to introduce the new project to the team. The timeline to introduce the strategic marketing plan to the executive committee is short. Your team needs to research the market, the competition, and other background information to develop the strategy that will be presented to upper management.
Because some of the team members may be unfamiliar with basic marketing concepts, you will design a brief e-handout that can outline points of discussion for the meeting. The e-handout will define some basic marketing concepts as well as how you will apply them to Sof-A-Logue.com’s situation.
Part 1: Research for the E-Handout
Using company Web sites and articles from the library’s full-text databases, research the current national marketing strategies of 2 like-sized competitors in Sof-A-Logue’s industry. • Provide a brief background of the companies and the industry in which they compete. • Describe the strategies used by each company. Be sure to apply concepts and theories from this and past graduate-level marketing courses. • Compare and contrast how each reaches its market. Provide solid research to back up the analysis. This section of the paper should be 2–3 pages in length and use research from the library’s full-text databases and the company’s Web site.
Part 2: Applying the Research • Based on your findings, provide an overview of a marketing strategy for Sof-A-Lounge.
Capitalize on niches, segments, target areas, or needs that have not been addressed by the original two competitors. • Also, analyze how the basic 4Ps of marketing link to Sof-A-Logue’s marketing options. • Include a description of the current marketing environment related to the social media communications market. This section of the paper must be based on research from the library’s full-text databases. • Develop a situational analysis for Sof-A-Logue’s current business goals. This section of the paper should be 4–5 pages in length and use research from the library’s full-text databases and the company’s Web site.
Your assignment should contain a cover page, an abstract page, and a reference page, in addition to the body paragraphs. The body of the paper should be 6–8 pages in length, starting with a brief 1-paragraph introduction and ending with a short conclusion. The entire submission will be 9–13 pages in length.