One of the biggest blessings that we have is that we are able to see the world as it is. We can admire the beauty of nature, the warmth of the rising sun and radiance of the shining moon. Can we imagine our lives without all these? Life without proper eye vision? There are millions of people in this world who are visually impaired, they cannot see as we do and their conditions range from being partially sighted to being completely blind. With the intent of improving the lives of such visually challenged individuals, Pizzazz Technologies plans to launch a revolutionary device which enables the visually challenged individuals to read with the help of a finger clip on. The clip on detects the text and converts it into an audio form which is transmitted through an inbuilt in speaker. The product is ultra light, portable and can be upgraded as a substitute of Braille pads for the blind. This report deals with generating a comprehensive e-marketing strategy of this revolutionary product, which is called the ‘Ultimate Eye’.
About the company
Pizzazz technology is a technology company that has its headquarters in Singapore. It is a company that has been started by a group of enthusiastic young entrepreneurs who want to make their name in the business world along with bringing some positive change. The company’s Research and Development is funded by some wealthy investors. The Ultimate Eye is the first launch of this technology company, with the launch of this revolutionary product; the company wants to create its mark in the world. The strategic goal of Pizzazz technology is to become a technology company that can change the lives of its customers. Currently, the focus of the company is the serving the market of Singapore and some other neighbouring countries like Indonesia by selling the Ultimate Eye. The company has a very open culture that encourages innovative thinking and strategic decision making. There are currently 50 employees in the company, out of which 20 are assigned to the R&D department. This shows the company is very serious about the launch of its first product and would leave no stone unturned.
Overall business objectives
The overall business objective of the company is to establish market leader ship in the local market with a market share of about 40%. The short term goal of the company is achieve a consistent 10% growth every eye and a 25% growth thereafter.
Specific marketing objectives
The marketing objective of pizzazz technology is to capture a considerable market share with the help of its marketing activities, with a strong focus on internet marketing. In today’s global scenario, technology has changed the way consumers receive, interpret and search for the required information. With the increasing popularity of the internet and the emergence of technological devices such as smartphones and tablets, the consumers have found a better way of getting in touch with the organization and their employees. Experts believe that with the development of technology, the role of marketing has to be redefined (ICFAI University, 2011. Marketing Management. p05). For promoting the ‘Ultimate Eye’, Pizzazz technology would utilize internet marketing as a promotional tool.
It is important for any organization that it assesses its situation with reference to its internal and external environment. A situational analysis needs to be done by considering several factors such as customers, competitors, political, social and economic factors.
Political: Singapore is a small country which is politically stable and among the least corrupt nations in the world (Transparency International, 2009). Being less corrupt is one of the biggest reasons why Singapore is considered to be one of the best places to do business. Although the country is peaceful and safe to live, its judicial system is one of the most effective and efficient in the world. The political system of Singapore would be beneficial for Pizzazz technologies.
Economic: Singapore has a well developed economy. The major portion of its economy is based on trade. Singapore has also been ranked as the ‘second freest economy’ after Hong Kong by Index of Economic Freedom, 2013. As global trade is the most important aspect of the country, it has the highest trade/GDP ratio in the world. Because of factors like less corruption, ease of doing business, excellent infrastructure, excellent connectivity via air and sea, skilled workforce and less tax rates, Singapore is attracting huge amount of investments from foreign countries. Setting up a technological start-up in such as business friendly country has its share of advantages.
Social and Cultural environment: Singapore has a rich and diverse culture. The nation has several languages and culture, predominantly consisting of people who originally came from China, India and Malaysia. Although English is the official language of Singapore, many Singaporeans do not know English and speak languages such as Chinese, Malayalam, Hindi, etc. For Pizzazz technology, this is an important factor for creating its first version of the ‘Ultimate Eye’.
Technological: Singapore is a technologically advanced country. It is interesting to note that Singapore ranks 10th on the list of ‘World’s top 10 countries with fast internet connection’. The average internet speed in Singapore is 30Mb/sec, which is almost double the global average speed of 15.9Mb/sec (Elist, 2014). A fast internet speed is one of the factors why Pizzazz technologies have decided to concentrate on internet marketing for promoting the ‘Ultimate Eye’.
Customer and Market Analysis
In order to succeed in today’s competitive environment, Pizzazz Technologies need to fully understand their customers and potential buyers as clearly as possible. The company needs to effectively recognise its prospects and the existing customers (Duncan and Ouwersloot, 2008). In case of Ultimate Eye, its customer will include all the visually challenged people in Singapore. There are about 285 million people who suffer from visual impairment (World Health Organization, 2014). Out of them about 27% reside in the South East Asian countries. Pizzazz technologies would be targeting all of these visually challenged people by providing a unique and innovative product, which is also portable and can become a part of their lives. It can become an extension of their personalities.
In the market, there are several players such as Vision Dynamics, Ila low vision aids, Optelec, ABisee, Freedom Scientific, LSS products, etc. that sell products for visually challenged people. The products range from Braille pads to Low vision aids and games for visually challenged. Price of such products range from $100 to $10000. Most of these products are available in big medical stores and hypermarkets in Singapore. However, these companies have their own websites, and online purchase can be made. Out of these brands, Freedom Scientific has the greatest market share. The biggest advantages of these players are that they are present in the market since many years and have an established distributorship network all across the world. Some of their products are very reasonable too. However, all these competitors have more or less similar products and none of them matches the capability and innovative technology of Ultimate Eye.
Ultimate Eye- Product features and technological infrastructure
Ultimate eye, the first technological offering from Pizzazz Technologies, is a path breaking creation that improves the lives of the visually challenged people. The main purpose of introducing this product is to ease the process of communication for the visually challenged people. Some of the salient features of Ultimate eye are as under:
- Ultimate eye comes in the form of a finger clip-on that detects any text, converts it into an audio signal and transmits it through a built in speaker.
- There is also a provision for an earpiece, which can be used for hearing the converted audio messages.
- The product can also be used by individuals who are completely blind, thereby reducing the use of a Braille pad.
- Ultimate eye is extremely light, portable and runs on a lithium battery which can be charged using a power adapter.
- Ultimate eye can currently convert the text into English language; however, in future the product can also be used for converting text into other languages.
- Through use of its inbuilt software programme, the device can be made compatible with smartphones and tablets, enabling the visually challenged people to use smartphones and tablets.
- Ultimate eye can be used for several practical applications such as reading books, educations, and presentations, reading medical instructions or reading a newspaper. The applications of such an innovative product are immense!
- Finally, the device shall be made compatible with existing voice applications such as Siri and Google voice.
- The technology infrastructure would be primarily developed by the in-house R&D team that would comprise of best scientists and engineers.
In case of Ultimate Eye, research and development (R&D), manufacturing, sales and marketing would be the primary activities for Pizzazz technologies. These departments would form the core of its value chain. Once this core is strong, the secondary activities such as distribution, logistics, transportation, customer relationship management, etc. would be further added to strengthen the value chain.
A SWOT analysis is a basic framework that evaluates and monitors the external and internal environment of an organization and measures its strength, weakness, opportunities and threats (Kotler, 2009).
External Environment: The external environment explores different opportunities that are present for any organization in the market. Apart from this, it also analyzes the potential and current threats that come in the way of achieving the strategic goal of the organization.
Opportunities: If we look at the scenarios of opportunity, we find that Ultimate Eye tries to solve one of the most pressing health issues in the world today. As per statistics, 27% of the total visually impaired people reside in the South East Asian countries. With the help of Ultimate eye, Pizzazz technologies can effectively tap this market. Once the product is launched in Singapore and the neighbouring countries, the company can eye other major markets situated in Asia, Africa and Europe, where the demand for such products is even more.
Threats: This is a sort of a challenge that the company faces in the absence of proper marketing strategies. This may lead to loss of sales and reduction in overall profits. In case of Pizzazz Technologies, the immediate threat would be proper utilization of their marketing, manufacturing and logistics budget and proper R&D initiatives. Since the company requires substantial amount of funding, it needs to make sure that its funds are utilized in an effective and efficient manner. Otherwise, its investors would lose confidence and might back down in future.
Internal Environment: This deals with the internal situation of the organization. What are the strengths that can be used to its advantage and what are the weaknesses that can be eliminated?
Strengths: This is probably the biggest factor that can determine the company’s success or failure in the market. Pizzazz technologies need to harness and take full advantage of its strength. It should be its unique selling proposition (USP). The biggest USP of Ultimate Eye is its portability and applications. This gadget tries to bridge the gap between the visual and audio communication and provides an opportunity to the visually challenged individuals to communicate effectively and learn at par with the rest of the public. Also, the company is trying to collaborate with Apple and Android manufacturers, once this happens, Ultimate Eye will become compatible with smartphones and tablets. By downloading simple software through iTunes or Google store, visually challenged users can use smartphones and tablets like any other users. Also, the users can combine the functionalities of software such as Siri (for iPhone and iPad) and Google voice (for Android smartphone and tablets). Also, since the finger clip on will encourage its users to avoid using Braille, and this device can become popular among visually challenged students and the education sector.
Weaknesses: Every business has some weaknesses; the question is how to correct these and how to make sure that they do not affect the overall marketing efforts. Some of the weakness can be ignored, but some need to be eliminated as early as possible, or it can lead to severe long term repercussions. The biggest weakness for Pizzazz technologies is that it is new to the market, and is unaware of the turnaround time for getting returns on its investments. Also, since the product is new and has not been introduced, the company would have to handle any unforeseen events such as some technical snags, usage issues and some functionality issue that might come up. Although the company has a good R&D team, there are some aspects that only surface when users start using the product. The same holds true of the Ultimate Eye.
Selecting Target Markets and Segmentation
It is important to select a target market on the basis of which the company creates its marketing plan. Market segmentation is the next step in which different groups of consumers are divided based on different traits, characteristics and situations. These segments can be targeted with a unique marketing mix (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2011).
The customers of Ultimate Eye can be segmented based on their visual condition (National Dissemination Centre, 2014):
- Partially sighted: Customers who have some kind of a vision problem and who require some special kind of a treatment for their eye condition.
- Low vision: Customers who have severe visual impairment and are unable to perform functions like reading a newspaper or viewing a television with the help of spectacles or lenses.
- Myopic: Customers who are unable to see distant objects, also called short sighted.
- Hyperopic: Customers who are unable to see close objects clearly, also called far- sighted.
- Legally blind: People who have vision less than 20/200 degrees in their better eyes are legally blind.
- Totally blind: People who cannot see at all.
Pizzazz technologies need to target all these customer segments in the country. These customer segments can be effectively targeted by creating specific marketing strategies based on their needs and their condition.
Marketing Action Plan
With ultimate eye, the company tried to execute several ideas. One of the ideas was to include several languages such as English, Urdu, Arabic, German, Chinese and Hindi for the audio output. In this way, the company could target markets such as China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Germany. However, Pizzazz Technologies wanted to keep the price of its product in limit and in the buying category of people ranging from middle class to upper class income groups. However, the company has decided to include this functionally at the later years, once it is already an established player in the market. By utilizing the 4ps of marketing as a background, it can be seen as to how even one poorly planned element of marketing mix has the potential to delay and disrupt all the marketing efforts. With this in reference, let us analyse the marketing mix for Ultimate Eye.
Product: As discussed earlier in this case, Ultimate Eye is a unique and innovative product to hit the market. Although the product faces some stiff competition from existing players in the market, the biggest marketing USP for the product is that it is portable, innovative and can be carried to all the places. Its mobility is its biggest advantage, and this attribute needs to be marketed extensively by the company through a sustained marketing campaign.
Price: Adopting an appropriate pricing strategy is important for any company to achieve its short term and long term strategic goals. In case of Pizzazz Technologies, the company has to adopt a ‘competitive pricing’ strategy, where it needs to be competitive with its margins. It needs to price ‘Ultimate Eye’ in such as way that the customers are compelled to buy this product. The customers should feel that the value that they derive from the product is far greater than its price. The total manufacturing costs of Ultimate Eye turn out to be around $850 per piece. If we include other costs such as inventory, transportation, packaging and marketing cost, the total cost to company comes out to be around $1100 per piece. The company needs to price its product at around $1500 per piece. This price should include free warranty for one year and a free replacement offer. In this way, Pizzazz can compete in the market which has similar products in the range of $1000 to $5000. For corporate purchases, Pizzazz technologies must offer attractive discounts and rebates.
Place/Distribution: The Ultimate Eye would be sold through an exclusive distributor network across the country. The distributors would sell the product through their outlets and the product will also be available across all major medical stores and major super markets. Apart from a physical distribution model, Pizzazz would like to tie up with existing players like Optelec to sell their product on the internet. With a main focus on selling via internet, Ultimate eye will be available on most of the major e-tailing websites such as E-bay, Amazon and Alibaba. Apart from this, Pizzazz Technologies plans to launch its own website and social media pages of twitter and Facebook, where it will start selling the product.
IMC Plan for the ‘Ultimate Eye’
The integrated marketing communications stands for the creation and distribution of the intended marketing message to the target audience, through the selected media vehicles such as newspapers, television, internet, social media and sales promotion. In other words, IMC is a part of a marketing communications planning that emphasizes the enhanced value of a comprehensive plan (Kotler, 2011). For ‘Ultimate Eye’, the IMC plan would focus of marketing through internet, although other forms of promotions can also be used. Let us analyze the ways in which Pizzazz technologies can develop a comprehensive IMC plan for its revolutionary product.
Online Communication Strategy
- Internet marketing: By having an access to the internet, the consumers now have access to loads of information and data that might be extremely helpful in making their purchase decisions. By accessing any company’s corporate website or any other website, they can compare two or more products, find best prices, read customer reviews and even interact with other users to know their experiences. Apart from tying up with existing players in the market, the company needs to develop an informative website. The website must be attractive, informative and must be easy to access. It must contain all the information that is pertaining to the product. The website must also have a secure payment gateway, by which users can purchase ‘Ultimate eye’ from the website itself.
- Social media marketing: Thanks to the rise of technology and internet, social media marketing has become one of the most lucrative ways to promote and market a brand. Pizzazz technology should create its official pages on social media vehicles such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Today, there are millions of customers on social media who can be effectively targeted by posting interesting and valuable information about the brand. In case of ‘Ultimate Eye’ the company would try to target the parents and siblings of visually challenged people who are active on social media. On Twitter, the company must try and share interesting and useful information that can be helpful for visually challenged people. It can use ‘paid promotion’ service that is available on Facebook and Twitter.
Offline Communication Strategy
- Ultimate Eye can be also promoted by press conferences, media releases and public relations campaign. Considering the nature of the product and the kind of customer segment that it targets, it would be futile for the company to spend money on television advertising and radio advertising. Instead, the company must focus on innovative promotional strategy such as internet marketing, social media marketing and PR activities, which are less expensive and more effective in reaching its target audience.
- Publicity is a form of communication which is not paid. Information regarding the organization’s product or service is utilized as a new article in newspaper or radio or television. It is a great form of marketing, and can be utilized Pizzazz Technologies for marketing Ultimate Eye. It is a known fact that people give a lot of importance to those brands which appear in the newspapers or television. Moreover, publicity is generally free of cost, unlike advertising, which requires a substantial part of the marketing budget. In case of Innovative Eye, the company would be targeting the families of visually impaired people. The target groups need to know that there is a new and innovative product that is now available in the market. One of the best ways of promoting the product is by giving free trials in hospitals and eye care centre. The Ophthalmologists (Eye Doctors) who treat their patients must recommend this product to them. In this way, there would be word of mouth marketing for the product.
IMC objectives based on the marketing plan
Objectives refer to what the marketers want to achieve for the brand and where they want it to be at some point in the future. Based on this, the following three objectives can be set for Ultimate Eye.
Customer acquisition and conversion plan
Based on the above marketing plan, the company plans to acquire around 40% market share in its domestic market of Singapore. As discussed earlier, the short term goal of the company is achieve a consistent 10% growth every year and a 25% growth thereafter. The company plans to acquire about 60% of its new customers through its E-marketing plan, while the remaining 40% needs to be targeted by a conventional distribution model. Prospects that are targeted by social media channels need to be converted into customers by pursuing them to purchase the product through company’s official website or other e-tailing websites.
Customer retention plan and customer service
A comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) system must be developed and it must be regularly updates with new data. This CRM data needs to be analyzed, and existing customers must be adequately served with appropriate service by customer service representatives. The existing customers should be sent regular mailers regarding new offers and new product development.
Based on the marketing and IMC plan, it can be inferred that the biggest marketing problem for Pizzazz technology is its inability to spend a substantial amount of money on its marketing initiatives. Since it is a start up which has been funded by a group of wealthy investors, it needs to carefully spend its marketing budget, and it cannot afford to deviate from it.
The biggest marketing opportunity for Pizzazz technologies is its target market itself. Looking at the size of the market for visually challenged people, Pizzazz technology can effectively utilize its competitive advantage and become the market leader within a span of few years. Also, ‘Ultimate Eye’ is an innovative and unique product for the visually challenged people. If marketed in a proper manner, it can create a cult following among its customer.
Technological Infrastructure and date requirements
Pizzazz technologies need to spend around 50 percent of its overall funds in creating and maintaining a proper technological infrastructure. At the moment, it employs 20 engineers and scientists from Singapore, China and India. It has a 5000 square feet facility where is R&D, manufacturing and packaging facilities are housed. It needs to keep on building its technological infrastructure to introduce more features such as additional languages, Wi-Fi facilities, etc. It needs to build on its infrastructure every year, and must schedule regular audit checks.
Testing Plans and evaluation techniques
In order to test the effectiveness of the marketing plan, the product must be given to a focus group to use for a span of two weeks. At the end of two weeks, the focus group must be asked to give their feedbacks and recommendations on the product. The feedbacks and recommendations must be incorporated and important aspects related to product USP, key customer highlights and recommendation must be highlighted in the company’s website and social media pages.
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, it is important for Pizzazz technologies take following steps:
- Evaluate web traffic and analyze the sales via the official website.
- Analyze the sales that are generated by social media pages at Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Analyze the feedbacks and customer service queries from customers on its website.
- Create a customer database and call existing ones to get their feedbacks.
Budget for marketing plan
- Website generation and promotion by Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Approximately $15,000.
- Paid promotions on social media pages like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn: Approximately $20,000.
- Creating a customer relationship management system and serving existing customers based on the data: Around $15,000.
- Total Marketing budget: $50,000.
Implementation Time Table
- Develop the product specifications.
- Finalize the target market for the product.
- Finalize the price of the product.
- Develop a marketing plan
- Develop an IMC plan.
- Finalize an E-marketing strategy.
- Test the strategy on selected focus groups
- Execute the strategy.
- Analyze the effectiveness of the strategy.
- Make necessary changes.
Kotler, P., Keller, L., Koshy, A. (2009). Marketing Management. United States, Pearson, Print
Duncan, T & Ouwersloot (2008). Integrated Marketing Communications. European Ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Print.
World Health Organization (2014). The Total Number of Visually Impaired People in The World. Retrieved May 04, 2014 from www.who.int
Schiffman, L., Kanuk, L. (2011). Consumer Behaviour. United States, Pearson, Print.
National Dissemination Centre. (2014) Retrieved May 04, 2014 from www.nichcy.org
The ICFAI University Press, (2004). Marketing Management. Hyderabad.Print.
Corruption Perception Index (2013) Retrieved May 20, 2014 from http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview