Alicia Foote Activity 1. 5 – Case Study: Trap-Ease America BSAB/MGMT 311: Principles of Marketing March 30, 2014 Introduction To succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, companies must be customer centered. They must win customers from competitors and then keep and grow them by delivering greater value. A company’s success is no longer merely determined by the product it offers, as today things are much more complicated due to the sheer number of companies with countless products promising they are the best.
Secondly, our society is ever-changing and therefore so are the consumers as well as their desires and needs; a company must follow this trend in order to maintain its success in the future. In this paper, I will analyze the marketing strategy of a company trying to start a new company marketing Trap-Ease, an innovative and desirable mouse trap that is leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors as presented in our books as case-study 1. 5. In this case-study, despite having a product that should have set the company up for success, it fails.
Trap-Ease America Essay Example
I will show the importance of creating and following a proper marketing strategy, and where this company went wrong, and how it can be fixed. Content Once an idea is in place, and a company is ready to start up with a product that has been funded, there are some initial fundamental steps that must be followed in order to ensure the company’s overall success; both initial as well as in the future. The first step in this process is strategic planning. Our book describes this process as developing and maintaining a strategic fit between the organization’s goals and capabilities and its changing market opportunities (Kotler & Armstrong, 2014, p.
This step is critical because each company must find the game plan for long-run survival and growth that makes the most sense given its specific situation, opportunities, objectives, and resources. Without this foundation and structure, many mistakes/oversights are bound to follow, and a company may fail before even really having a chance to market their product; which may have otherwise been extremely successful. The first step in the strategic planning process is defining its overall purpose and mission.
This clearly defined mission is then turned into detailed supporting objectives that guide the entire company (Kotler & Armstrong, 2014, p. 40). In order to define their company not only on a corporate level, but on a consumer level as well, a mission statement must be created. This is one of the most important steps a company will take because it defines the company to the company and employees, but to the rest of the world which of course includes the company’s target demographic.
If a company fail in creating a successful mission statement, they may lose the interest of potential buyers before the company even has a chance to market it. To create a successful mission statement, an organization must first ask itself a series of difficult questions: What is our business? Who is the customer? What do customers value? And what should our business be? To make things even more difficult for such organizations is that these questions are not only asked and answered once, but rather will have to continuously ask the same questions over and over to ensure the company is keeping up with its ever-changing demographic.
To formally answer these questions, companies develop a formal mission statement which clearly defines the organization’s purpose and what it wants to accomplish in the larger environment. This statement must be market oriented and defined in terms of satisfying basic customer needs (Kotler & Armstrong, 2014, p. 40). Martha, in our case-study 1. 5 titled Trap-Ease America: The Big Cheese of Mousetraps (Kotler & Armstrong, 2014, p. 64-65), does not appear to have much experience in running a company in any aspect, even when given a product that had the potential to be a great success.
It appears as if this company’s mission statement is ‘the big cheese of mousetraps’ which is unsuccessful as it does not tell the potential consumers anything about the product, how it is better from the competitors, and overall why they should try it. The case-study states that the mouse trap had many advantages for the consumer when compared with traditional spring-loaded traps or poisons. Consumers could use it safely and easily with no risk of catching their fingers while loading it. It posed no injury or poisoning threat to children or pets.
Furthermore, with Trap-Ease, consumers avoided the unpleasant mess they often encountered with the violent spring-loaded traps. The Trap-Ease created a no-clean up problem. Finally, the user could reuse the trap or simply throw it away (Kotler & Armstrong, 2014, p. 65). The advantages listed in this case-study could make this product highly desirable, and could have instantly made this company successful, but the first introduction to this new product, the mission statement, does not make this innovative new product seem any different from any other mouse trap on the market – in short, it tells us nothing.
A more successful mission statement might be something more along the lines of ‘ensuring a safe home for your family now, and in the future. ’ I believe this would be much more successful because a major selling point of this product is safety; no poisons, or dangerous traps. Another critical step in starting a company correctly to ensure both initial and future successes, is knowing who your target demographic is, and focusing on them specifically during company start up. Before a company can satisfy customers, a company must first understand what a customer needs and wants.
Thus, sound marketing requires careful customer analysis. Companies know that they cannot profitably serve all consumers in a given market – there are too many different kinds of consumers with different needs. Therefore, each company must divide up the total market, choose the best segment, and design strategies for profitability serving chosen segments. This process is known as market segmentation, market targeting, differentiation, and positioning (Kotler & Armstrong, 2014, p. 51).
In our case-study, all we are told is that Martha’s early research suggested that women were the best target market for the Trap-Ease. Men, it seemed, were more willing buy and use traditional, spring loaded traps (Trap-Ease’s competition). The targeted women, however, did not like the competition’s trap as they often stayed at home and took care of their children. Thus, they wanted a means of dealing with the mouse problem that avoided the unpleasantness and risks that the competitors trap created in the home.
The case-study does not go into much detail about what kind of research was conducted and whether or not the research was as detailed as the customer driven market strategy previously mentioned which involves market segmentation, market targeting, differentiation, and positioning. I do believe, however, Martha’s target market of women was close to the target audience necessary for initial company success. She could have perhaps got a little further and made the target a bit more specific. Instead of targeting the general woman population, perhaps she should have targeted the homemakers, male or female.
As previously stated, it is imperative for a company to constantly reevaluate itself to ensure it is keeping up with the ever changing world and demographic. In today’s society, women are no longer homemakers, but rather are more out in the work force in high level positions (like Martha for example). We are seeing a new tread where not only is it acceptable for men to be the homemakers, but it is happening more often. Or perhaps there is not a designated homemaker, but rather a household with two incomes, and the household chores being shared throughout the family.
By simply targeting women, Martha may have missed her target, any homemaker who after a long day of work (whether at home, at the office, or both) do not want to come home to a dangerous mess that would result from the competitors inhumane mouse traps. The next step in marketing after developing the marketing strategy, is the company’s planning the specific details of the marketing mix. This is a set of tactical marketing tools that the firm blends to produce the response it wants to the target market. The marketing mix consists of everything the firm can do to influent the demand for its product.
The many possibilities can be collected into four groups of variables – the four P’s. The four P’s consist of product, which is the goods and services combination the company offers to the target market. Second, price, is the amount of money customers must pay to obtain the product. Third, place, is the companies activities that make the product available to target consumers. Fourth and final is promotion, which refers to activities that communicate the merits of the product and persuade target customers to buy it.
An effective marketing program blends the marketing mix elements into an integrated marketing program designed to achieve the company’s marketing objectives by delivering value to the consumers. The marketing mix constitutes the company’s tactical tool kit for establishing strong positioning in target markets (Kotler & Armstrong, 2014, p. 54-55). Trap-Ease’s marketing mix consists of product, which of course is the company’s mouse trap that is designed very differently than its competitors and even won multiple awards in the beginning company stages which shows the consumer the value in this product. Next the price was set at $5. 99 for a package containing two units. This price made the Trap-Ease about five times more expensive than the competition’s traditional mouse trap, it could be used multiple times unlike the cheaper competitor’s versions; thus raising the value of each unit. It was also mentioned in the case-study that consumers offered little resistance to the price point of the Trap-Ease, most likely not only due to its ability to be used more than once, but because of all of the advantages of this product over the competitor’s which were previously listed.
The next aspect in the marketing mix is place. Trap-Ease initially got a lot of attention by being mentioned in popular magazines, and TV shows, and by winning a competition for the best new product of the year. Martha additionally placed some advertising in Good Housekeeping which had already given the mouse trap its seal of approval, as well as in other home and shelter magazines. Martha also budgeted $100,000 for travel costs to visit trade shows and make sales calls on retailers, even though she was the only sales person.
Although there are many flaws throughout this company’s entire marketing strategy, I believe this is the one that was most critical. One could have the greatest invention in the world that would greatly benefit every consumer around the world, but it would be rendered completely useless if no one knew about it. That is the case here, Martha was given a good product that should have set her up for success, but because of her lack of experience in all levels, particularly marketing, she was unable to get the word out about the product – people cannot buy it or utilize it if they don’t know about it.
She should have hired more sales people immediately and taken up much more advertising through billboards, radio stations, etc. so that the target audience would be aware of the product. By hiring salespeople immediately, the product could have make it to the shelves of various stores around the country, and her target yearly sales may have been met. These steps also fall into the category of the last of the 4 P’s: promotion which refers to activities that communicate the merits of the product and persuade target customers to buy it.
I believe Martha completely failed in this category, as very little promotion of the product was conducted. It may as well not even existed. Summary The Trap-Ease had the foundation to be a successful product. It had won the award for the best new product at the National Hardware Show beating over 300 other new products, People magazine ran a feature article on the trap, and the trap had even been the subject of numerous talk shows and articles in various popular press and trade publications.
Most importantly, the simple trap worked very efficiently and had many advantages over the competitions mouse traps. It was safe and easy to use with no poisons or risk of catching consumer’s fingers in the springs while loading the trap. It was safe to pets and people alike by not utilizing any sort of poison to catch the mouse, and there was no resulting mess when the mouse was caught, and could be disposed of however the consumer saw fit. Overall, it was not inhumane to the rodents, and it was safe for everyone in the household.
It may cost more per unit that the competitor’s traditional mouse trap, but this design, unlike the competition’s, could be used over and over again which over time would result in saving money by not having to constantly go back and buy new messy and unsafe mouse traps (like one would have to do without such an invention as the Trap-Ease) from the hardware store when a problem arises; if calculated over time, one would realize they were actually spending more on the old-fashioned, traditional mouse trap that they would by purchasing the Trap-Ease.
So what happened in this case study, what went wrong and stopped consumers from buying this innovative new product? Even though Martha was given a promising product to work with in this case-study, her marketing strategy was almost non-existent. Martha did do some research to find the target demographic for the product, although I believe as previously mentioned, could have been done more efficiently, it could have been divided even further to focus on smaller more specific segments which in turn would prove to be more promising initially which would have set up the company to eventually grow as the demand for the product would.
Guided by the marketing strategy, the company then would have designed an integrated marketing mix made up of the four P’s also, which was generally poorly done in this case. Then to find the best marketing strategy and mix, the company would engage in marketing analysis, planning, implementation, and control which this company completely left out of their plan. If Martha had completed these last steps, perhaps she would have realized where her mistakes were, and came up with a plan to fix it, and perhaps have even turned the company around and became successful after all.
Control procedures may have saved this company. Many surprises occur during the implementation of any marketing plan, which is why it is essential for marketers to practice constant marketing control by evaluating the results of marketing strategies and plans and taking corrective action to ensure that the objectives are attained (Kotler & Armstrong, 2014, p. 59). In the case of Trap-Ease, it appears that the major flaw is Martha’s marketing ignorance, she just does not seem to know how to start up a company from a marketing standpoint.
To resolve this, I believe the best solution would be to bring in a third party who is a professional marketer to evaluate her marketing strategies so that a plan can be initiated and utilized which hopefully would turn the company around and make it successful. I believe going with someone not associated with the company who knows how to successfully implement a marketing strategy is important in this case so that Martha can learn what is necessary not only to create a successful business, but also how to maintain one. References Kotler, P. , & Armstrong, G. (2014). Principles of Marketing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson