Case Study– Something Brilliant

Something Brilliant was a two-year-old venture that sold software targeted at business students. Longtime friends Marion and Charlie, both engineers and 45 years old, had invented BizWiz in their spare time while continuing in their careers as senior managers with a medical systems manufacturer.

BizWiz sold for $160.00, was the world’s only software program allowing students to share business case study files electronically, and could only be purchased and downloaded from the BizWiz website by any of the 388,000 business students in North America. Because of its uniqueness, the company received over 100 daily Internet inquiries, helping produce first year sales of 23,000 units, which was 50 percent higher than planned. The company found it easy to plan because 80 percent of annual sales were split evenly between September and January, corresponding to the beginning of the two major school terms.

BizWiz was promoted solely through campus radio advertisements in New York, Florida, Michigan, and Texas, but recently, Charlie was surprised to learn that sales and product inquiries were growing in California, Pennsylvania, Washington, and the Canadian province of Ontario. During its first sales year, BizWiz only used its original 30-second radio ads, which featured the voices of both Marion and Charlie, repeated the website address, listed some of the benefits of using the software, and quoted the price several times. Marion had spent her entire promotional budget of $10,000 per month on radio ads because she enjoyed speaking on the ads and thought the volume discounts she received were good value.

The product price was still set at $160 because the partners felt this would be competitive with popular business products (e.g., Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, Access), even though many educational software downloads were priced much lower, in the $50 to $75 range.

BizWiz had taken one year to develop, had been funded through government grants, and had been tested by numerous students and teachers. Now the only costs for the business were the $5,000 per month website management fees, the $10,000 monthly radio expenses, $4,000 for automobile leases, and $2,000 for monthly equipment leases. The business was run in Marion’s home, and because there were no packaging, distribution, or service costs, it was a very profitable venture for the founders.

While conducting research surfing the Web one morning in June, Charlie discovered an Internet directory listing over 65 nationwide business student forums. When he visited one of these sites, he found many comments from students who were discussing a variety of different ways to copy and share BizWiz with their classmates and friends. With the academic year quickly approaching, Marion and Charlie wanted to develop a plan to ensure the continued success of BizWiz.

Final Exam Assignment

Using the marketing concepts learned in this course, provide marketing guidance for Marion and Charlie. Your case response should follow the format provided:

To aid in your final exam I suggest you begin by developing a SWOT Analysis = Strengths – Weakness – Opportunities – Threats for Biz Wiz. This is a good first step in developing your marketing plan.

The next step is to be clear about the target market and potential market segments, remembering that a marketing strategy that appeals to everyone is successful with no one.

 

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