Overview of the SmartCard LLC Case
SmartCard LLC is a company that possesses expertise smart cards as well as magnetic strip technology. SmartCard LLC intends to develop applications and solutions to address the rapidly growing demand for marketing frequency or loyalty programs. SmartCard LLC asserts that as competition increases in the retail sector and other industries that companies will be searching for new ways to understand their customers and techniques to retain their customers. SmartCard LLC’s smart card solutions are a proposed solution to this market problem. The SmartCard LLC strategy is focused on using smart cards for their clients’ frequency or customer loyalty programs and bringing end benefit to the customers. Their clients will be enabled with the smart card solution to identify: a) their most profitable customers; b) what these customers purchase in both quantity and frequency; c) customer buying preferences. This customer purchasing information can be stored into a marketing database to help their clients drive all aspects of marketing (advertising, promotion, pricing, and site selection). The primary objective by SmartCard is to establish on going relationships with their clients that will enhance future returns for SmartCard LLC. The problem to be analyzed, as a part of this case study, is whether or not SmartCard LLC conducted enough market research for their marketing plan to demonstrate a successful product. Statement of Objectives
The SmartCard LLC marketing plan case study is aimed at analyzing SmartCard’s management team’s marketing plan. The main questions to be addressed, in this case study, are: a) Did the SmartCard LLC management team conduct enough research to quantify the size of the market? b) How valid was the SmartCard LLC’s assessment of probable market acceptance of the product?
Analysis of the SmartCard LLC Marketing Plan
In general, the management team only presented positive information as if they are trying to convince themselves that they have a good idea and product. There was not a complete unveiling of the real-world market picture that they would be facing with their product. Figure 4-2 shows the opportunities for marketing but there is not a real plan of attack for the marketing opportunities: what are the compelling uses for the product?; ways to deal with pricing strategy and startup costs?; what sales approach will be taken or is it all?; how could they promote?. Figure 4-3 should not only spell out the advantages but should also spell out potential disadvantages. Did the SmartCard LLC management team conduct enough research to quantify the size of the market? The SmartCard LLC management team has not done enough research to quantify the size of the market. The marketing plan should have included a complete marketing analysis to determine if a market exists and what the trends and needs in the market. The marketing analysis should include the following sections: Market Size, Trends, and Needs; Market Segmentation; Market Profitability; Emerging Trends; Competitive Landscape; and Key Success Factors (Aaker, 2001; Berry, 1999). a) Market Size, Trends, and Needs: A basic element of any market is the size of the market. The marketing plan put together by SmartCard LLC’s management team lacks the market size and does not explore the past trends in this market space. One of the current trends in the smart card space is the severe erosion of Average Selling Prices (ASPs) and high pressure on price as new competitors enter the market (Walko, 2009). Understanding of the market and what has happened in the past and what changes may affect the direction of the market are critical and should be a part of a marketing plan. b) Market Segmentation: Geographic segmentation would have been ideal for this marketing plan. Smart cards have not been fully adopted or accepted in the US but in Europe and Asia the adoption...