Our marketing strategy is directed at the key decision-makers, i.e. The school administrators who select the textbooks to be used for the semester. This report contains a proposal outlining a unique marketing program to reach out to the consumer, i.e. The students. The Prep-on-the-Go program in an SMS subscription quiz package that will provide reinforcement material to school students in the form of a series of questions related to a subject. The improvement in student performance will enhance the credibility of textbooks published by the company.
Radiant Publishers has been publishing and marketing textbooks to school administrations for more than a decade. The main purpose of the books is to improve the academic performance of the student. However, the effectiveness of the textbook depends on the teacher and not only the student. There is a need for marketing directly o the student in a way that directly helps them improve their use of the textbook and their academic performance. The prep-on-the-Go SMS subscription service aims to attain this goal.
CURRENT PRACTICE OF THE FIRM
The current marketing practices of Radiant Publishers are directed at the school administrators that consist of principals, headmasters, academic coordinators and head teachers. The primary mode of marketing is through personal selling where company representatives visit school administrators with sample textbooks and make presentations before them. The company also conducts teacher training sessions to facilitate teachers with using the textbook to maximize the achievement of teaching objectives in the class. Volume discounts are also offered to schools on purchases in bulk quantities. Regular school visits are made by the sales team who collect feedback from the school administrators about the content and organization of the textbooks. These comments are passed on to the editorial team who provide explanations and make the necessary changes for subsequent editions.
However, the marketing strategy is not directed towards the end consumer of our product, i.e. The student. The success of a textbook is measured not by the ease with which a teacher can read out from it in class, but by the academic achievements of the students. Students are mostly worried about reading the textbook for key ideas and concepts so that they may score well on their tests and exams. They also need sufficient reinforcement and feedback on their learning to achieve their academic goals. The current generation of school students is more vocal about their needs and has the resources to access multiple channels of information. These channels can be used by Radiant Publishers to engage directly with the end consumer.
The proposed approach would involve the company developing and launching an SMS package-based quizzing application called Prep-on -- the Go. As part of this unique subscription service secondary and high school students could subscribe to receiving a set of ten questions depending on their grade and subject of interest. The company could use its existing textbook resources to sift out multiple choice questions similar to the kind that are routinely asked during exams and these could be graded according to age level, subject, and difficulty. Question sets comprising of ten questions on a particular topic from a subject could be developed that could be sent out to subscribers once a day in the form of a question along with four possible choices. Subscribers would reply to the SMS with the correct answer. The subscriber would then be given feedback on whether the answer was right or wrong and points would be awarded accordingly. Leppaniemi & Karjaluoto (2008, p. 56) state that competitions and quizzes have become popular as mobile marketing tools for sales promotion. Okazaki & Barwise (2011, p. 59) also describe the popularity of branded mobile entertainment among younger consumers.
Each correct answer would be given five points and this would be stored on the subscriber's database to be accessed as desired. After the subscriber has submitted an answer, the next question from the set would be sent out through an SMS. The sequence would continue until all ten questions have been answered and the subscriber has received his or her total score. A new set of questions would be provided to the subscriber the next day.
The service would be available to the subscriber on payment of a weekly fee to the mobile phone service provider and could be unsubscribed from at any time. The subscribers would be able to vary their packages to receive up to twenty questions per day. They could also change the number of subjects they want to subscribe for as well as selecting the topics they would like to be tested on the next time. The service will have to be developed by a mobile application developing company. There is also an opportunity to assign the software development to a foreign company in India or Pakistan at cheaper rates. However, the risk of piracy will be greater in such cases.
BENEFITS OF THE PROPOSAL
The proposed subscription service will bring a number benefits to the company in the form of engagement with the students beyond the classroom and study time, penetration into the digital media, and the opportunity to expand the service by providing complementary and spin-off services. The proposed program will also generate additional revenues for the company
Deeper Engagement with the Students
According to learning methodology, reinforcement is a crucial part of the learning process as it helps to cement the concepts in the mind through practice and practical application. Textbooks usually do not provide reinforcement as the responsibility is transferred to the teacher. However, we will be able to expand into the reinforcement stage of the learning process for the students by providing reinforcement material in the form of quiz questions through the SMS package Prep-on-the-Go. The main benefit of this service would be that we would be able to engage with the student at any time of the day, whether they are on the bus or waiting or their restaurant order. In this way, students will be able to use their idle time to reinforce what they have learnt.
As publishers of school textbooks, the primary media through which we provide service to consumers is printed paper. Higher education publishers can offer online exercises to their consumers but school publishers lack this ability due to less Internet usage among children. However, mobile phones are popular among our market segment and we can use this medium to move into the digital media instead of depending exclusively on printed textbooks. This will enable us to deal with the challenge of competing with online educational content driven websites.
CHALLENGES OF THE PROPOSAL
The Prep-on-the-Go SMS subscription package will have to address a number of challenges to become applicable and practicable. These include logistical challenges and the development of a large bank of questions organized by age, subject, and topic and difficulty level. Software piracy and cost will also be some of the challenges faced.
Logistical Challenges to the Prep-on-the-Go Program
The most significant challenge will be in developing the service delivery mechanism. We will need to develop liaison with a mobile service company for administering the program and maintaining a record of the customer accounts. This will add to the cost of the program and will have to be managed efficiently since we cannot charge a high subscription fee from our consumers because they are school students with a limited disposable income. They will be paying for the service out of their pocket money, so the cost control has to be extremely effective and tight. Another major logistical issue will be the development of questions for the data bank. We will have to appoint a separate editorial team for developing multiple choice questions on all major subjects and for varying difficulty levels. The questions will have to be brief because of limited reading space on mobile phone screens. Because of the high frequency of usage expected of this service, the question bank will have to be updated every week so that students continue to find the service relevant and current.
PROJECT RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS
The Prep-on-the-Go program will require developing a service delivery program with a mobile services company. Friedrich et al. (2009, p. 54) describe this as the creation of a mobile portal through collaboration with a mobile services company offering the business to provide services to customers through a dedicated portal. We will have to select a company that most comprehensively covers our targeted market segment consisting of school going children. Cost will also be considered in the selection of the mobile service operator.
We will also have to liaise with the IT department in order to develop a way of managing the accounts of our subscribers and determining their question sets. The IT department will have to liaise with the editorial team to develop the database and maintain the questions by subject, age and difficulty. It will be important for the questions in each set to be…