The founders of Dropbox Inc. have formulated this three-year marketing plan with an aim of securing additional funding for growth as well as to inform potential investors, as well as existing customers of not only the service's direction but also its current status. Initiated only six years ago, Dropbox has experienced significant growth, and available data shows that the target market of corporate customers and consumers (active) aged between 25 and 45 would want to not only get involved in the Dropbox digital world, but also be assured of the security of their stored files. In addition, the company plans to explore opportunities for Android and upcoming Mac versions. The marketing environment has been significantly receptive -- connecting customers who work while on the go with those things that matter most, and using their satisfaction to source for more customers. Over the next five years, the firm will be out to introduce more features, increase its distribution, and win new customers.
1.2 Product Description
Dropbox Inc. was founded in 2007 by Arash Ferdowsi and Drew Houston as a Y combinatory start-up company. The company started with an initial customer base of 2000, but this had surged to 50 million by mid-2011 (Barrett, 2011). Dropbox is a personal cloud storage service that enables users to access personal folders stored on the internet through a mobile app, website, or installed client on different computing devices. Through Dropbox, users can work virtually with teams; add and share photos; and automatically edit documents and show off videos from anywhere. Dropbox for business secures users' content and allows team members access to files from any computing device. Currently, Dropbox customers range from individual users to local organizations and Fortune 500 companies in and beyond the U.S.
1.3 Value Preposition
Dropbox Inc. is keen on giving back to the community by, amongst other things, making the relevant contributions towards the generation of youth employment (Denney, 2014). In the very end, the company hopes to not only initiate but also fund an environmental conservation scheme, even as it enters new markets and expands its distribution. Dropbox is an efficient, resourceful, and reliable tool, saving customers a considerable amount of time and at the same time ensuring the continuous flow of business and team operations. There are numerous cloud storage solutions in the market today, but what sets Dropbox apart from the rest is its ability to allow users access to their files without an internet connection, and then automatically update the same on the online server once the device is reconnected to the internet.
1.3 Features and Benefits
Dropbox file revision functionality makes it possible for users to restore any prior revisions to their files, and hence, to roll back to the old version of any project that may have been changed inappropriately by a teammate (Dropbox, 2014). Dropbox operates three tiers of service, providing 2GB of storage space for a free account; 50-100GB for a single-user paid account; and 350GB for a Drop-box for Business account. Free and paid users, however, receive the same service functionality; and an extra 250MB of storage is advanced to all new users, regardless of their tier of service. Dropbox has substantial cross-platform capability and can be downloaded onto, and accessed from any Android device, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC (Dropbox, 2014). This is in addition to the fact that user file access does not require constant internet connection; only a working device.
2.1 Target Market
The target market for Dropbox is i) the corporate world, which loves to keep things moving, whether the supervisor is around, or a thousand miles away in a far-off country; and ii) active consumers aged between 25 and 45 -- people who love to stay in touch with their friends, sharing the latest photos, videos, jokes, and links to company information. They may not be the experts in creating the content, but they do enjoy sharing it. This target market represents a demographic group of successful, well-educated individuals, with comfortable income margins; but at the same time, high levels of price consciousness, and a tendency to seek value for purchases, regardless of where they stand on the target range. Both groups lead active lifestyles, although the 'individual' group is somewhat status oriented; its members prefer high-quality products, although they may be unwilling to pay a price premium for the same. The corporate group, on the other hand, may willingly compromise cost for quality and security. One future goal, however, is to target the less active group between ages 20 and 45.
2.2 Competitive Analysis
The cloud storage industry contributes substantially to annual revenues; Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Box.net, and IDrive are among the most recognizable entries. The outlook for the industry -- and for Dropbox in particular -- is positive for a number of reasons. First, consumers are actively seeking ways to better make use of their leisure time -- by perhaps enjoying it with family and friends, without overspending. Secondly, consumers have enhanced confidence in the performance of the economy -- meaning that they are both able and willing to treat themselves to fun activities. Thirdly, globalization is rapidly eliminating physical boundaries, and virtual teams are fast replacing physical teams in the business arena. While all the aforementioned companies can be considered competitors, none offers the exemplary service -- cross-platform capability, larger paid storage plans, same-functionality tiers of service, and no-internet file access; or even the customized features Dropbox plans to offer in the near future.
3.1 SWOT Analysis
The SWOT analysis below captures the weaknesses and strengths, as well as the threats and opportunities facing Dropbox (adopted from Kotler & Keller, 2006).
Client software available for MeeGo Harmattan, Blackberry OS, Symbian, Android, Linux iOS, Mac OS, and Microsoft Windows
Data retrieval speeded up by LAN synchronization
Major data -- sharing platform for IT geeks
Unclear content-redistribution rights
Weak encryption and storage mechanism
Offers limited free storage
Integration with social networks to increase scope and coverage
Development and research for product development to beat established competitors
Focus on the corporate world to increase revenue from paid accounts
Breach of customer information and privacy concerns
Competition from SugarSync, SkyDrive, and GoogleDrive, among others
4.1 Marketing Objectives
To increase brand awareness and hence the customer base from 50 to 70 million over the three-year period
Increase company revenues by triple digits by the end of the third year
To gain 30% market share of the corporate world by the end of the second year
The objectives will be reviewed twice a year to evaluate the degree of achievement. 20 million users over a span of three years translate to approximately 3.5 million new users over every review period. This objective will be measured every six months on the basis of the cumulative totals of the extra 250MB storage space often advanced to new users. Increases in collected subscription revenues will be measured every year, and trends in growth rate recorded, to be analyzed at the end of the third year. Increase in the corporate share of the corporate world will be measured using the trend in the Dropbox for business account over six review periods.
4.3 Pricing Strategy
Dropbox inc. takes competitors into consideration when determining the prices of its Dropbox service. The company is neither concerned with selling high product quantities to offset low prices, nor is it focusing on setting high prices to signal prestige or luxury. Instead, it practices value pricing so that the users of its service feel comfortable paying a little bit more for a high-quality offer. 2GB of online storage space goes for free, whereas 100, 200 and 500 GB are charged at $8.25, $16.60, and $41.60 per month. Today's consumer knows exactly what they want, and would readily sacrifice a few dollars for a comprehensive, perfectly-designed storage and sharing solution.
4.4 Distribution Strategy
As mentioned earlier on in this plan, Dropbox Inc. is wading into the B2B market as it looks to accelerate its market share beyond its massive customer base. The company operates a direct, automated sales model, which has so far worked well with customers and increased the service's sales capability. Its managers intend to maintain a direct and intensive distribution strategy to provide saturation coverage of the target market using all available outlets (any Android device, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC) (Kotler & Keller, 2006). The cloud computing industry is expanding by the day, and customers have a wide variety of acceptable brands to choose from; if one brand is not available, a customer simply picks another. Dropbox is competing against a number of established companies, and the target market is not known to walk…