Putting It Together: Marketing Information and Research

Back to Bookends

Let's pay Uncle Dan and his bookstore another visit, now that you're a little further along in your understanding of marketing research.

You'll remember that you and Dan conducted both primary and secondary research to get a handle on who Bookends' customers are—and who they aren't. With the help of your cousin Marina, you crunched the data and identified three target segments you believe Dan should focus on. Here is the profile data you compiled for them:

The table lists Bookends' Target Segment Profiles. The target segments are bored empty-nesters, busy families, and hipster wannabes. Characteristics of bored empty-nesters: They are 45 to 75 years old, mix of single and married. They are most likely to visit Bookends in the daytime, evenings, weekends, holidays. They are most likely to buy cards, gifts, novels, history/biography. They come to Bookends to socialize, shop, and read. Their communications preferences are hard copy, email, and face-to-face. Effective promotions for bored empty-nesters are coupons and loyalty cards. They wish Bookends offered book clubs and discounts. Bored empty-nesters make up 36% of all customers this month, or an average of 144 customers. They make up 43% of monthly revenue, or an average of 30 dollars per person per month. The next target segment is busy families. They are 25 to 50 years old, mostly married with kids under 12. They are most likely to visit Bookends after school, weekends, summertime, and holidays. They are most likely to buy kids' books, how-to books, bestsellers. They come to Bookends for a family outing. Their communications preferences are through email, texting, and Facebook. Effective promotions for busy families are loyalty points (recorded electronically). They wish Bookends would offer more hours in the day. Busy families make up 27% of all customers per month, or 108 average customers per month. They are 29% of monthly revenue, or an average of 27 dollars per person per month. The third target segment is hipster wannabes. They are 15 to 35 years old and mostly single. They are most likely to visit Bookends evenings and weekends. They are most likely to buy magazines, used books, graphic novels, and snacks. They come to Bookends to socialize. Their preferred methods of communication are texting, twitter, instagram, and beyond. Effective promotions for hipster wannabes are point-of-sale. They wish Bookends would offer coffee, beer and wine, and live music. Hipster wannabes make up 21% of all customers per month, or an average of 84 customers per month. They make up 18% of monthly revenue or an average 21 dollars per person per month. Together, these segments make up more than 80 percent of Bookends' clientele and about 90 percent of its monthly revenue. Looking at what they buy and why they come to Bookends, you're getting some good ideas for ways of making the store more attractive for current customers, and you've got some ideas for bringing in new ones. With this new and improved information, it's time to get to work on a marketing strategy and mix for each target segment.

Marketing Strategy: Bored Empty-Nesters

Bookends' Bored Empty-Nesters are both the largest and the most profitable of the target segments. They have more time and more disposable income, and they spend more of both at your uncle's bookstore. They like to use Bookends as a meeting place with friends and acquaintances, and you think that is a promising direction. You and your uncle brainstorm about ways of using the four Ps to win over even more of these customers (and get them to spend). The "product" you're adjusting is not just the books you carry, but the whole experience customers have when the come to Bookends. Dan is excited about introducing book clubs—one for fiction and one for nonfiction books—to cater to this segment's interests. Since Empty-Nesters have told you they love both socializing and getting a discount, you and Dan are trying out a "buddy night" promotion, in which people get a better price if they talk their friends into spending at Bookends, too.

Here is your Bored Empty-Nester game plan for the next couple of months:

Bookends Segment Strategy for Bored Empty-Nesters, showing what marketing mix adjustment to make for each element. For marketing goals, 15% increase in store visitors for this segment; 20% increase in monthly revenue per person. For Product, carry larger selection of history and biography. Adjust shelves and seating to create more socializing spaces. Launch two book clubs led by Dan and longtime employee Emma, one featuring new fiction and the other on new nonfiction. For Promotion, print flyers and posters and send emails about book clubs, buddy discount. Set up in-store sign-up table for book club. Introduce Thursday night

Marketing Strategy: Busy Families

Research tells you that Busy Families come to Bookends as a family outing, so you need to make some aspects of the store more family-friendly, without ruining the atmosphere for your other target segments. The socializing-area adjustments you're already planning for the Empty Nesters will be good for the Family segment, as well. You're trying to get parents to spend a little more money at Bookends each month, so you're adding a small toy section, a slightly expanded children's book section, and also bottled drinks, packaged cookies, and brownies from a delicious local bakery. These adjustments add to the Bookends experience and include some new items Dan can sell with a nice profit markup.

Your Busy Families marketing mix is shaping up like this:

Bookends Segment Strategy for Busy Families, showing what marketing mix adjustment to make for each element. Marketing goals: 10% increase in store visitors for this segment. 10% increase in monthly revenue per person. For product: increase selection of DIY, crafting and hot-to books. Slightly expand children's book selection and add a small toy section. Add child seating to the kids' area, and donate your old train table to the Bookends cause. Hold children's story hour on Tuesdays and Saturdays with stories, songs, games. Sell packaged baked goods from a local bakery and bottled drinks. For promotion, send emails and post to Facebook about story time, bigger kids' area, buddy discount, social media discount promo. Explore interest in loyalty program: Spend $100 to get 10% discount on next purchase. Price: Run Facebook promotion offering 5% discount to people who post about Bookends. Place: No changes yet. Explore opening online store.

Marketing Strategy: Wannabe Hipsters

The Wannabe Hipsters are an interesting group. You almost didn't include them in the three target segments because they are a smaller-sized group and don't spend as much as the others. However, they do make up one in five Bookends customers, so it's worth reaching out to see if you can bring more of them into the store and get them to spend more money while there. Fortunately, they like to come to Bookends during times when there aren't many Busy Families around, so that opens some unique possibilities for ways of appealing to both segments.

Dan is excited about your suggestion to invite local bands to perform on Saturday nights. The Hipsters you spoke with suggested Dan try this, and it could make Bookends more of a social draw for that crowd. By rearranging shelving to create more socializing space, it opens up enough area for a live band to play for a small audience. You're not convinced it's going to translate into more book sales, but it's worth a try.

The Hipster crowd has decidedly different communication preferences compared to the other groups, so your communication and promotion activities reflect this. To make sure they see the buddy discounts you're offering, you suggest that Dan add signage about this promotion near the checkout counter, since that's the place this audience is most likely to notice it.

The broad strokes of your Hipster Wannabe strategy are the following:

Bookends Segment Strategy for Hipster Wannabes, showing what marketing mix adjustment to make for each element. For Marketing Goals, 15% increase in store visitors for this segment, 20% increase in monthly revenue per person. Product: adjust shelves and seating to create more socializing spaces. Invite local bands to play on Saturday evenings. Add more prominent shelf placement to feature graphic novels. Sell packaged baked goods from a local bakery and bottled drinks. Promotion: Promote live music nights and buddy discount nights via social media. Add point-of-sale signage about Thursday and Saturday night

Onward and Upward for Bookends

After running the numbers with Dan, you are optimistic that outreach to these target audiences will be the jumpstart his business needs. Your use of near-term promotions and events will help generate renewed interest and traffic for the store. You have advised Dan to explore interest in and options for a customer loyalty program that rewards customers for spending more at Bookends. That's what the next round of marketing research will investigate.

In the meantime, you've learned a lot about the marketing research process and how to turn marketing information into future marketing strategies and plans. You're excited to keep helping Dan as he puts your ideas to work, and, best of all, if business at the Bookends really starts to improve, you've got free graphic novels for life.

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