Allround started the simulation with Brewster, Maxwell, & Wheeler as our advertising agency. We decided to switch to Sully and Rogers for period three. We made this decision based on our high brand recognition. According to the brand awareness portion of the purchase survey, Allround had 79.3% brand awareness. In addition to our strong brand recognition, we wanted to increase our net income. Allround continued to be represented by Sully and Rodgers for the remainder of the simulation which proved to be a positive decision. Our brand recognition continued to remain strong and our stock price and net income all increased. When we introduced our new product, Allright, we remained with Sully and Rogers and continued to be effective.
In the first few periods we opted to try and steal market share from Coughcure, primarily by altering our Advertising messages. We chose to compare to Coughcure with a 45% emphasis in the comparison message section. This strategy proved ineffective. Allround was known as a cold medicine and therefore we switched the comparison company to Besthelp, again with a 45% emphasis. Allrounds performance improved. The team often struggled with how to allocate the percentages amidst the messages and consequently did not always perform as well as we could. In period 2 we decided to reformulate Allround and removed the alcohol. At this point benefits was at 35% and we were promoting that Allround helps you rest. It wasn’t until the following period that we changed this messaging to remove helps you rest and add minimizes side effects.
When we first introduced Allright in period 6, we put most of our advertising messages on primary since it was a new product and we needed to create awareness. The team decided that we could lower the primary message percentage by the second period since Allright was associated with Allround who already had great brand awareness. Allround’s distinct presence in the medicine market offered a great advantage to our new allergy product. We also kept a lot of emphasis on benefits since Allright was a unique non-drowsy product that did not require a prescription. We compared to Believe because at the time, they had 70% of the allergy market share. By period 8, Allright had 43.9% and Believe decreased to 38.9%.
Team A opted to invest in Cooperative (Co-Op) Advertising initially with a conservative approach spending $1.4M and allocating it to all retailers. Co-Op advertising is defined as an agreement between a manufacturer and a retailer, where the manufacturer pays for some of the costs of the retailer’s local advertising in an effort to promote their products (Bergen & John, 1997). This approach, in line with other marketing decisions, proved effective during the early stages of Allround’s growth. In subsequent attempts, although increasing the Co-Op spend incrementally, the percent of retailers participating remained flat.
The team then opted to be more discerning in the channel it selected. For instance, convenient stores only accounted for 1.5% of total Allround sales; therefore this channel was eliminated from the co-op strategy. Additionally, the budget was increased from 1.7M, to 3M, to 4.5M resulting in improved retailer participation. When the team introduced Allright, all the sales channels were allocated Co-Op monies again, with the intent of hitting more immediate sales goals since the product was in its infancy in the product life cycle. Also, the team expected to improve consumer re-purchase with Allround. The retailers responded to the increased budget for one cycle, then flattened out. It was determined that the promotional budget would be better allocated elsewhere to earn a better retail conversion ratio.
The team instituted a similar approach for the point of purchase (POP) strategy, allocating the channels based on sales performance, however added consumer-shopping preferences to the mix. For instance, the shopping habits report (period 5) stated that over 83% of consumers preferred to purchase cold medicine in independent and chain drugstores as well as grocery stores. Chain drugstores, grocery stores, and wholesalers accounted for over 63% of the sales therefore, the point of purchase channels selected most frequently were chain drugstores and grocery stores. This channel strategy approach in line with incremental budget increases proved successful accounting for increased retail participation. In an effort to stimulate sales for the new introduction of Allright in period 5, half of Allrounds POP funds were allocated to the new allergy product. Interestingly, not only did the retailers respond well to Allright, the percent participating for Allround increased 2.6% even though, 1.3M less was spent and sales rose. This may be due to Allround hitting its stride in the growth phase of the product life cycle in which “sales rise much faster than promotional expenditures”, causing a desirable decline in the promotion-sales ratio (Kotler & Keller, 2012, p. 313).
Initially, the A Team budgeted 4.2M for Allround for consumer coupons in fifty-cent increments ($.50). The consumers’ response was flat, over multiple periods and then declined representing approximately 3.4% in total sales. This could be the result of consumers’ disposition towards excessive promotional offerings. Consumers are regularly pummeled with price breaks, deals, rebates, and coupons. They may simply be oblivious to another promotional offering. Consumers may also not be as inclined to utilize a coupon especially if the buyers are loyal to another brand. Kotler and Keller (2012) contend that advertising has more of an impact on expanding brand loyalty and that consumers that are loyal to one brand tend not to alter their buying habits based on a promotional offering by a competitor. Conversely, when Allright was introduced in period 5, the $2M coupon ($.50 increments) promotion resulted in 7.2% of redeemed sales. An additional $1M increase for a total $3M budget for Allright, with seventy-five cents off ($.75) further resulted in a total of 9.2% in redeemed sales. These results may in part be due to Allright acting as a “market pioneer”, by being the first to sell in the new non-drowsy OTC allergy market category (Kotler & Keller, 2012, p. 312). Early users will remember the pioneer’s brand name assuming the product satisfies them translating into more effective marketing spend and higher rates of repeat purchases (Kotler & Keller, 2012).
Monetary promotions directly influence the cost benefit relation of a product, such as utilizing price discounts like coupons or free trials. Buttner, Florack, and Goritz (2015) purpose that the influence of monetary promotions in retail environments seems to be the best strategy for promotions at a mass-market level. This was significantly evidenced when Team A introduced Allright and launched a trial size promotion. To date, Team A had not employed trial sizes for Allround since it was the market leader in the cold category and the product was well known and had good brand awareness. The initial trial spend for Allright was $2M and resulted in over a 50% conversion ratio, making it the most effective promotional offering to date. This decision partnered with other strategic marketing decisions led to a significant increase in revenue, gross margins, and net income. In addition, the stock price moved from $48.30 to $62.69. Overall, Team A learned that sales promotions expenditures should increase as a percent of the overall marketing budget expenditures to keep on pace with the product life cycle and account for costs while attempting to gain market share.