1. For Martha to best assist Trap-Ease America to take advantage of the opportunity of profiting from providing its customers with a better mouse trap, it is necessary to evaluate the values of which market segments will be best served by the product, the strategic and long-term goals of the company and define the marketing concepts and mission orientation through which they will meet those goals. In Martha’s initial efforts, she defined the market segment and their values as women responsible for running the household who value safety and cleanliness over traditional mouse traps. It seems that the strategic plan of Trap-Ease is to profit quickly from early media popularity with little consideration to the long-range plans for customer retention.
Due to this, the marketing strategy leans towards the selling concept; however, Martha believes that the product is innovative enough to gain popularity solely through the recent media attention without additional advertising or special offers that may produce more attraction from the consumer. I think the mission statement of the group from the beginning would have been “we make the better mouse trap.” That mission statement seems less fitting as sales remain slow and Martha begins to reconsider her original position regarding marketing of Trap-Ease’s product. I would write the mission statement for this company as “we make it clean and easy to keep your home and family safe and healthy.”
2. I do not agree with Martha’s vision of the target market for the product even before she began to doubt her initial marketing efforts. The reasoning is sound and logical but consumers often are not. While a woman in charge of running a household may be likely to notice a mouse problem first, they often let tasks involving unpleasantness to the man of the house. It’s fair to assume that since the target market is mostly women caring for a family and household, there’s likely a husband or significant other providing for the family financially outside of the home. Marketing doesn’t have to be narrowed to just one segment; other consumers Trap-Ease might consider are: business and property owners, since renters often leave pest control in the hands of their landlord; restaurants and entrepreneurs who want to avoid the poor impression traditional traps may leave with customers; or gardeners and florists whose inventory may be threatened by pests but may be averse to traditional methods considering the recent popularity of the green movement.
3. The way the case study described the Trap-Ease product placement struck me as odd. The chains described were almost entirely not places where pest control would be on the to-do list, or they were places the market segment they targeted would be predominant. I concluded that the product was likely promoted in “impulse buy” areas. The placement and promotion of the product isn’t the most effective for the customers they are advertising to. Also, the price isn’t attractive enough to push the impulse buy.
These factors combined, I think, prevent the product from being a consideration for the consumer even if they were already in need of a mouse trap, similar to companies that have a catch, but nonsensical, jingle that consumers may remember, but may not remember why. I would reconsider the target market and place the product conspicuously in the same area as the other pest control products. If they market to the consumer who already is looking for something in their niche, then it will be easier to show they are the superior product, as opposed to convincing buyers they need their product out of left field.
A few other places that may be more logical to take advantage of the impulse buy are displaying the product in the gardening section of different chains and in the cleaning section of business supply warehouses. I would partner with companies such as pest control companies and those that manufacture alternative, natural pesticides and promote the Trap-Ease mouse trap by presenting them as a special offer with said services or products. These changes may help to solidify the product placement as a favorable option in comparison to competitors.
4. Trap-Ease America’s marketing mix is not quite balanced and seems to contradict itself. The product is marketed with the elitist feel of the product concept but with the urgency and short term goals of the selling concept. The current price is reasonable but ill fitting; the suggested retail price is too little to convince the consumer that the product is of superior quality and function, though it is too much for customers to buy just in case as an impulse. Placement of this product is currently awkward and ill defined for the consumer it aims to market towards, and little effort was put towards promoting the product as Martha was hoping to benefit from the influx of free advertising through Good Housekeeping, People and the National Hardware Show’s best new product award. This mix has been ineffective for the company, as the different approaches and lopsided attention work against each other.
5. Traditional mouse traps are the most obvious competition for the Trap-Ease trap, but remembering that is isn’t the only rival product or service and dividing focus on all competitors is important for success. There are companies solely for the purpose of pest control, adopting a cat, myriad designs of traps and contraptions and chemical and organic compounds and solutions which all claim to be effective in ridding the customer of the pest woes.
6. In order to make for a more profitable future for Trap-Ease, I would shift the marketing plan of the company to a mix of the selling and societal marketing concept, making sure not to neglect the importance of customer relationships and retention. The mission would be market-oriented with more research into the target market including how and where the availability of our product would best suit the needs of the consumer. Advertising would be of higher importance, making sure that the produce not only becomes more recognizable but also desirable in servicing pest control needs. Accurate charting of monthly sales in comparison to costs incurred through operating controls would help keep track of the effectiveness of the changes made to Trap-Ease’s marketing strategy and also allow for swifter adjustments if necessary.