A group of professional members of Colorado State University excited about developing and marketing the product The Starlight Stove consumes 50 to 70 percent less fuel than regular stoves The stove generates electricity from a thermoelectric generator. Competitors do not offer the same features as the Starlight Stove. Increase household income because Starlight Stoves allows families to focus more on earning more money rather than collecting fuel or wood to generate electricity The Starlight Stove costs less than the competition
The university is a non-profit organization, making it harder to find funding Working adults in Nepal make between $1 and $3 per day
Less than half of the Nepalese population can read
Marketing campaign needs to be adjusted based on technology limitations Management is launching its product in a very unique culture with economic uncertainty that can bring many challenges to the team
Offer an innovative product, Starlight Stove, where consumers can safely cook Expand to the Nepal market as the climate is accessible to promote the new product There is a target market of 89 percent of households that need electricity in Nepal The Starlight Stove will directly contribute to the reduction of erosion and flooding in Nepal Starlight Stove technologies can increase household efficiency by more than 20 percent per day Children can focus more on education because Starlight generates more hours of light
Streams and rivers can create micro-hydropower, allowing households to generate electricity at no additional cost Solar panels can offer electricity to many households
Nepal’s division into 75 districts creates a market segmentation that become a true challenge when introducing the new product The management team not being able to find a funding institution that can provide loans to the Nepalese people
Evaluation of Alternatives
Bright Light Innovations has a series of considerations that need to be reviewed before making final decisions.
Introducing a new product on such a unique market can represent a lot of challenges for management (Mckeever, 2005).
Culture and population are important factors for management to evaluate before reaching onto this market (refer to Appendix A). There are good factors such as climate and social needs that make Nepal a strong market to introduce the stove business. However, funding and household income are big concerns for management because even though there are a lot of strengths and opportunities for Bright Light Innovations in Nepal, treats and weaknesses can negatively impact the launching of the Starlight Stove in the Nepalese market. Management wants to be a for-profit business and in order to make a profit they would have to sell the Starlight Stove for $80 per unit. As described in the case, there are about 9.2 million households in Nepal, but the GNI per capital is approximately $400.
Nepalese people do not make more than $3 per week, which limits management when making pricing decisions. Micro-financing might be a possibility but they have to consider that not all households have a fixed income. Consequently, finance institutions might be hesitant to provide loans to some of the families. Since management does not want to look to donations, grants, or government relief, they will have to reach onto business leaders, government members of Nepal, and other institutions to expose the product and all the benefits it can bring to the country. As described above, some of the benefits of the Starlight Stove are: offers an innovative technology where consumers can safely cook, contributes to reduce erosion and flooding in the area, increases household efficiency by more than 20 percent per day, and generates more hours of light which can help children focus more on education.
If Bright Light Innovations decides to manufacture the Starlight Stove locally, it can represent an increase in local jobs, income per capital, and children’s education. In addition, it can drastically decrease deforestation and indoor air pollution (top ten causes of mortality). Therefore, strong marketing strategies and decisions have to be introduced to effectively promote the Starlight Stove throughout the 75 districts (60 villages consisting of 450 villages). Management needs to carefully consider the marketing plan for this product since there are technology limitations and only half of the adults can read in Nepal.
Support of Recommendations
Market segmentation allows marketers to understand customers’ needs and identify target markets (Peter & Donnelly, 2011). Bright Light Innovations will be able to evaluate different segments to determine differential advantages in each of those segments. Furthermore, management will be able to determine any of the particular marketing mix for a more successful strategic plan. Market segmentation can be obtained by researching geographic data (zip code, region, etc), demographic data (age, occupation, nationality, etc), psychographic data (social status, personal type, etc), behavioral data (customer behavior), or any other data that can be beneficial to the research (Kawasaki, 2004). According to Hyman and Sierra (2010), before a service or product is introduced into the market, the marketer needs to have a good understanding of the consumer’s needs and preferences. For that reason, it is recommended that management considers all of the limitations and challenges that the Nepalese market has for the Starlight Stove.
Major decisions need to be made by management to effectively make profit on this product. Therefore, since there are similar characteristics in northern India, management should consider this other market as another possible option (see Appendix B). India is a far more developed country than Nepal. India is ranked in the lower-middle-income group with a GNI per capital of approximately $1500 (The World Bank, 2014). On the other hand, Nepal is ranked in the low-income group. There are other possible markets in South Asia that can be consider and might represent a less challenge, especially since management is looking to make profit. Bright Light Innovations needs to consider GNI numbers before deciding where this product will be launched. Because there are technology limitations in Nepal, management will need to create a marketing campaign that can be clear and easy to understand by the Nepalese citizens. Magazines are always a great source of marketing, but these can represent a challenge in Nepal since only half of the adults can read and 11% of the households have electricity.
Therefore, visuals and signs can be strategically placed among the different villages to target the corresponding districts. Bright Light Innovations can go to the schools and educate the children about how the Starlight Stove can benefit their families and their lives as they represent the future generations in Nepal. In this way, children can speak to their parents about everything they have learned about this new innovative and affordable new product. Management can also arrange meetings with each of the local governments to introduce the product and explain all the benefits that can bring to the local communities. In this way, local government officials can help Bright Light Innovations hold local gatherings with audio-visual systems that can attract as many villagers as possible. Management can speak to the crowd about the benefits of the Starlight Stove and demonstrate its features through a live demo or lively entertaining video.
The audience will get to know the product and understand the positive impact that can have for their families and environment. A market segmentation process has to be created to determine the households who have electricity and target the appropriate market to obtain an analysis of consumer’s needs and preferences (Fiore, 2005). Management will have to create a strategic marketing plan to reach those customers who already have electricity (e.g. solar panels) and might be interested in saving money. According to Perreault, Cannon, and McCarthy (2013), marketers need to do a competitor analysis to “compare the strengths and weaknesses of your current (or planned) target market and marketing mix with what competitors are currently doing or are likely to do in response of your strategy” (p. 63).
For example, promotional materials are important factors in the success of a marketing plan (Horváth, Mitev, & Bauer, 2014). Management need to create advertisement with lots of visuals that provide information about the Starlight Stove to attract villagers from different areas. Bright Light Innovations needs to find a financial institution that can offer flexible loans to the Nepalese villagers as household incomes vary from district to district. If the product is manufactured locally, which can save a lot of import taxes, management might consider establishing a discount program for the employees.
As a result, more locals will be able to afford buying the Starlight Stove, increasing brand name and brand loyalty throughout the villages. In today’s economy, marketing strategies have to be flexible enough to accommodate market needs and preferences. The long-term success of a product comes from strategic marketing plan ideas and “long-term marketing and brand building that can directly impact the competitiveness of a company, especially by differentiating it from competitors, and product placements part of long-term marketing and brand building” (Kramoliš & Kopečková, 2013, p. 98).
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