A sustainable future is expressing itself right now in the present.
|Name||Future Meets Present|
FMP is a vision and a context: A sustainable future is expressing itself right now in the present. We see this when we read about Duncan Donuts banning styrofoam cups from their stores nationwide, when Adidas is manufacturing shoes out of ocean plastic, and as the demand for wind turbine engineers increases.
As a company, we design sustainable products, systems, and events.
Our first product is designed to replace single-use plastic bags during an urban commute, it's a tote bag that becomes a bracelet, aptly named, the Braceletote. In terms of systems, we redesign recycling centers in office spaces to make proper sorting easy and seamless. For events, we have a yearly partnership with the Climate Group to produce "The Marketplace of the Future". A showcase of 35 sustainable startups along with live jazz, rooftop stargazing, free beer/wine, and live art.
Industry Marketing Benchmarking Analysis
- What is the company's target demographic, product, and business model?
- What is the customer’s problem and how the company's product or service is solving that problem?
- How would you compare the company's products with the rest of the providers in the industry? Pay close attention to how other companies are marketing their products and positioning the brands.
- How would you compare the company’s marketing performance to competitors?
- What improvements would you recommend based on your assessment?
- Marketing Strategy Impact Analysis
- Examine the company's past marketing strategies. What worked? What did not? How would you showcase progress over time?
- Compile data into a visualization to track trends of successful and less successful strategies.
- Compare the company's marketing tactics with competitors to showcase what works effectively - or not effectively - with certain customer demographics
- What other marketing strategies could be used to benefit the company?
- What technologies could be involved in different marketing strategies? How can you use them most effectively? How would you measure success?
Marketing Strategy Development
- What are the company's past marketing strategies? What worked? What did not? How would you showcase progress over time?
- What is the customer’s perception of the company’s brand, product, and services?
- Propose 2-3 digital, experiential, or social, marketing strategies for the company to consider. Assess cost, reach, mediums, and any other components needed for a full understanding of this investment.
- Select one campaign and develop a road-map that will prepare the company to launch your campaign. Keep in mind timing, required resources (budget, people, etc.), projected results, and how you would measure ROI.
Customer Brand Perception Analysis
- Does the company assess their brand perception at all? If so, what do you find interesting about the process or findings?
- Conduct structured customer interviews to gain a better understanding of their customers’ preferences, purchasing habits, and decision-making processes. Consider: Demographics, Discovery Channels, and their Product Aptitude
- Suggest a new effective process to collect more customer data on brand perception and customer experience.
Marketing Mix Assessment & Recommendations
- Consider a 360 marketing approach when deciding the appropriate channels to utilize. What is the current marketing mix for the company? Analyze where the company spends the most and where the company performs bests.
- Propose an alternative marketing mix for the company that you think will work best for the product, industry, and customer type. Where should the company allocate resources to generate better performance? Consider paid advertising, social, display, content, guerrilla , experiential, affiliate, partnerships, etc.
- What are the costs and benefits of using your strategy? What are the key risks and costs? Compare these risks with potential reach and benefit.
Analyze and Suggest Improvements for Internal Communication and Tools
- Investigate current ways the company’s team is communicating internally. How active is the company from a communication standpoint? What suite of tools are they using? How well are these tools integrated with one another? Consider: calendar, chat, email, and project management at the very minimum.
- Does the team seem to be using all of the same tools and doing so effectively? How do these tools compare to similar tools on the market? How do these tools affect productivity and employee satisfaction? Note: This assignment requires interviews and surveys of significant internal stakeholders at the company.
- Is there a cheat sheet when it comes to communication and project management at the company? If so, review the manual and provide recommendations on updates based on what you’ve learned from the company personnel. If not, produce a rough draft of the manual or cheat sheet and review it with your project managers.
- Provide the company with a proposal including the analysis of the status quo of communication in the company and thoroughly examine recommendations for future improvement.
Automation Assessment & Recommendations
- What suite of tools is the company currently using? How well are these tools integrated with one another?
- How can the company be better automating certain processes to improve productivity?
- Find 2-3 areas that could use automation.
- Select one area of potential automation to focus on. Build automation or suggest step-by-step process of how automation can accomplish the desired business objective. How would this automation save money and/or time for the business?
Cross Functional Departmental Cooperation Assessment & Recommendations
- What are the different functional areas?
- How do they interact with each other?
- What improvements could you recommend to improve internal interdepartmental communication? Think standing meetings, internal newsletters, new checklists, and other mechanisms that might help improve cross functional department collaborations.
Product DevelopmentWe've included some sample project ideas below. We encourage users to mix-and-match components from various departments for the best cross functional project experience. In all cases, we customize the projects based on company goals and student learning objectives.
Design a New Product
- Become familiar with the company’s core competencies and current product offerings. How does the company categorize and organize their products? How do these products compare with competitors?
- Assess the company's product roadmap and goals for new product development. Who are the critical stakeholders (including internal and external)? Brainstorm and ideate product development ideas with the team. Identify the potential market opportunity and clearly define the problem. Propose 2-3 new product ideas given the company’s current product portfolio and desired goals.
- Select one product for further development. Is this a similar customer base to the company’s original product or is this product for a new market entirely? Collect user feedback on the idea and/or any prototypes/drawings.
- Develop official target audience personas for the new product. Explain why these personas are potential customers and why you feel these groups present a reasonable market opportunity. Write user stories to detail why users need the product to solve a problem or accomplish a goal.
- Create a product roadmap including assessment of time, budget, and resources required to get the product to market.
- Create a prototype of your design: the prototype could either be a drawing, digital asset, or physical mock-up.
Design New Packaging
- How is the packaging currently designed? What are the basic materials that go into the packaging? How does the packaging impact the manufacturing and distribution process? What does the packaging cost as-is? How does the packaging compare with industry peers?
- How do the current customers feel about the packaging (or unpacking) experience? What did they like about the experience? What do they feel could be improved?
- How does the company’s packaging compare to industry peers? What best practices can be adopted from similar companies to improve the unpackaging experience?
- Suggest 1-2 specific packaging improvements for the company’s product. Analyze the impact these changes would have on required materials, vendor relationships, the manufacturing and distribution process, and overall cost.
Design Product Extension
- Assess the company’s product portfolio over time.
- What products are ripe for new additions or complete reinventions?
- What product extensions can you think of with your group?
- Select one product for further assessment. Assess the potential cost, benefit, and impact of adding your proposed product extension.
Research & Development
- How much information does the company have on the market? What about their target audience and customers? Use this information to get up-to-speed on the business.
- What does the competitive environment look like? How would you benchmark your company against competitors? What are your competitors’ current market advantages, weaknesses? Create a competitor research reports including products, pricing, market share, and marketing tactics.
- Create a broader industry and market environment research report, which includes: market size and trends, market demographics (e.g. age, gender, income), regulatory landscape, marketing channels and strategies, and sociographics (e.g. beliefs and attitudes, interests, lifestyle factors)
- Who your current customers? How well does this align with the company’s defined target audience? Who are the potential customers? What, when, where and how do they buy your products?
- What strategies does the company currently use to attract new customers? To what extent are these strategies effective? What other strategies could the company use to attract more potential customers? Why do you think your new strategies would be effective?
- Create a customer research report including customer demographics, social and lifestyle trends, needs and expectations, attitude towards you and your competitors.
Product Development & Updates
- What existing products does the company offer? How satisfied are current customers with the current product offerings?
- What improvements could be made to existing products? How would you suggest updating current products to meet existing and potential customers’ needs?
- What new products does the company have on the horizon? Do you expect that these products will meet customers’ demands? What are the product guidelines and regulatory specifications that need to be followed while developing the new product?
- Can you project how well products will fair in the market? Does this align with management expectations? Why or why not?
Business Innovation Assessment
- How has your company improved over time?
- What are key ways for the company to improve overall performance?
- How might you be able to reduce expenses and/or increase revenues?
- How will expanding affect current operations? Do you have a reliable operations (think HR, implementation, and operations)?
- How would you compare your performance with competitors?
- What KPIs is the company tracking? How does the growth plan address these KPIs?
Sales & Business DevelopmentFor your reference, we've included some sample project ideas below. We encourage educators to mix-and-match components from various departments so that the projects are cross functional in nature. In all cases, we customize the projects based on company goals and course teaching objectives.
Industry Sales Benchmarking Assessment
- Familiarize yourself with the company product and business model.
- Create a comprehensive list of key competitors and industry stakeholders that sell similar products and/or services. Compare your host company with competitors in the following areas: pricing, features, services, regionality, customer demographics, etc.
- Who are the biggest competitors and how do they stack up against the company's performance? What do the biggest competitors in the space tell you about the industry?
- Do any companies present interesting opportunities for partnerships?
- What additional channels can the company tap in order to scale more effectively?
Sales Process Assessment
- How has the company’s business model change over time? What has changed about the product, service, and team?
- What is the current status of the sales process within the company. Do you think this is more or less effective than previously? How does the team feel about the sales process and overall performance?
- Where does the company hope to be in 1-3-5 years from a sales perspective? How will the sales process, team, and structure need to change in order to address these changes?
- How satisfied are the current customers with the product or service?
- Craft a survey and administer customer interviews to help identify where the company can improve. Pay close attention to how the company may be able to provide additional value to existing customers.
Prioritizing Sales Initiatives
- What is the company’s sales strategy? How many different lines of business exist? Are they separated by different products and services or divisions?
- What lines if business are providing the most revenue for the company currently? How was this book of business built originally? How does the company expect for this to grow over time?
- What new sales opportunities are on the table? Is the company prioritizing this sales initiative? What do you think the potential is for this new line of business?
- Are there alternative ways to sell that the company hasn't considered? Would they be more effective? What data do you have to support your reasoning?
- How would you prioritize the sales team’s time and resources with regards to the sales plan?
Inside vs. Outside Sales Strategy Assessment
- What’s the difference between an inside and outside sales strategy? What has the company tried to-date? How effective was that process? What types of results did it yield? What resources were required? Can you measure the ROI and growth rate?
- How could you adapt the sales process to include either more inside OR outside sales tactics?
- How would you go about implementing this sales strategy? Do you think it would produce better results?
- What goals would you set for the new team over the next 3-6 months and/or 1-3 years? How would you measure success?