Who – the protagonist
Kiril Alexandrov, CEO at Big Skinny. A founder of multiple businesses who says his vice is ‘an addiction to researching stuff online ad nauseam’ including computers and sports cars.
Big Skinny wallets are designed to overcome five major wallet problems: size, weight, card pocket size, slippery interior, and lack of versatility. Over a two-year period, dozens of designs and over 75 natural and synthetic materials were tested before finding the perfect combination of functionality and looks.
Big Skinny wallets were originally designed by Kiril because he hated sitting on thick, heavy wallets.
Big Skinny was founded in 2005 with sales initially driven through street fairs, retail distribution and print advertising. Its initial attempts at online selling ran into trouble in 2010 when a glitch meant that 4,000 wallets were being given away free. Kiril needed to decide how to handle the situation. Should he just cancel the ‘free’ orders?
He also knew that he needed to rethink his online marketing plans. There was a huge amount to consider, from social media, email marketing and coupon sites such as Groupon, to navigating Google’s algorithmic and sponsored search engines.
The company is based in Harvard Square, Cambridge, US, and sells its products online and through stores across America, Canada, and a number of other countries.
‘Here’s a regular wallet, just out of the box, and here’s a Big Skinny. It’s the same thickness, but it’s already stuffed with 16 pieces of hard plastic – the national average.’ – Kiril’s successful street fair sales pitch.
How should Big Skinny’s marketing presence be expanded? Should it concentrate on attracting new customers to its website, or focus on engaging existing customers through social and interactive media? And should it make more use of retail sites such as Amazon and Buy.com?
Unformatted text preview: Big Skinny 1 - Big Skinny’s products Big Skinny, a boutique wallet manufacturer, has found success pitching their product to consumers at street fairs in recent weeks. Fairgoers were impressed by the wallets slim profile and durable microfiber material, which Kiril Alexandrov (CEO) himself developed. At its core, Big Skinny seeks provides a solution to five core issues that are not uncommon to most wallet owners (size, weight, card pocket size, slipperiness of the interior and lack of versatility). The company boasts the following solution to the aforementioned issues: 1. Size – Utilizing Kiril’s microfiber material, the Big Skinny wallet is 5075% thinner than a typical wallet. This is Kiril’s primary advertising point. He finds the most success when he is able to show potential consumers the physical product, and compare the thickness and durability to a standard wallet. 2. Weight – Because the wallet is so thin, it is also inherently light. Big Skinny is able to promote the product as more “comfortable” and better for your back and posture. 3. Card Pocket Size – One of the most overlooked aspect of any wallet is the card pocket size. Big Skinny can sell the fact that customers can overstuff the wallets without having difficulty removing the cards. 4. Slipperiness of the Interior – In an effort to increase the safety of ones belongings, Big Skinny lines their products with a rubbery coating to increase friction. 5. Lack of Versatility – Big Skinny products are also water resistant, which eases consumer concerns regarding where they can afford to take their wallets. 2- Big Skinny’s Online Marketing 1 It is clear that Big Skinny benefits from face-to-face interaction with consumers. The ability to show off its product and its versatility has proven to be a successful sales tactic. However, Kiril and his wife Catherine have found this process to be quite slow. Looking ahead, they would like to increase their internet presence, and subsequently, their revenue stream. While the solution is fairly complex, Big Skinny has a number of options at their disposal. 2-a: Increase visibility by accurate Algorithmic Search Algorithmic search is one of the main sources of traffic for any website, and financially, it cost nothing. Big Skinny can increase their websites’ click-rate by clearly identifying relevant keywords, and utilizing them throughout the site. This would allow users to Such keywords would include: Thin wallet, Thin Leather wallet, Thin Nylon Wallet, etc. 2-b: Sponsored Search In theory, display ads would be the most appropriate route for Big Skinny to take. It allows customers to see the product, and with a two-frame animation, compare the wallet to its bulkier competitors. This approach would be the closest to the in-person method that is favored by Kiril. While this tactic offers a viable solution to Big Skinny’s main concern (growing their online presence), it does not come without difficulties. Primarily, display ads are frequently ignored by internet users, and can be irritating to some. Studies show that the click rate on display ads in 2009 was just 0.1%. If Big Skinny can find an appropriate site within their budget and has a more imposing click rate, they could benefit from this option, though that is not likely. Sponsored searches allow companies to advertise their products based on specific keywords, such as “wallet” and “thin wallet.” The difficulty with this 2 option is that Big Skinny would need to decide which keywords to utilize, and whether to operate using the “exact-match” or “broad-match” methods. It is important to note that bidding for these services can get expensive, particularly for the broad-match method. The benefit of a sponsored search is that most ads are sold on a per-click basis. Meaning, advertisers pay search engines only when their ads ere clicks by a user. For a company the size of Big Skinny, this could be the most suitable option. So we recommend Big Skinny to focus on bidding on key words that have a combinations of high Click-Through-Rate and high Conversion Rate. 2-c: Increase presence in Social Media Having a social media presence is one of the most cost effective methods companies can utilize to grow their business. For the most part, it is free to setup and maintain accounts, and your user reach is virtually unlimited. Companies like Ikea (Pinterest), BarkBox (Facebook) and Pizza Hut (Twitter), have all found success promoting their products online. Big Skinny could also benefit from promoting scheduled fairs and conventions. Kiril has found that in-person events have led to the most sales, which makes having a significant social media presence pertinent. Further, Big Skinny can use social media accounts for promotions, deals and sales, in addition to providing the consumer with a more personal experience. Since the company is still relatively small in nature, they can actively communicate with their potential consumers via social media. 2-d: Have partnerships with well-established online sellers 3 Big Skinny has also been able to establish themselves on multiple online retail portals such as Amazon, Buy.com and eBay. Online portals are more convenient, as they largely control the search process. Since retail portals already have an existing user-base, it is much easier to promote the product. Moreover, large online retailers like Amazon are a trusted name, and people are more likely to click on an advertisement that directs the user to the Amazon site. Retail portals also boast a large platform, and can handle large sales volumes. While it is unlikely that Big Skinny will need to exploit Amazon’s ability to deliver large shipments, it would be beneficially to use this approach for the customer base that Amazon can reach. One of the more obvious solutions would be a complete makeover of the Big Skinny website. The videos that are uploaded are outdated, blurry and don’t provide the best visual for potential customers. A unique, modern site that embodies the very characteristics that set Big Skinny apart from its competitors (i.e. slim, modern, an improvement from previous products) would be appropriate. This, combined with a positive social media presence, is a solid first step in becoming a more effective marketer. 2-e: Propose payment flexibility to increase Conversion Rate Propose multi-mode of payment could increase the Conversion Rate of customers. When customers are willing to buy a Wallets on Big Skinny’s website, the possibility of paying either via Big Skinny’s e-commerce platform, via Amazon, or by Using Paypal because some customers may not want to use their credit card online. 2-f: Move from Multichannel to Ominchannel In order to User Experience, Customer may be able to continue their purchase from all the distribution Channels of Big Skinny (Stores, website, mobile site) 4 2-g Improve customer retention In order to retain acquired customers, Big Skinny can launch some online initiatives including: Post-purchase emails If a customer has just purchased his/her first wallet, this is a good time to follow up with a welcome email and to send a discount promo code (ex. 10 %) for future purchases. Offer rewards for loyalty A promo code as a gift (ex. 5 $) for being a regular customer for long time. Questionnaires and surveys Both satisfied and not-so-satisfied customers have lots of valuable information to share. Social Media Companies using social media to build community among users have one of the most effective tools available for keeping users engaged. Conclusion To conclude, Big Skinny is faced with a number of viable options ranging from expensive to inexpensive, convenient to time-consuming. At this stage in Big Skinny’s lifecycle, it is pertinent for the company to effectively manage their cash flow and take advantage of social media to its fullest extent. Another cheap and effective strategy is to optimize the Algorithmic Search by clearly structuring its website. Further, the online marketing strategy could be extended to more expensive solutions such as Sponsored Search, Targeted Advertising via social media, and partnerships with well-established sellers such as Amazon. Finally, customer retention solution have to be implemented since they are cheap, easy to manage and very effective because it builds a strong relationship with existing customers. 5 ...
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