Capstone – Project Charter

Developing Lean, Creative Marketing Strategies to Attract Faculty of Introductory STEM College Courses

A Collaboration Between

Engagement Synopsis

You as MBA consultants are tasked with developing the most promising approaches to marketing 101’s products to STEM professors and devising ways to implement these approaches using minimal resources. 101 conducted its highly successful pilot project in November and December 2016 at nine universities with 10 professors whose class sizes ranged from 20 to 420 students.  As professors and universities are heavily invested in producing more STEM graduates and because the pilot results were so promising, professors should be primed to receive 101 products well.  The challenge is successfully reaching the professors and marketing to them in the ways that are tailored to convert them. 
Business Model Stage 1
The initial sales approach for Chem101 (and future products) is selling directly to college STEM instructors – primarily those teaching large lecture-format classes.  Methods for reaching professors are salesperson contacts via email, phone, and campus visits, and presenting at academic conferences.  The goal is for professors to make 101 products a class requirement that students subscribe to (currently the rate is $25 per class).
Business Model Stage 2
After gaining traction via direct sales, 101 aims to shift to a non-exclusive partnership model in which publishers and larger ed-tech platforms adopt 101’s products into their existing sales channels in exchange for revenue share.

Marketing Department Overview

101’s marketing department is just beginning to develop its approaches and resources.  You as MBA Consultants will be critical to helping the company identify and optimize its marketing strategies and implementation plans. 

Problem Statement

Since 101 is a new startup operating on limited resources, it needs to identify inexpensive, creative ways to approach target faculty that will help develop traction with early adopters.  The traditional ways of reaching potential customers, such as emails and phone calls, may have limited success with professors as they are difficult to reach.  101 knows, though, that they are very likely to be influenced by colleagues, whether they are professors at their own or other universities, and by recommendations from students.  Leveraging buzz and recommendations from students and other professors on 101’s products should be a key tool in 101’s marketing strategy. 

Company Information

Company101
HQ
RevenueUnlisted
Employees5-10
StageSmall Business
Hiring PotentialFollow-on Projects, Formal Internship, Entry Level Full-Time, Upper Level Full-Time
Websitehttps://www.101edu.co

Company Overview

101 Edu, Inc. (101) is reimagining the college STEM classroom with student engagement tools that promote active learning. As opposed to passively learning in lecture, our products enable STEM instructors to easily integrate problem exercises for students to complete on their personal devices during class. We’ve recently introduced our first chemistry product, Chem101, and successfully piloted our first module for Lewis structures at 9 colleges/universities during Fall 2016 including Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, and the University of Cincinnati. As a result of an extremely positive response and measured improvement in student outcomes, 8 of the pilot professors have adopted Chem101 as a paid requirement in their next course. With our pilot completed, we now aim to expand our approach across chemistry and eventually into other STEM subjects including math, physics, and biology.

Company Supervising Team

There are currently no supervisors assigned.

Course Info & Engagement Details

SchoolFordham University
Engagement FormatLive Case - Class Collaboration or Case Competition - This learning format allows educators to deliver experiential learning to students at scale. Students are often split into groups to work on a live case (or a series of cases) from a real host company that directly relates to key learning objectives.
ProgramMarketing Consulting
CourseMarketing Consulting Engagement
LevelUndergraduate
Students Enrolled20
Meeting Day & TimeTwice Weekly
Student Time Commitment4-7 Hours Per Week
Company Time Commitment2 Hours
Duration10 weeks (1493006400 - 1498881600)
Departments InvolvedMarketing
File Attachments

School Supervisors

There are currently no supervisors assigned.

Students

There are currently no students assigned.

Collaboration Timeline

Key Milestones & Project Process

  • May 1, 2017 - Develop Deep Understanding of 101 and Create User Data Visualizations

    Eight of ten professors who took part in the pilot converted to paying customers for their next courses.  As 101 proceeds from a successful pilot to increasing traction based on its Stage 1 business model, it needs to analyze survey data it gathered from students after the pilot to develop a compelling portrait of how and to what degree 101 helped the students succeed. You will use the existing data, along with additional data to be gathered, to create visual marketing tools aimed at STEM professors.  The manipulation and presentation of the data must be methodologically sound as well as convincing as the audience (STEM professors) is likely to spot and question inappropriate/inaccurate uses of data.


    Suggested Deliverable:

    Objective 1: MBA consultants must gain deep knowledge of the company to help leverage its strengths and manages its weaknesses going forward.

    You will gain knowledge of:

    • active vs. passive learning;
    • motivations and backgrounds of the company principals;
    • development of the company and investor interest and inputs;
    • mindset and motivations of STEM professors, including within the context of the university structure;
    • process for creating 101’s products; 
    • competing products/services;
    • history and results of the pilot project;
    • successes and challenges of past marketing efforts;
    • relationships with players in the Education Services sector, and plans for execution of the business model.

    Objective 2:  Create User Data Visualizations To Support Marketing

    101 conducted a post-pilot survey of students to gauge perceptions of how Chem101 helped them learn subject matter, their preferences for Chem101 over other learning tools, and the degree to which Chem101 sparked their interest in chemistry.  The latter is a critical metric as professors and university departments are heavily invested in producing more STEM-subject graduates.  101 needs to thoroughly analyze the survey data, and gather any supplementary data needed, to create data-backed marketing tools that demonstrate students’ success and enthusiasm for the product.  Tasks will include:

    • collect the entire body of survey data and examine it for key observations and trends likely to support professors’ adoption of the product;
    • determine data gaps and design and administer additional survey tools to gather missing data and new data from prospective users;
    • analyze the complete body of data to identify the most compelling and persuasive evidence likely to convince professors (and others including investors) to buy into 101’s business and products.
    • Using the data and analyses, and with the specific audience personas in mind, create visual marketing tools that can be used with potential customers and investors.
  • May 15, 2017 - Lean, Creative Marketing Strategies

    As a new startup, 101 has bare-bones personnel and budget for marketing.  Succeeding with its Stage 1 Business Model and moving to the next phase of growth depends on finding ways to reach and persuade STEM professors using the resources it has now. 


    Suggested Deliverable:

    Objective:  Develop Three to Five Marketing Strategies

    Your creativity and ability to innovate must be the spark to create a range of sharply focused and effective marketing strategy options.  Using your deep knowledge of the company, its target customers, and its actual and potential successes as supported by data, you will:

    • identify faculty to be targeted and three to five marketing strategies designed to convert them;
    • create the needed tools and presentations and pitch the strategies to the 101 team; 
    • work cooperatively with the 101 team and fellow MBA consultants to choose one or two of the most promising marketing strategies for further development.
  • May 29, 2017 - Marketing Strategy Results

    Before pursuing a particular marketing strategy, 101 needs insight on its likely success and on ways to refine it to boost effectiveness and reduce weaknesses.  This insight will come through gathering additional data from potential customers.


    Suggested Deliverable:

    Objective:  Gather and Analyze Data to Demonstrate Results

     Tasks will include:

    • identify specifically what data is needed, from whom it should be gathered, and how it will help assess the marketing strategies;
    • work with 101 to develop survey and interview tools and approaches to gauge potential customers’ reactions to the marketing strategies and elicit the needed data;
    • administer the survey tools;
    • analyze the data gathered and use it to validate, adjust, or reject the marketing strategies;
    • select the most promising strategy.
  • June 5, 2017 - Marketing Strategy Implementation

    Once a strategy is selected, 101 will need to know what it will take to make it happen; essentially, what resources, over what timeframe, will be required?  To what extent are these resources already available, and, to the extent they are not, how can the need be met? 


    Suggested Deliverable:

    Objective:  Develop A Detailed Marketing Strategy Implementation Plan

    You will develop a specific plan to implement the marketing strategy, giving special consideration to the following:

    • What skills and knowledge are required? Do current 101 staff/principals have them?  Is their time available or is it allocated to other/higher-priority functions?
    • What are the specific steps/actions involved in implementing the strategy and what is the timeline for implementing them?
    • What no- or low-cost resources may be available?  Where is it vital to invest in the highest-quality resources?
    • What problems or obstacles could crop up?  What would be the consequences and how would the problems be triaged?
    • Does the strategy appear viable from a resource needs perspective? If not how might it be adjusted?