Audible bike lock
I am going to market a revolutionary new type of audible lock for use on bicycles and scooters. The new lock will provide a high pitch audible alarm when the main lock cable has been cut or when the bike is vibrated for a preset amount of time alerting near by people to the attempted burglary of the bike.
The audible lock works by creating a flowing electrical circuit around the twisted wire lock cable, when bolt cutters or equivalent cut the cable the circuit is broken causing a high pitch audible alarm to be sounded.
Before I can go ahead marketing this revolutionary new type of bike lock I must first carry out some in depth primary research. This research will see if the product will sell and to see if there are any extra features and improvements that potential buyers would like to see in the final release model. I must also see if there is the demand for this new product to make it successful as there is no point in marketing a new product if its bound to fail due to no sales. The target audience must also be firmly established as the majority of all two year olds would not be interested in purchasing this new bike lock so there is no point in aiming this new bike lock at them.
I have chosen to create and use questionnaires to find out all of the above because they are cheap and quick to batch produce. The results from closed questions can be quickly analysed and presented in many varied forms including pie charts and in percentages. Before I batch produce my questionnaire I will produce five and ask selected members of the public to fill them out by doing this I will be able to receive important information as to whether all of the questions make sense and to check that the layout and design of the questionnaire are not confusing and disorientating.
When all improvements if any are completed I will then batch produce the final design of questionnaire and release it to the public to fill out. I will try and target only those people who own and use a bicycle or scooter as they will be my future buying audience, to keep costs to a minimum and to keep reliability high I will produce only fifty questionnaire as the results from these fifty should be typical of most members of the public.
Below is a table of questions that were in my questionnaire and why I believe they are important and justified:
Name and contact details (filling in is optional)
This will only be used to contact the person if they agreed to take part in the trial run of the new audible lock.
Would you be interested in taking part in a trail run of the new bike lock?
If the research and finding show that this is going to be successful field trials will have to be carried out to determine its real usefulness and functionality.
To find out what age rang of the market to aim at.
Have you ever had your bike stolen?
To find out the % of bikes stolen with locks in use to hopefully show that a standard non-audible lock is not enough to deter thieves.
If you answered yes to the above question was it secure with a lock of some description?
This is linked to the question above because if the bike was stolen with no lock in use it only proves that a lock of some description was needed and not specifically an advanced one e.g. the audible alternative.
Do you feel unsafe when leaving your bike/scooter outside for long periods of time?
To find out how many people feel like their bike/scooter is unsafe when left for long periods of time, and to see whether an audible lock would change their opinion.
What type of lock do you have?
4 options were given. D-lock, Twisted wire, chain and other. This is to find out how many people have witch sort of lock and to find out how safe people feel when using it.
If you own a lock how much did you pay for it?
This will help me determine how much I should charge for the new audible lock and how much it should cost to manufacture.
If you own a lock do you feel safe with its strengths and ability to deter potential thieves?
This will find out how secure people think there bike/scooter is with each type of lock
Do you/would you prefer using alternative methods of securing you bike/scooter witch incorporates an audible alarm?
To find out whether people would be interested in using the new audible type of bike/scooter lock.
Would you feel safer leaving your bike/scooter outside for long periods of time if this new audible bike lock was attached?
This links to the other similar question so I can find out whether the % of people feeling unsafe with normal locks would decrease if this new audible lock were attached.
If you were going to purchase this new audible bike/scooter alarm what do you think is a reasonable price for it?
I can work out roughly how much extra people are willing to pay for a lock with and audible feature.
Other comments thoughts or suggestions.
Gives the person filling out the form the option to put forth any opinions they might have about this new product.
Results from Questionnaire:
After carrying out my primary research that consisted of a questionnaire I can conclude that 47% of people have had there bike/scooter stolen and that 54% of people are unhappy with the security that their own lock has to offer. This shows me that there is great demand for more advanced locks that will make the owner feel safe while the lock is in use.
I was also able to find a direct link between how much people spent on their locks to if they had the bike/scooter stolen or not. 39% of people who had spent less then ï¿½20 on a lock have had their bike stolen compared with just 5% of people who spent over ï¿½25.00. When I come to setting a price for the lock I will make sure that I will not be able to sell it for less than ï¿½20.00 due to the cost of materials and manufacture as this will make sure that quality of the lock should be of good standard.
Type of lock
Number of people who feel unsafe when using the lock
17 out of 20
34 out of 75
3 out of 4
As you can see from the table above everyone that owned a chain lock felt unsafe with its ability to deter thieves whereas over half of the people who owned twisted wire locks where happy with the ability to deter thieves. This shows me that the final release audible alarm lock will be constructed from twisted wire, as the majority of people feel safe with its use.
After asking the question:
“Do you/would you prefer using alternative methods of securing you bike/scooter witch incorporates an audible alarm?”
77% of people said that they would like this new method that incorporates an audible alarm but some of these stated in the comments box that it would have to be of small size as to not get in the way. This tells me that going ahead and marketing this new audible bike/scooter lock is a good idea as the demand is out there and it is possible to produce this lock and sell it with in the price range which most people preferred which was between ï¿½26 to ï¿½35. I will use a price somewhere with in this range to start with, this will enable me to penetrate the market and price below my competition until the sales are at a good level then I can change to competitive pricing to keep my profits high once there is a stable demand and stable sales.
I have found out that a high proportion of locks are sold through large nation wide chains like Halford’s. It would be ideal to target these and other local specialist bike retailers as many customers have the potential see and buy the product with out much advertising.
I must also carry out some in depth secondary research and evaluate existing products. This will let me see whether there is room in the market form my new proposal and what price bracket the final product should be sold within. Secondary research is focusing on existing products and research that other people of carried out. When I have collected the research I will have to check the validity of the data as some maybe be years old and out of data. Other pieces of data may be pacific to certain areas, I wont want to sell my product to Ethiopia because the demand will be very small at the price I will have to charge due to manufacturing costs.
Below, an article from the “Daily Illini”
As you can see from the article above similar types of lock already exist. The one mentioned in the article is more advanced including a pager to alert you to activity around your bike. This is no bout reflected in the large price tag witch is out of many peoples price rang, the alarm lock I’m marketing will be aimed at as many people as possible with out the cost being to low as to reduce profits to very little.
I feel confident after reading this article and finding out that it was published only within the last year as its up to date and it shows that there is already more advance types of lock than the one I’m trying to market. Because there are other types of similar locks available I will have to make sure that I make mine unique and that the price tag truly reflects the features and strength of this new product
The 120 dB super high output waterproof siren is small enough to be concealed under the seat (Measuring only 2″ x 1.5″).
Above is a concealed alarm which is triggered by a built in tilt switch, as stated it can fit under the seat and works completely separately to the lock itself. The thought of having a concealed alarm does not appeal to many others and me because it does not offer much of a visual deterrent compared to a highly visible system on a bike which thieves wont even bother attempting to steal.
Both of these images and prices are taken form the 2002 Halfords catalauge. Even though its slightly out of date I believe that it has high validity as the pricese and technology used would not of change much within only a few months.
Results and conclusions from secondary research:
After carrying out in depth secondary research focusing on bike locks and security devices I can conclude that there are many types of lock aimed at preventing a potential thieves from cutting the wire but there are only a very small minority that incorporate an audible siren for added protection. This new product is a new innovation and introduces a new way to think about bike security, it will there for be advertised in such a manor telling potential customers of its great deterrent features.
From my research I was also able to deduce that many of the top range locks where only sold in specialist shops like Hanford’s and other bike spare suppliers. Therefore I will aim to sell this new product to the specialist shops and bike enthusiasts.
After this secondary research and after using well know models I have come to the conclusion that using a penetration pricing strategy is advisable as I will be entering an existing market where there is a high level of competition and where brand names dominate over new entries to the market. By setting a price below the nearest rivals it will encourage people to purchase the new product and will increase product awareness among hardcore bikers and specialist stockists. I believe that this new product will be a rising star in the market as its has diversified the existing bike lock and has taken the technology one step further to create a superior security audible locking system.
Competitiveness of the product and the environment in which the business is operating
Before I can fully develop my marketing strategy I must analyse the competitiveness of the audible lock and gain an understanding of the environment with in which the business will be operating.
I will use a PEST analysis to analyse external influences on the business that could ultimately affect my final marketing strategy.
There are no major political obstacles to marketing this new product as it breaks no laws or has the opportunity to devastate other business that would be against the customers and government’s interest. In recent years the governments have realised the importance of keeping the environment clean and have launched large-scale initiatives to try and increase the amount bike/public transport users. This is for two main reasons, one is to cut pollution levels caused by the emissions from the huge number of cars on Britain’s roads, the other is to relive the ever growing congestion problems particularly around busy city centres and motorway bottle necks.
Over the coming years there will be an increase in the number of bike users particularly as the number of inner city tolls like the recently introduced central London toll expand to other cities. As more people will use bikes to avoid these tolls they will thus have to purchase good quality locks as their bike will be their primary transport source. As the demand for bikes increases thusly the demand for locks will also increase meaning that this is a perfect time for selling these ground breaking locks by distributing them to major bike retailers and specialists. When finalising my marketing strategy I should look ahead hopefully as the potential demand for the lock could keep increasing for the foreseeable future.
The amount of money that the business can afford to spend in designing and mass-producing this audible alarm will directly affect its quality, durability and reliability at deterring thieves. The price that is charged to the customer will also be hugely affected by the above and by the varying pricing strategy that will be implemented through out the products life cycle.
“Unemployment has remained at 4.2%, the lowest for almost 20 years” (www.news.bbc.co.uk)
As employment levels keep increasing the potential number of people who cycle to work will also increase, increasing the number of potential users and buyers who could afford this new lock. When creating my marketing strategy I will remember that people’s income is rising and that once customer loyalty is gained the option of increasing the prices above competitors is available.
If this new lock is brought by a mass of consumers we can expect bike theft to fall considerable meaning less work for companies associated with insurance companies that deal primarily in bike theft and replacement. The thieves will find it harder to steel bikes with this new lock fitted and will be discouraged from trying, they will move onto other goods which are lesser equipped with high-spec security features.
There has been an increasing trend in cycling to work and cycling for leisure, this is slowly increasing the market audience and potential buyers. This shows that there will always be a demand for good quality bike locks and that this demand is increasing.
Also the percentage of people employed in work and their income levels are increasing meaning more people have a greater level of disposable income. This will increase the willingness of people to spend that “little bit” extra on a good quality lock as it will keep their bike safer compared to other less engineered locks.
Another external influence that could increase the sales of this safer lock and affect the marketing strategy is the level of bike theft. Unfortunately the level of bike theft is still at a very high level meaning that many people who own bikes are deterred from leaving them unattended for long periods of time. Many people who don’t yet own bikes are even deterred from even purchasing one.
This thriving bike theft is the main drive for bike users to purchase locks with greater security features. This is due to thieves become even more skilled in the way they cut through and drill out existing outdated bike locks. By introducing the new audible bike lock we will try and give the bike user a complete sense of security and satisfaction when leaving their bike unattended and the potential thieve one less bike to choice from.
The technology that is available will determine how strong the lock can be and how compact and loud the siren can be. The price at which the necessary technology costs to implement and use will also affect the final cost and will determine whether the final selling price is within the customers budget range.
When this new audible lock is released to the public it will have superiority over all other locks on the market, this will start a new chapter in the sophisticated security systems used to protect bike users from thieves. Unfortunately this lock will only have a limited shelf life just like all other security systems as thieves always find a way around the new security system whether it be a thicker stronger cable or a sophisticated audible system. This will also drive the need to create different lock models to overcome the outdated easy to bypass older locks.
Conclusion, and how this will affect my marketing strategy:
From carrying out the above PEST analysis I have been able to analyse the internal and external influences which will affect my product and how successful it will be in the ever-changing market and how this will affect my marketing strategy. However using a PEST analysis is some what simplifying the influences categorising them all under only a few vague headings but I believe that vague as it is it does give me insight into the key areas which will defiantly affect my future marketing strategy.
Thankfully the government is actively trying to persuade people of all ages to use their bikes more for leisure and for cycling to work. This means that the lock could be advertised along with large-scale government initiatives like the “cycle to work days”. Also the social attitude of people is becoming more one of green energy and pollution free transport. This means that we don’t have to worry about encouraging people to use their bike as the government is already on the case for us. All we have to do is encourage the increasing number of bike users to purchases our safest lock. To do this the initial prices should be set low to gain a large captive audience, this should form part of my final strategy.
To be able to assess the predicted reduction in bike theft mentioned above the product should be initially sold in a small geographical area around the production centre so the reduction in the number of bike thefts can be easily recorded and analysed. This will also keep transportation costs of the goods to a minimum and will give us the ability to assess the products potential success if released into the wider national and global markets.
As I have mentioned above the level of employment and people’s salaries are steadily increasing, when I come to create my final marketing strategy I will take this into account and realise that once established in the market the potential to increase the price charged to the consumer is available as they will have a greater disposable income.
It also makes sense to analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the new product so I can predict the product life cycle and where the major threats and selling and advancement opportunities are.
* The new lock is a better security system for bikes.
* It is a better visual deterrent for thieves.
* It enables bike users to feel safe and confident when securing their bike.
* Additional alarm unit will take up room on the bike.
* Increased cost as it’s more technically advanced.
* Cost of manufacture.
* Breaking into an established market.
* To rapidly grow and generate a brand image of new secure audible bike alarms as very few already exist.
* Huge market audience who feel unsatisfied with their current lock device.
* Ability to diversify product to other areas of the market e.g. motorbike alarms and scooter alarms.
* The opportunity to become the UK’s no. 1 audible bike lock seller and to become the safest lock to have.
* People unwilling to pay the extra for an audible bike lock
* Other lock manufactures releasing competing models at lower prices may force this new brand out of the market
* Product does not have the desired reduction in bike thefts therefore is not worth the extra compared to normal existing locks.
From the above SWOT analysis it is plain to see that there are many strengths and opportunities that lay ahead when this new innovative product is launched, the ability to become firmly established in the bike lock industry is within reach and an achievable goal.
The threat of other companies releasing competing models is real and likely especially if the locks sales increase exponentially. If the rival companies introduced destruction pricing or lowered their prices so that profit margins where minute it would be possible for the new bike lock and business to be forced out. To try and avoid this in my marketing strategy I will suggest implementing a low penetration price to start with. This will help to quickly gain mass customers and customer loyalty which will give us a much better foot hold in this already firmly established market.
Constraints on possible business actions:
There are many legal and pressured constraints placed on the business, these need to be looked at to see whether they cause a threat to the business.
When I come to advertise this new product I will have to make sure that the adverts are within the advertising standards codes, these included being truthful about the advertised product and not to cause offence to members of ethnical groups.
Luckily I will have no problem with major pressure groups like green peace. These groups have no legal control but have the ability to convince the public that a product or business is inhumane or is causing damage to the environment resulting in a huge loss of sales potentially putting that organization out of business. If anything I could use these groups to help advertise and sound support for the product that will enable more people to use green forms of transport.
Coherent marketing strategy
Pricing is a very important as it governs the very survival and growth opportunities of the company and the length of the product life cycle. When choosing a pricing strategy I must relate it back to my research and back to my analysis of internal/external influences. For this new product that I am marketing I will use penetration pricing when we first release our product. This will make us very competitive in relation to other competing brands and will help us gain market share and popularity from the bike specialist retailers and customers alike. With this pricing strategy we can expect our sales to rapidly grow until we become firmly established in the market but our profit margins will be small so we should not expect a massive increase in the annual rollover. This is back up from the questionnaire where 77% of people who owned bikes would be interested if purchasing this new type of security.
After the product becomes firmly established in the market which it has the potential to do according to my research the pricing strategy should be merged with competitive pricing as this will increase our profit margins and will help to recoup any remaining development and advertising costs and we will still be able to offer competitive prices compared to other leading brands. This strategy should be kept for as long as the product can compete with other similar priced products. If its discovered that people are willing to pay a reasonable amount extra for these features a skimming pricing strategy could be introduced next time when a new improved model is released. This above strategies will be the main way to reap the harvest and to bring in the most profit.
If and when the product sales begin to fall it would be a good idea to look at releasing an updated version of the lock with extra security features and extra compact design. This would also be highly dependant on the technological advances made during the life period of the first model. We could also diversify into other areas of the security lock market e.g. motorbikes and other types of vehicles. So far no research has been done to assess the potential success of diversifying but if the lock succeeds in its current market there is no reason why it wont work in others. The existing pricing strategy should be phased out and destruction pricing should be used in the current market. This will aim to keep sales high but profit margins will be slimmer. The plan is to sell all of the remaining stock that has been produced before the demand is virtually zero.
Promoting this new product is very important as we need to win over customer interest and we need to convince them that this lock is the best thing since sliced bread. To do this I recommend aiming the lock at specialist bike shops where there can be a stand advertising this “new lock on the block” and explaining all of its superior features compared with all other locks. The main angle of attack should be “no other lock keeps your bike as safe as ours”. This will almost scare some people with expensive bikes into buying our own brand. There can also be an incorporated free to enter competition with the ability to win a free lock; this will increase customer satisfaction with this new brand and product that has just emerged onto the market.
We must also look back and incorporate ideas that we gained from the PEST analysis. As I mentioned in the PEST analysis it would be a good idea to advertise in partnership with local/national bike initiatives as this would be a cheaper way of reaching a far larger audience than going solo.
It would also be advisable to target the mail order catalogues, as mass production would not have to start until the demand for the product is definite. If there is no demand for the product, which is unlikely due to the results form the questionnaire. Then very little money has been lost in the manufacturing side of the business compared with the design and planning.
As I have briefly mentioned above it will make sense to target the specialist bike retailer within the local area of production, this will help to keep end costs low as transport will be very cheap. Selling this product through a local branch of a large company like Halford’s will help to Asses the demand for the lock, if the demand is high then the lock can be sold throughout the Halford’s chain worldwide.
To ensure great customer service a support line should be made available to customers and to potential customers, here they can ask for help on fitting the alarm, activation and for detailed specifications of the alarm lock. There should also be a website offering latest information on the new models and again FAQ’s and technical support should also be made available. This will encourage the customer and will think that we are a friendly and a supportive company.
This was backed up by a few people who mentioned in their questionnaire that there was no after sales support and that some support or help line would be appreciated.
I strongly believe that we should not sell directly from our own website as this will cause extra staff and equipment. It would be better if our lock was sold through other online website ordering companies. By doing this we can capture a large number of the target audience and all we have to do is concentrate on the lock production, transportation logistics and sales fingers with out getting involved with any one individuals sale.
The overall strategy for this company and for this new product is show in a simplistic Ansoff matrix where we are developing an existing product through technological advancement and ingenuity.
If this product is successful then there is the option of moving into other markets, providing audible alarms for other forms of transport including scooters and even cars.
The use of this Ansoff matrix is only to show major options available to the organisation and to the product, within each of these are countless other options and diversification opportunity which are too many to number and would require a vast whole new matrix to include only a handful of these.
I believe that the key to success in this new product is to quickly gain popularity with customers and the public. As long as we can keep the sales high at the start and high popularity it will not matter as much as to what other rival companies do. Even if they bring out a competitive model as long as we have control over this new market of audible bike locks it will be very hard for them to force us out. This is proven by high street brands such as Nike and Microsoft. For our competitors to force us out they would have to adopt a destructive pricing strategy it would then be possible for them to force us out, as our capital in the early days of release will not be able to compete with theirs. The only way to prevent this is to quickly gain customer loyalty and a good reputation.
Apart form the risk of being forced out of the market I believe that this new improved product is a winner as long as the guidelines clearly set out in the “Coherent marketing strategy” section are followed as they bring together all of the primary/secondary research and the exploration of the internal/external influences which will affect the business and product alike.