7/12/2012

Trap-Ease

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Introduction

Trap-Ease is new product designed to remedy household mouse problems. Martha House, president, is the only sales person as well as being in charge of all marketing. The product has won awards including first place in the National Hardware Show. It has also appeared in an article in Canadian Business and on the MarketPlace television show.

The product itself seemed to be very “simple yet clever device” . However initial sales and revenues were extremely below expectations. This can be attributed to a variety of problems that Trap-Ease has. These will all be explained in the following pages. As well as recommendations will be made in order to rectify the situation.

Strengths

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Trap-Ease has a great number of advantages over its competition. It has a variety of assets which are fundamental to its survival in its market.

The Trap-Ease has won awards including the National Hardware Show in Toronto. It has been featured in Canadian National, appeared on the MarketPlace television show and was also reported on in other trade publications. Trap-Ease has been distinguished in these reports from every other product in its class. Trap-Ease is thought to be an innovative new product.

Trap-Ease is a very simple idea that consumers would respond to. The mouse climbs through the tube which tips over and traps it. It provides a more humane way of trapping mice. The mouse can either be let go somewhere else or left in the trap to suffocate. Other devices are very painful for the mice and sometimes extremely cruel. There is no mess to clean up after when using Trap-Ease, the customer can simply dispose of the trap entirely or re-use it.

Trap-Ease is a very small business just starting out. Many people rather deal with smaller companies, as it can be more personal. The owner can deal with customers more intimately.

Weaknesses

There are many various items that plague the Trap-Ease business. A too limited target market, not enough advertisement and overpricing were among the most prominent.

Housewives were the main target market for the Trap-Ease product, however more and more they are leaving the home life and going back to work. Therefore Trap-Ease was targeting a shrinking market. Furthermore, “there is not much demand in the middle income and upper social class for a mouse trap.” This current target market is not currently in demand of mousetraps. The research done in this domain was only between males and females; no additional studies were done to identify other target markets.

There is no clear mission statement to differentiate Trap-Ease from its competitors. Without a mission statement they are also not able to place themselves in the minds of their customers. Consumers are not exactly sure what the purpose of the product is. This was the case as people were buying the trap as a novelty item and conversation piece instead of its desired purpose. If a mission statement had been made clear than the consumers would have only had mousetrap in their minds, not just a toy.

The customers are not repeat buying the product, which can cause problems to the sales. This could be due to the fact that the product is inefficient in some way. The material used to create the product could be deficient. The method of the trap may also not be effective or providing to the needs of its consumers. The consumers could also be reusing the product and therefore do not need to buy anymore.

There is also the problem of pricing. Trap-Ease is almost five times more expensive than its competitors. The other products have been around much longer and have developed loyal consumers. Consumers might be hesitant to try a new product when the one they have been using has always worked, especially when it is more expensive. The target market was housewives who generally do not pay premium-price for things they can get for cheaper.

Advertising is also a huge problem for Trap-Ease. There is definitely not enough of it being done. There was a reliance on the trade shows as advertising, however the target market did not attend these shows, nor read the magazines in which Trap-Ease was featured. There are also not enough people in the marketing department of this company. Martha House cannot be in charge of all marketing and be the only salesperson. A company needs a team of people in order to get the job done.

The budget has not been carefully planned out; money has not been assigned to the right areas. There is too much focus on trade shows and traveling and not enough focus on advertising. Martha House also overestimated the amount of sales that were to occur during the first year. This has caused the a serious problem for revenues as she has already assigned where these profits should be going.

Opportunities

Competition devices, such as rodenticides, are unsafe, and federal law have prohibited their use in areas where food is being prepared. Trap-Ease could therefore be introduced in the food industry market. It offers a clean and humane way to get rid of mice. Other businesses that need sanitary workspaces could also be targeted restaurants, factories, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, daycare centers, etc.

People are beginning to become more environmentally friendly. They have started living their lives while being more in touch with nature. Animal cruelty is thought of as being extremely appalling. This movement against hurting animals is important to Trap-Ease as it offers a more civilized way to rid households and businesses of their mouse problems. Instead of killing them a mouse can be trapped inside the tube and then brought someplace else to be released.

Threats

Trap-Ease has many threats to its business. There is a variety of competition out there for Trap-Ease. There are other forms of traps, ultrasound machines, poisons and exterminators. There are also internal problems which could threaten the company’s success.

There are competitors in the mousetrap business with cheaper mousetraps in which some customers could already be loyal to. Their traps are small, reliable and less expensive. Snap traps were probably the first ones developed, people use them because they get the job done. Multicatch traps can repeatedly catch mice and are therefore reusable. There are also single-catch live traps that can trap the mice while keeping it alive. There are those that can catch more than one mouse at a time.

There are also electronic mousetraps that are designed to kill mice very quickly. The mouse steps on the device and are zapped and killed. They do not require any sort of bait.

Poisons, such as rodenticides, are also effective in the elimination of mice. The mice eat the poison and eventually die. Glue boards are usually used in combination with poisons so that the mice do not run away.

An ultrasonic device can be used to keep mice away. A high-pitched noise is projected that is irritable to the mice.

Trap-Ease also has a budgetary problem, which is a huge threat to them being successful. Martha House has overestimated the amount of traps that were going to be sold. She has not put the money in the right places in order to have a successful business.

Recommendations

Trap-Ease needs to resolve the many challenges it is faced with if it would like to have a successful business. The following are suggestions to initiate this change.

The target market needs to be expanded. There should be more market segments, which include businesses such as factories, manufacturers, restaurants, and other businesses that need safe, clean, and effective mousetraps.

A clear mission statement is essential when presenting a new product to an existing market. The consumers need to know what separates this product from the others. They also must understand what exactly this product is for. There cannot be any confusion about the product. As an example the mission statement could be “An easy, safe, clean solution to your pest control problems with the best quality at the lowest possible price.”

In order to increase repeat buying of the product it must be made less durable so that it is more disposable. Cheaper materials could be used, which would also decrease the cost. This would allow consumers to purchase more products increasing sales. This would also settle the pricing problem. It could now be sold at a cheaper price because of inexpensive materials. It would have another advantage over its competitors, as it would not be so expensive.

There is a definite need for a marketing department, not just one person. Also more sales people should be hired. There should be more funds directed to advertising and less going towards traveling and trade shows. Trap-Ease could increase advertising by “product testing, mailers, internet, and personal selling”.

Trap-Ease should also rethink its channels of distribution. As its target market was housewives, it was only directed at supermarkets, hardware stores and drugstores. It should focus more on restaurants, factories, and hospitals. It could also distribute its product through the Internet.

Trap-Ease could also do more market research to determine exactly what the consumers want in a mousetrap. It could also focus on providing better customer service with its consumers and retailers.

Conclusion

Trap-Ease has a very promising idea that with the right planning could become a thriving company. In order for it to succeed it needs to adopt a few changes. The target market must be increased to include businesses such as restaurants, factories and hospitals. A mission statement must be clearly established to consumers. There must be an increase in advertising to the right markets. The budget must be improved to direct more funds to the advertisement department. More employees, especially in sales, are required. Different distribution channels such as the Internet should be explored.

“IPM for Rodents in Schools”. The Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Program. September 10, 00. http//paipm.cas.psu.edu/schoolmn/rodents.pdf.

Kotler, Philip, Gary Armstrong, Peggy G. Cunningham. Principles of Marketing. 5th Canadian edition. New Jersey Prentice-Hall, 00. (-).

Muir, Robert. “Mousetrap Marketing”. Prometheus Equity Partners. September 18, 00. http//www.pepvc.com/Publications/mousetrap.htm.

“Rodent Traps”. Professional Pest Control Products. http//www.pestproducts.com/rodent_traps.htm#Live.

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