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SOS TUTORING Marketing Plan 2013 _ 2014


SOS TUTORING Marketing Plan 2013 / 2014


Contents

5 Executive Summary 8 The Market 8 8

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Global Market for Tutoring Services The Canadian University Landscape

21 Target Market 23 Competitive Review 24 25 26 27 29 30 31 32

A Plus Tutorials Inc. TutorPro Grade Savers Prep 101 ECOMan ULife Academics HF Tutoring The Toronto Life Sciences Group

35 Business Review 36 37 38 38

Positioning Vision Mission Tagline

42 Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats 42 42 44 44 45 45 45 45 45 46 46

Weaknesses Email Distribution vs. Marketing Automation Attitude towards For-Proit Tutoring Services Business Scalability Opportunities Voice of the Industry Online Tutoring Services Go Green. Technology Threats Identity Crisis


49 Sales & Marketing Goals & Objectives 49 Strategies 49 50 50 53 54 56 58 58 59 60 60 61 65 65 66 66 67 67

Price Strategy Promotion Strategy Email Marketing & Online Marketing Special Events New School Market/Launch Campus Street Team Public Relations Advertising Social Media The Learning Truck Content Marketing - Video Website Strategic Partnerships Go Green - FSC – Forest Stewardship Council Go Green - Bullfrog Power Printing Beneits of Digital Printing: Beneits of Offset Printing:

68 Action Plan and Implementation 69 69 70 71

Expense Budget Summary Sales Projections Other Success Metrics Key Marketing Metrics

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Executive Summary

The drafting of this plan has allowed us to take stock and review in detail the market, its growth potential and our competitors as well as our strengths and weaknesses. The exercise has proven insightful and identiied a number of opportunities, particularly in penetrating new markets. In brief, based on this recent competitive analysis, it is my opinion that Grade Savers and Prep 101 represent the most serious competitors to SOS Tutoring. They (outwardly) possess the experience, facilities, market share and products to make a serious push should opportunity present itself. I have identiied a number of Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to the business. It was my intention while drafting the SWOT analysis to omit any perceived Strengths. Perhaps I was harsh in my assessment, but I felt that areas where SOS Tutoring was performing well, for example instructor recruitment, was not well communicated to the market and therefore could beneit from more attention. Sorry, no opportunity to rest on your laurels guys. I have considered the company’s goals and objectives and have drafted a plan to help direct SOS Tutoring towards those goals and objectives, beginning with my very irst recommendation to do away with a free irst midterm course. It is my belief that any drop-off in enrolments will be made up for by an increase in revenues. More importantly, this approach creates a higher perceived value of the product, attracting a higher-end clientele. I have analyzed the issue of scalability. Given the symbiotic nature of the relationship between SOS Tutoring and universities, especially the fact that courses are developed based on each semester’s syllabus; timing is critical for marketing and operations. As more and more courses are launched and schools are added, there is every indication of an impending “Tipping Point” where the demand for chronological resources, the need for increased and accurate information, not to mention the creation of required deliverables will no longer be achievable. It is imperative to review and develop an effective growth strategy for SOS Tutoring. Strategically, you will have noticed by now that there is a rather strong female presence in the new look and feel of SOS Tutoring’s sales and marketing materials. This direction relects an understanding of the overall makeup of the market place, with there simply being more women than men attending universities in Canada.

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I have also made numerous recommendations to more effectively market SOS Tutoring using a wide variety of tactics from online marketing to community partnerships. I cannot stress enough the need to adopt a new market penetration strategy. In my opinion, the issues that SOS Tutoring has faced to date in Boston & Toronto are a direct result of poor planning and execution. Proitability and sustainability are dependent upon expansion. SOS Tutoring cannot effectively reach its potential with its current strategy.

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This document will also speak to the importance of environmental consciousness. The very nature of this business requires us to consume large amounts of resources and it speaks well of us that we are aware and considerate of this fact. I have mapped out a high-level marketing plan by month. While this is a requirement of any serious marketing plan, I would like to consider it lexible and adaptable given the needs of the business over the next 12 months. I have also included some key performance indicators (KPI’s) to help us monitor performance and alert us should modiications to the plan be required.

Dean Lloyd


Excellent tutor! Not only do I understand the subject now, but I am also actually interested in the subject. It was an excellent experience.

- Dagmawi Kebede, FIN300

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The Market

Global Market for Tutoring Services Market research irm Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (GIA) released a study in 2012 stating that the global private tutoring market is projected to surpass $102.8 billion by 2018. According to GIA, the burgeoning private tutoring market is being driven by the failure of standard education systems to cater to the unique needs of students in a highly competitive global economy.

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With the US tutoring market currently estimated at $4 billion and expanding, this is clearly an industry with tremendous growth prospects. The university niche is simply more challenging to navigate given its ever changing curriculum, but no less lucrative. Firms offering tutoring services to elementary and secondary school students dominate the industry. A number have expanded to provided training services to professionals needing certiications of skills upgrades. The post secondary market seems to be the least crowded currently and that reality provides an attractive opportunity to SOS Tutoring.

The Canadian University Landscape Within Canada’s 91 universities there are approximately 1.2 million students • • •

1.2 million students in degree programs 898,400 full-time students 275,800 part-time students

Target Market: SOS Tutoring is currently targeting students who are enrolled in commerce/business programs and science majors in the provinces of Quebec & Ontario. These students are generally: • • • • • •

Male & Female 18 – 24 yrs. of age Pursuing an undergraduate education Of varying ethnic backgrounds Computer savvy Heavy consumers of electronics


FIGURE 1: Public postsecondary enrolments by institution type, sex & field of study (Both sexes)

2010 / 2011 Total

University

College

number Total, instructional programs

1,955,340

1,237,584

717,756

Personal improvement and leisure

24,186

5,826

18,357

Education

102,810

85,266

17,547

Visual and performing arts, & cmmunications technologies

84,024

48,960

35,061

Humanities

358,689

216,327

142,362

Social and behavioural sciences & law

249,792

208,008

41,784

Business, management and public administration

343,686

210,597

133,092

Physical & life sciences & technologies

98,811

93,828

4,983

Mathematics, computer & information sciences

57,894

36,714

21,177

Architecture, engineering & related technologies

184,500

103,791

80,712

Agriculture, natural resources & consevation

27,225

18,894

8,331

Health, parks, recreation & fitness

220,851

136,368

84,483

Personal, protective & transportation services

40,515

5,772

34,740

Other instructional programs

162,360

67,230

95,130

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FIGURE 2: Women represent the majority of students in most disciplines

Female percentage of full-time enrolment Education 10

Health, Recreation & Fitness Visual & Performing Arts Social Science & Law Humanities Agriculture & Conservation Physical & Life Sciences Business & Management Mathematics & Computer Sciences Architecture & Engineering

0%

10%

20%

30%

Undergraduates

40%

50%

Masters

60%

phD

Source: Statistic Canada data and AUCC estimates

70%

80%


Between 2002 and 2007, the fastest enrolment growth was in the physical sciences, health professions, and biology and biomedical sciences. Many of the arts and social science disciplines and business enrolment continued to expand strongly, but computer science enrolment fell by close to 50 percent in response to the problems encountered in the high technology sector in the early part of this decade. As a result, the three most popular programs for full-time undergraduate students in 2007 were business and management (with 90,700 students), liberal arts and sciences, general studies and humanities (with 65,700 students), and social sciences (with 63,100 students). In 2010, six out of seven, or 86 percent of students studying fulltime at the undergraduate level were under the age of 25. Secondary school students increasingly recognize that university education is a requirement for many of the career paths they desire. As a result, they are enrolling directly into university upon completion of high school. In 2010, approximately 24 percent of undergraduate students were studying part-time, and 60 percent of part-time students were over the age of 25, compared to 13 percent of full-time students. Despite the greater proportion of students over the age of 25, part-time students are considerably younger than they were at the beginning of the 1980s when 76 percent of part-time students were over the age of 25. In 1980, women accounted for 45 percent of all full-time undergraduate students. Women’s enrolment surpassed men in 1987, approximately the same time as women in other OECD countries, including the U.S. and United Kingdom. In subsequent years, women maintained a majority on campuses, and were responsible for much of the enrolment growth in the 1990s. Germany stands out as an exception within OECD countries, where the majority of students continued to be men. In 2000, 55 percent of registered university students in Germany were men, and in 2007, men still represented 52 percent of university students at all levels.

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FIGURE 3:

Distribution of undergraduate female students remained constant from 2000 to 2008 80%

70% 12

60%

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%

Health, Recreation & Fitness Agriculture & Conservation Architecture Engineering

Mathematics & Computer Sciences

Source: Statistic Canada data and AUCC estimates

Physical & Life Sciences

2008

Business & Management Social Science & Law Humanities Visual & performing Art Education Total 2000


In the early 2000s, the U.S., U.K., and Canada saw women’s share of enrolment plateau at the undergraduate level. Women accounted for 58 percent of enrolment at the undergraduate level in Canada, and 55 percent in the U.S. and U.K., respectively. Then, in 2008, all countries experienced a slight drop in the share of women’s enrolment, in the range of one percent. This marked the irst decline in the share of female students since the post war period from 1945 to 1955 – more than 50 years. Very similar patterns are seen in Australia, New Zealand, the Nordic countries and several others in the E.U. It remains to be seen whether this slight decrease in the share of female students is an indication of a narrowing gender gap in years to come.

Demographic trends The echo of the baby boom generation is currently working its way through Canadian universities. 2011 marked the year in which the numbers in the 18-to-21-age cohort peaked. Students within this age group now comprise 52 percent of full-time enrolment. Over the next decade, the population in this age group will decline by about 10 percent, diminishing the pool from which universities have traditionally drawn new students. Population in the 18-to-21-age cohort is then projected to rebound in the decade from 2020 to 2030 to the point where it will slightly exceed 2010 levels. Thus, population trends in this cohort could have a signiicant impact on overall enrolment levels across Canada. Population growth in the older age groups will counterbalance the impact of the 18-to-21 cohorts. Over the coming decade, the population of the four older age cohorts is expected to grow by four percent in the 22-to-24 age group; seven percent for those 25-to-29; 11 percent for the 30-to-34 age group and nine percent for those aged 35-to-39. The combined impact of these various demographic factors will drive enrolment demand over at least the next ive to seven years, assuming constant participation rates. As illustrated in Figure 4, the relative size of the population in each of these older age groups will vary widely during the 20 years after 2020.

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FIGURE 4: In 2010, students under 22 years of age made up half the full-time student body

13,6% 14

2,5%

40+

3,3% 5%

5%

35 to 39

52,2%

23,7%

30 to 34

25 to 29

22 to 24

21 or younger

Source: Statistic Canada data and AUCC estimates


Urban Youth Canada’s population is becoming more and more urban, with 25 million people, or 80 percent of the population, living in urban areas. Between 2001 and 2005, the population of the Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA) grew by 1.4 million, representing 90 percent of the growth in total population of Canada from 2001 to 2006. The 20 largest CMAs grew by 6.1 percent compared to just 3.5 percent for the population outside these areas. Urban populations are important because they tend to generate more demand for universities than their more rural counterparts. For example, 32 percent of 25-to-34 year-olds who live in urban areas have earned a university degree, compared to only 13 percent of adults of the same age who live in rural areas. Combined with the fact that almost two-thirds of 15-to-24 year-olds live in the 20 largest CMAs, this will continue to create demand for urban institutions, particularly those universities that provide access to students in their immediate local urban area. It is clear that continued urbanization will drive further increases in demand for a university education over the coming decade. It will become increasingly important for universities to work with governments to ind eficient ways to meet that demand. Many solutions exist to manage demand for education in urban hubs that are facing capacity challenges, including growing capacity in high demand locations, helping students travel to where capacity exists and using digital technologies to provide greater access to distance education and mediated learning. This is an important point to consider when we realize that larger schools like the University of Toronto have satellite campuses in Mississauga and Scarborough to service students from suburban markets. Both of these campuses have management departments and while SOS Tutoring provides Crash Courses to U of T management students, students at the other campuses have likely never heard of the service.

Immigration and international students Canadian universities are becoming increasingly internationalized. Over the last 30 years, the proportion of visible minorities,  international students and even faculty from other countries has  grown signiicantly. More universities are engaging in international  research collaborations; more international students are coming  from a larger number of countries; and more Canadian students  are taking advantage of international learning and research  opportunities abroad.

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Between 1980 and 1995, the number of full-time international students luctuated widely. Strong increases at the beginning and  end of the 1980s were followed by periods of similarly strong  declines so that enrolment in 1995 was almost the same as in 1980.  But since 1995, international enrolment has grown rapidly. In 2010,  there are 3.5 times more international students enrolled at Canadian  universities than in 1995, or 90,000 in 2010 compared to 25,500  in 1995. An additional 13,000 international students were studying  part-time in 2010. 16

In 2010, international students represented approximately eight percent of full-time undergraduate students in Canada, approximately  18 percent of full-time master’s students and 23 percent of full-time  PhD students. Since 1995, enrolment of international students in every major  ield of study has grown strongly in Canadian universities. The  number of international students has doubled in education, and  there were four-fold increases in visual and performing arts,  and business, management and public administration. In 2008, the  most popular ields of study were: business, management and  public administration (23 percent), architecture, engineering and  related technologies (16 percent) and social and behavioral  sciences, and law (13 percent). When we compared enrolment trends of international and domestic  students by discipline, it became clear that while international  students are represented in every major area of study, they are more  concentrated in certain areas. For example, 23 percent of international students study business, management and public administration, compared to 14 percent of domestic students, and 15 percent of international students study architecture, engineering and related studies, compared to eight percent of domestic students. Conversely a greater percentage of domestic students were enrolled in social and behavioral sciences and law, and the humanities.


FIGURE FIGURE 5: 2: Recruitment actvities helped triple Women represent thehave majority of students international students enrolment numbers in most disciplines since 1998

100,000 17

90,000 80,000

Full-time enrolment

70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 1980

Total

1885

Graduate

1990

1995

2000

2005

Undergraduate & other programs levels

Source: Statistic Canada data and AUCC estimates

2010e


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In 1980, international students came to Canada from approximately 175 countries, with the majority (52 percent) of students coming  from Hong Kong, the U.S., Malaysia, the U.K. and Iran, respectively.  By 2008, the number of source countries had increased to 200.  Despite the growth in the number of source countries, almost half  of all international students continued to come from one of ive  countries: China, France, the U.S., India and South Korea. Close to  16,000 students came from China, which has been Canada’s top  source of international students since 2001. Recruitment activities  in France led to steady increases in students generating more  than 7,100 students in 2008 and overtaking the U.S. as the second  leading sending country. More than 6,600 students came from  the U.S.; India is in fourth place sending approximately 2,900  students and approximately 2,780 students came to Canada from  South Korea. A larger issue, given that Canada as a notion is growing through immigration and not through childbirth, many analysts expect enrolment rates are expected to drop in Canadian universities. Such a drop is already developing in eastern Canada, where the demographic age is around ive years ahead of the rest of the country. Following an audit carried out by the federal group of the superintendent of inancial institutions, a 2008 summary report shows that enrolment igures for both colleges and universities are expected to decline by 216,000 over the next 15 years. One way that universities may be able to balance the numbers is to recruit outwards in order to ind international students. These students could bring additional beneit by bringing a revenue of up to three times that of the average Canadian undergraduate student. Ontario in their last budget has asked all universities to look at increasing international enrolments by as much as 50 per cent.


FIGURE 6: International students are far more likely to study in business, engineering & math than Canadian students

Distribution of full-time enrolment in 2008 Business & Management

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Architecture & Engineering Social Science & Law Humanities Physical & Life Sciences Mathematics & Computer Sciences Health, Recreation & Fitness Visual & Performing Arts Agriculture & Conservation Education 0%

10%

International stdents Source: Statistic Canada

20%

Canadian Citizens

30%


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Target Market

Our ideal customer: • • • •

Male & Female 18 – 24 yrs. of age Pursuing an undergraduate education Varying ethnic backgrounds

Studying one of the following programs: • • • • •

Accounting Economics Commerce Math Sciences

College students are extremely media savvy. Their medium of choice, however, is deinitely the Internet. Modern-day college students grew up with the World Wide Web and spend hours at a time online studying, suring the net and socializing with their friends. • • •

94% of irst year students use social media sites 98% of college students own a digital device 3 of 4 students say that they wouldn’t be able to study without technology

1 in 4 students use videos of podcasts as study materials

References

University Student Daily Tech Usage

http://www.educatednation. choosecollege.com/2011/06/15/ coursesmart-research-revealscollege-students-lerve-their-digitaldevices/

Average Minutes/ Day Cell Texting 181.43 Search 131.35 Facebook 101.93 Email 58.68 Cell Talking 54.18 Instant Messaging 19.54

http://pearsonfoundation.org/ downloads/PF_Tablet_Survey_ Summary_2012.pdf blog.reyjunco.com/students-spenda-lot-of-time-facebooking-searchingand-texting http://voices.washingtonpost. com/campus-overload/2010/04/ ighting_a_social_media_addict.htm

Nearly ¾ of students who own a tablet prefer them to traditional textbooks

Nearly 90% of students believe that tablets help students more eficiently

Almost ½ of all college students believe that tablets will replace textbooks within 5 years

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Marco is like the Einstein of Statistics. He turned what looked like an ancient Egyptian writing into English. Highly recommended. - Matthew Bruna, Comm 215 - F’10/Final


Competitive Review

SOS Tutoring offers undergraduate test preparation services to large groups in science and commerce predominantly in the Montreal, QC and Toronto, ON markets. In developing a competitive analysis, I have used the following criteria as benchmarks: • • • • •

Course Selection University Presence (size) Instructor/ Teaching Philosophy Course Costs Marketing/ Positioning/ Messaging (credibility)

There exist any number of private one-on-one tutoring services in each market, at each school and for each program that SOS serves. While individually none of these operations pose any signiicant threat, as a whole they do bite into our marketplace. These services will likely never be eliminated from the competitive landscape but some small effort should be maintained to demonstrate SOS Tutoring’s superior offering. For the sake of this exercise, I would focus on those operations whose volume business model poses a more direct threat to SOS tutoring. These include: • • • • • •

A Plus Tutorials Inc. Prep 101 Grade Savers ECOMan ULife Academics HF Tutorials

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A Plus Tutorials Inc. www.aplustutorials.com 1500 De Maisonneuve West, Suite 202 Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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A Plus Tutorials offers hundreds of Crash Courses each year across Canada (more than 300 at McGill and Concordia alone). These courses range in topic from accounting, economics and inance to biology, mechanics and physics. A Plus Tutorials operate at the following institutions: • • • • • • • • • • •

Concordia University McGill University Haute Etudes des Commerce (HEC) Université de Montreal University of Ottawa Carleton University Queens University University of Western Ontario University of Toronto Ryerson University They also operate at English CEGEPS in Quebec

They advertise pricing ranging between $100 - $140 per course. They claim that their courses are offered by qualiied university professors or accomplished teacher’s assistants (TA). On their website they clearly state that all of their tutors are required to have achieved a minimum A letter grade on their transcripts in order to be considered an A Plus Tutor. They also offer private tutoring services at each of the schools at which they have a presence. They offer promotions that include a 50% off rebate if you bring a friend.


Design is an important element as it relates to selling. Much of the salesmanship of these Crash Courses is happening online and a clean user-friendly website can go a long way to building credibility amongst the most technically savvy generation to walk the earth. That said, A Plus Tutoring has done a credible job designing their website. With the exception of the length of the courses list, which is too long, the navigation is clear and the experience is logical. The registration page is odd, but the look and feel of their site matches their printed materials. Their website has done a credible job of making it easy for the visitor to contact them by phone, even though their ofice hours are only between 11am and 3pm daily. From a positioning point of view their website and printed materials are disjointed in that they seem to be suggesting in print that “They will teach all one needs to know to obtain A Plus grades.” This statement is absent from their website. By the way… What is an A Plus grade? Their print advertising is better than most but not entirely inspiring. The look and feel of the pieces seems to have a seasonal look and lacks cohesion.

TutorPro www.gotutorpro.com 1430 Rue City Councillors, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 1B4 TutorPro operates as a free-lance tutoring organization currently providing services speciic by course to students in Montreal and San Francisco. They position themselves as the largest and most diverse tutoring organization run by university students. They claim that their intention is to uphold a team of individuals who have been academically successful at all levels to help students achieve their goals for speciic courses or exams. Recently they offered Crash Courses at: •

McGill University

Customized course packs and study guides for introductory courses in: • • • •

Mathematics Sciences Psychology Engineering

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Their adaptive learning applications are used to enhance, engage and customize the learning experience and to maximize study time and eficiency in mastering the course material.

Grade Savers www.gradesavers.net 1115 Sherbrooke, Suite B2, Montreal, Qc, H3A1W8 26

Grade Savers Tutoring was registered in 2004 and has since grown into one of the largest and most successful tutoring companies in Montreal. With a 4000 square foot multi-room ofice in the heart of the city and several full-time tutors on staff, they’ve continued to expand, servicing high schools, CEGEPS, colleges and universities across Montreal. There are clear beneits to Grade Savers having their own facilities to hold the crash courses and private tutoring sessions. It provides them with credibility and lexibility that sets them apart from their competitors. Their Facebook/Social media marketing is well maintained and speaks effectively to the market. They currently only have 1,200 likes on their page which is oddly low, and must be exploited. While they post regularly on Twitter, they do not engage much in two-way conversations, another reality that can be exploited. They are using Pinterest as a warehouse for images and quotes that they use in their social media posts and I applaud that decision. While it will do little for lead gen, conversion, trial or adoption, it is engaging. While their website is not as informative as others in the industry, the design and ecommerce interface is extremely clean and smacks of professionalism. As a user I feel very conident in my decision to purchase from this irm simply from the user experience that the site provides. The Private, weekly and Crash Course tutoring options that populate the results screen are extremely well conceived.


Prep 101 www.prep101.com Suite 600 - 344 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3A7 In operation since 1999 Prep 101 offers a little over 100 exam prep courses in courses similar to A Plus Tutorials and include subjects in biochemistry, engineering and statistics. Prep 101 also offers standardized test prep in the: •

MCAT

By providing an alternative to traditional standardization testing irms such as Kaplan, Prep 101 has differentiated themselves from traditional exam prep and tutoring irms. Prep 101 operate at the following institutions: • • • • • • • • • • •

University of Alberta University of Calgary Dalhousie University McGill University McMaster University Queens University University of Toronto University of British Columbia Victoria University University of Western Ontario York University

Prep 101 has also established a foothold on US campuses, though it is unclear to what success. From what I can see, courses range from $100 - $120.

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Prep 101 suggests that their instructors are chosen by university students. Apparently, they put all of their instructor candidates through competitive auditions before audiences of undergraduate students who tell them which instructors are best to hire. They use this point in their communications. Prep 101 holds their instructors accountable to their students and post bios, educational background and student evaluations online for all to see. 28

On their website Prep 101 uses the slogan “Don’t just study hard, Study Smart!” The term “Study Smart” is common jargon within this industry and any irm looking to differentiate themselves must consider looking beyond these types of phrases. Prep 101 uses the tagline “Your Competitive Edge.” While certainly not the strongest tag that I have come across, it does communicate some small message, however, I would argue that it borders on generic. From my vantage I can see that SOS Tutoring has taken design and messaging cues from this irm, my overall impression is that from website to print to copywriting, Prep 101 lacks in innovation or compelling features but instead relies on outdated statements such as: •

“And only Prep101 gives you a Course Booklet - the “perfect study guide” - tailored to your exact course written by our instructors”

Visually, I am not clear who they believe their audience is on the website. There is no story, rather a seeming random collection of images. The look and feel of their MCAT/Standardized tests site is far more targeted and has more persuasive communication. I found their “Cram for a Cause” fundraising program an interesting concept. Though I can’t decide whether I ind it tasteless or opportunistic. They offered a free 4-hour help session (which they offer each and every semester) and ask for a $5-$10 optional donation to support a cause.


ECOMan www.commercetutoring.com www.ecoman1.com In business since 1996, ECOMan has carved out a niche in commerce tutoring in the Ontario market and has begun to move into Quebec. This is a small operation serving commerce students. This irm offers a selection of Crash Courses aimed at students attending: • • • • • • • • •

University of Toronto at Mississauga McGill University University of Toronto Queens University Ryerson University University of British Columbia University of Toronto at Scarborough University of Western Ontario York University

They advertise pricing between $45 - $120 per course. This irm seems to specialize in economics and certain management courses. They make a number of fairly outrageous guarantees and claim rather boldly that they offer the best teaching, structure, resources and experience. Exhibit #1 • “WITH MY HELP, YOU DON’T NEED TO STUDY HARD! Only I can GUARANTEE you a PERFECT UNDERSTANDING!” Exhibit #2 • Guaranteed to enjoy the session / Guaranteed easy and quick learning / Guaranteed understanding in the session / Guaranteed satisfaction

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While it seems that there has recently been a signiicant upgrade to a blog-style site, the irm’s website communication is rather poor and does not deliver a positive corporate image. The user experience doesn’t create an impression that they are a leader in the industry. Rather, it reinforces the image of a small one-man shop, which they are.

ULife Academics www.ulifeacademics.com

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ULife Academics positions themselves as a non-proit professional tutoring company. And their online presence is demonstrative of that point. ULife Academics is an oficial sponsor for Sick Kids Foundation. Part of ULife’s proceeds will be donated to SickKids Hospital for the support and upbringing of children of our community. Their courses focus on the sciences at the University of Toronto. According to their website, ULife Academics carefully selects their tutors based on expertise in subject matter and experience teaching students of varying learning styles. Bios and personal statements of a sampling of their instructors are available on their website. They feel that as a former student, TA and or experienced instructor, their tutors have seen every trick and every type of question and know what a student should focus on in order to do well in a course. They promote that their course packages differ from competitors in that their courses are meticulously designed by PhD tutors who have actually taken and succeeded at the course. Operating primarily in Toronto, On, ULife Academics specializes in three areas: • • •

Test Review Seminars Small Group Sessions 1-on-1 Tutoring

They advertise pricing ranging within $60 - $80 per course. From a marketing standpoint, ULife is certainly at the head of the pack in terms of website communications. The navigation is exceedingly simple, and I found the user experience satisfactory. Their “Why ULife?” video is a very well produced piece.


View it here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1LIRUUYN9g). They haven’t done an excellent job of promoting their YouTube channel content, but their material is well done.

HF Tutoring www.hftutoring.com 2015 Drummond 8th loor, Suite 822, Montreal, QC Providing tutoring services since 2007, HF Tutoring has an established presence at: • • • •

Dawson College Concordia University McGill University University of Ottawa

Their Crash Courses range in price from $50 - $100. HF Tutoring also offers private and small group tutoring for a wide variety of classes. Course selection include: • • • • • • •

Accounting Commerce Economics Engineering Finance Management Mathematics

From a personal perspective, irms like HF Tutoring are what is wrong with this industry. Every form of communication lacks professionalism or substance. From a marketing perspective, they may be doing enough to build their business, however, as they are, they pose little threat to industry leaders.

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The Toronto Life Sciences Group www.tlifesci.com Toronto, Ontario

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The Toronto Life Sciences group is positioned as a leading test preparation group across The University of Toronto. The company was founded at U of T when Graduate students, Post Docs, Professional students (Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, Engineering, MBA and Law students), Undergraduates and Entrepreneurs came together and have worked on developing a systematic approach to “speciically” meeting and overcoming the rigorous demands of university academics. TLS proudly offers students a full 100% refund upon request if they are unsatisied at any point of attendance during the seminars. No hassles or questions will be asked (This guarantee applies to all term tests throughout the year, except for the April/May inal exam period). TLS claims to be the ONLY group on campus which has made a FULL 100% Money Back Guarantee Policy. TLS offers courses in the sciences: • • • • • •

Chemistry Math Biology Biochemistry Psychology Physics

Toronto Life Sciences communicates that their exam review seminars are the most comprehensive programs, of their kind, on campus. They consist of the following: • • • •

2 Instructional Sessions Comprehensive Review of all Course Material & Key Concepts Step-by-Step Analysis and Detailed Solutions of ALL Questions 2 Course Study Package


• • • •

3 - 4 Simulated Tests Complete answers to past 6 - 8 years of old Practice Workbook Access to TLS On-Line Resource Libraries

They use interesting verbiage on their website, for example: Seminars are designed not only for those striving to get over 75% (“B”), but for the ambitious student working towards 90 % and above (“A+”). Clearly they are working to attract as wide an audience as possible. They also provide student clients with an additional reason to visit their website and a value added resource with their Online Study Centre. Online Study Center & Academic Resources •

Valuable study material: aid sheets, important examples, & instructor postings

Solution to Study Packages + additional material + additional term tests for practice

Updates and announcements to keep students informed about speciic courses

Toronto Life Sciences claim to not randomly hire instructors, university teaching assistants or graduate students to design course study packages. Rather, a combination of research is conducted and a senior instructor is solely responsible for the creation of these resources. The content within these books are constantly updated and stays abreast to meet the demands and challenges of current curriculums. The information communicated is exact, precise and straight to the point.

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Business Review

SOS Tutoring is an educational services company based in Montreal, QC that provides exam preparation and private tutoring services speciically to undergraduate university students in Canada. The irm specializes in providing instruction in commerce and heath science courses. The group test prep courses also known as crash courses, are offered at two points during a semester, for midterms in October and again in December for inals1. Test prep courses range from a dozen to a few hundred participants and have the goal of preparing and equipping students with the tools required to successfully and conidently take their exam. The content of each course is derived from the actual course syllabus of each and every university program ensuring that relevant instruction is delivered to participants. SOS has found to date that the majority of their business with each student is achieved within the irst two years or irst four semesters of university. While SOS provides its services year round, there is particular demand for test prep during the months of October to December and February to May. These months coincide with midterms and inal exams. SOS recruits experienced instructors who provide instruction in the common university subjects that they offer. According to the marketing communications, SOS Tutoring only hires instructors who previously received a grade of A or above (or its equivalent) in the course they would like to teach. Candidates are rigorously screened based on academic achievement, content expertise, problem solving ability and communication skills. To ensure that SOS Tutoring is delivering on their brand promise, following each seminar students evaluate instructors. This continuous feedback mechanism allows SOS Tutoring to make adjustments to their courses, helps instructors understand what works and what doesn’t and elevates the quality of the overall experience. These instructor evaluations can be found on the SOS Tutoring website.

1. Dates are dependent on course and educational institution.

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FIGURE 7: SOS Tutoring Product Life Cycle

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Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Positioning Positioning is about inding a niche in the prospects mind. And illing it with one thing that sticks. Position is that one descriptive sentence or slogan or image the brand is known for. That one speciic idea that irst comes to mind about the product. That one characteristic that sets the service apart from competitors. • • •

For the brand Volvo, that one thing is “Safety.” In Jakarta, Indonesia, Bluebird is “The safest way to travel by taxi.” And everyone knows Avis “tries harder.”

SOS Tutoring... Positioning is not what your company physically does to a product—it is what your company does to a customer’s mind. It provides an effective answer to the question, “What do you do?” Keep in mind that the question has to be answered from the customer’s point of view and clearly state what the product does for the customer.


Customers develop opinions about companies and products, and the positioning of each in the mind of the customer always occurs in relation to the competition or the customer’s other alternatives (which may include doing nothing). While marketing communications play a part in developing the desired position, it’s worth noting that in reality customers make up their minds based on a wider range of factors, including packaging, pricing, product performance, references and media recommendations. Positioning fundamentals: •

Positioning is the single greatest inluence on a customer’s buying decision.

Each customer evaluates products in the market according to their mental map of the market.

Positioning exists in customers’ minds, not in positioning statements.

People do not easily or willingly change their minds about a product’s positioning.

Positioning must irst demonstrate a product’s relevance, using supportable, credible, and factual terms.

Making the product easier to buy through effective positioning makes the product easier to sell.

Positioning however cannot happen in a vacuum and must it with the corporate mission and vision.

Vision A vision statement is a business’s guiding image of success, framed in terms of their contribution to society. It is a more emotionally derived statement that elicits a visual image of the company’s destination. It is the dream that brought the whole thing to reality. I propose the following as a revamped vision statement for the company. •

We seek to provide students with great exam preparation, study aides, and through these, the conidence that comes from thorough study. Should, along the way, we be regarded as the best and an industry standard, so be it. Greatness is our priority.

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Mission A mission statement is deined as a business’s guiding principles that states what the company’s goals are, what their values are and where they are headed. The mission statement deines the company’s overall plan in a succinct and interesting manner with a tone relective of the tone of the business itself. It should answer questions like: •

What needs does the business address? Or, what is the purpose of the business?

How does the business address those needs?

What are the principles and beliefs that guide how the company addresses the need?

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I propose the following as a revamped mission statement for the company. In order to achieve our vision, we are committed to: - Recruiting better, - Training better, - Researching course materials better, - Engaging students better, - Listening to the needs of students better, - Preparing to start the process all over again. And do it better. - We Will Do Better. Tagline A tagline isn’t something that should change unless rebranding occurs. It will be used in SOS tutoring advertising messages, on promotional items, posters, banners, web site... you get the idea. Make the right decision from the beginning and stick with it. I propose the following as a revamped tagline for the company. •

“Great Test Scores come from Great Test Prep.”


Amy is the best. She really knows what she’s talking about, and makes complicated concepts sound so easy! Definitely recommend.

- Sandra Cortez, CHEM 110

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Great Test Scores Come From Great Test Prep.


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Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats

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Weaknesses Email Distribution vs. Marketing Automation Our email-marketing program needs to graduate to a marketing automation program. As it stands currently, we have no mechanism to identify when a lead becomes a client beyond perhaps the use of a promo code. This is an issue because: •

With the inability to move a prospect from the leads database, we run the risk of issuing multiple and competing messages to the same individual, potentially alienating them.

Email Marketing Tools These programs typically track interactions between emails and subscribers, such as how many of the emails were opened, which were deleted, and how many never made it to the inbox. With the more advanced platforms, marketers can program auto-responders and followup emails to send based on clicks or open behavior. These tools are used for the typical batch-and-blast approach to marketing via email – sending the same thing to a lot of people, hoping that someone notices and takes the time to engage.

Marketing Automation Software Marketing Automation platforms bring strategy and technology together in order to identify, manage, and communicate with marketing qualiied leads. In stark contrast to Email Marketing systems, Marketing Automation tracks prospect engagement through multiple channels: email, website interaction, social media and even direct mail. This helps the system make intelligent decisions based on behavioral and demographic data, allowing the prospect to have a more personal experience throughout the buying process. And it allows the organization to focus on quality leads, leading to higher revenue and improved sales eficiency. Marketing Automation tools can track social media, email campaigns and webpages to provide insight into consumer behavior. By gaining this knowledge SOS will be better equipped to make accurately targeted responses and develop strategies based on relevance. Marketing Automation makes the idea of customer relationship management possible and increases the marketer’s ability to deliver relevant content to relevant individuals at relevant times.


With Email Marketing, every email subscriber on your list is going to receive the same email at the same time. Email marketing can be effective, but it’s very limited and shortsighted. We can track opens and clicks all day, but what do we really learn about our prospects’ interest levels? Marketing Automation eliminates the need to sift through data to ind quality and closeable leads. Prospects who respond to marketing materials are scored and nurtured accordingly; and the entire process is completely automated. Marketing Automation even allows you to send a given email at the time that your prospect is most likely in their inbox. Sales productivity and marketing effectiveness increase and time and money are saved. Furthermore, Marketing Automation allows marketers to know exactly where their efforts are paying off, where they may be falling short and then be nimble in making adjustments. In short, there’s a reason seasoned marketers cringe whenever they hear marketers mention Email Marketing when they really mean Marketing Automation. Email Marketing can be unintelligent, it’s reactive and it’s largely impersonal (even when emails are personalized). Marketing Automation is highly intelligent, largely interactive and will leverage your marketing programs to yield successful sales. Using Marketing Automation effectively will directly result in greater sales. It empowers sales and marketing to work together to progressively proile leads and deliver relevant content that aligns to a buyer’s buying cycle. This approach will not only accelerate sales and provide much value; it also gives you measurable ROI.

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Attitude towards For-Proit Tutoring Services TThere is a serious divergence in how for-proit tutoring services are perceived K-12 and how they are treated in the post secondary arena. The world over, (as can be attested by the size of the global market for tutoring) parents are seeking after-school programs and private tutoring to beneit their children. However, a different attitude prevails when the topic turns to post secondary tutoring services.

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Much of this push back is coming from university administrators. They feel that tutoring services like SOS Tutoring infringe on their intellectual property, don’t work in the best interest of the student and are simply exploiting students. Perhaps there is a good reason for this thinking. It very well may be that many of SOS Tutoring’s competitors are making a mockery of the industry and giving a bad name to all of the players. Perhaps their poor business practices are the source of the concern. Regardless, it is a serious issue. This issue is both a weakness and a threat. In my opinion, if SOS Tutoring does not make a considerable effort to counter these arguments and position itself on the side of academia, these attitudes will continue to erode the brand that is being built. Business Scalability At present, SOS Tutoring operates within a rather narrow window of time where each semester tutors are hired, courses are developed, course packages are printed, students are recruited and lectures take place. In order for growth to occur, new schools and markets must be opened, however the business model as is will not allow for effective growth. In industries that involve human actions and physical products, achieving scalability is often not straightforward. The ability of a business to achieve scalability is directly proportional to its ability to create a standardized worklow/ processes that can then be scaled up to deliver higher output. SOS needs to review its operating processes and seek every opportunity to simplify and streamline its worklows and communications in order to build a truly proitable and scalable business model.


Opportunities Voice of the Industry This opportunity will be discussed further in this document and its value can’t be understated. With no vocal leader in the post secondary tutoring market, SOS can truly make an impact on the media and, by extension, the hordes and masses from whom their market is derived. The credibility and goodwill that can be achieved from being seen as the subject matter expert is invaluable and speaks to an adage often heard in sports circles: As Aaron Ben Shabat rises, so too does SOS Tutoring. Online Tutoring Services Technology is a boon for the industry as a whole. Today, online tutors can reach students in locations that wouldn’t be proitable for brickand-mortar centres. The web also enables Canadians to offer tutoring services abroad. Brazil, India and Korea are hungry for English-language education, a demand that exceeds the local supply and which foreign companies can tap with online offerings2. Online tutorials have emerged as a popular trend in the ield of educational tutoring services as it allows both tutors and students to beneit from working in the comfort of their homes and at lexible times. A lot of students now look for tutors online as they ind this approach more convenient than conventional face-to-face tutoring. Imagine packaging a series of pre-recorded lectures on topics that SOS currently provides and making them available to students the world over for a price similar to our custom Crash Courses. Go Green. Let’s be honest. Very few students are going to do business with SOS Tutoring because it’s a “Green” company. Actually, it may cause a few more headaches than absolutely necessary. But you know what? It is simply the right thing to do. If SOS Tutoring takes the recommendation of this document and strives to be a true “Voice of the Industry,” then leading by example is a great way to start. Technology 2. An Apple For the Tutor, Kim Hart Macneill || February 11, 2013, http:// www.proitguide.com/opportunity/ an-apple-for-the-tutor-48089

As a segway from our discussion about being a “Green” irm, technology provides an interesting way for SOS Tutoring to potentially save on printing and provide a perceived added value to students.

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During the registration process SOS Tutoring can ask students whether or not they would like to have course packages delivered to them digitally. With the abundance of laptops & tablet devices in the market, it is a safe bet that a good percentage of students will in fact take the offer and this in turn will save the irm on printing costs and provide the student with a digital solution rather than more paper. Also, bear in mind that a digital course package need not be simply a pdf of the physical version, but a true multi-media companion. 46

Threats Identity Crisis The SOS name and logo may be one of the irm’s greatest threats. At nearly each and every university campus where SOS Tutoring operates, another organization with the same name is already in residence. SOS -Students Offering Support is a charitable sustainable social venture that develops and supports SOS chapters residing within post-secondary schools across North America. Each University SOS chapter raises money to raise roofs through raising marks during their ‘Exam-AID’ group review sessions, taught and coordinated by student volunteers for university and college students. Each year, the money raised is spent creating sustainable education projects in developing nations on annual outreach trips. Since 2004, over 4,000 SOS volunteers have tutored over 25,000 students and raised more than $1,400,000 for various development projects across Latin America. If I were a university administrator and saw a “Johnny come lately” forproit irm come into my school offering their “questionable” services to my students using the name/ brand of an organization that has been on campus for years, I might feel threatened. Were I the folks at SOS - Students Offering Support, seeing this same group causing confusion in the student body and potentially negatively impacting our fundraising efforts, I might have already taken legal action. SOS Tutoring may not currently be feeling the results, but the brand is most deinitely suffering from an identity crisis.


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Ryan was a very knowledgeable tutor. He had a good understanding of the course material as well as the exam format. I would definitely recommend this course to a friend.

- Hayley Chazan, MGCR 211


Sales & Marketing Goals & Objectives

Strategies

• • •

Revenue growth of 30% - $1.2 million to $1.6 million Increase Facebook following to 10,000 Build internal email database to approx. 12,000 names

Price Strategy Over the past year SOS Tutoring has utilized a penetration-based strategy in offering a free midterm course to new student prospects in the hopes and expectations that student prospects will be sold on that initial experience to rebook for the inals exam prep course. While this strategy has shown some interesting results, I propose that the cost of acquisition of those students is too high and that a 50% off offer is enough to attract the same audience. And given that they needed to invest in the course in the irst place, we will gain a more qualiied market for the inals exam prep course. Figures show that we do the majority of our business in December and April during course inals. Given that we currently offer an approximate 20% discount to all students who’ve taken a midterm and a inal crash course with us, even if we achieve the same numbers of registered paying students as our previous year, we stand to make up to a 30% increase in revenue. Are you a returning student? I feel that we can offer 2nd and 3rd year students who have taken one of our courses some incentive to take more of them. A set $15.00 voucher for instance. Right now the only savings opportunities we offer to returning clients are when they refer new clients to us. In summary: •

Midterm exam prep courses at 50% off vs. 100% off one year ago (for irst-time students)

$15.00 voucher for any SOS prep course for returning clients

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Promotion Strategy Email Marketing & Online Marketing Certainly email marketing is a cost effective method of staying in touch with our audience. The question when using this rather tried & true tactic today is how best to employ it.

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To date we have established an in-house database of nearly 10,000 email addresses of students primarily from Concordia and McGill. The issues at hand however are: •

At best these email accounts have a 4-year shelf life and right now we have no idea where in the student life cycle these leads currently reside.

How do we continue to build responsibly on this database?

How do we segment the database to allow us to effectively communicate messaging that resonates with our audience?

It has been established that a signiicant portion of SOS Tutoring revenue comes from the irst two years of a student’s time in university. It therefore becomes critical that we gain a better understanding of just where of our clients are in their academic programs, and improve on our understanding, offerings and messaging towards prospective clients in their inal two years of university. This is tremendously important when we consider that it is on average ive times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to keep an old one. Email Marketing •

Moving forward I would recommend that all of our forms (lead gen & registration) include ields for program year and program. These would allow us the opportunity to better segment our audience. In marketing, segmentation is king next to content.

I recommend that in addition to seeking opportunities to collect email addresses during frosh-type events, that we also use traditional media that will drive trafic to landing pages that will further allow us to collect data on our prospects.


Draft emails with speciic offers meant to resonate with our audience. Each email must answer the following questions consistently: • • •

What do we want to sell? What value does my offer give to the recipients? Why would the recipient choose SOS Tutoring over other similar services out there?

Schedule regular weekly campaigns. According to research, 11:00am to 3:00pm on Wednesdays is amongst the best times to send email marketing.

For email marketing, adhering to best practices for using imagery, headlines, subject, lines, testing and use of variable data is important and will play a signiicant part of the work that will be engaged in moving forward.

I propose that we incorporate a landing page program into our current Mail Chimp platform that will allow us to measure impressions and click-through rate and collect valuable prospect data.

I propose to attempt to re-edit our current series of videos and use them in our email marketing campaign. Video can be an extremely effective selling tool.

Online Marketing •

Google Analytics can give us an accurate overview of the number of visitors who have viewed our website. In a nutshell, it can help us to measure the total online trafic available on our site and hence help in improving further marketing strategies. •

We can come to know about the kind of visitors visiting our site and which keywords they use to reach our site.

Google Analytics can ind the deiciencies in our site and add compelling content and images to attract the visitors by making our site more informative and appealing.

This tool will also provide data on which sites the visitor had visited before visiting our site.

It will help us track the links and pages of our website, on which the visitors spend most of their time, giving us an opportunity to gauge page conversion.

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FIGURE 8: SOS Tutoring Landing Page

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I propose that we integrate Google Analytics into our website completely to track, landing page, organic search, page conversion, sales and other relevant data that can provide insights.

Google Ad Words provides several advantages over other types of advertisements including immediate visibility. One of the biggest advantages of Google’s PPC program is the fact that it can net you website visitors immediately. Organic SEO may take months to generate results of signiicance, but a PPC ad can work for us right away. •

Budget lexibility - With Ad Words, we control how much to pay. The basis involves a bidding system, which results in cost-per-click pricing and allows the user to only pay for the clicks that are received. Budgets can be as low as ten dollars per day. Ad Words does not require a monthly minimum or term commitment.

I propose that we test an Ad Words campaign geo-targeted to Montreal and Toronto with a budget of $10/day to start and review the results on a weekly basis.

Special Events Special events can continue to be an extremely viable part of SOS Tutoring’s branding strategy, however I recommend that we consider moving away from activities that include alcohol entirely. Based on my understanding, we do rather well selling our value when prospective clients are given a chance to hear us out and consider our value in their academic lives. If this is true, we should give them every opportunity to hear us. Events where alcohol and its consumption is the irst order of business are not where we want to associate our brand. However, every attempt should be made to have meaningful on-campus contact with students. Events that allow us to have meaningful one-onone contact with students will allow us to answer questions and build rapport with the prospect. Ideally there would be a draw to our booth, some give-away or offer that will appeal to the greed or imagination of our audience. While we might hope that the prospect will be drawn to us for the pure goal of a better grade, it is more likely that a chance at a free new iAnything will be more compelling.

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SOS Tutoring should also consider events that provide the opportunity for broad exposure and provide media fodder. For example: SOS Tutoring sponsors the 2014 edition of the “Les Jeux du Commerce” (JDC) Central, would be the headline for the press release that is sent out. Then images and commentary can be posted on Facebook and Twitter, the company president rubs elbows with prominent professors and administrators from 15 of the county’s top business schools, gives a speech… I think that you can see where this is all going.

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I propose that we strive to engage in a minimum of two on-campus events each semester per school to engage with students.

I propose that SOS Tutoring pursues more academic sponsorship opportunities rather than social events where alcohol is not prevalent. While there remains a need for the firm to be visible at major events, efforts should be sought to maximize our lead gen ROI without risk to the brand.

For those schools where we have been asked to not post flyers or perform speeches, I have the solution. Imagine recruiting 100 students from each of our schools and asking them to each wear a SOS Tutoring t-shirt throughout the halls of their school just before an exam period. What kind of exposure would that provide the SOS brand? Imagine if we held this event at each school on the same day with a film crew at each site documenting the event? Imagine that at a set time each team of one hundred was met by a local Campus Street Team member and they rushed off into the city to perform some random act of goodness. Imagine the footage and exposure that an event like this would create for the brand.

New School Market/Launch I would like to propose a rough outline for a new launch strategy for SOS Tutoring aimed at maximizing both investment and effort. This 12-month program allows SOS Tutoring to thoroughly prep a market for its entrance and literally hit the ground running.


Step 1. Market research - September to December Product & Operations questions to be answered include: •

What is the size of the market at this university?

What are the numbers of courses that we could potentially provide instruction for?

How many of these can we offer at launch? Set a minimum at ive or six.

Who are our competitors in the market?

What price points can the market bear?

Where will we pull instructors from to teach these courses?

Are there vendors who can support our requirements?

Who are our potential allies within the market (associations, administrators)?

How can we evaluate availability of lecture room rentals?

Step 2. Market development- January to May •

Develop relationships with associations and begin planning sponsorship opportunities for the upcoming school year

Launch awareness campaign designed to promote the beneits of the brand and build email marketing database

Promote Crash Courses with speeches and sample course packs

Promote beneits of following SOS through social media

Recruit Campus Street Team from student population for upcoming launch

Set sales targets & marketing objectives

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Step 3. Calm before the Storm- June to September • • • •

Instructor recruitment & training Printing generic promotional materials Acquire promo wear for Campus Street Team Update technology to support new school/market

Step 4. Launch- September 56

Launch strategy should include a variety of on-campus marketing/ lead generation events over the course of 4-weeks

Posters, liers, t-shirt clad street teamers, learning van appearance, cookie days should all be a part of the launch plan

Launch public relations campaign to promote new wins

Campus Street Team The use of a direct promotional team can be an inspired tactic when executed well. Like any sales force it is imperative that the members of this team appear on brand in messaging and appearance at all times. The SOS promise (regardless of what that is) will be evaluated by their presentation. Each team member should be prepared to convey on demand a standard pitch and rebuttals to common questions. The Campus Street Teams are an extension of SOS Tutoring. They will go out wearing t-shirts and other promo wear with the brand prominently displayed. As they hand out lyers, they can talk up the new products, and thus must be well coached, managed and directed in order for them to be engaging, informative and representative of the brand at all times. I have mentioned in the past that these staffers represent the lowest levels of our organization yet are on the front lines each and every day. They can be our greatest cheerleaders and ambassadors or they can be disgruntled former employees. The way we treat them and communicate with them will make a tremendous difference in which they become.


As it stands, I see Toronto as an underserved and attention starved market. To better illustrate this point; over a two-week period I tracked the number of hits to the SOS Tutoring website. Of the 3,593 visits, 2,837 were from the Greater Montreal Area. On the company’s Facebook page, we see a similar phenomenon. Of the 4,200 followers, 605 are residents of Ontario with only 390 of those residing in the Greater Toronto Area. Using our campus street team to more effectively engage and build new markets is absolutely imperative for sustainable growth. City

Visits

1. Montreal

2,468

% Visits 68,69%

2. Toronto

292

8,13%

3. Laval

159

4,43%

4. Ponte-Claire

87

2,42%

5. Longueuil

65

1,81%

6. Markham

32

0,89%

7. Dollard-des-Ormeaux

31

0,86%

8. Vaudreuil-Dorion

27

0,75%

9. Mississauga

25

0,70%

I recommend that we engage in a monthly internal email marketing program that includes the great work of our lower-end staffers (Campus Street Team, Private Tutors, Operations Team) to help them to feel like a part of something larger than themselves.

Invest in promo wear that they will be proud to wear outside of work hours and be a walking billboard for SOS Tutoring.

I have mentioned it in the past, but I feel that as a player in the education market, we should reward our staff with half price discounts for all of our products as a part of the compensation package.

I also recommend that SOS Tutoring announce a scholarship program for these team members. Each year we recognize two individuals who have throughout the school year have demonstrated their excellence, commitment to the company and perseverance. We should be prepared to offer a first prize of $1,000 and a second of $500.

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Public Relations Let’s be more than simply players in the industry; let’s be thought leaders. We have a clear opportunity to position SOS Tutoring as the voice and authority of the segment. Whenever there is an issue with the education system the media calls on those who have positioned themselves as the experts and thought leaders and voila! A star is born!

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SOS Tutoring can position itself as such by beginning with a series of articles or position papers written to trigger a response from our market. Also by pursuing speaking engagements where we offer impassioned, well-reasoned and thought provoking discussion, not only will the speaker be looked upon favourably, but also the brand. ◊

I propose that a short series of three position papers be drafted and posted to our site, sent out to local and national media outlets and press releases distributed promoting their existence.

I recommend that we use Twitter and LinkedIn to build relationships with major bloggers and journalist who write on the topic of higher education and entreat them to speak favourably about the SOS brand.

I suggest that we announce each major victory with a press release ensuring that we stay in the media’s mind. For example, launching at HEC and York U are major pieces of news that need to be shouted from a mountaintop. These types of announcements can be an enormous lead gen tactic for the firm. Each time that the SOS brand is mentioned positively by independent third parties more and more people will begin to drink the Kool-Aid and embrace the brand.

Advertising I am interested in testing the effectiveness of certain traditional media vehicles in an effort to build brand awareness in areas where typically we would not be visible. An example of this is in the major student run publications like the Concordia Link and the Concordian. The Link is distributed widely off campus and reaches segments of the McGill ghetto, will between which and allow us to test an ad that speaks to both audiences. I am also eager to test similar tactics in the Toronto market where we do not have a tremendous on- campus presence. At Ryerson University I am testing a set of easels that they’ve placed around the Ted Rogers Management building.


With the signing of the Java U and Liquid Nutrition deals we will now have signage in strategic locations near Concordia and McGill providing us with visibility to pedestrian trafic that we’ve never had before. These tactics are deigned to build brand awareness and to associate SOS Tutoring with complimentary and established brands. I would like to position the SOS Tutoring brand on the national stage in an effort to bolster its credibility. By placing an ad and editorial into the 2014 edition of MacLean’s University Guidebook the brand will immediately be visible to parents and students nationwide. Social Media I plan on using Twitter and LinkedIn in a greater capacity. I propose to use Twitter to: •

Engage with student groups

Converse with inluential bloggers, journalists and educational professionals

Promote SOS content and promotions

With LinkedIn: •

Gain prestige by answering questions in education forums and groups

Convince potential customers of our expertise by sharing unique blog content

Acquire new customers through online recommendations and word of mouth

YouTube: •

I would like to attempt to re-edit our current series of videos and repost them to YouTube. Video content is extremely valuable in generating organic search results, not to mention the value that they play in the sales process.

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The Learning Truck The Learning Truck is a nickname that I have given to the SOS Tutoring vehicle. With the wrap design recently completed, it will be an effective promotional vehicle (pardon the pun) for the company. And it should be used strategically and often. Sitting parked in front of Concordia University it will be highly visible to student prospects. There should also be a plan to support the Campus Street Teams with its presence on all of the campuses where SOS Tutoring offers its services. 60

Special emphasis should be placed on schools where the SOS brand is still being developed, notably the schools in Toronto. ◊

I propose that SOS Tutoring support and encourage the efforts of the Street Teams with a campus tour with the new vehicle and hold “Cookie Days” at each stop.

Content Marketing - Video Content marketing is a marketing technique involving creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly deined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving proitable customer action. Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they  ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty. And they do.


Quality content is part of all forms of marketing: •

Social media marketing: Content strategy comes before your social media strategy.

SEO: Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.

PR: Successful PR strategies address issues readers care about, not their business.

PPC: For PPC to work, you need great content behind it.

Inbound marketing: Content is key to driving inbound trafic and leads.

And in the land of content marketing, web video is hot. Hot, I say. How hot you ask? YouTube’s fact sheet states every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to the network and 2 billion videos are being watched  per day. Video is considered to be a very sharable form of content. It is simply much easier to get someone to watch a video than read an article. And because videos have viral tendencies, establishing an online presence within various social media platforms can be incredible for video marketing. As you likely know, Facebook and Twitter are two of the most traficked websites online, and of course they provide video viewers with the option to share the content with those in their social circle. It is this sharing potential that allows video content marketing on social media websites to be exponentially effective. Website Even before the revamped look and feel of SOS Tutoring’s marketing collateral, the website needed an overhaul to improve the user experience. With a new design philosophy in place for printed materials the site is now, frankly, lagging behind and begs to be updated. The site could beneit from stronger sales copywriting and certainly it would do to re-work the site architecture. There is an argument to be made for rebuilding the front-end of the website from scratch using a Word Press (CMS) Content Management System for editing and managing the site.

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Many of our competitors’ sites present themselves more favourably than the current SOS Tutoring site and often, customers make purchase decisions based on the aesthetics and usability of a site.

Website Conversion

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A website’s conversion rate is the ratio of visitors to sales on a site. If SOS Tutoring has a low conversion rate, then a lot of the effort and resources that are being put into attracting visitors are being wasted. It is for this reason that I have begun to track and monitor the site’s bounce rate through Google Analytics. Think of a site with a bad conversion rate as a bucket with lots of holes in. The faster you get visitors pouring into your site, the faster they will escape through the holes, without buying anything. To work out conversion rate, divide the number of monthly sales on a site by the number of monthly visitors to that site. Then multiply by 100 to get the percentage. Good conversion rates tend to hover between 1% and 3%. If SOS Tutoring’s conversion rate is much lower than 1%, or if only 1 in 100 visitors are making a purchase, then there is room for improvement!

User Experience A poor user experience means that potential customers will most likely leave before completing their goal - whether it be submitting a contact form, purchasing a product or requesting more information. Beyond the aesthetics of the site, the following are a couple of additional areas that I recommend addressing in a website revamp. Interaction Design Effective interaction design creates opportunities for visitors to interact with the site. This does not necessarily mean a transaction or submission of an inquiry form. It could be submission to a newsletter, downloading a ile, liking the site’s social media page, sharing content that is on the site, etc. One should be able to strike a balance between the different interaction elements that are being used on the site. It may not be wise to use all the types of interaction elements on the site as this can end up confusing the visitor. The different elements that may be used to help a user interact with the site should also be presented in such a way that they complement each other.


For example, the signup for a free Crash Course on the SOS site is really not well integrated into the design and really does not complement nor stand out. FIGURE 9: SOS Tutoring Website

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Usability Design Though usability design may be similar to interaction design in some aspects, one should not confuse the two. Use of content on the page, navigation from one page to another, deciding the format of presenting the content on the page and determining how this content will co-exist all comes under usability. Interaction design’s main aim is to maximize a user’s interaction with the site. On the other hand, usability design recognizes the fact that all users may not want to interact with the site. Usability design tries to maximize the use of the site for such visitors by encouraging them to use more of the content on the page in a creative manner. User experience design is more than just creating a good-looking website for the user. The entire purpose of creating a website may be lost if a user does not have a good experience on the site. ◊

I would recommend building a new front-end using a Word Press platform to take advantage of the built-in content management features

I would include our social media links on the site


I would recommend a redesigned website to meet the expectations of our market and improve our look and functionality so it is on par with our competitors

I recommend the development of a blog site where SOS can promote its thought leadership

Recommend SOS Tutoring consider Search Engine Optimisation (SEM) best practices when developing a revamped site, including keyword propagation and meta-tags

64

Business Awards Being shortlisted and winning any business award will really put SOS Tutoring on the radar amongst competitors, detractors and fans alike and can have innumerable beneits: •

Raise company proile. Winning an industry/business award will signiicantly raise company proile locally, amongst the current client base and give SOS Tutoring an impetus to get to new customers.

Shout From the Rooftops. Winning a business/ industry award would provide SOS Tutoring an opportunity promote the fact on all corporate literature, advertising, and website. It can be used as a tool for business pitches and reinforce the fact/perception that you are the best in your ield.

Huge Publicity. In winning, SOS Tutoring would have the opportunity to gain extensive media attention and valuable publicity (PR Regional, national, local and even market speciic exposure which would help attract new student clients. Impress potential investors. Business recognition through awards can help impress potential investors. Network with fellow business leaders. Attending an awards dinner and subsequent events gives company representatives the opportunity to network with other business leaders and professionals. Boost staff morale and retention. Achieving recognition in the awards can have a positive effect on staff morale, motivation and retention as it acknowledges their contribution to the irm’s success.


Strategic Partnerships Strategic partnerships are and will continue to be an important part of the marketing plan. Establishing relationships with undergraduate groups such as the Management Association at McGill and the Undergraduate Business Council at Schulich are critical for ensuring a continued presence on campus. Every effort will be made to nurture existing relationships and build new ones. Building relationships within the local business community in a similar manner to the co-branding program that has been developed for Java U and Liquid Nutrition can be advantageous to expanding the SOS brand beyond where one would typically expect to encounter its messaging. SOS needs to consider such agreements in the Toronto market where the brand is still in its infancy. Additional local opportunities to consider: • • • •

Jugo Juice (Inside Concordia) Van Houtte (Inside Concordia) Subway (Inside Concordia) Club Sante (Inside Concordia)

Go Green - FSC – Forest Stewardship Council In the pursuit of offering the best service to our clients that we can, we use a lot of paper. I propose that we make the commitment to being leaders in our industry from an environmentally and socially responsible standpoint. By demanding that every paper item that we print follows FSC guidelines we will: Be Environmentally Appropriate •

Environmentally appropriate forest management ensures that the harvest of timber and non-timber products maintains the forest’s biodiversity, productivity, and ecological processes.

65


Behave in a Socially Beneicial Manner •

Socially beneicial forest management helps both local people and society at large to enjoy long-term beneits and also provides strong incentives to local people to sustain the forest resources and adhere to long-term management plans.

Ensure Our Usage is Economically Viable

66

Economically viable forest management means that forest operations are structured and managed so as to be suficiently proitable, without generating inancial proit at the expense of the forest resource, the ecosystem or affected communities.

Go Green - Bullfrog Power In a recent survey of environmentally conscious consumers, 95% consider Bullfrog powered organizations to be environmental leaders, and 80% are more likely to purchase goods or services from companies committed to green power. Choosing green energy for your facilities is an easy and impactful way to reduce your emissions footprint. Bullfrog ensures that as much clean, renewable energy is injected onto the respective energy system as your facility uses, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in our atmosphere.

Printing I propose that SOS tutoring print all promotional materials in the summer (brochures, lyers, post cards, etc.) to beneit from the economies of scale. Larger offset print runs will produce more favourable per- unit costs equating to an overall savings. I base this reasoning on our need for hand-outs and leave-behinds during our onsite events at each school, promotional activities during orientation and the fact that during the month of August alone we have printed over 4,000 post cards and we’ll likely need more in the coming weeks. Digital printing does offer a certain lexibility for short-run printing and certain specialized applications. However, with improved planning, I believe that we can take advantage of the cost savings and wide variety of options that offset printing offers. Offset Printing An image is transferred, or “offset,” from a plate, to a rubber blanket, to the sheet of paper where the ink is applied.


Those inks can be a four-color process (CMYK) or a combination of Pantone (SPOT) colors. The plate is created (using computer-to-plate technology) prior to printing and contains the printed image. Plates are created in separations for the colors being used. For example, if a 4 Color CMYK press is being used, four plates, one for each color is created. Because of set up, offset printing is intended for larger runs, with longer turnarounds. Beneits of Offset Printing: •

Slightly better image quality (although that is becoming more debatable as digital press technology advances)

Larger range of Media Handling (some offset presses can print on wood, plastic, cardboard, metal, and leather) allowing for greater printing options

The higher the volume, the less expensive it is to print

Larger sheet size possible on larger presses allows for greater printing options and savings

Digital Printing Images are digitally transferred to paper using lasers, positive and negative static charges and either dry toner or liquid suspended toner particles. No plates need to be created and varying images can be transferred to paper quickly and eficiently. Digital presses differ from standard laser printers in the tight tolerances they are kept in, technologies developed in the offset world, and the graphics arts software that controls them. They also offer sheet sizes up to 14”x26” and up to 350GSM in weight. Beneits of Digital Printing: •

Fast Turnaround to meet tight deadlines

Fast Set Up and no Plate Creation

Less waste

Variable Data (VDP) is available

Because there is no costly set up, digital printing is cheaper for shorter runs

On Demand Printing is available

67


Action Plan and Implementation

68


Expense Budget Summary Marketing Expense Budget Costs

Aug-13 Spe-13

Printing

$ 1,000 $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $

500 $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $

500 $

500 $

500

Promotional Activities

$ 5,000 $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $

500 $ 1,000 $ 1,000 $

250 $

250 $

250

Advertising

$

-

$ 1,500 $ 1.500 $ 1,500 $

-

$ 1,500 $ 1,500 $ 1,500 $

-

$

-

$

-

$

-

Sponsorships

$

-

$ 5,000 $

-

$

-

$

-

$

-

$

-

Travel

$

500 $

-

$

-

$

-

$

-

$

Design Sevices

$

750 $

250 $

Public Relations

$

160 $

Campus Street team

$ 1,550 $ 5,000 $ 6,000 $ 3,000 $

Online Marketing

$

Email Marketing Varia Total Marketing Related Expenses

$ 9,600 $ 15,760 $ 11,260 $ 8,260 $ 2,100 $ 7,260 $ 10,510 $ 7,510 $ 2,600 $ 1,850 $ 2,600 $ 2,600

Total:

$ 81,910

-

$

Oct-13

Nov-13 Dec-13 Jan-14

-

$

-

$

500 $

-

$

750 $

750 $

750 $

-

$

160 $

160 $

160 $

Feb-14

Apr-14 May-14 Jun-14

500 $

250 $

$

-

$

500 $

500 $

-

$

750 $

500 $

500 $

500 $

160 $

160 $

-

$

-

$

-

$

Mar-14

-

-

$

-

$ 1,500 $ 5,000 $ 3,000 $

250 $

Jul-14

250 $

-

$

-

-

$

250 -

$

750 $

750

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250

$

350 $

350 $

350 $

350 $

350 $

350 $

350 $

350 $

350 $

350 $

350 $

350

$

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250 $

250

6,83%

Percent of Sales

Sales Projections 2014 Sales Target Sales 2011

Sales 2012

Sales 2013

Target Increase

Revenue Increase

Revenue Target 2014

McGill

167,443

160,528

193,378

30%

58,013

251,391

Concordia

670,989

775,379

729,37

30%

218,813

948,190

HEC

-

-

-

-

-

2,500

Montreal

838,432

935,907

922,754

-

276,826

1,199,581

UofT Ryerson

1,790 5,984

3,690 23,350

8,140 51,420

30% 30%

2,442 15,426

10,582 66,846

York

-

-

-

-

-

5,000

Toronto

7,773

27,040

59,560

30%

17,868

82,428

Total

$846,205

$962,947

$982,314

30%

$294,694

$1,277,009

69


Year Over Year Growth. Sales 2013

Sales 2012

70

McGill

-4%

20%

Concordia

16%

-6%

Montreal

11,6%

-1%

UofT Ryerson

106% 290%

121% 120%

Toronto

248%

120%

Total

14%

2%

Other Success Metrics Other key metrics we will measure to monitor our successes are as follows:

2012

2013

2014

Speaking Engagements

0

2

3

Awards

0

0

0

Published Articles

0

0

1

Email List Size

0

10,000

9,000

1,000

2000

6,000

Community Partnerships

0

1

5

Association Partnerships

5

5

8

Twitter Community Size

0

22

450

PR Mentions

0

0

3

Face Book Community Size


Key Marketing Metrics Social Network Reach

8000 LinkedIn (Contacts)

Myspace (Friends)

7000

Blog (Comments)

Facebook (Fans)

Twitter (Followers)

6000

71

5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Twitter Followers

500 450 Current Fiscal Goal

400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Blog Posting / Tweets By Topic

30 Industry Trends

25

New Products

Financial

Company News

Thought Leadership

20 15 10 5 0 Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec


72


SOS Tutoring Inc. 2100 Guy, Suite 208, Montreal, Quebec H3H 2M8, Canada

www.sostutoring.com

Marketing Plan  

Marketing Plan written by: D. Lloyd, Verb Strategy & Creative

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