Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Marketing Plan For TypefaceBook™

This week’s group activity for the Marketing module of our MA Programme was to create a new product or service for the design sector. How do you segment your market? Which segment(s) do you target? What is your market positioning relevant to the others? Why have you chosen said marketing positioning?

I tapped out this response on my iPod on the train in this morning (so it is pretty lightweight) but it is something our team can start with for tonight.

A marketing plan for TypefaceBook™
We have launched a new online social networking service for graphic designers called TypefaceBook™.

Our Services

  • Type designers can upload their typeface designs for discussion.
  • Other users can then rate all of the typeface designs, review typeface designs, give advice on improving them, etc.
  • Type designers can crowd-source Unicode characters. This is: design the core character-set of your typeface and have the TypefaceBook™ community iterate the related global character-sets: Cyrillic, Greek etc. This would also work for alternate characters: small capitals, non-aligning numerals, all of that good sexy stuff. I guess that is more open-source typeface design than crowd-sourcing. All TypefaceBook™ fonts are Creative Commons licensed.
  • We offer multiple RSS feeds, so that our users can subscribe to whatever level of feed they like. Follow the ‘Humanist Sans Serif Typefaces group, or even subscribe to the feed for just the letter ‘R’.
  • Using our site is free, our revenue comes from Google Adsense, with a substantial click-through rate.
  • We may offer a Pro-User service from Q3 2009, for a subscription fee.

Our Target Market
  • It is a global audience, but our community is:
  • Typeface Designers (professional)
  • Typeface Designers (amateur)
  • Typeface Users (professional) people who would purchase from type foundries.
  • Typeface Users (amateur) people who would mostly download free fonts.
  • Typophiles
  • The graphic design industry

Our Marketing Strategy
  • Our intent is to run a viral, Marketing_2.0, marketing campaign. Word-of-mouth will be the only way this service will take off given the budget that we have. Running with old-school marketing methodologies means that we will fail, so no press adverts in design magazines and the like. (Although we may partner with design publishers to have a TypefaceBook™ postcard insert inside hardback typography books, and inside copies of the Helvetica documentary DVD for example.
  • Our competitors are other social networking sites and other design community sites. Our offering can not supersede any of the established players who have a pre-existing first-mover advantage. Rather our service will have to co-exist alongside those and find its own place within the online design sector ecosystem.
  • Our initial service roll-out is a closed beta, invitation-only. Our intent here is to create some desirability and define our tribe. We will build-in incentives for beta users to invite and convert ten or more of their friends: send them a limited-edition type poster or something. If they convert more than fifty, then we send them an exclusive designer tee-shirt.
  • Our PR plan is that we will conduct a brace of online interviews with leading design bloggers to raise awareness amongst the design community. Those designers who are most active online are our people.
  • We will produced sustained news and become industry spokespeople in relation to our sustained news campaign. We shall generate informed opinion through TypefaceBook™ which will help us to drive customers to our site.
  • We shall leverage social networking tools: we will establish a suite of Twitter accounts, Flickr pages, we shall even create a shared group page on that other ‘Facebook’.
  • In future there could be an offline component to our marketing plan as well. We could host some annual TypefaceBook-Live™ conferences with type-design speakers and type workshops. One conference in Europe and another State-side to begin with.
  • Type is still primarily about print, so we could partner with a design publisher to produce a hardback annual ‘The TypefaceBook™ Book’ (nice meta-title that). This would be available at a discount to our Pro Account members.