Segway’s Company Marketing Strategy

Company Overview and Project Focus

Company Background: Segway Company was founded on July 27, 1999 by Dean Kamen to provide Human transport with an idea of replacing the automobile through innovation of zero-emission transportation solutions using “dynamic stabilization technology.” Segway research and invention development were to focus on creating transport devices that would take up a “minimal amount of space, were extremely maneuverable and could operate on pedestrian sidewalls and pathways” (company’s website). In February 2001, the company started building its manufacturing plant in Bedford, New Hampshire and completed in November 2001. However, the company adopted its name Segway on December 1st, 2001 that means “to transition smoothly from one state to another.”On 3rd December 2001, the company unveiled the first transportation self-balancing device called the Segway personal transporter (PT).

During 2002, 31 states implemented laws that allowed segway PT to engage on sidewalls and this was a milestone for the company. On 29th march 2002, the company auctioned “three limited edition Segway PTS on Amon.com” (Segway website) to benefit Dean Kamen’s non-profit organization called FIRST. The auction had a great impact and managed to raise a total of 364,800 US dollars and 500 bids were drawn across the country. On November 8th, 2002 the company received another boost after it was awarded with a “2002 Best of what’s New Award technology category” by the popular Science Magazine. In the same year on in November, the company advertised its sales with Amazon.com. The company held an essay contest and the winners “received the Segway PT, a tour to Segway headquarters and a dinner with Dean Kamen” (Segway Website).

On 29th August 2003, the company had another boost when the enthusiasts and Segway PT owners gathered in Chicago to celebrate “the Segway PT ownership experience” (Company website). On 22nd March 2004, they ventured in expansion program by announcing its 2004 US dealer. The company recruited dealers to market, distribute and sell the company’s products; Segway PT, accessories and associated services. After the release of transportation guide by the U.S. department of transport the company met the guidelines and recommendations of the department through the development of bicycle facilities.

On 29th November 2004, the company featured as the best innovators in 2004 after the release of “Segway’s four-wheeled prototype” (Segway Website) that operated either statically or used its rear wheels to balance. On March 1st, 2005, the company introduced more products to the market. On December 12th, 2005 the company held a ceremony where ten-thousand participants were honored with the company’s products to use in the Segway PT showcase over the world.

In 2006, the company further raised its innovation through the release of second generation Segway PT on August 14. The products released this time were multipurpose as the police, commercial services, ride environments and consumer markets segments, could use them. On the same day, the company launched a new marketing company to champion the campaign and introduce the second generation PT to the market. By May 2007, the company products had attracted more than 250 distributors and retail points in more than 60 countries globally.

In April 2008, the company went to the internet through the launching of its social network to reach its customers, enthusiasts and Segways PT owners. On May 1st, 2008, the company introduced a new brand of Segway PT i2 model in the market. This model had a different color from the old one. On September 20th, 2008, the company initiated a one-day bicycle use campaign by sponsoring bicycle users for a day. The company encouraged the people to leave their gas-powered automobiles and use bicycle as an alternative means of transportation to their home and other places. On 7th May 2009, Segway in collaboration with General motors initiated a new project by the name P.U.M.A prototype to deal with the growing urban congestion and pollution issues (Segway website).

Finally, on March 20th 2010, Segway in collaboration with the General Motors/SAIC, introduced a new project in Shanghai China during a 2010 Expo. The project EN-V project had the aim of reaching the 2030 vision for transportation. The vision of the project is the production of a two-person automobile with “advanced dynamics, connectivity, and sensory capabilities that is compatible with urban congestion while being environmentally-friendly and fun” (Segway website).

Company mission and sources of competitive advantage: the company does not have a mission statement but according to their innovations, the mission of the company is the provision of transportations means that are unmatched in the use of cost cutting technology for consumer and business markets. In competitive advantage, the company has competitors from the car manufacturing companies. In addition, several companies in the world produce bicycles and other two-wheeled automobiles. Further, coming up companies may adopt the Segway technology to come up with products that match or complement the Segway products in the market.

Course project focus: the project focuses on the Segway’s company marketing strategy. The project gives an overview of the company background, the mission, the sources of competitive advantage, market opportunities/problem statement, situational analysis, segmentation, targeting and positioning, and the marketing strategy.

Market opportunity/problem statement: Segway Company has market in all parts of the world. Their major market opportunity is the congested towns where transport means is a problem. With their invention on means of transport that can use pedestrians’ sidewalls and pathways, the target market for the company’s products are generally the pedestrians. However, from the company’s background, there are more market opportunities such as the police departments, consumer market and the commercial markets.

Situational Analysis

Industry Analysis: Segway market size is vast. From the company’s website and company’s background by May 2007, the company had markets in over 60 countries worldwide. This gives evidence that the company’s market is vast. A 60 countries market is an indicator of the company’s vast market. In terms of market growth, Segway Company has realized tremendous growth. The company being founded in 1999 and by May 2007 being in the market in over 60 countries in the world is an indication that it has experienced good and healthy market. In addition, from the company’s background, the company’s growth even in the US gives an indication of tremendous growth. In market trends, the company has a stable and positive trend. The market trends measures are market size and market growth. The growth in market in reference to expansion and size indicates growth in trend.

Company’s SWOT analysis: the SWOT analysis measures the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with the company (Aaker & McLaughlin, 2010). In the strengths, Segway Company managed to use innovative methods and planted design to produce economically and environmentally friendly means of transport. It further managed to be more creative in the production of their products that would improve means of transport. In addition, the company managed to hold several marketing activities without facing financial challenges.

The company also has strength of producing different products that suit different markets and environments. The ability for the company to carry extensive research and development focused on creation of devices that would take minimal amount of space indicates the company’s strength in carrying research and room for advancements. In the weakness, the Segway work force is split in 14 specialized teams. The split has attracted top CEO from other automotive companies in the world. The high turnover of the CEO to the company though may seem like strength might cause major problems in future.

Further, the involvement of the Segway owner Kamen, in most of the activities of the company affects the CEOs’ confidence in running the company to success. They usually feel humiliated and often have a perception that they cannot lead the company to success without Kamen’s intervention. This has caused most of the CEO to shift to other automotive industries and fields. In addition, most of the marketing activities that the company engages in as in the company’s background are more costly. For instance, the provision of ten thousands participants on December 12th, 2005 with the Segment PT would have been planned in another more costly effective way.

In opportunities, the company has various ventures through mergers, collaboration and markets globalization. From the company’s background, the company has collaborated with General Motors in various projects. This is an opportunity for Segway Company to venture into new markets that General Motors carry its activities. Further, the collaboration with General Motors has exposed the Segway Company to knowledge in car production. The company may use this knowledge to expand its diversity in production instead of overspecializing in two-wheeled mode of transport.

The Segway Company has made ventures in air operations, and logistics services. In the threats, the company is exposed to competition from other automotive industries in the world. This is even worse to the professionals and experts such the CEOs who feel dissatisfied with the company management and shift to other industries. If the company’s management does not change, these CEOs may influence the best employees of the company to shift to their companies, which may cause major blow to the company’s human resource.

Competition: Segway competitors are automotive industries in the world. There are various industries in the world that deal with automotives. With the advance in technology, most automotive companies have turned their attention to the production of economically and environmentally friendly cars. These cars may act as complements to the Segways products causing major blow to the company. Furthermore, various companies deal with two-wheeled automotives in the world that offer competition to Segway company’s products in the market.

Product Analysis: Segway Company deals with a wide range of products. They have different types of automotives in the market. The range from the Segway PT introduced in the market on December 1st, 2001, the Seaway’s four-wheeled prototype introduced on November 29th, 2004, the Segway Cross-Terrain Transporter (XT), Segway Golf Transporter (GT), and flagship i series model announced on March 1st, 2005. Other products include the second generation Segway PT, Segway x2, Segway i2; Segway x2 golf introduced on August 14th, 2006, collaboration with General Motors Opel Flextreme concept car production and the ongoing collaboration with General Motors production like P.U.M.A prototype and EN-V Project. Segway products are differing with the technology’s growth and customers’ demand with the latest productions being friendlier to customers.

Customer analysis: In customer analysis, the concern is on segmentation that gives the identification of groups of customers to the company’s products (Aaker and McLaughlin, 2010). In addition, the analysis involves the customers’ motivation and unmet needs (Aaker and McLaughlin, 2010). Segway customer segment comprises of commercial and consumer individuals. In production of their products, the company puts the needs of the customers in mind. They also target the police through the introduction of the Segway i2 and cross-terrain Segway x2.

Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning

Market segments: Segway company market segments range from commercial, police and consumer markets. They also have the riding environment and golf markets as their segments. To meet the different needs of the market segments, the Segway Company produces different automotives that can be used in different environments for different purposes. For instance, the Segway x2 and Segway i2 are meant for all the segments while i2 cargo is good for commercial environments.

Target market identification: Segway Company may have two different types of target markets: the primary and secondary markets (Mahoney, 2005). The primary market includes the commercial and industrial markets as well as the government and private sector. In secondary markets the company should target and adopt regions with harsh climates such as milder climates where Human Transport is not for subzero temperatures.

Positioning: This refers to methods and means that Segway would use to meet the market segment and target market needs (Aaker & McLaughlin, 2010). For the company to meet its market needs it should analyze the different jobs in which their products would be used efficiently and increase the performance of particular tasks. The company with the understanding of these jobs would then give a good empirical data of the advantage of using these products to the customers (Aaker & McLaughlin, 2010).

The company should use the technology such as the social network sites to reach more customers. They should further use the online forums, newsgroups and tech-sawy consumer sites. Further, the company should carry promotions and trade shows to promote its products as well as enlightening the target customers on the advantages of using their products.

Marketing Strategy Recommendations: the marketing mix

Products: In products, Segway Company to date has been able to deal with the product mix. The company has maintained the changes in their production depending on the customer’s needs (Grant, 2005). They have improved their products, and changed the color and the technology to suit the customers. In marketing, it is essential for an organization to make changes in its production depending on the market needs. Segway product mix strategy has been to produce products that meet the market needs in terms of coloration, quality, and technology.

Price: Segway company products have been generally expensive in the market. However, the prices have been genuine depending with the quality of the products. The Company’s marketing strategy considers the rise of automotive industry, which will enhance competition in the market by offering more friendly prices that will help the company to sustain its market (Mahoney, 2005). Nevertheless, the company must maintain the quality of its products despite offering affordable prices to the markets.

Promotion: Segway company means of promotion in the past have been through organization of events and ceremony. Furthermore, the company also adopted the use of dealers to market, distribute and place the company’s products in the market. Some of this means have been a burden to the company due to high cost of promotion of the means such as the ceremony in which the company provided the ten thousands of participants with Segway PTs. The company has therefore adopted different means of promoting their products such as of dealers all over the world and the use of social networks sites. This means of promotion are more cost effective and they should put further efforts in them. In addition to the use of the dealers, and social networks, the company should use the newsgroups and trade shows for promotion.

Place and people: Marketing strategy should also consider the places and the inhabitants of that place (Mahoney, 2005). This helps the company in understanding the market needs, as there are places and people that need expensive products while others need cheap products. Similarly, different places experience different weather conditions, which dictate the kind of products to be used in the area (Mahoney, 2005). To cater for the different places and people’s demands, Segway Company should carry researches or studies to give the company understanding of the different market demands. The company should consequently use the knowledge in production to match different environments.

Process: In every organization, the best processes to use in marketing strategy are the analysis, research and study (Grant, 2005). The three strategies or processes give an organization the needs of different markets and different approaches of promotion to be used. Similarly, Segway being not an exception should apply the processes in order to understand the market needs and demands. After understanding, the company should then produce its products according to the demands of the market. This saves the company the effects of overproduction with fewer demands in the market.

Physical facilities: The physical facilities refer to the equipment required in the production, which the manufacturing plants and the tools used in manufacturing (Grant, 2005). For the company to meet market needs it must put into consideration its physical facilities, which should be able to produce enough supply for the market and at the same time the right quality and technology (Grant, 2005). The physical facilities thus need maintenance and improvement in technology. Segway Company should deal with physical facilities by improving technology and ensuring that they are well maintained.

References

Aaker, D. & McLaughlin, D. (2010). Strategic market management: global perspectives. United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons.

Grant, R. (2005). Contemporary strategy analysis fifth Eds. Blackwell publishing, Malden.

Mahoney, J. (2005). Economic foundations of Strategy. Sage Publication, Inc, London.