Bus340 Marketing for Managers: Marketing Plan
Business 340 Marketing for Managers
Professor Kate Baker
Quarter Long Project: Marketing Plan
Addle Chair is a micro-animation studio. It is run and operated by its owner Gabraelle (Elle) Moore. Addle Chair strives to create unique adult animation content, with a focus on LGBTQ+ and neurodivergent storylines and characters. As a one woman team Elle faces a lot of challenges in terms of the sheer amount of work that needs to be done to create a single animated project. However with the rise of AI technologies and integrations there is a lot of positive anticipation for how it can be used to streamline the animation workflow and timeline. Allowing for a single artist to create at a volume not seen before.
This marketing plan is based on the increase in demand for content after evaluating the current market. As well as the potential the company has to produce results and what barriers stand in its way. This plan's main focus is on developing a workflow that would enable the output of quality content. At a rate that would enable a single individual to compete with the schedules of larger, more established companies. Then use content marketing to attract, engage, and retain viewers. Leading to a fanbase which merchandised products could be marketed to.
Elle is a trained animator who has transitioned from 3D character animation to 2D hand drawn animation in the past. She is an avid learner and taught herself many 3D and 2D skills for softwares such as Blender, ProCreate, and Krita. As AI integrated software such as midjourney, stable diffusion, and cascadeur become commonplace. She hopes to pivot again and reimagine the traditional animation workflow. Allowing a faster, more efficient production pipeline to enable more projects to get done by a single person on a tighter timeline.
- Competitive Forces: There is a massive amount of competition in the animation industry and content creation. However, according to John Evershed, CEO of High Concentrate, “the great adult animation boom is in full swing.” And unlike the larger much more diverse industry of children's animation around 60% of adult animation consists of comedies, with the animated sitcom replacing the live action one. We can see this in shows such as Family Guy, American Dad, and more recently Bob’s Burgers and Gary’s Demons. Meaning there is a large portion of genres available and ready to be tapped.
- Economic Forces: We can see cable networks losing viewership, [adult swim] lost 25% of its viewers in 2021, netting around 386,000 viewers. While streaming services such as Crunchyroll grew from around 1 million subscribers in 2017 to 5 million in 2021. And companies such as Fox and Netflix are pouring money into securing more anime and animated titles. Netflix saw critical success with adult titles like Arcane and Love Death + Robots.
- Political Forces: As of 3/8/2023 according to a Bloomberg article at least 385 anti-LBGTQ+ bills have been introduced across the united states. Notably Tennessee’s drag ban, which has been called out as an atrocious censorship against individual expression and unconstitutional. Should laws of this nature continue to gain traction and reach federal level. There is a concern for what will and won’t be allowed even when a piece of art is categorized for adults and only available in venues for adult consumers. It is a troubling idea for online content creators and how they could potentially be censored. Especially when art creation is currently under the law's scrutiny.
- Legal and Regulatory Forces: The developers for stable diffusion are also facing numerous lawsuits for fair-use violations and it is uncertain for how much if at all the software will continue to be available. However there are ethical, and legal work arounds that enable the use of the technology. Simply by producing the art that trains the style filter or data set yourself.
- Technological Forces: AI is a new and powerful technology, that’s application is just barely being tapped into. A recent video produced by the Corridor Crew shows the use case of turning live action video into a convincing and quality 90’s style anime. By running the image set of video frames through a style filter that they trained with a data set of images taken from the anime they wanted to emulate. Then denoised, and animated in post to add some final touches and lighting. Showing the scale, speed, and accessibility content creation with AI is capable of.
- Sociocultural Forces: Diverse, inclusive content has been on the rise and demand. However forced representation has been a common complaint for modern viewers. Who don’t want to see rebooted characters have their historic character assassinated or feel queer baited by characters that were marketed as LGBTQ+ but then never shown or depicted as such on screen. Shiro from Netflix Voltron: Legendary Defenders series was reportedly a huge let down for fans. When after they were introduced to Shiro’s partner and the pairs failing relationship the character quickly fell to the ‘bury your gays’ trope. And Shiro is then married off to a male character at the end of the series with no representation of the relationship at all. As well as characters such as Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory, who are neurodivergent coded, but never explicitly called autistic. Leaving many fans feeling frustrated not just at the lack of representation, but also the small scope of representation shown.
- Target Markets
Adult animation is on the rise and over half of the industry is focused on comedic or sitcom type shows. Addle Chair would like to tap into a smaller demographic of viewers who want quality content and storytelling that they can see themselves in. Specifically under-represented and often misrepresented groups of people. This includes LGBTQ+, neurodivergent, people of color, and women. Characters whose stories don’t center around how they are different. But how these characters can have stories and they’re differentness is still represented all the same. Once tapped into this market the quality of content would hopefully propel the work into more mainstream circles. And be viewed at a larger scale. The use of AI and a redeveloped production pipeline is key here as it allows for a quantity of content that could meet demand, without losing quality.
- Current Marketing Objectives and Performance
The current animation pipeline consists of these steps: Planning/writing, storyboarding, asset creation/ development, production, editing/post-production. The longest of these steps typically being the pre and post production ones. However with the use of AI story boarding, asset creation/ development, and production times could be cut to a fraction of what they currently are.
The objective of this marketing would be to develop a new animation pipeline integrating AI. Then using the assets and teaser trailers assess the reaction of the potential viewers to determine what stories, and characters they’d like to see the most, before diving into production. This could allow for better planning and time management. In order to invest time and resources into projects audience members are willing to pay for.
From there consumers would have the option to subscribe at a monthly fee of $3.99 to view all of Addle Chairs produced content. Or they could opt for a one-time purchase if they aren’t sure the studio’s work is for them. The prices would vary depending on the length and type of work. There is currently no data available to measure the performance of these methods.
3) SWOT Analysis
- Addle Chair would offer a variety of work not easily found on network television, or current streaming services.
- The demand for adult animation as well as inclusive and diverse content is high.
- Addle Chair would be capable of creating large amount of quantity on a much shorter time frame due to a reimagined production timeline
- As a one woman team, there would be no higher up executive or interpersonal drama that delays production.
- Producing quality content quickly even with advancements in technology is a lot of work for a one woman team,
- Until a new production pipeline and several projects are completed as proof of concepts it will be hard to determine what is and isn’t a realistic time frame to complete a project.
- Depending on the scope of an individual project, even if planning and timing is nailed down it may be impossible to have a consistent release schedule.
- The advancements and application of AI technology are revolutionizing the artist's workflow. While it scares some, many others are excited for how it improves and speeds up creative processes.
- Addle Chair believes in affordability and accessibility. Good content shouldn’t be barred behind a paywall completely unscalable by the average consumer.
- There is a huge amount of adult animation only focused on one genre and type of show. There are many markets that could be tapped into.
- Large companies are recognizing the untapped potential of adult animation as well and many are making moves to expand their animation endeavors.
- There is also a sea of established studios and content creators that already have a hold on viewers through niche media, genres, and storytelling.
- There is growing hostility for LGBTQ+ creators and legislation is already into law bills that censor queer expression and content.
- The technologies that could make this all a reality could quickly be taken off the market and made unavailable.
- Matching Strengths to Opportunities/ Converting Weaknesses and Threats
- While being a one person studio in a large ecosystem of creators is a disadvantage, it’s also an opportunity to collaborate. And possibly have cross exposure to new consumers who’d never would have found Addle Chairs content to begin with.
- While some AI technologies are under direct threat. There are plenty of others that are being developed to do the same thing but ethically and without threat of legal cease and desist.
- While hostility toward the LGBTQ+ community grows in congress, it’s important corporate goal to show solidarity, and reassure people they aren’t alone, and they and their representation is valid and here to stay. No going back in the closet.
- While the ability to produce a large amount of quality work is a strength it is not a guarantee to commercial success. However, it will allow for a large portfolio and showcase to be developed.
4) Marketing Objectives
Addle Chairs marketing goals after developing a new production pipeline would be to attract viewers with its content. Connect and engage those viewers with the stories told and retain loyal viewership. Initial viewership goal would be to reach 10,000 and then convert at least 10% of those viewers into subscribers. With the goal to increase viewership to 50,000 in 5 years. Converting at least 20% of those viewers to subscribers. Growing from 1,000 to 10,000 subscribers over a 5 year period. To achieve this Addle Chair will devote time into researching and developing a new production pipeline. Then test how efficient this pipeline is. Before creating test productions to gauge consumer interest. Before pursuing projects with the estimated most support.
5) Marketing Strategies
- Target Market(s)
Target Market 1: Older zoomers and Millennials who are interested in animated content but not comedies or sitcoms.
Example: While Bob’s Burgers is great, what if a consumer wants to watch a post-apocalyptic world of magic, where a boy with a bean for head has to survive a brightly colored dark souls like world to see his family again.
Target Market 2: LGBTQ+ community members who’d like to see themselves represented in characters, but it’s not a coming out story, or a raunchy romcom full of innuendo.
Example: What if they just want to watch an ace witch try to find a depressed goat man who's learning how to process his emotions and that the friendzone doesn’t exist. He was just being dishonest to the girl he likes.
Target Market 3: Neurodivergent individuals who are interested in seeing a wider array of representation.
Example: Instead of a socially awkward Sheldon, or hyperactive little boy. What if they want to see a mute social competent person try to survive a surreal zombie apocalypse. With his companions who are equally on the spectrum but in different ways.
- Marketing Mix
- Products: Not only would Addle Chair produce quality animations. But they’d also offer merchandise. Including: Stickers, patches, prints, and pins representing the studio and work they’ve produced.
- Price: Do to the nature of software being free. The costs Addle Chair would need to calculate is the time and labor of Elle, and how much time it would take her to develop the production pipeline. And then the efficiency at which she could produce finished animations. As well as the cost for voice acting work. And the costs to produce, package, and ship merchandise across the country, with the goal being a global distribution.
- Distribution: Addle Chair would use direct marketing. Selling straight to consumers through their website. And ship merchandise via USPS.
- Promotion: Addle Chair would focus heavily on social media campaigns to produce awareness, engagement, and data to estimate a project's viability.
6) Marketing Implementation
- Marketing Organization
Addle Chair will be a reactionary studio, creating animations that fit the needs and wants of its viewers. While there will be a backlog of story ideas, the consumers will be the ones that guide which stories make it to production. But as a fast studio Addle Chair still needs to develop the pipeline that will enable it to produce these works. It will also need to have a strong social media presence in order to accurately gauge the wants of each target segmentation. Thus Addle Chairs marketing efforts will be split into the categories as follows: 1) Research and AI workflow development 2) social media content marketing 3) content production.
Each of these categories will play a vital role in what Addle Chair can make, and what gets delivered to the consumer and when. Social media content marketing will control which stories Addle Chair decides to produce. While R&D and production will determine the efficiency at which those stories are made. Addle Chair must be careful of how it uses its social media in order to remain completely transparent about what it’s producing and how quickly the consumers will get it. Without over estimating R&D and production abilities. A balance has to be kept between the 3 in order to best serve its viewers.
- Activities, Responsibility, and Timetables for Completion
All activities will begin at the start of this fiscal year on April 1. Elle, Addle Chair’s owner, unless stated otherwise, will be responsible for all activities.
- On April 1, research and develop a plan to integrate AI into the animation workflow.
- By April 7, begin AI training and learning of new softwares
- By May 7, check progress of learning of new technologies, and if at a sufficient level of understanding begin integration testing.
- By June 7, beginning the writing and planning phase of a short test film.
- By June 21, begin asset creation and storyboarding.
- By July 7, production will begin.
- By August 14, production should be wrapped and post production should begin.
- By August 21, the short film should finish production.
- By September 1, an analysis on the planned workflow, its successes, its failures, where it could be researched and developed further should be completed.
- By September 14, a revised workflow should be established.
- By November 14, three story concepts should be developed and outlined.
- By December 1, marketing assets for those three concepts should be complete.
- By Jan 1, a social media campaign should be completed and the most viable of the three story concepts should be assessed and selected for production.
- By April 1, the animation should conclude production and be released. Its engagement should be analyzed for viewer to subscriber ratio.
7) Evaluation and Control
- Performance Standards and Financial Controls
The test film should establish the quality an expedited workflow can produce. While also serving as a gauge for how expensive future productions could become. Planned financial expenditures and proposed quality standards include:
- Animation that is above average and polished.
- No return is expected during the first year of trial for this new marketing plan, due to the intense investment in research and development. As well as no data to indicate the potential success of the social media campaign to attain new customers.
- Monitoring Procedures
As a single person Elle must hold herself accountable and be realistic about efficient time use. Monitoring and reevaluating how long something will actually take her to do, to best define a timeline that accurately reflects her abilities. Regular analysis on progress and updating the production timeline accordingly. To ensure that production for consumers is able to transparently be shown.
- The time line serves as a guide and should be adjusted according to more realistic expectations once research and development concludes its first round of testing.
- Elle must hold herself accountable as she manages production after research and development has concluded.
- Should Elle for some reason see herself not being able to hold herself accountable she will bring in a third party service or person to help manage her progress and ensure she’s hitting her goals.