I. Executive Summary
BearcatBlitz.com is a website completely devoted to the fans of the Northwest Missouri State University football team. Providing them with in-depth coverage of every aspect of the sport including video highlights, photos, statistics and breakdowns of each gridiron battle, a fan forum where people can talk Bearcat football with others who share the same passion anywhere across the nation. Their current users, and even potentially new ones, they are attempting to target are obviously Bearcat football fans who are constantly craving information and are very interested in Northwest football.
The main problem that Bearcat Blitz faces is that even though they do a great job in providing what they have to offer they are still rather unknown and have been considered to be forgettable even after multiple years of providing their services to the public. This is simply shown through the differences in hits to the website; although it has increased over the seasons the numbers are not as high as they potentially could be. In order to effectively reach an audience those at Blitz need to take aproper creative plan and focus it on a specific target; once they have a stronghold on that group they can then worry about expansion into other audiences. The best way to do this is to do something Blitz has never really tried; come up with a plan to advertise the website with an effective creative strategy. Before now Blitz has always relied on word of mouth to draw in users andare now willing to consider an actual advertising campaign to effectively reach their target.
II. Current SituationAnalysis
A. Relevant History of the Business
BearcatBlitz.com was started in 2003 by Brandon Misner as a way to provide Northwest football fans with a place to go to get more information about the team, coverage of previous and upcoming games, while also giving them a few snap shots captured at various games. At the time there wasn’t as much effective coverage of the team located anywhere else on the web; even unfortunately including the University’s website. As fans continued to crave more information about their Bearcats, and word of the website began to spread Mr. Misner handed over the website to Rod Barr, due to increased time constraints.
As the popularity of Bearcat Blitz grew they simply relied on word of mouth to get the news out and never really considered putting in an advertising budget or campaign to promote their website since at the time it was simply viewed as a fun hobby. Blitz never had to worry about coming up with themes, media and spending patterns, or even currently have a theme or idea fora campaign since it has never been a large money maker until recently. The big problem they are facing is that those involved at Bearcat Blitz believe they have discovered new ways to start making more value from the website and are finally ready to begin considering an ad campaign to draw in more people using other resources outside of people simply talking about them.
B. Business Evaluation
BearcatBlitz.com is still the only website out there completely devoted to covering the Northwest Missouri State University football team; they are the only site that includes video highlights, complete photo coverage of all games both home and away, and a message board where any and all Bearcat fans and come and talk about anything involving Northwest football from anywhere across Bearcat Nation. They also include a complete weekly analysis of each and every past and upcoming game with stories and audio commentary by the voice of the Bearcats Matt Gaarder.
Over the past few years Blitz has really evolved into a very effective website adding the video, many more weekly features including more stories, and the “View from the Box”with Matt Gaarder, thousands of photos from each and every game. The website layout itself has been completely revamped since its original launch and is actually in the works to be updated again soon in the near future. It is definitely viewed as a new and modern website because of the overall feel it gives off as well as the fact that many are still unaware of what they have to offer and don’t realize or have forgotten how long it has actually been around.
Waiting to start running an advertising campaign may have worked out to Blitz’s benefit since they are now aware of the high quality of their offerings as well as who they are ready to really target and go after. The target audience is obviously male Bearcat football fans around college age to right out of college-aged people, around 18-24 years old, and to them Blitz’s value ranks right around the fair to good range. They know that Blitz is providing them a service that they would not be able to get elsewhere; unfortunately they don’t always really understand that up to now it has not been a very profitable business and has been hard to justify attempting to achieve all the consumer’s expectations; which are simply that they want more. The present users seem to never truly be satisfied since they are always looking for even more stories, pictures, videos, constant updates, and other features that have not really been possible until now.
Blitz has become well known over the years since they have obviously been able to stay in existence, but they still are wanting to reach more people and gather a larger audience than they have been able to just using word of mouth to advertise themselves.
Even though they have gained awareness over the years; very few have the understanding of every service Blitz is actually offering to them and this is something they are looking to correct. They want to spark curiosity about the website and get Bearcat fans to start visiting and learning more about what they have to offer. They seek audience awareness of how much they can actually do and interact with asite devoted to their favorite football team.
C. Consumer Evaluation
i. Demographic Profile
Blitz is really set up to target the specific audience of males around 18-24 as stated above. They are really looking to grab the attention of both students at Northwest and even graduates who have just entered into the business world but are still very interested in their school’s football team although its probably safe to assume that there might be some fans even older effected by a potential advertising campaign. Most likely they will be single or possibly newlyweds and really could be of any race; although with the majority of students on campus being white those would most likely be the most effected. They are either working towards their college diplomas or have even achieved graduation status; an annual income could range from just about anything from a broke college student to a successful alumni and while they might not yet have children they are most likely going to end up as middle class family men near the Midwest where they would be able to continue to follow the Bearcats.
ii. Psychographic Profile
The target audience is definitely going to be more than just your average football fan; they will obviously be rather interested in keeping up with new information about Northwest football. Many will try to stay active in the Bearcat Nation community and even support the team. While not all will be able to make it to every game; which is fine since they are all covered on BearcatBlitz.com, they still make it their goal to attend as many as they can fit into their schedule. They are looking to either gain information they missed by not being able to be in attendance, wanting to recap the previous game through the features offered, interested in looking deeper into the next week’s matchup, or attempt to interact and chat with other Bearcat fans about any and all things related to Northwest football.
iii. Present Customer’s Behavior
Blitz’s present customers are obviously influenced greatly by the football team; their overall attitude on the fan forum as well as how many hits to the website is effected greatly on the outcome of the games and how the team is playing. They are also already interested in the sport and wanting to keep up with their favorite team with the easiest ways to do that possible; which for many would be considered to be online. In the middle of the season those that already know about BearcatBlitz.com really become rather avid users of the site and what it has to offer while during the off season there is kind of a scarcity of hits to the website; which is actually expected with any sort of site completely devoted to one sport that only lasts a few months. Many believe that the quality of the productis pretty good but are easily influenced by much larger sporting websites and companies and are constantly wanting better and more options. Blitz definitely provides them their only outlet where they can go and get nothing but information about Bearcat football all in one place and has great potential to achieve reaching a larger audience. Those in the target audience that are not yet aware of the site are really looking for a way to get the information they crave and would most likely become very loyal to the Bearcat Blitz “brand” after they first experience it since they can soon and have probably already discovered that what they seek really isn’t offered in too many other locations.
D. Competitive analysis
As mentioned abovethere really isn’t much competition for BearcatBlitz.com and with a good advertising strategy and successful campaign they could quickly take over the market that consists of Bearcat football fans. The only true competition that the site has working against it is the Northwest Missouri State University’s athletic page for football. There they offer some information about the previous and upcoming games, some news stories with a few pictures from just home games; but is obviously not as in depth and has to worry about all other sports played on campus. Similar toBlitz their competition really lacks any strength in their advertising strategies since they really have never had much of a theme trying to draw people to use their website and resources. Their weakness when compared to Blitz is simple; they can’t match the offerings that are located on BearcatBlitz.com and have no real advertising to target an audience and bring them to what information they do have.
III. Advertising Recommendations
The target market is plain and simple; Bearcat football fans who are looking for a place to get more information, pictures, videos, and interactivity online. The audience has been clearly listed above and even though there are many current users Blitz is very interested in obtaining even more users who still have not became aware of Bearcat Blitz’sexistence. With how large the fan base is for Northwest football there is still a rather large number that needs to be targeted; these are users who would definitely use the resources offered in this market that are provided by Blitz but are unaware of where to find them. With a good ad campaign Blitz has the capabilities of becoming more aware which in return will begin the process of driving more hits to the website, creating more returning users, allow the popularity of the site to grow to heights never achieved before thus allowing them to become even more profitable and begin to provide even more access to the Bearcat football team via BearcatBlitz.com.
B. Advertising Communications Objectives:
BearcatBlitz.com is the only place for Bearcat football fans to go online when they are craving Northwest news, looking for snap shots taken at every game home and away, video highlights, recaps and previews for every game, and interactive chat boards where all fans can discuss and share with one another across Bearcat Nation.
The primary marketing problem Bearcat Blitz faces is that the target audience is not as aware of the offerings and features of the website. The image Blitz current does have is a decent one but has great potential to become considered great by all Northwest football fans that go online. There are still too many members of the target audience that are out searching for a website like Blitz and would gladly take advantage of everything the company has to offer but again the problem is imposed; they don’t know of Blitz’s existence. Beyond that the small part ofthe audience that does use Blitz to their benefit, regularly or even just on occasion, don’t really know about every aspect to all the extra features the website institutes; many know and use some but not all of the available offerings.
To achieve themost effective ways to reach Blitz’s audience and in order for a campaign to be successful; which would be measured by new users and regular hits to the website the advertisements used must spark curiosity of the company. Blitz needs to really push to get the company name out there to their audience and create awareness of what they have to offer through their advertising campaign. The audience needs to look at the ad and understand that it’s promoting a website covering their favorite football team while at the same time intriguing them to want to know more and check out the website in its entirety where they will soon find out that this is the place to get everything they desire all in one place.
C. Creative Strategy
To be as effective as possible Blitz really needs to put out the message that they are out there and available for Bearcat fans to use at any time and to really let them know what they have to offer on the site. Blitz will have to really target the young male football fans located throughout the country but very heavily in the Midwest area. Blitz really needs to play on the fact that the majority of fans they are targeting are looking for more information online about the Northwest football team and that everything they crave is located all on one website; they will no longer have to continue to search everywhere through Blitz’s competition to find what they desire. They are going to want their target audience to pick up and view that advertisement and get the website itself and the offered resources to really stick in their minds, spark curiosity of the website, get them to visit and become hooked into becoming regular users and the real overall goal to get them to where they will not soon forget what Bearcat Blitz is out there offering them.
To effectively reach the target audience there needs to be a few different methods implemented in BearcatBlitz’s campaign attack. It is very important to make sure that their target audience becomes aware of the website early on just before the season through multiple forms of print advertising. The Northwest Missourian, on-campus newspaper, is a great way to make initial contact with the audience outside of their current approach; many current college students, graduates, and community members use the paper on a weekly basis especially to keep up with the Bearcat football team. It would also work in Blitz’s benefit to also advertise in the Division II football Preview Magazine that comes out yearly. Many potential users are reached through these print media outlets and can be used effectively to have advertisements placed so they begin to come out right before and into the beginning of football season which is the best time to target their audience who will begin to become excited for the upcoming games.
With Bearcat Blitz being an online website an online advertising approach would also be necessary to have a successful campaign. The idea of a Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts would also benefit them greatly; as well as banner advertisements on some websites like and similar to D2Football.com where Bearcat football fans continually flock to on a regular basis to find out what is going on elsewhere in the league.
Frequency of the placed ads definitely needs to begin to occur just before and throughout the entire Northwest football season, in order to be cost effective Blitz needs to take out a Quarter Page and Eight Page advertisement in the Northwest Missourian which will run around $ 504.49 leaving the remaining roughly $300 left in the budget to take out a half page ad in the D2 Football Preview magazine. Blitz should request special placement in the Sports section of the Missourian, preferably on the right handside of the paper if at all possible. The same right hand side needs to be applied to the magazine advertisement as well and as close to the Northwest Missouri State University section of the magazine as possible since that is where the target audience will most likely be spending most of their time in the preview issue.
To evaluatethe effectiveness of the advertising campaign for Bearcat Blitz will be rather simple to determine whether it will be successful. The website can easily measure the hits it receives on a daily basis, as well as new and returning users compared to both before and after the advertising campaign is launched. Done correctly this advertising campaign proposal should definitely help generate a great amount of new business and help make BearcatBlitz.com into a very successful online company.