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EasyLunchboxes: How Should an Entrepreneur Use Social Media to Market Her Home-Based Business that Sells Lunch Boxes? Kelly Lester is a wife, mother to three daughters, and entrepreneur. Lester started her first company, a business that sold decorative light switch covers, in 1996 when the Web was in its infancy. Even then, Lester saw the power and the marketing potential that the Web provided businesses, particularly small businesses that lack the massive marketing budgets that their larger rivals have. In addition to selling switch plates through retail shops and museum gift stores, she built a Web site and began, selling online. In those days, competition in e-commerce was slim; when users typed the phrase switch plate into a search engine, Lesters Web site was listed first, a benefit that generated significant online sales for her company. Lester sold the business and in 2009, with growing daughters, she was inspired to start a second company. Im sad when I see what a lot of kids bring to school for lunch, she says. Im even sadder when i see what school districts offer our kids for school lunch. All three of her daughters were in school, and Lester always packed healthy lunches for them but found herself spending too much time preparing and packing lunches. Im very concerned about my familys health and nutrition, but as a busy mom, I like to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen,” says Lester. Im all about fresh, healthy, and fast. She soon found that washing, filling, and packing nine separate containers (three for each girl) with food every weekday was driving her absolutely insane. She began searching store shelves for lunchboxes that made organizing easy but found nothing. Web searches proved no more fruitful. Thats why I created the EasyLunchboxes System, she says. She began calling plastics manufacturers in the United States, none of whom showed much interest in her idea. Finally, one manufacturer told her that his company could produce a single lid bento-style (with compartments) plastic lunchbox, but He would first have to create a mold, which would cost $75,000. Lester formed a company, EasyLunchboxes and began contacting plastic manufacturers in China. There she found a company that would produce the lunchbox she had designed for far less than any of the domestic companies could. Im a thrifty shopper, she explains. Transactions with the foreign supplier did not always go smoothly, however. Lester had to send one of the first shipments back three times because of quality issues and failure to meet the Food and Drug Administrations standards. Today, Lester has an independent company test samples of every shipment to make sure they meet all safety standards. The polypropylene plastic used to manufacture the EasyLunchboxes are BPA free, and the cooler bags that keep items in the lunchboxes cold are tested for lead. Because of the time required to ship products from China and unpredictable interruptions in the supply chain. Lester has learned to keep a large inventory of EasyLunchboxes in a warehouse in the United States. On one occasion, the company that manufactures the lunchboxes was closed for three months. They just shut the power grid off, says Lester. No one knew when the power would come back on so that the factory could get finish her order. It was very stressful, she says. Lester decided to use the Web as the primary marketing tool for her company. When Lester launched the Web site for EasyLunchboxes, she quickly discovered that the world of e-commerce had changed dramatically. Her companys Web site did not appear near the top of any of the major search engines. If youre not on page one of search engines, you dont exist. Lester, who bills herself as Mom and CEO on the site, is determined to generate buzz for her company and believes that social media is one of the best tools for accomplishing that. Her primary target customer is a busy mom with children who are in school. She also wants to build a recognizable brand for EasyLunchboxes. The question in her mind is How do I go about doing that? Question one: 25 Marks Do you believe that Kelly Lesters business is a candidate for reshoring back to USA? Explain. (250 words) Question two: 50 Marks Develop a social media marketing plan for EasyLunchboxes. One which social media should Lester focuses her efforts? Why? What specific tactics should she employ in each one of the social media that you recommend? (600 words) Question three: 25 Marks What steps should she take to transform EasyLunchboxes into a recognizable brand name? (250 words) General instructions for students: TMA weight: 20% of total course grade. Plagiarism: Its imperative that you write your answer using your own words. Plagiarism will be penalized depending on its severity and according to AOU plagiarism policy. Format: you are expected to write your answer in an essay format: introduction, body paragraph(s) and a conclusion. Failing to do so could result in the deduction of up to 5 marks from your total TMA mark. Word count: Your answers are expected to be within the specified word count. A 10% deviation from word count limit is acceptable. Not adhering to specified word count could result in the deduction of up to 5 marks of your total TMA mark. Referencing: You are expected to use the Harvard referencing style for in-text referencing and list of reference at the end. Failing to do so could result in the deduction of up to 5 marks of your total TMA mark. E-library: You are expected to use E-library sources to support your answers. A minimum of 2 sources is required. Failing to do so could result in the deduction of up to 5 marks of your total TMA mark.
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