Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Survey for my Marketing Class

As many of you know, I am in the middle of getting a second college degree!  I am preparing ahead for a final project in my Marketing class.  Marketing has been HARD.  I just don't think in that way.  I'm taking it online and one of the requirements is to participate in a discussion board each week.  I've gone back and forth with the professor in a discussion on how Starbucks has convinced people to pay that much for foam and a squirt of coffee.  I finally threw up my hands and said I did not know.  He replied with a fairly huffy "Well...I guess you'll never be a marketer."  I'm debating about replying with a snide "and that would be why I am an accounting major".  But so far I'm demonstrating restraint.

However, I am going to need a little help getting through this class with this professor.  And I'm asking you for a few minutes of your time.  My final project due in a few weeks is to write a marketing plan.  We are to choose an established company, gather all the existing facts, and then create a plan.  I selected Michaels Arts and Crafts.  I picked it because I regularly scratch my head at the fact that financially, they are the top craft store.  The store in my town is small and cluttered and, although I do wander in every so often with my coupon, it is not my first choice.  However, I was visiting my hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota, and that Michaels is gorgeous and it was busy.  I'd shop there.

So, I want to ask you a few questions.  You can reply to this post or, if you'd rather, e-mail me at sing.email@comcast.net.

If you don't have a Michaels any where near you - you can stop reading here because you can't answer my questions!!

If you do have a Michaels and you have a few minutes, could you answer any or all of the following?


How would you describe the average shopper at Michaels?


Do you shop there?

- If not, why?  And what could they change to get your business?

- If you do shop there:

   1. What do you like about Michaels, e.g. their products, their coupons, etc.

   2. Do you view your store as older or is it one of the newer, open stores (if you can tell)?

   3. Do you shop in any departments besides cardmaking?

   4. Official press releases from them promote their "specialty" stores, e.g. The Crayola Store, Chef Duffs baking shop, Little MisMatched etc. I have to admit to being unaware of any of these promotions (except for their partnership with Martha Stewart in scrapbooking, but Martha has branched out to most stores now). Have you heard of and/or used any of their specialty items?

   5. What could they do better, for example, in my case, they just need a bigger store - everything is so cluttered, that even new product seems cheap and dingy - it's just an impression, but that's OK.


I so appreciate any help you could give me!  Thank you!

19 comments:

Happy Dance said...

Having earned my first degree in my 40's, I stand and cheer you for being back in school. Good for you! I'm sure you'll do well. And being married to a now retired professor, I would say you did the right thing in regards to his snottiness. I'll be shipping off an email with responses a bit later. You go girl!! Bev
P.S. I was born in Rapid City, and lived on Racine street waaaaay back when.

cm said...

I'll echo Bev in 'cheering' for your return to school! As a *resigned, not retired* high school English teacher (now an admin assistant - not using my degrees in any capacity, but also not tasked with marking endless stacks of assignments; yayyy!!) I've considered taking classes, but have no clue what area to explore. For now, an online card class is calling my name! Your puzzlement over Starbucks is one I share. Wish I knew the secret, especially since the stand-alone coffee shops have now been joined with locations in Safeways. Interesting.
I'll send responses to you via email (I'm Ms. Wordy, as you know), aiming for tomorrow. Great questions already stirring my thoughts. As for your decision to ground your research in the craft community: excellent! A+++ for ingenuity!

Cynthia said...

I just zipped my answers off to you via email!

And I don't get the obsession with Starbucks either. It's COFFEE, for crying out loud! ;-)

PS: The one thing I hated about online classes is you can never tell the other person's emotion or tone behind what he/she has typed. I think you were right in just letting that one go.

Bonnie said...

I'd say there's a good cross section of shoppers at our Michaels. Mostly women, but all ages.

I do shop there occasionally. I don't have a lot of free time to shop so I do a lot online. When I do go to shop for crafts, I usually hit Michaels, AC Moore and sometimes Joann as they're all in the same area. What one doesn't have another usually does. Michaels is my first stop though.

1. I love their coupons and they accept competitors coupons too. Our store is fairly well stocked, clean and the staff is knowledgeable as to where things are located.

2. I'm not sure how old this store is. It seems pretty up to date.

3. I probably hit all the departments at one time or another, but mainly the cardmaking supplies.

4. I hadn't noticed about the specialty stores. I don't get the adds or the email notifications.

5. A bigger and better stocked store would be nice. Then I wouldn't have to go to several stores. Although I can only use one coupon/day there and if I go to all 3 stores, I can use 3. A better deal!

Good luck with the rest of your semester. And I never could understand the Starbucks draw. It's not even good coffee in my opinion!
But DH loves it!

mypapercraftworld said...

Good luck with the marketing plan project, Kim, what a great idea to select a craft company! Sorry I can't answer your q's ... no Michaels here ... not even a Michel's! Anita :)

Lisa said...

1. I also like that they take competitor coupons. Their dollar bins are fun, cute stuff stashed in there!
2. One near me is older and another (just a little further)is newer.
3.On occasion the floral dept. & the dollar bins!
4. No. Although I don't get the newspaper or online items from them. I just pop in there when I'm in the area.
5. More cashiers, the lines are always TOO long with only one cashier, two during the holiday (if you're lucky!). They need to update their stamp & paper selections more often. I see the same OLD stuff year after year and we all know these companies have new product!

Hope I helped. And for the record I think your professor was MR. RUDE!!!

Tracy said...

We have a nice newer Michael's about 11 miles from home and I do shop there. I like their sales and coupons. I think they have a nice selection of products and it's never really busy so I can browse and not feel rushed.
The only complaint I have ever had with Michael's was not being able to shop on-line. They are getting better with their website though so I keep hoping.
Good luck!

Chris - Creations in Bloom said...

Best wishes on your marketing plan project. I salute you for tackling school again. : ) I can't answer the question about describing the average shopper at Michael's. I'm not there often enough to know who they are. I do shop there.
1) I love their coupons mostly. That's what usually brings me in. ( I have a Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's & Michael's relatively close to each other, so I have choices.) I don't get out to shop very often. I buy mostly on line.

2) I think my store is probably on the newer side. (It's certainly in better shape than our JoAnn's!) but it's small and crowded in my opinion.

3)I mostly shop the scrapbooking/cardmaking. Occasionally, I'll look at kids crafts or home decor.

4) I get their emails but wasn't aware of those specialty things.

5) I think they need to have a bigger store and a bigger selection of scrapbooking supplies. :)

Hope this helps.

God bless you.

Darnell J Knauss said...

How fun to have us help with your survey, Kims! That should give you an A+ going directly to the core of the Michael's community! I'll email you so it doesn't put off other commenters after 6-8 pages, hee, oops, LOL! Good luck and let us know the results!

Donna Nuce said...

How would you describe the average shopper at Michaels? Female, 30-40 with kids. (This is not me, I am retired)


Do you shop there? Yes

- If not, why? And what could they change to get your business?

- If you do shop there:

1. What do you like about Michaels, e.g. their products, their coupons, etc. Our Michales just moved to a new and bigger location. I was getting fed up with the old Michaels because there just wasn't that much to shop for. I rarely remember to use coupons. I do like there crafting products and they carry enough of Tim Holtz to satisfy me.

2. Do you view your store as older or is it one of the newer, open stores (if you can tell)? New store

3. Do you shop in any departments besides cardmaking? I have been shopping in flowers as my daughter is getting married in December and has asked me to make her a wedding bouquet. I did do a complete walk around of the entire new store. I also shop the bargain bins all the time.

4. Official press releases from them promote their "specialty" stores, e.g. The Crayola Store, Chef Duffs baking shop, Little MisMatched etc. I have to admit to being unaware of any of these promotions (except for their partnership with Martha Stewart in scrapbooking, but Martha has branched out to most stores now). Have you heard of and/or used any of their specialty items? No but I was surprised to see the Michael's Smash books.

5. What could they do better, for example, in my case, they just need a bigger store - everything is so cluttered, that even new product seems cheap and dingy - it's just an impression, but that's OK. I think by carrying their own brands (Recollections) they appeal to the budget crafter. I personally like to shop archivers for the high end paper brands like Graphic 45, Bo Bunny, Echo Park etc. Michaels does not carry those brands. I did notice the new store has Heidi Swap.

Donna Nuce said...

AS for Starbucks -- well it isn't just coffee. If you had ever been to Italy you would know. I spent an entire summer in Italy and love the flavor of Expresso -- hence I love Starbuck's expresso -- not their coffee. Also they have a great atmosphere to hang out in and drink the coffee -- cool music and free music downloads. Good pastries too! It is the experience that adds to the flavor of the coffee (expresso)!

Mary Beth Krakowski said...

You go girl! I had to go back to school at 50, having been out of school in almost 30 years. Stats was my hardest class - never had as undergrad, didn't have calculators or computers in undergrad either! I made it with all A's, took 3 years and almost cost me my santity! Worth every minute though! Will send email!

Mary Beth Krakowski said...

Couldn't send email, so here is my reply:
How would you describe the average shopper at Michaels? It depends on the time of day. I usually go during the day and the customers are either young mothers or retirees. In the afternoon, mothers out while kids in school. Evening usually mothers with kids getting supplies for school projects.


Do you shop there? I don't go to Michaels unless I need something I can't find someplace else. Our store is not well organized and the sales staff is not well informed.

- If not, why? And what could they change to get your business? Increase organization, train staff so more knowledgable.

- If you do shop there:

1. What do you like about Michaels, e.g. their products, their coupons, etc. Sometimes I like their sales.

2. Do you view your store as older or is it one of the newer, open stores (if you can tell)?
Our store is an older more crowded store.
3. Do you shop in any departments besides cardmaking? sometimes yarn, picture frames, kids crafts.

4. Official press releases from them promote their "specialty" stores, e.g. The Crayola Store, Chef Duffs baking shop, Little MisMatched etc. I have to admit to being unaware of any of these promotions (except for their partnership with Martha Stewart in scrapbooking, but Martha has branched out to most stores now). Have you heard of and/or used any of their specialty items? I hadn't seen any of these promotions.

5. What could they do better, for example, in my case, they just need a bigger store - everything is so cluttered, that even new product seems cheap and dingy - it's just an impression, but that's OK. I think the biggest improvement could be offering internet shopping. I shop on the internet all the time! And I am sure that this could really increase their sales.
Good luck in your class! Beth Krakowski

Lyndal said...

Best of luck for your assignment Kim! I'm a Marketing girl working for an accounting firm - so go figure LOL!
I don't shop at Michael's, being that it's on the other side of the globe and all, but when I have noticed it mentioned in the blogging world, it is usually because of the deals you can get using coupons & the sale bins - it really seems aimed at the "bargain shopper" end of the market.

kat said...

Let's see if I can remember the questions.........the average M shopper is a beginner hobbyist, usually young mother, IMO. The M store closest to me is 'average' with only a few decent items in the paper crafting dept but I use the coupons sometimes for adhesive and an occasional stamp so w/o their coupons I would probably never go there. I have heard of their 'specialty' stores but I don't know much about them except that, having little respect for M store itself, I also have little respect for those. I have browsed a few other depts [yarn, candles, frames, wood, beads] but their selections seem old and tired. I think they should improve the quality of their store brands [i.e., scented candles are terrible] and, in the paper crafting area, try to stay more up to date. OK, hope I answered most of your questions and good luck!

Elena said...

I shop at Michaels, but not as often (location, would love it to be closer to us). :)
1. I love the coupons and fact that they take competitors coupons. I also like that they have soap making section (they had it at Jo-Ann to, but not anymore).
2. Our store is big and up to date.
3. I shop at cardmaking, yarn departments. Also check doll-making (because I make stuffed toys), frame department. Soemtimes I stop at art department to check new pencils and paper for drawing.
4. I saw a lot of Martha Stewart products. And noticed a lot of Crayola too. Never heard about other promotions.
5. What I would change? The design of the whole store. Sometimes finding right product takes so much time. I noticed that sometimes there is no logic in locating some of their products. And ocassianally you can get to the shelf because there is a big cart next to it (when they try to stock the store). Also I noticed that you can't always find an assistant to ask a question if needed.
Hope it is going to help you in your studies. :)

Doris said...

Michaels and other craft stores seem way out of date to me, so I do most of my buying on line. I've found a lot more at Hobby Lobby, mainly in decorative items, baskets and silk flowers; and their stores are much brighter. I think Michaels could learn from them in the way things are displayed and stocked. Michaels is good for basic supplies (acrylic mounts, adhesives, glitter, ep, dsp, etc.) but way behind on trendy items like new stamp sets and embellishments (like loose sequins.). Magazines are usually exempted from coupons, so I now buy them used from Amazon at a huge saving!

As for Starbucks, now that my SIL works for them, I've learned what goes on behind the scenes to keep the store well stocked and the foods fresh. Starbucks has successfully marketed their product as more than just a cup of coffee without even running TV ads! Michaels could streamline their stores by clearing out the old stuff and keeping up on the latest trends, better lighting and displays, in-store demos by stamp (and other) company reps like our local stamp store used to do, and quicker checkouts.

Hope this helps. Kudos for taking on such ambitious studies!

Jean said...

Average shopper ~ female
Yes, I do shop there ~

1. Mostly I like the sales and coupons ~ I almost always buy my adhesives there on sale or with a coupon. I almost never buy anything without a coupon or not on sale. I also stock up on blades for my paper cutter, ink refills, rhinestones, etc.
2. I have 2 stores close enough to go and the one farther away is newer and I do prefer to go to that one.
3. I also shop for yarn, since I also crochet (nothing fancy ~ usually just scarves), shop in general crafts for my son, and sometimes buy holiday items, frames, and lastly I shop in the baking aisle.
4. The only specialty items I have are from Martha Stewart.
5. If they had a larger and more up to date stock of stamps that would be nice. I use JoAnn Fabrics for much of the same items ~ again ~ always on sale. The one JoAnn Fabrics close to me is awful, so Michael's "wins" by default.

Good Luck with your final project!

Deborah Frings said...

Good luck with the degree. I finished my chemistry one in 2009 - beginning to think it's time to do another!!!

I'll email a response to your questions later today.