Drones are officially known as remotely piloted vehicles or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). These aerial vehicles can carry some objects like cameras in order to take photographs and to make videos at a distance, without the direct participation of a man in the process. Drones allow photography or scientific inspections and searches in different open territories. In addition, today, marketers begin to use small drones for delivering packages and other similarly small objects.
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Size and Growth of the Industry
The drone industry is rapidly developing not only in the United States but also globally1. In spite of being a rising one, a global drone market can be discussed as rather large while focusing on it in the context of other business-to-business markets because it includes both large unmanned aerial vehicles used in the military and small drones used for photography and video making.
Today, more attention is paid to the development of the commercial drones market that is characterized by a growth rate of about 20%. The forecasted growth rate of the military market can be only about 5% for the period of 2015-20202.
The indirect competition in the US and global markets exist between manufacturers of large remotely piloted vehicles within the military and navy industries and between producers of small camera drones or drones for delivery in other markets.
Opportunities and Threats
Opportunities for the market development include the expansion of the spheres where drones can be used, with the focus on e-commerce, energy, construction, and package delivery in addition to film industries, agriculture, and media. Threats are associated with the development of regulations and policies to make the use of drones illegal or limit the use because of frequent cases of drone crashes and the active use of drones in the military.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths of drones production include flexibility, use of technological innovations, possibilities to propose services for different markets and industries. However, there are also weaknesses like dependence on investment to promote the necessary research and development before the manufacturing process and the dependence on the industry providing software for UAVs.
It is important to state that competitors in the industry can be divided into two groups: large drones produced for the military, search and rescue activities, and small drones manufactured for the film production and package delivery.
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In the first market sector, the main competitors are such US companies as GA-ASI, the Boeing Company, and Northrop Grumman Corporation that construct large unmanned aerial vehicles for the military, search and rescue activities, and for agriculture. The global competitors include Aeronautics Ltd. (Israel), Gryphon (South Korea), and SenseFly (Switzerland).
In the second market sector, the main competitors are not US companies, but such global manufacturers as Blade and DJI. These companies produce small camera drones or quadcopters as well as drones for the package delivery that are actively purchased for commercial purposes. Their strengths are in being the most popular brands in the market because they were innovators in this area. While proposing a new small drone in the market, it is important to determine that the main competitors belong to the second market sector.
Potential customers in the target market can be divided into businesses and individual customers. The reason is that the drone industry was primarily oriented to the business-to-business market. Today, this market is more customer-oriented than previously. Businesses interested in purchasing camera drones belong to the film production industry, news media industry, journalism, management, and show-business and entertainment.
Potential individual customers are young males aged 22-35 years. These males are characterized by interests in the sphere of film making, photography, journalism, and media. They purchase camera drones for their creative work because it is easy to use them and get unique shots. The other group of individual customers is interested in developing their e-businesses, including online shops.
Small drones are purchased for the on-time package delivery, and camera drones are bought for monitoring and management purposes. It is a comparably small, but a growing market. The needs of customers can change, therefore, proposed drones should be designed to perform different functions and carry both packages and cameras. Before purchasing a drone, a customer pays attention to its price, size, easiness in using and operating, and the quality of functioning.
The company will be positioned as a producer of small drones that can be used for carrying both cameras and packages for delivery. These drones are the unique ones in the market because they can combine the functions typical for the most popular drones in the industry.
Branding for proposed drones includes decisions on the brand name, features, and the logo, as well as on the brand extensions. The proposed brand name is the Mystic Drone that depends on offering several functions and comparably small size. The company’s credo is “Save each moment of your life.”
The proposed mini-drone is developed to be effective for both delivering small packages, including money, and for carrying cameras of small and average sizes. The drones will be packed in bright boxes in grey and orange colors. The expected brand expansions are associated with developing special drones for using them during weddings and in tourism.
The promotion campaign will include advertisements on the Internet, using cookies to follow the potential customer’s interests, and locating ads on the websites about film production, home film production, e-commerce, and online stores. The social media are also planned to be used in promoting drones while locating ads in web communities. The advertisements are also provided in specialized magazines and journals.
The introductory pricing strategy is based on proposing a price that is lower than the average price in the market of drones used for carrying cameras and drones used for delivering packages. As a result of the market analysis and comparisons, the proposed price is $150, and it can be discussed as rather low for the new market sector of multifunctional drones. The price is inclined to grow as new models of the drones will be proposed.
In order to distribute multifunctional drones known as Mystic Drone I, it is necessary to use such channels as the e-commerce and online shops, selling of drones at exhibitions, and the distribution of drones through retailing chains specialized in selling technologies, hardware, software, and equipment for photography and film production. Much attention should be paid to selling drones via online shops and websites of the manufacturer.
It is possible to state that the production and further distribution of the small multifunctional drone have the potential, and the proposed marketing mix addresses the specifics of the discussed industry.
- Grassi, M. (2015). Five places you wouldn’t expect to find a drone.
- The drones report Market forecasts, regulatory barriers, top vendors, and leading commercial applications. (2015).