The key areas of analysis for this project, and what should propel your group to action, focus on a.) WHY Better World Books (BWB) has been unable to extract a price premium for its social mission and b.) WHAT does BWB need to do to complete the full circle with its customers (get them to donate and not just purchase). How can BWB more effectively communicate its social mission and propel consumers to both purchase and donate? You need to understand the business model of BWB, with its focus on a SOCIAL purpose/benefit and not just a for-profit enterprise. The following questions will help your group get into the proper discussion, but these are not the only questions that can/should be asked. Answer these, share, and discuss them thoroughly with your group, and then add to the questions/discussion with your own critical thinking. BE THOROUGH in this ONGOING discussion:
1. What is BWB’s value proposition? How compelling is it? How valuable is BWB’s social mission to its customers — both donors and buyers? How do you know?
2. How well positioned for future success is BWB, given the changing market environment? How sustainable are its competitive advantages in the bookselling industry? How threatening are its disadvantages?
3. Why isn’t BWB realizing a price premium for its social mission? What should the company do to achieve this goal?
4. How does Amazon’s pricing impact BWB’s pricing strategy? How does this affect its communication & eventual success of the social mission?
5. Which market segment(s) should BWB target as customers for purchasing its books? Which segment(s) should BWB target as donors for its book inventory?
6. How can BWB better “complete the full circle” with its constituents?
7. Should Better World Books adjust its model for providing funds to its non-profit partners? What are the ramifications of such changes?
8. How does BWB’s “not just for profit” mission and business model both enable and constrain its potential?
9. DETERMINE BWB’s possible strategies (as suggested/discussed in the case study) for improving its communication of the social mission. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each possible strategy? Which do you think would be more successful for BWB? Why?