The technological advancements done in the past few decades have, without a doubt, improved our efficiency and overall quality of life. Indisputably, however, technology also has its downfalls. More than half daily computer users experience some level of discomfort and injury (Wei, 2004).
We represent ARTHOKEY, a new company which will sell an add-on keyboard to chairs’ armrests. This add-on consists of a revolutionary keyboard that will enable office workers to not only increase efficiency but, most importantly, will dramatically decrease physical stress discomfort and injury – notably the carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Ever felt numbness, tingling or burning sensations in your thumb and fingers (Wikimedia, 2010)? If so, you may be developing CTS. Arthokey’s keyboard helps in its prevention by splitting the conventional keyboard into two halves, each half being added onto the armrest of the chair our consumer will be sitting on. Arthokey will be easily adjustable and detachable to all office chairs’ armrests.
Our target market consists of the adult population which uses desktop or laptop computer for work – various businesses and work places – as well as students, who use their computers for typing essays hours at a time. Due to what has now become the norm in our society – the use of computers to manage our daily tasks – we expect our product to incorporate itself into this norm and become a core office product all the while infiltrating itself into our homes.
Why do we believe this will be a hit product? Our keyboard’s design is revolutionary, in an attempt of improving overall quality of life of computer users. The average lifetime expectancy of a standard computer keyboard is three to five years (Elliott, 2010). This means that there is a constant supply and demand of hardware. Customers looking for improved quality – hello Arthokey!
Before launching a new product into the overly globalized market, our company should assess the multiple macroenvironmental factors influencing our sales potential. Arthokey doesn’t only represent a revolutionary keyboard design; it also plays an important role in shaping our modern culture. There are five major macroenvironmental factors that should be taken into consideration: the technological, demographic, environmental, economic, and cultural aspects of our society (Kotler et al.2010).
Arthokey is, at its most basic, a computer keyboard. This revolutionary keyboard’s success will be first and foremost determined by the technological environment that we live in. Life is quite comfortable in the 21st century. Not only do we have access to a virtually infinite amount of information, but we have instant access to it, now! Our efficiency levels have gone up the roof, compared to a century ago, or to any other time period in history. The technological advancements made in the past few decades have unarguably made our life easier, more comfortable. However, despite its remarkable success, the technological market is an unstable one. “New technologies create new markets and opportunities” (Kotler et al. 2010), but as new technologies appear, old ones fade away. Technology is, by nature, in a constant growth and evolution.
Our main competition will be companies like Acer, HP, Razer, and IMB, which are already well-established keyboard providers. Arthokey has to carefully assess these previously marketed keyboards, and improve them. How are we doing that? We are offering our customers not only a keyboard, but a disease-preventing keyboard, at affordable prices. This is our plus; this is why we are better than our competition. Our keyboard will be the only one of its kind on the market, which is why we expect it to have a revolutionary effect. We believe that 20 years from now, all keyboards will be ergonomic and repetitive motion related injuries and illnesses caused by computer typing will be on the decline. Unfortunately, Arthokey isn’t fighting an already won battle. We have to make sure that our product will be rightfully promoted and marketed, in order to ensure our place on the market, and our advantage over competition products.
Our marketing campaign must emphasize our keyboard’s most interesting features: its innovative impact, its CTS prevention abilities, and its easy-to-use operational factor. Arthokey promotes an innovative product, because it is the first one of its kind on the market. This product will actively prevent repetitive motion related injuries and illnesses, such as CTS, by offering its customers a rotating ergonomic keyboard, which will enable them to type in a more efficient and healthy way. The Arthokey keyboard is easy-to-use, yet still very efficient. It is easily attachable and detachable on any office chair’s armrests. Our sales representatives will teach customers about its installation process, and we will include an instructional guide with every keyboard. Our clients will also receive a training package, teaching them the basics of body motion co-ordination in typing with both hands on separate parts of the computer keyboard. If marketed effectively, these aspects will give us a definite advantage over our present and potential competition, as clients will be inclined to buy the Arthokey keyboard, instead of other standardized ones.
Arthokey must also consider our demographic environment. Our keyboard is mainly aimed towards computer users. Who does this include? Today, almost everybody. However, in the introductory phase, we will be focusing our marketing strategies on customers whose occupation entails them to the daily use of a computer, hence of a keyboard. These people occupy a variety of positions in our society: secretaries, editors, novelists, customer service representatives, and the list goes on. After our keyboard will become a well-established product on the market, we will extend our marketing to all computer users.
Arthokey targets both the so-called Generation X and Generation Y, also known as the Milennials. The Generation X refers to the 7 million Canadians born in the “birth dearth” period of 1967 to 1976(Kotler et al. 2010). These citizens are now in their late thirties, early forties. The Milennials, on the other hand, are a generation younger, aged between 10 and 33 years old. Despite the several other positions occupied by older people, we believe that they will present greater resistance in the modification of their work routine. The Baby Boomers, which are not targeted as part of our main client base, have lived through some technological advancement, but their level of understanding and assimilating new technology is much lower. Additionally, their overall interest for technology is also very low. In their case, our revolutionary keyboard would encounter higher levels of reluctance, and would therefore prove to be a failure.
According to our research, our main clientele will be women on the job market occupying the mentioned operational positions. Women are three times more likely to suffer from a form of CTS and generally pre-disposed to it, due to their physiologically smaller carpel tunnel, in comparison to men’s (Wikimedia, 2010). Our demographics will be further developed upon, in the later paragraphs.
Considering the environmental aspect of our product, we are aiming towards a recycled product. Most parts will be manufactured from recycled materials, in an attempt of protecting the surrounding world. The environmental trend has its arguments, and environmentalists have long since proved their point. We decided in favor of their cause, despite the higher manufacturing costs. We believe that the world around us should be cherished and protected, and that the recycling of materials plays a big role in its conservation.
Additionally, Arthokey provides the customers with a health-improving product, thus improving the quality of human life. Humans, like all living creatures are part of the natural environment despite their high intellectual quotient. Therefore, our CTS preventing keyboard will benefit the greater population and the world, in its entirety.
Arthokey also has to consider the Canadian economic environment. Our keyboard will be launched on the market as a defined product, with a well established purpose. Due to its revolutionary design, Arthokey’s keyboard will have economic monopoly in its particular technological branch, for a certain period of time. The launch of our keyboard has to be done during the ideal time period. Recovering from the major economic recession, Canadians are now raising back to their previous financial standings. We will be selling our product to affordable prices, because we believe that the Canadian population has not yet reached a complete economic recovery. Many people live below their social standards, due to the hard times that have only just recently come to an end. We must therefore market our keyboard as an absolute necessity to daily computer users, but keep a reasonable price tag on it.
At first, Arthokey will be manufactured by other companies, and sold under our company’s name. Since manufacturing and handling prices will be higher, the selling price of our keyboard will be slightly higher in the introductory phase. When our product becomes profitable enough and well-established on the market, Arthokey will have the resources necessary in order to manufacture its own products, thus being able to lower the selling prices. Additionally, when the keyboard will have gained a fundamental appreciation on the part of our customers, when it will have proved a success, we will have both the resources and the confidence necessary in order to develop and release further models.
Lastly, Arthokey has to assess the macroenvironmental cultural forces of our society. We live in a highly modernized world, where technology has become a standard of life. We believe that our product will revolutionize the 21st century culture. As mentioned previously, we believe that 20 years from now, all keyboards will resemble our currently innovative one.
As stats indicate, sales for keyboards have been always there. Key Tronic is a good example, being the major player in the keyboard industry. They managed to have sales of $33 million in 1993 and $159.5 million in 1994 (Advameg Inc., 2010). This clearly shows that keyboards represent a large contribution in the market and that sales are prosperous. As Key Tronic revolutionized the way people type, we intend to do so, by introducing the next generation of ergonomic keyboards to an existing market.
Internet orders for goods and services in Canada increase every year, in 2007 they were at $12.8 billion CND and in 2009 sales reached $15.1 billion CND (Statistics Canada, 2008). Computer software remains the top ten selling product online by consumers [Table 1].This is why when we target our next focus group; we intend to promote our product by online marketing, giving us a larger segmentation to introduce Arthokey.
Arthokey’s sales potential during its introductory phase is directly related to the proportion of office workers who use keyboards many hours a day. In 2006, out of the 308 565 employed secretaries on the Canadian job market 302 145 of them were women (Statistics Canada, 2006). Comparatively, out of the 205 150 customer service representatives registered in the same census, 135 385 of them were women (Statistics Canada, 2006). Although the gender of the members of these occupations offers insight as to what our customer base will be, it also gives us a clue as to what to expect with regards to sales and revenue. Due to the “newness” factor of our product we have to reasonably expect a slow but gradual conversion of traditional keyboard users to the Arthokey keyboard, with a market share of the 513 715 above mentioned target market of 8% during the first year. Although a high expectation, it is reasonable as we have already established that the average life expectancy of a keyboard is three to five years which creates constant and regular demand for new keyboards with state-of-the-art technology. With our 8% market share of the approximately half-million employees spending full days typing on keyboards, the expected sales during our introductory phase – at the introductory price of $99.99 CAN as explained further – will be of $4 109 289 CAN. With increased market share and a reduced price will come increased revenue, which in turn will enable us to put an end to our dependency on other manufacturers to make our product – we will be able to invest in our own infrastructure and machines to produce our keyboards ourselves.
Through secondary data and market research we are able to determine which segments of the Canadian population would benefit from Arthokey – therefore enabling us to distinguish the types of people targeted by our product. Our product is a modern-day ergonomic keyboard. Therefore, people who type on keyboards for many hours a day, many days a week, consist of our main target. These people are secretaries, customer service representatives, interpreters for the blind or the hearing impaired, editors, novelists, stenographers and many others. Because Arthokey is a wellness product, target markets can also be expanded to those who use keyboards regularly without being as heavy users as the ones listed above – employees of human resources departments, students, researchers, administrative assistants, and so on.
The average age of the typical secretary most likely to adopt our product is below 45 years old. Older secretaries (50 to 64 years old) may offer more resistance towards changing the way they have typed at their desks for decades. However, through proper demonstrations and explanations of the benefits that will incur, both morally and especially physically due to their improved work environment, we are confident that they will be willing to try it – particularly the ones already feeling the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. Since women are three times more likely than men to develop CTS (Wikimedia, 2010) and the data clearly showing that secretaries tend to be women (Statistics Canada, 2006), secretaries make up a vital target market.
Nowadays, most major service providing companies focus a lot of energy into customer service, as it is often the decisive factor in consumers’ choices for one company over its competitor. Because of this, there are customer service call centres distributed all over Canada’s major cities, particularly in Montreal. With comfort and efficiency being core values in today’s workplaces, customer service representatives have had the problem of holding phones to their ears for hours on end. This was resolved with the arrival of headsets, in 1910 (Wikimedia, 2010), designed to increase performance by leaving both hands free to typing. What they are still missing is the ability to type faster, more comfortably, and in a healthier manner. These call centres, which employ hundreds of agents at a time – male and female, with ages ranging from 18 to 45 years of age, are also vital target markets to Arthokey.
Following exposition of Arthokey in the workplace, and word of mouth from people in these occupational environments – our satisfied customers, we will be able to target more specific markets to add to the business driven marketing we had begun with. Phase two of our concentrated marketing strategy will be less focused on specific professions and will target men and women between the ages of 10 and 45, of all social classes, who care to have a more comfortable and enriching typing experience. Our goal is for our customers to become regular users who will benefit from the quality of our product and who will use it on an everyday basis, either in a work or home environment. First time users will never want to regress to an uncomfortable keyboard – a standard one, due to its lack of mobility.
Being a Montreal based company, we know better than other nation-wide entrepreneurs who overlook the importance of individuality and respect of others’ differences. Although the variations in designs and sizes of our keyboards will come in a few years, we will offer the choice of English, French-Canada and French-France keyboards to our consumers during our introductory phase, so as not to alienate customers who allocate significant importance to French accents and cedilles.
With our product development strategy, we will focus on a few market segments; rather than going after the whole market (Kotler et al. 2010). Arthokey’s main purpose is to raise companies’ awareness about the fact that their employees – our targeted clientele – can perform better and faster in two ways: first, by having the right posture to type; second, by adjusting the positioning of the keyboard – moving it closer to their hands. This will also reduce their chances of developing CTS, a syndrome commonly recurring in people that type, for several hours on a regular basis at a time, on a computer keyboard (NINDS, 2009). Companies will also benefit from our green environment product, made from recycled materials; they can proclaim themselves as environmental-friendly companies. Additionally, our keyboard will be wireless, reducing costs on electricity, saving companies numerous expenses.
Arthokey works with manageable strap, attached to the armrests of the chairs, promoting it as a user easy-to-use device. Our technicians will install Arthokey onto several office chairs throughout any given company, and will briefly train its technicians on how to attach and detach the straps. We will also provide consumers with a basic three year limited warranty that will cover parts, services and manufacturing defaults. They could also add extended warranties to the product, as will be offered by our representatives after the conclusion of the sale. Shipping and handling will be covered entirely by us, taking a weight off the customers’ shoulders.
Arthokey’s price in the introductory stage will be of $99.99 CND, covering the costs of manufacturing, selective distribution, sales promotion and advertising. It will then be reduced to $75.99 at the growth stage, given our increased revenue and market share. At this second stage of our product’s life cycle, we will invest more on advertising and promotion, given that we will have established ourselves in the market – having more revenues (Kotler et al. 2010), and considering the fact that we will be, by then, in direct, active competition with other keyboard providers. We aim for a 30% sales increase during the second year, thus insuring sufficient financial resources towards additional technological and promotional investments for our product.
First we intend to target the main cities of Canada – Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary – mainly due to the strong presence of office administration (Government of Canada, 2010). Arthokey will be introduced by direct distribution from our representatives, highly trained and motivated individuals. We will provide free samples to reluctant companies. If necessary, we will rent commercial spaces, in order to promote and display our revolutionary keyboard. This will be our promotional kiosque. Placing sample keyboards at strategic places throughout the company will allow its employees to get a hands-on experience. Employees will be able to familiarize themselves with the functioning of the keyboard, and comprehend and promote its most obvious benefits.
After conquering the Canadian market, we will move onto larger markets, such as major cities of the U.S., England, Germany, and Japan – cities not yet determined. Our main branch office will be established in Montreal, giving us major distributive advantages –the city port.
Our main sale promotion strategy will be pushing the product, by any means possible, either with hard sales techniques and/or by incentive, giving businesses a 10% discount on every 40 units bought. We then intend to use direct marketing – mainly online (Kotler et al. 2010) – using the same place strategy. Building our own website will provide our company total control over our product.
Reference List (APA Style)
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