×




Cisco Systems: Launching the ASR 1000 Series Router Using Social Media Marketing Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for Cisco Systems: Launching the ASR 1000 Series Router Using Social Media Marketing case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Cisco Systems: Launching the ASR 1000 Series Router Using Social Media Marketing case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Mohanbir Sawhney. The Cisco Systems: Launching the ASR 1000 Series Router Using Social Media Marketing (referred as “Asr 1000” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Sales & Marketing. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Marketing, Networking, Product development, Social platforms.

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment




Case Description of Cisco Systems: Launching the ASR 1000 Series Router Using Social Media Marketing Case Study


This case focuses on Cisco Systems' innovative probe-and-learn approach to using social media to launch its ASR 1000 Series Edge Router. The company had decided to eschew traditional print and TV media in marketing the new product and had decided instead to focus its efforts entirely on digital marketing and social media to attract the attention of its target market. The case discusses Cisco's bold plan to launch the ASR 1000 Series "virtually, visually, and virally" and the digital tactics employed by the Cisco Systems marketing team to accomplish this ambitious goal. Business marketers normally adopt a more serious and traditional approach to marketing its products but in this case Cisco had decided to buck that trend by exploring digital tools and social gaming avenues which its target client - the technical community - were increasingly frequenting. Cisco's challenge lay in whether this new approach and resultant value proposition would resonate with its technical audience and give the ASR 1000 Router the kind of publicity it needed to have. The case is set at a time when social media was burgeoning as a promising way to engage consumers more deeply with brands and products, but marketers were still experimenting with the tools and tactics of social media for marketing.


Case Authors : Mohanbir Sawhney

Topic : Sales & Marketing

Related Areas : Marketing, Networking, Product development, Social platforms




Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Cisco Systems: Launching the ASR 1000 Series Router Using Social Media Marketing Case Study


Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10005829) -10005829 - -
Year 1 3449689 -6556140 3449689 0.9434 3254424
Year 2 3953193 -2602947 7402882 0.89 3518328
Year 3 3941195 1338248 11344077 0.8396 3309103
Year 4 3232685 4570933 14576762 0.7921 2560589
TOTAL 14576762 12642444


The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2636615

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting


What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.




Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting


There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Net Present Value
2. Payback Period
3. Profitability Index
4. Internal Rate of Return

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Asr 1000 shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.
2. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Asr 1000 have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.




Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Cisco Systems: Launching the ASR 1000 Series Router Using Social Media Marketing

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Sales & Marketing Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Asr 1000 often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Asr 1000 needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10005829) -10005829 - -
Year 1 3449689 -6556140 3449689 0.8696 2999730
Year 2 3953193 -2602947 7402882 0.7561 2989182
Year 3 3941195 1338248 11344077 0.6575 2591400
Year 4 3232685 4570933 14576762 0.5718 1848298
TOTAL 10428609


The Net NPV after 4 years is 422780

(10428609 - 10005829 )






Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%


If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10005829) -10005829 - -
Year 1 3449689 -6556140 3449689 0.8333 2874741
Year 2 3953193 -2602947 7402882 0.6944 2745273
Year 3 3941195 1338248 11344077 0.5787 2280784
Year 4 3232685 4570933 14576762 0.4823 1558972
TOTAL 9459770


The Net NPV after 4 years is -546059

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9459770 - 10005829 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Asr 1000 to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.



Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Asr 1000 has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Asr 1000 can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Asr 1000, then the stock price of the Asr 1000 should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Asr 1000 should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.




References & Further Readings

Mohanbir Sawhney (2018), "Cisco Systems: Launching the ASR 1000 Series Router Using Social Media Marketing Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.