Dexit--A Marketing Opportunity 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 Dexit--A Marketing Opportunity case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Dexit--A Marketing Opportunity case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Robin Ritchie, Lalani Sohail, Sohail Lalani. The Dexit--A Marketing Opportunity (referred as “Dexit Payment” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Sales & Marketing. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Product development, Sales.

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 Dexit--A Marketing Opportunity Case Study

Dexit is a new electronic payment system that offers a convenient alternative to cash for small-value retail transactions. The chief executive officer is faced with some critical target market and marketing mix decisions as she prepares for launch. The situation is complicated by the fact that action is needed on two fronts: Dexit must not only recruit end consumers for the service, it also must convince merchants to install the payment terminals. Because paying with cash is free, the company needs to persuade both groups that the added convenience of Dexit justifies a transaction fee. Although the concept appears to have good potential, recent test market failures of two similar offerings suggest that success is far from guaranteed. Reinforces the importance of solid consumer analysis when selecting a target market, demonstrates the concept of value to the customer, and provides a basis for discussing push vs. pull marketing strategies.

Case Authors : Robin Ritchie, Lalani Sohail, Sohail Lalani

Topic : Sales & Marketing

Related Areas : Product development, Sales

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Dexit--A Marketing Opportunity Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10027814) -10027814 - -
Year 1 3456510 -6571304 3456510 0.9434 3260858
Year 2 3964197 -2607107 7420707 0.89 3528121
Year 3 3969705 1362598 11390412 0.8396 3333041
Year 4 3228611 4591209 14619023 0.7921 2557362
TOTAL 14619023 12679383

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2651569

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. Payback Period
2. Profitability Index
3. Net Present Value
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. Dexit Payment 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 Dexit Payment 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 Dexit--A Marketing Opportunity

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 Dexit Payment 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 Dexit Payment 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 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10027814) -10027814 - -
Year 1 3456510 -6571304 3456510 0.8696 3005661
Year 2 3964197 -2607107 7420707 0.7561 2997502
Year 3 3969705 1362598 11390412 0.6575 2610145
Year 4 3228611 4591209 14619023 0.5718 1845969
TOTAL 10459278

The Net NPV after 4 years is 431464

(10459278 - 10027814 )

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 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10027814) -10027814 - -
Year 1 3456510 -6571304 3456510 0.8333 2880425
Year 2 3964197 -2607107 7420707 0.6944 2752915
Year 3 3969705 1362598 11390412 0.5787 2297283
Year 4 3228611 4591209 14619023 0.4823 1557008
TOTAL 9487630

The Net NPV after 4 years is -540184

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9487630 - 10027814 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Dexit Payment 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 Dexit Payment has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Dexit Payment 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 Dexit Payment, then the stock price of the Dexit Payment 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 Dexit Payment 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 can impact the cash flow of the project.

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

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

Robin Ritchie, Lalani Sohail, Sohail Lalani (2018), "Dexit--A Marketing Opportunity Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.