Interactive Marketing: Exploiting the Age of Addressability 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 Interactive Marketing: Exploiting the Age of Addressability case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Interactive Marketing: Exploiting the Age of Addressability case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Robert C. Blattberg, John Deighton. The Interactive Marketing: Exploiting the Age of Addressability (referred as “Interactive Marketing” 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.

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 Interactive Marketing: Exploiting the Age of Addressability Case Study

This is an MIT Sloan Management Review article. It's a marketer's dream--the ability to develop interactive relationships with individual customers. Technology, in the form of the database, is making this dream a reality. Now companies can keep track of customer preferences and tailor advertising and promotions to those needs. For instance, a grocery store system could note that you recently purchased a sample size of dishwashing detergent and could offer you a coupon to buy the large size. Explores the impact of this development on marketing practices and gives practical advice on designing a marketing database and staffing an interactive marketing department. Also addresses customer fears and the public debate over marketing and privacy.

Case Authors : Robert C. Blattberg, John Deighton

Topic : Sales & Marketing

Related Areas : Marketing

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Interactive Marketing: Exploiting the Age of Addressability Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10029622) -10029622 - -
Year 1 3452228 -6577394 3452228 0.9434 3256819
Year 2 3955453 -2621941 7407681 0.89 3520339
Year 3 3943237 1321296 11350918 0.8396 3310818
Year 4 3246856 4568152 14597774 0.7921 2571814
TOTAL 14597774 12659790

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2630168

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. Internal Rate of Return
3. Payback Period
4. Profitability Index

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. Interactive Marketing 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 Interactive Marketing 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 Interactive Marketing: Exploiting the Age of Addressability

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 Interactive Marketing 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 Interactive Marketing 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 (10029622) -10029622 - -
Year 1 3452228 -6577394 3452228 0.8696 3001937
Year 2 3955453 -2621941 7407681 0.7561 2990891
Year 3 3943237 1321296 11350918 0.6575 2592742
Year 4 3246856 4568152 14597774 0.5718 1856400
TOTAL 10441971

The Net NPV after 4 years is 412349

(10441971 - 10029622 )

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 (10029622) -10029622 - -
Year 1 3452228 -6577394 3452228 0.8333 2876857
Year 2 3955453 -2621941 7407681 0.6944 2746842
Year 3 3943237 1321296 11350918 0.5787 2281966
Year 4 3246856 4568152 14597774 0.4823 1565806
TOTAL 9471471

The Net NPV after 4 years is -558151

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9471471 - 10029622 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Interactive Marketing 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 Interactive Marketing has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Interactive Marketing 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 Interactive Marketing, then the stock price of the Interactive Marketing 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 Interactive Marketing 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 –

Understanding of risks involved in 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.

What can impact the cash flow of 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 will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

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

Robert C. Blattberg, John Deighton (2018), "Interactive Marketing: Exploiting the Age of Addressability Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.