Marketing Audit/Analysis of Your Organization Assignment
This assignment asks you to analyze marketing within your organization. This gives the opportunity to re-examine most of the elements of the course and apply them to something clearly relevant to you: your company or a brand in your company.
The following questions address most areas of the course. You should try to answer all of the below questions about your firm. In most cases, you should break your firm down to one major product/service or brand. But, some of you may find it better to analyze and answer these questions from a more overall organizational perspective. If you feel that your company is not appropriate for this assignment due to such things as too little information available to you, too much of the needed information being proprietary, or too boring to you, you may select another brand from outside your company.
Past feedback about what people have learned from this assignment has been very positive. My goal for this project is that you learn about how to apply marketing to your organization (and/or a brand within that organization). I will use the term “brand” below to refer to either a particular brand or brands within your organization (which can be either physical products or services) or your overall organization or strategic business unit, depending on the perspective that best suits you and your ability to answer these questions. Also, note that you may find it useful to look at a particular brand for one question, answers for multiple brands for other questions, or your organization/strategic business unit for others. The choice is up to you, based on what makes the most sense for your situation and the question.
In sum, my goals for this assignment are for you to: 1. learn about marketing in your company 2. analyze how marketing can and should be used in your organization 3. expand your knowledge about marketing, since you have had to apply it to something other than the cases.
Clearly, I have little basis for knowing whether any facts in your answers are correct. I can only grade this assignment in terms of the logic, persuasiveness, thoroughness, and insightfulness of your answers. Note that most of the questions do not require precise information or even quantitative information. The more important ones are conceptual, not informational, and ask you to think about how the various concepts discussed in this course and the lecture notes might apply to your situation. Ideally, you already know some of the information needed for these answers or know where to get the needed information. To answer others, you will need to try to get information from others in your company. The internet may provide a lot of useful information.
If you have absolutely no basis for answering a question due to an inability to get any information, just explain this to me as best as possible in your answer. However, I think that, in most instances, you can get sufficient knowledge to answer the question. In addition, you should be able to make some assumptions needed to answer most of these since they are designed to be conceptual, rather than merely factual.
You or your firm may feel that the required information is too proprietary to share with even a professor. If you request (indicate on the front cover page), I promise to share with no one else any information indicated by you as proprietary (or the entire report if you so request). If required by your company or preferred by you, I will sign a non-disclosure form.
In some cases, you may feel that this assignment is something totally inappropriate or impossible for you, given your firm, your ability to learn sufficient information, your interest, or your firm’s policies about releasing any information in any way. In that case, analyze another brand of interest to you outside your organization and answer all of these questions. I have had many excellent reports from folks who analyzed a company completely different from their own work. For example, a person who worked supervising construction for the state of Florida felt that his job did not lend itself well to this assignment and he wanted to do something else more interesting. He analyzed Victoria’s Secret. Many such companies and brands have more than sufficient information available on the internet in media reports and elsewhere which permits this. If you want to do this, consult with me about what would be a good choice.
Required Assignment Format: This assignment should be written in Microsoft Word, using the answer labels in the outline at the end. Write your name and your company/brand at the top of the first page and then as a running footer. Number the pages in the “page x of n pages” format and place the number at the top right corner of each page. Use only a simple cover page.
You may want to begin by copying the outline. Then fill in your answers. Begin each answer with the question number (and letter if warranted, e.g., 12c) and heading specified in the outline. Make an effort to make your answers easy for me to read with liberal uses of headings for new topics within an answer and spacing between answers. Your answers should follow the format specified in the outline.
Also, indicate/footnote all sources (e.g., company literature, public information in books or on the internet (give details), company personnel, and your own opinion/knowledge) for appropriate questions. To do this, it might be easiest to list the sources and then list parts of the outline where this particular source was particularly helpful (e.g., “www.xyz.com: Questions 3, 4, and 7a - 7b. Or, Myself: Question 1, 2, 13, 14).
Note that this assignment is due by email on Nov. 20. A hard copy must be FED EXed by that day in order to arrive at my address by Friday, Nov. 21. You will make a big mistake if you delay working on this project until the last month. Instead, begin thinking about this, gathering information, and drafting various sections as we work though the course. The total work may not be that great, but it will take time to gather information. However, some students have told me that t took them a great amount of time, compounded by the fact that they began too late. Most of these students told me that, despite this, they learned a great amount from the assignment and highly recommend that I retain this assignment. Some information will be easy to get, some you know already, and other information will depend on your finding people within the company for help. So, begin as soon as possible. Fill out what you know when you can and prioritize what you need to work further to gather or understand. Note that most of the questions do NOT ask for specifics that would be proprietary (such as costs and budgets). If you can not reveal this information or cannot find it, make an educated guess. Alternatively, skip the question with an explanation of why you were unable to answer it. All of you can get for almost all of the questions. The most important portions of your report do not require numerical information; the more important ones are the “softer”, more conceptual answers (e.g., questions 5 – 10). The pricing and commoditization questions in Question 12 are also particularly important but, again, do not necessarily require any exact quantitative information (i.e., you do not have to get or give details of costs or exact margins).
Questions for Marketing Analysis for Your Company
1. Briefly describe your product or service and what it does (no more than one paragraph or half of a page). - My Company’s Product - In a few sentences, describe what you do at your job.
2. Analyze the competitive situation your brand/company faces. Use the Porter “Five Forces” model to analyze how competitiveness of your industry (detailed in the “Introduction” lecture notes. First, draw five boxes, as in the introductory notes with the name of each “Force” and an adjective “High”, “Moderate”, or “Low” describing your assessment inside the respective box. Then, under the name of each force and the adjective you had in the box (e.g., Barriers to Entry: High”) in bold, describe each of the reason for your assessment in a detailed bullet format. These answers can be brief with not a lot of details. Please label this answer as: – Competitive Analysis
3. Who are your chief competitors, and --- for each one --- what are its abilities, objectives, and abilities and how do these differ from those of your own organization? Write one paragraph about each competitor with the competitor’s name in bold (e.g., Boeing.) beginning the first sentence. Please label this answer as: - Chief Competitors
4. Do a SWOT analysis for your brand? First, list all of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in a bullet-like outline format with only short phrases for each inside each of the 2 x 2 cells). Then, discuss the most important specific ones in a brief paragraph (i.e., 2-3 sentences) for each important strength, then weaknesses, etc. Note that you can also refer to your answers to questions 1 and 2 here to shorten the length of your answer to this question.) In each of these paragraphs, begin the first sentence with an abbreviated phrase in bold describing that strength (e.g., “Great reputation.” or “Poor coordination with suppliers.”) Then, after drawing and filling in the four SWOT areas, add short sub-sections detailing in bullet format (only) the most important: - Strengths: For each of these detailed strengths, how does this affect your brand’s ability to satisfy the needs of your target customers? - Weaknesses: For each detailed weakness, how does this weakness affect the operations of the company? Also, how does knowledge of this weakness assist the company in meeting the needs of its target market(s)?) - Opportunities: For each detailed opportunity, how is this opportunity related to serving the needs of your target market(s)?) What actions must the company take to capitalize on this opportunity - Threats: For each detailed threat, how is this threat related to serving the needs of your target market(s)?) What actions must the company take to prevent this threat from limiting the capabilities of the organization?)
5. What are the key attributes/benefits that are used by consumers to form perceptions, attitudes, and buying intentions? Draw the 2 x 2 cell matrix (e.g., antes, fool’s gold) discussed in the positioning lecture notes and group them by whether they are low of high in importance and in determinance.
6. Use graphs to depict the positioning of your and other brands (or firms) in your industry using a perceptual map of your assessment of the - “Actual, Objective Brand Attributes” (please use this title). - -Then, draw a map of your brand/company and your competitors “As Perceived by Your Target Customers.”
Note that a few of you may need to have three maps for each of these if there are three key dimensions (e.g., price vs. mileage; price vs. performance: and performance vs. mileage). Explain the reasons for any differences between the objective brand characteristics and customer perceptions. If these differences favor your company (i.e., perceptions of your brand are more positive than can be justified by the objective qualities), how can/does your brand maintain this? If these differences are such that your brand is actually better objectively than it is perceived by your target consumers, how can you overcome and change this? (Begin your answer in a brief paragraph that begins with: - Reasons for Differences in Two Maps.
7. Write a positioning statement about your brand, using the format detailed in the positioning notes. a. Analyze what is the basis for the positioning of you and your competitor. By this, I mean are you positioned in terms of an attribute or benefits, a usage occasion, etc.)? See the positioning notes to remind you about these different bases. Label this your with the phrase: - Basis for positioning. b. Prepare a sample ad (or show an actual one) to illustrate this positioning. Label this answer as: - Illustrative Advertisement (and then make it clear whether the ad is an actual one or one you made up on your own) c. Then, write a positioning statement for a leading competitor. Label these two answers as: - Positioning Statement for my Brand (Note that the positioning statement must be in the classic format described in the Positioning lecture notes). - Positioning Statement for Important Competitor”.
d. Critique how your brand is positioned. Is its current or intended position correct, in your opinion, or should your brand be re-positioned in some way? As part of this analysis, analyze your description of the brand/company’s positioning statement in terms of the “CRUDE test.” If yes, write the new positioning statement you recommend. Label these answers as - Correct Statement?”( “Yes” or “No”), - CRUDE test (plus any other needed explanation) - Recommended New Statement (answer is “none” if “No” above)
8. Describe the segments served by different products in your industry? Describe these by using and labeling as such the descriptors as discussed in the consumer behavior and segmentation lecture notes (e.g., usage, geographic, demographic, psychographic, desired benefits, mass customization, etc.) these answers as: - Segments Served in Industry - Segment Focused on by My Company (Segment Descriptors that can/should be used for these two answers) Geographic Demographic Psychographic Benefits sought Mass customization Other
9. a. Analyze the DMU for a typical sale for consumers in your major target segment? For each part of the BUILD acronym describing the DMU, describe who “plays” this role in a typical sale, and what parts of the decision and others in the DMU they influence. Begin your answers with: - BUILD/DMU o Buyer o User o Influencer o Lodge (gate) keeper) o Decider and describe how this role is played out by these DMU members, etc.
b. Also describe the decision-making processes that occur or may occur. How do members (customers) of this segment make decisions? What information is needed and sought? How do consumers get this information? How long does this process take? (In other words, try to address all of the questions in the beginning of the consumer behavior lecture notes, as well as address any other relevant material in consumer behavior notes.) Label these answers as: - Decision-making process/information processing
10. Marketing Objectives and Performance a. If you know or can guess, what are the marketing objectives for your brand? (e.g., sales, market share, profit margin, etc.)? Are these appropriate objectives? Why or why not? How well is your brand doing in attaining these objectives? Label these answers as: - Marketing Objectives, - Appropriate? (begin with the word “Yes” or “No” and then go on with the rest of your answer) and - Attaining Our Objectives?
b. Is your industry declining, increasing, or staying relatively flat in terms of performance? Is your brand doing better or worse than the overall industry? Why or why not? Label these answers as: - Relative Industry Performance - Explanation Why
11. One important threat for many brands is commoditization. To what extent is your brand threatened by commoditization? What evidence do you have that this is or is not a problem? What is your organization doing to prevent becoming a near commodity? Begin your first answer with a “yes” or “no”. Label these answers as - Commodity? (Begin with the word “Yes” or “No” and then go on with the rest of ` your answer), - Reasons why - Measures Taken to Prevent Commoditization
12. Pricing - How is/are price(s) set for your brand (cost –oriented? competitors’ prices? customer value? some combination?)? I realize that some of this cost information cannot be obtained and/or is proprietary, but be as specific as you can about the pricing method(s). - Do you think that your brand is priced such that “money is being left on the table”? - To help me understand your product, approximately what price does your company charge for your product? (This can be a vague range if it helps.) - If you were in charge, how would you try to implement customer value oriented pricing? Try to be specific to your brand and your customers. - If bundle pricing is done in your organization, how is it done and why does it succeed? If no bundling, why not? If not, are there any opportunities for bundle-pricing? (Note that “bundling” does not refer to quantity discounts but to when more than one product is sold in a combination (or “bundle”) at a combined price lower than the prices of the products when priced alone. (Note that a common example is the delivered product and service.) Label these answers as: - Approximate Price level - Current Pricing Method(s) Used (indicate “yes or “no” and explain why o Cost? o Competition? o Customer value? o Combination, other? - Money Left on the Table? (Followed immediately by “Yes.”, “No”, or “Perhaps” - Value-Oriented Pricing Possible? How I Would Try to Implement Value-Pricing, and - Bundle Pricing.
13. Describe as best you can the marketing communication mix (sales, advertising, and promotions) for your brand and the intended communication objectives for each. If not in your pricing discussion, include promotion discounts in this section. a. Do you recommend any changes in the balance (proportion of dollars allocated) of each element in the mix? b. Do you recommend any changes in how each is implemented? For example, should the sales force be re-organized or have a better selling message? Should the advertising be changed? Are pricing promotions over-used? c. Do you recommend any changes in the communication goals for any element in the marketing communication mix?
Label your answers as: - Current Marketing Communication Mix, - Recommended Changes in the Balance? - Recommended Changes in Implementation?, and - Recommended Changes in Goals? For each of the last three, begin with the word “Yes” or “No” and then go on with the rest of your answer.
14. Describe anything else pertinent about marketing of your company/brand that was not covered by these questions. Label this answer as: - Miscellaneous/Other.
15. Summarize what in particular you have learned from this assignment about your company. What, if anything, have you learned that is new or has been particularly demonstrated about marketing in general? Label these answers as: - New Insights about Marketing in My Company - What I Would Change about Marketing in my Company - Subject areas from the Course That Have Been Particularly Reinforced by This Assignment
Outline for Assignment
Past students have suggested that a bare-bones outline with the labels for answers, etc. would be helpful. Thus, here is the requested “Outline for Analysis of Marketing in Your Company”
1. My Company’s Product 2. Competitive Analysis (Porter) 3. Chief Competitors 4. SWOT Analysis (overall); Then: a. Key Strengths b. Key Weaknesses c. Key Opportunities d. Key Threats
5. Key Attributes/Benefits a. Matrix of Importance and Determinance 6. Perceptual maps of your brand/company and your competitors a. Actual, Objective Brand Attributes b. As Perceived by Your Target Customers c. Reasons for Differences in Two Maps.
7. Positioning a. Positioning Statement for my Brand b. Basis for this positioning c. Illustrative Advertisement d. Positioning Statement for Important Competitor e. Correct Statement? Critique of how your brand is positioned. f. CRUDE test (plus any other needed explanation) g. Recommended New Statement (answer is “none” if “No” above)
8. What segments in your industry do your brand(s) serve? Describe these by using and labeling as such the descriptors as discussed in the consumer behavior and segmentation lecture notes (e.g., usage, geographic, demographic, psychographic, desired benefits, mass customization, etc.) these answers as: a. Segments Served in Industry b. Segment Focused on by My Company (Possible Segment Descriptors. o Geographic o Demographic o Psychographic o Benefits sought\ o Mass customization o Other
9. a. BUILD/DMU - Buyer - User - Influencer - Lodge (gate) keeper) - Decider b. Decision-making process/information processing
10. Marketing Objectives and Performance a. Marketing Objectives, b. Appropriate? c. Attaining Our Objectives? d. Relative Industry Performance e. Explanation Why
11. Possible Commoditization. a. Commodity? b. Reasons why yes or no c. Measures Taken to Prevent Commoditization
12. Pricing a. Approximate Price level b. Current Pricing Method(s) Used (indicate “yes or “no” and explain why i. Cost? ii. Competition? iii. Customer value? iv. Combination, other? c. Money Left on the Table? d. Oriented Pricing Possible? How I Would Try to Implement Value-Pricing, e. Bundle Pricing.
13. Marketing Communication Mix a. Current Marketing Communication Mix, b. Recommended Changes in the Balance? c. Recommended Changes in Implementation? d. Recommended Changes in Goals?
15. Lessons Learned a. New Insights about Marketing in My Company b. What I Would Change about Marketing in my Company c. Subject areas from the Course That Have Been Particularly Reinforced by This Assignment