The assignment will contribute 100% of the assessment. It will be in the form of a report and should be typed or word-processed; it should comprise no more than 2,000 words.
The aim of the assignment is for you to demonstrate your understanding of a number of marketing theories and principles covered in the module and your ability to demonstrate understanding of these to current practices of organisations in a meaningful, insightful and balanced way that shows critical reflection on understanding of your learning.
This assignment requires you to research, report and make recommendations on the marketing strategy of an organisation of your choice, using the knowledge and tools presented during this marketing module. Your example should be chosen because it demonstrates ‘success’ in implementing marketing.
Answering the questions below will give you the structure and content for your report.
This element of the assignment involves setting the context.
• Select and research a company, brand or non-profit organisation of your choice. Briefly introduce your chosen organisation, explaining why you consider it to be a marketing success story. You need to select COCA COLA
It is really important that you start thinking about which companies (or non-profit organisations) are suitable examples as early as possible. In some respects, this is like the new product development process. You should seek out several options, and then choose which one offers the best opportunity for you to show your knowledge and understanding of the subject area. To choose your brand or organisation, you should start by scanning the business press and other media sources for examples which demonstrate marketing success. Naturally you should also draw on your own knowledge, experience and expertise.
After some initial evaluation, you should then narrow down the possible options for your assignment to a short list. When evaluating the shortlist you may wish to consider:
• whether the examples identified do actually constitute ‘success stories’ – in order to answer this query you may wish to reflect on the key marketing models/frameworks (e.g. PEST, SWOT, competitor analysis, segmentation, 4/7 Ps) and consider whether there is clear evidence of the organisations managing these area/activities
• whether you can obtain sufficient information and data on your chosen examples – linked to this is the need to consider how well the aspects contributing to success can be identified individually (e.g. whether you can gain insights into areas such as the target market and the marketing mix adopted by your short-listed organisations).
After reviewing your short list you should be in a position to make a choice of organisation/brand for your assignment. Once you have made your choice you need to build a case for the organisation selected. What makes it a success? Is it sales, profit, distinctiveness, being a market leader?
The organisation that forms the basis of your marketing success story is likely to have a marketing orientation, i.e. a deep understanding of and commitment to customers. However, please note sometimes companies are successful without this focus, but this would not then be an example of a marketing success story. An organisation is likely to be deemed a marketing success because it meets customer needs, and delivers profit (or meets other goals) for the chosen brand or organisation.
In addition to the above factors you should also consider whether your success story is contemporary. If you chose an organisation which has demonstrated success in the last three years your analysis will have more resonance with the current marketing environment.
• Detail and discuss the key factors which have led to the marketing success of your chosen organisation. Your answer should show an appreciation of the core theories in this module (e.g. an understanding of the changing marketing environment, segmentation, market positioning and the marketing mix).
The following section outlines the various issues you may wish to consider when answering this part of the assignment.
Environmental analysis: as previously indicated there is a clear relationship between changes to the external environment in which an organisation operates and the needs of the market. Marketing success can in part be attributed to identifying and responding to changes in the external environment and the subsequent market needs.
When tackling this question you should identify the nature of the environment in which the chosen organisation operates (PESTEL analysis may come in useful) and how your brand or organisation has taken the environment into account when developing its marketing strategy. You should use market data, literature and research sources to support your discussion on the nature of the environment the organisation operates in and the needs of the market. To help answer this part of the question you may wish to consult a number of the library databases (e.g. Euromonitor Passport, Key Note, MarketLine Advantage, Thomson Research).
Buying behaviour: your assignment should consider how customers make buying decisions. This could include: a) the type of buying decision (e.g. low or high involvement, new task or repeat purchase, etc,); b) the steps in the buying process; c) the cues customers respond to; d) the criteria used when evaluating options; and e) the social aspects of buying (e.g. who else contributes to the purchase decision partners – friends or other departments within an organisation).
When researching the element of buying behaviour you may wish to start with some desk-based research (e.g. consulting relevant newspaper articles, trade publications, internet sources, academic papers, databases). You may even wish to undertake a mini-research activity. By way of example in the past, students have collected information on buying behaviour through conducting surveys, focus groups and even through observing people buying/engaging with the product under analysis. Please note, the collection of such data is not a requirement of the assignment, but it is something you may wish to consider.
Competitor analysis: marketing does not take place in a vacuum and so you may wish to consider: a) what is the nature of the competitive environment the organisation faces; b) what changes/trends are evident in the competitive environment for your chosen brand or organisation; and
c) how well has the organisation/brand recognised and dealt with any changes to the competitive environment in which it operates? You may want to consider elements like whether in the light of changes to the competitive environment the brand or organisation has developed an entirely new opportunity – sometimes called a white space or a blue ocean. Alternatively has the organisation implemented more modest changes which nevertheless mean the organisation does something different/better than its competitors (or even both)?
After considering the environment in which the organisation operates, including the buying behaviour and competitive issues, you may wish to consider the strengths the organisation possesses and the opportunities the organisation has been able to exploit. Consideration should/could also be given to the weaknesses of the organisation and the threats the organisation/brand has faced and how these threats have been managed.
When looking at these issues it may be helpful if you determine the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation, and show how the organisation used its understanding of the situation to build on the strengths and overcome the weaknesses and limitations. You can combine this with your review of the external or performance environment – and summarise this in a SWOT. Remember that it is your responsibility to explain – not just tell the reader – about how the organisation deals with these issues, and how this has contributed to the success story.
Think also about the organisation’s strategy, and its mission, vision, values, goals and strategies. Clearly, Baines and Fill’s Chapter 5 is a valuable resource when looking at the strategic options. Perhaps your organisation has used the Ansoff strategies to identify an appropriate growth strategy. If this is the case, you may consider how risky the strategy was. Another issue to consider is which (if any) of the three generic strategies – cost leadership, differentiation and focus – are relevant to your example.
The information collected up until this point provides sound background information. Progressing on from this, there is a need to consider a series of key marketing decisions.
• Which and how many segments have been targeted?
• How was the organisation/product/brand positioned?
• How was the marketing mix developed, implemented and managed?
Market segmentation: when considering the issue of segmentation there is a need to consider: a) how the market has been defined; b) which segmentation criteria was/is used; c) how big were/are the segment(s); and d) how attractive were/are the segments?
Positioning: once a segment(s) and target market(s) are identified you can consider the position of the organisation/brand. This can be illustrated through the use of a perceptual map.
Marketing mix: you need to detail the attributes of the mix elements, and look for consistency across each element of the mix. During the assignment it is advised that you discuss each element of the mix (4 or 7 Ps as deemed applicable).
Product: when discussing the ‘product’ element you may wish to consider issues such as: the types of products; the core, embodied and augmented proposition; the stages in the product lifecycle. Alternatively if you are investigating a service, then consider issues such as intangibility, perishability, variability, inseparability and lack of ownership.
If your success story is a new product, then you may add some insights from the product development process, which has led to the success. For example, was there co-creation in innovation? How easy was it for the company to attract innovators and early adopters?
Price: this does not only relate to the marked price, it also takes into account the value offered, either compared to other brands/offerings or as value-in-use.
Place: what are the distribution channels? Does the organisation or brand have a strength (power) in these? Or a unique distribution channel? Such issues may contribute to the success of the organisation’s/brand’s marketing activities.
Promotion: what promotional tools are/have been used, why, when and to what effect? Remember that promotion is more than just advertising. Consider whether the organisation used other forms of promotion such as personal selling, sales promotions, publicity or social media. Have these promotional activities contributed to the success of the organisations; if so, how?
Within the assignment you may want to include examples of some promotional materials. If you chose to do so then add these sparingly and be sure to outline what is good or effective in the promotional materials you insert into the assignment.
As you may be aware, the challenge with question two is to gather and review relevant information from a variety of sources and build a clear and coherent case for your chosen success story. Managing word count is key. Plan and edit your work to keep within word count, but without losing the detail required.
• Building on your success story, evaluate the future challenges facing your chosen organisation, and make two or three recommendations on areas the organisation should address for continuing success.
The final task is a ‘stretch’ objective. It offers two levels of stretch – first, it takes you outside the process of simply reporting on your research findings and instead it requires you to analyse marketing information and then use it to construct potential (and hopefully original) recommendations (with supporting evidence where possible).
In order to ensure that you receive highly contemporary information on the organisation under analysis, you may wish to set up a Google alert for your chosen brand or company. This facility will mean that you will be notified of emerging issues facing the chosen organisation/brand. You could also set this up for the industry sector, although be specific, as you may get overloaded with data.