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Strategic Marketing Assignment: Business Opportunity and Strategic Decision-making

Task and Objective

Marketing is the process by which organizations identify their strengths relative to rivals, and direct their resources to create solutions that meet the needs of the marketplace. In this course, we examined the foundations of effective marketing, including value-creation, customer satisfaction, brand-building, and loyalty. We also considered the importance of sensing and responding to trends, understanding the factors that influence consumer choice, segmenting markets, choosing targets, and positioning the offering relative to competitors. Most recently, we discussed the role of the marketing mix—product, pricing, distribution and promotional decisions—in driving the success of organizations.

This final assignment gives you an opportunity to draw on all these ideas to respond to a real-world business opportunity. Its aim is to further familiarize you with the process of applied strategic decision-making as you transition from the classroom and begin to apply what you have learned in your professional career.

The assignment carries a (plus any appendices you deem appropriate). The deliverable is a consultant’s report, prepared for Chris Tanaka, that that addresses the following questions:

a) In your opinion, how attractive is this business opportunity? What key challenges must be overcome? Which of these challenges are likely to be the most problematic and why?

b) Choosing the right target market(s) is a critical marketing decision. Which segments should Tanaka actively consider? What factors need to be weighed when assessing their attractiveness? Of these alternatives, which segment(s) would you recommend that Tanaka focus on and why?

c) How would you position Manage-IR to your recommended target(s)? Your discussion should explicitly consider what these customers need / value, and the relative appeal of other options available to them.

d) Describe how you would implement your strategy, being sure to explain / justify all decisions:

o Distribution – Should Manage-IR be marketed directly to end-customers, or distributed by third party suppliers?

o Product / Pricing – How should Manage-IR be bundled and priced? Be sure to consider issues related to differential pricing and promotional discounting.

o Promotion – By what means will you inform and persuade your target(s)? Your plan should include explicit discussion of the “blitz” vs. “discreet” question raised by Tanaka

Your assignment will be assigned a percentage grade, using the following criteria:

1. Sophistication of analysis – Does the paper offer a reasonable assessment of the situation? Does it provide the client with new insights, or merely restate information from the case?

2. Soundness of the plan – Does the paper identify sensible alternatives and do a good job of evaluating them? Does the recommended plan make sense? Does it address key problems?

3. Quality of support – Does the paper offer evidence for its assertions and recommendations, or is it largely a statement of personal opinion, with few arguments to support what is being said?

4. Application of marketing concepts – Does the paper demonstrate a solid understanding and proper application of core marketing concepts (e.g., segmentation, targeting, positioning, value)?

5. Quality of exposition – Is the paper well written? Does it consist of a well-crafted line of argument or a series of disconnected statements?

Describe the challenge facing your client, Chris Tanaka and his team

• This section should incorporate your answers to the following assignment questions:

“In your opinion, how attractive is this business opportunity? What key challenges must be overcome? Which are likely to be the most problematic and why?”

Identify and discuss the main options: What potential target groups could your marketing plan seek to influence? Briefly assess the merits of each option.

• This section should incorporate your answers to the following assignment questions: “What options are available? What issues need to be weighed when assessing the attractiveness

of these alternatives?”

Clearly specify the target market(s) you are recommending, and briefly explain how you willposition your solution – i.e., the key benefits it offers relative to other options (usually competing products, though not always) that are available to your target group.

• This section should incorporate your answers to the following assignment questions:

“Which group(s) would you recommend focusing on and why? How would you position Manage-IR to your recommended target(s)?”

Describe and explain how you would implement your strategy:

Distribution – Should Manage-IR be marketed directly to end-customers, or distributed by third party suppliers?

Product / Pricing – How should Manage-IR be bundled and priced? Be sure to consider issues related to differential pricing and promotional discounting.

Promotion – By what means will you inform and persuade your target(s)? Your plan should include explicit discussion of the “blitz” vs. “discreet” question

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