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The Gravity Blanket

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS
Please select ONE product or service offering from the list below. This will stay the same for each section
1. The Gravity Blanket
2. Pepsi Café Cola
3. Nike Vapormax 2020
4. The PhotoStick
5. Samsung Electronics Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G
PRODUCT CHOICE & CONTENT
Your focus will be on the domestic, or U.S. marketing of this product only. If the product is also marketing in other countries you do not need to concern yourself with global operations.
You are not expected to be an expert on the product or service, and you will have large gaps in your knowledge due to proprietary information. You are not expected to purchase any sources that may have the information you need. You are expected to form well-reasoned conclusions based on what you do know or have found through research, or can reasonably assume. Respond comprehensively. Give examples when appropriate. Be sure to provide your own perspective on each of the questions.
FORMAT & WRITING
Each writing assignment will require you to respond to four questions total (two in Part 1 and two in Part 2). You must respond to all four questions.
Each assignment should be four to five pages of double-spaced text in length. A page is approximately 250 words. You may attach exhibits if you wish but please avoid color fonts.
Prepare each assignment in Microsoft Word. Here are the technical requirements:
• Use a simple 12-point Ariel font and primarily black ink. Use color fonts only where it enhances your ability to communicate your thoughts
• A cover page is required. A references page is required. The cover page and references page are not included in the written analysis or the page count.
• Be sure your name, writing assignment number, the date, and the name of your product or service are on the cover page of your writing assignment.
• Use question numbers with subheadings to separate topics (e.g., Part 1, 1. Creating Value for Customers)
Use a minimum of six (6) references, four (4) of them dated 2018 to the present.
• Includes references that explain the assignment concepts and references to the actual product.
Use APA format for citation of sources, both in-text and on the references list. Follow APA 7th edition.
Section 1: Strategic Marketing & Value for the Customer (4-5 Pages)
Learning Outcomes
1. Creating Value for Customers: Student can demonstrate an understanding of the concept of value creation.
2. The Role of the Customer in Company Mission. Student can assess the company’s commit to serving customer needs as evidenced in a company’s mission statement.
3. SWOT analysis: Student can conduct a simple SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of a product or service offering and draw inferences from an analysis of the results.
4. Competitive Analysis: Student can conduct a simple competitive analysis based on criteria important to the customers of the product or service.
Directions
• Step One: Select your product or service offering from the list in general instructions. The same product/service will be used in all four of your writing assignments.
• Step Two: Research your product or service offering through the Internet and UMGC’s virtual library. Your references will need to be mostly academic sources. Do not limit yourself to searching solely on the product or service name. Look up the industry it is in. Hoovers.com database is a good place to search for this information. Look up the direct competitors. Check industry journals and the trade press.
o [Optional] You may want to calculate the lifetime value of a customer. See the discussion of the lifetime value calculation in the week’s reading, and calculate the LTV using this simple equation: LTV = (Price) * number of annual purchases * number of years expected to purchase – initial acquisition costs. For simplicity sake, you can assume your customer will have a relationship with you for ten years and you can make an educated guess as to how much the initial acquisition costs were to get that person as a customer in terms of advertising or other types of promotion efforts. If you are not a customer yourself, make and share your assumptions about your calculation. If you are not a customer, you might want to find someone who is. Ask them why they are loyal to the product or service.
• Step Three: Prepare your assignment to answer each of the following questions (two in part 1 and two in part 2). Although you do not need to repeat the question, each section should have a heading. The paper should contain approximately 4-5 total pages of analysis for the responses to the questions. See Writing Assignment Instructions for full details of the requirements.
Part 1 – Customer Value & Role in Mission
1. Creating Value for Customers. Consider the customers you believe currently use your product or service and the definition of marketing offered in the course content. Discuss how you think the company creates value for its customers based on the concepts in this week’s readings.
2. Role of the Customer in the Company’s Mission. The readings indicate that the best marketing begins with the customer and that commitment to the customer begins with including the customer in the company’s mission statement. Find your company’s mission statement. Copy, paste and cite the company mission statement (or attach as an exhibit if it is too long). Comment on its effectiveness in demonstrating the company’s commitment to having a customer focus. Could the mission statement have more focus on the customer? How would you recommend it be modified? Is it supported with value statements or other evidence of a customer focus?
Part 2 – Company Analysis
1. SWOT analysis. Perform a SWOT analysis for your company and create a table in which you display and explain your results. Identify at least one element of each of the SWOT categories (a strength, a weakness, an opportunity, and a threat). Explain your choice using a citation to support your explanation. Then identify possible implications for each of the four elements. Create and include a Table in which these elements are posted. For example, if a strength is a strong national brand name, the implication is that the company may be able to launch other related products under the positive umbrella of the same brand name. Conversely, if a major weakness is the company is carrying a lot of debt, the implication is that the company not be able to achieve significant growth, but may have to consider retrenchment strategies. Your response will be enhanced by including elements related to your product. Do not simply reproduce a SWOT analysis you find somewhere; you are being asked to perform your own analysis and create your own SWOT.
2. Competitive Analysis. Identify at least two major competitors that are trying to sell essentially identical products to the same type of consumer. Then, identify at least three criteria that are important to those consumers when they are making their decision as to which of the three competing offers to buy (e.g. price, specific benefit, service, warranty, convenience, specific feature, etc.). Make a chart with the three criteria along the left-hand side and the competitor products (including your own product) across the top. Rank each of the products on a scale from 1= low to 5= high on each performs on each of the three criteria. Add down each column. Which product ranked highest overall based on the sum of the columns? Then, look at the highest score in each of the criteria boxes. Explain the following…Which products ranked the highest on each of the three criteria? Was it the same product, was it three different products? What do these results tell you about the competitive environment of your product category. Which product is the leader? Which product is the follower, challenger and nicher, if those categories apply? Include your chart in your text.
Section 2: Consumer Behavior, Market Segmentation & Positioning (4-5 Pages)
Learning Outcomes
1. Consumer decision-making process. Student can identify how marketing strategy can influence each of the steps in the consumer decision-making process.
2. Segmentation. Students can use the segmentation characteristics to identify and describe market segments.
3. Target market & strategy. Students can identify a usable market segment to be a target market and determine an appropriate target-market strategy
4. Positioning. Students can develop and interpret a perceptual map.
Directions
• Refer to the product or service you selected for your first writing assignment. This week, you want to take a closer look at what consumer factors may be relevant for customers who are considering buying your product or service offering. This will require some critical thinking on your part based on your own behavior if you are a customer yourself, or you may want to talk to others who have purchased the product. Sometimes you can find clues when looking at the marketing messages that may be addressing some of these factors.
• So far, you have only been considering the customers of your product or service as one big group, or a mass market. More astute marketing breaks down this large group into smaller market segments of consumers who have similar characteristics. For any specific product or service, there could be numerous market segments. However, company resources may only allow a company to pursue one or two or these market segments, which then become target market(s). In this paper, you should divide the mass market for your product or service into at least two market segments and then pick one target market you think would have the most potential for future growth.
• Chances are you picked a product with which you are familiar. That is a good starting point, and you may represent one target market. But you may represent a target market that is saturated and therefore not the best target market to pick for the remainder of the semester. So be sure your second target market is different enough and represents growth potential.
• If you did not do a thorough analysis of the competition in the prior writing assignment, you may need to go back and figure out the nature of the product’s or service’s competition. This will be important when you address the positioning of your product for your newly identified target market inasmuch as positioning is a competition-based concept.
Part 1
1. Consumer decision-making process. Go through the six steps of the purchase process outlined in the readings and identify where marketing can influence each of the six steps. For example, if a consumer just identified a need for your product in step one, then the company can advertise how your product fills that need. Or, if a consumer purchased your product, the consumer can be called and asked about their satisfaction with the product and if there is any dissatisfaction steps can be taken to ensure the customer satisfaction. Be sure to be more specific with respect to your product or service than this example.
2. Segmentation. View Table 5.1 of your Week 4 Reading, in Section 5.2, How Markets are Segmented. Using the various criteria of the segmentation bases described in Table 5.1, identify at least two distinct market segments for your product or service. Each market segment description must include at least three (more if needed) of the characteristics from amongst any of the four bases categories (e.g. one from demographic variables, one or two from psychographic variables, and one from behavioral variables, or a similar scheme). Be sure to explain your choices based on what customer need the product or service offering can fill for each segment.
Part 2
1. Target market & strategy. Select one of the market segments you described in your segmentation response as the one you believe is or can be the most profitable for your product or service offering and explain why you feel they can represent growth for the company. Refer to the six criteria for an attractive market segment as described in Section 5.3 of the reading ‘Selecting Target Markets’. Name your target market so you can use this name throughout all of your remaining writing assignments. Your name should be descriptive of the segments’ characteristics like ‘savvy young shoppers’ or ‘educated baby boomers’, or ‘urban hipsters’, or the like. The goal is for your faculty member to get a mental image of your target market for the remainder of the semester. Should the company focus all their resources on this new target market (concentrated marketing) or should they continue to pursue both the new and the existing target market as well as other market segments (multi-segment marketing)? Alternatively, is the market so saturated might they be more successful by focusing solely on an even more narrow market segment, perhaps an even narrower version (niche marketing) of your selected target market, as their best chance for growth? What is your reasoning?
2. Positioning. Draw a perceptual map as illustrated in the week’s readings or the website in the directions. Be sure to pick two criteria that are important to your new target market for your two axes, perhaps two of the criteria you used in Week 1 in your competitive analysis. Map at least the two major competitors you noted in the previous writing assignment and add any others that you may have discovered since then. You may want to visit this resource for more information on how to construct a perceptual map. Describe what the perceptual map is telling you regarding how each product is perceived in the minds of the new target market you described above. You may have to make a series of educated guesses for some of the data points. Ideally, you want to find uncontested space. If your product overlaps with a competing offering discuss whether or not your product or service should try for an ‘uncontested’ space on the map and ‘reposition’ itself; or if it should keep the same position and compete head on with the other product.

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