You have recently joined as a marketing manager for a company that has been making a branded product X* for the past 10-20 years. The product has now reached its maturity and its sales have stabilized. The management is worried that the sales will soon start declining for this product. Before that happens, it wants to be prepared with its next plan of action. The management is thinking about either reviving the product or introducing a new one in the same line. The management has asked you for ideas and suggestions regarding the future of X. How will go about doing that? Will you revive X? Will innovate and introduce a new product in the same line? This is your chance to prove yourself at your first assignment in the company. Draw up a marketing plan for X.
There are three phases for this project:
I. Generate a research proposal
Select any product similar to X, which has been in the market for 10-20 years. It has been in the market for a long time now and is just beginning to face flagging demand.
*About X: Look around you – there are a variety of branded products that have been around for a long time. You can probably see the same brand of television you used 10 years ago, or the same cake-mix brand you love. However, these products have probably changed since inception to adapt themselves to newer technology and to compete with younger brands.
II. Collect and Analyze Data
After you have selected your brand X, collect data on sales, market demand, consumer behavior regarding the product, and anything else that you need to analyze in order to plan its future. You may obtain this information from sources such as the Website of the company owning the product. Your product can be anything from an electric bulb to a washing. You may also use databases such as EBSCO Host for your research.
Analyze this data and formulate a marketing plan the addresses the following areas of analysis:
I. Company Analysis
Identify the company’s mission
Based on your data, what can you say about the company’s strength’s weaknesses, opportunities, and threats faced.
Marketing and financial objectives:
Mention how these fit with your recommended mission and strategy
II. Competitor Analysis
* Scope of the company with regard to the industry, products, and applications, competence, market-segment, vertical, and geographic area in which it operates.
* Which of Porter’s generic competitive strategies would you recommend the company to follow? What should its product strategy?
III. Customer Analysis
Market Research and Demand Analysis
* Draw up a sample research plan for your research including the questionnaire design:
* Clearly mention the object
* Give the research methodology
* Mention data sources you plan to use, both primary and secondary
* Organize Focus group discussions (Sample size: 5 people)
* Conduct Surveys (Sample size: 5 people)
Analysis of Buying Behavior:
* What cultural, social, persona, and psychological factors influence X’s consumers the most? What research tools will help you better understand the effect on buyer attitudes and behavior?
* What consumer-buying roles and behaviors are relevant for X?
* What kind of marketing activities should your company plan to coincide with each stage of the consumer-buying process?
Segmenting, Targeting, Positioning, and Differentiation Strategy
* Which variables should your company use to segment its consumer markets? For example, in addition to income and geography, does your company want to focus on consumers who have specific lifestyles, needs, or attitudes?
* How can your company evaluate the attractiveness of each identified segment? Should it focus on one consumer segment and one business segment or target more than one segment in each market? Why? Should your company pursue full market coverage, market specialization, product specialization, selective specialization, or single-segment concentration? Why?
* In developing your positioning, identity the benefits most valued by your target customers. Will you stress one or more than one benefit in your positioning? In one sentence, what is the value proposition for X?
* Which of the differentiation variables related to products, services, personnel, channels, and images are best suited to your company’s situation, strategy, and goals? Include the rationale for your selection.
IV. Product Marketing Strategy:
* What core benefits does X suffer?
* What elements of the potential product should your company incorporate into the higher-end second product to be developed in the subsequent year?
* What attributes and benefits does X suggest?
* How can your company use packing and labeling to support its brand image and help its channel partners sell the product more effectively?
* What support service do X’s customers want and need? Review what you know about this market and its needs. Also think about what X’s competitors are offering.
* How can your company bridge the gaps between expected and perceived service to satisfy customers?
* What post-sale service arrangements must your company make to handle repairs and other issues that may arise after the purchase?
* What types of guarantees should your company offer to be competitive?
* What type of internal marketing does your company need to implement its service strategy?
* What should your company’s primary pricing objective be? Explain your reasoning.
* Are your customers likely to be price-sensitive? Is X’s demand elastic or inelastic? What are the implications for your pricing decisions?
* How will X’s pricing work with your company’s marketing mix?
* What price adaptations, such as discounts, allowances, and promotional pricing, should your company include in its marketing plan?
V. Channel Strategy
* What forward and backward channel flows should your company plan for?
* How many channel levels would be appropriate for the consumer and business markets you are targeting?
* In determining the number of channel members, should you use exclusive, selective, or intensive distribution? Why?
* What levels of service output do your customers desire? How do these levels affect your company’s channel strategy?
* How should your company support its channel members?
III. Formulate a Marketing Plan and Present a Report.
Prepare a detailed project report of the study for evaluation purposes. This presentation must inform them of your findings and your recommends for future courses of action. The research conclusions will also help in identifying the differences between theory and practice.
Present the report covering the following broad areas:
* Background to the Research Proposal
* Key issues
* Research and data analysis
* Proposed plan