- Creating Value for Customers: Student can demonstrate an understanding of the concept of value creation.
- 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.
- 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.
- Competitive Analysis: Student can conduct a simple competitive analysis based on criteria important to the customers of the product or service.
- Step One: Select your product or service offering from the list in Writing Assignment 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; see library services if you do not know what an academic source means and your own outside research. 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 in the UMGC library; search on that industry as well. Look up the direct competitors. Check industry journals and the trade press. Ask your family, friends, coworkers and others what they think about the product and each of the competitors. If relevant and possible, you may want to visit a retailer to compare the products on the shelves or visit all of the websites. Keep all your research as you will need it for future writing assignments.
- [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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Writing Assignment Instructions:
PRODUCT CHOICE & CONTENT
Think carefully about your choice as you will focus on this product or service offering for each of the four writing assignments. It is in your best interest to select a product or service that interests you and for which you feel you can gain sufficient information.
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 the 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. See Supporting Conclusions with Your Ideas and Reasoning.