MRKT 310 Principles of Marketing
Week 1 Writing Assignment
What is Strategic Marketing?
- Creating Value for Customers: Student can demonstrate an understanding of the concept of value creation.
- The Role of the Customer in the Company's Strategic Planning. 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.
- Select your product or service offering from the list in the Weekly Writing Assignment Discussion Forum. (Amazon.com)
- Research your product or service offering through the Internet and UMUC’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). Do not limit yourself to searching solely on the product or service name. Look up the industry it is in (Hoovers.com is a good source for this via the UMUC library) and 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. 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.
- Prepare your assignment beginning with a title page with your name and and the name of your product or service. Then answer each of the following four questions in order and number the beginning of your response to each question. You do not need to repeat the question.
- 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. As we begin our study of marketing, what are your preliminary thoughts as to 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 Strategic Plan. 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. Repeat it (or attach as an exhibit if it is too long) and 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?
- SWOT analysis. 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 if needed. Then identify possible implications for each of the four elements. For example, if a strength is a 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 not be able to achieve significant growth, but may have to consider retrenchment strategies.
- Competitive Analysis. Identify at least two major competitors or those two products 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 little 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. 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? Attach your chart as an exhibit.
General Submission Requirements
Prepare as a word processed document (such as Microsoft Word).
• Your assignment should be the equivalent of two pages of double-spaced text, approximately 1/2 page for each of the four questions. Do not exceed this maximum unless permitted by your faculty member. Writing concisely and on point is one of the objectives of this course. You may attach exhibits that will not be counted towards your two page of double-spaced text.
• Be sure your name, writing assignment number, and the name of your product or service are on the first page of your writing assignment.
• Use a simple 12-point font such as Times New Roman. Use black ink for majority of your work and only use colors if it enhances your ability to communicate your thoughts.
• If the writing assignment requires external research, be sure to use footnotes and include a bibliography. You may use MLA or APA style, or any other college-level style guide. More information about using a style guide can be found in the UMUC's virtual library accessible from your LEO classroom or at umuc.edu/library.
• Upload your word processed document in your LEO assignments by the due date in the LEO calendar.
Refer to the grading rubric associated with the assignments. Be sure to note that 20% of your grade on this assignment will be based on your grammar, composition, adherence to the submission requirements, and use of an appropriate college-level style guide for writing and referencing.
Any questions? Please post in the general discussion forum for Week 1.