Step 1: Select a Product or Service.
Due: End of week 2 (check course schedule for specific due date)
You will select a company and one of its specific products or services, for which you will prepare a marketing plan. Submit your choice to your faculty member for approval no later than the end of week 1.
Your choice of a product or service is important. Here are some tips to help you select an appropriate product or service:
- Select a consumer product or service that you or your family uses regularly. This will help give you insight into customer behaviors in the purchase decision and will also make it more interesting to work on because you like the product or service.
- Do not select an industrial or business-to-business good or service.
- Do not select a smartphone product, because it would be too close to the example in the textbook.
- Select a product or service that is large enough to have something written about it or its industry. This will help you find industry trends and competitive information via library research.
- Select a publicly held companyâ€™s product or service. Again, there is more information available that will bring depth to your analysis. You will need revenue data, market-share data, or other measures to compare against competitive offerings.
- Stay with nationally known brand names so that your faculty member has some knowledge of your choice and therefore can be more helpful to you.
- Select a product or service that has some competition.
- Do not select a product or service idea. This must be a currently marketed product or service.
- You may consider selecting your own company if it meets the requirements above. If not, do not attempt it.
- Keep it simple. Do not try to tackle an entire conglomerate or company with multiple business units.
Here are some examples of products and services (or combination of product and service) that would be good choices for your Marketing Plan Term Project:
- A soft drink or cola product (e.g., Coca-Cola Zero, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Evian bottled water, Gatorade)
- A national restaurant chain (e.g., Applebeeâ€™s, Panera Bread)
- Personal-care products (e.g., Colgate toothpaste, Clinique, Olay, Johnson & Johnson Baby Care) Here you can choose the entire product line that is related. In other words, you would discuss all Colgate toothpaste product-line extensions, such as whiteners, cavity fighters, â€œtotal,â€ childrenâ€™s toothpaste, etc.
- High-tech consumer products (e.g., 3D televisions, notepads, cell phones [not smartphones])
- A service (e.g., H&R Block, a credit card, an investment firm, an insurance company)
- Specific automobile models (e.g., Ford Fiesta, Toyota Prius, BMWâ€™s M3 series)
Before the end of Week 2 prepare a one-aragraph description of your choice, link the productâ€™s website, and submit it to your faculty member in the Marketing Plan Term Project Discussionby by the end of Week 2. Your faculty member will approve your choice or make recommendations for you to consider.
Step 2: Research your product or service.
Try to complete most of your research by end of week 3. You will probably have to look for more sources as you begin to write. Your sources will be most useful in Part 1, where you are analyzing the current situation. Research will be incorporated throughout your presentation and need not be submitted separately.
Look for academic sources that use a review or editing process. This means that, although you will be using the companyâ€™s website, it should only provide background on the product; it should not be the primary source for your analysis. Most of your information will come from databases (e.g., Hooverâ€™s), popular business publications (e.g., the Wall Street Journal,Business Week, industry trade journals), and government data (e.g., census data and trends).
You can use the UMUC virtual library in your online classroom. If you need help finding information, be sure to contact a virtual librarian or ask your faculty member for help.
Step 3: Prepare Marketing Plan Term Project, Part 1 (worth 30% of final grade)
Due: End of week 5 (check course schedule for specific due date)
A. Current Marketing Situation
1. Market description
- Segmentation (describe target market using segmentation characteristics)
- Marketing targeting strategy
- Value proposition
- Factors influencing consumer behavior of the primary target market
- Buyer decision process of the primary target market
2. Product review
- Levels of product/service
- Type of product/service
- Product/service life cycle
- Benefits/features analysis
- Branding strategy
3. Competitive review
- Competitive analysis
- Market share
- Competitive positions and roles
- Strategic sweet spot
- Distribution review
- Current supply chain members and roles
- Value-delivery network analysis
- Current type of distribution strategy
B. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats Analysis (SWOT)