Each student is expected to research and write a term project that will be submitted in three phases with the final paper due in its entirety in Week 13 of the trimester. The project is an assessment vehicle to evaluate each student’s competencies in the course content material as well as the competencies of critical thinking, effective communication, research ability, leadership ability, and initiative as outlined in the University’s catalog.
The thesis of the paper is a basic marketing plan for a product or service that the student has decided to create/manufacture and market. The competencies of research ability, initiative, critical thinking, and effective communication are required to successfully complete this project. Note,appropriate credit through APA referencing must be given for the work, language, and ideas of others.
The trimester project will be submitted in three phases. Due dates are Phase 1—Week 5, Phase 2—Due Week 10, and Phase 3—Due Week 13.
The product or service chosen may be:
1. Something that is totally new to the marketplace (e. g. glow-in-the dark bubble gum, home cholesterol test, or remote control lawn mower); or
2. Something that is already being sold on the market. Many of the “new and improved” products that firms decide to market are actually very similar, if not identical, to what some other firm is already marketing. Note, it may not be an existing franchise (such as McDonald’s or a Ford dealership) or extension of an existing business (unless that student owns that business).
If the student decides to market a product or service that is totally new to the marketplace, she or he should be creative, while simultaneously addressing the perceived need of a particular set of customers. Many products now taken for granted (e.g., Liquid Paper, Post-It Notes) began with a creative individual’s very simple idea. The formation of this idea involves the use of critical thinking, research ability, and initiative.
As stated, the student may instead decide to market a product or service that is already being sold in the marketplace. In that case, elements of the firm’s marketing program other than the product or service may actually determine success or failure. The general logic behind this approach is to use critical thinking, research ability, and initiative to focus on how a new company could market an existing product differently but more successfully than it is being promoted already. For example, the IBM Personal Computer is faced with heavy competition from other companies that have essentially “cloned” a similar computer, but have chosen to price, distribute, and promote their computers in a noticeably different manner, eventually forcing IBM to sell its PC business to a Chinese competitor. A good idea does not guarantee or even imply success or profitability and a marginal idea does not guarantee or imply failure. Therefore, the goal of the project is to prepare a thorough “dry run” on paper to determine the real potential and timeline for success and return on investment. It is important to note that a project that shows that the idea will not be sufficiently profitable is as successful a project as one that does.
Regardless of the approach the student chooses, the key to the project is that, based upon what is learned about strategy, marketing, and economics throughout the trimester and program, she or he can explain how her or his own company would market the chosen product or service.
In making the project appear realistic, the student will be required to do some outside research to support the situation analysis. In some cases, the student may also contact existing businesses/organizations and/or potential customers (i.e., marketing surveys) in order to gather the needed information. It is expected that the reference section will contain at approximately 20 sources. Most will come from books and articles located through research utilizing the resources of the HU Library as opposed to sites found on the web. Peer reviewed journal articles and or factual sources (government supplied statistics, chamber of commerce data, etc.)are the preferred resources. General web references, such as commercial sites and Wikipedia are not acceptable.
Several basic methods have been proposed for how to organize a basic marketing plan. The outline presented here is one of the more basic approaches to plan development and one that captures the essential elements of a proposed marketing effort while also maintaining some simplicity. For this assignment, the student should adhere rather strictly to the guidelines for plan organization as outlined below. The major component headings for this approach include the following:
1. Title Page
The cover sheet which must be used as the cover sheet for this assignment can be found in Course Documents in Blackboard. Note that there are instructions on the cover sheet for further help that must be deleted before submission.
2. Table of Contents
The table of contents is a listing of everything contained in the plan and where it is located in the report.
Reports that contain a variety of charts and figures may also have a table of exhibits listing their titles and page
numbers within the report. At Hodges University, a Table of Contents is required for five pages or more. See
Course Documents for the template.
3. Abstract (also called Executive Summary)
This section presents an abbreviated overview of the proposed plan for quick management skimming (between 150 and 250 words). This must logically be the final section to be written because it serves as a brief overview of the main points. The abstract should be on a page by itself.
This section of the paper must be “introduced” as major heading (centered) entitled Introduction. The types of information and amount of detail reported in the introduction depend in part on whether the plan is being designed for a new or existing product or brand. Essentially, the introduction “introduces” the project and describes the purpose of the paper and what will be accomplished through completion of the project. It should also provide a detailed description of the product and its price. This section should be no more than 2 pages. The introduction is the first page of text.
5. Situation Analysis
This section presents relevant background data on boththe internal and external environments affecting the proposed company. This section should discuss the analyses of internal and external environments, SWOT analysis, and the industry your company is in.
Include mission and vision statements for your company. Be sure these statements align with the
6. Analysis of Markets and Customers
This portion of the paper analyzes the market and consumer needs and behaviors regarding the proposed good or service. It will be necessary to project market changes and forecast future demand for or sales of the proposed good or service. Hodges University Library contains detailed market research reports for most industries.
7. Marketing Planning (Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning)
Marketing Planning is the “heart” of the paper. It contains three major elements:
(1) Market Segmentation—the process of grouping customers within a market according to similar needs, habits, or attitudes that can be addressed through marketing. The purpose is to form groupings that are internally similar yet sufficiently different that each grouping will not react in exactly the same way to the same marketing activities. Segmentation is an important part of marketing planning because it allows marketers to focus their resources on the most promising opportunities
(2) Targeting—segmentation lays the foundation for targeting, decisions about which market segments to enter and the segment coverage strategy to use. The target market is the se
gment of the overall market that a company chooses to pursue. This section discusses the customer base and justification for it, demographics, geographics, psychographics, consumer or organizational buyer behavior, etc.
(3) Positioning for Competitive Advantage—After market segmentation and targeting, marketers are ready for positioning, using marketing to give the brand or product a distinctive and meaningful place (position) in the minds of targeted customers.
8. Determining Objectives and Strategic Direction
Here the marketer will determine the strategic direction for the product or service. The chosen strategic direction must be consistent with the remainder of the marketing plan.
Once the strategic direction is set, marketers have to establish short and long term goals. Remember that objectives are effective only if they are specific, time defined, and measurable; realistic but challenging; consistent with the mission and overall organizational goals; consistent with internal resources and core competencies; and appropriate for external environmental opportunities and threats.
9. Marketing Mix
Illustrate the marketing mix–product, place, price, and promotion as well as strategies such as value chain analysis that create and deliver value based on the needs and behavior of the targeted market segments.
10. Budgeting, Forecasting, and Tracking Progress
Companies need to establish specific checkpoints, practices, and standards for measuring progress so they can accurately track marketing plan implementation and be ready with control intervention if necessary. The four key tools for measuring progress are (1) forecasts, future projections of what sales and costs are likely to look like in the period covered by the plan; (2) budgets, time-defined allocations of financial outlays for specific functions or programs; (3) schedules, time-defined plans for completing work that relates to a specific purpose or program; and (4) metrics, numerical measures of specific performance-related activities and outcomes.
Projected Income Statements/Breakeven Analysis–This section provides management with a summary of all projected revenues (Sales Forecast) and expenses (Estimates of Marketing Costs), as well as a calculation of the break-even point in units and dollars.
This section also includes any additional information or documents relevant to the plan. It may also include any graphs, charts, or other supplements.
11. Implementation and Control of the Marketing Plan
This section contains a discussion and justification of how the marketing plan will be implemented and controlled. It explains how management will determine if the strategy is working and whether changes need to be made. It also summarizes what alternatives are available to management in case the current environment changes.
This section should be the culmination of your analysis and critical thinking about this organization and the marketing of this product or service. It should be rich with your own thoughts, analysis, and interpretation. Remember, this portion fully states the case for the viability or lack thereof your plan.
The only mandatory item that should be included here is a list of all relevant reference sources used in the construction of your plan. It is expected that the reference section will contain at least 20 sources. At least 15 sources will come from scholarly research located by utilizing the resources of the Library. Remember that most sites found on the www, including Wikipedia, are not scholarly sources.
The trimester project will be submitted in three phases. Due dates are Phase I—Due Week 5, Phase II–Due Week 10, and Phase III—Due Week 13. The Final Project which combines all elements of Phase I and Phase II, complete with corrections and modifications, will be due Week 13.
Phase I Due Week 5
Major Component Headings 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 13
This section of the trimester project should contain a minimum of 8-10 pages of text, not including the reference list. As a guideline, the paper should also contain a minimum of 10 items on the reference list that are cited throughout the body of the paper.
Phase II Due Week 9
Major Component Headings 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13
This section of the trimester project should contain a minimum of 10-15 pages of text, not including the reference list. The reference list should contain all references from Phase I and Phase II; however, the paper should contain the sections noted above which are due. This is your opportunity to show corrections made after the return of Phase I.
Phase III Due Week 13—Submission of Revised/Edited Phase I and II plus:
Major Component Headings 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, & 13 with all corrections and modifications.
Note: Papers submitted after the deadline of Week 13 will not be accepted.
Student Portfolio – The mission of Hodges University includes not only helping students meet their academic goals and complete their degree programs, but also fostering the skills that will enable them to be lifelong learners. To promote its mission, Hodges University has established five educational outcomes necessary for all students to achieve as a measurement of their success: critical thinking, effective communication, initiative, leadership ability, and research ability.
A portfolio is a collection of documents that exhibits a student’s progress and development over the span of his or her academic tenure. Combined with traditional learning measurements, a portfolio illustrates a student’s achievement of the five educational outcomes outlined by the University. Students completing the BSM degree are required to prepare a portfolio, consisting of various written assignments completed throughout the program, which exemplifies their best work and which demonstrates and applies each of the five established educational outcomes. Applied trimester projects will become a part of each student’s portfolio as will other selected written assignments which demonstrate the five educational outcomes.
The applied trimester project paper demonstrates the educational outcome of research ability. Research ability is defined as the capacity to obtain, analyze, and utilize relevant and credible information in an ethical manner. At the end of their degree program, students will demonstrate effective research ability skills. As a graduate of the BSM Program, you are expected to be proficient in research ability at the following level:
1. Determine the nature and extent of the information needed (Nature and Extent)
2. Obtain the needed information (Obtain information)
3. Analyze information and its sources critically (Analyze Information)
4. Use information to accomplish the planned objective (Information Use)
5. Use information in an ethical and legal manner (Ethical and Legal Use)
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