MG604: Marketing Management and Strategy Marketplace (Report Element) Whippets Wednesday 2nd May 2012 by 2pm Dr. Chris Parsons
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2. Second Year Financial and Market Performance
3. Marketing Plan
4. Business Strategy and Performance
5. Current Market Situation
7. Reflective Practise
Appendix Participation Log
Executive Summary -
Performance seems stable with year on year return high percentage return on investment. The last 2 quarters forecast a good outlook to a profitable future.
Currently 3rd in overall market with substantial market share in Innovators, Costcutters and Mercedes Segment.
Lack of Sales offices had lead to general decline of sales. No market penetration. This has been rectified and has lead to increase in sales and revenue.
Change needed in pricing strategy to make it more relevant to different consumer segments has been addressed and has proved to be beneficial
Research on consumers is now more accurate and at the forefront of decisions. Specification on particular consumers needs were not recognised previously or used to influence product development. That is no longer the case.
Consumers need to be the main focus and their needs have to be met in accordance to each product. Now developed a product for each consumer.
Has to be a defined strategy to make the brand more competitive in other segments
There has been a shift of consumer focus, change in primary target markets (addressing lower end and higher end of the spectrum) which is a more profitable strategy in terms of increasing revenue.
Brand Strategy – Maintain focus on consumers needs
Pricing Strategy – find averages in different markets for the different consumers matching their willing to pay. Increase price of products as they are developed but only the ones which are relent to consumers needs
Advertising Strategy – Increase ad spend significantly
Sales Channel – open sales channels in all segments of the world and in other cities.
Carry on researching the competition and detailing consumer wants and needs in the market.
Ensure that dominance in current cities is maintained and open new sales offices away from competitors.
Product development needs to be looked over to make products more relevant to changes in the different markets to ensure demand is maintained. R&D investment to carry on the help aid in this.
Marketplace live, an Introduction to Marketing simulation, â€˜challenges students to make realistic marketing and business decisions in a competitive, fast-paced marketâ€™, Marketplace (2012). It allows students to develop and execute a complete marketing strategy, including brand design, pricing, ad copy design, media placement, distribution, and sales force management.
This report reveals strategy and implementation of the group F13. The entire process was to establish whether a group can harness the typical activities of a business and sees the processes which they go through which effect decision making, â€˜Business simulations allow students to apply the newly acquired theoretical knowledge in a simulated business world, Marketplace (2012). Revealed here are the different strategies which were taken by the group and the critique of each decision and how this implemented on business decisions.
2. Financial & Market Performance Function 13 had assigned two staff members for the financial positions. This is simply because the finance sector is the most important section to run the company to make it successful. There had to be and delegation of money in the right areas to ensure that the company was successful in all activities. With a strong marketing team, its focus was on the second quarter. The objective was clear from the mission statement: To become the most profitable company in the whippet category.
Performance Importance Matrix (PIM) Hooley (2012:372) th
At the start of the second year, the company was 4 and this was because performance was low due to things explained later in chapter 4. The importance of the business activities was extremely high because of the nature of the intense competition in the market and as the PIM above suggests, this meant that the company needed to improve urgently to aid in the financial situation. The company was not as progressive in revenue through sales as they predicted themselves to be, this meant that the group had to make alterations to their business activities or risk a further loss of market share.
The main source of revenue was of course sales of the products, this was relatively below expectation at the start of the second year, put down to the increase in competitorâ€™s action.
The end sales revenue figure was ÂŁ26,032,600. This was due to the designing of new products and the redeveloping of old. The finance here was of course due to the demand for the products and
increase in revenue through sales. This showed significant difference in the second year in comparison to the first year.
As shown in this table above, the start of the second year (quarter 5-8) Function 13 was not in profit. Function 13 made executive decisions to make sure financially that the company did not spend too much money on the sales force or advertising, also to make sure the prices are what the consumers were willing to pay. With profits at the end margin it seems to prove the tactics was correct but still F13 were not the market leader. This proved that the money invested in the company was crucial otherwise sales figure would have been different and the company would possibly not have been so profitable. Return on investment was just over 50% in Q5, the lowest figure in both years (due to R&D and increase of product portfolio) and for a long time previous, the company were not able to return the money spent on costs. Q7 was when a significant increase 22% above what was invested, this is when the company began to be very profitable and now the capital raised could continually be used to be spent on further R&D and improving relations with consumers, which then would improve the financial position.
Function 13 return on investment was high from Q7. With low costs in advertising and operating expenses it seemed that each quarter the return on investment had grown in the second year apart from the first quarter where different tactics came in place. Function 13 had to spend money to make money to gain greater profit margins and become steady in the market share.
The start of the second quarter Function 13 had 18% of the market share and was fourth in the market. With three other competitors gaining more market share Function 13 had to act quick to get a better share in the market during the last four quarters.
The main target audience was innovator and Mercedes, which the company (in Q5, 6, 7) as shown above had a substantial amount of market share in. This decreased as more competitors became knowledgeable of the benefits of being in this market as these two customers gave the best return in revenue. It eventually leads to slight loss of market share and the group was put into second place in market share in both customer segments. This lead to the company looking to boost sales by approaching other customers as explained in chapter 4 of this report. Attention to new customers, coupled with opening new offices where there was little competition or none all aided in helping boost the companies profile and sales. When opening in different countries profits seemed to be rising because of this dominance over competitors and the end of Q8 proved to show that there would have been significant increases if the company continued the strategy to open offices in new cities which competitors were not in.
It also seemed that at the last quarter the competitors suddenly dropped their prices in an attempt to steal revenue and customers. F13 did not follow suit to maintain the brand expectancy and not undervalue the products in the brands portfolio. This strategy may have lost a small amount of customers who went for the cheaper option but this number was not significant enough to have a big effect on sales figures. Instead of lowering price, which could have had a negative impact on demand F13 studied the market and critically analysed what the market was in need for and wanted. The company than made the product better for the consumers to generate more the sales which were sufficient enough to inherit a 237% ROI at the end of Q8.
As the customer specification and product development was launched the market share dipped by one per cent but this seemed to be normal as Function 13 increased its expenditure on rebranding to become stronger in the long term. This showed in the next two quarters, seven and eight. With a space in two quarters Function 13 had gained 4% more market share and now was the third highest climbing up to be the market leaders. The final quarter competitors GAJA took more market share 43% from the previous 36%. Due to GAJA taking more percentage of the market share Function 13 suffered fewer shares but still was the third best brand in the whippets group. It is apparent that the companyâ€™s financial position is admirable and looks to be sufficient enough to aid them in the market for future activity.
3. Marketing Plan These are the proposed strategies given to the board before the start of the second year. These decisions are then looked over in chapter 4.
3.2 Customers After the assessment of quarterâ€™s one, two and three F13, as an organisation became more aware of the wants and needs of their target market. One key area that was highlighted is that customers from market segments of innovators and Mercedes were very impressed by the products, as the company had sufficient market share in comparison to that of the competitors. As seen below F13 took the majority of the market share within innovator with 34% and although not the market leader F13 was in close contention with the market leaders the organisation came second with 32% of the market share in Mercedes. Originally our main target markets consisted of innovators and workhorse. Through a substantial interest by Mercedes consumers the company made the strategic marketing decision to make the main target markets innovators and Mercedes to build on the organisations popularity.
Proposed plan -
Switch target market focus from Workhorse to Mercedes.
3.3 Brand strategy F13â€™s brands remained strong yet due to the lack, understanding the company failed to recognise the needs as wants of target segment Workhorse. To develop the brand strategy F13 tailored specific products to meet consumers need by adding more precise functionality to the chosen products. To make sure the needs of the consumers are met in each segment.
From Brand Vision to Brand Evaluation. De
De Chernotony’s (2010) Brand Triangle model works from bottom to top it explains the need for functional values, to create emotional values to the consumer, to deliver the brand promise. This in turn influences functional values, such as tailoring products to meet consumer types’ needs. F13 aimed to create the emotional context needed in branding to deliver the brand promise, in turn driving sales and creating larger market share through customer satisfaction. Therefore the company decided to focus more on the customer and their needs in order to boost sales revenue.
Another reason for tailoring products came from the information sourced to the organisation by product reviews, which stated as seen above that the only products which were deemed to meet customer needs were NWO Plus and NWO MAX and this only catered for the innovator market segment. The company therefore proposed to make the brand more diverse, producing different products re-adjusted to meet the needs of consumers in different areas, to help remain competitive within the market.
Proposed Plan -
Invest in market research understand consumers wants and invest in developing the branded products to meet their needs.
3.4 Pricing Strategy
After a pricing overview and signs that the sales people were struggling, the pricing strategy was reviewed. It became clear to the organisation that competitors were undercutting the organisation on prices. Without market dominance, it was hard to ask potential consumers to pay more for an almost identical product. ‘Price tactics are rarely static for long periods. Competitive pressures may force prices down, either temporarily or permanently, or new market opportunities might increase the price premium on a product’, Brassington & Pettitt (2007:243). In this case the prices were forced down by the competition, leading to the change in the company’s price strategy.
The idea was not to undercut are competition by a large margin only slightly to keep acceptable profit margins for the company and in order to not de-value the brand. One of the reasons for
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lowering prices is that the products in the market are all functionally very similar without the brand being any stronger than competitors. ‘Price is a key decision maker for consumers in the purchasing processes’, Brassington & Pettitt (2007); however, changing prices can have a serious effect on profit margins and on market stability. If changes are too significant, it is almost inevitable competitors will respond in some way. So, F13 decided not to lower the price to much and only to use price skimming to compete with the opposition as not to spark too much of a reaction in the market and force a price war.
To follow on from this F13 look to find averages in different markets for different consumers matching what they are willing to pay. The company plans to then raise prices in accordance to development of products through R&D. But there will still enable tailored pricing to match the needs of the consumers, to ensure the company remain competitive within the pricing.
Proposed plan -
Lower price of products between 7 % and 10%. In effect a price war strategy.
Develop pricing strategy further to meet the needs of the consumers.
3.5 Advertising Strategy
The company noticed that out of all the competitors, F13 spent the least in advertising, despite this F13 still remained profitable due to the quality of our products. Advertising is salesmanship mass produced. ‘No one would bother to use advertising if he could talk to all his prospects face-to-face. But he can't’, Hite (1988: 42). With a small share of voice, with regards to advertising, technically the organisation had less sales influence. Another problem was the lack of attention given to the specific ads, due to the lack of awareness about the products. Awareness is important as explained within the AIDA model below. ‘Attention’ being the basic need to achieve interest to achieve the desired sales effects within advertising (see appendix 1.3 for AIDA Model example). Without understanding the consumers there was a lack of attention paid to F13 advertisements, which their competitors exploited more positively. This is why the finance department decided to not just carry on under spending the competition in terms of ad spend but increase it to raise awareness.
Aida Model, Hite (1988:42)
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Increase Ad spend significantly.
Further consumer profiling to understand what USPâ€™s need to be placed in the ads to draw attention.
Do not overspend the competition, instead use ad placement effectively to ensure ROI.
3.6 Sales Channels Strategy
Due to being a relatively new in the market the organisation underestimated how many sales offices it would need; with such a highly saturated market due to new entrants, the need for further offices was essential to penetrating the market. F13 aim to achieve global success to start the process and gain the edge over the competitors.
As shown in the data above none of the competitors currently trade in Mumbai or Toronto, therefore to make a move to assert dominance in these uninhibited markets, the strategy is to create sale channels in these countries in bid for obtaining a large market share due to the fact that the competitors are currently not trading in these areas. This move could prove to be very beneficial if managed well, but if not could mean that there would be stretching of resources and perhaps may over spend in decreasing gross profit.
Proposed plan -
To have at least 6 different sales office in different countries by quarter 7.
Open sales channels in all segments of the world. (EMEA, AMERICAS, APAC)
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4. Business Strategy and Performance This section analyses the decisions made after delivering the marketing plan to the board. It assesses th
what exactly happened and what implications this had on further decisions, looking closely at the 5 to th
4.2 Customers Highlighted in the marketing plan was the realisation of the importance of consumer specification. The idea of a universal product was unfeasible, as it meant that specific audiences felt excluded from their preferences. F13 decided to appeal to all target markets and this lead on to the development of existing products and a better brand representation, as now the company targeted more than just the two main target audiences of Innovator and Mercedes, a change from previous target audience of Innovator and Workhorse. The change was due to the fact that the Workhorse segment was difficult to design a product for and the Mercedes segment, for the company seemed more feasible to target due to an increase in market share in quarter 6 and 7. These two targets were high end and although it was good to target them for obvious reasons of higher return, the company did notice that at the lower end of the spectrum (Costcutter), F13 had relatively low share in comparison to all of the competition, who seemed to have specific products targeted at this segment. This then aided in justifying the decision to produce a new product that was aimed at this market, it was clever to do so as it made the company the majority shareholder in quarter 7, a 42% increase. So now the company targeted Innovator, Mercedes and Costcutter.
Performance, Satisfaction and Customer loyalty Hooley (2012:366)
The model above shows the customer needs is the key to increase loyalty therefore, to make the customerâ€™s happy was the aim. This is the reason why Function 13 made the computer technology better as demonstrated in the model; by increasing performance it meant that there would be an
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increase in loyalty in the current consumer base and an increase of potential customers from the competition, leading to an increase in customer retention and a lower customer churn rate. This made sense as the main source of revenue was sales of the products. By establishing more focus on customer’s and redesigning products to match customer’s needs, means that the business could deliver and exceed expectations. 4.3 Competition
The main competitors here were Globe, who was in front on overall market share and Indigo who were below. Unfortunately a plan was not detailed in the marketing plan of how best to gain market share off both of these near competitors. Soon came the realisation of the importance of a plan to ensure that they didn’t know the company off their established third place. The company then decided to actually pay attention to the competition and what brands and products they were producing. In particular which areas and cities they were in and their financial performance in each. This meant that the company’s products could be altered and affected the decision of which sales offices were opened next, ensuring that F13 moved away from places that were too saturated. Assessing the competition also lead to change in pricing strategy and aided in rise in revenue as the company placed themselves in direct competition with their nearest rivals with a better understanding of what the main competitor GAJA was doing.
4.5 Brand Strategy
The decision to increase brand portfolio was a good one, which proved very beneficial. The focus on a brand to a target audience meant that the F13 brands could excel in brand preference. As a result a number of risky changes were foregone by the group for the duration of the second year. A new strategy was implemented which focused more on the customer and the competition; followed by new aims as mentioned below.
Second year aims:
Focus more on consumer wants (target audience).
Increase advertising spends.
Increase attention on market (analyse competitors actions).
Improve products in brand management.
These aims were to improve on the image of brand and company as a whole. With the new aims for the second year set up Function 13 made sure that all aims and objectives had to be achieved to schedule to enable a better profit margin. The company’s attention was on its competitors; critically analysing their patterns of advertising spend as well as comparing price and costs on products. Through continuous reviewing and evaluation of the strategies adopted by the competitors, Function 13 were able to identify that there was need for a rebranding of the products and the specs provided
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in addition to the price premiums offered. This is where the new strategy to make a product for each consumer was endorsed.
4.6 Pricing Strategy
The price for the products remained the same, which was relatively high in comparison to that of the competitors. It also didn’t actually look at what consumers were willing to pay. This proved to be costly. The following quarter, the decision was made to decrease price, as the strategy to alter products to match specific consumer’s needs was established. This was now more relevant to each consumer segment and what they were willing to pay and lead to an increase in interest to the different products in the different consumer segments. Being priced higher was not influencing sales immensely and seemed unnecessary since it wasn’t helping to lower down the cost of components as demand was not increasing. This then lead to price skimming, ensuring that the company was offering new and better versions of existing products at a lower and more cost effective price. It had a really good effect on Costcutter, as they now had a product which matched their needs, matching that of competitors but priced slightly lower. The company went from having 2% market share in the Costcutter segment in Q4 to being the market leaders in this segment in Q7. Obviously this had a positive effect on sales revenue
4.7 Advertising Strategy
Advertising spend increase was beneficial, despite spending the least; the company still remained in rd
their 3 position after the 5 quarter. Adjusting advertising and marketing methods created more sales, increasing product exposure, moving the company from being in minus revenue, to having greater profit margins. The first strategy to spend as little as possible in advertising may have cost the company some sales revenue, because consumers were not exposed to the products.
As the products became more specific, the advertising changed to be more specific to the products. Now as there was more focus on consumers, matching the products, it was easier to think about ad placement. The places chosen to put the print ads in were in correlation to what the specific target audience actually was recorded seeing. This increase in advertising still meant that the company was spending more than previous but less than competitors. Here effectiveness of placement was more important than outspending the competition with irrelevant adverts that didn’t reach the right consumer. It also meant that finance was not spread to thin and delegated elsewhere i.e. R&D.
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4.8 Sales Channel
The company decided to open up two more new sales offices, as shown above in the comparison of th
where the company was at Q4 when the company was in 4 place in overall market share. Here it seemed as though the two companies at the bottom, in reference to market share (F13 & Indigo), were bottom because of the amount of sales offices opened. This is before GAJA had dominance in the market, here we see that they had double the amount of sales offices that F13 had. This choice to open new offices earlier was overturned from feedback received. The choice to not open another sales office was due to suggestion of the board who believed that this would lead to of thinning of resources.
By not opening sales offices for the next quarter, really hit the company in revenue as the market boomed and GAJA suddenly gained dominance in the market. By the time this action was reversed rd
and the company opened new sales offices, which did help them to gain 3 place again, it was too late to become close, worthy adversaries to the now market leader GAJA. If sales offices were opened earlier, despite adding to operating costs and taking up a lot of the finance, would have ended up making the company a more recognisable force in the industry. Eventually the focus on products specification would have aided in increasing sales revenue and availability in these cities would have st
paid for the costs. GAJA did this effectively and this was perhaps the main difference between 1 and rd
What did help was the opening of sales offices in places which the competition was not. Abu Dhabi, Mumbai and Shanghai were all chosen because there was little or no competition within the cities. This meant that the company could exalt in sales as there was little activity in the cities, making F13 more competitive and dominant in these markets. When other competition went to the same places, F13 has already established a consumer base, which made it harder to infiltrate by competitors.
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4.9 Conclusion of Performance th
The company has done well, ever since F13 were 4 in the overall market share in q4, ever since rd
getting to 3 place have remained there and gained ground over the competition below, getting closer to Globe. The main driver of success was the strategy to change the main focus of the plan. To move away from a universal product that can be aimed at all customers, to 4 individual products to match the needs and specifications of the individual customers, this lead to product diversification and a better range of products that can be aimed at consumers. The product specification to customers needs was the most influential as it had an effect on every other business activity. It also made F13 more competitive as the company had the most products on display. Despite increase costs of production, the significant increase in sales revenue and demand was relevant enough to make that rise in cost insignificant.
Trying to undercut competitor prices proved to be a risky strategy, especially on gross margins. So the best thing to do here was to develop products and remain consistent in pricing to specific products matching consumerâ€™s expectations in pricing and their needs, without spreading to thin on resources. By doing so helped steal some customers away from near competitors below, like Indigo and Little Fish, giving their consumers what they were offering but at a lower price. This proved successful to begin with but as reputation in the different areas improved in the eyes of the consumer, and the development of individual products improved, price had to be increased to showcase increased value.
The main threats to the company were the competition (in particular GAJA) in an extremely competitive and saturated market. For example, the Americas segment was overpopulated and too competitive. This segment produced the most sales revenue for everyone in the market and as the competition realised this, they open sales offices in this region, saturating the sales for each company. Also, the beginning process of establishing the products and design them was not fully understood and scrutinised. Customers specifications were ignored this made it more difficult to gain market share when was already established by the competitors. The pricing strategy of overpricing compared to customers specification (in particular Costcutters) meant that they didnâ€™t want something they presumed as over valued and this lead to a decrease in sales and brand judgment. Threat of new entrants in the cities that the business occupies will be the main drawback on revenue, but because of the already established brand in the city, it will be difficult for the competition to steal away too much market share.
It is wise to always oversee the market and the actions of competitors; this will always be the main factors that influence future decisions.
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5. Current Market Situation
To assess F13’s current situation, at the end of quarter 8, a SWOT analysis is necessary. This analysis is a useful technique for understanding the company’s strengths and weaknesses in comparison to that of the competitors in the market. Also the SWOT can be used for identifying both the opportunities and threats which may be faced in future activity. The SWOT analysis revealed that the company’s position in quarter 9 was formidable and the company seems to be ensuring that there is clear and apparent investment in the future.
Function 13 have a net accumulative operating profit of a little over £9.5m, with total revenue of over £24m. Financial performance was also recorder at 30.654 which is significantly above the market average, and really close to the closest competitors, Globe. In terms of creation of wealth, the company came in second, proving that effectiveness in the market in terms of creating sales was amicable. This allows Function 13 to operate steadily, leaving room to invest in R and D, new sales offices, more advertising to help bolster sales.
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In the current market, although generating vast profits, and revenue, which have ensured that they remained 3rd in the market, function 13 have struggled to become leaders in any particular market segment, struggling also to gain market share amongst their competitors, GAJA and Globe. Although struggling for market share, Function 13 still remains competitive, completive within their main target audience, Mercedes and Innovators. In the innovator sector, function 13 have 18% market share, which although seemingly significantly lower the 46% market share dominated by GAJA, Function 13 still gain upper hand ahead of the chasing pack, Little Fish, Indigo and Globe. GAJA has more sales offices than the rest of the competition, which could also be the reason behind their dominance in the market, their substantial revenues showcases a better economies of scale ratio, meaning their output costs less. Despite this, the considerable profits accumulated by F13 are still substantial and will also allow F13 to invest heavily in more sales offices and sales force to expand and generate more sales.
In the Mercedes sector, another one of the main target audiences, they are vastly more competitive in this sector. Holding a 27% share of the market, although lower than GAJAâ€™s, who are overall market leaders, 33% share. Generating more market demand in this sector through the development of the products, aided by research and development, with which has had significant investment since quarter 7,can help to overhaul the deficit difference present. Surprising market share increase in Costcutters, also aided in the sharp increase in revenue of sales. This could be because of the places where the company decided to open offices and more attention given to developing products specific to the audience.
Gaining market share is a real issue in the other segments though, especially as F13 have released computers to appeal to all market sectors. The workhorse and traveller sector, need looking at, and are not surprised when you analyse the advertising expenditure in comparisons to their competition. F13 spend less, considerably less on ads than their nearest rivals Little Fish. In fact Little Fish, who spend the 2nd least on ads, actually spend more than double compared to F13. However, Adspend has increased significantly since quarter 6 and remains a strong and promising venture.
It is apparent that F13, over the next two years, want to remain competitive, and they are on course too. Operating at a profit, more than enough sales offices to cope with the demand, especially as it feels like they have spread themselves slightly too thin in terms of the amount of computer brought out to accommodate each segment.
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There are opportunities to expand the business in EMEA as F13 have not really expanded in that area of the world. With only one sales office in Abu Dhabi the opportunity to expand is rife. There is always that risk of entering a saturated market though, so investing in ads to raise awareness will be essential. The other sales offices F13 were either first in the market or the only company in the market i.e. Mumbai as shown below. This increases the companyâ€™s competitive advantage.
There will always be the threat of F13 rivals competing with them on price, which should always be mindful of. Having the 2nd most amount of sales offices after GAJA, their competitors may realise that opening more sales offices can lead to more market share eventually leading to more sales and revenue. The same also applies to the research and development available, in a market where it is easy to impersonate other competitorâ€™s products. Understanding the market is crucial and investing in R&D which Little Fish, Indigo and Globe spent little on, come quarter 9 , may realise that investment in this can increase their ability to raise price, drop COSTS , etc but this is pure anecdotal. rd
Overall, throughout the whole time in the market, 3 place has been a consistent place which F13 have occupied in the market. This consistency, and steady rise of financial performance (profits) and rise in revenue, prove that the company will continue to be very profitable and successful in future ventures. Even successful enough realistically to overtake the 2
place Globe in market share.
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6. Conclusion What is apparent here is that the company have done well when it comes to producing cost effective products, specific to the consumerâ€™s wants and needs, after mistakes were made in not addressing research on competitors and consumers needs. The company has remained competitive and have held on to their place in 3rd overall market share throughout the entire process. This means that the correct decisions were made to ensure that the 4th place standing was overcome, making the company more than capable in addressing internal problems. What needs to happen now for the company to continue being successful, is the continual development of their current products through R&D and also a closer look into the market leaders and their activities.
There is an obvious correlation to what competitors do to what the business does. F13 will have to adopt different strategies to deal with these actions since it will have an effect on the way the company progresses and make different decisions.
The company is profitable and forecasts predict that this will be continual, lessons were learnt and decisions were put in place to enable a better understanding of these faults. This has to remain consistent as the company ventures into different markets and opens new sales offices in other cities.
The mission statement set out to not become the market leader, but to be the most profitable; it seems as though, if a long term objective, feasible.
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7. Reflective Practise
7.1 Group Formation and Operation
The group consisted of four university students in their final year. As the group had already worked on previous assignments in other modules, there was a familiarity and comfortable with each other. This premeditated the conclusion that working on a group project together would be the most advantageous and convenient option.
Initially, there was some difficulty in assigning roles, as various group members had skills that could have been applied in many parts of the project. As the project specification became clearer, however, assigning roles also became easier, as it was clear that individual skill-sets made the participants suited to particular parts of the project.
The roles depicted above were given to each member of the group because of the other modules that they did, this meant the individual members could be defined as specialist in those particular roles. However, important decisions were declared and scrutinised in the group meetings to ensure each participant was happy with decisions. Implementation and delegation of tasks were split according to the specific roles to ensure that each member had an active role.
Once the project started progressing, the group functioned well. Due to established friendships, the group was able to express themselves more freely than if they were less well acquainted. Also, working with each other harboured an environment of inspiration and encouragement, allowing more work to be completed in a shorter time than if arrangements had been different. All disputes (of which there were very few) were settled democratically and amicably during meetings.
7.2 Individual Accounts
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Planning and Progress
The project plan and tasks were delegated over different media communications such as Facebook, email, face to face and board meetings which took place within the gateway library at Buckinghamshire New University. Regular meeting took place to help analyse faults within the brand and communicate them into solutions, sometimes to great or little effect. Not all plans were smooth sailing and opportunities were missed within the market, despite this we remained profitable. Each member was given an assigned role which helped the group to focus on their certain aspects and utilise their skills in their field of expertise for example brand manager, finance manager and marketing manager, with my role being assigned as the president of overall leadership. Although each member of the team contributed to different elements of the brand, it was me who was instrumental in making the final decision. I was given the task of over ruling any decision if we felt it to be one hundred percent beneficial for the company, by keeping this format it was clear who was making the decisions in each areas to determine if they were the most effective person for their position within the organisation.
In quarter two we experienced communications issues, It was believed that we had finalised a decision to alter the brand strategy to drive business to the newly released products, yet this decision could not be made without the my finalised decision and due to this it could have resulted in the failure of our objectives. Although the decisions were made just in time before close of sale, this became major issues for the organisation and from this a meeting took place to do an overhaul on our internal communications strategy. This then resulted in more efficient ways to communicate and set weekly meetings to ensure all employees where aware of all activities taken place internally and externally towards the company.
During the project, as mentioned before I was entitled the task as President of Overall Leadership, due to my experience in managing people and my ability to articulate business decisions. As mentioned before my decisions were crucial in making final business decisions due to the fact all process were over looked by myself and It was my role to asses the business strategy to understand, whether strategic decision were being formed properly.
To critique my decisions negatively, I can say in quarter four a decision was made by the organisation which could have been prevented if the company had stuck to the original plan. Due to stretched resources and capital, we were advised by our shareholders not to open anymore sales offices in quarter 4 and 5. This effected sales because of competition expanding there sales divisions and taking away our share of voice. Itâ€™s arguable that the decisions was taken to avoid risks due to stretched resources, sometimes business decisions need to be bold in order to succeed. The mission
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statement set out was not to become the market leader, but to be the most profitable. This was a long term vision which we believe stretched the company in order to achieve greater success. I still believe firmly that we had the foundations to build on our strong market position and if given more time we could achieve overall leadership.
I believe under my role I was heavily influenced by my Vice President and Advertising Director Mr Patrick Zinga, he understood the business model just as well as I did and was one of the key members in wanting to expand, which was unfortunately held back through advice from the executive board. I still firmly believe, by myself not questioning the decision more, was one of the downfalls to our success. I installed lots of trust into Patrick to mange decisions when I wasnâ€™t about and without him I believe my stability as President of the organisation could have been challenged. To summaries I believe I was an effective member in making sure all business decisions were in the best interest of the company. All employees stepped up to take leadership on projects, which made my job comfortable at times.
This group project was the most interactive project I have undertaken and taught me a lot about group dynamics ad the importance of making the correct business decision. A clear communications process allowed each member of the group to work relatively detached and meant that the processes became quicker and more efficient. The experience of partaking in this activity will certainly influence how I under go business decisions within my chosen career and give me the confidence to take leadership upon them. The benefits of carefully selecting your target markets have been made clear and the key importance to understanding your customers beyond their average traits is key to this. I plan to invest more time in critically analysing the advice I am given to ensure that, each process taken has been fully assessed to achieve maximum success. The role of a company President has been made clear to me and will hopefully provide me with added confidence if a leadership role is handed to me.
In hindsight I should have pushed harder to make my decisions with more venom and empower my authority, yet in working with a group of people who are just as capable as you at understanding the problems and resolving them, sometimes its hard to question their integrity. Circumstances in communications failure meant there were issues in making business decisions due to the original lack of co-operation between my co-workers, but being a fundamental cog in the wheel I was able to rectify this. We failed to sometimes understand our target market and our share voice in advertising was some what lower than it should have been, mistakes were made in the advertising and marketing departments but through picking up on these, we still made substantial profit despite this. If I was to undertake this process again I would have ensured that we looked more externally to what was taking place in the market, rather than thinking internally and working off the basis of risk reduction. I would have ensured the target market were understood from the outset to ensure a head start on select target markets to gain competitive advantage and trust in the power of advertising by investing in it more thoroughly to provide a larger share of voice for the organisation.
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Overall it was great learning process but lacked depth in branding, advertising, marketing, sales and other business functions to really use the expertise we are capable of to really gain competitive advantage over the competition. In real life with regards to marketing, competitors can copy a product and surpass the functional advantage of leading brand. One way of doing this is trough installing emotional value to a product or your brand, through in-depth consumer profiling to form an emotional connection with the consumers through an IMC strategy, this simulation practice was more about functional processes the essentials of marketing practice but never took your thought processes beyond that, so you couldnâ€™t create that emotional connection between brand and customer something that I no all members of the project are capable of. A great opportunity to understand how the process in communicating a successful IMC strategy and the knowledge I have obtained will used as guideline to follow in future business practices.
Planning and Progress
It took us a while to get to grips with the simulation, as a group I think only Patrick and George really truly knew what was going on. Taking for granted how real the simulation seemed to be. And it really did seem that once we got to grips with knowing that the research provided was imperative, we were already lagging behind.
We were given allocated times to complete each and every quarter and not once did we miss a deadline. This is not to say it didnâ€™t get more difficult as the weeks progressed. This was due to the planning having to be more and more critical and a huge amount of detail was needed to operate in the market. It is safe to say we underestimated the planning at the early stages but soon enough we got our minds right and focused more on what the consumers wanted and needed, what our competitors were also doing in the market, in terms of their ads and their costs. Our market share fluctuated from week to week and was pretty hard to pin point what was really causing the inconsistency.
My primary role within the company was to act as the Brand Manager, but also working in tandem with Omid Lalfam as part of the Sales Management group. As brand manager it was my duty to manage the tangible characteristics of the brand. So I contributed to the naming of our products and how much we should be charging for each product in each sector. So my role as part of the sales management often came hand in hand or intertwined with my role when it came to branding. I feel my opinions were valued within the group as they all know it is the career Iâ€™m planning on moving into. I was happy with my role as Brand manager as it allowed me to have a direct input into how our
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customers perceived us in the market. I contributed to having a tone of voice that our target were familiar with.
Doing group assignments like this one are an eye opener, I believe it is the way forward because it allowed us to gain practical experience, and allowed us to be able to think as if we were in the outside world marketing real life products, Like I mentioned before, it wasnâ€™t all plain sailing, we did find it difficult at the beginning of the simulation to adjust to what was required, but once we got to grips with the game, we made the necessary arrangements and started to analyse the research more thoroughly to enable us to compete in the market place.
The simulation developed my communication skills, working day in day out, striving for market share and we couldnâ€™t have made a healthy profit without working together as a team. It also made me understand the business and how important each area of the business is. Studying what your competitors are doing was imperative in this task in order to keep up and remain competitive. As a group we worked to a clear structure which allowed us to understand our roles within the team. There were very few hiccups along the way as each quarter progressed.
The group dynamic, worked well with each other, understanding the need to analyse and plan accordingly, understanding the importance of the consumer and matching what they need, allowing us to generate sales in each and every segment. The skills I have learnt as an individual will stand me in good stead for the future; my confidence has grown with the industry with aspects of the simulation certainly being used in the future.
Planning and Progress
Each member of the group was at one point a manager to make decision. The group had a strategy to become the most profitable from the competitors. All members had two roles based on their skills. The role that been assigned was sales management and finance.
The first role was to make sure Function 13 had targets to achieve the mission statement was to be the most profitable leader in the market. Managing the sales had an aim to be profit based not to be the market leader. Function 13 hit targets in most quarters stressing other competitors. Function 13 started at low prices the group wanted to be the best value to sell the most units.
The way the project was planned was on a good view I thought we had assigned the right positions to the right people and making executive decisions based on abilities and experiences. The start of the simulation had a rocky start as getting use to figures and intense research to what the customers
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wanted. As the simulation quarters progressing it seemed that the competitors was getting to grips in the market which made me and the team focus more as we saw the competitors sales increase.
Being in the sales position it deemed to have pressure making sure Function 13 had a good sales team in the simulation. As the quarters went by primarily I had to make sure we had the correct number on sales people without this the group would of seen less sales. Working with the advertising department helped to create sales as I knew how many people to employ to make sure costs was not over budget. By being in the finance department with fellow colleague Patrick Zinga it seemed we have a good communication in the finance department and great insight and vision in the advertising, sales and marketing with also Dami Odumosu contributing in the sales department. Working alongside other colleagues was a good idea as more ideaâ€™s got mentioned. I felt that team work was essential but more people had more input than others. By making decisions on financial was deemed to have an effect but budgeting was a good idea at most times also the idea of make or break at the end was risky once bottled but then the group went ahead with the decision as I always wanting to push it forward along with other members in the group. In my theory a business is always about taking risks.
The simulation project was a great experience making a good way to teamwork and not being shy to get ideas across. Each member had an input there was no body in the background every member was always let known what was happening if a member of the group was away on the day. Team decisions were a key I felt that the group all got on well there was no arguments and was always focused on the project. My knowledge of as a business student helped the way to understand how to run the business and market as an advertising student.
The beginning of the simulation was a bit shaky and unorganised I think this was due to getting grips with the simulation on what was the group wanting to achieve in aspects of how many units to be sold a week? Where to market? Analysing the market was a key essential on how we ran the company. By critically analysing on what our competitors were doing, made it easier to adjust budgets on marketing and advertising.
By using models to concept what the groups aim was showing in section one, it seemed the models was helpful on what we wanted to achieve in the aspect of the simulation. Using a clear structure on what each member had to research had a great impact for ideas coming across. This was what led to making objectives for the company and the mission statement to make sure we had a goal to achieve and to let know all members had an understanding of what group wanted to gain from the simulation. As mentioned previously all memberâ€™s participated when this happened we had a greater vision on what we wanted to achieve.
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Marketplace Live was a great way to build team work abilities and helping a way to work under pressure. As a business student it has gave me more experience on tactical advantages to see what the customer wants and needs are essential in the market. The right product in the right country was essential, also making sure the price, marketing and advertising was right. By not doing this the group could have not had sales that we had achieved. Taking risks was also a great experience by analysing competitors to get further insight in the market gave me the teaching that risks can pay off if you have the right research and understanding. I enjoyed the simulation and the area’s that was given was an experience and will be taken in to prospective in the real life.
Planning and Progress
The way the project was planned, I thought was good. We started off a bit shaky, underestimating the significance of the market research. Which I believe, at the beginning stages, the full implications of the importance of the research was never fully understood or examined thoroughly. This was one of the major faults. By the time of realisation of the importance of the information provided, the competition was already progressive in market share.
I believe that the time taken for the beginning stages of the project were underestimated initially, however, the time taken for integration and execution of the plan was also over-estimated, so each stage of the project was completed within the allocated time. This did get more difficult as the simulation progressed to the next quarters and there was more to do for each individual and more to take into consideration. Things such as consumer’s needs, competitor’s actions and adspend, all aided in giving reason to loss or gain of market share. It was difficult to assess sometimes exactly which acts aided in increasing market share and which didn’t.
During the project, I handled communications with our customers, this was my primary function. My secondary responsibility was aiding in the finance. It was good to have so much power in these departments, because it meant that I got a better insight to where and where the money was being spent. It gave me an overall perception of how the company was doing in reference to the sales and the advertising.
These responsibilities ensured that I could have a direct effect on the other members of the group and our activities in particular, my responsibilities in finance. Being already heavily involved in advertising, meant that the role suited me very well. As the game progressed, I insured that there was more focus on advertising and its significance, especially since I noticed that we spent the least in advertising but were still third in overall market share. This was done by ensuring that we did not overspend on
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advertising but instead placed the right adverts in the right places. This is where customer specification was essential and only through carefully looking at which magazines they read, was I able to make correct decisions about where we placed our adverts. Our financial position, which was my secondary responsibility, helped ensure that we did not spend too much on advertising. The focus here was not to outspend the competition, but out-think them and have a more cost effective strategy.
This group project was, I believe, a beneficial experience. The group was really interactive and focused, even though it was difficult at the beginning, the group sorted out the necessary adjustments and the decision to meet more frequently really helped in the progression of the work and aided in my knowledge of the activities of a business and the importance of each aspect of the business. It showed me how everything had to be integrated in order for it to be as effective as possible. It also showed me how important analysing the market and keeping an eye on the competition all have an effect on a business and how they operate.
The project developed my perception and integration of group dynamics and the importance of design, structure and planning. A clear structure allowed each member of the group to work relatively detached from each other and meant that there were fewer stopping points along the way. The experience of this project will influence how I start projects in the future, in that I plan to invest more time in creating a plan against clear objectives, before starting work on implementation. This did noticeably give the group more confidence in the decisions made. The beginning of the project was a bit haphazard and unorganised, but as the project went on, the group planned better and looked at the whole picture more as a group rather than individuals focusing on just one part. Working together and detailing what each other was doing, helped to give each participant a better insight into how each section impacted on each others decisions on their particular sections.
I have also learnt about the importance of the customer. We did take a view that if we designed a product that could appeal to everyone, then this would aid in sales in each segment. Of course this was not the case and it was only after we made specific products to specific customers, that we saw a positive impact in our market share in each of these different segments.
The benefits of delegation have also been made clearer to me. Due to the delegation according to skill sets in parts of the project, implementation was a very short and simple process, and I'm confident that certain components of the project will be used in the future, even if only by me. This also aided in time management and in the entire decision making process. In hindsight, I think that it might have been costly to have not looked immensely on competitorâ€™s activities. Circumstances outside of our control meant that there was an amount of confusion over why certain decisions didnâ€™t have a significant influence to our market share or sales in comparison to that of our competitors. Perhaps, if there was more focus placed on the consumer and the
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competitors, the group would have ended in a better position. No one had this responsibility, so it fell on my shoulders since I was in charge of communications, it only made sense, in the second year of the simulation, to also evaluate competitorâ€™s actions. This delay may have been costly. Overall I enjoyed the entire experience.
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Brassington, F. Pettitt, S. (2007) Essentials of Marketing. 2ED. Essex: Pearsons Education LTD
De Chernatony, L. (2010) From Brand Vision to Brand Evaluation: The Strategic Process of Growing and Strengthening Brands. London: Elsevier Ltd
Hooley, G. et al. (2012) Marketing Strategy & Competitive Positioning. 5th ed. Harlow:
Hites, M.Hites, M. (1988).Adman: Morris Hite's Methods for Winning the Ad Game. London: E Heart
Marketplace (2012) The business world in your classroom [Online] Available: http://www.marketplace-live.com/ [Last accessed 19th April]
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1. Introduction (20804980)
2. Second Year Financial and Market Performance (20901515)
3. Marketing Plan (20923302)
4. Business Strategy and Performance (20804980)
5. Current Market Situation (20825867)
6. Conclusion (20804980) 7. Reflective Practise (Done By Each Individual â€“ Clearly Demonstrated)
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