Introduction to Marketing and Communications Individual assignment brief
On this module, students will conduct an individual project. The pass mark is 40%
|Final report||3,000 words||100%|
|Feedback sessions (2)||Two feedback sessions are offered to students during the seminars. Students can bring their progress reports (in any format they like) to their allocated seminar sessions for verbal feedback from their seminar leaders.|
Student are asked to conduct a market segmentation and marketing mix analysis on a market and brand of their choice. Students will be given the chance to choose a product market and brand that they like and will follow steps of the project, outlined below and covered in lectures and seminars. The project is designed in a way that greatly relies on primary and secondary data collection. Primary data collection involves a set of interviews with actual or potential customers in the selected market. Secondary data collection involves desk research, using reliable news pages, company websites, and published academic and non-academic papers.
Sections of the final report are as follows. There is no need for any other section, just follow this guideline. Suggested word count for each section is provided, but feel free to adjust.
1. Section A- Desk research results (approx. 1000 words)
- Provide a brief explanation on your selected market (1 paragraph).
- Using PESTEL framework provide a comprehensive analysis of the external environment (narrative or table format)
- Using the Competitor Analysis table provided in lecture and seminars, provide a comparative analysis of the main competing brands on the market. Change the criteria as you see fit.
- Focusing on the brand of your choice, provide a comprehensive analysis of their internal environment (1 paragraph max).
- Based on this analysis of the internal and external environments, summarise the results using the SWOT matrix (3-4 points per cell).
- Note: for this section, you can use company websites, reliable Internet sources, published academic papers, and other reliable sources such as Office of National Statistics (ONS) or those that I listed in the module handbook. Make sure to properly cite the sources
- Section B – Segmentation (approx. 1000 words)
B1. Field research
Students need to conduct online interviews (using Skype, Ms Teams, Zoom etc.) with actual or potential consumers (6-8 interviews, aim at 10 mins or more for each interview).
In this section include the following items:
- Briefly explain what you have done ü How did you find informants? How many interviews have you conducted?
How did you account for variety in the market? (1 paragraph) ü Provide a summary table that includes length of each interview, whether it was an actual vs. potential consumer, and a basic demographic profile of the interviewee.
- Your interview protocol–i.e., the list of questions – should be included in your appendices.
- IMPORTANT! Participants need to provide consent, either in writing or verbally, at the start of the interview.
B2. Segmentation results
Briefly explain the segments that you have identified in the market (justify similarities and differences and assign names accordingly) ü Provide your segmentation table (see examples in week 4&5 lecture and seminar slides). This table should include all segments (3-4 segments max), the name that you have assigned for each segment, geo-demographic, behavioural (usage, benefits sought) and psychographic (lifestyle, personality, values) characteristics for each segment, and an indication of different brands/types of products used by each segment.
ü Provide brief explanation for each segment (one short paragraph each), explaining in your words a typical persona for each segment (include lifestyle, behavioural and demographic information here). Use relevant quotations from your interview as evidence (i.e., use exactly what they said not your own interpretation).
- Section C- Marketing mix analysis of the brand of your choice (approx. 1000 words, 250 words/element).
In this section, students are asked to choose one brand within the market that they segmented and evaluate their marketing mix (product/brand, price, promotion and distribution), having in mind the segmentation results.
Section C1: analysis of product and branding strategies. In this section, students are required to:
- Provide a brief analysis of the product offering (types of products, width/depth of the portfolio, core value offered).
- Discuss the branding strategy(ies) (brand positioning and brand image). Students can refer to examples from the online or print advertisements, promotion campaigns, and product types that the company is offering to back their arguments. Interview data and data from third party sources could be used e.g. BrandZ or YouGov.
- After an explanation of the current product and branding strategy(ies), students will outline their own evaluation of these strategies and their recommendations for improvement, having in mind the segments identified. Are these strategies in line with the market segments? Which segments seem to be served/neglected? Any recommendations?
Section C2: analysis of pricing strategy.
- In this section, students are asked to provide an overall overview of the type of pricing strategy(s) that the brand is using (NOT to propose a pricing strategy). For example, penetration pricing, price skimming, premium pricing, bundle pricing, freemium pricing, etc. All these methods are explained in the lecture. The answer needs to be justified.
- After an explanation of the current pricing strategy, students will outline their own evaluation of these strategies and their recommendations for improvement. Are these strategies in line with the market segments? Which segments seem to be served/neglected? Any recommendations?
Section C3: analysis of distribution strategy. In this section, students are required to:
- Identify and discuss the main distribution strategy that the brand is using: channel structure, length, distribution intensity and the main factors that influence the distribution decision – type of product, market factors, competition.
- After an explanation of the current distribution strategy, students will outline their own evaluation of these strategies and their recommendations for improvement. Are these strategies in line with the market segments identified? Which segments seem to be served/neglected? Any recommendations?
Section C4: analysis of promotional strategies. In this section, students are required to:
- Briefly analyse the promotion tools (advertising, public relations, sales promotion etc.) and media used by the brand (TV, radio, print, social media etc.) (one paragraph or equivalent if table format is used).
- Focus on advertising (online and offline). What are the main appeals and message sources used in their advertising campaigns (rational, emotional, moral)? Here, students can also analyse consumer engagement via the brand’s online communities. 1-2 examples should be provided, use of visual content (e.g. print ads) is encouraged.
- After an explanation of the current promotional strategies, students will outline their own evaluation of these strategies and their recommendations for improvement. Are these strategies in line with the market segments identified? Which segments seem to be served/neglected? Any recommendations?
*** Referencing: in section A and C students should use reliable academic (e.g., published papers) and non-academic (e.g., news reports, company websites, reliable surveys done by private organizations) sources (e.g., Wikipedia is not acceptable). Please use correct form of referencing for each source. Pay special attention to referencing websites. There is no need for citing external sources in section B.
General notes for written submission:
- Formatting requirements
- The cover page must contain your name and the selected product/market and brand.
- The report should be in pdf format and include page numbers on all pages except the cover page.
- The report should follow the suggested structure.
- The report should be in 12-point font
- Word limit: 3,000 (+10% is acceptable). Word limit includes tables that you create (segmentation table and informants profile table). Other tables and diagrams that are used as a supporting evidence can be placed in the appendix section at the end.
- Grading Criteria
Here are some pointers as to what I am looking for in your essays:
- Evidence of reading the assigned literature and thinking about what kinds of theories or concepts might be useful in answering the questions. In other words: Evidence of understanding and ability to apply course concepts
- Logic and justification of choices, using statistics, figures, information from credible sources, academic literature.
- A good report should be based on various sources of information. A good reference list should include:
- relevant, reliable sources
- variety of sources – relevant databases, news portals, recently published research articles from good academic journals
- And PLEASE reference properly, even if you are just using the assigned material and websites. Pay special attention to plagiarism. Always paraphrase, even if it is your own writing that you submitted for another assignment (self-plagiarism is a thing!).
Referencing is a matter of good academic practice, and if you don’t do it correctly, you are effectively plagiarizing. I expect references in the text and a reference list. Failure to reference or to reference correctly will result in a severe loss of marks.
For example, if you say “brand knowledge is the combination of brand awareness and image”, you MUST refer to Keller (2009) – since it was not YOUR idea that brand knowledge consists of awareness and image, but HIS. You should place the reference always in the text, not as a footnote, for example like this:
Interactive marketing communications enabled by recent technological developments can positively influence every stage of the brand resonance pyramid (Keller 2009).
Keller (2009) demonstrates that interactive marketing communications enabled by recent technological developments can positively influence every stage of the brand resonance pyramid.
If you take a direct quote from the article, you have to put it in quotation marks and add the page number to your reference. For example:
According to Keller (2009, p. 139), recent technological advances in social computing have affected the way customers access and interact with marketing information, but “there is little consensus on how brands and branding can or should be developed in the modern interactive marketplace.”
Finally, you have to provide the full reference in your reference list at the end:
Keller, Kevin Lane (2009), “Building Strong Brands in a Modern Marketing
Communications Environment,” Journal of Marketing Communications, 15 (2-3), pp. 139-155.