1. Let’s say you have developed a new, all natural granola style cereal. You
want to see the reaction of a range of people to the product, so you decide to
set up focus groups to sample the cereal. In one to two pages (single
spaced), describe how you would carry out a focus group review of the
a. How many people would be included in the focus group?
b. How would they be selected?
c. How would the taste test be carried out? Design a smart taste test –
e.g., have attendees sample a total of three cereals, only one of which
is your own brand.
d. What questions would you ask of the focus group members after they
have sampled the cereal?
e. How would you use the information you gathered through the focus
group exercise to guide you in moving the product forward (or killing
the product, if appropriate)?
2. Let’s say you work in an airline that wants to determine how satisfied flyers
are with the airline’s overall service. You decide to obtain feedback on
passenger satisfaction by distributing a 5-8 question questionnaire to
a. Design the questionnaire. It should fit on one page. Provide a short
rationale for the study, brief instructions, and 5-8 questions. Your
questionnaire should look very close to the questionnaire that would
actually be distributed.
b. Who would you target to respond to the questionnaire?
c. How would you distribute and collect the filled out questionnaire?
d. What kind of information would you derive from the distributed
e. How could you use the information?
Target length of the assignment: 2-4 pages
Assignment 2. Distribution Channels
To understand marketing, a good first step is to master your insight into the Four
Ps of marketing: Product, Pricing, Promotion, and Place (i.e., distribution).
Everyone knows the importance of having a well defined product, appropriate
pricing, and a good sales campaign. Perhaps the least appreciated of the Four
Ps is place. Because it addresses the issue of distribution channels, you might
even wonder why it is considered a marketing issue rather than an operations
As a thought exercise, provide a compelling argument that holds that place is the
most important of the Four Ps. Be thorough in your discussion. Illustrate it with
examples from a variety of businesses and scenarios. By the end of your
discussion, you should be able to convince readers that place is indeed super
important in marketing.
Target length of the assignment: 2 pages
Assignment 3. Market Segmentation
Assume you are the Director of Design for a cell phone manufacturing company.
You work closely with the New Product Development Department. You are in the
earliest stages of determining what your next cell phone product line should look
like. Clearly, in designing the new phone, you need to know who the target
customers will be. There are a range of potential customers: young vs. old,
affluent vs. modest income, heavy users vs. light users, technology lovers vs.
technophobes, etc. It doesn’t make sense to begin designing the new cell phone
until you have identified what market segment you wish to address.
For this assignment:
1. Identify different important market segments that you need to consider.
2. Which of these segments can be treated as “mainstream” segments, and
which as “niche” segments?
3. Create a template form that shows the different categories of customer traits
that will help you to define different market segments.
4. Select one market segment, and describe in one or two paragraphs what
features the cell phone might have in order to be attractive to this segment.
Target length of the assignment: 2-4 pages
Assignment 4. Marketing Plan
You work in a company that offers management training. Your market research
effort indicates that in your community (you live in New York City), there is hot
demand for courses on project management. A number of competitors are
offering such courses, and all appear to be doing well.
Your market research effort entailed reviewing the course offerings of
competitors, interviewing the training directors at fifteen companies, and
conducting a survey of students who have taken at least one of your courses
during the past two years. Based on this market research effort, you decide to
develop a suite of four courses, each of which lasts two days. They are:
•?Project management fundamentals
•?Project planning and control
•?Project finance and budgeting
•?Project risk and quality management
We have just discussed the product above. Now, put together a very short
marketing plan that addresses pricing, promotion, and place (i.e., distribution).
For each of these items, discuss what needs to be taken into account in order to
deal with them effectively (e.g.,What do we need to think about when pricing our
courses?). Then briefly describe how the item will be handled (e.g., What steps
can be taken to promote the courses?).
In putting together your micro-marketing plan, be practical. This micro plan is a
first step in getting a handle on your marketing strategy. Ultimately, your
company will develop a full scale marketing plan – but that will occur later.
Target length of this assignment: 2-4 pages
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