Outline of Marketing Audit
Your assignment is to conduct a marketing audit of the organization in which you are doing your internship. This assignment is designed to apply to a broad spectrum of firms and non-profit organizations. With that in mind, below is a basic outline to follow in doing your analysis.
Your audit should be based on a combination of:
- Library research on your organization and the environment in which it's operating. This can be done either in the library or by accessing library databases through the Internet. This does not mean relying on company Web sites.
- Interviews with marketing managers
- Materials provided by your company, and
- Your own observations.
Keep in mind that your ideas count! If you disagree with what you are told by a marketing manager, be sure to say so.
Your market analysis MUST include each of the five sections presented in the outline. If you wish to make modifications in order to suit your own internship situation, you should discuss these with Ms. Harms beforehand.
Your paper should be at least 25 pages (double-spaced), but no more than 30 pages, including exhibits and a reference list. This may seem long to you at first; however, if you have done your research thoroughly, you will find that you have more than enough information to fill at least 25 pages.
I. Introduction (5%): Provide background information on your firm. This should include industry, type of ownership, location and mission statement.
II. Analysis of Organizational Structure (10%):
A. Present an organization chart. Show the structure of your firm, including positions of responsibility and lines of authority. Show how marketing positions fit into the overall structure of the firm.
B. Describe the responsibilities of persons in marketing positions. This information should come primarily from interviews with managers. Keep in mind that even if your firm or location has no marketing department, someone must perform marketing functions.
In writing the next two sections, you should plan on doing some library research. If you are off-campus, the public library will have newspapers, business periodicals, and government documents that should be helpful. Also, library databases are easily accessible through the internet.
III. Analysis of Marketing Strategy (20%):
A. Segmentation strategy. Describe the target customer. If the target customer is other businesses, present information on geographic location, type of industry, company size, and product end-use. If the target customer is the consumer, present information on socioeconomic, demographic, and psychographic characteristics. Keep in mind that your company may have more than one group of target customers.
The National Academy Press is a leading publisher or scientific and technical books. It has two target customers. In the business-to-business market, it sells books to upscale book chains, such as Borders and Barnes & Noble. It also sells directly to upper-middle-class consumers through its catalog.
Grey Advertising is a leading full-service integrated marketing communication agency in New York. Its major accounts are large firms in the consumer products industries, such as Dannon, Konami Video Systems, and Hebrew National.
DeBeers Group, the purveyor of diamonds, aims to sell its smaller diamonds to women 30 to 54 years old, with household incomes of $100,000+.
B. Analyze the marketing mix. Include the elements of the marketing mix, as specified below. Refer back to your marketing textbook for help with this! Include detailed information with specific examples.
Listed below are examples of the type of questions you should be answering in your analysis. You can add, subtract, or modify information in this section to reflect the marketing mix of your organization. If you have questions, please contact Mary Harms.
1. Product Strategy:
a. Category or categories offered
b. Product Mix (width, depth, consistency)
c. Branding policy: Give the name(s) of brand(s) in the product mix. Does your company use individual or family branding? Show the trademark(s) of your company's brand(s).
d. Brand (or corporate) image.
e. Evidence of product innovation
In 2003, in Japan, McDonald's rolled out the French ratatouille burger, one of a slew of new gourmet items its Japanese unit is using to target young professional women.
Rio Audio, one of the dominant players in portable digital music players, has introduced a new round of iPod "killers," which are slimmer and easier to use than their predecessors, based on a new kind of hard disk that's smaller than that used in the iPod.
In an effort to attract lucrative business customers, in 2003 Verizon Wireless rolled out a national walkie-talkie-like service on its cell phones.
2. Pricing Strategy:
a. Position in market (e.g., discount, moderate, upscale)
b. Type of pricing (e.g., cost-based, demand-based, competitor-based)
Note that if you are in a business-to-business operation, pricing may be determined by negotiation. If this is the case, discuss the process.
3. Communication Strategy:
a. Advertising: Is message institutional, price or product-oriented? What advertising messages are currently being used? What media are used? Give examples! (e.g., print, broadcast)
b. Direct marketing (e.g., direct mail, telemarketing, Internet)
c. Personal Selling: Describe your company's approach to personal selling. How do sales representatives communicate with the customer? In person, by telephone, or electronically? What efforts do the sales representatives make to develop a "relationship" with their customers?
d. Sales Promotion: Describe your company's sales promotion program. Examples of tactics include, but are not limited to: consumer promotion (coupons, premiums, contests, samples, point-of-purchase display); trade promotion (trade allowances, push money, training, participation in trade shows)
e. Customer service. What efforts does your company make to support its products after-sale?
Describe the channel through which your company's products are marketed. Provide a diagram (or diagrams) showing the location of your organization in the channel.
L.L. Bean uses a direct distribution system, in which it sells its products directly to the consumer through its retail store, catalogs, and the Internet.
Godiva (the chocolatier) uses a direct distribution system and a system in which there is one middleman. In the one middleman system, sales representatives sell to department stores that resell Godiva products to consumers.
IV. Analysis of the environment in which your firm is operating (25%): Library research is essential in this section! The UMD library has a wealth of databases that you can access either through VBIC or directly through the University's Web site.
A. Customer trends. Identify and discuss trends that may influence the behavior of your firm's target customer (e.g., demographics, lifestyle, confidence levels, satisfaction). Be sure to give as many facts (including statistics, if relevant) as possible. Be sure to cite your references.
Baby boomers are aging (e.g., The median age of the population is now 35.4. It is expected to increase to 38.2 by 2010), creating demand for "nostalgia" in products.
Internet shopping now accounts for 1-2% of all retail sales. However, it is expected to account for as much as 10% by 2005.
As the Internet continues to evolve, consumers are getting used to the idea that the Web no longer provides a "free ride," and are beginning to pay for a wide range of online content.
B. Economic trends (income, interest rate, inflation): The inflation rate is currently low, at approximately 3.2%.
C. Industry trends
Globalization: Sales worldwide were sluggish. However, most of the world's largest retailers increased their sales by 10% between 1998 and 1999.
D. Competitive situation.
Evaluate the level of competition in the industry in which you are working. The financial services industry, of which Merrill Lynch is part, is highly competitive. (Merrill Lynch 2002 Annual Report, p. 13)
Identify at least two other organizations selling similar goods or services. Compare the marketing mix of those firms to the marketing mix of your firm on at least two dimensions. What element or elements of the marketing mix does your firm use to gain a competitive advantage?
Nordstrom competes with Bloomingdale's and Macy's. It gains a competitive advantage through superior customer service.
Black Entertainment Television competes with the major networks, but gains a competitive advantage by offering programming targeted to African-Americans.
National Geographic's Home Video Division competes with Discovery Communications and BBC.
E. Trends in technology. Identify and discuss changes in technology that may affect the marketing strategy of your firm
Hotel chains such as Marriott used computerized information systems to build databases including detailed information on their customers' personal characteristics and buying habits. This information is used to develop "preferred customer" programs that create long-term relationships.
The telecommunications industry has new "smart" pay phones, which contain computer chips that alert the technical center to breakdowns. In many cases, technicians are able to correct problems before customers are even aware of them.
As part of its plan to maintain its innovative IT edge, VF, the world's largest apparel maker, is moving from multiple legacy systems across its five operating divisions o a common systems architecture using packaged software. This will allow it to move manufacturing offshore without sacrificing its ability to respond quickly to customers.
F. Legal and regulatory trends.
Complexities associated with fluctuations in the exchange rate keep firms such as Ben & Jerry's from offering direct mail service outside the U.S.
The increasing number of federal and state laws that require companies to limit access to information on customers is causing Merrill Lynch to outsource its network security service.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for monitoring the discharge of wastewater. Companies such as Cintas, which provides uniforms and uniform cleaning services to businesses, must meet EPA standards. Under the Bush administration, the EPA may be less stringent in enforcing these regulations.
V. SWOT Analysis and Recommendations for strategy (35%):
Consider your analyses of environmental trends vis-à-vis the marketing mix of your company. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your firm compared to its competition? What threats do you see? What opportunities are there?3 What changes in marketing strategies would you propose for the next five years?
Verizon markets payphone services (coin collection, repair, maintenance) to airports and malls. Its major strength is superior customer service. Its major weakness is price, in that its price is high relative to the competition. A potential threat is price competition stemming from deregulation. There are at least two opportunities for Verizon: 1) To position itself as the leader in customer service; and 2) To build customer loyalty by practicing relationship marketing.
This paper should be at least 25 pages long (double-spaced), including exhibits and a reference list. Please use headings and subheadings to help you organize your work and improve readability. Use a 12 point font, left-justification, and 1-inch margins top, bottom, and sides. Also, be sure to include page numbers.
The citations in your paper should be specific enough so that I can locate the information easily if I need to. If, for example, you cite information from a Website, the complete URL should be included in the reference list. If you cite information from either a book or a magazine or newspaper article, a specific page should be cited.
In writing your paper, keep in mind that not all sections are equally important. In grading, the weight of the sections will vary from 5% (Introduction) to 30% (Analysis of Environment and Analysis of Marketing Strategy). Factors influencing your grade will include content (completeness and accuracy), organization, and quality and clarity of presentation. Please make your presentation as professional-looking as possible. Please note that if your paper is not carefully edited, your grade will be adversely affected. This means that your grammar, punctuation, and spelling should be of professional quality.
Helpful Hints - Try to avoid the following common grammatical errors:
Using "it's" as the possessive. "It's" means "it is". The possessive is "its."
Using singular nouns with plural pronouns. When you refer to "the firm", the correct pronoun is "its", not "their". Similarly, when you refer to "the consumer" the correct pronoun is "he" or "she".
Not underlining or italicizing the name of a periodical in either the text or the reference list (e.g., The Wall Street Journal or The Wall Street Journal).
NOTE: Failure to use good grammar will have a negative effect on your grade!
Plagiarism, which involves using someone else's ideas or words as your own, is unacceptable and will be prosecuted in accordance with University policy. Keep in mind that if you quote someone, the words MUST be placed in quotation marks. It is NEVER appropriate to copy material from annual reports, magazines, books, newspapers, or any other printed material (including websites) without placing the information in quotes.
Consistent with University Policy, please include on the cover sheet of your paper the following statement of academic integrity:
"I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment." ___________________ (your signature)
This assignment is due by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, August 20th in the Smith Operations office on the second floor of Van Munching. The project must be given to Tyrone or Anne who will initial the paper and include the time and date it was submitted.
Professor Harms prefers that the project be mailed to her at: Mary Harms, 129 Tanners Point Drive, Stevensville, Maryland 21666. She must receive it by or on Friday, August 20, 2021. There will be a 10-point reduction in points for each day the project is late.
The project cannot be e-mailed to the Professor unless the intern is working outside the U.S. Please note that if your assignment is submitted late, your grade will be adversely affected.
VI. Overall Presentation (5%):
A. Professional in appearance
D. Use of marketing terms
 Please submit a HARD copy, either by mail or in person. Student work that is faxed or sent by email may get lost in the shuffle!
 Failure to use the library databases sufficiently in your analysis will detract from your grade.
 Strengths and weaknesses should be selectively derived from Section III. Opportunities and threats should be selectively derived from Section IV. Recommendations for strategy should be based on your SWOT analysis.