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Marlboro (Marketing Plan Research Project / SITUATION ANALYSIS

Marketing Plan Research Project Supplement

This section outlines the environment facing the organization. Hard data, facts, and assumptions about each of these elements should be made explicit – so that all readers have a good understanding of the market and the factors driving the marketing planning process.
External Marketing Environment
Factors such as the economic environment (recession), the technological environment, the political and legal environment and the cultural and social environment encompass areas that the marketing manager is not always able to control.
Industry Analysis
This section answers the question of what is the industry doing? This is not an analysis of the competitors (that is done in the next session) but instead a snapshot of how the industry is trending. This will require research and substantiation.
Competitive Environment
Access the competitive environment within your organization’s industry. Begin with a listing of competitors and products offered by each. Is your organization a monopoly, monopolistic competition, oligopoly or pure competition? How does your organization rank against these competitors? Remember to cite your sources. Also, include a positioning map ranking your company with at least three of its competitors based upon two attributes.
Global Environment
Analyze the current global environment looking at how widespread it is, with an eye on future development.
SWOT Analysis
Provide a simple SWOT analysis summarizing the external and internal environmental conditions surrounding your company (details of SWOT on following pages).

SWOT Analysis
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT).
SWOT analysis is a tool for auditing an organization and its environment. It is the first stage of planning and helps marketers to focus on key issues. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. Opportunities and threats are external factors.
Additional insight:
In SWOT, strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. For example, a strength could be:
• A new, innovative product or service.
• Location of your business.
• Quality processes and procedures.
• Any other aspect of your business that adds value to your product or service.
A weakness could be:
• Lack of marketing expertise.
• Undifferentiated products or services (i.e. in relation to your competitors).
• Location of your business.
• Poor quality goods or services.
• Damaged reputation.
In SWOT, opportunities and threats are external factors. For example, an opportunity could be:
• A developing market such as the Internet.
• Mergers, joint ventures or strategic alliances.
• Moving into new market segments that offer improved profits.
• A market vacated by an ineffective competitor.
A threat could be:
• A new competitor in your home market.
• Price wars with competitors.
• A competitor has a new, innovative product or service.
• Competitors have superior access to channels of distribution.
• Taxation is introduced on your product or service.
Simple rules for successful SWOT analysis:
• Be realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of your organization.
• SWOT analysis should distinguish between where your organization is today, and where it could be in the future. Apply SWOT to your competition (i.e. better or worse).
• SWOT should always be specific. Avoid grey areas. Keep it short and simple.

Online Resources

? NAICS code.
? US Bureau of the Census– detailed statistical data gathered on all aspects of the U.S. population.
o American FactFinder:
o American Community Survey:
? A nationwide survey that collects annual estimates from 2005-present and is part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s reengineered decennial census program,
? Statistical Abstract of the United States:
? Hoover’s: (Industry information)
? Hoover’s via Lexis Nexis. A significant amount of company information. (Search the company first)
? Annual & 10-K reports from Edgar and Lexis Nexis—business descriptions, product listings, distribution channels, possible impact of regulations and lawsuits and discussions of strategic issues.
? Consumer Expenditure Study; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—income and expenditures by household
? Business Source Elite (via EBSCO host):
? Encyclopedia of American Industries-introduces industry structure; arranged by SIC and NAICS codes. REF HC102 .E53 2008
? Competitive information. and
? Political information.
? Economic factors. AND AND
?—“a knowledge source for marketing”
? Factmaster–
? Scarborough Arbitron—
local market consumer information for various media in 75 local markets for consumer retail shopping behavior, product consumption, media usage, lifestyle behavior and demographics

Other Resources

? Googlescholar
? Company’s website and annual reports
? (you can request an annual report free of charge)
? Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade:
? Standard & Poor’s Net Advantage—surveys of more than 50 different industries with financial data about companies in each industry.
? Investext Plus—brokerage house reports
? IBIS World—Market research on thousands of industries classified by NAICS Code.
? Statistical Abstract of the United States—vast variety of statistics on a wealth of topics.
? Visit the LFC librarian at the reference desk!


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