MARK 500

Fall 2004

Course Project Manifesto


Professor Joe Urbany


September 8, 2004










*This document was written with the research assistance of  Juan Rodriguez (ND MBA 2004) whose help was invaluable on the project.   Many thanks as well to Qat Glerum (ND MBA 2004), Saun Ellescas and Paul Kelleher (both ND MBA 2005), and Professors Viva Bartkus, Jim Davis, Betsy Moore, and Carol Phillips for important discussions and insight.  In addition, Steve Hayes and Chris Poehlman of the Mendoza Business Information Center provided guidance on the secondary library resources.    Copyright 2004, Joel E. Urbany. University of Notre Dame.  



MARK 500, Fall 2004

Project Overview

Prof. Urbany

August 27, 2004


Goal: The goal of the project is to conduct a complete strategic analysis of a brand / company of your team’s choice.  The end product is a growth strategy and tactical plan for your chosen brand that will push the brand to new sales and profit goals.  More fundamentally, you will develop a deep understanding and experience in the data gathering and analysis that needs to support such strategy development: 


Team Assignment.  This is a project that will be done in your teams.  Team accountability (work quality) is captured by the grade reports on the different phases (see timeline on next page).  Individual team member accountability will be captured in peer evaluations that take place in the middle and at the end of the semester.  


Regarding the team effort, creating an appropriate team structure is important, although it may take you some time to figure this out.  You’ll learn each others’ strengths and weaknesses soon enough, so over time you will probably adapt the team organization.  You will not be successful if you attempt to put all of the work on a few team members.  Individual accountability will also emerge in exam questions. 


Possible Team Member Responsibilities.  Each team will effectively be acting as an outside brand consulting team.  Every member of the team is responsible for the overall quality of the strategic process and solution, but you will want to specialize at some levels.  Some potential team roles might be:


o        Strategic Research Director: This person will take primary responsibility for designing and executing all the primary and secondary research done on the project, with the involvement of the whole team in execution.


o        Manager of Knowledge/Insight.   Would be responsible for cataloging and disseminating all the core insights that the team comes up with based upon the research being done.  Could be the same person as the strategic research director.


o        Manager of Financial Insight.  There is a significant component in the project involving research and discovery of financial data in company and competitor analysis.  That would be the job of this person. 


o        Manager of Growth Opportunities. Responsible for the research integration, brainstorming, and insight-generation regarding new growth opportunities, and follow-up analyses regarding market size, likely share of market, etc.    


o        Creative Director:  This person will be responsible for any design work the group undertakes to illustrate its ideas as well as for the professionalism of the final presentation and interim deliverables.


o        Project Manager: This person is responsible for the logistical aspects of the process; timetables, arranging meetings, setting meeting agendas, documenting next steps and keeping the project on track.

MARK 500 Fall 2004, Project Manifesto

Project Deliverables (35% of course grade)


  • This document presents the detailed steps for analysis and development of growth strategy and marketing plan for a firm or brand.


  • The marketing program and plan are developed around a series of phases:




What’s Due ?

Due When?

0. Company / brand proposal, preliminary industry analysis  

Max 2 page write-up, 12 point font, 1 inch margins

Monday, Aug 30, 5:00 p.m.

( e-mailed  me at

1. Industry Analysis

2. Customer decision-making

15 power point slides max, putting the text of your report in the notes pages (12 point font, single space OK) defining the industry – Phase 1: core customer needs identified, market boundaries, identifying competitors, analyzing competitive forces and product life cycle analysis;   Phase 2: customer segmentation analysis, decision model, and analysis of value (e.g., value tree)

Tuesday Sept 21, e-mail power point file to me before the beginning of class


(10 points)

3.1. Company analysis

3.2. Competitor analysis

3.3.  3-circle integration 

Max 20 power point slides, text of your report in the notes pages (12 point font, single space OK), presenting your integration of company and competitor analysis with your revised industry and customer analyses (The report integrates phases 1, 2, and 3).   You may incorporate the Phase 1/ 2 material either within the presentation or as appendices.  If an appendix, make sure that you integrate the appendix by referring to it in your report. 

Tuesday, Oct 5 e-mail power point file to me by 5:00  (15 points)


NOTE: each team will present the Phase 1, 2, 3 analysis on October 5 or October 7 in class (we will do a random draw).  Each team will have 6 minutes to present (we’ll have a timer) and then there will be 5 minutes for questions.  You may have 1 person present, the whole team, or any combination.  You just need to orchestrate to hit the 6 minutes.  

4. Growth, positioning brainstorming

Max 5 power point slides (text in notes pages, 12 point font, single space OK) describing your exploration of growth opportunities for your brand (unmet customer needs, total customer experience, potential value innovation, etc.)

Tuesday, Nov 9. e-mail power point file to me before the beginning of class.


(5 points)

5. Marketing program

Final full project (all phases integrated) 20 power point slides max (text in notes page, 12 point font, single space OK).   The 20 pages should tell your compelling story… integrating the most important material from the earlier phases.   You may attach appendices, but they need to be relevant to the report (i.e., they should be reference in order in the text of the report.)  

Tuesday Dec 7, e-mail power point file to me by 9:00 a.m.


We will schedule presentations outside of class in the Giovanini Commons.  Each team will have 10 minutes to present their report, with another 10 minutes for questions. 


(35 points)



Phase Content Overview


Phase 1: Industry Fundamentals

I1. Market definition, market size/growth

I2. Identify competitors, market concentration

I3. Five forces: Buyer power

I4. Supplier power

I5. Threat of entrants

I6. Threat of substitutes

I7. Competitive rivalry

I8. Sales patterns, gross margins, product life cycle analysis


Phase 2: Customer Analysis

CS1. Customer usage and profiles: frequency and loyalty by geography, other demographic characteristics, psychographic/lifestyle factors, other behavioral bases)

CS2. Decision-making process – how do they buy? 

CS3. Sources of value (value tree), total customer experience

CS4. Decision drivers

CS5. How responsive are they to changes in product, price, promotion, distribution levels?


Phase 3a: Company Analysis

CO1. Current vision / strategy / position / goals

CO2. Strengths (Resources, capabilities, core competency, sustainable competitive


CO3. Weaknesses, paradoxes

CO4.  Opportunities and threats


Phase 3b: Competitor Analysis

For each direct competitor:

CP1. Current vision / strategy / position / goals

CP2. Strengths (Resources, capabilities, core competency, sustainable competitive


CP3. Weaknesses, paradoxes

CP4. Expected future moves / countermoves  


Phase 3c: Three-circle integration

TC1: summarize the current company, customer, and competitor environments in the form of 3-circles (use summary labels):

TC2- analysis: 

   AREA A. points of difference or unique value for your brand or firm

   AREA B. points of parity in the industry (table stakes)

   AREA C. points of difference or unique value for competitive brands

   AREA D. swamp: value held in common with competitors but that has migrated to

        “unwanted” by customers


Phase 4: Growth / positioning brainstorming

GP1: Study of unmet needs

GP2: AREA E (white space): Conventional and imaginative growth--potential sources of differentiation

GP3: Brainstorming approaches

GP4: Breakthrough innovation vs. incremental (yet meaningful) change


Phase 5: Marketing strategy and planning

MS1: Direction (vision, goals)

MS2: Strategy (target segments; positioning)

MS3: Tactics (product/services proposed, product /line, distribution, promotion, price)

MS4: Proposed budgets and control



Summary of Project Phases



Phase 0 – Company / Brand Selection and Initial Demand Data


DUE: Monday, August 30, by 6:00 p.m. (e-mail attachment to


In this step you will deliver a document with your brand selection and a brief explanation on the motives behind your choice. Step 0 is due on Monday, August 30, by 6:00 p.m. (just e-mail an attachment to me at   You will receive a response from me by Friday, September 4, 5:00 p.m.  The response will be either approval or a suggestion on refining this firm/brand definition or starting from scratch.


Note that different teams should work on different firms / brands. So, the time stamp of your e-mail is important.  First come, first served.  


Please e-mail me a maximum 3 power point slides with notes pages (12 point font max, single space OK), or 2 typewritten pages in Microsoft Word (12 point font max, 1 inch margins) that provide the following information:


  1. The company or brand name that you propose to study for the semester
    1. Define the unit of analysis … e.g., a brand, a product category, a service category, etc. 
  2. Reasons for the team’s interest in this company / brand.
  3. The industry in which the company/brand competes.
  4. Sales (in units or dollars) for that industry over a 3 to 5 year period.
  5. Market shares for your brand/firm as well as other competitive brands the firm competes with in this market over the same 3 to 5 year period.   
  6. A listing of sources you used for this report.


The keys to selection are identifying a brand or company at a unit of analysis for which you can find data and develop and for which customers, competitors, and growth opportunities can be defined.  Further, the team should select a firm or brand that you are excited about (for employment interest, personal connections, avid consumption). 


The guidelines below suggest criteria to use in considering data availability. 


0.1 Data Availability


Privately held corporations are not required to disclose any financial or marketing information. Furthermore, most privately held corporations regard any internal information as highly sensitive data, and they will not readily volunteer any disclosures. Unless you secure legitimate access to this information it is best to choose a brand marketed by a publicly traded corporation.


All publicly traded companies are required to submit quarterly, annual, significant events, and other reports before the Securities and Exchange Commission. (SEC) The richest source of company data is its annual report.(10-K).  Most publicly traded companies have corporate websites and an investor’s relations page which provide links to their SEC reports. Alternatively, the SEC provides a searchable database (EDGAR Online, where you can also access these reports.


Some companies barely meet SEC requirements by submitting their annual financial statements. However, other companies submit very detailed annual reports disclosing their product information, market share, growth rate, growth strategy, projections, etc. It is best to choose a company that is comfortable disclosing this information, but you will need to perform a reasonable financial statement and marketing analysis to verify its claims.


Consumer product companies with popular brands will most likely be the first choice. Keep in mind that most of these companies expand through several product categories, but very few provide product category level information. For instance, a global consumer product company such as Procter & Gamble has several global leading brands in fabric and home care, beauty care, baby and family care, health care, and snacks and beverages. However, you will likely be hard pressed to find sales data for a product category (detergent) or a specific brand (Tide) in a particular region or country.


Nike is more than athletic shoes; it also trades clothing, accessories and sporting goods at global scale. In page 3 of its 2003 annual report Nike clearly provides a breakdown of its sources of revenue by product category and world region, making it easy to determine its footwear sales for the US.  In sum,


þ      Choose a publicly traded company

þ      Select a company with clearly defined product segments

þ      Review the company annual reports to determine sales information

þ      Make sure sales data is specific to a product category and it is segregated between domestic and international markets


Relevant data for international markets is hard to find. It will become relevant later in the project if international market penetration is a viable growth strategy. In this phase of the project it is best to consider just the domestic market.


0.2  Primary Demand: Total Market Sales


Primary demand is the demand for the entire product category. Secondary (or selective) demand is the demand for a specific brand, equivalent to the brand’s market share. There will be some work in validating and redefining the data obtained in the previous step from financial statements, press articles, and economic census data. It is possible (maybe even likely) that the different estimates found in primary and secondary demand coincide.  It is important that the final information selected is properly and logically supported.


Sources for market size information could be found in specialized or popular press articles as well as corporate press releases. However, it is important also that you attempt to validate this data with the latest available census information, particularly because different estimates can assume different category definitions.


Good sources here include Standard and Poor’s and Market Insight.   In addition, be sure to search secondary sources of information (ABI Informs, Factiva, EBSCO), which will help you fill in the picture.


and from there search for secondary information sources (e.g., ABI/INFORM, EBSCO) as well as the Business and Company Resource Center and Mergent Online. 


Market data as total sales per product category can be found in the US Economic Census, The latest complete data series dates back to 1997. However, there are several advance reports available for the 2002 economic census.


A more complete description of secondary data sources is provided in the Appendix. 



0.3  Secondary (Selective) Demand: Defining Market Share


Market share claims can likely be found in annual reports and corporate press releases. However, a healthy degree of skepticism must be applied when evaluating these claims. Management could be partial to the most favorable claim for the company and market share estimates are only relevant when the market is appropriately defined.


Check out Standard and Poor’s, as well as the other sources listed in the Appendix to this report. 


In addition, for certain product and service categories, industry and trade associations are a good source of information.  For instance, if we had chosen Starbucks, the Specialty Coffee Association of America might be a good starting point.


Having obtained company sales information and with market estimates in hand, market share can be estimated.  In doing so, the source and the reasoning for these estimates should be disclosed, as well as if / how they are supported by other estimates.


þ      Record market share claims made by the company

þ      Contrast those claims against your own estimate of market share

þ      Determine potential sources of discrepancies.



0.4  Digging and Triangulating 


You will find there is no book that is a magic source of market share information.  It’s the most difficult sort of information to obtain in any industry.  So, you will find that bits and pieces can be obtained from different sources; different trade press articles over time may help you to piece together the information, for example.  The key principle here is “triangulation;” try to find multiple (3, if possible) sources that will help you verify that you’re in the ballpark.


See the appendix to this document for detailed discussion of secondary (published) information sources that will be helpful in obtaining data for the project. 




Phase 1: Industry Analysis


Phases 1  and 2 are due on Tuesday, September 21.  You should e-mail the assignment to me ( before the beginning of class on that day.   The combined phases should be in the form of a power point presentation, with a maximum of 15 slides and explanatory text provided in slide notes pages (12 point type minimum in notes pages, single space OK).  


In Phase 0, you defined the firm and brand you want to study, and to establish the availability of primary and secondary demand information for that brand. 


In this step you will present a summary report of the industry under study, including an account of:

-a more formal definition of the market under study

-core customer needs that firms in this industry seek to deliver upon

-identification of firms that compete to serve those needs, and the method by which you selected these firms

-an assessment of the competitive forces that define this industry

-your assessment of the product life cycle stage for your industry, and evidence


Appendices which contain tables or exhibits may be attached to that report.  Exhibits must be clearly labelled. All appendix exhibits must be referred in the narrative and there must be a consistent order between the presentation of exhibits and when they are discussed in the text of the report. 



1.1   Core Needs, Refining Market Definition


Defining the market is an analysis step in which you identify market “boundaries” – i.e., define specifically the core customer needs that are served in your market and the competition for your brand.    


Market definition can help refine other vital information such as market share, and the competitive landscape. A narrowly defined market could result in ignoring an impending competitive threat or overestimating market share. A widely defined market could dilute the marketing manager’s efforts. For instance, Coke could determine its market to be carbonated beverages, a mature industry in which it has a large market share with only a handful of competitors. However, Coke’s late CEO Roberto Goizueta challenged its marketing managers to think of its “share of stomach.”  This forced them to consider dissimilar adversaries such as bottled water, but it also led to major growth opportunities through the 1980’s and 1990’s.  You’ll want to be clear about the customer needs that are resolved by consumption of the product or service you’ve identified. 


1.2  Competitor Set and Market Structure


Direct Competitors – An industry is essentially defined by a competitive set. 

The competitor set depends upon your definition of the relevant market. At this point an exhaustive analysis of the competition is not required. The data required are similar to the data obtained earlier for your brand or company. The job might be difficult if the relevant market is highly fragmented, highly competitive, dominated by private industries or it does not receive appropriate industry coverage.


You should be able to collect relevant sales and market share data at least for the last 5 years. You should closely analyze market share and market share trends for the past years. Market share is important to help you determine how the competition intensity and market concentration affect your industry. Use a tool such as the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) or other similar tools to help you determine market concentration.


Indirect Competitors – Be careful about assuming that it is obvious who / what your firm competes with (i.e., note that Campbell’s Intelligent Quisine was competing with prescription medicine, exercise regimens, diet regimens).  The competition may be defined by industry sources, but keep in mind that they may make assumptions that are based upon industry convention rather than deep customer analysis.  


This requires some foresight and “out of the box” analysis.  Thinking broadly about competitor identification seems less important for short-term planning, but is essential for long term planning.  Think of the obsolescence of typewriters due to the appearance of personal computers, word-processing software and inexpensive printers. Several industries have been affected by the emergence of substitute products or services, particularly the internet ( was initially thought to be very little threat by brick-and-mortar bookstores).  Substitution is facilitated by technological advances. However, this substitution can also be the result of shifting regulatory, social or economic conditions. Compare the growth rate in your industry against the growth rate of substitute industries and determine the actual or potential threat for substitution.


1.3  Competitive Forces


A staple of MBA training for the last 20 years has been Michael Porter’s 5 forces framework.  You’ll see it on many occasions in this program as it is a useful organization of the factors that determine the attractiveness of investment in an industry.  The framework is integrated enough into MBA education that you will find lots of reference to it in planning exercises in the companies you work for, as well.  In addition, analysis of the 5 forces is helpful in making assessments of how competition is likely to evolve in the industry (see Workbook Reading #9, Kotler [2003] “Dealing with Competition”).


Suffice to say that an industry is more attractive – and a firm has greater prospects – to the extent that its suppliers and buyers have little bargaining power, there are few close substitutes for its product or service, and there is low threat of entry.  These conditions will likely characterize an industry in which there is limited competitive rivalry.   



1.4  Sales Patterns and Product Life Cycle


The product life cycle model is one of the fundamental models in marketing.  It helps managers understand how competition evolves in a market, and to some extent to predict future market behavior.  We’ll see that the fundamental challenge of the PLC theory is that it is a “template” that assumes away a lot of dynamics that happen when entrepreneurs and events get in the way.  We will discuss in class some challenges with the product life cycle model, but in the project you will learn how it helps planning. (see Workbook Reading #10 Wasson (1978), "Importance of Product Life Cycle" ).

For your project, it will be of interest to plot the sales of your chosen product category over time (from its inception if possible) on a graph and depict the major industry or product innovation developments that influenced sales of the product category over time. 



Phase 2:  Customer Analysis—Segments, Needs, Total Experience


This is the second portion of the report that is due on September 21. (See the description above under Phase 1.)


NOTE: your data collection regarding the customer analysis will extend beyond the Phase 1,2 deadline of September 21.   As such, by September 21, we will want to have a reasonable preliminary sense of your models of customer decision-making and value so feedback can be provided.  The expectation is that the Phase 1,2 assignment is a first cut at these complex concepts, and that ultimately your final Phase 5 product will represent the end product.    Although a first cut, the Phase 1,2 draft turned in on Sept 21 should represent a thoughtful analysis of industry and customer behavior. 



2.1 Customer Segments


Companies spend a sizable portion of their marketing budgets learning about their customers and segmenting their markets. However, segmentation is considered sensitive competitive information, and companies are not prone to disclose it. The best sources for segmentation information are data on product usage and consumer characteristics.   In addition, trade press and industry associations will often provide information on conventional market segment definitions. 


In class, we will discuss why firms segment markets and the standard approaches to discovering the structure of segments in a market.   It is important to note that many industries have “standard” segmentation approaches that are used to organize competition in a market; for example, many industries think of segments on the basis of product models:  laptops vs. desktops in PCs; compacts vs. subcompacts vs. SUVs in automobiles, colas vs. noncolas vs. sports drinks vs. water in beverages.   This is a legitimate means of organizing business activity, and it is often roughly driven by customer needs.  However, a deeper analysis of customers often reveals segments that are differentiated by characteristics that help to more accurately predict choice behavior.


There is no pure science of segmentation, although there are some basic analytical techniques that can provide a lot of insight quickly.  Sources we will discuss include a vendor called BIG Research (with current U.S. survey data on CD that we can use), as well as trade press sources from which bits of insight about company segmentation frameworks can be assembled into a coherent picture.  


Part of this exercise is to understand how the company and industry currently view market segments.  Another part, however, is to explore whether you can provide additional insight into segmenting the market as a means of finding additional growth opportunities for the company. 



2.2  Digging Deep into the Total Customer Experience: Customer Decision-Making Process, Sources of Value, and Decision Drivers 


Keep in mind that this project is all about understanding growth – where it has come from in the past and where it might come from in the future.  Customer decision-making holds the key to understanding opportunities to create new value and growth.  


There are three critical issues here:


2.2.1  Decision Process.  Customer decisions occur in a process rather than just as a single “choice.”  Understanding the customer’s total experience in the decision process is very important in thinking through where/how value can be added.   In addition, the concept of customer touchpoints has enormous implications for communications and distribution strategy.


2.2.2  Sources of Value.  For many years, marketing managers tended to think just of adding more product or service features to enhance their brand’s attractiveness.  A critical insight from the work of Theodore Levitt, Tom Peters, and Ray Kordupleski is that once you break free from a “product-only” mindset, you can open up to a whole the only limit to sources of new value is one’s imagination.   But first it helps to go through a disciplined exercise in which you enumerate and organize all sources of value (and some that may not have yet been invented). 


2.2.3  Decision Drivers.   Of all of the dimensions of value, what are the most important drivers?  This is partly an exercise in identifying attribute importance weights.  It is also an exercise in seeking to explore the underlying needs or values that drive customer decision-making.   Means-ends analysis is a widely-used approach in industry to develop such understanding.


We expand briefly on each of these below.



2.2.1 Decision Process and Total Experience


A deep understanding of customer behavior begins with understanding that in making any purchase and consumption decision (and subsequent decisions to continue buying a particular brand), there is a process that can be articulated.  It may not be exactly the same for everyone, but modeling a decision process can provide deep understanding into how that process might be influenced and how new value can be created (keep in mind that the goal is growth .. how do we continually seek new sources of value). 


If you were a maker of appliances, in what ways would it be helpful for you to have an understanding of the process that customers go through in selecting an appliance brand?  Check out Model A on the next page, which was developed by Dickson and Wilkie (1985) to capture the results obtained in their nationwide survey of appliance buyers.   This research provided new insight into the touch points at which customers might be reached, the ways in which customers compare brands, and the critical role that the sales person played as an information source and advisor.   


At the same time, the Dickson-Wilkie model does not push far enough ahead in capturing the customer’s total experience.   What happens after the purchase?  There are many firms who have discovered just how much value can be added by getting a deep understanding of the customer’s decision and consumption process.  Chapter 3 from Glen Urban’s (2004) book on Digital Marketing Strategy (Workbook Reading #17) provides concise advice about how to develop a decision process model for your product category.  The framework of questions from McMillen and McGrath (1998, Workbook Reading #16) further provides a fairly comprehensive set of questions to help explore varying stages of the decision process.  These approaches are perspective-expanding exercises and a very important input for the next step.   


                                FIGURE A
                  DICKSON-WILKIE MODEL





2.2.2  Going Deep 1: Exploring Sources of Value

     Enumerate Sources (Dimensions) of Value


Keep in mind that we’re seeking growth in brand sales and profits.  The decision model helps identify where / how consumer decision-making might be influenced or facilitated and ways that additional value might be created for customers. 


To do that, we need to think through more deeply the particular attributes or benefits that influence customer decisions.  This helps two ways: (1) we can learn where we need to improve value relative to competitors (develop metrics we use over time), and (2) we can explore where and how new value might be created. 


So, armed with our decision process model, the next step is to enumerate all of the dimensions or sources of value that we can think of. 


It’s a big job, and everyone always underestimates the complexity of it.  For example, think of a consumer making a choice between dishwasher Brand A and dishwasher Brand B.  How many dimensions of value would likely be considered, either explicitly or implicitly?   Once that consumer chooses one of the brand, on how many dimensions does s/he judge the value of that brand over time?  When most people take a crack at this question, they tend to think of product attributes like size, power requirements, and cleaning quality.  And price and warranty will typically come into play. 


But how about if you did this: ask someone who has recently purchased a dishwasher the following kinds of questions:


(A)  What were the reasons you purchased Brand A over Brand B?   (ask them to continue articulating by asking “what else? …. and what else?”)    If they say “it had all the features I wanted,” ask them to articulate each of those features or attributes.


(B)  Then, ask them to think back about the broader experience and usage of the product.   … “thinking back after you purchased, brought home and used or consumed the product or service, what do you think of your chosen brand?”   Write down everything you can think of make a list that reflects your experience after you purchased and used or consumed the product or service.   Ask them to articulate everything they can think of.   Take a look at the chapter by Urban (2004; Workbook Reading #17) to provide a framework for prompting these questions).    The whole point is that you want to understand customers’ bases for evaluating that brand.  (hence, value)


In doing this, how many attributes / features do you think you would get … 40… 50?   Well, a global appliance manufacturer who regularly conducts customer value research has a standard questionnaire which is comprised of 101 (!!) attribute benefit /cost statements.  These dimensions cover pre-purchase product information (e.g., print and media advertising), and several dimensions each of the store, store salesperson, purchase process, product features and performance attributes, delivery and installation, as well as many dimensions of cost (including purchase price, delivery/install, financing options, warranty terms, cost of warranty).  In addition, the company includes in these surveys several dimensions capturing the brand itself (e.g., trustworthiness).   


Sources of information.   If you are consumers of the product or service you’re studying, you will already have some insights into customer decision-making process and the dimensions of value.  But take care not to limit yourself to that.   Here are important information sources for exploring dimensions of value:


1.      Secondary research.  You will have done a great deal of secondary research at this point and there will likely be insight in various sources about customer decision-making.   (For example, when firms introduce new varieties or product lines, the new attributes or benefits they add reflect their [sometimes hopeful] judgment of the value customers are seeking). 

2.      Interviews with Customers or the Trade.  For most projects, it is important to talk to customers in some depth, as well as retailers or other channel members who sell the product, who themselves interact with customers.  

·         First issue is – make sure you’re sampling the right people; that is, people who are either experienced in consuming or selling the product/service and/or who are in the prospective target market.  

·         Second -- what do you ask?   You’ll figure out the best way to word the questions, but some examples include: what were you thinking about when you began the decision process?   What kinds of questions did you ask before you bought?  How/why did you choose one brand over another?  How did you buy?  After purchase, what help or service is typically required?  Was the product/service satisfactory after purchase?  What complaints have you had?  Be sure to follow-up with prompts like … was there anything else you considered? or what else?    (if you’re speaking with a retailer, just reframe these questions to obtain retailers’ views of customers)

3.      Observation.   It is often very helpful to go out and observe customers in both their shopping and using the products or services under study.   These are “natural” insights, untainted by any perspective you might introduce through questions.  


See the side bar box below for a few ideas to get started on primary data collection.




To explore customer value, value perceptions, and decision process, your team will want to conduct primary research; that is research gathered directly from individuals or observation to get specific answers to questions that cannot be answered based upon published research.  A few comments follow regarding research approaches. 


Interviews.   A great deal of insight can be gained via personal interviews with people who are customers of your product category.  While paper-and-pencil or on-line surveys are possible (see below), personal interviews tend to much better to get more detailed insight into the overall decision process as they allow you more interaction.    Your questions can be as basic as “describe what happens when you decide to purchase xxxxx.”  “what prompts you to get into that decision process?”  “what happens after that?” “…after that?”   etc.  Carry the questions through to the consumption and post-consumption phases of the decision process.    It may take only 10-20 interviews before a clear picture begins to emerge.     This is a very common approach to understanding consumer behavior.


Surveys.  For simple in-class surveys your team can use e-Project. There are also some web-based survey tools such as Survey Monkey ( or Zoomerang ( that enable more advanced survey features.


BUT …. Before you construct a survey, please think deeply about your objectives.  Survey research is an area in which firms spend and waste millions of dollars on poor survey research because goals are not clear (i.e., what decisions will be based on the data) and design is poor, leading to unusable data.  There are many, many mistakes that are made because people tend to underestimate the challenges of communicating effectively.  Specifically, how do you plan to use the responses you will collect?   Three thoughts here:


(1)                            Feel free to send me your survey draft for proofing.  It will help to have another set of eyes look at it.  I’ve done hundreds of these and will tell you up front that the first thing I’ll ask you about are your goals and specifically how you will use the data.  Just some forewarning: it will take a few (if not several) iterations to “get it right.”  (In the interest of getting good data, this is not such a bad thing.)

(2)                            Use examples as a reference point where ever you can.  You’re in a tough spot … you don’t have time to take a course on survey design but you need to get yourself up to speed enough to put a credible survey together.  The link below is an example of a “sample” survey we used last year for assessing value in fast food.  It was just an example but is structured similarly to surveys that are used around the world in a variety of industries.  Note that this survey was designed based upon industry experience, an exploratory study that helped define the subset of dimensions that were used, and input from the management team at McDonald’s (the point: it takes a while to put these together).




“You can see a lot by observing.”  (Yogi Berra)


It will be very helpful for some product categories to engage in observation.  This will either be in the store or perhaps observing people who already own the product using it.   Sometimes it seems obvious what you should be looking for.  But a lot of this is subtle.  This is often an important and impressive addition to a strategy study, but you want to make sure you do a good job.  Here are a couple of sources to get you started:


Colorado State Site: Methods in Observational Research


Teaching Students How to Observe


eLab Observational Research, Fast Company 1996


If you go into a retailer, you will need to ask permission.    I can provide a letter of introduction. 


As we pursue insight into customer value, there are a couple of tools that will be helpful.  (these are described in Workbook Reading #18, Kordupleski (2003), Mastering Customer Value Management, chapter 2.  Organize the Dimensions of Value: The Value (or Attribute) Tree


Once you’ve got this big list of attributes / benefits, you need to organize it.  To do so, it is helpful to begin with an important conceptual definition: value exists in the eye of the customer and it has two sides.  There is a “gain” side to value, as well as a “cost” side. 


To a customer, overall value is a relative judgment: gain (what I get) vs. cost (what I give up). 


A value tree is a visual representation of the attributes and costs relevant to the customer.  The value tree is the answer to a simple but fundamental question: is the product (or service) worth what you paid for?


The tree lets you visually represent the complexity of value, which, ironically, makes it simpler for others to understand how customers make decisions.  The tree captures a comprehensive view of the customer experience including not just the product attributes but also the sales, claims, billing, customer support experience. At the same time, it should consider relationship and brand dimensions such as responsiveness or trustworthiness (see Figure B). 



Source: Kordupleski, Ray. “Mastering Customer Value Management” Pinn-Flex, Randolph, NJ, 2003 p.29



Ultimately, we ask the customer to judge whether the product or service they bought was “worth what they paid for it.”  This essential judgment is driven by some combination or trade-off between “what you get” (the gain side of value) and what you gave up or paid (the cost side of value).  The concept of value can be quantified.  Companies collect data to build value trees via surveys of customers.  The surveys typically ask customers to rate the firm and its competitors on the value dimensions identified.  For an example, again see the fast food survey at  Attribute importance is, well, important.   Value trees become more useful if weights can be associated to each branch.  Do some customers weight price more than quality?  What dimensions of quality appear to be most important?   Unless you do a fairly large survey (e.g., with 10 times the number of survey respondents as variables), you won’t be able to use regression to obtain importance weights (by regressing the overall value score on the satisfaction ratings for the sub-dimensions).  However, you can obtain some implicit understanding of the most important dimensions through your interviews with customers, by asking for the factors that they deem most important or being most influential in their decision-making.   Means-ends analysis and, specifically a technique called laddering (both discussed in the next section) provide a means of seeking deeper insight into the values driving customer decision-making.  The analysis requires competitive comparisons.  You can be getting improving satisfaction scores over time but actually be losing market share.  How?  Easy, if competitors are improving at a rate faster than you are.  This is a good reason for benchmarking competitors.  Incorporate both judgments of quality and price to competitive comparisons.  This can be nicely summarized in a “value map” if you’ve got the data. 


So, a value map or (somewhat like a product positioning map) is another visual tool to help position the company’s relative value against the competition. The map is a two-dimensional plot defined by two axes (See Figure C on next page). The bottom horizontal axis or “X” axis is the relative quality score for the product or service with the lowest score to the left. It is also known as quality position. The left vertical axis or the “Y” axis is the relative price score for the product or service with the lowest score at the top (meaning the most expensive) and it is also known as price positioning. These maps can also be used to illustrate the positioning of a company’s product line. For instance, this would be the value map for the Toyota product line.







Source: Best, Roger “Market-Based Management” Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2nd Edition, 2000 p. 164



2.2.3  Means-Ends Analysis


There is a way to dig deeper into understanding the drivers of customer decision-making.  There is a simple premise that underlies a good bit of understanding customer decision behavior.   At some level, all decisions come down to a trade-off of values.  Consider this from Olson and Reynolds (2001, p. 7):


“To understand consumer decision-making, managers must address two issues: (a) what choice criteria do consumers use to evaluate the choice alternatives and choose among them?, and (b) why are those particular choice criteria personally relevant to the consumers?” 


Means-ends analysis and laddering provide a way to delve deeper into customer value, which Peter and Olson (2002, pp. 78-9) define as “people’s broad life goals.  Values often involve the emotion associated with such goals and needs (the strong feelings and emotions that accompany success).”  Values are the deep feelings and desired states that drive our behavior. 


There are a couple of sources through which you can develop an understanding of this framework.  Space is limited here, but one example that we will have considered in class was the means-ends chains that linked up our top students’ desired “features” of MBA courses, as well as our recruiters desired characteristics of MBA recruits:







The fact is, when you ask people what factors drive their decision-making, they will tend to articulate “features” or characteristics.   So, our discussions with the students tended to generate a lot of consideration of the characteristics of the best courses that they had taken.   These features are concrete, and very clear.  We push a little further by essentially asking “why” for each of those features and/or by interpreting the depth of the discussion and we find that those features can be translated into consequences and perhaps longer term outcomes.  Note that the number of entries in each column gets smaller as you go from left to right.  This is because we’re seeking to describe the higher-level needs that drive decisions, and people tend to summarize such core values into a few “buckets.” 


Here’s are two good sources for overviews of means-ends analysis:


 1. Peter and Olson (2002), chapter 4 from Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy

 2. Olson and Reynolds (2001), chapter 1 from Understanding Consumer Decision-Making


For when you go to your internship and you want some essential depth to laddering, have a read of this:


3. Reynolds and Gutman (2001), chapter 2 from Understanding Consumer Decision-Making


(P.S.  Professor Tom Reynolds is a Notre Dame alum, and was a member of the 1966 national championship football team).


See this reading for an overview à  Fundamentals of means-ends analysis


Phase 3: Company, Competitor Analysis and 3-Circles Integration


This is the project phase that concludes the first half of the semester.   It will be an integration of the first three phases.  You should prepare a presentation, maximum 20 power point slides with note pages (12 point type, single space is OK), including revision in response to comments on phases 1 and 2.   You may add an appendix to your 20 slides, but note that it should only include exhibits or tables that are directly relevant to (and are cited in) the main body of your presentation.  Your presentation should seek to tell a story about your brand and firm, not just present the facts that you’ve discovered. 


The previous steps should have resulted in a deep understanding of your target customers.   Phase 3 extends into further analysis of your company and competitors, where the “Three Circle Model” helps to integrate all this information together. 


3.1  Company Analysis


3.1.1  How are we doing?   There are many ways to assess performance.  Some important ways are to include careful review and analysis on your firm’s financial statements, as well as discussion on sales and market share trends, which speak to competitive standings.    As companies have discovered how valuable loyal customers are, they are paying more attention to customer retention, even moreso than acquisition.  A new framework for analysis from Jim Treacy and Jim Sims was published this past spring in Harvard Business Review (Workbook Reading #20).  This is a useful analysis that allows you to split up revenue to see how much your company is growing the business, as well as how much new business you’re turning over.   In class, we’ll do some short case studies on this. 


3.1.2. Mission / Vision, capabilities, core competency.   Great companies are complex entities, so you should try to cut through their complexity to identify their sense of purpose and direction.  This is often subtle and difficult to capture.  However, it will be hard to credibly determine growth opportunities for your company without a good sense of its mission/vision, assuming there is one. 

Part of determining how you’ll grow your company and excel is for you to determine (and/or decide to build) skills that competitors will find it difficult to replicate.  In addition to articulating the company’s mission and vision, your team will also make an assessment of their unique skills and core competencies.  


The readings that will provide insight in these areas come from a book called Mastering Strategy by Jeffrey Rigsby and Guy Greco (a book we use for our Executive MBA course on Market Dynamics).  These chapters are included as Workbook Reading #23. 


Note that the mission/vision will come from a higher authority than just the “brand,” if you’ve defined your unit of analysis as the brand.  For hints, try reading trade presse articles, press releases, and the company’s annual report.  What are the capabilities of your firm – is it uniquely skilled in any particular area of the value chain?   You will not likely find product-specific mission and/or vision information, but such information for the company as a whole is important. 


3.1.3  Current Strategy.   You should make a baseline descriptive assessment of the company’s current strategy and tactics for your brand.   This means an overview statement:


What are the current target markets?

Current positioning strategy?

Product / services, product line architecture

Distribution strategy and tactics

Marketing Communications strategy and tactics

            Pricing strategy and tactics


Note that in Phase 5 of this project, you’ll be proposing a marketing strategy with tactics; therefore it is important to familiarize yourself with the company’s current strategy. 


Check out Rigsby and Greco’s chapter on internal assessment (see Table 3.17, p. 92) for the dimensions of the marketing mix into which you should be seeking insight. 


3.2  Competitor Analysis


The competitor analysis is just like the company analysis, with a slightly extra insight required.   You’ve seen a little bit of this in chapter 2 from Rigsby and Greco.  The chapter from Winer (Workbook Reading #27) has a good overview, as well as the insight into game theory, which we will explore in class on September 28.


Note that the primary difference between company analysis and competitor analysis is that in the competitive analysis you are required to “look ahead” and anticipate two important things.  1) What the competitor will likely do next, as well as, 2) How the competitor will likely react to your company’s moves.


3.3  Three-Circle Integration


To this point, we’ve been looking at the industry environment in pieces… customer, company, competitor, etc.   How do we pull it together?  


The 3-circle model is a simple but fairly powerful way to summarize and say a lot about the current competitive environment. (See Figure E on next page)


The idea is straightforward.  There is one circle for our company (upper left), one circle for the customer (upper right), and one circle for the competitor.  The most significant interpretation of each circle is that they represent “value.”  For example, the customer’s circle represents “value desired.”  The customer desires value on many dimensions/needs.  Some of those needs have been met (where the company and competitor circles overlap with the customer’s), but one important implication of the model is that there are almost always needs / problems that have yet to be identified.     


The company has particular capabilities to provide value, as does the competitor, but neither player provides entirely the exact same value.   The story gets a bit more complex and interesting, as you’ll see below.     




We provide a brief definition of each area and then illustrate how the Three Circle Model might be applied in the airline industry. 


Area A:  Our Points of Difference.   It is best to think of each of the circles as capturing “value.”  That is, there is a certain amount of value that customers seek, and there is a certain amount of value that each competitor provides for its customers.  Area A is the exclusive intersection between the value created by our company and that desired by the customer.  It is the value we provide to customers (that they want) and it is unique to our company.  There is some degree of brand equity and core competency captured in Area A.


Area B: Points of Parity.   Area B is the intersection between all three circles. This is where desired dimensions of customer value are provided by all firms in the industry.    This is essentially a set of features / benefits that all or most competitors have in common.  While these features may be essential to enter the game (commonly referred to as table stakes), they do not provide a basis for a competitive advantage. 


Area C: Competitors’ Points of Difference.  Same as Area A, except it reflects the unique value provided by competitors.   


Area D: The Swamp.  This label came from a manager at one company I worked with last year.  I love the term.  It reflects value that has long since passed its usefulness, yet is still provided by firms within the industry.  The metaphor states that some companies get mired in providing value which is costly to provide, however this value is no longer wanted or needed by the customer.  This one is a bit counterintuitive, but to illustrate: Formule One hotels in France made big gains in market share of the budget hotel segment by simplifying the hotel concept: eliminating front desk (using ATMs), restaurants, and amenities, and making simpler rooms to focus on core needs for the segment: clean rooms, high quality beds, and quiet rooms.




Area E: The White Space.  Area E captures the notion of a large, undefined space that contains some error as well as some possible murkiness, but also possibly containing much opportunity (thanks to Prof. V. Bartkus for the label).  It suggests that there is some degree of elasticity in the customer’s definition of value, or that there are needs as yet undiscovered.  


Articles by Ohmae (1988, WorkBook Reading #28) and Kim and Mauborgne (1999, #33) will help refine understanding of these different areas in the model. 


Evolution.   Value evolves.  This dynamic is an essential part of industry analysis and is captured well in the literature. Think about wireless technology in laptop computers.  A core need captured in the white space (4-5 years ago) regarding laptop usage is that users greatly value freedom of movement, and requiring a hardwire connection by definition limits that freedom.  Initial wireless options for laptops required special cards or receivers that would fit in slot externally.  These were a little inconvenient but for the initiating firms produced a point-of-difference (Area A), which was quickly matched by competitors (shifting this value dimension to Area B).  The concept of wireless remained but the “external card” form of delivery was pushed into the swamp with the advent of internal wireless receivers which eliminate the inconveniences.  This feature itself has become a point of parity among laptop manufacturers (Area B).    


In sum, there are a number of implications of the 3-circle model: 


þ      One should begin with a deep understanding of the dimensions value (as in the earlier stages reflected here). 

þ      Categorize value as points of parity (table stakes) or points of difference (unique value) for both your firm and competitors.

þ      Develop an understanding of the evolution of value in the industry.  Both historically and projected into the future.

þ      Identify existing value that is becoming less important to customers and should end up in the “swamp.”  If such value can be eliminated, there may be tremendous cost savings.

þ      Study customer behavior and engage in regular conversations with customers to identify unmet needs and emerging trends that could potentially define new sources of value for your brand


3.4.1   Competitive Benchmarking and Herding


As we’ve noted, it is important to stay abreast of competitor behavior.   However, be careful about simply mimicking competitors under the assumption that they have a better understanding of customer value than you have.  (Note that your knowledge of customer value is a very important competitive weapon.)   Avoid escalatory moves that can drag your firm into a war of attrition or a multi-front war.


Instead of replicating every move, it is important to study the competition carefully and copy only its most compelling ideas. This is the strategy that allowed e-Bay to successfully undertake successive challenges from Yahoo!, Amazon and Fair Market Place. In each case, Meg Whitman, e-Bay’s CEO, created a SWAT team to literally “crawl” the competitor’s sites and copy only those features that really improved the experience, but avoiding moves that did not make sense under e-Bay’s business model.  Two sources to check out are:


Yoffie, David B. Kwak, Mary, Judo Strategy, Turning your opponent’s strength to your advantage, Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, Boston, 2001)


Nattermann, Philipp M. (2000), “Best practice does not equal best strategy,” McKinsey Quarterly, Number 2


In summary, at the end of the phase 3, you will have a firm grasp on the existing competencies of firms in your market, as well as the existing and potential sources of competitive advantage.   At the same time, you will likely have discovered a number of weaknesses for the firm.  In this section, you should:  


þ      Analyze your competitor’s strength and their source of differentiation

þ      Identify those moves that will strengthen your position and are aligned with your business model and marketing strategy

þ      Identify those moves that might initiate a retaliatory war or take you outside your core competencies


You have also spent a good bit of time gathering data and thinking deeply about customer needs.  Further elaboration and consideration of customer needs are essential steps for the next phase. 


Phase 4:  Growth Brainstorming and Strategy (invading the white space)  


This section requires a great deal of well grounded imagination, or more specifically a deep understanding of the industry and competitive environment, as well as most fundamentally strong insight into customer needs (met and unmet).  


4.1  What is the white space?


Fred Smith envisioned something that no one else saw: a need for rapid, reliable delivery for business (Fed Ex).  Herb Kelleher envisioned a need for low cost, fun and friendly air service.  Anita Roddick envisioned a strong appeal of natural health and beauty aids that would engage customers as much for their environmental friendliness as for their superior quality.  Most people think of these business leaders as visionaries, and this is true.  But the most significant driver of these businesses was their confidence in their view of the white space…an insightful view of latent or unmet needs that others could not see at the time. 


The white space is all about thinking up things that no one else has thought of.   It is also (more importantly) about business opportunity – sources of growth.  What is probably most important is that the model keeps everyone’s attention focused on the primary issue: what value can we create that will be important to customers yet different from what competitors can or will do?


There is one important distinction to be made among needs in the white space.   Consider the table that follows.







Needs MET  by existing

products / services (served)

Needs UNMET by existing products / services (unserved)


Needs NOT yet recognized by customers


Uncertain Demand



Latent Demand


Needs recognized by customers


Existing Demand


Potential demand



We can classify the white space into multiple categories.  Cell  A (uncertain demand) captures products/services already created for established market needs, but that has not yet been recognized by customers.   HD TV fit into this category for some time.  Cell B is most challenging and potentially the most rewarding, encompassing ideas that firms have not discovered for needs that customers have not yet recognized. Starbucks’ creation of coffee shops in the 1980s in the U.S. is a great example of how a firm uncovered monstrous latent demand.   (The literal translation of latent needs is defined as concealed or hidden needs).    Cell C reflects existing demand (e.g., McDonald’s is built around the need for fresh food fast and continues to work around that theme).  While Cell D captures existing needs that are known and that firms have either not recognized or have failed to accommodate, perhaps because the cost is too high or science has been unable to develop a solution.    



4.2. Exploring Unmet Needs


Sometimes people know what’s good for them, and sometimes they do not.  The idea here is that you listen to what customers tell you about their current problems with the products/services in the industry under study (and believe me, they will talk all day about their problems).  Make the obvious improvements as per those insights.  


For simplicity, we focus on (D) potential demand and (B) latent demand here as the primary directions for identifying new sources of value.  Regarding potential demand, customer onversations, focus groups, and satisfaction surveys will help make need gaps between customer needs and current offerings clear over time.  The express purpose of satisfaction surveys is to surface customer complaints and problems.  These might come in the form of customer complaints (e.g. the inefficiency of the early PDA’s handwriting recognition) or in the course of ideas from lead users (e.g. luggage manufacturers got the idea for suitcases with wheels from a flight attendant who had strapped wheels on her bag).


But understanding latent needs requires deeper digging.  This has been covered to some degree, however it is now the time to cycle back through again with eyes firmly planted on the white space; that is examining “what could be” this time rather than “what is.” 


1.      McMillen and McGrath’s question set (“Seeking Sources of Differentiation”)

2.      Exploratory interviewing

3.      Observation

4.      Means-ends analysis  


Note again that customers may often truly not know what is possible.  As Winer (2004) indicates in the chapter 1 reading (citing Hamel and Prahalad), “consumers have never asked for cellular telephones, fax machines, copiers at home, compact disc players, ATMs,” and so on.  In short, much innovation and new product/service development is driven by insightful businesspeople who dig deep to understand core needs; not just how customer are currently using problems and not just what they say they want. 


Each of these will allow you to explore the core needs that customers have.  Now, the question is, what do we do about those needs… how do we generate new growth ideas to leverage them?  


 4.3. Brainstorming the ideas


Here’s a problem we all face.  When we try to think of new ideas, it is difficult for us to break free from existing beliefs, self-concept, and conventional wisdom in the industry around us.  As a result, psychologists and creativity experts have developed a variety of approaches to help dig deep for an understanding of problems and potential solutions. 


One idea that can be quickly implemented in called idea-mapping.   Here’s the reference:   Idea mapping chapter thompson (1992)


A wide variety of other approaches can be used for engaging team members.  For example, role-playing the customer – i.e., stepping into someone else’s shoes – can be an extremely insightful way to understand their needs as well as to help generate ideas for creating new value.  Thompson’s book is a good resource so please let me know if you would like to see it.  


4.4  Projected Returns: estimate impact of growth ideas on market size


Don’t let reality constrain brainstorming.  However it is required that you get to reality, and the first issue to consider is demand.  How do you expect the new value you’re deciding upon to affect the size of the market (both primary demand and your own share of the market).  What would be your projected revenue stream?  Note that you will need to have some rough estimates here of what your prices would be, based upon judgments of customer willingness-to-pay. 


Even if you can only make some rough estimates, it is better to think through these economics rather than not.  You’ll need to put them together for financial projections in the marketing plan (Phase 5 below). 


4.5. Projected Costs and Feasibility


There are supply-side questions as well.   You’ll need to estimate if the investment needed to deliver a new product or service or program is out-weighed by the potential benefits extracted.   Key questions relate to: (a) cost of materials and other variable cost impact, (b) impact of changes on human resources and firm processes, (c) changes in distribution arrangements, (d) costs of strategic alliances, and (e) additional costs of marketing communications.  There may be additional dimensions to address as well.


Thinking through constraints.  There are some realistic issues in delivering on desired value and there is the very tricky aspect of judging whether or not customers truly want what they say they want.   This is highlighted exceptionally well in the fast food industry these days, as there are (a) enormous pressures to provide healthier food, (b) tremendous logistical and production challenges in actually delivering it, and (c) significant uncertainty about whether or not customers actually want it (e.g. differences between what customers say they want and what they actually want).  See the article in Fortune Can you really make fast food healthy?  


Take care not to overlook a silver lining.  Famous last words, bad vision (20/20 hindsight): 

"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make."

-- Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies.


Regarding feasibility:  "The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." -- A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)


Regarding value:  "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.


Regarding willingness to pay: "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.


 Regarding market size estimates: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

(Source: accessed on Aug 01, 2004)



Phase 5 – Integration, Marketing Strategy and Program Plan


“The purpose of marketing is to make selling superfluous.”

-Peter Drucker


In this step you will deliver a document that seeks to present a remarkable program to generate growth.  It should be presented in the form of a marketing plan.  This is the integration of all your work to this point, and you need to keep one message in mind: your job here is not to re-hash and re-describe all your previous analysis… it is instead to use that analysis as the ingredients to a new recipe: your proposed growth strategy. In other words, your integrated report should be a proposal of marketing strategy and tactics that reflects what you believe to be a solid growth opportunity for the company. 


Final full project (all phases integrated) 20 power point slides max (text in notes page, 12 point font, single space OK).  The 20 slides should tell your compelling story… integrating the most important material from the earlier phases.  You may attach appendices; however make sure they are relevant to the report (i.e. they should be reference in order in the text of the report.)  


There are many ways to organize a marketing plan, but for most companies, a plan will address situation, direction, strategy, tactics, financials, and execution. 


5.1  Situation.  The situation analysis should describe and explain the industry, the market, and their current trends. It should also describe your company core competencies, your customers or consumers, your competition, and your collaborators such as partners, suppliers, and distributors, and aspects of the context environment that will influence the prospects for your brand. Given this, your situation analysis could be summarized with a SWOT analysis.


5.2  Direction: Mission, Vision, Goals. A statement of direction is important; re-visit chapter 1 by Rigsby and Greco to refresh.  Remember that goals should be stated specifically and should articulate what specific effect is desired, how much, and by when.  For example, “increasing market share” is not a very well-stated goal.  “Achieving 20% market share by quarter 4 2005” is a well-stated goal.


5.3  Strategy.  It is imperative that you define the market, your target customer segments, and determine your overall positioning aligning the marketing mix.


5.4 Tactical plan.  You must also determine what product mix, price positioning, distribution channels and promotion that would yield your proposed positioning and growth strategy.


5.5  Financials.  Your plan should be accompanied by a minimum of one-year projections for financial results for your selected brand or division. 


5.6  Execution and anticipating dynamics.   Finally, the team should give consideration to how the environment is likely to change.  Change is to some degree predictable and even if predictions are imperfect, it is helpful to have gone through the exercise because it forces good thinking that might otherwise not have taken place.   


Some items to checklist:


þ      Could anyone unfamiliar with the industry read the situation analysis and have a clear understanding of all the current conditions and emerging trends?

þ      Have you appropriately described your core competencies, weaknesses, threats and opportunities?

þ      Have you developed a strategic plan that adequately addresses the threats and takes advantage of the opportunities based on your core competencies while addressing your weaknesses?  Does the strategy fit the current environmental constraints? 

þ      Have you clearly defined market segments and clarified your targets?   Are they justifiable in terms of market growth, competitive intensity, and market access? 

þ      Does your marketing plan deliver a clear and concise positioning statement?  Does it pass the “Area A” test?  (i.e., clearly delivers value to customers, unique relative to competitors, builds on unique firm capabilities)

þ      Is your marketing mix appropriately aligned to deliver your positioning? 

þ      Have you provided tactical measurable actions to execute your positioning?

þ      Does your budget properly cover your tactical measures?

þ      Have you presented P&L projections?

þ      Have you considered future scenarios and how your plans will need to adapt?





The Matrix Model (Figure F, below) provides a good way to summarize a great deal of marketing planning information.   The model simply crosses the key decisions being made (the rows) with the elements of the environment (columns C through G), as well as the final column (H), which encourages a longer-term view.  Here are a few key insights from the model:


1.      The situation analysis for the plan is essentially captured across columns C through G: customer, competitors, company, collaborators, context.


2.      Key phrases that summarize the proposed strategy and tactics can be listed down column B.  Important questions to address are “do strategy and tactics fit together cohesively?”   “Do they follow from the core positioning strategy?”


3.      There is also a straightforward methodology in the model to assess each strategy and tactical plan, once it is developed.  Each row of the matrix should present a statement of strategy or tactics.  The operant question then, is “to what extent is each strategic / tactical idea consistent with the facts as we know them in the customer environment?  The competitor environment? The company environment?  The collaborative environment?  The larger environmental context? 


Note that it is not required that you present your strategy using this matrix, there will be many ways to tell your compelling story.  The important point is that the matrix model can help you to organize your work in framing the important questions you’ll need to ask in planning, in stating your proposed strategy, and in evaluating the strategy and tactics. 









5.8    On Customer Centricity (the bottom row)


A very important issue that organizations face is how to build customer-focus into the organization.   It is a multidimensional problem, complex, and not easy.  This has been a topic of much discussion (and one we work a lot on in executive training).   This topic is address to some extent at the end of the semester, but it is generally beyond the scope of the introductory marketing management course.  As such, you do not need to address it in your plans.    This issue is described to some extent in Workbook Readings #48 and #49. 



5.9    Process


The dynamic process in Figure G on the next page captures a typical planning process for the firm.   The Figure G model covers a good bit of ground   Note that this essentially summarizes the process captured in this document (although we stop short of implementation and performance evaluation).  





Source: Best, Roger “Market-Based Management” Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2nd Edition, 2000 p. 301

Also see:









Industry sales, outlook, trends

Standard and Poor’s

Standard and Poor's Industry Surveys (see Market Insight   A quarterly publication which provides excellent profiles of major U.S. industries and their leading companies. Covers NASDAQ, ASE, and NYSE.  Includes company performance statistics. Many of the articles contain tables providing company and brand market shares. Access is through the product Market Insight. Launch market Insight from the University Libraries home page given above. Once within the product, select the “Industry” tab and a particular industry from the pull down menu. The Industry Survey for that segment may be selected from the lefthand frame.


Value Line

Value Line Investment Survey (Hesburgh Reference Closed Reference -1st Floor- HG 4965 .V249)  This weekly title provides concise one-page reports including stock charts, extensive data, business background, recent developments and commentaries on 1,500 companies. (Note: Focus is financial information, but recent developments can be useful).  Expanded edition covering an additional 1,800 companies is also available.    



Mergent Online   formerly Moody's Industrial Manual and Moody's International Manual, provides information similar to S&P, Mergent Online includes data and text for the largest U.S. companies and over 6,700 non-U.S. corporations in 107 countries. Also provides “General Info,” “Financials,” “Portraits,” “Fact Sheets,” and “Annual Reports” in pdf format.


Encyclopedia of Advertising

Encyclopedia of Advertising (Hesburgh Reference, 1st Floor - HF5803.A38, Published in 2003)

This 3 volume set is a comprehensive reference source that takes a broad look at the advertising industry.  It includes profiles of 120 ad agencies from around the world.  It also provides insights into specific advertisers, brands, corporations, and ad campaigns.  The third volume ends with appendixes such as: "Notable U.S. Advertising Degree Programs," "Top U.S. Advertising Agencies," "Top U.S. Advertisers," "Top Worldwide Advertising Agencies," and "Top Worldwide Advertisers." A detailed index is also provided.   Excellent Background Material.        


Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands

Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands (Hesburgh Reference, 1st Floor - HF 5415.3 .E527 1994)  This 3 volume set provides concise yet detailed  profiles of major consumer brands.  Included are brand histories, marketing strategies, market share and agency information. Excellent background material.


U.S. Trade Outlook

U.S. Industry & Trade Outlook (formerly U.S. Industrial Outlook) (Hesburgh Reference -1st Floor- Closed Reference  HC 106.5 .A321)


Global Trade Outlook

U.S. Global Trade Outlook (CD-ROM) (formerly U.S. Industrial Outlook) (Documents Center (1st FL HESB) SuDoc CD-ROM C 61.34/3:)














(e.g., sales, market share)





Adv Age

Advertising Age (Current issues in Hesburgh Library Periodicals Center HF 5801 .A244. Also available in electronic format in  LexisNexis Academic (01/06/1986 - present);  ABI/INFORM Global (11/15/1999 - present); Academic Search Elite (06/10/1996); Business & Company Resource Center (06/01/1997 - present); Factiva (10/01/1991 - present); Expanded Academic ASAP (06/23/1997 - present)).  Special September Issue each year profiles the top 100 national advertisers. The profiles review each company's marketing strategy and includes data on market share, industry sales and competing brands.


NOTE: same sources help in COMPETITOR analysis

Also part of Business & Co. Resource tr.

Market Share Reporter

Market Share Reporter (Hesburgh Library - Closed Reference, 1st Floor - HF 5415.122 .M375) An annual compilation of market share reports from periodical literature and brokerage reports.  This source provides market share information for companies but not for individual brands.

Soon to be online

Marketing Fact Book

Marketing Fact Book:(Hesburgh Library - Closed Reference, 1st Floor - HD 9321.4 .M375 1998) A very useful source that provides market share information at the brand and product form level for a variety of packaged goods. Valuable information about consumer behavior is also included.  For example, presents information about the proportion of households that purchase specific brands, the length of the purchase cycle, brand loyalty levels, as well as information on trade and consumer promotion activity within the category.  Published by Information Resources, Inc. (IRI).



Annual Company Reports use Mergent Online (



Encyclopedia of Associations (Hesburgh Reference -1st Floor- Closed Reference HS 17 .G152)








Profiling, characteristics 

Statistical Abstract of the U.S. (Hesburgh Reference -1st Floor- Closed Reference HA 202)   (



U.S. Department of Commerce: Bureau of the Census (



American Demographics (Hesburgh Library Current Periodicals -111 HESB-                                                

HB 3505.A66). Electronic version available in LexisNexis Academic (01/01/1990 - present); General Business File ASAP (04/01/1986 - present); Business Source Premier database (01/01/1992 - present); ABI/INFORM Global database (01/01/1995 - present); Business & Company Resource Center database (04/01/1986 - present).


Usage, loyalty, attitudes

Trade press, possibly IRI, primary research, BIGresearch Data Base (will be available in the course eProject and will be discussed in class)





Satisfaction, value assessments, brand associations

Industry trade association

Company sources

Primary research: interviews, observations











Information about marketing programs

The sources below will provide particular insights into the tactical elements of marketing activity: new product / service development, product line extension/contraction, channels of distribution, promotion: marketing communication spending and trends, pricing, organization of the firm around customer centiricty.





Mediaweek (formerly MM: Marketing and Media Decisions (Hesburgh Library Current Periodicals -111 HESB HF 5801 .M39) Electronic version available in General Business File ASAP (01/03/1994 - present); Business & Company Resource Center database (01/01/1991 - present); Business Source Premier database (01/02/1995 - present); ABI/INFORM Global database (02/21/1994 - present ).



Brandweek (Hesburgh Library Current Periodicals -111 HESB) Electronic version available in General Business File ASAP (01/03/1994 - present); LexisNexis Academic (04/01/1991 - present); Factiva database (01/01/1991 - present ); Business Source Premier database (01/03/1994 - present ); ABI/INFORM Global database (03/27/1995 - present); Business & Company Resource Center database (07/01/1992 - present).


Soon to have Web version (check with BIC)

Ad $ Summary (Hesburgh Reference, 1st Floor HF 5801 .A18, 1994-1998) this LNA/Media Watch Multimedia Service publications provides useful information on category media spending and brand media spending (in total - also indicates which major media have been used to advertise the brand).  This data can be used in calculating share of voice on a brand-wise basis.


Soon to have Web version (check with BIC)

Simmons Market Research Bureau:  The Study of Media and Markets: (Hesburgh Reference, 1st Floor, HF 5415.2 .S55 - 1994)  Provides detailed product usage data as well as detailed demographic and media break-outs.  Twenty five volumes covering a range of product categories are included.



Mediamark Database (Computer file - in Business Information Center (BIC), Lower Level of MCOB)  Provides detailed product usage data.  Data also detailed by major demographic categories and media vehicles.  (you may need to download a file to query these data)


You’ll find the Mediamark Database on the list of electronic resources for marketing at this address:




Standard Directory of Advertising Agencies (Hesburgh Reference, 1st Floor  - HF 5805 .S72 and for Supplements- HF 5805.S786, Index Table A)  This directory, sometimes referred to as "The Redbook" lists all major U.S. advertising agencies, their billings, the names of senior management, and their clients.         



SRDS Series:  Advertising Options Plus; Directory of Out-of-home Media; Business Publication Advertising Source; Consumer Magazine Advertising Source;  Newspaper Advertising Source;  Radio Advertising Source; TV & Cable Source (Hesburgh Reference - 1st Floor- HV 5805 .A384) This series of publications provide detailed information on advertising rates, policies, insert costs, mechanical specifications, circulation/distribution.  Separate volumes cover newspapers, radio, TV, print media, direct marketing, and interactive media.  Useful for media planning.



Sales and Marketing Management











Business Information Sources

Again, go to the following link to get the list of electronic resources via the BIC web page:


NOTE: Most electronic systems in the library provide brief instructions to make them very useful and user-friendly sources for gathering information.  Hint:  Focus your search on marketing activities specifically using the “guided” or “expert” search method.  For example, you may want to start with “McDonald's and Market Share” as your key search terms, rather than simply entering “McDonald's.”  Otherwise, you may end up with too many articles, several of which are only marginally relevant


Electronic Databases, General

Electronic Databases: several databases are available which may be useful in finding brand-wise market share information. These are ABI/Inform Global (see below), and the Statistical Masterfile 


Remember: you can narrow your search by combining terms, which can be very useful, especially if market share information is all that you want.



Factiva [Web version]  includes Wall Street Journal and other business publications full text, newswire reports, stock quotes, financials, and other SEC company information.



ABI/INFORM Global Database with article abstracts (and sometimes full text versions) from over 2,000 business  journals on companies, products, business conditions and other business topics.


Business Source Premier

Business Source Premier Provides full text for nearly 930 journals covering business, management, economics, finance, banking, accounting, and much more.



Business and Company Resource Center formerly General Business File ASAP

Business and Company Resource Center formerly General Business File ASAP Journal article abstracts, including some full text journals, newswire reports, investment reports (12 months).  Includes directory listings for over 150,000 companies as well as investment analysts' reports on major companies and industries. Content of the two titles are identical, access software is different.