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Strategic Marketing Plan : Tools

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Write 800-1000 words that respond to the following questions with your thoughts, ideas, and comments. This will be the foundation for future discussions by your classmates. Be substantive and clear, and use examples to reinforce your ideas:

As you close your weekly meeting with Deborah, she says, "There are some very good ideas here. I would like to see you continue with a global marketing plan. We need more concrete analysis and data for the presentation. Get your team to work."

After your meeting with Deborah, you briefly meet with your team to discuss moving towards a more formal analysis.

"Tiffany and Mike, we need to provide a more detailed analysis," you explain. "You've done a great job so far looking at what resources we need and potential countries, but we need to really dig deeper on this."

Tiffany nods her head in agreement. "Definitely," she says. "We need to look at some internal variables as well as political, environmental, sociocultural, and technological environments of the countries that we are considering."

Mike interjects, "Well, that's something we should consider, but it's not the only way to analyze this type of project. This is such a big decision and we need to give as much information as we can."

You reply, "Great point, Mike. We should look at this from a couple of different angles."

The next step in your strategic marketing plan is to determine the tools that are needed to conduct an analysis of the industry and competitors. Complete the following:

- What are the best tools to use in this situation?
- Provide a brief summary of at least 2 tools.
- Why do you think these are best ways to analyze the market?
- How will you use these tools in your plan?

The materials found in the MUSE may help you with this assignment such as the audio file Implementing a Global Strategy. This file provides real world experience which may help you with this assignment.

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Solution Preview

Step 1
Since Deborah wants to analyze the internal variables as well as the external factors, the SWOT analysis is one of the best tools to use in this situation. The SWOT tool gives an analysis of the internal and external factors of Deborah's company. Also, as the environmental factors of the country in which Deborah wishes to expand are very important, the PEST (Political, Economic, Social, & Technological factors) analysis of each country in which the firm wishes to expand should be carried out. For example, the technology level in the target country should be analyzed. Also competitor analysis should be carried out in those countries where Deborah wishes to expand. Finally, a market analysis should be carried out in those countries where Deborah wishes to expand.

Step 2
The 2 tools that you should summarize are competitor analysis and market analysis.
In competitor analysis you should identify the competitors and the threats they pose. For example, a large firm that has 60% of the market share should be examined carefully. Next the profit of the competitors should be examined. The objectives and strategies of each competitor should be identified. For example, one competitor may be competing on price whereas another may be addressing the needs of a specific segment. The strengths and weaknesses of each competitor should be listed and analyzed. For example if the strength ...

Solution Summary

Swot and Pest analyses are discussed step-by-step in this solution. The response also has the sources used.

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Able Competitors

Let's look at two of Able Corporation's two major competitors: Smith & White Corporation (S&W), a very large and aggressive domestic manufacturer, and Makatume, a Japanese powerhouse.

Smith & White markets a full line of moderate quality professional and consumer tools. It also markets such products as lawn and garden, hobby tools, and kitchen appliances, all under the same brand name as its power tools. It is a multi-national conglomerate that has dominant shares in all the markets in which it operates. Its strength lies in a unified strategy across all its product lines, power tool and non-power tool, of building and maintaining brand equity through massive amounts of national media advertising. The leverage gained through strong brand equity compels retailers, particularly the Big Boxes, to stock many of the S&W's products because of high end-user demand.

This demand-pull marketing strategy also has the synergistic effects of obtaining relatively higher prices, advanced placement, co-op advertising, high profile self space, and cross promotion.

S&W does have some significant weaknesses. These include high costs due to old manufacturing plants located in high labor cost urban areas, market confusion between its professional and consumer tools, and negative feelings on the part of its distributors stemming from a perceived abuse of their dominant market position. It also doesn't have much of a presence in the fast growing cordless segment.

In addition, a major hidden weakness is S&W's huge size, which makes it unwieldy in reacting to market phenomena during periods of rapid change.

Makatume markets only professional tools, which are highly regarded by tradesmen for their quality, robustness, and durability. It controls over 50% of the Japanese market and has leveraged that position to become the second biggest player in the U.S. market. For the past several years their sales in the U.S. have been aided by favorable exchange rates, although many economists now forecast a reversal of this advantage over the next two years. Makatume has an extremely strong cost position due to its relatively new manufacturing plants in Japan.

Makatume's greatest product strength is in the fast growing cordless segment. It controls a dominant 70% market share of the professional cordless market. Makatume's early entry into this segment, is both a blessing and a curse. By entering the market early, Makatume has been able to obtain its dominant market share, but it is now locked in to lower voltages due to wide acceptance of its interchangeable battery system. As the technology of battery efficiency progresses, Makatume is faced with a dilemma: Does it introduce its own higher voltages, thus legitimizing that market for others to enter, or does it wait until it has to respond to being outflanked by its competitors when and if they introduce their higher voltages?

The rest of the market is made up of several domestic and foreign niche competitors, none of which has greater than a 5% share of the total market. A phenomenon to watch, however, is the growing strength of Far East imports from China, which are beginning to make their impact on consumer tools because of their low price and good value. The yuan is the relevant currency affecting Chinese imports.

We can often better see ourselves when reflected through the perspectives of others. In this exercise you are to take the vantage point of the industry leaders, S&W and Makatume. This has the advantage of helping to anticipate competitive positioning that may effect the successful execution of Able's strategy. Based on the narrative above, please answer the following questions from the perspective of being their Director of Strategic Planning and Analysis. (For real world situations always keep in mind that the status and plans of competitors can almost never be known except through an analysis of their actions, and even then almost never with certainty. Dealing with imperfect information is one of the essential aspects of the economic problem.)

? How would you address each company's weakness?
? If you were Makatume, what would you do about higher voltages?

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