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Promoting a new line with a plan for market expansion

You have been hired as the new marketing manager for its popcorn time, a purveyor of flavored popcorns and other gourmet treats. Growth has been rapid and the owners feel it is time to expand their markets and seek new opportunities.
IPT currently sells the following products:

--flavored popcorn-in addition to common flavors such as butter, cheese and caramel, they have patented a process for getting both thicker(chocolate) and finer(confectioners sugar) coatings to stick to the popcorn without damaging it
---snack sized pretzels, also coated with sweet and savory flavors
---cookies- has subcontracted with a local bakery to produce a variety of cookies

IPT is based in Havertown, PA and has several storefronts in and around Philly. They sell the products at the storefront locations and take phone orders for delivery in the area. They also sell their product in bulk to local gift basket producers and caterers.

IPT is considering signing a contract with an Amish food manufacturer to supply typical "PA Dutch" treats such as shoofly pie, horehound candy, and various jams and jellies. Note: there is a substantial Amish community is nearby Lancaster, PA, who are commonly referred to as PA Dutch. IPT still considers itself a local, PA and feels that the addition of PA Dutch products will garner more local customers

On the other hand, IPT's owner, Kiana Peterson, has been thinking of expanding the retail business to the regional level. She would like to test-market first in the tri-state area (PA, NJ, and DE) and possibly expand north and south into NY and DC metro.

In the past, IPT, relied on managers to run the stores and outside salespeople to develop relationships with resellers of its products. Now, Kiana knows it's time to hire a full-time marketing person to promote the new line and plan for market expansion. Your challenges are as follows:

-determine IPTS current state of affairs
-identify a target market
-identify marketing opportunities
-determine the marketing plan, including elements such as pricing and promotion

PROBLEM: situation analysis
-target markets (demographics, needs, trends, etc)
-critical analysis considered (swot, competitive etc)
-product(s) defined (features, benefits, etc)
-anything else you believe to be important

Define the scope of the marketing plan.

Solution Preview

Short of manufacturing the new product and selling it to see how many people buy, there really are only two ways to answer marketing questions ahead of time. You can find out directly or indirectly.

Let's look at the direct way first. To find out if people like your idea, you have to talk to people and see what they are thinking and feeling. You've probably been talking to people all of your life, so you are familiar with the many different ways to reach them.

You can:

? Call people on the phone
? Talk to people face to face
? Send an e-mail
? Send a letter through the mail
? Assemble people in a group and talk to them

No matter which technique you are using for market research, your goal is to ask a set of questions and get back a set of answers to your questions, and new ideas. In many cases you learn things that you never thought about by talking to people. For example, you might find that no one in the south wants your dry car-washing granules, but in the north, where water freezes in the winter, dry granules are just what people have been looking for. If you had not realized that previously, it can be a big revelation -- it can save you a ton of money that would have been wasted advertising your granules in Florida.

The indirect way to learn about the marketplace is to look at what's already out there. How many companies are making a competing product? What are their products like? How do they market them? The fact that there is a competing product tells you that there are some customers out there, and you can access your competitor's market research by looking at the products your competitor is producing. Assuming, that is, that the competitor did any market research.

Getting Ready to Ask Questions

Three questions about your potential product:

1. Who, if anyone, has a real need for the thing I propose to sell, and how many of those potential customers are there?

2. How much, if anything, are they spending to address that need today [and/or how much would they be willing to spend]?

3. Does my product meet that need in a manner that either saves or makes them substantial amounts of money?

These questions have a business focus, but they can be generalized to handle any product. For example, no one has a "real need" for pet rocks or singing fish, yet these products sold very well. So you might expand the question to include "desires" and "whims" as well as needs.

People often buy things for reasons that have nothing to do with making or saving money. For example, Egyptian cotton sheets either make or save money, but they feel good when you are falling asleep. So we can say, "Does the product appeal to a customer in a way that would cause him or her to pull out the wallet?" The word "appeal" can be very broad -- everything from breast implants to chrome wheels to food processors can fall into that category.

Now that you have these three "big picture" questions in mind, you can start to think about the specific questions that you would like to ask your specific audience. Normally you come up with a set of questions that help you to understand how the audience is thinking and feeling about your product. The goal of all of these questions is to gain intimate knowledge of your customers. You want to know exactly what they are thinking and feeling, and why.

Marketing Strategy and Research

Marketing is an integral part of an organization. Marketing is a process for creating value in and awareness of a product or service, informing and communicating to customers about what a company offers, and engaging customer relationships to reach desired results. Ultimately, marketing benefits the organization and its stakeholders because marketing can drive profits if done correctly. Marketing is an art that requires marketing managers to research, create a strategy and plan based off of this research, understand the desires and needs of the consumer and then show how the company's product fills this desire or need. Successful marketing is not as easy as snapping your fingers. In order to ensure marketing is being maximized, managers should have an understanding of how marketing research and marketing strategy and tactics work together.

Marketing Strategy

An organization's marketing strategy is the backbone of the marketing plan. The strategy should serve to integrate a company's marketing goals, policies, and tactics into a whole picture. An example of a marketing strategy is: "Use a low cost product to attract consumers. Once our organization, via our low cost product, has established a relationship with consumers, our organization will sell additional, higher-margin products and services that enhance the consumer's interaction with the low-cost product or service" (, 2006). The marketing strategy provides a foundation for tactical measures to be used.

Marketing Research

Marketing research is comprised of using existing, discovering, or creation of new information and knowledge for the purpose of an organizations need. Marketing research is used to determine many things that an organization needs to flourish such as information about competitors, market structure, governmental regulations, economic trends, technological advances, product innovations, and advertising needs (, 2006).

Marketing research and marketing strategy go hand in hand because the knowledge from research is needed to develop a strong marketing strategy and tactics. In the article: Pursuing a Growth Strategy, the relationship between research and strategy is solidified. The article is a case study of Dixons Group a specialist electrical retailer. The examination was done on this organization to show their ability to maintain a strong growth strategy in spite of its rivals. Dixons level of success is attributed to their emphasis on research. The company has a promise that states, "We aim to provide unrivalled value to our customers by the range and quality of our products, our competitive prices and our high standards of service (The Time 100, n.d., Section 1)" In order to reach this promise it is vital that customer needs are not just merely delivered but that expectations are exceeded.

Dixons ensures this level of customer satisfaction is maintained through the use of several research methods both internal and external. Before initiating development these different types of research results are cross referenced. The article illustrates how Dixon uses research findings from a SLEPT (Social, Legal, Environmental and Ethical, Political, Technological) analysis to determine which new markets to enter. The SLEPT analysis is done to get research on all the external factors the impact a company.

The Slept analysis encompasses a lot more than information merely for marketing strategy but it provides starting points to begin more specific marketing research. The technological aspect of the analysis helps an organization determine what type of competitive edge it will have over that of its rivals. The social part of the analysis helps an organization understand changing consumer patterns in relationships to expectations and desires.

Dixons took the information gained from the SLEPT research and determined which areas were best to expand business in. After the SLEPT analysis specific marketing research was gathered to find out about customers. Dixons used desk research such as consumer trends, existing surveys on buying habits, income and expenditures figures in addition to on the ground research which included discussions with local affiliates and global manufacturers, meetings with existing international retailers (The Times 100, n.d., Section 3, para. 2). All of the research gathered helped the company determine which products to provide, at what costs, the promotion to include, and the placement for the products.

Dixons provides a good example of the importance of marketing research in the development of marketing strategy and tactics. Dixons has been successful due to its realization of how important research is for all decisions that impact this company. Researching what their customers want and providing them with what they want is the key to market growth strategies. Dixons market research has resulted in the ability for them to identify the best marketing strategy and tactics for its developing markets in Hungary and Czech Republic, increase market penetrations, better solutions for customers, and better value for shareholders (Section 6, para. 1).

Concept of attracting clients

This involves many different things. In fact, most of it comes down to three core practices: 1) Focus, 2) targeting, and 3) multiplication (such as focusing on a niche, market targeting, and multiplying one's marketing efforts).

However, this fundamental magnetism is not only based on pure marketing practices or strategies. It also involves something at a much deeper level that is far more effective than any other marketing tool or process.

"Marketing is not a battle of products, but of perceptions," marketing expert Jack Trout once wrote. If people perceive that doing business with you has an implicit added value, especially when compared to your competitors that are fiercely fighting for your market's attention, you will often end up with their confidence (and their repeat and referral business) as a result.

Of course, there are numerous ways that value can be added to your business -- e.g. by specializing, by packaging (naming) your products and services, by presenting benefits rather than features, by delivering personalized services, by presenting a professional image, by offering something for free, and so on.

The most effective way to communicate this added value is through the genuine, sincere, and passionate zest you have for what you do. People have a tendency to gravitate toward other people who love what they do -- their enthusiasm, charisma, and authentic desire to serve others are instantly communicated through their actions and particularly their marketing efforts.

Sadly, however, the marketplace is filled with so many people who jump into business for one sole purpose: money. In other words, they work for a pension instead of a passion. They are so bottom line minded or profit-oriented that they fail to enjoy the process. The great anthropologist, Joseph Campbell, said it best when he said that old cliché: "Follow your bliss."

The Chinese ...

Solution Summary

3 MS Word documents - (1st attachment) This attachment offers detailed description and defines in detail how to market a new product - 10 Pages - 4043 Words - 88 Paragraphs (2nd attachment) Detailed information regarding the Amish - knowing your audience- 4 Pages - 1363 Words - 14 Paragraphs (3rd attachment) How to do a SWOT analysis- 4 Pages - 1255 Words - 16 Paragraphs