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How to define a business problem

These are some notes to help you with the problem definition section of the marketing plan.

What is a business problem?

A problem is simply a business issue, an opportunity, or a threat that needs to be solved. A business problem is something to be solved in order for the business to achieve their organizational goals and ensure business survival.

So, once Wool+Aid solves the problem, they will maximize their likelihood of success.

What are some common business problem examples?

· Issues around branding (e.g., lack of brand awareness)

· Issues around positioning (e.g., undesirable position in relation to competitors or too close in position)

· Issues around consumers (e.g., unfavorable consumer behavior trends, shifting consumer values that are misaligned with the company, unfavorable consumer perceptions)

· Issues around promotion (e.g., not able to generate sufficient demand)

· Issues around the product (e.g., unattractive, undesirable, or irrelevant product attributes)

· And others; this is not an exhaustive list!

How do I find the problem?

You find the problem by evaluating the knowledge gathered from your situation analysis and balancing that with your task at hand (i.e., your task in the Assignment Brief).

You can use a step-by-step approach:

1. Based on your external and internal analysis, and considering the task at hand, list down at least five problems that you believe are relevant for Wool+Aid in New Zealand.

2. Now, based on the five problems, think about which problem is the “most important one”. Some problems might cause issues later for the business (i.e., long-term), some problems will cause issues for entering the market altogether (i.e., current). You need to critically evaluate which problem should be addressed first and foremost, above everything else, for you to successfully complete the task at hand.

3. Narrow the list down to 1 problem only. Ask yourself, “why is this a problem?”—if your answer to this is another problem, that indicates that it’s not the most important one. Keep doing this until you get to the underlying problem (i.e., the source problem).

4. Develop your problem statement (i.e., a clear and concise articulation of “what is the main business problem?”)

5. Justify why you believe that is the most important problem. Make sure your justification is based on the evidence from your situation analysis.
Group Marketing Plan (30%) – Assignment Brief
This document contains the details for the Group Marketing Plan assignment that you must deliver in BUSMGT.

Learning outcomes addressed in this assignment

LO1 Identify the role that marketing plays in achieving organizational objectives and creating value for the customer.

LO3 Analyze the components of the marketing mix to develop a concrete Marketing Plan. LO5 Apply and integrate theory and practice in various marketing contexts.

Assignment name:

Group Marketing Plan

Assignment weighting:

30% of your final grade

File format:

Word document

Word limit (NO appendices):

3,500 words +/- 10% (reference list not included in word limit)

Reference format:

APA 7th

BCT support:

Students are strongly encouraged to seek input from the BCT. You can submit a draft of your work to the BCT Canvas page, 48 hours prior to the submission date, in order to receive written feedback comments.

Aim of the Group Marketing Plan

The aim of this assignment is for you and your group to develop a strategic Marketing Plan for Wool+Aid by drawing from:

(1) The theory and concepts you have learnt in the plenary lectures

(2) The readings of this course

(3) Your own secondary research

Using the Wool+Aid Case as your starting point (see in Canvas Modules à Marketing Plan Resources à Wool+Aid Case), you are to conduct your own secondary research to help you formulate a strategic Marketing Plan for Wool+Aid. Your specific Task given to you by the CEO of Wool+Aid will be posted on Canvas (see in Canvas Modules à Marketing Plan Resources à Wool+Aid Task).

General guidelines

The tone of the Marketing Plan should be appropriate for a professional/commercial reader and of practical use to Wool+Aid (i.e., with SMART recommendations). However, an academic aspect is still required as you will use theories and frameworks to guide your analyses and structure your research and arguments, as well as use APA format for referencing all the sources of your information and theoretical knowledge.

The Marketing Plan should be structured logically with clear and coherent sections. It should be highly readable, concise and succinct, with little to no errors. It should be free of complicated jargon and highly academic language (i.e., for professional/commercial readers). Furthermore, no obvious formatting issues should be present.

General procedure

1. Read the information provided to you in the Wool+Aid case and task carefully, analysing and evaluating their current market position and strategy.

2. Conduct further secondary research where required (e.g., industry research, consumer research, business model research).

3. Conduct a target market analysis in the New Zealand market.

4. Develop a marketing mix strategy according to the task given to you.

5. Provide 3 key SMART recommendations for Wool+Aid according to the task given to you.

Group Marketing Plan Structure

Title page o Includes a creative title that captures the essence of your overall strategy. o Includes the correct course code and title, student names and student ID numbers, date, and word count.

Executive summary o Should stand alone (i.e., reader should gain a full understanding of the Marketing Plan just from reading the executive summary).

· Should summarise the purpose of the Marketing Plan, the main components and key findings, and your recommendations. o Should be written last, after you have written the rest of your report. o You can use bullet points sparingly.

· One page maximum.

Table of contents o List each section and sub-section heading of your Marketing Plan with the relevant page number.

· Ensure all the pages are numbered in your Marketing Plan.

· All headings and sub-headings are self-explanatory so that the table of contents has utility.

Situation analysis (supported by secondary research) o Conduct a brief analysis of the internal and external environment.

· Choose appropriate tools/frameworks to structure the analyses.

· You are advised to use only the elements of the tools/frameworks that are the most relevant for your plan. For example, you may find that only the political, social, and technological aspects of the PESTEL framework are the most relevant for Wool+Aid, so you may choose to only focus on those elements in your external analysis.

· Summarize the key points from your internal and external analyses in a SWOT analysis. Analyze the SWOT information by evaluating how the strengths could be leveraged to overcome weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and mitigate the threats. SWOT should NOT be the only framework you use in this section and it should NOT stand alone.

· See Canvas Modules for tips on conducting a VRIO analysis.

Problem definition o Provide a clear problem statement that you have identified from the situation analysis.

· A problem is simply a business issue, opportunity, or threat that needs to be addressed. E.g., a problem could be a lack of awareness in consumers’ minds about the benefits of the new product or intense competition in the market.

· Discuss what the problem is and why you think it’s an important problem to be addressed. o Your justification needs to be based on your understanding of the internal and external environment (i.e., the situation analysis).

· See Canvas Modules for tips on defining the problem.

Important note:

Everything that follows from this point onwards must be specifically focussed on addressing the problem that you have defined.

Target market(s) (supported by secondary research) o Choose your target market(s) based on a segmentation, targeting, and positioning approach.

· Apply the four bases of segmentation (geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioural) to first divide the market (i.e., segmentation).

· Subsequently, choose the most appropriate target market (i.e., targeting) based on data.

· Finally, develop the positioning strategy for Wool+Aid. You are expected to justify why the proposed positioning strategy is desirable for the target market, deliverable by the company, and unique against competitors.

· Can present this in a table or figure/illustration.

· You will likely use the insights gained from your situation analysis to identify your target market and justify your positioning strategy.

Marketing mix strategies (supported by secondary research) o Product and branding strategy

· Apply the product/market growth strategy matrix (i.e., Ansoff’s Growth Matrix) to justify which strategy is the most appropriate for solving the problem and why.

· Develop an appropriate branding strategy.

· Pricing strategy

· Propose pricing approaches and tactics and justify why.

· Distribution strategy

· Propose strategies to deliver the product/service to customers’ hands.

· Specify the types of channels to be used. o Promotion/communication strategy

· Develop a clear communication objective.

· Propose appropriate promotional mix tools to be used.

· Propose a message strategy.

· Identify the media outlets/communication channels.

Recommendations o Develop 3 recommendations for Wool+Aid according to the task given to you. o Recommendations should be SMART (i.e., Specific, Measurable, Achievable/attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

· Should be arranged as a numbered list and clearly justified with supporting evidence.

· Recommendations should align with the whole Marketing Plan and strategic approach.

Reference list o Include full APA format references of all sources of information and knowledge cited in the Marketing Plan.

· Follow the APA 7th conventions and guidelines for both citations and references.

NO appendices – please only include the important and relevant information in your Group Marketing Plan. 3,500 words is not a lot; hence you need to prioritize carefully and craft your written parts.

How to do a VRIO analysis

These are some notes to help you with the internal analysis within your situation analysis section of the marketing plan.


What is the VRIO framework?

The VRIO framework and analysis was first developed by Jay Barney in 1991 and is used to evaluate whether or not a particular company’s resources (‘firm resources’) can be sources of sustained competitive advantage (SCA) that the company can leverage for on-going growth.

What are firm resources?

‘Firm resources’ include all the assets, capabilities, organizational processes, firm attributes, information, knowledge, and any other resources that are under the control of the company that allow them to generate and implement strategies that improve efficiency, effectiveness, and therefore competitiveness. There are three broad categories of resources that a company can have:

1. Physical capital resources—e.g., physical technology, plant and equipment, geographic location, access to raw materials.

2. Human capital resources—e.g., training, experience and expertise, relationships, employee insight.

3. Organizational capital resources—e.g., formal reporting structure, formal and informal planning, controlling, and coordinating systems, informal networks.

What is the difference between competitive advantage and sustained competitive advantage?

A competitive advantage is a value-creating strategy that is not currently being used by any current or potential competitors. A sustained competitive advantage is a value-creating strategy that is not currently being used by any current or potential competitors and it is unable to be imitated by other companies. The key difference is that a sustained competitive advantage is not prone to an expiry date set according to when a competitor starts to use the same value-creating strategy (i.e., imitation).

How do I use the VRIO framework?

According to Barney (1991, 1995), a sustained competitive advantage is valuable, rare, inimitable, and the firm must be organised to exploit. When using the VRIO framework to analyse a company’s resources, the questions for each resource/capability that should be asked are:

1. Valuable: Does the company’s resource/capability enable them to respond to environmental threats or opportunities?

2. Rare: Is the resource/capability currently controlled by only a small number of competitors?

3. Inimitable: Do companies without the resource/capability face a cost disadvantage in obtaining or developing it?

4. Organised: Are the company’s policies and procedures organised in a way that supports the exploitation of the resource/capability?

Evaluating resources/capabilities using the framework:

· Resources/capabilities that do not meet any of the four criteria are considered to be competitive disadvantages. These should not be exploited.

· Resources/capabilities that are only valuable but do not meet the other three criteria are considered to be competitive parities. These should be exploited to be on par with competitors.

· Resources/capabilities that are valuable and rare but do not meet the other two criteria are considered to be temporary competitive advantages. These should be exploited to gain a first-mover advantage.

· Resources that meet all four criteria are considered to be sustained competitive advantages. These should be exploited and leveraged for creating distinctive competencies.

Last Updated on November 14, 2021

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