Individual Term Project

Template for Individual Term Project

You should consider EACH of the following questions related to Softbank and their humanoid robot, Pepper and either respond to the question or make the necessary decisions as necessary. These decisions follow the basic format of the course and that is why you should work on this as you go but not before the material is covered in the class. Except for more specific tactical decisions, they probably illustrate most of the key decisions necessary for the marketing of any product or service. All of your responses and recommendations could certainly be the basis for developing a complete marketing plan. Also, many of these questions are based upon material I present in my lecture notes as well as the text.

In addition to making the decisions or responding to the questions, the critical factor is the support you provide for your answers and decisions. The decisions themselves are often not as important as the support provided and reasons for your decisions. Some of these questions do not have only one right answer. Different marketers might come up with different strategiesbut some will be more logical and potentially successful than others. Others can be just plain wrong. If you draw upon outside resources, it is important to provide proper citations.

Be sure to read the questions carefully. Most refer to planning efforts for 2019 but some questions focus on when Pepper was introduced in Japan in 2015 and still others focus on when Pepper was introduced in the U.S. in 2017.

This document should be completed and submitted using the ASSIGNMENTfeature no later than Sunday, August 12th.The ideal format for your individualterm project is to simply respond to each of the questions that follow. Most students simply take this template and insert their responses and recommendations after each question.

You will have to conduct some of your own research to better understand the personal or humanoid robotics market and the industry dynamics beyond what I have provided to effectively address some of these questions. This might take considerable time and effort especially in the early stages. Remember that a market analysis focuses on buyers and an industry analysis focuses on sellers.

1. In your expert opinion, clearly define the relevant market you will be using for marketing planning purposes in 2019 that Softbank will be competing in with Pepper?(This is critical and guide answers to a number of subsequent questions of define clearly)

2. Using your defined relevant market in Q1, what would you identify as key competitive products, if any, with regards to SoftBank’s humanoid robot Pepper in the United States?

3. In your opinion, what are the distinctive competencies, if any, that SoftBank might have with their humanoid robot offeringover competitors AND are any of these distinctive competencies likely to become or remain competitive advantages over time?

4. In your opinion, what are any distinctive competencies that each of SoftBank’s key competitors,as described in Q2, enjoy in the humanoid robotics market and are any of these distinctive competencies likely to become or remain competitive advantages over time?

5. When SoftBank originally introduced their humanoid robot Pepper in 2017 in the U.S. market, which one of the nine corporate growth strategies was SoftBank following?

6. In your opinion, which of Porter’s four Competitive Strategies do you recommend SoftBank follow for their 2019 marketing planningin the U.S. for their humanoid robot Pepper?

7. Using your expertise as a marketing consultant, estimate the industry dollar sales forecast for the relevant market you defined in Q1 for the year 2019? (Even with research you may have to make some assumptions and estimations in coming up with an industry forecast for 2019. Be sure to cite any sources and demonstrate how you arrived at a forecast)

8. Recommend a suggested way that theentirerelevant market as defined in Q1 might be segmented in the United States from a buyer’s perspective? (In essencedevelop a clearly definedset of possible market segments that cover the entire product market.)

9. Using your proposed possible segments of the relevant market in Q8 above, recommend to SoftBank the additional, specific target market segmentthey should pursue in 2019 to expand Pepper sales in the U.S.? (This is critical to clearly and specifically define as it influences a number of subsequent questions). Which additional target market or segment should they focus on for growth beyond the current retail marketing and hospitality focus?)

10. Based on your target market recommendations in Q9, which of the “Five Patterns of Target Market Selection”, if any, comes closest to reflecting the pattern that will be followed by SoftBank Robotics for their humanoid robot Pepper to all segments in the U.S. in 2019?

11. In your opinion as a marketing expert, what are the key needs and wants of customersin your recommended target market segment proposed in Q9 for Pepper?

12. Recommend a positioning statement for Pepper to guide next year’s marketing efforts in 2019 in the U.S. to your recommended target market? (Try to keep any statement to about 50 words or less. You can provide support with separate paragraphs)

13. Based upon where you position humanoid robots as a product category on the Product Life Cycle, do you recommend that SoftBank focus mostly on primary or selective demand strategies for marketing its robotic offering in 2019 in the U.S.?

14. Using the Booz, Allen & Hamilton classification of new product strategic alternatives, how would you classify Softbank’s initial introduction of Pepper in Japan in 2015?

15. When Pepper was introduced in 2015 in Japan, was that product launch considered a new product category for Softbank or an additional entry into an existing product category?

16. Although SoftBank named their first humanoid robot, Pepper, in Japan, and it has continued to be used for the commercial market in the U.S., what is your recommendation for continuing the brand name Pepper or suggesting a new name for the robot when they market to your recommended target market segment in 2019?

17. When SoftBank initially launched its humanoid robot in Japan in 2015, which of the two market entry strategies, pioneer or follower, was SoftBank following?

18. Based upon the brand name you have recommended for the humanoid robot in Q16, what type of “brand identity strategy” is being followed?

19. When Softbank introduced Pepper in Japan in 2015, which type of “brand leveraging strategy” was SoftBank following?

20. Recommend in detail yourproposed channel strategy for the United States by drawing a channel map of your proposed sales channels that SoftBank should use for its humanoid robot when targeting your recommended target market segment in 2019 in the United States?

21. Based upon your channel map in Q20 above, are you proposing that they use direct or indirect channels of distribution or both?

22. Based upon your channel map in Q20, are you suggesting the use of conventional channels, vertical marketing systems, horizontal marketing systems, or some combination of the three?

23. Which “new product pricing strategy” do you believe SoftBank should use when they introduce their robot to your recommended target market segment in the U.S. in 2019?

24. What is your recommendation for the actual initial price of the robot offering when you start to market to your recommended target market segment in the U.S. in 2019? (Actual $$ price recommendations in detail should be provided)

25. Do you recommend any Price Adaptation Strategies be used for the personal robot when introduced to your recommended target market segment in the U.S. in 2019? If so, be specific with your recommendations in terms of dollars or percentages, and etc.

26. As a marketing consultant, develop your estimate of a dollar sales forecast for the company for their personal robot for 2019 in the United States to your recommended target market segment only? (Seeking market information like industry trends, market share position, industry forecasts, and etc. might be helpful but don’t be afraid to make assumptions too if necessary. Again, cite any references and demonstrate how you arrived at a forecast)

27. Which of the “promotional mix” alternatives do you recommend SoftBankutilize in 2019 in the U.S.to promotethe personal robot to the target market segment you recommended? (Be sure you think through how each of the promotional mix options could or should be used)

28. For EACH of the “promotional mix” alternatives you recommend in Q29 be used in your overall promotional efforts, provide your specific, detailed, tactical suggestions and creative ideas for how each might be used in the promotion of the personal robot product line in the U.S. in 2019 to your suggested target market segment (this question requires fairly extensive and detailed recommendations under each promotional mix alternative utilized)?

29. If you were asked how SoftBank could provide superior value to its potential robot customers in 2019 what value strategy approach would you suggest with regards to the product offering and/or pricing? Be very situation specific with your description of how you are going to provide superior value. (Be sure to address both sides of the value formula to demonstrate how)

30. Which type of market relationship strategy was used when SoftBank teamed up “initially” with Aldebaran Robotics, a separate French company at the time, to develop Pepper before it was launched in 2015?

MARKETING PLAN WORKSHEETS

These worksheets are designed to assist you in writing a formal marketing plan. Worksheets are a useful planning tool because they help to ensure that important information is not omitted from the marketing plan. Answering the questions on these worksheets will enable you to:

1. Organize and structure the data and information you collect during the situation analysis.
2. Use this information to better understand a firm’s strengths and weaknesses and to recognize the opportunities and threats that exist in the marketing environment.
3. Develop goals and objectives that capitalize on strengths.
4. Develop a marketing strategy that creates competitive advantages.
5. Outline a plan for implementing the marketing strategy.

By downloading these worksheets in an electronic format, you will be able to change the outline or add additional information that is relevant to your situation. Remember that there is no one best way to organize a marketing plan. Our outline was designed to serve as a starting point and to be flexible enough to accommodate the unique characteristics of your situation.

As you complete the worksheets, it might be useful to refer back to the text of the chapters. In completing the situation analysis section, be sure to be as comprehensive as possible. The viability of your SWOT analysis depends on how well you have identified all of the relevant environmental issues. Likewise, as you complete the SWOT analysis, you should be honest about the firm’s characteristics. Do not depend on strengths that the firm really does not possess. Being honest also goes for your listing of weaknesses.

I. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a synopsis of the overall marketing plan. The executive summary is easier to write if you do it last, after you have written the entire marketing plan.

II. Situation Analysis

A. The External Environment

Competitive Pressures

Identify the firm’s major competitors (brand, product, generic, and total budget):

Identify the characteristics of the firm’s major competitors:
Size
Growth
Profitability
Target markets
Products
Key strengths and weaknesses
Key marketing capabilities (production, distribution, promotion, pricing)

List any potential (future) competitors not identified in the preceding.

Economic Growth and Stability

Identify the general economic conditions of the country, region, state, and local area in which the firm operates:

Explain the economic climate with respect to customers:
Inflation
Consumer confidence
Purchasing patterns (buying power)
Business-to-business economic conditions
Political, Legal, and Regulatory Issues

Identify any political activities that affect the firm or the industry:
Changes in elected officials (domestic or foreign)
Industry (lobbying) groups
Consumer groups

Identify any changes in international, federal, state, or local laws and regulations that affect the marketing activities of the firm or the industry:
Recent court decisions
Recent rulings of federal, state, local, and self-regulatory agencies
Changes in global trade agreements or trade law

Changes in Technology

Identify ways that changing technology has affected the firm’s customers:
Searching for product information
Place and timing of purchase (order) decisions
Comparison shopping

Identify ways that changing technology has affected the way the firm or the industry operates:
Manufacturing
Distribution
Promotion
Customer relationship management
Partnerships and alliances

Identify current technologies that the firm is not using to the fullest potential:

Identify future technologies that may increase the risk of product obsolescence:

Sociocultural Trends

Identify changes in society’s demographics and values that will affect the firm or the industry (if this becomes too broad, focus on the firm’s target customers):

Explain the changes that shifting demographics and values will have on the firm’s:
Products (features, benefits, branding)
Pricing (value)
Distribution (convenience, efficiency)
Promotion (message content, delivery, feedback)
People (human resource issues)

Identify any problems or opportunities that may be created by changes in the cultural diversity of the firm’s customers and employees:

Identify any environmental issues (pollution, recycling, energy conservation) that the firm or industry is facing:

Identify the ethical and social responsibility issues that the firm or industry is facing:

B. The Customer Environment

Who are the firm’s current and potential customers?

Describe the important identifying characteristics of the firm’s current and potential customers:
Demographic
Geographic
Psychographic
Product usage

Identify the important players in the purchase process for the firm’s products:
Purchasers (actual act of purchase)
Users (actual product user)
Influencers (influence the decision, make recommendations)
Financial responsibility (who pays the bill?)
What do customers do with the firm’s products?

Purchase
Purchase quantities and combinations
Purchase of complementary products
Purchase situations
Consumption
Characteristics of heavy users
Characteristics of light users
Consumption of complementary products
Consumption situations
Disposition
Issues related to the creation of waste (garbage)
Issues related to recycling

Where do customers purchase the firm’s products?

Identify the outlets (intermediaries) where the firm’s products are purchased:
Store-based retailers
Electronic retailers (Internet, television)
Catalog retailers
Vending
Wholesale outlets
Direct from the firm

Identify any trends in purchase patterns across these outlets (e.g., how e-commerce has changed the way the firm’s products are purchased).

When do customers purchase the firm’s products?

Under the firm’s control
Promotional events (communication and price changes)
Customer services (hours of operation, delivery)
Not under the firm’s control
Seasonal patterns
Physical/social surroundings
Time perceptions
Competitive actions

Why (and how) do customers select the firm’s products?

Describe the basic benefits provided by the firm’s products relative to competing products:

Describe the degree to which customers’ needs are being fulfilled by the firm’s products relative to competing products:

Describe how customers’ needs are expected to change in the future.

Describe the relative importance of transactional (short, one-time) vs. relational (long-term, ongoing) exchange processes when customers make a purchase:
Why do potential customers not purchase the firm’s products?

Identify the basic needs of noncustomers that are not being met by the firm’s products:

Identify the features, benefits, and advantages of competing products that cause noncustomers to choose them over the firm’s products:

Identify problems with the firm’s distribution, promotion, or pricing that cause noncustomers to look elsewhere:

C. Internal (Organizational) Environment

Review of marketing goals and objectives

Identify the firm’s current marketing goals and objectives.

State whether these goals and objectives are:

Consistent with the firm’s mission
Consistent with recent changes in the marketing or customer environments
Leading to expected performance outcomes (sales volume, market share,
profitability, awareness, brand preference)

Review of current marketing performance

Describe the firm’s current performance compared to other firms in the industry.
Is performance of the industryas a whole improving or declining? Why?

If the firm’s performance is declining, what is the most likely cause (e.g., environmentalchanges, flawed strategy, poor implementation)?

Review of current and anticipated organizational resources

Describe the current state of the firm’s organizational resources (e.g., financial, capital,human, experience, relationships with key suppliers or customers).

How are the levels of these resources likely to change in the future?

If resource levels are expected to change:

How can the firm leverage additional resources to meet customer needs
better than competitors?

How can the firm compensate for future constraints on its resources?

Review of current and anticipated cultural and structural issues

In terms of marketing strategy development and implementation, describe the positive and negative aspects of the current and anticipated culture of the firm. Examples could include:

The firm’s overall customer orientation (or lack thereof)
The firm’s emphasis on short-term vs. long-term planning
Willingness of the culture to embrace change
Internal politics and power struggles
The overall position and importance of the marketing function
Changes in key executive positions
General employee satisfaction and morale

III. SWOT Analysis

A. Strengths

Strength 1: _________________________________________________________

How does this strength enable the firm to meet customers’ needs?
Does this strength make the firm different from (better than) its competitors?

Strength 2: _________________________________________________________

How does this strength enable the firm to meet customers’ needs?
Does this strength make the firm different from (better than) its competitors?

(Repeat as needed to develop a complete list of strengths)

B. Weaknesses
Weakness 1: ________________________________________________________

How does this weakness prevent the firm from meeting customers’ needs?
Does this weakness make the firm different from (worse than) its competitors?

Weakness 2: ________________________________________________________

How does this weakness prevent the firm from meeting customers’ needs?
Does this weakness make the firm different from (worse than) its Competitors?

(Repeat as needed to develop a complete list of weaknesses)

C. Opportunities

Opportunity 1: _______________________________________________________

How is this opportunity related to serving customers’ needs?
How can the firm capitalize on this opportunity in the short- and long-term?

Opportunity 2: _______________________________________________________

How is this opportunity related to serving customers’ needs?
How can the firm capitalize on this opportunity in the short- and long-term?

(Repeat as needed to develop a complete list of opportunities

D. Threats

Threat 1: ___________________________________________________________

How is this threat related to serving customers’ needs?
How can the firm prevent this threat from limiting its capabilities in the short- and
long-term?

Threat 2: ___________________________________________________________

How is this threat related to serving customers’ needs?
How can the firm prevent this threat from limiting its capabilities in the short- and
long-term?

(Repeat as needed to develop a complete list of threats)

E. The SWOT Matrix

Strengths:




• Opportunities:





Weaknesses:




• Threats:




F. Matching, Converting, Minimizing, and Avoiding Strategies

Describe ways that the firm can match its strengths to its opportunities to create capabilities in serving customers’ needs.

Can the firm convert its weaknesses into strengths or its threats into opportunities? If not, how can the firm minimize or avoid its weaknesses and threats?

Does the firm possess any major liabilities (unconverted weaknesses that match unconverted threats) or limitations (unconverted weaknesses or threats that match opportunities)? If so, are these liabilities and limitationsobvious to customers?

Can the firm do anything about its liabilities or limitations, especially those that impact the firm’s ability to serve customers’ needs?

IV. Marketing Goals and Objectives

A. Marketing Goal A: __________________________________________________

Objective A1: ______________________________________________________

Specific and measurable outcome:
Time frame:
Responsible unit/person:

Objective A2: ______________________________________________________

Specific and measurable outcome:
Time frame:
Responsible unit/person:

B. Marketing Goal B: __________________________________________________

Objective B1: ______________________________________________________

Specific and measurable outcome:
Time frame:
Responsible unit/person:

Objective B2: ______________________________________________________

Specific and measurable outcome:
Time frame:
Responsible unit/person:

(Repeat as needed to develop a complete list of goals and objectives)

V. Marketing Strategies

A. Primary Target Market and Marketing Mix

Primary target market: ________________________________________________

This target’s primary need:
Identifying characteristics (demographics, geography, psychographics):
Purchasing/shopping habits and preferences:
Consumption/disposition characteristics:

Product: _______________________________________________

Major features and benefits:
Sustainable competitive advantage:
Differentiation / positioning strategy:
Brand name and packaging:
Customer service strategy:
Complementary products:

Pricing: ________________________________________________

Pricing objectives:
Description of per unit costs:
Discount/markdown policy:

Distribution: ____________________________________________

General supply chain strategy:
Intermediaries and channels to be used:
Elements of customer convenience:

Promotion: _____________________________________________

General IMC strategy:
IMC objectives and budget:
Elements of the advertising/publicity strategy:
Elements of the personal selling strategy:
Elements of trade sales promotion (push) strategy:
Elements of consumer sales promotion (pull) strategy:
Elements of the sponsorship strategy:

B. Secondary Target Market and Marketing Mix

Secondary target market: ______________________________________________

This target’s primary need:
Identifying characteristics (demographics, geography, psychographics):
Purchasing/shopping habits and preferences:
Consumption/disposition characteristics:

Product: _______________________________________________

Major features and benefits:
Sustainable competitive advantage:
Differentiation / positioning strategy:
Brand name and packaging:
Customer service strategy:
Complementary products:

Pricing: ________________________________________________

Pricing objectives:
Description of per unit costs:
Discount/markdown policy:

Distribution: ____________________________________________

General supply chain strategy:
Intermediaries and channels to be used:
Elements of customer convenience:

Promotion: _____________________________________________

General IMC strategy:
IMC objectives and budget:
Elements of the advertising/publicity strategy:
Elements of the personal selling strategy:
Elements of trade sales promotion (push) strategy:
Elements of consumer sales promotion (pull) strategy:
Elements of the sponsorship strategy:
VI. Marketing Implementation

A. Structural Issues
Describe your overall approach to implementing the marketing strategy:

Describe any changes to the firm’s structure needed to implement the marketing strategy
(e.g., add/delete positions, change lines of authority, change reporting relationships).

Describe your internal marketing activities in the following areas:

Employee training:
Employee buy-in and motivation to implement the marketing strategy:
Overcoming resistance to change:
Internal communication and promotion of the marketing strategy:
Coordination with other functional areas:

Will customer-contact employees and managers be empowered to make decisions? If yes, how will the organization ensure that empowered employees make the right decisions?

B. Tactical Marketing Activities

Specific Tactical Activities Person
Responsible Required
Budget Completion
Date

Product Activities

1.
2.
3.

Pricing Activities

1.
2.
3.

Distribution Activities

1.
2.
3.

IMC Activities

1.
2.
3.
VII. Evaluation and Control

A. Formal Marketing Control

Describe the types and levels of formal control mechanisms that should be used to ensure the implementation of the marketing plan.

Input control mechanisms

Employee recruitment and selection procedures:
Employee training programs:
Employee manpower allocations:
Financial resources:
Capital outlays:
Research and development expenditures:
Other:

Process control mechanisms

Employee evaluation and compensation systems:
Employee authority and empowerment:
Internal communication programs:
Lines of authority/structure (organizational chart):
Management commitment to the marketing plan:
Management commitment to employees:

Output control mechanisms (performance standards)

Product performance standards:
Potential corrective actions that can be taken if actual product performance doesnot match these standards:

Price performance standards:
Potential corrective actions that can be taken if actual pricing performance doesnot match these standards:

Distribution performance standards:
Potential corrective actions that can be taken if actual distribution performancedoes not match these standards:

IMC performance standards:
Potential corrective actions that can be taken if actual IMC performance doesnot match these standards:

Output control mechanisms (marketing audits)

Explain how marketing activities will be monitored:

What are the specific profit- and time-based measures that will be used to monitormarketing activities?

Describe the marketing audit to be performed, including the person responsible forconducting the audit:

B. Informal Marketing Control

Describe the types and levels of informal control mechanisms that should be used to ensure the implementation of the marketing plan.

Employee self-control

Are employees satisfied with their jobs at a level that is sufficient for implementing the marketing plan? If not, how can employee job satisfaction be increased?

Are employees committed to the organization at a level that is sufficient forimplementing the marketing plan? If not, how can employee commitment beincreased?

Are employees committed to the marketing plan at a level that is sufficient for itsimplementation? If not, how can employee commitment to the plan be increased?

Employee social control

Do employees share the firm’s values in a manner that enhances the implementationof the marketing plan? If not, how can the firm better instill its values among employees?

Describe the social and behavioral norms that exist within the organization, and inworkgroups, that are either beneficial or detrimental to implementation.

Employee cultural control

Is the organizational culture appropriate for the marketing plan? If not, what type of culture would be more appropriate?

Though cultural change is a slow process, what steps can be taken to change thefirm’s culture to become more conducive to implementing the marketing strategy?

Last Updated on February 11, 2019 by EssayPro