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Marketing 304/Samaha: Overview and assignment

Stephen Samaha

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Overview and assignment


This course guide will help you research a public company and that company's industry. If you have questions, you can e-mail me at charissa.jefferson@csun.edu. You can also use the Ask a Librarian link at the bottom of the page.


You and your team members will develop a marketing plan for an existing public company.

Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to actively engage you in the topics discussed in class and to provide an opportunity for applying those concepts. By applying marketing concepts you will develop a deeper understanding of the marketing process and the critical issues involved. This project is meant to be a fun learning experience. You should however take this project very seriously because  a good marketing plan can be a successful springboard for launching a career in business.

Teamwork: Your work is in groups because much of your professional life will involve teamwork, where you will negotiate sharing of the work, responsibilities, and learning from each other. For each part of the assignment, it is expected that you will have frequent group meetings to discuss the project and to make sure you stay on pace for being able to finish the project on time.  At the end of the class, you will be asked to evaluate the contributions of your team members. This is a check to ensure that all team members participate and contribute to the project. “Free riders” who don’t do their share of the work will be graded accordingly. Also, as mentioned in the syllabus, group members who are not doing their fair share of the work may be expelled from the group and will have to start an entirely new group project that they must work on alone. Also, each student will demonstrate their understanding of the marketing plan by writing their own individual executive summary which will be used to assess their contribution to the group project. Students whose executive summaries are incomplete or demonstrate a lack of understanding of their marketing plan will have points deducted from their own individual marketing plan grade. You are allowed to work in groups of no more than 5 people. Please finalize your teams and choose your company before the end of the second week. You should email me by no later than Thursday, September 6th with the names of your team members and the company that you will be researching. Please make sure that your groups only consist of students who are officially registered in the course (students who are administratively added later on can form their own groups). Please note: Each group must research a unique company (no two groups are allowed to research the same company for the marketing plan). Companies are assigned on a first come, first serve basis.

Assignment and Objectives: Conduct thorough research to identify a marketing problem for an existing company. The problem that you choose to study may be very different from the other groups but in all cases, it must be a real problem and it must be important to the success of the company. Thus, you may want to do some research ahead of time to make sure you pick a company that is facing some real marketing issues. You will then use course concepts to help address the problems your company is facing and to create a comprehensive marketing plan to implement the steps necessary to help the firm become more successful from a marketing standpoint.

PART I: Problem Identification:


In this section, you will describe the company, its marketing situation, the problem, and the objective of the company. To obtain relevant information, consult and CITE all data sources in the library, on the Internet, electronic databases, business magazines and journals, and annual reports.  Please use reputable sources and cite appropriately. Blogs, personal web pages, and Wikipedia are generally not considered reputable for the purpose of this assignment.  Website links are generally not an appropriate way to cite sources. If absolutely necessary, make sure to test the link several times to ensure that it will be accessible to me.  The citation style you choose (e.g. footnotes, APA, MLA) is up to you.


Describe in detail:


  • The Micro (Immediate) Environment (40 Points):
    • Company. Start by selecting a company and collect brief background information about it. Articles in Business Week, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal may help you choose a company that currently faces an interesting marketing problem. Describe the overall strategic plan of the company, including its mission statement, company objectives and goals. What are the company’s core competencies? Does the company do a good job of leveraging its core competencies and if not, where are there areas for improvement?
    • Competitive review. Identify and describe the major competitors that satisfy similar needs, including their size, goals, market share, product quality, marketing strategy, and positioning. Can you think of any examples of competitors that provide better value for customers than the company you are studying? What are the major strengths and weaknesses of each competitor?
    • Corporate partners review and channels. How does the product/service reach the customers? Are there distributors/retailers? Is it available in stores (which ones), through direct mail, or on the Internet? Does the company sell directly to customers or through retailers? What is the size and importance of each distribution channel (e.g. retailer)? Describe any challenges associated with the company’s current distribution strategy.
    • Product review. Describe the company’s product offering, sales, prices, margins, net profits, market share.  Have profits been increasing or decreasing over the last several years? Describe any important trends you see with the numbers.
    • Market/industry description and overview. Present relevant data on the industry in general over the past several years. Discuss the industry outlook as a whole and the extent to which the industry is doing well or is performing poorly. What challenges is the industry facing? Be sure to cite sources: don’t just give your opinion here. Is the market expected to grow or shrink over the next several years? If your company makes several different products in several industries, just pick one industry for the purposes of this assignment.


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