Customer Environment Analysis
This section should examine the current situation in respect to the needs of the target market, expected changes in those needs, and how the firm presently meets those needs. Make sure you answer all of the following questions. Keep in mind that this section focuses on the current target market of the company, not the market you propose to target with this marketing plan. At this point, you are still examining the status quo, which should aid your decision making in the remainder of the marketing plan. For example, if the company in question is Apple, and the charge is to promote the iPad 4, the focus in this section of the marketing plan would be on the existing target markets served by Apple and what can be learned from those targets. Consider the following issues for your analysis:
- Who? Who are current and potential customers of the same customer group? What are the demographics, psychographics, and geographics? Is the buyer the user? Who influences the purchasing decision?
- How many? How many customers does the company serve? How many does it have the capacity to serve?
- Where? Where are products purchased? Where do customers buy the products? What are the types of intermediaries? What is the influence of electronic commerce? Where are customers doing non-store buying—Home Shopping Network, catalogs, Internet?
- When? When are the products bought? What is the frequency of purchasing? Do promotional events affect purchase? How do differences in physical or social environment, time demands, or purchase task affect buying?
- How and What? What are the basic need-satisfying benefits? Does a competitor’s product fit a need this product/service does not provide? What are changes in customers’ needs? How do the customers pay—cash, credit?
- Why Are There Non-Customers? Needs not met? Bad fit for lifestyle/image? Price? High switching costs? Competition’s product is better? Poor distribution? They do not know about the product?
- Internal Environment Analysis
This section should identify/describe relevant internal aspects of the company that will help identify strengths and weaknesses in your SWOT analysis in the Module 2 SLP. This requires the identification and analysis of the organization’s past financial performance (sales, market share, profitability, etc.); marketing strategies (target market and positioning/image); marketing goals, objectives, and past performance; and marketing programs (advertising/promotion effectiveness, product/service offers, distribution effectiveness and channel programs, pricing, sales force effectiveness, sales strategy and programs, public relations/publicity, marketing research/intelligence gathering efforts, etc.). Additionally, the report may need to examine items such as production capacity, technical capabilities, management/leadership, organizational structure and culture, level of available resources and skills, financial stability, the product life cycle (i.e., is the product in introduction, growth, maturity, or decline stage?), and other relevant characteristics of the company that help develop a complete list of strengths and weaknesses in your SWOT analysis. It is important to focus on how the company is perceived by the market and its own customers as the main determinant of market-relevant strengths.
You are required to create a table to show the company’s financial performance such as its sales revenues, the profits, profit margin, market share, stock price, market cap, return on assets, operating cash flow, and so on. Also generate a histogram or a chart to show these financial numbers. Your written analysis in this subsection should be consistent with the table and histogram/chart.