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Trident MKt501 Module 2 – SLP

Module 2 – SLP
Here is the brief overview of this cumulative Session Long
Project (SLP). In this research project, you would work as a marketing
consultant to develop a feasible marketing plan for your client. You would
conduct both secondary research in SLP1 and SLP2 to glean the necessary
information for your marketing plan in SLP3 and SLP4.
It is important to conduct quality market research on your
focal product/company in order to develop realistic and workable marketing
plans. Generally speaking, there are two types of research. One is secondary
research, which refers to data collection using existing sources, and the other
is primary research, which is your own data collection for the specific study
at hand. The purpose of market research is to collect usable information to
make more informed decisions on the business problem, thus increasing the
chance of business success in the marketplace.
Please check the outline of the marketing plan, which
provides information on:
The final format for this cumulative session long project;
A list of topics for the whole project;
The continuity and connections among SLPs 1-4.
In this module SLP 2, conduct SWOT analysis for your charge
based on the situation analysis in SLP1. This is the second step of this
cumulative research project. Be sure to revise the sections in SLP1 and include
them in this paper following the marketing plan outline provided above.
SWOT Analysis
A thorough situation analysis in the Module 1 SLP is the
foundation for a SWOT analysis. Develop statements of the company’s internal
strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats. If there is any
question as to whether a fact or issue is external (these lead to opportunity
and threat statements) or internal (these lead to strength and weakness
statements), ask this key question, “Would this issue exist if the company did
not exist?” If the answer is yes, then the issue should be classified as
Note: Remember that alternative marketing strategies and
tactics are not opportunities. Opportunities and threats exist independently of
the firm. Strategies and tactics are what the firm intends to do about its
opportunities and threats relative to its own strengths and weaknesses.
The SWOT will play a critical role (along with an in-depth
understanding of target market needs/preferences and competition) in the
development of goals, objectives, and marketing strategies and programs. Key
strengths need to be matched to opportunities and converted to capabilities
that help serve customer needs better and lead to competitive advantage. Goals,
strategies, and program ideas stem from an attempt to convert weaknesses into
strengths and threats into opportunities. Some alternatives will also come from
thinking about how to minimize the repercussions of weaknesses and threats that
cannot be converted, and/or how to avoid them altogether. Follow the instructions
below to identify strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats.
A. Strengths and Weaknesses (Internal)
Think about internal conditions; those things that
management has some control over that are relevant to future success and
effectiveness. The task is to identify internal strengths, which must be taken
into consideration as management plans for the future.
Remember, a strength is any internal characteristic that
improves effectiveness. Look for factors that help the company improve
positioning in the marketplace, enhance financial performance, and most
importantly, fight off threats and take advantage of opportunities in the
external environment.
A weakness is any internal characteristic that limits
effectiveness, performance, and the ability to accomplish objectives, meet
threats, and take advantage of opportunities.
It is also important to point out that a particular fact
about the internal environment may have a weakness and a strength dimension.
For example, we might say that the company’s technical skills are of the
highest quality and this is a strength, but since these skills are possessed by
only a few employees, it is also a weakness in that we need more people with
such skills and would be hurt if a few key people left the company.
Using the following 16 internal factors to stimulate your
thinking, list all of the company strengths you can think of for each category.
Then review the same list of 16 internal factors and develop a list of company
weaknesses. (You may not have access to all of the information below, but try
your best to identify at least five of them for your project).
Internal Factors
The following categories of internal factors are commonly
used to generate a list of specific company strengths and weaknesses. This list
is to be used to stimulate your thinking about internal strengths and
Management leadership/capabilities.
Organization structure and management systems.
Facilities, equipment, and materials.
Technical skills and expertise.
Dedication, morale, and motivation of employees.
Capacity to meet demand—production capacity, including
excess available for growing demand.
Marketing effectiveness/efficiency—advertising, personal
selling, public relations, products/services, prices, distribution, marketing
research and planning, customer service, warranties, sales support, sales
promotion, etc.
Ability to deliver what the market wants.
Ability to deliver in a timely manner.
Image and reputation as perceived by customers and within
the industry.
Customer (and potential customer) perception—likes,
dislikes, and perceptions of service, quality, etc.
Financial performance—sales, market share, customer
satisfaction/loyalty, and profits.
Financial situation—availability of capital, internal
funding, financial stability, etc.
Cost of operations—high cost vs. low cost, rising costs,
costs compared to competition (manufacturing, distribution, etc.)
Geographic location(s).
Other relevant competencies/resources that translate into
strengths that have not been mentioned. Also, any weaknesses we have missed
related to a lack of competencies and/or resources that are needed in the
B. Opportunities and Threats (External)
Think about the most significant trends in the
organization’s external environment that will have an impact on future success.
The challenge is to identify relevant opportunities and threats outside
management’s control that must be taken into consideration during the planning
process. You will need to list and describe the factors/issues forming industry
trends that may influence future efforts one way or the other, either as a
positive force (opportunity) or as a barrier (threat).
An opportunity is the result of some trend or fact in the
external environment that represents a marketplace and/or financial performance
advantage. It may indicate a new direction, product or service, and/or resource
requirement for the company. It represents an attractive arena for marketing
action in which the company would enjoy a competitive advantage.
A threat is the result of some trend or fact in the external
environment that represents an area of concern for management. It represents a
challenge posed by an unfavorable trend or development that would lead, in the
absence of effective marketing action, to the erosion of the company’s or
industry’s position. A threat may:
Directly or indirectly affect the business.
Indicate an area to be avoided.
Demand a strategic response.
Represent an opportunity if responded to properly.
It should be pointed out that a particular trend in the
external environment (for example, mergers/acquisitions, technological
advancements, and/or a recent change in the way competitors operate and what they
are offering the market) can imply both a threat and an opportunity. Sometimes
in strategic planning we say that behind each threat (or problem) lies an
opportunity. Or an optimist in strategic planning will look at threats and try
to turn them into opportunities. Thus, it should be remembered that if
management can adapt properly to a threat (such as mergers and acquisitions),
this trend may be viewed as an opportunity as well as a threat.
Review the following 13 categories of external environmental
trend factors and list the trends or issues that are relevant to the company
and industry. Then translate each factor identified into a specific opportunity
and/or threat statement. That is, what are the implications of each
environmental trend or issue outside the company in terms of specific
opportunities and/or threats? (You may not have access to all the information
below, but try your best to identify at least five of them for your project).
External Environmental Trend Factors
The following categories of external environmental trend
factors are commonly considered in the planning process. They are used to
develop a specific list of company opportunities and threats. This list is to
be used to stimulate your thinking about opportunities and threats in the
external environment.
Mergers and acquisitions—(e.g., among customers, potential
customers, suppliers, competitors, and/or within the industry).
Competitive trends—specific competitive strategies and
programs, or recent changes such as lower prices or new products.
Economic trends—forces and changes in the economy such as
inflation, interest rates, recession.
Technological trends—new technological innovations.
Technical requirements—within the industry.
Market/industry trends—size of firm related to industry,
financial performance of the industry compared with the firm, size/growth rate
of current and future potential market characteristics and trends in markets
and industry.
Customer and potential customer attitudes—preferences,
expectations, problems, wants, needs, etc. What changes are anticipated?
Legal trends—government regulations and policies.
Societal/lifestyle trends—changes in people’s values,
attitudes, and activities.
10. New products/services—on the market.
11. Supply sources.
12. Declining or increasing productivity—in the industry or
13. Other industry trends not previous mentioned that are
relevant to the future.
Based on the detailed discussion of strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities, and threats, use SWOT tables for the SWOT analysis. In other
words, first state the facts based on your research, and then summarize the
findings in a SWOT table. Note the examples below and follow the “best
statements” to describe the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
for your company and charge in SWOT table(s).

Not Useful Statement
Better Statement
Best Statement
Internal Strengths
Customer loyalty/brand image
We have a strong brand image.
We have a 42% market share and our brand is known worldwide.
Our global market share has grown from 25% to 42% over the
past four years. Independent surveys show our quality and image is rated No. 1
in our industry in the U.S. and Asia and No. 2 in Europe behind XYZ.

Sales/ Distribution
Our distribution is the best in the industry.
Our product is available in more locations than our
Our extensive distribution network provides product within
10 miles of the home or work location of 95% of our target market. Our
competitors only achieve this level for 40%-65% of the market.
Internal Weaknesses
Product cost
Our costs are high.
Our major competitors, ABC and XYZ, produce in China for
less cost.
Our labor costs average $40/unit (in Detroit) vs. $12/unit
for our competitors (in China). With product market prices of $120/unit we
barely break even.

Product Life
We have product problems.
Our product life is less than the competition.
Typically, our product fails after one year. Our major
competitor’s product lasts 2-3 years. Customers are willing to pay 50% more for
our competitors’ product.
External Opportunities
Alternative Distribution College Campus
We can leverage new distribution channels.
Internet could be used to increase sales to college
Direct Sales (via campus Intranet) and on-campus kiosks
would more than double our coverage of our targeted Generation Y market.

Export Growth via Strategic Alliances
Export markets can help us grow.
Europe and Asia provide good opportunities to grow by
Strategic alliances with ABC in Europe and XYZ in Asia would
allow us to double international sales in two years.
External Threats
Substitutes are a threat.
ABC’s new sugar-free sweetener may hurt us.
In six months, ABC’s sugar-free sweetener has achieved 20%
market share. Its share is expected to grow to 40% by next year.

Competitor mergers could hurt us.
Competitor XYZ is expected to acquire ABC.
If XYZ acquires ABC, it will dominate the distribution
network and limit our access.
Check the following link for some exercises to better
understand SWOT elements.
SWOT Analysis Exercises (2010). Retrieved from
SLP Assignment Expectations
Use the following outline to organize your paper. Note that
the letters “a, b, c…” and the numbers “i, ii, iii, iv…” below are used to show
the major issues you need to include in your paper, but should not be used to
format your paper.
III. SWOT Analysis (3-6 pages)
Strengths and Weaknesses (Internal)
Opportunities and Threats (External)
SWOT Table
Note: Use double-spaced, black Verdana or Times Roman font
in 12 pt. type size. Include a title page and references. Revise your Module 1
SLP based on the feedback from your professor and your additional research, and
include the Module 1 SLP in the Module 2 SLP.
Explain clearly and logically the facts about your company
and charge, and use the required reading to support your positions on the
issues. Do not repeat or quote definitions. Your use of the required reading to
support your opinions (that is, contentions or positions) should demonstrate
that you understand the concepts presented.
Paraphrase the facts using your own words and ideas,
employing quotes sparingly. Quotes, if absolutely necessary, should rarely
exceed five words.
Academic papers at the master’s level should include
citations and references. Look at different sources, especially credible and
reputable resources such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,
Businessweek, and The Economist, to find the information for your paper. Also
use Trident University’s online library databases such as ProQuest and EBSCO to
find the information for your project. Your discussion on each topic should be
a synthesis of the different sources. Taking shortcuts on the number and
quality of your sources will result in a poor-quality marketing plan that will
be of no use to your client.
Also, it is important that you reference your sources
throughout the text of your marketing plan. Take the following paragraph as an
“As a result, telephone interviewers often do not even get a
chance to explain that they are conducting a survey (Council for Marketing and
Opinion Research, 2003), and response rates have steadily declined (Keeter et
al., 2000) to reported lows of 7% (Council for Marketing and Opinion Research,
2003). This decrease presents a problem because not only does it increase the
cost of conducting telephone surveys, but it also leads to questions concerning
the generalizability of the results (Struebbe, Kernan& Grogan, 1986;
Tuckel& O’Neill, 2002).”
There are different citation and reference formats such as
APA, MLA, or Chicago. No matter which format you adopt for your marketing plan,
make it consistent throughout the plan.
Also note: The marketing plan should use third person
business writing. Avoid “we,” “our,” and “you.” Do not use contractions in
business writing.
Here are some guidelines on how to conduct information
search and build critical thinking skills.
Emerald Group Publishing.(n.d.). Searching for information.
Retrieved from
Emerald Group Publishing.(n.d.). Developing critical
thinking. Retrieved from
Guidelines for handling quoted and paraphrased material are
found at:
Purdue Online Writing Lab. (n.d.). Academic writing.
Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/2/
Purdue Online Writing Lab. (n.d.). Quoting, paraphrasing,
and summarizing. Retrieved from
Purdue Online Writing Lab. (n.d.). Is it plagiarism yet?
Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/02/
Your paper consists of arguments in favor of your opinions
or positions on the issues addressed by the guidelines; therefore, avoid the
following logical fallacies:
Purdue Online Writing Lab. (n.d.). Logic in argumentative
writing. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/659/01/
Your SLP should not simply be a list of facts. Take the
facts you find about the company, the charge, and the environments that the company
faces, and explain how you think those facts will affect the financial future
of the product or brand in your charge. The emphasis in grading your paper will
be on the breadth and depth of your discussion of each topic, critical
thinking, the clarity of your discussion, and the proper organization of the
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