Your Overall Objective

Marketing teams brainstorm together and collect information from widely varying sources in the process of developing products and strategic marketing plans. For the mid-term exam, you are to pretend that you are part of a marketing team. As part of that team, your task is to lay out a plan of action and begin to evaluate a new product idea.

How would you present your ideas for a new product offering that you believe might fulfill an unmet or under-met need or offer a superior solution (‘better, cheaper, or faster’) compared to existing products available.

Since your team constitutes an altogether new (and fictional) firm, you will need to go with the assumptions about your firm’s resources; use assumptions consistent with a new, small, start-up operation. You do not have an established brand name, for example. You do not have a large, staffed organization. Do, however, allow yourselves the latitude to imagine skills you may not quite yet possess—for example, video-game design, a-v production, paralegal services—and future resources involving debt (loans) or equity funding.

The overall objective of the mid-term exam is to determine whether your product idea is promising enough to justify, say, funding research and development. You may not reach a clear conclusion, but carry the task forward as far as you possibly can and note in as much detail as possible the remaining information you would like to have in order to reach a clear decision.

Planning the Work

Once you have decided what your product will be and laid out assumptions about resources, your next job is to clarify and sequence your remaining tasks, divide the work, and set intermediate deadlines in order to complete the overall assignment by the due date.

Procedure: describe how you arrived at a product idea and a work plan.

Section 1: Your Product

Describe your product. You should begin by classifying it. Is it a consumer (end-user) or business-to-business product? If you have chosen a product that might be sold to individuals and to organizations, you might be well advised to begin evaluating the potential of one or the other rather than both.

Within this broad classification, consider what generic need or needs are served by your product. In what product-market you will be competing? Referring to page 93 of your textbook, complete the four-part product-market definition for your product.

Determine your NAICS classification(s) for your product. Research to identify the actual products your product competes with.

Procedure: Appropriate concepts and references can be found throughout Chapters 1–7 of your textbook. Use the Internet, library, directories, and any secondary resources related to your product-market and industry. Retain all information needed for your bibliography.

Product: Write approximately a half-page describing your team’s proposed product in marketing classification terms.

Section 2: Your Competitors

Who will you be competing with? Is the competition many small operations or a few large ones or something in between? If ‘many small,’ describe the characteristics of various types of competitors. If there are only a few large ones or just a few in your geographic target, identify your specific competitors. Study the competition; learn all you can from public, secondary sources. What else would you like to know about your competitors? Propose (legal) methods for gaining the remaining information you would like to have.

Procedure: Research your product-market via the Internet, library, and public directories. Search out trade publications for the industry you wish to enter. Retain all information needed for your bibliography.

Product: Write approximately a page explaining what you have been able to learn about your competition and noting remaining desired information.

Section 3: The External Environment as It Relates to Your Product-Market

Review the economic, technological, political and legal, and cultural and social environments that will affect your marketing efforts. Research any specific areas that might suggest particular opportunities or pose particular threats for a product offering such as yours.

Procedure: Research the industry you propose to enter via the Internet, library, and trade publications. Retain all information needed for your bibliography.

Study Product: Write approximately a page outlining the opportunities and threats your firm might face in trying to introduce your proposed product.

Section 4: Your Customers

Who will you be selling to? Consider and define as clearly as possible the buying behavior relevant to your product. If yours is a consumer product—good or service—try to define your target consumer. Consider demographics, but also other dimensions by which consumers might be identified. If your target market is businesses, what NACIS code or codes identify your customers? If your market is very small, can you identify your specific target customers?

Procedure: Appropriate concepts and references can be found throughout Chapters 1–7 of your textbook. Use the Internet, library, directories, trade journals, and any secondary resources related to your product-market and industry. Retain all information needed for your bibliography.

Product: Write approximately a half page to a page describing your proposed target customer.


Product: Write approximately a half page stating and explaining your conclusion.

SUMMARY: Mid-term Exam Requirements

  • ½ page describing the proposed product
  • 1 page describing the competition
  • 1 page describing the overall marketing environment
  • 1 page describing the target customer
  • ½ page stating the team’s conclusion
  • APA format (including bibliography)

APA template located in the Student Resource Center to complete the assignment.

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