Research Assignment: Marketing Efforts Of A Local Business

Your assignment is to research the marketing efforts of a local business.

  1. Choose a local business and interview them (see questions below).
  2. After you have completed the interview perform a SWOT Analysis. Be specific with your analysis. Don’t just say, ‘Good customer service’ Explain why you think they have been able to attain good customer service (e.g. They have good customer service as a result of a thorough hiring process, good pay/benefits, and good management).
  3. Reflect on the interview and SWOT analysis and develop at least 3 recommendations for improvement.
  4. Write an executive summary (2-3 pages) of your interview, SWOT, and recommendations for improvement.
  5. Prepare a 4-7 minute presentation of your paper.


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Prepare yourself before you interview the business. Familiarize yourself with the list of questions you will be asking. It is also a good idea to research the business before the interview. You have a better chance of getting detailed information from them if they see that you have an interest and understanding of their business.


Below are prepared questions for your interview. Feel free to ask additional questions.


Business Background

  • What is the mission (reason for existence) of your business?
  • What is the business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation etc.)?
  • How long has the business been in operation?



Situation Analysis


  • What are your company’s strengths in the market?
  • What factors (people, products, systems, etc.) contribute to these strengths?
  • What would your clients say are your strengths?
  • What would your competition say are your strengths?
  • What are you doing to protect and reinforce these strengths?



  • What are your weaknesses in the market?
  • What factors (people, products, systems, etc.) contributed to the weaknesses?
  • What would your clients say are your weaknesses?
  • What would your competition say are your weaknesses?
  • What could you do to improve on these weaknesses?



  • What opportunities do you see for your business?
  • What changes or trends in the marketplace could be an opportunity?


  • How are you planning to take advantage of these opportunities?



  • Who is your competition? Do you have more than one strong competitor?
  • What is your competition doing that works?
  • Who do you use as a benchmark (compare yourself to)?



Macro-environmental Forces

  • Are government regulations affecting your business?
  • Is the economy influencing your business?
  • Have rising gas prices affected your business?
  • Is your business affected by international competition from imports? Can you export?



Marketing Strategies

  • How is the market for your product(s) segmented?
  • o IF YES – Ask owner to define the segments with your help.
  • o IF NO – Investigate further by asking if there are fast and slow sellers. Ask owner to describe who buys the fast sellers and see if you can determine some commonalities about this group of customers (geography, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral). Determine if there are possible global tribes that could be targeted.
  • Is the market for your product(s) growing or declining? What is the cause of this growth/decline? (IE…Changing demographics, changing consumer preferences, changing consumer buying patterns.)
  • Define your target market(s). Why have you chosen to target this segment? Why is your market offering valued by this target? Have you tried to target new markets and how successful has that been?
  • Do you keep track of your market share? If yes:
  • o What tools do you use to help track your market share?
  • o Is your market share growing? What is the cause of this growth/decline?
  • o How will you attract, hold, increase your market share?



  • Do you see your organization as providing a good, a service, an experience, or some combination?
  • How would you describe your product(s) position in the market? (market leader or number 2, number 3, etc…) How does your customer or prospective customer view your product or service offering in comparison to your competition?


  • Have the company’s product offerings changed over time?
  • Do you develop your own products or are they supplied to you by someone else?
  • How long have you been working with this supplier?
  • How did you choose this supplier?
  • How are sales forecasts generated? Do you prepare a general forecast or do you try to forecast by market segments served or targeted.



  • What pricing strategy have you devised? (Keystone, Penetration, Skim the Cream, Meet or Beat, or Cost Allocation) Has this changed over time?
  • Is your pricing strategy different than your competition or similar?


Place (Distribution)

  • How is your product delivered to the end user?
  • If the product is delivered through another organization (retailer), how would you describe the distribution strategy: exclusive, selective, or extensive?



  • What kind of advertising budget do you use? How is it forecast? Is it allocated according to segment penetration?
  • What mediums do you use? Explain why some mediums were used and others excluded. What is the average frequency of placement in the selected mediums?
  • o Print (Newspaper, Offering Circulars, and Magazines)
  • o TV (Network and/or Cable)
  • o Radio (Which stations and why? How does that reach their target market and support their positioning and brand equity?)
  • o Billboard/Outdoor (Geographic locations leased)
  • o Transit (C.A.T., etc…)
  • o Interactive (Internet/Email)
  • What was the objective of your last advertising campaign? (Positioning, Build brand image, Create traffic, New market penetration)
  • When do you advertise (e.g. peak season, sales, year-round etc.)?


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