Marketing Fundamentals Coursework Guide
The following is intended as a reminder of how best to complete your coursework assignment which forms 100% of your summative assessment. It should pre-empt many of the questions you may have about the assignment.
Top ten tips for success:
1. Read and re-read the question to ensure you are providing a relevant and complete answer. If you are unsure then seek clarification from your tutor.
2. Remember to relate you answers to Asos. Answers that are not linked to Asos (that could apply to any organisation) will not attract high marks
3. Avoid regurgitation of pure theory – apply it to Asos and ensure it is relevant to the task.
4. Where relevant, use examples to support your ideas and recommendations and use the marketing terminology that you have been taught during the module.
5. Check and double check your standard of English. Documents that are professionally compiled, well structured and have good presentation and formatting will receive higher marks
6. Incorrect, missing or incomplete use of models, tools and matrices will result in lower or no marks.
7. Use the Harvard system to reference your work – poor referencing will result in lower marks and may result in your grade being withheld.
8. Make clear recommendations where required and ensure you justify them appropriately.
9. Remember to include a brief introduction to the report and include appendices where relevant, particularly for frameworks such as PESTEL and SWOT.
10. Use the mark scheme to guide you as to the length and depth required in a task – the more marks available, the more you are expected to produce
Introduction to the plan
It’s important and professional to state the purpose of the plan and how it should be used but your introduction should be brief – one short paragraph is enough.
Remember formal reports such as this assessment should be written in the third person.
Question 1 – Marketing Audit
1. Give a very brief introduction to the the tools you have selected, explaining why they are being used.
2. It would be advisable to use more than one tool and remember you need to cover both the internal and external environment . Tools which may be useful include:
o Porter’s Five Forces
o Porter’s Value Chain
o The BCG matrix
3. Remember to highlight factors that may or will impact upon Asos, not just generic factors that affect all businesses.
4. Remember to analyse competitors (key competitors, what they’re doing, how well they’re doing it, anticipated strategies & tactics) and the market (relevant segments and customer groups; changes in demographics; trends)
5. Use enough sources of information to inform the audit. One or two sources is not credible or comprehensive enough to obtain a First. Sources of information can include: competitor websites; published reports from research companies such as Mintel, Datamonitor, Euromonitor, etc.; Asos website; news articles; academic papers; expert blogs; books, etc.
6. If you’ve carried out a proper, thorough analysis then you should have lots of information in your audit. Some of your analysis will reveal important factors as well as less significant ones. You should ensure you highlight the crucial factors that you believe would influence the development of marketing strategy.
Question 2 – Stakeholders
1. It’s vital that the correct matrix is included in your report (Mendelow’s Power Interest Grid, referenced as such). You should actually place the stakeholder/ stakeholder groups you identify on the matrix in the most logical quadrant.
2. The placement of some stakeholders is debatable and there could be more than one correct position for them. You simply need to choose and justify your choice by providing brief explanation of their placement.
3. Your reasoning for stakeholder positions in the grid should be specific to Asos and NOT generic – meaning that they could just be applied to any organisation.
4. You need to choose one stakeholder/ stakeholder group from each quandrant and explain the power they hold in relation to Asos. For example, what does it mean to be a ‘Key Player’ and what kind of influence might they hold over Asos?
Question 3 – Business Orientation
1. You need to demonstrate that you understand the concept of ‘management orientation’ (product, production, sales etc) and clearly state what you believe Aldi’s orientation to be.
2. You should offer evidence by way of an example, to support your opinion
3. Following this you need to write something about the benefits to a business of a marketing orientation – you can find good explanations in the core text, lecture slides and on the web – you should reference this appropriately
4. Next, you need to set some specific marketing objectives, related to the context of overseas growth for Asos.
5. Remember when you set objectives they need to be SMART. Each objective needs to have the SMART framework applied to it.
Question 4 – Marketing Mix
This question is where most of the marks are…40!!!…so you should make an effort to give a good answer to each of the 4 P’s.
In each case it is not enough to give a brief description of the current product range, pricing strategy etc. To score high marks, you need to evaluate current strategy (contrast strengths and weaknesses) and you need to make and justify recommendations for improvements.
Be creative in your recommendations, but remember to keep them grounded in reality. Your recommendations should be framed in the context of overseas growth, and should contribute towards achieving the objectives you set in task three.
1. Generic or vague recommendations with no justification will not attract high marks. For example, just saying that “Asos needs to do more TV advertising to increase sales” or “Asos should sell more products”, will not gain high marks.
2. Making recommendations which are not realistic or not linked to the objectives will result in lower marks.
3. Remember the principles/concepts you’ve been taught in class and use them when evaluating current strategy and making recommendations (e.g. core product, actual product and augmented product; penetrations pricing, skimming etc).
4. For promotion you need to consider the entire marketing communications mix – not just re-cap on what Asos already do. This consideration should therefore include TV, print and digital advertising, social media, mobile apps, PR, partnerships, sponsorships, events, product placement, competitions, sales promotions and direct marketing etc.
1. You need to demonstrate that you understand the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and apply it in the context of Asos and overseas growth.
2. When describing Asos’ approach to CSR, you need to pull-out two key factors which relate to CSR and will be important to Asos as they look to grow overseas sales. You then need to evaluate these two factors, contrasting pros and cons/ strengths and weaknesses and how they may help/hinder Asos.
3. Asos’ own website as well as as resources on the online library are good sources of information about CSR and its importance to organisations.
1. Remember the basics about spelling, grammar, punctuation and structure such as paragraphs
2. Use headings, sub-headings and a numbering system for professional appearance and ease of reading
3. Double check your language use and standard of English
4. Ensure you use the Harvard system and reference all words and ideas which are not your own – if unsure, ask your tutor for help
5. Remember and stick to the word count (2,000 words)
Asos Marketing Report [100% of Module Grade]
This module is assessed through the submission of a written marketing report aimed at addressing the key marketing challenges relating to Asos – the global online clothing retailer. The specific requirements of the report will be aligned to several topics covered in this module. Students will produce a written report, fulfilling the criteria detailed below.
a) Writing your marketing report is an individual assignment.
b) Coursework hand-out: Week 5.
c) Coursework Due Date: Friday 19th December by 4:00pm.
d) The word limit for this assignment is 2,000 words. You must comply with the word count guidelines – any work which exceeds the 2,000 limit will not be marked. The word limit does not include title page, contents page, references, bibliography, appendices or business matrices such as BCG, Ansoff’s, etc.
e) This coursework assignment carries 100% weighting for your overall mark in the Marketing Fundamentals module.
f) Submit your assignment by uploading your document via TURNITIN on the VLE.
This assignment is based on the Asos case study (see below). Asos is a global online fashion retailer, selling own-brand and branded clothing in over 230 countries around the world. Based in the UK, the company has experienced massive growth since its launch in 2000 and now turns over almost £770 million. Targeting fashion conscious “twenty-something’s” Asos’ product portfolio and approach to customer service has seen it develop genuine competitive advantage, but it is very reliant on the UK and Europe for much of its revenue. To continue its rate of growth, Asos must look to other countries to continue its expansion.
As the Marketing Executive for Asos, you have been asked to write a marketing report that will determine the company’s approach to marketing for the next twelve months. As part of developing your plan, you have been asked to specifically address the following areas in your plan:
1) Audit of Asos’ internal and external environment (using appropriate tools and secondary information sources) LO2 and LO3 (15 marks)
2) Audit of Asos’ stakeholders and their relative power (using an appropriate tool) LO4 (10 marks)
3) Identify Asos’ management orientation, explain the importance of marketing orientation and set suitable marketing objectives which will drive overseas expansion – to be SMART and relevant to case study LO1 and LO2 (15 marks)
4) Evaluate Asos’ current marketing mix (4 P’s), recommend and justify how this could be improved over the next twelve months to achieve the marketing objectives LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 (40 marks)
5) Describe Asos’ approach to corporate social responsibility and evaluate its importance to Asos as it expands its operations globally LO1, LO2, LO3 and LO4 (10 marks)
6) Suitable presentation and written style (10 marks)
The assignment will enable you to pick up on key topics from the syllabus, to explore the concepts and frameworks behind those topics, to apply them in a realistic situation and to present a marketing plan to address them.
It will test your skills in a number of ways, for instance:
1) Your knowledge of the syllabus.
2) Your ability to apply key concepts in a practical situation.
3) Your understanding of the concepts behind a marketing plan.
4) Your ability to write a practical marketing plan.
The case study below is provided as basic information. The additional sources of information you might use for your assignment will most likely be of a “secondary” nature i.e. will be readily available from existing published sources such as the internet. There is no requirement to carry out “primary” original research, such as speaking to someone associated with Asos.
Final written report
Your marketing report should be presented in a professional manner, using the correct (Harvard) referencing techniques and language that is appropriate for a professional business audience. There is no set format for writing your marketing report but you are expected to pay careful attention to your structure and layout to make the report clear and compelling to read, with an obvious and logical flow of content and information. (Use of headings, sub-headings and numbering will be important).
Advice on plagiarism & collusion
Copying material i.e. plagiarism from any third party source is a serious academic offence and may result in your work not being accepted. Plagiarism involves presenting work as though it was your own and/or using ideas of another author without acknowledging the fact. Collusion takes place when two or more students submit work that is too similar – i.e. similar in words, content and style, such as might be put down to coincidence. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that they understand the guidelines in this area and that they don’t transgress those guidelines. If in doubt, speak to your tutor.
Marking Scheme Overall marks
1. Audit of Asos’ internal and external environment:
a. Ensure you use appropriate analytical tools and highlight the key issues facing Asos
b. Use and properly reference a variety of secondary sources (examples include competitor websites, Marketing Week, published reports such as Mintel and resources available through the online library)
2. Audit of Asos’ stakeholders and their relative power:
a. Use an appropriate analytical tool to map the relative power/interest of Asos’ stakeholders
b. Choosing one specific stakeholder or stakeholder group from each category, describe the power these stakeholders hold in relation to Asos
3. Identify Asos’ management orientation, explain the importance of marketing orientation and set suitable marketing objectives which will enable overseas growth:
a. Describe Asos’ management orientation
b. Explain why marketing orientation is important for organisations
c. Using the information in the case study, set suitable SMART marketing objectives, which will enable growth in overseas sales
4. Evaluate Asos’ current marketing mix and recommend and justify how this could be improved over the next twelve months to achieve the marketing objectives:
a. Evaluate Asos’ product range and make recommendations, appropriately justified, regarding Asos’ product strategy, to enable overseas growth
b. Evaluate Asos’ pricing strategy and make recommendations, appropriately justified, regarding their pricing strategy, to enable overseas growth
c. Evaluate Asos’ distribution strategy and make recommendations, appropriately justified, regarding this strategy, to enable overseas growth
d. Evaluate Asos’ marketing communications (promotion) and make recommendations regarding the future marketing communications, appropriately justified, to enable overseas growth
5. Describe Asos’ approach to corporate social responsibility and evaluate its importance to Asos as it expands its operations globally
a. Describe how Asos demonstrate a commitment to CSR and evaluate why it is important as they attempt to expand overseas sales.
- Presentation and Harvard referencing
b. Clear structure and presentation of the report
c. Writing style: professional and concise
d. Correct application of Harvard referencing style
e. Evidence of wider reading
Total 100 marks
Asos is a global online clothing retailer, selling own brand and world-renowned fashion labels through its website asos.com. The business was founded in 1999 by Quentin Griffiths and Nick Roberts, who had the idea of starting a website to sell clothes and accessories which people had seen celebrities wearing. Originally trading as ‘As Seen on Screen’, the website launched in March 2000 and by the end of the first trading year, the business had won The Sunday Times’ ‘Best Trendsetter Award’. By 2002, As Seen on Screen had diversified its product portfolio to such an extent that their name was becoming less relevant – they were selling much more than just items celebrities wore. So from mid-2002, the company began to focus on the Asos brand name, slowly removing references to As Seen on Screen.
From their beginnings in 2000, the company has grown to become the second most visited fashion website in the world (asos.com), with a turnover in 2013 of almost £770 million. The company headquarters are in London but they have offices in the USA, Australia, France, Germany and China. Targeting young, ‘twenty-something’, shoppers, the company sells its products in over 234 countries, but it relies heavily on the UK and Europe for most of its trade (60.4% of total revenue in FY2013, source marketline.com). The clothing retail sector is hugely competitive, including both high street and online channels. Asos is competing with several other retail giants including the Arcadia Group, Next Plc., the N Brown Group and the River Island Clothing Co, as well as ‘pure-play’ online retailers such as Zappos.com and Amazon.
Asos has experienced huge growth since its initial launch, seeing revenue increase three-fold since 2010 alone. It recognises however that it operates in a hugely dynamic and competitive market and that it also relies heavily on the UK and European market for the majority of its revenue. The UK clothing retail sector has seen sluggish growth over recent years at a time when the global market for online shopping has seen rapid expansion. The US online retail sector is expected to increase in value by 85% by 2017, to a total value of $371 billion and significant growth is also predicted in China and other countries. Asos’ ambition is to be the “world’s number one fashion destination for twenty-something’s” and in order to achieve this, they recognise the need to increase their presence in global markets outside of the UK and Europe.
Targeting and positioning:
Asos is very clear in its targeting, focussing on ‘twenty-something’ shoppers. Its broad product portfolio, covering own-brand, through to recognised high street names, through to independent boutique designers, means it has broad appeal amongst consumers. Using a range of segmentation variables, Asos targets fashion conscious young people, who are technologically savvy, have high expectations around customer service and are heavily influenced by current fashion trends.
A challenge for Asos is ensuring that its approach to segmentation, targeting and positioning is effective in multiple regions around the world. Whilst they have a good understanding of their target market in the UK and Europe, a different approach may be required in markets such as China and Russia. Their main target demographic (twenty-something’s) are notoriously fickle and disloyal, heavily influenced by factors such as price, trends and their peers.
Asos invest heavily in marketing, spending over £40 million in 2013. As an online retailer, they do focus much of their spend on digital mediums, but also advertise through more traditional channels such as national newspapers and magazines. Asos place significant emphasis on providing outstanding customer service, spanning the entire customer journey from initial website visit through to delivery and if necessary, return of the product. Asos recently began trialling a loyalty scheme to strengthen the relationship it has with its customers and investments in marketing activity over the last year have been credited with boosting sales by 34% over the first half of 2014 (Marketing Week). Asos’ success has been widely recognised by the awarding of numerous industry awards, including the ‘Best Retailer’ award at the 2014 Internet Retailing Awards.
Asos has a very wide product portfolio, stocking over 65,000 branded and own-label lines through their main website, with an additional 145,000 lines through their ‘Marketplace’ site, which allows individuals to trade old and unwanted clothing (marketline.com). The core product offering ensures they have wide appeal to their fashion conscious target market, but they also focus significantly on the wider augmented product as a means to create competitive advantage. Asos are recognised as a market leader in the area of online fulfilment, meaning delivery and returns processes. They place customer service at the heart of what they do, which provides a key differentiator for Asos when compared to competitors in the online retail sector.
As a ‘pure-play’ online retailer, Asos has no bricks and mortar stores, focussing purely on its website as a sales platform. As such, it invests significantly in its website, making it “more than just a shopping website” (asos.com). It has specific websites for its different global markets and all its sites are optimised for mobile and desktop platforms. Through both its website and its social media channels, customers are encouraged to interact (both with each other and the company) and engage, rather than simply shop. Their Marketplace site provides a different shopping experience, allowing individual users to connect, buy and sell with each other.
Asos’ distribution network spans the global and they have delivered items to over 234 countries worldwide. Their main distribution centre is in Barnsley, UK and from there they ship for free to destinations around the world. They are a market leader in online fulfilment, championing free delivery and returns and this distribution strategy provides them with significant competitive advantage as it is currently unmatched by the competition.
As an online retailer, Asos is able to offer cheaper prices than traditional high street stores and its wide product portfolio means they are able to offer products at a very wide range of price points. Asos have in the past relied quite heavily on discounting and price promotions but they also monitor competitors’ pricing carefully to ensure they remain competitive. As a global retailer, the ability to adapt to pricing challenges across geographical boundaries is important. Asos needs to be able to price products according to local market conditions, whilst also maintaining transparency and demand in their primary markets.
With a very significant marketing budget, Asos make use of numerous marketing communications tools. They advertise widely, both online and offline, making use of traditional mediums such as national newspapers and magazines as well as a variety of online tools. In the digital space, they make significant use of social media, digital display advertising and their own website and have used viral campaigns very successfully in the past. Sales promotions form a significant area of Asos’ marketing, through both discounting and a loyalty scheme and they make very effective use of PR opportunities, particularly through third-party endorsements by famous fashion models and personalities. Unlike most high street retailers, traditional personal selling does not form part of Asos communications mix, but the company has been at the forefront of using social media and live chat online as a means to interact directly with their customers.
The clothing retail sector worldwide is hugely competitive and dynamic, comprising of both traditional high street and more recent ‘pure-play’ online providers. Whilst high street retailing has seen limited growth over recent years, online sales have surged, showing double-digit growth in all major developed economies. Asos is of course competing with many well known global brands, but unlike other sectors of the retail market, the clothing sector is not significantly dominated by any one brand. In the UK for example, the retailer with the largest market share (Next Plc.) has only 8.1% of the market, whilst Asos is estimated to hold around 2% (ibisworld.co.uk).
When compared to clothing retail giants such as Next Plc. and the Arcadia Group, Asos is very small, but its meteoric growth over recent years, in what has otherwise been a fairly stagnant market, suggests Asos has huge potential for further significant international growth. In the online space, retailers such as Zappos and Amazon present the largest competitive threat.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Asos places sustainability and social responsibility at the heart of its business operations. Referred to as ‘Fashion with Integrity’, its approach spans its production and supply chain, carbon footprint, impact on communities and the health of its customers. The garment production and retail sector has not traditionally had a reputation for ethical and sustainable business, focussing instead on minimising costs. Asos is keen to be seen to be different in this area, valuing principles of ethical and sustainable conduct over ‘lowest price possible’ production.
In just 15 years, Asos has gone from Internet start-up to global clothing retailer, with a turnover approaching £1 billion. Appealing to young, technologically savvy and fashion conscious customers and focussing on providing great service to those customers, has allowed Asos to create genuine competitive advantage in a very crowded market. It is recognised however, that currently there is an over-reliance on the UK and Europe for revenue. The global online clothing sector provides huge opportunities for growth and Asos must now focus their efforts on increasing its share of this global market.
END OF CASE STUDY
Student Marking Guidance
You are expected to use models and theories to support your argument and analysis. To pass you will need to demonstrate understanding and knowledge of the subject and evidence of some critical awareness. For a higher grade you will need to demonstrate a deep knowledge of the subject and critical argument and analysis.
Section Question Marks Approach
1b 10 marks
5 marks For an excellent mark you should use two models appropriately, highlight a range of key issues and discuss possible positive and negative implications
For an excellent mark you should use four different, relevant sources and reference them correctly
5 marks For an excellent mark you should use an appropriate stakeholder analysis matrix and plot at least four different stakeholders/stakeholder groups logically, one in each quadrant and include a brief summary explanation for their position.
For an excellent mark you should take four distinct stakeholders/stakeholder groups and clearly and accurately describe the power they hold in their relationship with Asos.
For an excellent mark you should explain the concept of ‘orientation’, clearly state what you believe Asos’ orientation to be and use at least one relevant example to support your claim.
For an excellent mark you should define marketing orientation using appropriate theory, fully referenced and state at least two of the benefits of marketing orientation to an organization
For an excellent mark you should set two – three relevant, insightful objectives, based on the results of your earlier audit and related to global expansion, applying the SMART framework correctly to each objective
10 marks For an excellent mark you should evaluate the current product strategy, contrasting strengths and weaknesses, using an appropriate matrix. You should make at least two realistic recommendations for improvement to the product strategy, with the aim of contributing to successful overseas growth, and your recommendations should be appropriately justified.
For an excellent mark, you should evaluate the current pricing strategy, contrasting strengths and weaknesses. You should give a clear point of view on a future strategy for pricing (even if that is to keep it the same) in the context of overseas growth, appropriately justified. You should consider price sensitivity or elasticity and explain the impact of new pricing recommendations on current and future target audiences.
For an excellent mark, you should evaluate the current distribution strategy, contrasting strengths and weaknesses. You should make at least two realistic recommendations for improvement to the distribution strategy, with the aim of contributing to successful overseas growth and your recommendations should be appropriately justified.
For an excellent mark, you should evaluate Asos’ current marketing communications, contrasting strengths and weaknesses. You should make at least two realistic recommendations for improvement to the marketing communications, with the aim of contributing to successful overseas growth and your recommendations should be appropriately justified.
5 5 10 marks For an excellent mark, you should accurately describe Asos’ approach to CSR, highlight at least two key factors related to the importance of CSR in the context of overseas growth and evaluate these points, contrasting relative strengths and weaknesses.
6 Presentation, use of relevant structure and Harvard referencing 10 marks For an excellent mark you should use Harvard referencing and clearly structure your paper, using report style – titles, subtitles and a reference page. The language used should be appropriate to the academic context and business communication but it should avoid colloquialisms, informal terms and jargon.
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