due Wednesday, 27 NOV
The report is to be a situation analysis for our client, Artisans Gallery and Gifts. Artisans Gallery is a place for artisans to meet, to work on projects, to display finished projects, and to sell finished projects. The Gallery has been open for about 14 months and has attracted many artisans, has many items on display, and has made sales to customers who have come from far away. Some effort has been invested into various forms of advertising, but it is not clear if these efforts are the best strategy for moving past the initial product launch phase. We have been asked to conduct a more formal analysis of the Gallery to formulate a marketing strategy and tactical implementation for moving ahead in the future. The summer MBA class did this same analysis, resulting in a little better understanding of the situation and some changes made at the gallery. We are now doing a followup to that analysis.
Keep in mind that the Gallery consists of a product portfolio, not just one single product. Also keep in mind that we are concerned about meeting the needs and wants of a variety of constituents, not just those of the buyers of artisan creations. Be sure that your report is not simply a list of recommended tactics; it must be an analysis of internal and external constraints that leads to a strategy followed by suggestions for tactical implementation of that strategy.
Some Important Rules:
Please take special precautions if you discuss this project with anyone outside of the class. Some information that is distributed or discussed in class might be confidential. Equally important, we do not want anyone outside of the class to be misled by our activities. We must be especially careful that anyone outside of our class understands that this is a learning exercise for the class and that this is not otherwise an official undertaking of the university. Please exercise restraint when expressing personal opinions about project issues outside of our class meetings.
For a variety of reasons, you are prohibited from conducting primary research excepting some kinds of observational research that would not reveal the nature of our project. This has caused serious enough problems in the past that I will immediately drop you from the course if I have reason to suspect that you have interviewed or surveyed other organizations, business leaders, prospective customers, etc. Engaging in these activities could, for example, jeopardize our relationships with university clients, could jeopardize relationships with university donors, and if running surveys, WOULD jeopardize federal funding that our institution receives.
You are, however, expected to do outside secondary research for this project. This could include, for example, finding demographic information that is related to estimating the size and location of potential target markets, finding information regarding industry trends, and such. Keep copies of all information that you find because you will be required to cite all sources of information and to submit copies of all cited information with your final report.
If you were not present in class on the day that a class client initially visited or on the day that the class formed teams, you will work in your own team of one.
Generic Report Structure:
The attached generic outline might provide some guidance with regard to writing an environmental analysis in general, but strict adherence to this outline is not expected where not appropriate for our client's project. This is not a creative writing assignment; it is a technical writing assignment. Length is expected to be no more than about 25 pages of text (exclusive of appendices).
All reports must have some sort of introduction that explains the nature, focus, and objective of the report to the reader. The body of all reports must in some way address opportunities and threats in the environment and address the strengths and weaknesses of our client, client resources, or client product. All reports must also end with some sort of recommendation. That is, the report should lead to some speculation regarding the outlook for our client organization or product, the strategic direction that should be set for the organization or product, and some suggestions regarding how it is that the organization could go about heading in this direction.
Although some sort of strategic recommendation is required, most of the text of the report will be associated with a scan and assessment of the current environment that logically leads to a strategic recommendation. You should suggest some elements of tactical implementation, but this must be very limited and absolutely must follow from logical development in the report. A report that focuses on a list of tactical recommendations in absence of an environmental analysis that leads to a singular strategic recommendation is a candidate for a failing grade; without taking this course, anyone can "shoot from the hip" to create a laundry list of suggestions in absence of analysis.
SUGGESTED COMPONENTS OF A SITUATION ANALYSIS|
Adapted from Guiltinan and Paul (1990), Marketing Management: Strategies and Programs, New York: McGraw-Hill.