Business-to-Business Marketing in a Specific Industry
You will develop a paper exploring business-to-business marketing practices in a specific industry. You will choose the industry, and it is highly recommended that your choice should enhance your career plans and planning.
The paper will briefly discuss the industry and structure. This will be a relatively short descriptive deliverable. You then will describe the major players in the market and the market itself. This will be descriptive and it will also reflect your analysis of the market.
The project will give you an opportunity to examine the business-to-business marketing in a specific industry in depth. The project gives you an opportunity to integrate the concepts in business-to-business marketing:
- defining marketing issues and problems;
- gathering data to analyze problems and situations, including research planning and secondary research;
- identifying how competitive forces shape marketing practices and how the structure of the industry affects marketing and competition; and,
- strategy, critical thinking, and creativity.
The paper should be neatly typed, legible and free of errors in grammar and spelling.
Use paragraphs and headings in the text for major sections.
Documents should be single-spaced, Times New Roman or Garamond font, 12-point font, with one-inch margins. Each deliverable should have a cover page with your name, the date of submission and a title. Do not use binders or folders. All reports must be stapled, unless they cannot safely be stapled, in which case you should use a binder clip. Pages after the first page must have a header showing the course title, assignment title and page number.
Better papers will include a brief introduction and a brief conclusion.
To cite and reference professional or academic sources, please use APA style. Specific instructions for in-text citations and referencing are found on the Info Guides in the GMU Library databases, in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition, or at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/. To help manage the citations and seamlessly create reference lists, Mason supports free software called Zotero at https://www.zotero.org/.
Part of the evaluation of each written assignment will be the quality of the writing, with specific emphasis on solid business prose. Organization, understanding, originality, breadth, depth of coverage and clarity of expression are important evaluation criteria. I will also look analysis and synthesis based on appropriate principles of business-to-business marketing and comments or recommendations that are reasonable given the environment in which the organizations function.
Page-length guidelines are listed in each deliverable description. They are guidelines. If you are significantly short in your final draft, you are not likely to have developed the ideas adequately. If you are significantly longer, you need to do more analysis and synthesis and less reporting.
You will lose points if you do not follow these format instructions.
You must email me with your choice of an industry no later than July 25. The choice will be yours, but I want to ensure you will have defined the industry to create a good project. You should choose an industry that interests you and fits your career plans. I will approve your choice depending on whether your choice is too narrow, too broad or appropriate to enable a successful project.
Please see Appendix A for a list of suggested industries.
Deliverable 01 – Industry and industry structure
The first deliverable helps to define the industry of your choice and its structure. You will do some preliminary research, and you will be essentially laying the groundwork for the development of the longer papers. The description begins with an understanding of the industry, its dimensions, how it is organized and its general health. You should be able to develop these from University databases. Your analysis should include, but not be limited to,
- appropriated NAICS codes
- the products and services in the industry, relevant dimensions, e.g., total sales, demand factors;
- who are the typical suppliers, who are the typical customers, and who are the customers’ customers;
- industry structure, e.g., oligopoly or many small firms, if dominated by multinationals, identification of regulatory agencies, ownership patterns, e.g., foreign/domestic owners, whether firms are publicly traded or privately owned, consolidations, etc.;
- what are the publications, media and news sources the key people in this industry read, watch or listen to (This is NOT asking where they advertise; this how and where advertisers would reach them.);
- general health of the industry.
Focus on relevant information, and be prepared to synthesize and analyze the data you collect.
Think critically about the quality and reliability of the data you are collecting. Be sure to focus on the B2B marketing management information. You will probably return to these data sources as you continue in the project. Be sure you look at the other deliverables to see if you can begin the data collection as you complete this section.
This deliverable will be two or three, single-spaced pages, as a guideline..
Deliverable #2 – Key players and the market
You will examine the marketing practices of the top firms (at a minimum, four firms—three domestic and one international) in the industry, which you will have identified in the first deliverable. You will need to focus specifically on marketing issues rather than structure. You will analyze the dynamics among the major competitors. Your analysis should include, but not be limited to:
- how do the major players in the industry promote and sell their products;
- which of the major players are leading the way in new product or service development;
- is there a seasonality to the product/service or derived demand that affects the market dynamics;
- have there been any conspicuous marketing failures;
- what is essential to know about the customers and why and how do they purchase the product(s); and,
- are there key target market segments for each firm and do they overlap?
You will begin drilling down into the data to find less-than-obvious information; evaluating B2B marketing practices; synthesizing the data, and applying what you have been learning in the class.
This deliverable will be four or five, single-spaced pages, as a guideline.
Please be sure that throughout the project your focus is on B2B marketing and that your focus is strategic.
A note about original research
You will work with a number of different databases, sources and secondary data. In a project of this scope, there is always a temptation to “cut and paste” information to include in the report. If you do so without attribution through footnotes, this is plagiarism. You should use these sources. Paraphrasing is highly recommended, with appropriate attribution. You may also choose to add statistical tables as appendices. Focus on analysis and strategy.