MKT 5410


"It is not sufficient to know what one ought to say, but one must also know how to say it." - Aristotle


The outline shown here is a detailed version of the approach to case analysis. Although reasonably comprehensive, the guide can be shortened, expanded, and/or adapted to meet your needs in various situations. For example, if you are analyzing a business unit that does not utilize channels of distribution, this section of the outline will require adjustment. Likewise, if the sales force represents the major part of the marketing program, then this section should probably be expanded to include other aspects of sales force strategy.


Notice that the situation audit incorporates the parts of a strategic marketing audit or background. This should be expected, since the main purpose of the audit (sometimes called a marketing audit) is to appraise the effectiveness of strategic marketing operations.


This guide is not intended to be a comprehensive checklist that can be applied in every case situation. Rather it is illustrative of the broad range of issues and questions that you will encounter in analyzing the various strategic decisions presented in the cases. The key is to adapt the outline to the case, not the case to the outline.  


"With money in your pocket, you are wise and you are handsome and you sing well, too." -Ancient Proverb 



I. Title page

II. Table of contents  

III. Introduction  

IV. Situation audit or background  

V. Problem  

VI. Alternative identification and evaluation  

VII. Solution  

"They who are of the opinion that money will do everything, may very well be suspected to do everything for money." - Sir George Savile

VIII. Implementation

IX. Update  

X.  Conclusion  

Contemplation is to knowledge, what digestion is to food - the way to get life out of it." - Tryon Edwards

XI. List of references

XII. Appendix


(Augments Section IV. Above)

  1. Corporate mission and objectives.

    1. Does the mission statement offer a clear guide to the product-markets of interest to the firm?

    2. Have objectives been established for the corporation?

    3. Is information available for the review of corporate progress toward objectives, and are the reviews conducted on a regular (quarterly, monthly, etc.) basis?

    4. Has corporate strategy been successful in meeting objectives?

    5. Are opportunities or problems pending that may require altering marketing strategy?

    6. What are the responsibilities of the chief marketing executive in corporate strategic planning?

"All things are admired because they are new or because they are great." - Francis Bacon

  1. Business unit analysis.

    1. What is the composition of the business (business segments, strategic planning units, and specific product-markets)?

    2. Have business strength and product-market attractiveness analyses been conducted for each planning unit? What are the results of the analyses?

    3. What is the corporate strategy for each planning unit (e.g., growth, manage for cash, etc.)?

    4. What objectives are assigned to each planning unit?

    5. Does each unit have a strategic plan?

    6. For each unit, what objectives and responsibilities have been assigned to marketing?

  2. Buyer analysis.

    1. Are there niches within the product-market? For each specific product-market and each niche of interest to the firm, answer items 2-9.

    2. Estimated annual purchases (units and dollars).

    3. Projected annual growth rate (five years).

    4. Number of people/organizations in the product-market.

    5. Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of customers.

    6. Extent of geographic concentration.

    7. How do people decide what to buy?

      1. Reasons for buying, i.e., what is the need/want?

      2. What information is needed (e.g., how to use the product)?

      3. Important sources of information.

      4. What criteria are used to evaluate the product?

      5. Purchasing practices (quantity, frequency, location, time, etc.).

    8. What environmental factors should be monitored because of their influence on product purchases (e.g., interest rates)?

    9. What key competitors serve each end-user group?

  3. Key competitor analysis (for each specific product-market and each niche of interest to the firm).

    1. Estimated overall business strength.

    2. Market share (percent, rank).

    3. Market share trend (five years).

    4. Financial strengths.

    5. Profitability.

    6. Management.

    7. Technology position.

    8. Other key non-marketing strengths/limitations (e.g., production cost advantages).

    9. Marketing strategy (description, assessment of key strengths and limitations).

      1. Market target strategy.

      2. Program positioning strategy.

      3. Product strategy.

      4. Distribution strategy.

      5. Price strategy.

      6. Promotion strategy.

  4. Market target strategy.

    1. Program positioning strategy.

    2. Product strategy.

    3. Distribution strategy.

    4. Price strategy.

    5. Promotion strategy.

  5. Market target strategy.

    1. Has each market target been clearly defined and its importance to the firm established?

    2. Have demand, industry, and competition in each market target been analyzed and key trends, opportunities, and threats identified?

    3. Has the proper market target strategy (mass, niche) been adopted?

    4. Should repositioning or exit from any product-market be considered?

  6. Market target objectives.

    1. Have objectives been established for each market target, and are these consistent with planning-unit objectives and the available resources? Are the objectives realistic?

    2. Are sales, and other performance information available for monitoring the progress of planned performance against actual results?

    3. Are regular appraisals made of marketing performance?

    4. Where do gaps exist between planned and actual results? What are the probable causes of the performance gaps?

  7. Marketing program positioning strategy.

    1. Does the firm have an integrated positioning strategy made up of product, channel, price, advertising, and sale force strategies? Is the role selected for each mix element consistent with the overall program objectives, and does it properly complement other mix elements?

    2. Are adequate resources available to carry out the marketing program? Are resources committed to market targets according to the importance of each?

    3. Are allocations to the various marketing mix components too low, too high, or about right in terms of what each is expected to accomplish?

    4. Is the effectiveness of the marketing program appraised on a regular basis?

  8. Marketing program activities.

    1. Product strategy.

      1. Is the product mix geared to the needs that the firm wants to meet in each product-market?

      2. What branding strategy is being used?

      3. Are products properly positioned against competing brands?

      4. Does the firm have a sound approach to product planning and management, and is marketing involved in product decisions?

      5. Are additions to, modifications of, or deletions from the product mix needed to make the firm more competitive in the marketplace?

      6. Is the performance of each product evaluated on a regular basis?

    2. Channels of distribution strategy.

      1. Has the firm selected the type (conventional or vertically coordinated) and intensity of distribution appropriate for each of its product-markets?

      2. How well does each channel access its market target? Is an effective channel configuration being used?

      3. Are channel organizations carrying out their assigned functions properly?

      4. How is the channel of distribution being managed? What improvements are needed?

      5. Are desired customer service levels being reached, and are the costs of doing this acceptable?

    3. Price strategy.

      1. How responsive is each market target to price variations?

      2. What role and objectives does price have in the marketing mix?

      3. Should price play an active or passive role in program positioning strategy?

      4. How do the firmís price strategy and tactics compare to those of competition?

      5. Is a logical approach used to establish prices?

      6. Are there indications that changes may be needed in price strategy or tactics?

    4. Advertising and sales promotion strategies.

      1. Have a role and objectives been established for advertising and sales promotion in the marketing mix?

      2. Is the creative strategy consistent with the positioning strategy that is being used?

      3. Is the budget adequate to carry out the objectives assigned to advertising and sales promotion?

      4. Do the media and programming strategies represent the most cost-effective means of communicating with market targets?

      5. Do advertising copy and content effectively communicate the intended messages?

      6. How well does the advertising program measure up in meeting its objectives?

    5. Sales force strategy.

      1. Are the role and objectives of personal selling in the marketing program positioning strategy clearly specified and understood by the sales organization?

      2. Do the qualifications of salespeople correspond to their assigned roles?

      3. Is the sales force of the proper size to carry out its function, and is it efficiently deployed?

      4. Are sales force results in line with managementís expectations?

      5. Is each salesperson assigned performance targets, and are incentives offered to reward performance?

      6. Are compensation levels and ranges competitive?

  9. Marketing planning.

    1. Strategic planning and marketing.

      1. Is marketingís role and responsibility in corporate strategic planning clearly specified?

      2. Are responsibility and authority for marketing strategy assigned to one executive?

      3. How well is the firmsí marketing strategy working?

      4. Are changes likely to occur in the corporate/marketing environment that may affect the firmís marketing strategy?

      5. Are there major contingencies that should be included in the strategic marketing plan?

    2. Marketing planning and organizational structure.

      1. Are annual and longer-range strategic marketing plans developed, and are they being used?

      2. Are the responsibilities of the various units in the marketing organization clearly specified?

      3. What are the strengths and limitations of the key members of the marketing organization? What is being done to develop people? What gaps in experience and capabilities exist in the marketing staff?

      4. Is the organizational structure for marketing appropriate for implementing marketing plans?

  10. Financial analysis.

    1. Sales and cost analyses and forecasts.

    2. Profit contribution and net profit analyses and projections.

    3. Liquidity analyses.

    4. Break-even analyses.

    5. Return on investment.

    6. Budget analyses.

    7. Pro forma statements.

  11. SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).

    1. It is very important and must be done!

    2. Your oral presentation should have an overhead or slide of the SWOT analysis.

A kid in our neighborhood has been making good money mowing lawns on Saturdays. When he first went into business, he followed the old idea of the "early bird gets the worm" and began calling on people at 8:00 a.m. For the first few Saturdays, he didnít get any business at all and by 10:00 a.m. he would give up and go home. Then he made a discovery that brought him all the business he could handle. "I quit going out so early," he said. "Instead, I didnít look for any business until about 11:00. Then I ran into lots of men who were half through mowing their own lawns and they would hire me to finish up for them." - Winston Pendleton

  1. Summary of the situation.

    1. Has the situation audit revealed opportunities which enable the organization to gain a competitive advantage based upon its distinctive competencies?

    2. What are the major opportunities available to the organization?

    3. What are the major threats facing the organization?

    4. What are the requirements for achieving success in selected product-markets?

    5. What are the organizationís and principle competitorsí distinctive competencies regarding these requirements? Do these competencies match up well with a given opportunity, or do strategic gaps exist that serve as barriers to pursuing the opportunity?

    6. What strategic gaps, problems, and/or constraints exist?

    7. Have the causes of all performance gaps been identified?

    8. Is implementation of planned actions taking place as intended? Is implementation being hampered by marketing or other functional areas of the firm (e.g., operations, finance)?

    9. Has the strategic audit revealed areas requiring additional study before action is taken?

    10. What time and resources are required to pursue an opportunity or close a strategic gap relative to competitors?

    11. Do the organizationís mission or objectives need to be redefined?

  2. Opinions and assumptions.

    1. Are opinions or assumptions provided by others? Are they reasonable given the source?

    2. Is it necessary to make assumptions about the organizationís objectives, competition, the environment, or something else?




Before the Presentation

    1. Keep the proper perspective. This does not determine life or death. It also is not some trivial thing to brush aside like junk mail.


    3. Focus on the target customers as well as on what to do with each of the 4 pís (product, price, promotion, and place) for these target customers. Use a format like the one given in the Case Analysis Outline handout.

    4. Prepare an outline.

      1. Include a cover page.

      2. Include a table of contents.

      3. Number the pages of the outline.

      4. The solution and the implementation sections should be the primary focus of the outline.

      5. Include a list of references -- library and internet.

      6. Include an appendix that at a minimum includes copies of the overheads used in the presentation.

      7. Integrate the outline, i.e., it should not be noticeable when one memberís work ends and anotherís begins.

      8. Add some professional "extras" to distinguish your product.

    5. Practice your presentation with a friend or classmate. Ask for honest feedback.

    6. Plan to arrive well before class starts.

    7. Set the stage.

      1. Erase the board, place the desk and podium appropriately, place members with or without chairs, set up overhead or flip chart, posters, computer, video, etc.

    8. Make sure you bring all of your visuals, portfolio, etc. with you.

    9. Mix presentation modes.

      1. Use your creativity -- handouts, brochures, catalogs, PowerPoint slides, overheads, product samples, flip chart, skits, ads, whatever.

      2. Know how to use the equipment -- practice using it before class begins.

    10. Center or balance your composure before you begin. Take a deep breath.

    11. Try not to read your presentation. Keep good eye contact.

    12. Remember it is okay to occasionally say, "Iím sorry, I donít know the answer to that question, but I will find out and get back to you."

General Oral Presentation Criteria


These oral presentation criteria are included for your public speaking needs in general.





"Get your facts first, and then you can distort Ďem as much as you please." - Mark Twain


Overall Evaluation

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