Context: Product and Place decisions are part of the 4Ps of the marketing mix. To form a cohesive marketing strategy, we need to evaluate Product options and determine what Product (good or service) best addresses the defined problem and how that product will be created to provide sustained value. In addition, the marketing strategy must consider decisions related to distribution channels, supply channels, environmental and humanitarian issues associated with providing the product to the customer to meet their expectations of convenience.
Step 1 Same Team/ Same Problem
If your instructor has given your team permission to address a different problem statement, then your paper should begin with a summary of the specific problem statement (Companies within the U.S. that use substantial amounts of fresh water in their operations face a problem of having a consistent supply of fresh water that is safe to use), a brief customer profile of your selected market, and a short, bulleted list of the overall goals for this marketing strategy.
Step 2 Define the Product
Brainstorm with your team to consider what product (good or service) would provide the best solution for the problem and also create value for customers, the company, and society. Summarize your Product concepts in a few short paragraphs. Then develop criteria to evaluate the different product ideas and also create value for the company, the customer, and society. Capture your solution concepts in a Product decision matrix that evaluates product ideas against criteria you defined. Describe the rating or ranking system you will use for each criteria. Provide a summary rationale for the final Product concept and defend your decision about the value created by that solution.
Step 3 Define HOW the Product Will be Created
Once you have defined the Product concept, decisions are needed to determine the essential attributes of that Product. This is a complex decision and involves a long list of potential attributes that could be part of the solution. It may include input from different constituents (customers, internal departments, and market research) to understand what functions or elements of the solution are vital. Each attribute has trade-offs relating to value for different stakeholders. Using information from the course material and reading assignments, explain how the final product will balance value for stakeholders while achieving the overall goals of the marketing strategy.
Step 4 Define Your Distribution Strategy
The team will compile and analyze different aspects of distributing the Product to the customer. Using reading assignment information, determine whether you will use direct distribution or engage channel partners to get the product to the customer when, where, and how they want it. Develop criteria for delivery decisions that aligns with value expected by customers, the company and society. Then describe the major components of the distribution system needed to deliver the value expectations (i.e. channel decisions if relevant, order intake, shipping or logistics, customer service or warranty, etc.) Provide a rationale for your final distribution strategy and defend your decision about the value created.
Step 5 Compile and Submit
Compile the summary material from your Product Concept, Product Development, and Distribution strategy into a single paper. Proofread and edit the paper so that the decisions are aligned and clearly explained. Support your decisions by stating your process, criteria, and references to reading assignment resources. Decision matrices may be inserted into the document or added as an appendix. Your final paper should be less than 6 pages in length, excluding matrices and references.
Questions and Tips
Brainstorming product ideas:
Your description of each concept does NOT have to be a fully engineered product idea and it does not have to be fully feasible. It DOES have to solve the stated problem (note my comments in my post about the week 5 papers) and not some alternative or modified problem statement. Ideas may include fictional concepts that may or may not exist. Dont spend a lot of time with designing each product but rather spend your time on creating different concepts that solve the problem. One more time be sure to address the stated problem, not a modification.
Every week we have looked at ways to make a decision about a problem, a customer group, or goals. To choose among ideas you have to know what makes one idea better than another. Those are the criteria you use to judge. How do you choose a tomato at the grocery store? Ripeness, bruising, cost, organic? These are all criteria for that choice. This week you will set criteria to judge one product idea against another. Describe why those criteria are important for your choice. Then transfer the criteria and your product ideas to a matrix and rank the ideas. Explain your ranking system.
After you have made a final product choice, explain more about the idea and how it will be developed. This should take 1 -2 paragraphs. Again, you do not have to be product engineers but state the general features and attributes of the product and how it can create value for the customers and society.
As noted in the reading and assignment instructions, distribution includes the place of business, the type of distribution (direct/indirect), the channel partners, the ordering and customer service aspects that provide convenience and value for your customers, and the logistics or delivery of the product. The assignment states you should develop criteria for the type of distribution system you create. Those criteria should relate to customer expectations relating to convenience of ordering and receiving the product or service. If you set goals for this marketing strategy that involves environmental or social standards, then those should also be criteria to consider in developing your distribution plan. Explain your Place/Distribution system and support it with relevant resources.
Example (The following example does not include all the material expected in your papers but provides an example of the major concepts aligned with your problem statement.)
Consistent supply of safe, fresh water for businesses
Small businesses (hair salons, restaurants, dog groomers, etc.) across 3 counties of NV where the businesses relied on water from city water utilities for their operations. The watershed that supplied water to these municipalities recently declined significantly, causing the cities to ration water supplied to business customers. It is unlikely that the watershed will be restored during the next decade. Businesses need a more consistent supply of water so they can continue to offer their services.
Product/Solution concepts (Brief description of general concepts)
- Your company could contract with entities that have rights to large quantities of water in other areas and transfer water to the affected areas for sale/distribution to businesses in large quantity bottles.
- Your company could construct water storage facilities in the region supplied from water sources at a distance and offer delivery of water to back up tanks in each business who need consistent supply.
- Your company could build a storage facility and fill it with privately-sourced water to support (or serve as backup) for the city water distribution system. Business subscribers would pay an extra fee when their use goes beyond city-provided water and taps into reserve water from your company.
Idea Decision Criteria:
- Anticipated cost of the solution
- Anticipated feasibility of solution
- Environmental impact of solution
- Anticipated customer acceptance
Final Selection How the Product will be created and why
Water storage facilities to serve as backup to municipal water supply. Our company will contract with cities to construct water storage facilities near their water distribution utility. We will obtain water from sources outside the region where fresh water is plentiful and transport it to our storage facilities in the region. Our company will develop water transportation systems from our water source to our water storage facilities that produce minimal impact on the environment. We will contract and pay the city for distributing our water to the business customers through their system. This will benefit the local community by supporting their existing infrastructure and economy (society value). Our system will also benefit the community by serving as emergency backup if the city supplies decline further. We will install our own metering system to be able to gauge when water is being transferred from our system to the business instead of the regular city supply. The business customers will pay fees when they use our water instead of city water, but they will not need to purchase additional equipment. (Customer value of convenience and consistent supply.)
We will be contracting with local municipalities for distributing our water to business customers so we will be using an indirect distribution channel. Because customers will be able to continue to receive their water supply through the same pipes they currently use, customers will find the convenience and consistent availability to be worthwhile. (Customer value.) Customers will be able to order an Extra Tap access to our water to ensure consistent supply directly through our website. Our order and billing system will be aligned with the city or municipality so that customers will see when they use our water versus the city water.
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