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MKTG1501 Marketing Plan Analysis, University Of Queensland, Australia

Foundations of Marketing

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Question 1: Analysis of Marketing Plan

Answer: Introduction: The aim of this marketing plan analysis report is to decompose every section of the marketing plan proposed by a newly established retail store Over-the-Top Creative, which is situated in Toowong, Brisbane and evaluate them to recognize the rationale behind their existence and their effectivenessof the strategies in taking the company to its desired objective of becoming a renowned clothing store that is "funky and accessible" with a transparent sourcing process. The marketing plan submitted by the company includes the following:

• An overview of the business,

• An analysis of the retail environment within West Brisbane, and

• A detailed description of the strategies and marketing activities designed to ensure the success of the business.

This report will take up each of these section individually toanalyse and assess them and understand their effectiveness in fulfilling the objectives of the company. The analysis of this section is done answering the following four questions:

• What the firm has done?

• Why they have done?

• How have they arrived that choice or decision?

• Recommendations

Finally, the report will offer recommendation on whether any improvement is required in the plan or it can be implemented as it is. If improvements are needed at all, then which are the headings that call for modifications and how those changes can be justified in terms of increasing profitability of the company or enhancing its reach to the customers.

Question 2: Analysis of Business Overview

Answer: The overview of the business covers the all the information needed to familiarize with the business. The analysis of this section is done answering the following four

What The Firm Has Done?

The name of the businessis Over-the-Top Creative, nature of the business ownership is Limited Liability Company with the CEO holding 75% of shares and a design collective consisting of 10 designers own the remaining 25%. The business came into existence on January 2019 and is located at 35D Sherwood Road, Toowong, QLD 4066. The company has registered itself and acquired Australian Business Number (ABN) and Australian Company Number (ACN) from Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The owner

Owner of Over-the-Top Creative is Cathy Bronson-Jones who has an experience of over a decade in the clothing industry and holds a bachelor's degree in business with marketing management major along with anotherbachelor's degree in applied Consumer Science majoring in textile design. She has won 2010 Best Young Designer Award at the Melbourne Creative Arts Symposium and 2015 Runner-up in the Brisbane Textile Art and Design Competition.

The company has "The Design Collective", which is a group of young and vibrant designers and students pursuing education in designing. This group of aspiring designers are ambitious and enthusiastic. They strive to make a mark within the fashion and textile design industry. Many of the members of the Collectiveare winners of awards in student fashion competitions.

The products

The company is into clothing business with 70% of their products aiming at female consumers. They offer modified and low volume fashion clothing items that are a nice mix of newly created items and repurposed, sometimes redesigned, vintage clothing made by emerging designers. Apart from female clothing, this store also offers male clothing products andvariety of designer accessories and small gift items.

Why They Have Done?

Over-the-Top Creative is a limited liability company. Cathy selected this form of ownershipto do away with the risks and burdens of single proprietorship and the complexities of partnership. Moreover, in Australia forming a limited liability company, also known as private property company, is relatively easy. All it requires is one shareholder, one director, one resident director and no minimum paid up capital (State Government of Victoria, 2019).

Obtaining ABN and ACN are legal requirements for securing an Australian Domain name. They are also needed to be shown in different documents like invoices, cheques, official company notices and business letterheads as the business operates and transactions take place. Moreover, these numbers are required to avoid Pay as You Go (PAYG) tax on payments received, claim goods and services tax (GTS) credits, and energy grants credits (Department of Industry, Innovation And Science, 2019).

The rationale behind the choice of product is based on the knowledge and expertise of the owner and her associates. Cathy Bronson-Jones having a degree in business management and consumer science with specializations in marketing management and textile design respectively, is bound to select a business that is related to her field of education. Moreover, she has worked as a costume designer for several major professional theatre companies in Melbourne and in Brisbane and has managed a number of start-up companies within the clothing industry, which bestow her the expertise to run a clothing business by herself.

She has bring along other young designers as her shareholdersso that they can give their best to the company and at the same time promote entrepreneurship. Making these young designers her co-owners Cathy has relived herself of the hasslesrelated to labour laws and legal complications of employment contacts and employee-employer relationship (Murray, 2019).

How Have They Arrived That Choice Or Decision?

Cathy has studied the clothing retail market of Australia extensively. She has observed that the annual growth rate of the industry has been 2.4 percent during 2014-19 and the industry revenue stands at $ 17.1 billion as per the statistics revealed by IBIS World report on Clothing Retail: Australia Market research Report, 2019. She further came to know from the report that the industry is diverse and fragmented with small and independent firms. An estimated 43 percent of retailers have earned a revenue between $2000,000 and $2 million annually during 2018-19.

Moreover, a significant portion of firms operating in the industry are single ownership firms. This group constitutes around 47.7 percent of the total retailers in the market.

Recommendations: Alternatively, however, Cathy could have chosen a single ownership business pattern to start her business and employed young designers to bring out the label. The impact of this option may not have been that beneficial. As the sole owner Cathy would have been responsible for the fate of the business and should have to bear all the risks and responsibilities alone. She had to deal with all the human resource related issues and pay a fixed salary along with benefits to here employees increasing her fixed costs. With co-ownership such issues do not arise. Being holder of a percentage of company shares the members of the "Collective" will work equally hard even without remuneration for some time to ensure that the business is up and doing in short time. That is because their growth will depend on the growth of the company. Salaried employees do not think this way. They will associate themselves with an organization so long as it can deposit the salary to their accounts at the end of the month.

Question 3: The Analysis of The Vision, Mission, Purpose and Major Differences

Answer: What The Firm Has Done?

Vision: "To be a strong influence on the fashion sense and buying patterns of university students and locals within the Toowong, Taringa, St Lucia, Indooroopilly area. Our business is driven by a strong vision of sustainably sourced products that co-creates value for our designers, producers, customers and the local community."

Mission: "Operating from the close to the Toowong Village Over-the-Top Creative offers an affordable alternative to the mass market fashion garments through our collective of young designers and expert tailors. Our strength is established by the viral effect of creating a brand community that will act as both our customers and ambassadors as we seek to co-create value with them."

The company has manifolds purposes. Apart from the usual purpose of growing the business to earn profit for the CEO and the shareholders, it envisages awareness creation among the buyers about the adverse effect of globalization. It will encourage the buyers to think about the cumulative effects their individual purchasing habit have on the overall economy and the natural environment and its limited resources. The company wants to offer an experience to its potential customers that goes beyond that of the traditional clothing stores with wide range of socially and environmentally sentient choices.

Over-the-Top Creative sets itself apart from other clothing businesses as they are featuring "clothing items produced within a 200 km radius of Toowong" that will encompass low volume productions of fashion items along withpersonalized items fashioned by individual designer or craftspeople.

Why They Have Done?

Cathy has set her eyes on the local market both with university students and locals of Toowong, Taringa, St Lucia, Indooroopilly area as her prime target customers. The logic is simple and wise. It is always better to start business targeting people living in a small area and then spread it over other regions.

Additionally, she seems to be interested in engaging with local small-scale manufacturers who are often in a state of dismay in the face of competition from giant multinational organizationswho are expanding their arms to rural areas and townshipsto eat away the market of these small producers with their economies of scale and other competitive advantages.Cathy's initiative can be an answer to this challenge.At the same time,she can turn it into a competitive advantage where she can approach the potential buyers with a humane appeal to support a cause. This strategy will also lower her cost of operation.

How Have They Arrived That Choice Or Decision?

Her experience in the fashion industry has provided Cathy a deep insight that prompted her to choose local markets as targets for selling her unique products. Moreover, Cathy seemed worried about the expansion of two larger fashion multinational companies Billabong and Rip Curl (Gallie, 2018) in the local market pushing many small firms out of their businesses.

Recommendations

Alternatively, Cathy could have set up her manufacturing unit and employed local artisans to work for her. However, that would have required higher level of investment in capital equipment and considerable labor cost. This option would have further increased the complexity of the business operations right from the beginning. Sustaining a business with massive total cost and complications in operations could have been another challenge for her.

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Question 4: Analysis of Business Objectives

Answer: What The Firm Has Done?

The company has set both short term and long term business goals. In the short run, it wants to setup an interactive website by September 2019 andcreate a valuable email newsletter by May 2019. They aim to reach 500 subscribers in the year. Then the company wants to organize one successful fashion event in September 2019 that will get extensive exposure in print and digital media along with social networking platforms.

In the long run, the company wants to grow its sales to around $360,000per year and increase referred customers to 1,190 in next three years. Besides, they want to secure a rating of 9.5/10 in customer satisfaction measured by the CSAT scores together with a rise in the customer testimonials. They further are eager to gather increased customer input into sourcing. Finally, this company aspires to be an entity that will be at the top of the minds of the customers and those involved in the fashion industry.

Why They Have Done?

From the business objectives of the company, it clear that it is eager to establish itself in the fashion industry in a short period with creation of greater reach to potential customers and widespread awareness of its existence among the industry players and industry associates.

How Have They Arrived That Choice Or Decision?

Their strategies of creating a website and a newsletter are well devised and seems effective to guarantee faster recognition among customers and suppliers. The aim of organizing one fashion show is another clever move to create a buzz in the fashion industry. 

Recommendations

The long-term objectives of the firm are ambitious. To achieve them, the owner and the shareholders needs to put in their heart and soul in every stage of its operations.Although these goals are not unrealistic, they are hard to attain. The company may think of revising them down to some extent.

Question 5: Analysis of Market Overview

Answer: What The Firm Has Done?

Under market overview the company includes target market, customer profile, competitor profile, differentiators, and a SWOT analysis.

The target customer of the company are students studying at University of Queensland, workers on campus who have money for discretionary spending, people from upper-class families, residents of Toowong area, people who believe that individual purchase decision can have cumulative impact on the overall market and the environment, activist, and members of environmental groups, within the age range of 18 to 30 years. The company has also formed a secondary target group consisting of young university faulty under the age of 35, young staff members of UQ, and local residents who may not work at UQ but are in the age group of 15 to 30 years.

Given the unique nature of the business, this company does not foresee any competitor against them. They believe that local departmental stores are not their threat as their cloths does not have the exclusive attribute of environmental sustainability attached to them. On the same line, the company rules out retail behemoths like Target, Kmart as their potential threat.

The company has attempted to differentiate themselves from other clothing stores through their sourcing of products and by making efforts to foster a solution to the negative side-effects of globalization.

The SWOT analysis has identified significant internal and external factors that can affect the company positively and adversely.

Why They Have Done?

The company primarily is aiming at young people who are staying away from home either for work or for study. This is a good strategy to target the young minds as they are more sensitive towards issues like environment and its sustainability. Moreover, this generation of young people are great communicators. They are all on social media and love to flaunt. Hence, through them the company can get wide exposure quickly.

So far as the SWOT is concerned, it identified the industry knowledge and experience of the owner as a strength along with the congregation of young innovative designers. The unique attributes of the products and their non-availability elsewhere are another strong point for the business. Finally, a good business locationclose to Toowong village will ensure good foot traffic.The lack of awareness about the new store and its possible disconnect with the university students are major weaknesses. In addition, the brand is not yet established and therefore there will be trust issue with the customers during the initial phase. The owner and her associates are new to the place. Hence, their knowledge of customer profile is limited. Moreover, they do not know the peculiarities of consumer behaviour in the surrounding are of Toowong village. It may so happen that the potential customers do not move out of the village to buy their cloths. There remains some uncertainty and undefined areas.

The greatest opportunity of the company is that the awareness regarding environmental conservation and sustainability are rising rapidly among consumers. They are wholeheartedlysupporting initiatives that are working towards the cause. The second opportunity that lays ahead of the company is the local producers. Stifled by the clothing retail transnational companies and their imposing brands, these small-scale entrepreneurs were looking for avenues to continue their business operations and lead them to progress. The motto of Over-the-Top Creative to sell"clothing items produced within a 200 km radius of Toowong" will provide them with a leeway to push their products to the target customers. Support from local manufacturers is a big boon for the company.

However, there are few flip sides to the story. The rent in the Toowong region is high, which will increase the fixed cost of production. The company is also vulnerable to economic uncertainties associated with upcoming federal elections. The uncertain nature of the global economy and its unpredictable changes pose considerable threat to the business which is at its nascent stage.

How Have They Arrived That Choice Or Decision?

Cathy's degree in management with specialization in marketing management has equipped her with tools like SWOT to evaluate the internal and external environment of the business.

Recommendations

Considering none as their potential competitor seems naive and outlandish. Here, the company seems to have not studied the consumer psychology well. People tend to believe products from their age-old departmental stores more than a newly found clothing store making tall claims about environmental sustainability and ill effects of globalization. These high-sounding thoughts may have a superficial appeal but often fail to boost sales. Moreover, big retailers will also leave no stone unturned to expand their product range to environmentally suitable products. Therefore, the company must consider the presence of other departmental stores as competitors at least till the time it has established itself in the fashion market.

Question 6: Analysis of Core Marketing Strategy

Answer: What The Firm Has Done?

The message that the company wants to spread out to its customers is "When you buy local, the effects are global". This message encompasses the underlying thought of the owner of the business that individual actions do impact global behaviour. The core marketing strategy includes branding, product innovation and pricing policy. Over-the-Top Creative plans to create a simple yet striking logo centring around their "local/global" theme. This logo will be used in all promotional materials, business cards, product descriptionsand in the design of the exterior of the stores. The company will resort to social media for brand promotion where the logo will be displayed. Even the attire of the employeeswill be made from the products from the store.

The store will make variety of lucrative offers to entice the customers and will make all kinds of efforts to keep them. They will offer small gifts with introductory purchases and will provide discounts to loyal customers. It will run a "Well Dressed" program for loyal customerswhere they will receive 10% discount on their purchase and an additional 10% off for the bringing in at least four new guest along when they visit.

The company plans to price its products in the range of higher-quality chain stores. However, handcrafted products will attach a higher price than mass produced items. Usually, all their products will have a 67% mark-up over the price of the supplier.Although it seems less than the industry standard, butthe company is willing to keep its retail prices on higher side as the products are costlier to source.

Why They Have Done?

The core marketing strategy of the company is well-chalked out mostly because of the specialization of the owner of the company in marketing management. The company has planned the core strategies keeping in mind the urgent need of creating a brand awareness and setting a firm foot in the market with an impressive league of loyal customers (Simpson, Padmore, Taylor and Hughes, 2006).

How Have They Arrived That Choice Or Decision?

Cathy's degree in management with specialization in marketing management has made her competent enough to formulate marketing strategies for her business.

Recommendations

The only negative point that sticks out in the core marketing strategy is the price if the products. Given the target customers who are mostly university students, this price range will not suit them. Students many of who live in a hand to mouth situation want clothing that are reasonably priced yet long lasting. They rarely have excess money to spend on exclusive items. The other sections of the target consumers may not prefer to go for such expensive clothing items when they can get almost the same products cheaper in other departmental stores. It seems there is a mismatch between the choice of target customers and the pricing policy of the products.

To resolve the dilemma, the store can consider lowering the prices of mass produced items for initial stage till they find a footing in the industry and then can adjust the price according to the demand situation.

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Question 7: Analysis of Communication Strategy

Answer: What The Firm Has Done?

The communication strategy of marketing plan of Over-the-Top Creativeencompasses a marketing kit including the following:

• Introductory letter from the management of Over-the-Top Creative bespoke to the target recipient.

• Business overview with mission, business model, and target demography of Over-the-Top Creative

• Testimonials from customer, especially those belonging to the "Well-Dressed" group.

• Two case studies on Over-the-Top Creative and its designers

• Explanation of the referral program

In addition to it the marketing kit, the company will have marketing materials. This is the primary communication strategy. But, the company lays out a detailed communication plan that includes web plan, social media plan, lead generation plan, advertising plan, referrals, lead conversion plan, service experience, loyalty product or services offerings, and gap dashboard.

Why They Have Done?

The communication strategy has incorporated all the avenues through which the company can reach out to its existing customers, potential customers, suppliers, potential partners, or investors. These strategies if implemented properly will bear positive results for the company and enhance its profitability. However, for its effective implementation the company needs a dedicated team of people who are experts in the field (Gümüscü and Nordvall, 2016).

How Have They Arrived That Choice Or Decision?

The owner is well versed with commination theories like Social marketing theory, Cognitive Dissonance theory, Attribution theory, and Laswell's model that talk about various aspects of communication and its applications.

Recommendation

The company may alternatively choose to outsource the task to a company with specialization in managing and implementing communication strategies of other firms. Whatever be the process of implementation of the communication strategy, it will cost the company handsomely, which may get reflected in the prices of their products. Therefore, the company may choose to use these tools in a selective manner depending upon the need and urgency of the marketing strategy.

Question 8: Analysis of Marketing Calendar

Answer: What The Firm Has Done?

The marketing plan incorporates a detailed calendar for marketing engagement, monthly marketing activities, and initial marketing set up costs.

Why They Have Done?

The marketing calendar is an effective tool to plan the implementation of different selected marketing activities and to assess their associated costs.

How Have They Arrived That Choice Or Decision?

The company can base its decisions on this marketing calendar. The calendar also helps in allocation of jobs to different officials who can, in turn, schedule and manage his or her work accordingly.

Recommendations

The company could have used software to maintain its marketing calendar.

Question 9: Analysis of Financial Analysis

Answer: What The Firm Has Done?

In their marketing plan, the company has specified the sources of its financial and business data. They are Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, Walk-ins, Check-out POS system and QuickBooks.

For foresting sales, they divided the products into four categories, namely Handcrafted apparel, Women's items, Men's items, and Small gift items. Further, the company has developed a forecast table for all four of its categories for first three years along with their respective per unit prices to arrive at year -wise sales target for nest three years. In the same line, the company has estimated the direct costs of its operations.

According to the forecasting table, the company wants to achieve a sales of $ 357, 035 on third year of its operation selling an aggregate of 4321units all items at varied unit prices for four different categories.

Why They Have Done?

The tools selected for data collection are effective as they provide real-time data and helps in expediting the decision making process.

How Have They Arrived That Choice Or Decision?

Observing the massive success of these online tools in other businesses, and gathering information from various authentic sources and reports, the company has come to this conclusion.

Recommendations

The methods of acquiring financial and business data may be good for initial years of business, but the company must think of developing a robust accounting system following all the international accounting standards to get the exact figures about its business activities, sales, figures, revenue earned, costs incurred, and profits made.

Question 10: Analysis of Marketing Expense Budget

Answer: What The Firm Has Done?

The plan includes a marketing budget which focuses most of its expenses on radio advertising. This is to reach out to the local people and university students. The next best method of marketing is chosen to be newspaper advertisements. Third is online advertising. The company has planned the total marketing expense for next three years and plans to gradually lower the expenditure on advertisements.

Why They Have Done?

From the budget it appears the company still believes in traditional modes of marketing practices and is relying more on print media than digital media for its spread across the area.

How Have They Arrived That Choice Or Decision?

A 2016 article published in ADWEEK by Emma Brazilian titled "How advertising on different types of media affects sales of consumer packaged goods" helped Cathy choose different platforms for promotion.

Recommendations

Whether to decrease the marketing expense will depend on how the company receives acceptance among its targeted customers, how well their local/global theme appeals to people, and how well the price suits their pockets.

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Question 11: Analysis of Evaluation and Control

Answer: What The Firm Has Done?

An evaluation process has beendevised in the marketing plan to compare the goals with the actual achievements. This will be done quarterly on a year. The company chooses nine key marketing matrices to evaluate their achievements with respect to the planned targets. They arerevenue, leads, leads converted, average transactions or customers, average income per customer, referrals, PR mentions, testimonials, and new loyalty program members.

Why They Have Done?

Evaluation is an integral part of business to know its current state and level of progress, use of resources and areas of concern.

How Have They Arrived That Choice Or Decision?

Cathy's previous experience of managing start ups have supported her in making choices of evaluation parameters.

Recommendation

The nine paraments of assessment and control are sufficient for the starting phase of the business. As the business will grow over the years, newer parameters should be added to make the evaluation process more efficient.

Conclusion: The analysis of the marketing plan reveals that Over-the-Top Creative is ready to face the market and is determined to make its presence felt strongly in the fashion industry with a differentiated approach focusing on environmental awareness, its protection and sustainability together with an objective of supporting local manufacturers threatened by the enormous presence of multinational brands. The marketing plan is detailed in facts and meticulous in strategy and action planning. However, there are a few areas that need improvement including pricing policy. There seems a mismatch between the target customer and the pricing policy envisaged by the company. If not modified, the total marketing plan may turn out to be a disaster with poor acceptance of their products due to high price.

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