Personal Reflective Blog 3

Developing the marketing plan

Insights into the relationship between product development market positioning and target audience:

The effect on product development of the market positioning and target audience is dependent on the company market orientation (Kotler, Armstrong and Harris (2013)). An inside-out approach, when coupled with an innovator style, will not consider the market place but will devise a strategy for their innovative product. In addition, companies that rely purely on market analysis and their strength in addressing opportunities (use of SWOT) will develop a product purely for the market. However, the relationship becomes more interesting when the product is modified to reflect the market conditions. This is particularly pertinent to those on the MMU Product Design MA as most products have arisen from an innovative/ creative background but do not necessarily have the strength to stand alone as a true innovator.

The target market identified in reference to the ‘Diffusion of innovation’ model (Rogers (1983)), which illustrates the rates of uptake in new to the world products as time develops is to aim at innovators and early adopters with no intention of sustaining into the majority, rather, with a constant reset towards innovators and Early adopters. Using targeting such as behavioural and benefits of service segmentation will benefit this organisation, as quality will be a main driver for purchases and how customers use the product or where they shop are identifiers for target customers.

Your understanding of the dynamics between operations management, logistics and supply chain budgeting, lifetime value, marketing and selling:

The industry best practice approach of ‘the 4 P’s’ – product, price, place and promotion –  enables assessment of how a product or strategy is brought to market.

As previously discussed, ensuring value delivery and customer satisfaction are of the upmost importance in marketing. Many customer driven companies have customer relation managers. Loyal customers are worth investing in and growing. At this point marketers spend time gaining a stronger share of the customer rather than market share. Ensuring their customer equity will be maximised brings you back to needing to know what your customer wants and needs and ensuring they want more of it.

Also at this point it is about finding the profitable customers (they are usually a few) and focus of growing these relationships. It is ok to get rid of the non profitable customers says Kotler, Armstrong, and Harris (2013, p29) let the none profitable customers go to your competitors!

Along side a strategic plan and a comprehensive understanding of your customers wants and needs, it is important to keep an eye on marketing trends. Trends are like pathways to success if you can get on board at the right time.

Managing interdependent tasks in the development of product and marketing plans:

When considering how the application of an outside-in strategy would affect the development of both a marketing plan and the development of a product, the interdependent tasks would be concerned with the plan and producing sufficient direction for the product’s development. Providing an understanding of the market, the key needs the product must fulfil and the price bracket, production availability and location of sale will all have significant dampening effects on the creative process.

The process of inside-out would have resulted in a strategy to identify the appropriate market place and consumers for the predetermined product. Keeping the product core values and strengths at the heart of the strategy and development of the marketing plan, the interdependent tasks would have been around, making the marketing plan fit. Finding correct models and research to deliver the product to the strongest possible market available.

Reflecting on the interdependent tasks during development of both the marketing plan and product, it can be said that the process has been quite iterative. With a strong understanding of where the product will be going, an idea of the core values and strengths the organisation currently hold it can be compared to having a blurry end goal. With the blurry end goal in mind, the following interdependent tasks have been experienced:

  • ·During situation analysis, the development of the ‘need’ created a redefining for the product. Moving it from something creatively and process lead and into a functioning concept with attributable values.
  • ·The PESTE, and porter five forces analysis brought to light areas for the organisation to keep an eye on, these were key factors in the direction of the products, learning that there was new technology or expected sales growth in areas encouraged the product direction to favour these anticipated markets. Making significant changes to entice the customer or include new technology, yet retaining the element of innovation the product started with is key.
  • ·Competitive analysis required an investigation into areas not covered by product design. Competitive analysis such as relative product quality, brand image, fulfilling company strategy and further direction. This threw up an understanding for the strategic level of the competitors and the potential challenges as well as the current.
  • Taking a business view of the organisations assets, capabilities and resources, highlighted areas overlooked as assets previously. Bringing to the forefront new opportunities and directions for investment in the future. A therapeutic and fulfilling process.

Kotler, P., Armstrong, G. and Harris, L. (2013) Principles of marketing. 6th edn. Harlow: Financial Times, Prentice Hall


Personal Reflective Blog 1

Market Led Management

Perception of Marketing prior to the marketing unit:

Marketing conjures images of Only Fools and Horses, Phones 4 You and the Marketing team at Tigerprint. A main concern prior to this module was the methods by which the ‘bible status’ market research was gained. The Tigerprint team would gain fresh data by observing members of the public shop in our stores, visit their homes and spend time getting to know them. "The aim is to know the customer better so that they can be given what they want." (Davis, no date) From this data, the marketing team would then create a customer profile. These were helpful and insightful as it enabled the designers to understand instantly the key needs and expectations of the product. This understanding of customers in the marketplace is defined by Kotler, Armstrong, and Harris (2013) as a customer database. A fantastic example of this is Tesco’s Clubcard loyalty program. “In operation since 1995 during which time its capability of gaining insight from customers has advanced dramatically says retail weekly" (Davis, no date).

The definitions of marketing discussed (see more here: link) show marketing is all about relationships. Making business decisions with the customer in mind. Creating a process/plan that speeds up the company progress towards their desired end goals. For me a company who have customer relationships at the forefront of their marketing process is Orange.

Elements of the unit which provided you with new insights into marketing practice:

An insightful definition from Kotler et al (2013) describes that wants and needs aren’t the same. You may want several products but only buy one. Asking where do consumers spend their money? Is what marketers are interested in.
Marketing is more of an investigation into who and why rather than just how to sell, with a dynamic approach to an organisations competitive advantage. Marketing is a reflective practice and potentially as subjective and opinion lead as design.

Marketing and its relation to selling and operations orientation:

With a customer centred approach, the ‘marketing concept’ suggests a strategy of sense and respond to your target markets wants and needs. This strategy is popular with marketers "market orientations ... often seen as the holy grail of marketers"  (Drummond, Ensor, and Ashford, 2001, p10). This is an 'outside-in' perspective.

The selling concept holds, that organisations will not sell products unless undertaking a large-scale selling and promotion effort. The selling concept is often used when the product is unknown to the customer. Drummonds, Edensor and Ashford (2001, p10) warn that having a dominant short-term perspective can lead to an aggressive selling and a disregard for the longer-term relationships.

Long-term relationships and customer satisfaction will be significantly harder if a business follows a selling strategy. I am concerned about this focus on customers - what if they don't know what they want or what is possible for that matter?

The evolving nature of marketing into service and consumer relationship management:

The nature of marketing has been challenged over the past years, under the influence of the changes in customer behaviour and in the competitive environment. The differences between transactional and relationship selling are many. And the shift from marketing into service and consumer relationship management has happened. Marketing is now more about looking after the customer; customer relationship management enables an organisation to be tied to their customers never getting out of touch with them and their secondary beliefs. Creating touch points can maximise customer loyalty. E.g. the use of a sales assistant who talk to customers, targeting emails or involving customers in the design process.

Some companies have carried customer relation management to the point where customers have become partners. This is one way partnerships can occur. Another example of this is partnership relationship management. Here partners participate in each other’s strategies and plans. For example: Dell and Intel both advertise the valuable element of their relationship.

Your perception of the marketing function and its role in shaping the product design function:

Product designers use the function of marketing, while shaping the final product design, however, it is not as detailed or formalised. The reality surrounding designing and launching a successful product without considering the market is not an option, maybe for an artist – but not a designer.

Within the marketing orientation a lot of emphasis it placed on the consumer “the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.” Kotler et al here highlight the two-way value relationship required for successful marketing. Dibb and Simkin (2008, p1) define this two-way relationship as an exchange relationship, however this relationship unifies designer and marketer as one. With such a strong emphasis on customer needs, true innovation is hindered. As explained in Shimpei Takahashi TED talk: play this game to come up with original ideas. (March 2010) where he discusses the pressure to use data as a starting point for design quashed his creativity. Taking inspiration from pre-existing products will often lead to copying rather than true innovation.

With this in mind, however, it can be said that during the process of writing’s marketing plan the product has under gone significant changes as market trends and competitor analysis have sparked new ideas. Understanding the actual needs and wants will enable the product to become market ready.

Conclusion – view of marketing has changed. It can now be held that marketing is a key part of the development of successful market ready products. However, to attain true innovation, marketing must not be apart of the initial concept phase and therfore a suggestion of B.S.O.S.T.A.C. would be the approach taken when approaching market led product design in the future, with B standing for Blue sky thinking. It is my belief that Blue sky thinking and true ‘free rein’ of idea conception is required to create something truly unique.

Davis, G. (no date) Analysis: Loyalty cards - How retailers are using the data
What is marketing? definition and meaning (no date) in Available at: (Accessed: 25 May 2015)

Kotler, P., Armstrong, G. and Harris, L. (2013) Principles of marketing. United Kingdom: Financial Times, Prentice Hall

Drummond, G., Ensor, J. and Ashford, R. (2001) Strategic marketing: planning and control. 2nd edn. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann

Takahashi, S. (2013) Shimpei Takahashi: Play this game to come up with original ideas | Talk Video. Available at: (Accessed: 25 May 2015)


Company and marketing strategy

Partnering to build customer relationships.

Most of us own a pair of Nike shoes and we are all familiar with their famous swoosh logo. Nike has grown from a running shoes company into a multi million dollar, sports apparel giant. Nike’s business success was built on sound marketing. This became more apparent during the 1990’s when profits slipped, and a return to the basics that made it successful worked again: creating innovation, following opportunities and developing new products, using superior information and distribution methods.

John Lewis at the beginning of 2009 was entering a difficult time and they were not well positions; aiming at middle-income customers with fairly premium products, marketing was not at the top of its priority list. Now in 2014, however, things have changed. Through the use of powerful, emotional and honest television adverts John Lewis have made the customers believe. Marketing their core message of “the home for thoughtful giving” in a very unscientific, unplanned way. Through the use of music and television they create and share an emotion, believable and relatable message.

Strategic planning will be the process of finding and maintaining a strategic fit between the organisations goals and capabilities on the one hand and the changing marketing opportunities on the other hand. Strategic planning is the basic for which all the other planning a company must do will build upon. Balancing the fine line between, company end goals, and marketers new ideas. (Kotler, Armstrong, and Harris 2013, p38)

Step 1: How do we start to plan? Defining the company’s overall purpose and mission.
A Mission statement ought to characterise the organisation's principal and priorities and define the broad product, market and technologies that are core to the business. (Drummond, Ensor, and Ashford, 2001, p129)
Mission statement - a statement of the organisation's purpose - what it wants to accomplish in the larger environment. (Kotler, Armstrong, and Harris, 2013, p664)

Upon finalising a mission statement an organisation can then develop the objectives that guide the company. th mission statement is often responsible for the success or failure of the company goals and objectives. Having a clear Mission statment provides a source of reference for the whole company, (Drummond, Ensor, and Ashford, 2001) below I will discuss the sucessful use of Corporate mission statements:

nike, Their mission statment is both memorable and poweful. I understand where they are heading, who they are targeting and their overall goal - to inspire everyone with new innovation! I will aim to keep my as punching and powerful.

Apple - “Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.”
Apple's Mission statment was quite hard to find on any offical websites, In complete contrast to Nike,s, who have thiers as the opening website page. Apples statement is slight longer, however they still maintain a powerful message of innovation and customer experience.

Southwest Airlines - The mission of Southwest Airlines is "dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit."

Southwest Airlines is a fantastic example of how a powerful mission statement’s impact can filter down to the whole company. In Drummond, Ensor, and Ashford, (2001, p133) this nature of support is described as 'passionate support'. The Mission statement will be central to each who have identified with the values and philosophy of the organisation. driving them to delivery a 'high quality customer service' inline with the key mission statement: Warm, friendly and individual.
I find this level of trust in every employee from high management, inspirational. As each employee delivers their personal interpretation of the mission statement, demonstrate their full understanding of the company
goals and objectives. Customers are now filming the hilarious and individual examples of customer service from Southwest Airlines members of staff,  and the response through social media is so positive.

Each of the examples above has an understanding of their future markets and position in our society. Nike, live and breath their mission statement, and it is at the forefront of their advertising campaigns, encouraging the customer to believe their message, similarly Southwest Airlines key message is an honest message feeding into every customer. It is the honestly and believability I would like to capture in my mission statement. the four major sources of influence acting upon the core meaning behind an organisations existence. Johnson and Scholes (1999) has a heavy focus on the principles and priorities of the organisation, making my mission statement too long and wordy I prefer Kotler, Armstrong and Harris (2013) who give a list of key considerations when wiriting a mission statment: realistic, specific, not to broad and not to narrow. fit the market environment. Highlighting the distictive competancies. motivating. They also suggest some key question to help, below are my answers:

I will now ask their suggested question and re-deliver a mission statement:
What is our business? – Delivering sensual illuminated 3D surface art to the home.
Who is the customer? – House-proud homeowner, looking for something unique.

What do consumers value? – Individuality, hand made element and ambience.
What should our business be? – Design detail, personalise-able and unique.

There are also many different examples of mission statements online - it seams there is no wrong or right way to do it. If my mission statement can resonate with me, inspires me and is clear enough to give my business a targeted direction I feel it will be successful: - Mission Statement

Step 2 – set company objectives and goals:
There are differing views on the definition of goals and objectives; some writers see goals as being less specific than objectives. Drummond, Ensor, and Ashford, (2001, p135) discuss objectives being more specific than goals, due to the use of quantifiable objectives. Normally referred to by their acronym SMART: specific measurable aspirational realistic and timescales. Objectives give the organisation quantifiable targets.

Drucker (1954) expands on the topic of objectives, adding a list of 8 key areas organisations should cover when developing objectives, ensuring focus is not to overriding on one area. It has been argued by (Stephens, 2015), however, that Smart goals suck to start up companies, Stevens explains that measurable specific goals can sometimes be unhelpful in the creative fast paced environment of start-up concluding that SMART objectives often feels clunky.
Stevens approach to objective setting focuses on motivating employees, he calls his approach to goal setting ACE goals:  Ambitious, Creative and Exciting. “You need to find the projects rather than the metrics that will make your team to hit their targets” (Stephens, 2015)

Below are my first attempts at Objective making:

Gather consumer research around my sensual illuminated surfaces.
Develop and finalise the illumined frame unit.
Manufacture illuminated frame unit.
Launch product to online market.
Build profitable customer relationships

 SMART Objectives: Objective

ACE Objectives: Ambitious, Creative and Exciting.

Create a range of illuminated surfaces that I could gift to my close family and friends. Gain feedback and further develop. Then through my Advanced digital design module develop the unit to surround the surfaces and take the surfaces into 3D printing. Use Orchid to help launch the product into the online market place prior to my final degree show next year.

 With the SMART objectives, I can get the ambitious, creative, excitement across to my self. Once I am guiding others I feel the ACE approach would be more suitable and would add the visual, end goal picture designers love.



Writer, S. and Writer, posted by S. (no date) How John Lewis learned to make the nation cry... and buy – Watch the exclusive documentary. Available at: (Accessed: 1 April 2015)

Kotler, P., Armstrong, G. and Harris, L. (2013) Principles of marketing. Harlow: Financial Times, Prentice Hall

Stephens, B. (2015) SMART goals SUCK for start-ups - Starting a business advice and business ideas. Available at: (Accessed: 12 May 2015)