Assessment 1: Market Intelligence Report (Individual)

Assessment type Business Report (Individual)
Word limit 2500 words (+/- 10%); excluding the Executive Summary, Table of Contents, Reference List.
Due Date Sunday, 27th August 2023, 23:59 (Melbourne time)
Weighting 30%

Overview

Your aim for this report is to explore themes from the external environment in order to clearly define the marketing problem you are solving and to inform the strategy that you will devise in your next assignment (Assignment 2 – Strategic Marketing Plan).

Theme: an idea that captures something important about the data in relation to the research question that represents a pattern in responses. (Braun & Clarke, 2006, in Ryan and Bernard, University of Florida)

Subtheme: A subtheme is a more specific element yet resides within the same idea. Subthemes are used sparingly when that particular element of a theme has a particular focus, is notable or is particularly important to the research aim. For example, a broad theme may be female empowerment. Subthemes within this may be organisational culture, mobility, role descriptions.

To consider further how to identify themes in your research consider reading Techniques to Identify Themes in Qualitative Data (Ryan and Bernard, University of Florida): 

At the heart of qualitative data analysis is the task of discovering themes. By themes, we mean abstract, often fuzzy, constructs which investigators identify before, during, and after data collection. Where do these themes come from?

They come from reviewing the literature, of course. Richer literatures produce more themes. They come from the characteristics of the phenomena being studied. And they come from already-agreed-upon professional definitions, from local common-sense constructs, and from researchers’ values, theoretical orientation, and personal experience with the subject matter (Bulmer 1979; Strauss 1987; Maxwell 1996).” (Ryan and Bernard, University of Florida).

Assessment criteria

This assessment will measure your ability to:

  • Setting the context: Statement of purpose, and research design selected (3 pts)
  • Collect and integrate secondary research into report – PESTLE, Target stakeholder analysis, Perceptual Maps, Desk Research of peer/academic journals/articles (10 pts)
  • Collect and integrate primary research into report – minimum 5 interviews conducted with target stakeholder/consumer – convenience sampling permitted (5 pts)
  • Synthesis findings: illustrating themes and thematic connections/distinctions, integrating your findings from your secondary and primary research (7 pts)
  • Present appropriate Narrative Structure/Design/Writing mechanics/Referencing (5 pts)

Course learning outcomes

This assessment is relevant to the following course learning outcomes:

CLO1: Apply the key concepts and tools of marketing theory and practice to enable the application of marketing functions in a professional context.
CLO5. Present quantitative information in a clear, simple and informative format.

 Assessment Details

Your market intelligence report is an exploration and investigation of current market dynamics. It takes a holistic lens of broad and narrow influences of consumer/stakeholder attitudes and behaviours. To achieve a holistic lens of a market you need to consider both direct and indirect influences impacting the actors (i.e., consumers and/or stakeholders) within those markets. Consumer attitudes and behaviours may be affected by influences beyond an organisation’s relationship with them. 

Changes in political, economic, social, technology, environmental, and legal (PESTLE) circumstances may directly or indirectly impact consumer behaviour in both B2B and B2C markets. For example, regulatory change may impact consumer and organizational compliance behaviour. Economic change may impact risk tolerance, budgets and consumer confidence. Social and environmental change may impact consumer attitudes towards organisational practices – i.e., ethics, social responsibility and sustainability (ERS). Political change may impact consumer confidence. These impacts may be direct or indirect and it is of critical important to recognise their impact on markets.

Reframing the industry Partner Brief

Therefore, it is possible and often likely that an industry partner marketing brief may need to be refined based on what we learn from our market intelligence report. For example, an industry partner may suggest they need to increase sales or grow into new markets. However, your market intelligence may inform that there are critical issues of social and environmental concern that are influencing consumer behaviours in the market we are investigating and engaging these consumers in a meaningful and relevant manner may be the priority goal as a pathway to growth. Therefore, the priority may move from growth to engagement.

Why A1 is an individual work?

We are undertaking this market intelligence report individually so that every student gets to experience this critical aspect of the marketing planning process (i.e., market research). If research is designed poorly or poorly undertaken, then the data output can appear impressive in a report yet misinform the subsequent design of strategy (Assignment 2) and not achieve the organisations marketing goals and objectives.

In this assignment you will experience:

  • Thinking holistically about the external environment by exploring relevant themes across secondary data (literature review) and primary data (five interviews) sources
  • Investigate the learnings from exploring secondary research in order to locate themes that emerge from multiple sources (peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed sources) and from your primary interview data
  • Explore conducting qualitative one-to-one interviews (using technology remotely (or in person where relevant and able)) to probe deeply and explore deeper meanings/motives/insights
  • Conduct a critical analysis of secondary data and primary data, to identify the characteristics, approaches, limitations and contributions of each, in order to aid the development of argument to form your narrative.
  • Demonstrate synthesizing data via the use of comparative tables, tools (e.g., Perceptual Maps), that enable data insights to be shown and communicated effectively (i.e., that aim is to compare and contrast themes to filter a broader number of themes to a primary set of three to five themes)
  • Create a narrative (story) that is argued (supported) by your data that supports the conclusions you reach regarding the main themes and insights that inform your reframing (or clarifying) the marketing problem you are seeking to solve (which will be solved in the next group assessment – your Strategic Marketing Plan).

Writing Style

The main aim of this report is to collate your research, and as such you don’t need to write in paragraphs, offer big elaborations, or use fancy language. The goal is to capture key insights on paper, in a readable format. As such, dot point form is a perfectly acceptable writing format here. I have provided a sample report structure to provide you with a guide of how you can tabulate your primary and secondary research and combine your group’s findings also for comparison (see Appendix).

Research Methods

It is expected that students will engage in a mix of both secondary research (including PESTLE) and primary research (where relevant to your industry partner research project). Please see the details below.

PESTLE Analysis

Some students wonder how broad political, economic, social, technology, legal and environmental themes may be relevant to their research project. However, this approach is common practice in marketing as it is well researched that consumer behaviour is influenced by external influences that may be direct or indirect. If you employ brand development expertise to revisit your brand purpose and value proposition (product/service offer – positioning, value chain, engagement and communications strategy), they will always start by looking at global influences of trends in human and consumer attitudes and behaviour.

An existential example we have also experienced and witnessed is the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. A combination of political, legal, economic, social, environmental and technology attributes have transformed the way consumers are engaging in markets and consuming. Similarly, relevant themes have emerged from this global phenomenon including social equity, fairness, minority discrimination, racism, inclusion, technology divide, and many more themes. Your task will be to identify under each PESTLE category, which themes are broadly prevalent (possibly beyond the scope of your project), which at best may have minor influence and which do you feel potentially have influence (direct or indirect). For example, economic uncertainty (pandemic) and transparency regarding social enterprises (bushfires) may potentially impact how some people engage with social enterprises moving forward (e.g. transparency may be enabled by technologies such as blockchain, which may influence trust). Further, economic uncertainty main influence multiple actions, such as reduced spending or possibly a sense of control of future outcomes by choosing to engage with social enterprises to enable desired outcomes. We don’t know at this early stage with any certainty. However, we need to be open to reading what has been said in peer-reviewed academic journals and other sources. Your task will be to highlight those you feel are the most relevant, while demonstrating your thinking was not narrow from the outset (therefore, retain some broader less relevant themes in your final artefact). The reader needs evidence of your breadth of consideration as well as your filtering of issues and associated themes.

Secondary Data Collection (Review of literature and other available resources)

A thorough scan of the external environment will lead you to available resources on the internet and via the library (this is secondary research or ‘desk research’). Students are first and foremost encouraged to develop a thorough collection of relevant articles (a mix of peer-reviewed articles and other articles) and reports (or other sources). This secondary research is focused on identifying existing themes (recurring ideas) that are relevant when addressing your research aim.

While this task is listed after the PESTLE analysis, it does inform a potential symbiotic relationship, as a critical review of secondary literature can inform the relevance of current PESTLE issues and how they have informed consumer behaviour in the past. Therefore, it is suggested your PESTLE and Secondary Literature review assist in informing each other, along with the specific contextual knowledge of your industry partner project.

Your literature review needs to present an analysis of what is known, what is less known, and identify the key concepts, issues, or themes that are, or may be linked to our industry partner’s problem. Secondary Data Collection is a review of literature and other available sources such as:

  • Peer-reviewed academic articles
  • Industry and market reports (from credible sources – i.e., consulting firms, government, etc.)
  • News articles from credible news organisations
  • Annual reports (also of similar companies to get a feeling of the market)
  • Magazines such as Wired, Economist, HBR, Business Week – Bloomberg

EXAMPLE of a research report with secondary data focus (Denim Market in Singapore).

Primary Data Collection (Industry/Stakeholder engagement)

It is expected that you will participate in the process of engagement with relevant industry stakeholders (or members of the public, generally who may provide you with broader public insights on the themes). You will choose who you have best access to. This is called convenience sampling. 

Some of you will know people in the industry broadly or specifically and others will not. That is fine. Just state in your method your approach and how you chose your respondents (interviewees). This represents a type of ‘immersive research’, which is typical of a marketing consultancy project. You are encouraged to conduct interviews with stakeholder’s representative of the customer market if possible or seek broader representation (e.g. general public). The respondents (people) you approach may be selected from convenience sampling, or strategically (that will vary depending on your own networks and  preferred strategy). Even if you choose a family member or friend, remember the focus will be on learning about their connection to the core themes you are exploring (well before introducing the specific context of our industry partner). 

By engaging in some primary qualitative research, you will get to explore a research method that is increasingly important in learning about the higher-order motives that the organization needs to appeal to, in order to influence consumer behavior. It is possible this will already be found among peer-reviewed secondary research. However, we find in all projects that students gain some insights not located in the secondary research data they have read and reviewed.

When you conduct your interviews – (this is primary research). This will help you develop empathy or understanding of them and the meanings they attach to their daily realities. Your interviews will be informed by a theme(s) emerging from your secondary research data. When conducting your primary research commence with broad open questions about the themes, without introducing the specific context of your industry partner.

The aim is to learn what people think about the theme itself generally, before we later become specific in questioning (in the second half of the interview). 

This is important as interviewees may have strong views or hold assumptions about the specific context you introduced later in the interview regarding your industry project. So first seek to learn what they think about the broader theme (generally – or allowing them to use contexts they are comfortable and familiar with).

For example, past students chose themes such as ‘female empowerment’ when researching a women’s football league and female membership of a league club. Themes such as trust, transparency, engagement, relatability, sustainability etc may be relevant to social enterprises that engage technology to embrace the capability of data, apps, and gamification to engage consumers. At this early stage of your interview, you will have allowed the respondent (interviewee) the ability to consider their thoughts generally first.

Perceptual Maps

Perceptual maps are a useful marketing tool for this purpose of mapping where your industry partner brand ranks according to the themes (or criteria) your research considers important. Having multiple perceptual maps enables you to compare more than two themes and combinations of themes (where relevant).

Perceptual maps are often used in marketing for comparing competitors. However, essentially, they are a useful tool to compare consumer perceptions based on two themes (or criteria) against one or more competitors in a market. This may include looking solely at your industry partner if you decide that competitor comparison adds little value and you would rather just look deeply at their ranking. This mapping helps inform where you industry partner is (e.g. ranked on transparency, compared to trust or market attractiveness or whatever your emergent themes may be).

Constructing multiple (a few) perceptual maps is a good way to show where your industry partner brand is currently perceived relative to the themes you identify as important across your secondary and primary research.

 Some guidance on interviewing

Example of a research report with primary data focus:

 Designing your project and taking ownership

You can and will take ownership of their approach to collecting information about the market, segments, and potential target markets. You have a number of options available to you in terms of primary and secondary research. You should choose your approach thoughtfully. Seek advice from your lecturer should you have difficulty. Send an email of your ideas or ask how to get started. You need be able to justify the reason why you chose the approach you have taken. Keep it simple where you can. Explain your method after you have chosen

References

  • Academic referencing standards as per your Course Guide Part B, need to be followed. (RMIT College of Business uses Harvard referencing)
  • At least 6 peer-reviewed articles to contribute to rigorous analysis and understanding of the research problem (note: research does not require the same exact context, merely addresses a relevant theme, issue, problem, or opportunity).
  • At least 3 industry or government reports (or other sourced data/information that adds to the argument you present).

Please check out below some resources to help you with your secondary research and how to navigate the RMIT library database:

  • Videos
  • Links

Suggested Format

Your report will consist of:

Structure Details
Executive Summary c   Aim/purpose

c   What you explored

c   Findings/highlights

c   Conclusion

  1. Introduction
c   Relevant background of the project partner

c   Aim of the research

c   The Marketing Problem -– your view of the marketing brief (note this may be reframed at the end of the report).

c   Personal Pre-conceived Bias – State any prior assumptions or pre-conceived bias you have as the researcher (this aids relevant disclosure from the researcher – for example in past projects some students work within the industry and have pre-established views. State them up front so that your discussion of findings can incorporate a shift from assumptions.) This helps address researcher bias.

  1. PESTLE Analysis
c   Start broad, include references and highlight PESTLE issues and/or themes most relevant to the context of our industry partner

c   Drawing clear implications for the industry/industry partner (company)

  1. Secondary Research
c  Insights across multiple secondary sources (refer to the A1 Guide)

c  Main themes and insights (balance analysis VS description)

c  Comparative table of secondary sources (table of themes, as per example provided)

c  Indicate themes that emerge from the sources

  1. Primary Research
c  Min. of 5 interviews

c  Convenience sampling

c  Showing insights, validation of themes

c  Comparative table of primary sources

c   Indicate themes that emerge from the sources

  1. Summary Analysis of Research Themes
c   Similarities and differences between secondary and primary data;

c   explanation of research themes.

c   Big-picture analysis of research findings

  1. Perceptual Map(s)
c  Produce one or more perceptual maps to plot the industry partner offers to consumers based on dimensions of consumer motives

c  Perceptual map(s) showing industry partner VS its direct/indirect competitors

c   The axes reflect consumer motivations/decision-making process and/or company’s differentiation elements

  1. Reframing the marketing problem/challenge
The purpose of reframing the problem is to ensure that the problem you are solving is relevant to your research findings in your Marketing Intelligence Report. You will reframe the original problem by using the ‘how might we’ reframing method as that will inform the strategy which you will undertake for your Assessment 2-group report.
  1. Conclusion
This should succinctly clearly state the outcome of your research report, which is the underlying problem you have identified and the key themes that will inform marketing strategy formation as you move forward to your strategic marketing plan (Assignment 2).

Appendix (Samples and Template)

To download:

These are a few examples of prior student assignments. Note the differences in presentation styles so that you structure your report style to suit your analysis and findings.

Report Sample 1

 To preview:

(Note: this is an example only and was provided based on a previous Founders Program Project – it provides a guide to structure as an option for you only)

Executive Summary

*** Brief summary of the method you used and main findings of your research.

Your purpose: to discover what is known about the priority of needs of founders from secondary sources and to compare this with the understanding that founders have about their perception of their priority of needs. To do this you acknowledge that an inductive approach to gathering primary data is required such that your analysis reflects how founders view their own lives. By comparing founders understanding of their priorities, you aim to learn about the priorities of needs that they consider important and ensure that the program that is designed is founded upon needs that founders consider highly relevant to them (rather than rely on what objective research knowns is important for their well-being). (In other words, you want to design a program that founders feel is worth their while attending, based on addressing what they consider important.)

What you explored:

  • Secondary Research: a combination of limited secondary research i.e., minimum six peer-reviewed journal articles (located from the RMIT Digital Library database – e.g., ABI/Inform, ProQuest, or IBIS World selecting peer reviewed articles only) and three general articles (located from same database or other internet searches).
  • Primary Research: You employed inductive analysis using an existential approach, where your aim was to allow the voice (and perceptions) of the founders you spoke with to rise to the surface so that you captured their understanding of their reality.
  • You may have conducted five interviews initially, combined insights with your group members and then returned for a second interview from each of your respondents. Or you may have re-interviewed just one of your original respondents and conducted two new interviews (the method chosen is up to you – there is no correct way. You merely need to in your method section explain why you chose your particular approach (e.g. convenience, or you felt more was to be learned by re-interviewing and/or seeking a fresh respondent).

Your finding/highlight is:

  • This includes the priority order of anchors that your collective group arrived at, and
  • how this compared and contrasted to both your individual priority of anchors and
  • the priority of anchors suggested by the secondary research you read.

Your conclusion is:

  • (for example) You may conclude that collective group interviews enabled an inductive understanding, such that the priority of needs (anchors) for founders is (2, 3, 1, 4) compared to your individual interviews, which found the priority order to be 3, 2, 1, 4), which differed from existing secondary research (1, 2, 3, 4).
  • Therefore, combining a qualitative discovery approach, with secondary research enabled important insights to better understand the foundation pillars that will guide the design of the Founders Program that you will provide in your Marketing Plan (on Founders Program).

Introduction

  • Relevant background of the project partner
  • Aim of the research
  • The Marketing Problem -– your view of the marketing brief (note this may be reframed at the end of the report).
  • Personal Pre-conceived Bias – State any prior assumptions or pre-conceived bias you have as the researcher (this aids relevant disclosure from the researcher – for example in past projects some students work within the industry and have pre-established views. State them up front so that your discussion of findings can incorporate a shift from assumptions.) This helps address researcher bias.

PESTLE

Table and discussions

Secondary Research

Articles/Insights 1. Time 2. Finance 3. Talent 4. Skills
Article 1

e.g., Smith (2017)

 

X

   

X

 

X

Article 2

e.g., Moses (2008)

   

X

 

X

 

X

Article 3

e.g., Said (2008)

 

X

     
Article 5

e.g., Mendez (2008)

 

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

Article 6

e.g., Xu (2008)

   

X

 

X

 

X

Article 1

e.g., Singh (2008)

 

X

     
Report 1

e.g., McKinsey (2014)

 

X

 

X

 

X

 
Report 2

e.g., Johnston (2017)

   

X

   
Report 3

e.g., Blake (2018)

 

X

     
 

Total

 

6

 

5

 

4

 

3

Discuss the themes and insights that emerged from your secondary research as per a similar table to this that clearly shows the key themes (or anchors) and the priority order emerging (in this simple example they are presented in the order of greatest occurrence across your nice sources (6 peer-reviewed articles and 3 non-peer-reviewed sources).

You need to discuss, compare and contrast findings, and present an argument that your table shows where the balance of your sample of secondary sources presents regarding priority of anchors.

Primary Research

Show as a similar table (add additional columns for any new anchors that appear that were not in the secondary research (such as Bonds)

Example only using start-up founders from an earlier project undertaken

Articles/Insights 3. Time 2. Finance 5. Talent 1. Skills 4. Bonds
Start-up Founder 1

First interview

 

 

   

 

 

X

 
Founder 1

Second interview

 

X

 

X

 

X

 

X

 

X

Founder 2

First interview

 

 

 

X

   

X

 

X

Founder 2

Second interview

 

X

 

X

 

 

 

X

 

X

Founder 3

First interview

   

X

 

X

 

X

 
Founder 3

Second interview

 

X

 

X

 

X

 

X

 

X

Founder 4

First interview

 

X

 

X

 

 

 

X

 
Founder 4

Second interview

 

X

 

X

 

X

 

X

 

X

Founder 5

First interview only

 

X

       

X

 

Total

 

6

 

7

 

4

 

8

 

6

Now you can:

  1. discuss the findings of your qualitative interviews
  2. Compare the similarities and differences with the secondary research table of findings.
  3. Note that a new anchor emerged (e.g. bonds in this case)
  4. Note that the priority order of needs (anchors) has changed

Summary of findings, discussion and conclusion

The cumulative effect of more data across your team has increased confidence that the priority of needs (anchors) from the perspective of your start-up founders is now:

  1. Skills
  2. Time
  3. Finance
  4. Bonds
  5. Talent

Briefly explain how this will influence your strategic thinking moving forward on the project.

Perceptual Map(s)

Reframing of Marketing Problem/Challenge

Conclusion

Referencing guidelines

Use RMIT Harvard referencing style for this assessment.

You must acknowledge all the courses of information you have used in your assessments.

Refer to the RMIT Easy Cite referencing tool to see examples and tips on how to reference in the appropriated style. You can also refer to the library referencing page for more tools such as EndNote, referencing tutorials and referencing guides for printing.

Submission format

The assessment will be submitted in Canvas as a file upload.