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MarkStrat Individual Report

Shahan Arshad 20130026

My Markstrat experience What I learned from the course and the Markstrat simulation was very helpful in terms of learning objectives. I acquired useful skills and gained an understanding of the world of marketing decision-making. hrough the course! I learned about the various types of decisions that have to be made in the course of brand management. I treated the game as reality! I stressed over sales and prices of our brands and it was quite an adventure. I reali"ed that marketing is not just selling and advertising. Instead marketing starts with needs of people# needs which give rise to wants# wants which are backed by demands and in order to cater to those demands! products are made. I learned that to increase value we have to raise benefits for same costs! reduce costs for same benefits! or raise benefits by more than raise in costs! or lower benefits by less than reduction in costs. In order to give satisfaction! a product$s perceived performance has to match a buyer$s expectations. %s good marketers! we have to focus on creating! maintaining! and enhancing strong value-laden relations with customers and other stakeholders. Marketing rests on four pillars& target market! customer needs! integrated marketing and finally profitability. I learned that the key to customer retention is customer satisfaction. 'ustomer retention is more important than customer attraction. % company can build customer relationships by simply selling (basic marketing)! encouraging the customer to contact for any complaints! suggestion etc. (reactive marketing)! doing after sales calls (accountable marketing)! proactively contacting the customer for future product improvements! and partnership marketing. *uring our course! I learned that the + ,$s of marketing are very important to the marketing mix& ,roduct strategy! ,lace strategy! ,rice strategy! and ,romotion strategy. I learned that marketers require different types of information such as market forecasts! product information! promotion information! distribution information! price information! and environment information. I also learned that consumers can have several roles in the buying process such as initiator! influencer! decider! buyer! and user. -uyers first become aware of new products! then they develop an interest in them! then they try out the product and if it meets their demands! they adopt it. In target marketing we have to see market segments and decide our product positioning in accordance to which segment we want to target and what are their needs. here are different ways of segmentation such as geographic! demographic! psychographic and behavioral. %s well as positioning! we also need to differentiate our products from competitors. % key marketing strategy is to have a unique selling proposition (./,) for a brand. I also learned of positioning errors such as under-positioning! over-positioning! confused positioning. hese are traps to be avoided. %fter choosing a position we have to communicate that position effectively. his is where advertising and commercial team comes into play. ,ricing is also an important part of the marketing mix especially when catering to price sensitive segments.

In the simulation! Markstrat! I learned about the various decisions I had to take such as ordering consumer surveys! semantic scales! multidimensional scales! market forecasts etc. hen! after reading the market research and evaluating! I had to form a strategy with my group! which segment I wanted to cater! which segment I wanted to be first mover in! what 12* I had to make. 12* attributes decisions were made based on ideal values presented by semantic scales. %nd then with the present brands! I had to decide what production levels should be and what should be the price and advertising costs that I wanted to allocate. ,roduction levels were easy to decide in accordance with purchase intentions as given by consumer surveys. ,ricing came from semantic scales which showed each target segment$s ideal price and product attributes. %dvertising allocation was made in accordance to brand awareness as showed by consumer surveys. /emantic scales were used to design 12* projects i.e. to determine the ideal level in each physical characteristic. M*/ were used to decide strategy and 'onjoint %nalysis was used to validate the findings of the other two studies. I also made the decisions regarding merchandising budget and commercial team si"e. Merchandising budget helped decide shelf space and placement given to our brands and commercial team decided how much of our product will sell to willing customers. In all parts! 12* decisions! marketing mix! ordering market research and commercial team allocation! I was involved and formed the strategy in consensus with my team. *uring the later stages! I also learned how to use the tools! especially regression and growth-share matrix to see how to maximi"e our product$s positioning and to get a helicopter view of our brands performance. I learned a lot as I moved from period to period as I was involved in all processes and stages and made all the key decisions based on manual! calculations and discussions. I made some big mistakes and overlooked some areas. I am not ashamed to admit this I started off knowing nothing about Markstrat. %ll in all! I have enough confidence to say that if I were to play Markstrat again! I would come first (true leaders always have confidence in their abilities). /ince I was central to all the processes! including decision making! interpreting market research and making calculations based on ratios of ,urchase Intentions! -rand %wareness! market shares and growth segments! I seem to have learned the game very well! how to form strategy and make decisions and I enjoyed it thoroughly. he most important things I learned from Markstrat& 1ead the manual. It helps a lot. 3ave a well thought out production plan! study market research especially forecast! consumer surveys! semantic scales and M*/. .nder-producing will cause lost potential sales while overproducing will cause extra expenses. .se 12* extensively and produce products with physical attributes according to semantic scales ideal values after reading them carefully. It is crucial to the success of a product.

%dvertising expenditure is important! no use having a good product if no one knows about it. -udget allocation is needed! plan properly and allocate budgets accordingly because they add up in costs if you spend too much money. .se ,urchase Intentions to determine commercial team si"e and -rand %wareness to determine advertising expenditure. -ut don$t forget to look at perception maps! regressions and semantic scales. *o not change anything dramatically in the middle. -e resolute in your choices in the beginning. .se trial and error on decisions because Markstrat sometimes behaves irrationally to strategic decisions. his will help you get comfortable using your own judgment calls in real life. %lthough strategy is important! it is not 5667 reliable. /ome things happen purely by chance and we have no control over them.

Ways that Markstrat could be improved& If there was one thing that could be improved! it$s that Markstrat should have run for more than 8 periods because the 9lderly segment in :utrites market had started to grow quite late and first movers in that segment would have to fight with new competitors and that would be an interesting scenario since the rest of the segments were slowly decreasing but 9lderly segment was growing exponentially. %nother thing that could have been implemented was that 4 rounds should have been played on the first day and the majority + on the next day. his is because most of us did not have enough time during the first day to completely grasp what was going on and it was only in the interval between day 5 and day 0 that we were able to take a more comprehensive view of what was going on! how to efficiently use the data we were provided and so on because we did not get enough time during the decision making process. here was a distinct lack of multiple decision making forms because we wanted each group member to be in charge of their own brand! however a single decision form was impeding us because it could only be filled by one user at a time. It was irritating to not to be able to see more than one screen at a time especially since I wanted to look at different studies and compare them side by side. What I liked about the experience was that I enjoyed the game and made decisions in crunchtime just like in real life. /eparately all group members had own views on what was the most interesting part of analysis but overall we worked together as a group and achieved consensus on the best course of action. We referred back to the manual time after time to consult on various things such as base cost! pricing! whether we should introduce multiple products in a new market to create barriers to entry! how to use semantic scales and M*/ etc. I learned more during the game than from the handbook because I was able to read market research and interpret them and use ratios to figure out advertising! commercial team and production numbers.

%gain I$d like to comment that Markstrat was an ama"ing learning experience. It provided with hands-on experience that lectures cannot teach. I hope to be able to use what I learned in the simulation and apply the strategies to my future career.