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In-Class Assignment

MKTG 341

Monday, April 7, 2014

Introduction:

One week from today, you will be given the exact same assignmentquestion that is shown in the box below and asked to answer it in class. You may use the time prior to that class to prepare your answer. You may use outside resources in order to help you answer this question to the best of your ability. However, please note that on the day of the assignment, you will not be allowed to use any course material such as textbook, articles, notebook, etc. You will have only 50 minutes to write your answer.

(
Assignment:
Assume you are an assistant marketing analyst for
PetSmart, Inc., the largest pet supply company in the

United States

. PetSmart has posted double digit profit growth for 10 quarters in a row. Mr. Robert Moran, PetSmart’s CEO, cites a growing trend of “humanization of pets” as one reason for the increased demand for pet products and services. Pet owners no longer view their cats and dogs as possessions; instead viewing their animals as family members. Mr. Moran recognizes that in order to maintain double digit growth, he must offer the right products to the right target market at the right time.
Your boss, Ms. Linda Smith, has given you the following tasks:
Analyze the situation that PetSmart currently faces, conducting a SWOT analysis for the pet care industry. You should use the attached information as well as additional research from library sources. You should identify and explain multiple strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Recommend at least three niche target markets that PetSmart should consider. Use the statistics and trends in the attached information to justify your recommendations. Don’t forget to name your segments and provide a description of the demographics, psychographics, and/or behavioral attributes that make each segment unique.
Develop criteria to prioritize the attractiveness of the three segments and apply the criteria to determine which of the segments PetSmart should target first. You should:
Make a list of at least three decision criteria that PetSmart should consider
Explain why each of these criteria are relevant
Develop weights for each decision criterion. Explain why the higher weighted criteria are more important than the lower weighted criteria.
Use the information you have to evaluate each potential segment that you recommended above on each of the decision criteria.
Develop a comprehensive rationale for how you chose the best target and provide justification for your decision. Include a chart.
)

Requirements:

One the day of the assignment, you will be given a template on which to write your answer. The template is shown on pages 2 – 4 of this handout. Please write concisely because your answer must fit in the space. Please write legibly so that your answer can be accurately graded.

Critical Thinking Assignment: MKTG 341, Spring 2014 — Instructions

TEMPLATE

NAME: ___________________________________ MAJOR: __________________________

Summary of Analysis

[This will be blank on the day you answer the question. The summary should hit all of the highlights of your analysis and recommendations in a few sentences. Normally, you would write it after you finish your analysis]

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

[The chart will be blank on the day you answer the question. Normally you should have multiplebullet points in each box]

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

Possible Target Segments

[You should describe three potential target segments. Ideally, the ideas for your segments should be related to the bullet points in your SWOT]

1.

2.

3.

Evaluation of Target Segments

Criteria for Evaluation

[List three criteria that you believe should be used to select your target market, in order of importance to your decision]

1.
2.
3.

Importance of Criteria

[Explain why you picked the three criteria that you picked and assign rank order them in order of importance to your decision]

Segment Attractiveness

[Evaluate each of your three segments on each of your three evaluative criteria]

Recommendation

[Recommend which of your three segments Petsmart should choose and justify your decision based on the analysis above]

RUBRIC:

You will be graded on your ability to concisely, yet completely answer all parts of the assignment question. The following rubric provides additional guidelines.

Criteria

1. Identify problems and/or opportunities using disciplinary concepts

Exemplary: Identifies multiple relevant strengths and weaknesses of the company and its competition. Identifies multiple relevant environmental opportunities and threats.

Acceptable: Identifies some relevant strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. However, does not identifymultiple factors for each and/or not all micro and macro level factors are relevant

Unacceptable: Does not identify relevant factors for each element of the SWOT

2. Generate feasible alternatives.

Exemplary: Identifies and describes in detail at least three feasible segments that reflect an in-depth understanding of the segmentation variables.

Acceptable: Identifies and describes at least three segments, but does not fully utilize all bases for segmentation and/or not all three segments are feasible.

Unacceptable: Identifies two or fewer segments and/or no segments are feasible

3. Identifies criteria for assessing alternatives and ranks alternatives based on importance

Exemplary: Identifies at least three relevant decision criteria and weights each demonstrating a clear priority of some criteria over others. Relative importance is justified using compelling and logical reasoning.

Acceptable: Identifies at least three decision criteria and mentions a priority of some criteria over others.

Unacceptable:Identifies two or fewer criteria and/or there is no discussion of the alternatives’ relative importance.

4. Applies criteria to alternatives

Exemplary: Creates an analysis that includes all alternatives and decision criteria. The rationale shows the difference between all alternatives in terms of relative importance for each criterion.

Acceptable: Describes the application of criteria.

Unacceptable: Does not describe the application of criteria.

5. Develops and justifies conclusion/recommendations

Exemplary: Evaluates each alternative. Selects best alternative based on relative importance. Relative importance of all criteria is consistent with and reflects criterion ranking developed by student.

Acceptable: Selects best alternative, but does not make mention of relative importance of various criterion.

Unacceptable: Analysis does not provide a clear recommendation and conclusion.

SUGGESTIONS FOR PREPARING

Using knowledge about the process of designing a marketing strategy (from your class and textbook), a little bit of outside research, and your own critical thinking skills, you should be prepared to answer this question. But, you will need to put some work and thought into it if you want to do a good job.

Here are some steps that you should follow to prepare your answer:

Step 1:
Conduct a SWOT analysis, describing three relevant items for each element of the SWOT. You will need to do some research on the strengths and weaknesses of PetSmart and their potential competition, but you won’t need to remember detailed citations. Consider the competition, characteristics of potential users, and macro environmental factors such as economic, technological, social, and political trends that might be relevant to identifying opportunities and threats. State your assumptions about the marketplace and identify that they are assumptions.

Step 2:
Based on the understanding you have gained from the SWOT analysis, identify three potential market segments and describe these segments using geographic, demographic, psychographic, benefits and usage patterns. Don’t forget to name your segments and explain what makes each segment unique.

Step 3:
Make a list of at least three decision criteria that PetSmart should consider (such as potential profitability, size, accessibility and responsiveness). Explain why each of these criteria are relevant. Develop weights for each decision criterion. Explain why the higher weighted criteria are more important than the lower weighted criteria.

Step 4:
Use the information you have to evaluate each potential segment on each of the decision criteria.

Be sure to assign weights to each criterion and explain your reasoning.

Step 5:
Choose and identify the segment that you believe is best. Justify your decision by briefly summarizing which elements of your SWOT analysis and which characteristics of the segment and its attractiveness led you choose it as the best option. Indicate whether or not you think Petsmart should move ahead with the venture by pursuing this target.

Writing your answer

In class on the day of the assessment, you will need to write your analysis of the question with no notes or other materials using the attached template in only 50 minutes. So, you will need to be concise. You may use additional bullet points, tables, and subheadings to make your answer clear and easy to read.

Be sure that you address all four parts of the assignment question using the suggested steps listed above. Be sure that you actually make and state your decision about the best segment to target and whether this best segment is good enough to pursue.

Academic honesty

You are required to answer this question individually. You may ask your professor questions about sources of information, the process to use, and whether or not your assumptions make sense.

INFORMATION ON PETSMART

PetSmart, Inc. is the largest pet supply company in the United States, posting 10 quarters in a row of double digit profit growth. Mr. Moran, PetSmart’s CEO, cites a growing trend of “humanization of pets” as one reason for the increased demand for pet products and services. Pet owners no longer view their cats and dogs as possessions; instead viewing their animals as family members. Mr. Moran recognizes that in order to maintain double digit growth, he must offer the right products to the right target market at the right time.

According to the


2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey

, more than 60% of homes in the US have a pet – close to 73 million households. In 2011, there were about 78 million dogs and 86.4 million cats in the United States – a 2.1 percent increase in pet ownership over 2010. Americans spent more than $50 billion on their pets in 2011 (a record) with food accounting for a majority of the spending. The typical dog owner will spend $254 annually on food which does not include treats, compared to an average annual food expense for cat owners of $220. Below, you will find more information on the U.S. pet industry.

Estimated 2012 Sales within the U.S. Market (Source: APPA, American Pet Products Association)

For 2012, it estimated that $52.87 billion will be spent on our pets in the U.S.

Estimated Breakdown:                                          
Food                                                      $20.46 billion 
Supplies/OTC Medicine                     $12.56 billion
Vet Care                                                $13.59 billion
Live animal purchases                          $2.15 billion
Pet Services: grooming & boarding    $4.11 billion

According to the

2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey

, basic annual expenses for dog and cat owners in dollars include:

                                                 Dogs     Cats    
Surgical Vet Visits                           $407     $425

Routine Vet                                     $248     $219       
Food                                               $254     $220      
Kennel Boarding                             $274     $166 

Vitamins                                          $95       $43

Travel Expenses                               $78       $48

Groomer/Grooming Aids               $73       $34
Food Treats                                     $70       $41
Toys                                                $43       $21 

KEY TRENDS FROM THE 2011 PET PRODUCTS TREND REPORT

Reducing Your Pets Carbon PAW print
Around the world people are making conscious efforts to help our planet Earth, and the pet industry is no exception. From natural litters to toys, accessories and organic food options, earth-friendly pet products are sprouting up everywhere.  

Going to the Dogs
More and more companies traditionally known for human products are going to the dogs, and cats, and reptiles. Big name companies including Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks, Origins, Harley Davidson and Old Navy are now offering lines of pet products ranging from dog shampoo, pet attire, and name-brand toys to gourmet treats and food.

Ultra-Clean…
Pet-owners take grooming one step beyond a haircut, a quick bath, and a nail trim. Mouthwash and an electric toothbrush for canines are routine steps in a beauty session for some pooches. Birds receive daily pedicures with special cage perches, while others enjoy manicures complete with nail polish. Pet-owning homes stay cleaner with automatic, self-flushing litter boxes, cleaning cloths for muddy paws that mimic traditional baby wipes, and scented gel air fresheners to keep rooms free of pet odors.

Dinner is Served
Today’s pet foods include complete and balanced diets that tantalize our pets’ taste buds and satisfy their tummies. Formulas for puppies and kittens, specialized meals for reptiles, birds and fish and diets for senior pets ensure a long and healthy life for our beloved companions.

Loosen Up
As pet owners meditate in yoga class, cats relieve stress by frolicking in a toy gym or relaxing in a feline spa before enjoying herbal catnip packaged in a tea bag. Dogs sip fresh water from flowing fountains after a soothing rub with a doggie massager.

Help Yourself!
Products designed with convenience in mind lead this trend. Programmable feeding and drinking systems, automatic and battery-operated toys, self-cleaning litter boxes and self-warming pet mats let pets virtually care for themselves!

Straight from the Catwalk
Faux mink coats, hipster lumberjack vests, designer plaid jackets, matching jeweled and leather collar and leash sets, Halloween costumes, and holiday outfits keep pets in fashion throughout the year. Upscale leather carriers complete with a cell phone and water bottle holder are the perfect accessories to keep the pet owner in style as well.

Hello, My Name Is…
From monogrammed sweaters and personalized food and water bowls to digitized collar tags and hand-made treats, owners embrace their pets as true members of the American family celebrating their fluffy, finned and feathered companions with their very own belongings.

Critical Thinking Assignment: MKTG 341, Spring 2014 — Template

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