Title: International Marketing Report for Sephora
Submission deadline: Wednesday, 22nd March at 12pm (GMT+0)
Word limit: 3000 words excluding references and appendices. The number of words in your essay can be 10% less than the total word count allowance. However, every 100 words exceeding the total word count will be penalised by 1 mark towards your total mark.
The purpose of the assignment is to assess your ability to understand and apply the international marketing theory in practice. In order to do this, you will create an international marketing plan for Sephora, which will include a set of recommendations as to where and how the company should internationalise. The report will be divided into sections and you, as a “consultant” appointed by Sephora, will analyse, critically evaluate, summarise and present collected information. Based on your research and analysis, as well as through correct application of various marketing tools and theory, a set of recommendations will be produced in form of a report.
In the real world, there is no ideal market you would be able to recommend; therefore your role is to identify “the best/most suitable” market and be able to justify your decisions and recommendations. The extent of research conducted will be crucial to build strong argument, however you need to be selective and only include relevant information. The quality of your report will be assessed based on correct application of marketing theory and tools, as well as the strength of your arguments and solidity of your justifications.
Do not contact Sephora in relation to your coursework.
The assignment should include the following sections:
- Subject/title of the report
- Name of the organisation for which the report is made
Table of Contents
- List of divisions and sub-divisions with page references
- List of tables and figures with page references
- List of appendices with page references
The introduction provides background information. It will contain:
- The context and reasons for of the firm’s internationalisation decision
- Specific objectives of the report (not research or marketing objectives)
You must not enter a market where the company is already operating.
For the purpose of this assignment you will only identify one country as your market for expansion. It is advisable, however, to identify regions or cities within this country which are most suitable (this will be done in a later section of the report). In this section you need to describe the process of how you chose your target market. You need to identify a theory that helps to support the argument for internationalisation and which will help you narrow down your potential markets. Choose a set of suitable (macro) indicators allowing you to compare potential markets in a critical manner. It is worth considering what characteristics would Sephora be looking for in an “ideal market”. It is up to you to identify these based on your research of Sephora, your reading of the international marketing literature, and the International Marketing lectures.
It is not sufficient to choose a country at random and present advantages relating to this one market only. Market choice should be a conclusion of your research and analysis/evaluation of potential markets. You can tabulate information for the purpose of clearer presentation.
Environmental and internal analysis
Once you have identified the market to internationalise into, you will need to collect more information relating directly to this market. Below there is a list of elements which may need to be considered (refer also to lecture slides), however their applicability will greatly depend on your market choice. Remember to only select to gather information on the particular topics of direct relevance to Sephora. In the “real world”, marketing managers are often overloaded with external information. This information overload results in confusion which is detrimental to the quality of decision-making. Do not waste your time collecting information that you will not have any use for. Plan your research in advance, by defining a set of research objectives, before you collect any information.
Remember that the below list should only give you an idea of potential elements for analysis and you should choose only those items (or other than those listed) that you think are directly relevant – be selective and make informed choices.
- Political system
- Political structure
- b) Political parties
- c) Local government
- d) Stability of government
- e) Special taxes
- Legal system
- Organisation of the judiciary
- Code or common law country
- Economic statistics and activity
- Gross national product (GNP)
- Rate of growth
- Personal income per capita
- Average family income
- Distribution of wealth; income classes
- Principal industries
- Percent foreign investment/industry
- Principal exports, imports (£ value)
- Balance-of-payment situations, recent trends, debts, surplus or deficit
- Exchange rate, single or multiple exchange rates, trends
- Extent of economic activity not included in cash income systems (developing countries)
- Labour force, unemployment rates
- Inflation rates
- Geographical setting
- Surface transportation and communication
- Social environment
- The family
- Dynamics of the family (e.g., parental role, marriage)
- Male/female roles
- Education – Role of education in society – Literacy rates
- Total population
- Number of births
- Birth rates
- Age – Gender
- Geographic concentration and density
- Social class
- Population by social class
- – Income by social class
- Living standards and leisure
- Diet and nutrition
- Cultural environment
- Cultural variability, complexity, hostility, heterogeneity, interdependence
- Belief systems
- Graphics and plastic arts
- Music, drama, dance
- Spoken versus written
- – Official languages
- – Dialects
- Information systems
- Strategic systems
- Trading infrastructure
- Number and size of retailers, methods of operation (cash or credit), scale of operation (large or small), power of chain stores (typical volume)
- Middlemen, availability, services offered, customary mark-ups – retail and wholesale for various classes of goods and commodities
- Penetration of non-urban market
- Facilities and technology
- The market (describe the market(s) in which the product(s) is(are) to be sold)
- Customers – Characteristics of consumer target groups (age, gender, income, occupation, lifestyle and personality, family size, geographic location etc.)
- Consumer preferences and buying habits
- Product use patterns (and intended product use)
- Product feature preferences
- Shopping habits
- Identification of the main players
- Relevant market shares
- Industry type (e.g., monopoly)
- Significant differences between your product(s) and the competition’s product(s) in terms of the marketing mix (e.g. 4 Ps)
- Market size and sales estimates
- Industry sales estimates for the year
- Sales estimates for your company
Your company (internal analysis)
- Organisational factors (e.g., current performance, structure, information systems, corporate culture, leadership, managerial capabilities, workforce satisfaction)
- Marketing factors (e.g., relative market share in the domestic market, breadth of product range, product/service quality, customer loyalty, distribution costs, dealer network)
- Financial factors (e.g., capital, profitability, margins, financial stability)
- Manufacturing factors (e.g., production facilities, economies of scale, flexibility, technical skills
After you have carried out both internal and external analyses, a SWOT summary should be provided. A SWOT summary is a means of deciding priorities for action. It should be followed by recommendations on how to exploit strengths, seize opportunities, remedy weaknesses and avoid threats. The finished summary must identify how these factors will affect the business, and which are the most significant. In order to assist in the establishment of the significance of each SWOT factors, these factors can be ranked by order of importance and performance (for strengths and weaknesses), attractiveness and probability of success (for opportunities), and seriousness and probability of occurrence (for threats).
Present a list (3-4) of marketing objectives derived from the SWOT summary. Explain how these are derived from your research. In other words, justify your objectives, using the information you acquired in the course of conducting your research. Make sure your objectives are relevant, precise, quantified, specific, realistic, measurable, etc. (SMART).
Foreign market entry strategy
The purpose of this section is to demonstrate the process of selecting the most suitable entry mode for Sephora, followed by development of an appropriate implementation strategy. Designing international marketing strategies is aimed at achieving the set objectives. You may need to tabulate and critically evaluate a set of the most suitable entry modes in terms of their appropriateness and feasibility. Should you decide to recommend a combination of entry modes, suitable rationale for such recommendation will also need to be provided. At this stage of the report, creativity, realism, and precision will be rewarded. The theories, models, and concepts presented in the recommended textbook(s) and in the lectures will have to be applied to derive international marketing decisions. Indications of how to implement the plan and control for its success should also be included.
Describe in detail recommendations and implementation strategy with reference to one of the 4/7Ps. Choose the “P” that in your opinion will have the most impact upon the success of Sephora in the given country and present a set of recommendations. Explain briefly why you chose this specific “P”. You may want to link back to other “Ps” at times, when discussing your strategy; however the main focus is only one “P”.
Try to be as practical as possible but again, creativity will be rewarded. Do not propose an alternative unless you specify which of the alternatives your chosen one is. For example, avoid using terminology such as “The company could [etc.]”. Rather, take a stand, and decide what the company should, rather than could, do. Remember that you are creating a plan which Sephora should implement. Justify your choices, decisions and tactics, based on your own research and use the tools outlined in class and in the book.
Ensure that the tactics selected are appropriate in relation to the chosen objectives, and that they are justified. Creativity and originality of ideas are the first criteria to be taken into consideration. Precision is also a key criterion here. Detail is needed to ensure that the marketing manager who reads the report can actually implement all the strategies and tactics dictated in the report without needing further information (for example, if staff training is recommended, you should also have outlined who is to be trained, when, by whom, for how long, to do what, where, etc.). As a result, strategy and implementation can be discussed in the same section and do not have to be separated in the text. In terms of implementation, ensure you have taken into account that is to implement the relevant parts of the plan (responsibilities), when the marketing plan is to be actioned and how long the implementation is to last (timescales), and what the expected result is (outcome). Finally, remember to make your marketing mix decisions in the light of relevant and up-to-date information.
Implementation (where possible – see also section above) & Control
Implementation refers to the ways in which you will put your recommendations into practice and it applies to all elements of the marketing mix.
- Responsibilities: who is to implement the plan?
- Timescales: when will it be completed by?
- Outcomes: what is the expected result?
Control refers to explaining how you propose to ensure that you have achieved the expected result(s)? For example, if the expected result is certain level of customer satisfaction, how will you measure customers’ levels of satisfaction once the plan has been put into practice? You will need to consider control mechanisms for the marketing objectives set.
Provide evidence of all the information sources you tapped by listing your sources. Use Harvard style referencing throughout the report. Please visit the elibrary for references.
These should be kept to a minimum. You do not have to have appendices in the report at all, if there is no need for them. Remember to clearly number them throughout the report.
- 1 inch margins all around, 1.5 spaced, font size 12,
- Times New Roman Note, however, that tables and references may be single-spaced.
- Further for references only 10pt Times New Roman may be used.
- Words over the word limit will not be read and 1 mark will be deducted for every 100 words above the word limit.
- Deviations from the set formatting guidelines will severely affect your grade, regardless of report content. This is to ensure optimal length consistency (and therefore marking fairness) for all submitted student reports. Please check your spelling and grammar before submission.
Do not include snapshots and photos of tables – they all have to be re-typed if you want to use them in your report.
The following sections shall be included in the report and marking will be divided between these sections as follows: