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Marketing Simulation Game

Free essay example:

Voice DT Pro.

Marketing Game Report 2006

LINKING THE VOICE FOR THE WORLD,

EXPLAINING IN SIMPLE WAY AS IT CAN BE THE

MOST LIKELY ONE.

authors,

Khurram Ali

Syed Asim Hashmi

Savi Jayaram

A Adekunle Adekeye

Vidushi Gulia

Word Count: 3,697 words.

CONTENTS

EXEXUTIVE SUMMARY.

Marketing Game

3

PROFILE

About Us

4

STRATEGY

Market Segments

4

FOCAL POINT

Market Mix

9

IMPLICATIONS

Simulation

17

VIRTUES

Limitations

20

LESSONS

Conclusion

21

REFERENCES

References and Bibliography

22

APPENDIX

Meeting

Group Assessment

23

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Marketing Game:

The game simulates an industry selling voice recognition device (VRD). Every decision

(Weekly) will represent yearly marketing decisions. The industry is in growing stage. Technically, we'll be competing with 3 other groups starting with equal resources, which will cause dynamic changes in the industry throughout the game.

With a tight budget, we control:

1) Changes in the attribute of product (R&D)

2) Promotion - type of advertising and amount

3) Channel intensity - a) full service dealers b) Discount dealers

4) Personally selling - sales force & their commission

5) Setting the price

6) Setting the quantity

7) Buying of marketing reports

PROFILE

About Us:

Voice DT Pro is a market leader in the delivery of personalized, voice recognition data solutions that connect people with information, empowering them to control the way they interact with a business. Our exceptionally designed voice solutions result in improved operational efficiencies and most importantly enhanced customer satisfaction.

Voice DT Pro Mission:

Voice DT Pro leadership has an aim to shape the future by transforming the way people and information connect. The main apparition is to provide the most advanced voice-recognition data software and become the premier software house in the market by providing the utmost in services to our customers.

Our Values:

* Understand the needs of customers and markets

* Pursue continual improvement in every aspect of our business practices

* Provide the highest quality products and services to our customers

* Maintain leadership through innovation

STRATEGY

Market Segments:

As, we were competing with three other firms and there were six market segments available, prioritized by their needs in terms of special commands, error protection, and ease of learning.

STUDENTS:

These are the college students who want economical packages capturing about 20 percent of multimedia sales.

HOME:

Segments

Price Level

Home

Low

Students

Low

Parents

Low

Artists

High

Managers

High

Assistants

High

These are the households producing variety of multimedia materials and capturing about 15 percent of sales.

ASSISTANTS:

These are the presenters within the businesses capturing about 25 percent of the market sales.

ARTISTS:

These are the designers or photographers occupying about 10 percent of sales.

MANAGERS:

These are the professionals needing high tech. features and capturing 22 percent market sales.

PARENTS:

These are the concerned parents providing valuable educational to their kids that captures 8 percent marker sales.

In order to get most market share it was not a wise idea to target whole homogenous market (Levitt T. 1974, P.69). We started by focusing on low price segment comprised of students, home and parents as being in infancy and having a fixed budget of $984,000, we wanted to penetrate the market through maximum investment for brand awareness and push through each channel and reached the minimum R&D needs in Period-1, but with a vision to innovate and improve our product to reach the needs of high priced segment as well.

Competitive Analysis:

For getting more clear picture of our market position, here we will undergo through some competitive analysis with our competitive firms in respect to market share by units, market share by sales, and above all marketing mix. This will serves us in analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within our targeted market, strategies and any weaknesses that can be exploited within the product development cycle.

In terms of market share by units sold, above graph illustrates that firm 1 i.e. Voice DT Pro started with a relatively lower market share in terms of unit sold, however in period 2 and 3 due to well balanced product strength able to attract mass consumers and this trend continues till 4th period. It can be observed from the graph that, period 2 to period 4, firm 1 i.e. stands second with respect to units sold in the market. But miserably fail in the last period due to poor placing of the product. Whereas firm 4 i.e. D Vys who started with a high note and outperformed every firm in period 1 gradually declines in terms of unit sold. The other two firms market share was keep on fluctuating high and low throughout the periods.

If we see the graph mentioning the market share by sales or in other words market share by revenue generated, it is quite visible that firm 1 Voice DT Pro fails to retain the market share in terms of sales that they generated in first 2 periods and stands in last position by the end of the period 5. Graph clearly illustrates that firm 2 Watch Dog was able to lead the market by the end of the simulation.

Customer Service:

The goal of delivering great customer service starts with delivering a service-oriented attitude that is genuine (Selland J., 1997) and so in delivering a high quality customer service requires a tough expenditure. Customer service is an essential means for a company's growth and we as a team focused in committing a quality service to our customers by knowing our product itself and whom to market that. The main part in delivering our customer services was to make our product easy enough so that it could be bought in no time. The following graph shows our firm's expenditure throughout the periods in comparison to the trend followed by the other firms:

The focus was not only to get customer loyalty for our product but also to give full customer satisfaction to make a real difference in the market. We started by the default amount for period-1, which kept drifting upwards, and downwards throughout the periods fulfilling the needs for that particular period.

FOCAL POINT

Marketing Mix:

A product mix constitutes the sum total of individuals product items and product lines which the company markets. By using the product mix concept a strategic assessment of the company's product offering can be made (Kotler, 1997).

In order to achieve our marketing objectives we made a strategy that includes the various parts of the marketing mix. By focusing on each of the element of the marketing mix our company was able to attract the targeted customers of the market which was visible through the research reports purchased at Period-2 for 'Market Share by Segment' and 'Detailed Sales Analysis.'

- Product:

The most basic marketing tool was product- the firm's tangible offer to the market, which includes the product quality, design, features, branding and packaging. Product strategy was emanating from the support to overall objectives of the company. Clearly, product strategies evaluated in relation to both the strengths and weaknesses of the company itself, and to the opportunities and threats, which are prevalent and were likely in the future. The graph below clearly describes our product features throughout the periods, how we able to achieved our targeted market segments.

In the light of the results obtained by the end of every period and by the help of marketing research reports, we were able to see our product progress in the market and as the special commands tend to be the main feature of the product for the targeted consumers. By closely focusing it, we kept the same special commands feature for period 1-3 and made slight changes in the last two periods to attract high price segment market.

As we realized that by keeping ease of learning features constant, they serves our targeted consumers effectively, we did not experiment much on them and in the last period, as we focused on high price segment, we made slight changes to meet the needs.

Error correction was not meant much for the students, as those were our prime targets. We initially kept low error correction feature and after certain period as we grew in the market and targeted the managers and artists, increased our brand error correction features.

- Price:

As we were in a competitive market environment, price plays a crucial role for attracting consumers. In particular, pricing strategies need to be in line with market targeting and positioning strategies. Clearly, as in the start we were targeting mostly students and home users keeping in mind we set a low price in channel 1 to attract other market segments but later as we re positioned our self and produced a high quality product at the top end of the market, with a prestige image, it was not suitable to set a low price on the product even if cost efficiency allowed this. Therefore prices kept on increasing significantly in period 4 and 5.

Channel 2 was meant for students and home users who were not in need of demonstration of the software and much customer services and aimed for low price product. Graph clearly illustrates that price on channel 2 was significantly low in contrast with other competitors and this was the effective move from our company to gain the trust of the targeted market.

It can be observed from both the pricing graphs that typically prices increased for all the competitors whether a slight increase or massive increase.

- Promotion:

This element of the marketing mix includes all the activities that a company undertakes to communicate and promote its products to the target market. (Kotler, 1997). All the four competitors of the market start with the same budget and made amendments according to their targeted market. As were targeting low price segments so for the first two periods we kept our advertising budget low and as gradually as we targeted high price segments we increased our advertising budget but in the final two period had to cut down our advertising expenses due to high investment in R & D and production cost. One point is worth mentioning here that for the last two periods we spend our advertising budget on Indirect Competitive advertising that was meant to develop future sales of the company, hence we can assume that for the next period our progress both in terms of market share by units sold and by means of revenue generated likely to increase.

- Place:

Another key marketing tool includes the various activities the company undertakes to make the product accessible and available to target customers. A marketing channel performs the work of moving goods from producers to consumers. It overcomes the time, place and possession gaps that separate goods and services from those who need or want them. There were two channels available to commute our product to the market by using distributors. Channel 1 supposed to serves managers, artists and harried assistants. Whereas channel 2 comprised of home based distributors who usually interact with the customers by means of Internet and mail service and was perfect for the low price segments comprised of students, home users and parents.

Our preferred channel was channel 2 that was serving our targeted consumers, however we kept sufficient number of sales representative in channel 1 to get hold of high price segment market.

The channel distribution graphs represent the sales representative employee on each channel, and unit sold by each channel. It can be observed easily that channel 2 generated huge sales in terms of unit sold either when there was less sales representative in period 5. Through channel 1 and in period 5 we failed to achieve what we targeted for and that was the vital reason behind the massive failure of our product.

Product's Outcome:

In order to analyze what our needs will be in the future using the empirical data of present results; we need to gather most accurate data by examining our historical data and identifying the trends to analyze the existing usage and factors that needs changes to meet the future demand. Now consider the following graph:

This graph shows that with a tight budget and slight increase in total expenses our product not only sustained the market but also made a considerable amount of profit as shown by the curve with a continuous upward slope even after loosing the market share both in terms of sales and units (as analyzed before).

IMPLICATIONS

Simulation:

Bredeson (1996) says that in recent times there has been growing interest in redesigning the concept of programme content in leadership training by grounding theoretical and empirical knowledge in problems of practice. This was due to the need to shift from traditional discipline-based knowledge to development of specific leadership competencies and skills being made valid through performance based assessments. This gave birth to innovative instructional strategies such as problem-based learning, simulations and games, microcomputer simulations, design studios, and reflective coaching (Ng, Chong, Lee, Kim, p.3).

According to Elmendorf, in the digital world of today, simulation works to illuminate reality or hypothesize what happens in the real world. He stressed that with time, life has become more computer-assisted with a significant impact in the area of education. Computers have become invaluable teachers and educational assistants and which when used as a simulator, to a large extent, improve the learning experience more than any other approach.

In Cadotte and Earnest's (1995) words, virtual business simulations are a form of antagonistic exercise where students apply their business skills against those of formidable opponents under the watch of a tutor. Buchta & Dolnicar (2003) concur that computer simulations like the marketing game are useful management tools, involving customized experiments that enable students to understand the functioning of the market and are therefore interesting tools for managerial decision support for marketing strategies in a competitive business environment. It assumes a competitive environment and different cycle-length conditions with regard to budget and both strategic and tactical planning in marketing (Buchta & Dolnicar, 2003, p.4). Simulation exercises serve as reasonably intact organizations in which disciplinary content is reinforced and the links among disciplines are obvious (Cadotte and Earnest, 1995). They stressed further that more advanced simulations offer students the opportunity to practice a number of necessary skills, like strategic planning and thinking, management strategy, leadership, teamwork, interpersonal skills, budgeting and cash-flow management, and understanding and delivering of customer value.

Virtues that Exist in Simulations for Developing Marketing Managers

It is a Model of a Real System:

One virtue that exists in simulations is that it models the real world. Shannon (1975) describes a simulation as a model of a real system. Computer simulations model a particular aspect of the real world, which provides the individual with a series of episodes that allow them to see connections between what is learned and what they actually experienced (Ng, Chong, Lee, Kim, p.3). Cadotte and Earnest (1995) say, "Simulations create virtual business reality, a living case in which participants create their own virtual business reality". The players provide the living details through their own deliberations, actions, and interactions with competitors and with the market. In our experience with the marketing game every decision period represents a new case and set of circumstances that covers team-building exercises, market-opportunity analysis, test marketing and market-development. Just as it happens in the real world, we could understand how the market is altered by competitive moves, while at the same time assessing the impact of our own firm. As a team we debated on features, price, sales persons, and the effects of these on consumer preference, competitive advantage, cash-flow requirements, and profitability. When marketing managers clearly understand the actual connection between experience and what is learned in a simulated environment, they are able to make productive marketing decisions in the real world to meet marketing challenges. This is because they are able to predict the consequences of the marketing decisions they make from the understanding they have gained from the marketing game.

It is an Experimental Approach:

According to Lilien & Rangaswamy (1998), exploring the aftermath of alternative managerial decisions that work in real life may come at a very high price. This makes simulations and games more relevant to various business practices today. In 1994, Nadler & Nadler stressed that experiments conducted with simulations for the purpose of understanding the behaviour of the system or of evaluating various strategies enable learners to try out new behaviours with no risk of punishment or real world loss (Ng, Chong, Lee, Kim, p.3). An important management decision is to choose a target market. The underlying idea of an optimally chosen target segment enables companies to customise the entire marketing mix to satisfy this particular group of customers consequently leading to increased sales, higher effectiveness in marketing activities and higher profitability. However, marketing managers need decision support regarding target segment choice. Computer simulation techniques could be adapted to serve the purpose of gaining insight into market functioning and making target segment decisions (Buchta & Dolnicar, 2003, p.5). Marketing managers can experiment the effectiveness of alternative marketing strategies via the marketing game greatly minimising the cost of making ineffective marketing decisions in the real world. This advantage stems from the opportunity to experiment in simulations.

It is a Practical Approach to learn Theory:

Virtual business simulations are a method of active learning (Cadotte and Earnest, 1995). Computer simulation is a learning strategy falling under the rubrics of experiential learning pedagogues (Gentry, 1991), contextual learning theory, and information processing theory. This explains the expression 'experiential learning' because the individual's cognitive understanding of what is learned is in direct relation to the context of the individual's experience (Ng, Chong, Lee, Kim, p.3). To quote Cadotte and Earnest (1995), "A simulation is an experiential learning exercise in which students practice the design, implementation, and control of business strategies." As a team that participated in the marketing game, our main concern was the application and not the definitions of marketing concepts, principles, and methods. This helped us to internalise business thoughts through the practice of business decision-making. In addition, computer simulation games are theory-based. The marketing game, for example, is designed within the framework of relevant marketing theories necessary to make a marketing strategy. As a result, playing the game facilitates a better understanding of theory.

It Encourages Group-Learning and Teamwork:

Vygotsky (1978) talks about the effectiveness of learning as a group. He stressed that learning is like a social activity shared by individuals, then absorbed and personalised by each individual (Proserpio & Luigi, p.2). This implies that simulations and games promote working in groups and this leads to effective learning. According to Brown and Palincsar (1989), in a context of collaborative learning via discussion, conversation and comparison, participants develop interpretations and solutions of the proposed problem-solving situation (Proserpio & Luigi, p.2). These dynamics lead to better knowledge development. As a team, we deliberated on alternative decisions in the light of our marketing strategy and in the end we gained more knowledge on how to work as part of a team of marketing managers. This is advantageous because team-working skills are necessary for effective performances in reality.

It is Problem-solving Inclined:

According to Pellegrino and Glaser (1982), knowledge and understanding of the general problem-solving strategies is acquired through practical resolution of very complex problems (Proserpio & Luigi, p.2). Thinking about simulation programmes and games, like the marketing game for example, creates a general problem scenario to be tackled by the game's participants. The game is designed to allow firms to compete with each other for market share. In this process, participants face a lot of problems and challenges that enables them to develop the knowledge of problem-solving tactics to be applied in the real world.

Advantages of Using Computer Simulations in Training:

Firstly, computer simulations provide instructional experience with low expense and less pressure. With reduced pressure from environmental factors, students can engage in an active process of thinking and problem solving. Secondly, they help students become effective learners. Through computer simulations, students can maximize their learning time, see the consequences of their actions immediately, and effectively employ selection and processing strategies. Thirdly, computer simulations help to achieve a wide range of objectives in a short period of time, because years of research and experience can be condensed to a simulation program. Finally, computer simulations can efficiently assess students' learning process by recording it step by step. The instructor can then evaluate their students' performances and learning difficulties by analysing the encoded data (Ng, Chong, Lee, Kim, p.3).

VIRTUES

Limitations:

According to Cadotte and Earnest (1995), many students are uncomfortable with simulations. They stressed that the learning format is highly demanding, with students needing to learn a lot of things simultaneously. It entails students taking more initiative in structuring the learning process than is the case with other learning approaches. Furthermore an individual student cannot absolutely control his own destiny because the decisions and actions of other team members and of the competing teams interfere. Also, a decision made by the team cannot be judged good or bad until the results come out. In addition, simulations are very time consuming and there is always more work that could be done to gain the competitive advantage. As a team that participated in the marketing game, all the limitations mentioned were evident during the game play.

LESSONS

Conclusion:

Learning need not be a highly intellectual and serious matter. The use of computer simulations provides evidence that learning can be interesting, meaningful and engaging (Ng, 2001). According to Bridges & Hallinger (1997), learning becomes more meaningful when it "results from the process of working towards the understanding or resolution of a problem" (Ng, Chong, Lee, Kim, p.3). Using computer simulations as an e- learning tool in the field of leadership preparation programmes shows promise for such meaningful learning. A simulation is also able to provide the context and practice platform for learning cognitive skills. Sounds, animation and graphic display provided by the simulations also have a strong effect on attention and keep learners more engaged while learning (Ng, Chong, Lee, Kim, p.3).

Points of Concern:

When all the players in the market are competing with the same kind of products and they are promoting at the same time, it just doesn't work. Moreover, putting the product on promotion for a considerably long period of time, reduces the perceived value of the product in the minds of the consumers

We changed our strategy, contemplating a shift to the high price segment, would help us revive our market share. However, the figures revealed something completely opposite. We still sold our best to the low price segment. And that's when they were being ignored. That's unfair.

REFERENCES

References and Bibliography:

* Kotler. P, 1997, Marketing Management, Winning through market oriented strategic planning, ninth edition, prentice hall, pp. 93, 529-552.

* Lancaster. G, Massingham. L, 1998, Marketing Management, second edition, Channels of Distribution, McGraw hill, pp.243-257.

* Buchta, C, Dolnicar, S. (2003), Learning by simulation - computer simulations for strategic marketing decision support in tourism. No. 81, pp. 1-22.

* Cadotte, Ernest, R. (1995), Business simulations: The next step in management training. Selections, pp. 8-10.

* T. Levitt, Marketing for Business Growth, Mc Graw Hill, New York, 1974, p. 69

* Feinstein, A, H, Mann, S, Corsun, D, L. (2002), Charting the experiential territory: Clarifying definitions and uses of computer simulation game and role-play. The Journal of Management Development, Vol. 21, No. 9/10, pp. 732-743.

* Geneste, L, Schaper, M. (2004), "Let's go shopping!": an entrepreneurship simulation exercise. Journal of Training & Management Development Methods, Vol. 18, No. 1 pp. 601-609.

* Reibstein, D, J, Chussil, M, J. (1997). Virtual competition, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 44.

Web resources:

* Elmendorf, M. Simulation revolutionizes learning at the graduate school of retail bank management, http://www.novantas.com/alliances/marketsim.pdf, accessed on 28th April 2006.

* Ng, David, Chong, Choy, Lee & Kim. Computer simulations for e-learning: a case example of organizational structures, http://www.hiceducation.org/Edu_Proceedings/David%20Ng1.pdf, accessed on 28th April 2006.

* Proserpio & Luigi. To play, or not to play: building a learning environment through computer simulations, http://www.csrc.lse.ac.uk/asp/aspecis/20040135.pdf, accessed on 28th April 2006.

Appendix

Meetings:

We as a group made several meetings in order to complete this Marketing report.

The details are listed below:

Initial Meeting:

A short two-hour meeting was held between all the group members. This meeting was a formal meeting, which was meant to produce a general outline of the intended method for the structure of the report to take place. At the end of the meeting we had created a general outline of what the document would require, and the information that we wanted to include in it. Group has been divided into two sub groups in order to perform on the two major tasks that need to include in our report. Each group member has given a reading task and to analyze the decisions our firm taken while playing the game.

Second Meeting:

A very long and detailed second meeting was held in order to check the progress and to discuss any questions or recommendations. In this meeting written task to each group has been assigned.

Third Meeting:

This was again a very brief meeting. The main purpose of this meeting was to discuss the findings by each group and to take and compile all the work together in a presentable manner.

Fourth Meeting:

This meeting was very short indeed, only to share the draft report written by each sub group. Review of the draft report has been done on the same meeting and discussed any further improvements that need to be taken into consideration.

Fifth and Final Meeting:

In this meeting final edited and formatted report was presented to the group members and after the approval was printed.

Strategic Marketing Module

(Postgraduate Studies)

Aberdeen University Business School

Peer Assessment Form (ONE FORM PER TEAM)

Team Member Contributions GROUP__I___

1. Name: Khurram Ali

Score (Circle number as appropriate)

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

2. Name: Syed Asim Hashmi

Score (Circle number as appropriate)

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

3. Name: Savi Jayaram

Score (Circle number as appropriate)

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

4. Name: A Adekunle Adekeye

Score (Circle number as appropriate)

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

5. Name: Vidushi Gulia

Score (Circle number as appropriate)

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

_____________________________________________________________________

Now all sign the form!

1. ________________________________________

2. ________________________________________

3. ________________________________________

4. ________________________________________

5. ________________________________________

??

??

??

??

1

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