RTM 396W Business Question


Final Assignment
You have been asked to write a report for your new boss, the Vice President of Sales
and Marketing for your soft drink company. The company has been enduring an
extended period of sagging sales volume and slowly declining profit margins.
There are several new products being tried out in test market. While the test results
are mixed overall, there are two products that seem to be performing well and three
that are not appearing to be well received. Of those latter three, one (Poma-planet, a
pomegranate-based soft drink) is a product initially championed by your new boss
when she was the Director of Supermarket Sales.
You have also been asked to evaluate the marketing efforts behind the new product
effort. The evidence is that marketing activity has been weak and that the stronger
new products are succeeding despite – not because – of the program.
Product Sales (last 12 weeks) Field Sales Comments
Surf Spray 10, 250 cases Can’t keep it on the shelf
Great word-of-mouth
Lemon Twist 8.765 cases Strong # 2 in sales
Good customer feedback
Power Aid 5,234 cases Weak demand; decent product
Marketing not helping
Moxie II 4,329 cases Weak demand; OK product
Marketing not helping
Poma-planet 1, 876 cases Poor product
Even great marketing would
not help that much
Based on the company’s history, sales levels like those demonstrated by Surf Spray
and Lemon Twist suggest that they would have a major sales impact in a well-
supported national launch. They also happen to be products with very attractive
margins (e.g. highly profitable). In short, a launch might ignite a turnaround in the
business if properly supported with an effective marketing campaign.
Your ad agency is J. Walter Thompson. They’ve been losing quite a bit of business
lately and your boss is reportedly close to Peter Schweitzer, their Vice Chairman.
But your own evaluation of their work on the new products is similar to that of the
field organization.
Given the situation the company is in decisive action needs to be taken. You have a
chance – given your assignment – to make a very positive impression on her. But
you will need to be skillful in the way you handle the report given some of her likely

on this information.
What do you think the company should do?
What is your rationale for that course of action?
Some Suggestions:
Make your document “easy on the eye” and use your choice of graphical
approach to highlight the data from the test markets.
Use your best tactful approach to deal with the performance of both J. Walter
Thompson and Poma-planet.
Be concise.
Use metaphor, simile, and or an analogy to strengthen your document.
Use a quotation if you can find one that is truly relevant.
Use a foreign word or phrase that fits.
Deploy some of the vocabulary words you’ve learned this semester – BUT get
it right when you do. When in doubt, leave it out.
The Process:

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