Imagine you have been hired as an outside consultant to a firm, organization, or other stakeholder to make a strategic recommendation for the client based on analysis of the customer experience.
For this project, identify a specific product marketed by your client. You may choose a product from any of the following broad categories:
Goods(e.g., Crest toothpaste, Starbucks latte, Apple iPhone, Bosch freezer, Zappos shoes, Peter Max paintings, antique spoons sold on eBay, custom guitar straps sold on Etsy)
Services(e.g., hair salon service, dentistry, MBA degree, Saxo online brokerage services, Dropbox Pro, a flight to New York)
Experiences(e.g., a J.K. Rowling movie at the cinema, a resort vacation in Cambodia)
Charity(e.g., a donation to Oxfam, volunteering at a homeless shelter)
Ideas(e.g., “climate change is important”, “free markets generate prosperity”)
Policies(e.g., Brexit, nationalizing U.K. railroads, banning plastic straws)
People(e.g., electing Donald Trump, hiring you for a consulting job)
First, after briefly describing the product and client, identify a potential area of improvement in terms of the company’s current marketing strategy, where psychological or social scientific insight might be valuable. As some examples, you could consider the perceptual properties of the packaging, examine how customers react to the product’s price, or evaluate the advertising messages used by the manufacturer, among many other possibilities. You should support your argument that this area is one for possible improvement using some evidence—either secondary data from company reports or the media, or qualitative or quantitative primary data you collect yourself (e.g., observations of customers, a survey, interviews, focus group). This should take 500–1000 words.
Second, use one or more theories or empirical findings from consumer behavior to generate some insights surrounding the problem. While you are encouraged to include insights derived from the attached files, you should also go beyond this material. Specifically, use this opportunity to consult the scientific literature, including journals such as the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Psychological Science, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Behavioral Decision-Making. As you explain the relevant research, avoid technical jargon where possible and assume no knowledge of psychology or social science (i.e., you must explain any concepts in terms a layperson can understand). This should take 1000–1500 words.
Finally, use these insights to generate one or two key recommendations for your client. For instance, you could propose a specific advertising campaign, price change, rearrangement of a retailer, etc. Be sure that these recommendations are explained in enough detail that they could be useful to your client, that they follow logically from your analysis, and that the recommendations are plausibly value-generating for the client (i.e., if it’s a for-profit company, it should plausibly lead to higher profits in the long-run). This should take 500–1000 words.
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