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Your initial task is to work together in a small group made up of other members of the marketing team to gather some data about the hotel that you work for.

Integrated Marketing Communications

The Assignments

Your initial task is to work together in a small group made up of other members of the marketing team to gather some data about the hotel that you work for.  You will be required to write a brief joint report on a MarComms objective, the segments that you feel the hotel appeals to and then suggest how you would communicate this information to the other hotel staff.  This is your formative assignment.

On the basis that you have successfully identified a single target market from the segments that you have investigated, you will be asked to present an integrated Marketing Communications (MarComms) plan for a six-month period for the hotel based on the SOSTAC model.  This is your summative assignment.

Further details of both assignments are given below.

The Scenario

Organisations usually focus their marketing efforts on segments of the market which they know will offer a valuable return on investment. However, not all market segments will remain profitable, possibly due to increased competition, market saturation or new emerging technology influencing customer wants and needs. One way to address this and remain successful in an evolving marketplace is to target a new market segment with existing products and services.  Organisations can use integrated communications to target new segments in the marketplace by using different channels or changing existing marketing messages to highlight features and benefits and widen their appeal. 

You work as a Marketing Executive within the marketing function of the hotel and have been tasked with investigating how you can utilise Integrated Marketing Communications to reach a new segment of the market with your existing services.

The Formative Brief

You will be allocated to a group and given one of the four hotels:

Harts Hotel, Nottingham – award-winning independent boutique hotel

          Igloo Hybrid Hos[t]el – Nottingham’s quirky accommodation choice featuring Japanese-inspired SleepBoxes

Lace Market Studio Apartment – luxury student accommodation in the heart of Nottingham`s exclusive Lace Market 

Nottingham-Crusader Mezzanine – executive apartment hotel; part of Huku Kwetu Corporate Housing  

The overall aim is to appeal to a new customer segment to increase occupancy by 10% in  the period April 2020 to March 2021.  As a team you are expected to present TWO likely market segments that it can appeal to.  You will use market information and marketing theory to back up your work.  You must describe TWO potential segments using segmentation theory.  Once you have done this, you must discuss and justify which ONE segment you feel will be the most attractive for the hotel to target. Following on from this you have to describe the position and/or message that you want the hotel to have within the mind of the target market. You should conclude with a brief outline of how the message will be communicated to the hotel staff (internal marketing).

Under no circumstances must you contact the hotel directly.  This will be considered ‘primary research’ which you are not allowed to undertake.  To do so is a breach of your Student Code of Conduct and any infringements will be dealt with severely

The formative report should be no more than 1500 words long and should contain any relevant appendices and a reference list.  It should be put into the IMC Formative Assessment Dropbox by 11pm on 3rd November 2019.  This report will be submitted to the Dropbox only and be reviewed by the Turn-it-In software.  You should use the new NBS Assignment front page when submitting.  All group members are required to submit both the report and the Groupwork sheet.

Your tutor will grade the work and provide both feedback and an indicative grade.  It is important that you meet to discuss the feedback when you receive it as it will be very important for you incorporate it into your summative report.

General guidance – the 1500 word formative report

Remember who you are writing the report for – it is a mixture of the Hotel Marketing Director and your tutor.

The 1500 word formative report will provide a useful start for your summative report.  The more effort that you put into it in the early part of the module, the less you will have to do towards the end of the term.  The following is a suggested structure for your report:

Executive Summary – this is a summary of the contents of the report – not an extended introduction.  Effective executive summaries are structured in the same way as the report itself and tell the reader what the 1500 words contains, including what you have discussed and decided.  It should be no more than 1 page.

This is not included in your wordcount.

Contents – use Word’s ‘Table of Contents’ feature to construct this.  It will automatically include your headings, subheadings and put page numbers in your contents list.  It will also automatically include any diagrams, tables, etc. if you want.  
Remember to change page numbers when you edit ‘manually’, if you do not use Word’s TOC!   

This is not included in your wordcount.

Introduction – here you outline the background to the report.  Why is it important for the hotel to read it?  Your overall aim is to increase occupancy.  You should describe the structure of the report, including any top level aims and objectives and any problems or limitations in the report, as well as any necessary background history.
Remember – keep it brief and don’t forget who your audience is.

About 400 words

 

Situation – go into more detail here about what the issues are – include any research that you have been able to find about the hotel sector and your hotel’s competitors.  Do not go into great detail, just describe the issues and how they will impact the hotel – for good or bad. Give a ‘Situation Report’ on the hotel.  You do not need a PESTEL, 5 Forces or SWOT analysis.  You should note the Marketing Director’s instruction that the Marketing objective is to “increase occupancy by 10% in the next year”.

 

Objective – here you need to set out ONE MarComms objective that you want your Plan to achieve within this target market.  The objective should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timed.  For the purposes of this report the timeline is from April 2020 to March 2021, however you do not need to use the whole year, if you want to focus on a specific shorter period, you can do so.  Remember the objectives should be specifically MarComms ones – not general company ones (so not ‘increase occupancy/sales/profit by 10%’).

 

Segmentation, targeting and positioning – in this section you will describe two potential and different segments.  You need to show your knowledge of segmentation by using more than 1 segmentation technique and you must have at least one descriptive and one behavioural segmentation technique.  Considerations here could include changes in customer needs and expectations, consumer behaviour, competitor activities and other factors that could justify why the hotel could consider targeting this segment.

You then need to decide on one specific segment to target.  You must justify your decision.  You must not have more than one target segment. Describe your ‘typical’ person in the segment and develop a consumer “persona” – maybe even include a picture of them in the Appendices.  Describe how they interact with the hotel and what it means to them. 

Then define the position that you want in the target market’s mind – what perception do you want them to have of the hotel?  What is the ‘message’ that you want/need to communicate through your MarComms? 

About 600 words

Internal Communications – you need to ‘sell’ your proposal to the staff of the hotel, so you need to use whatever methods are available to communicate the choice of segment to employees. Internal communications include all methods of MarComms that take place within an organisation.  You should recommend the TWO most appropriate internal communication methods, which should meet the needs of the hotel.  So, for example, face to face meetings will be more suited to smaller, single site hotels, as opposed to global hotel chains. You could also consider the recommendations by considering the role of internal communications in, say, informing, persuading and educating the employees and the hotel’s capabilities for managing and delivering those communications.

About 300 words

 

Conclude by giving an idea of how you will achieve your objective.  This comprises two elements: how the message will be communicated to the target market and how you will communicate with the workers at the hotel.  We are expecting you to give an idea of the MarComms Strategy you will employ. Remember to include relevant MCTs in this section.

About 200 words

Summary and next steps – summarise your STP exercise and say that if the analysis and recommendations are accepted you will devote more time to developing the MarComms plan in a later report.

Reference list – makes sure that every citation in the report is in the reference list; and that every item in the reference list is in the report!  Also be consistent in your style – for example do not show names or titles in both upper and lower case).  A sensible way to do this is to use the RefWorks (or similar) software programme. 

We are looking for a mixture of academic and practitioner; and online and offline source.  Use Harvard Referencing throughout – use the online guide to help you.

This is not included in your wordcount.

Appendices – this is where you can put any market data etc. that you refer to, or useful material that is not directly relevant to the report.  Or the nice picture of your ‘ideal consumer’.  Do not use it as an ‘overflow’ because you have exceeded your wordcount. 

These are not included in your wordcount.

MCTs – you do not have to define or describe the MCTs, but you do have to justify their use and apply them to the context.

Wordcount – the wordcount is 1500 words and not a syllable more.  Your tutor will be under instructions to stop at 1500 words and is under no obligation to read further.  Tables and models etc. in the report do NOT count towards your wordcount (eg a table of data), but they DO count towards your wordcount if the model is ‘populated’ with information.  Please note that the wordcount for each section shown above is indicative only.  The only wordcount that you have to abide by is 1500 words.

Format – please use the University ‘house style’ of Verdana, 10pt, using 1.5 line spacing.  This makes it so much easier for us to read.

The Summative Brief

External communications are key to targeting new market segments. In the second part of your report you are required to consider how an external campaign can be developed to target your new segment. 

Building on the initial formative report and incorporating your tutor’s feedback, you have to produce a 4000 word individual MarComms Plan, based on the SOSTAC model.  You are expected to develop the integrated MarComms Plan using at least 3 of the 5 MarComms tools and demonstrate an awareness of the elements that make up these tools by discussing them and using them.  You must NOT use Social Media only.

This report will be submitted by 11pm on 13th December 2019 to the Dropbox only and be reviewed by the Turn-it-In software.  If a copy is received beyond the submission date, then, unless an extension has been formally approved by the Module Leader, you will be considered to have put in a late submission.  You should include your student name and number, the module name, title of the work and wordcount on the front page. 

General guidance – the summative report

The overall MarComms Report is 4000 words.  However you have previously completed a segmentation exercise, so you have 1500 words towards this already.  When you receive your group feedback from your tutor, you have three options:

1 – ignore it and keep going (not recommended);

2 – take it on board and adjust your report in line with the feedback and keep everything else the same;

3 – take it on board and adjust your report in line with the feedback, but make further changes to the content for whatever reason.

The decision is up to you, but whatever you do, make sure that you talk to your tutor about the direction you want to go. The following is a suggested structure for your report:

Executive Summary – suitably rewritten

These are not included in your wordcount.

Contents – updated and expanded.

Introduction – updated if necessary.

About 400 words

Situation – updated if necessary.

Objective – updated if necessary

Segmentation, targeting and positioning – updated if necessary

About 600 words

Internal Communications – updated if necessary

About 400 words

(Clearly your updated wordcount will vary from the 1500 – but as a guide, it should not exceed 1750 words, otherwise you will not address the rest of the report in enough detail)

The Benefits of Branding – here we expect you to focus on and explain the concept and benefits of branding with reference to the hotel. This may include brand concepts related to the organisation’s existing brand, such as the organisation’s brand vision, brand image or brand personality, alongside potential branding benefits, such as brand awareness and competitive differentiation. You are expected to demonstrate these using suitable Branding MCTs.

You should then highlight how these brand elements can help to target the new market segment.

About 600 words

Building credibility – here you need to describe how the hotel can use communication campaigns and messages to the new market segment. You could choose to describe how credibility can be enhanced by such things as a sound Customer Value Proposition, and perhaps the impact of different types of messages, such as emotional messaging versus informational appeals.

About 400 words

MarComms Plan – here we expect you to focus on how your hotel will communicate with the new segment, including the development of an Integrated MarComms plan. The plan must include:

• clear SMART communication objectives

• a range of proposed communication methods, media and tools

• an implementation schedule

This will tell your audience just how the strategy is to be achieved in detail.  You must demonstrate integration of the MarComms Tools and their elements and develop a coherent, consistent integrated MarComms plan.  Introduce, evaluate and discuss each tool/element that you are using and why you are using it.  Ensure that your position/message is consistent across the media used.  Have you an idea of the creative side of the campaign?  The effort to develop some visual element to the report is always rewarded.

Communication Tools comprise Advertising, Sales Promotion, Public Relations, Personal Selling and Direct Marketing and the individual elements within each category. Communication media can include online, offline, digital and social media options.

Remember – you must use at least 3 of the 5 MarComms tools and demonstrate an awareness and usage of the elements that make up these tools.  You must NOT use Social Media only.  Depth of your choice is more important than breadth.

Throughout the plan all recommended actions should be justified and reflect the hotel’s size, resources and budgets and while there is no requirement to set a detailed budget, realistic options should be chosen. As an example, a small organisation with a limited turnover is unlikely to produce a national television campaign.

Throughout the plan all recommended actions should also meet the needs of the identified market segment. As an example, if the new segment is geographically close to the organisation, print advertising in a local newspaper may be appropriate.

An Implementation Schedule must be included. A GANTT chart could be used or a table showing a timeline of proposed activity.

About 1200 words

 

 

Control – it will be impossible to know if your proposed plan will be successful without methods to measure its effectiveness, so you need to discuss appropriate methods which could be used to measure the effectiveness of your IMC plan.

You need to show how you will control your campaign and monitor its effectiveness and cost.  You need to cost out your campaign and show which method of budget-setting you have used.  Make sure you demonstrate an ability to deliver an eye-catching, effective campaign without spending excessively.  For example, if you have chosen Direct Marketing, the amount of bookings generated by this may be an effective measurement.  Whereas, if Social Media Marketing has been chosen, the number of new subscribers to a social media channel may be an effective measurement.

Remember modern marketers need to be financially creative, as well as commercially creative!

About 400 words

Summary of recommendations – wrap up the MarComms Plan by drawing all the elements together.  Itemise your recommendations and their impact and their cost and benefit.

About 100 words

Reference list – make sure that you have updated the reference list.  As well as including all the new citations in the report in the reference list; have you remembered to remove any unwanted ones from the reference list?  Use Harvard Referencing throughout – use the online guide to help you.

These are not included in your wordcount.

Appendices – make sure that these are updated too.


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