Daily Archives: March 16, 2013

The Antecedents of 1950s Rock and Roll

Introduction

Rock and roll or also known as rock music is a movement that started in the United States between the 1940s and 1950s (Frith, Straw, & Street, 2001). However, it only begins to garner widespread recognition as well as worldwide popularity during the 1960s. Rock and roll is a musical style that has managed to influence and impact the society, lifestyle, fashion, attitude as well as language (Frith, Straw, & Street, 2001). This genre of popular music has evolved through time mainly due to the involvement of various instruments and the influence from different music styles. Therefore, this paper will try to examine the antecedents to the 1950s rock and roll and how they have contributed to this type of music. To answer the question, this paper will look at how western swing, country music as well as rhythm and blues have contributed to rock and roll.

What did Western Swing contribute to Rock and Roll?

Western swing is the sub-genre of jazz (Shuker, 2002). Generally, it means dance music performed by a band. Since rock and roll is essentially based on African folk music, the emergence of western swing is to pull in the interest of the white community (Shuker, 2002). This type of music reaches the height of its popularity during the 1930s in New York City where social integration is happening extensively (Everett, 2000). In order to do so, blues and jazz musicians began to experiment with rhythmic music and amplification. These blues and jazz singers start to form small groups and incorporate saxophone solos as well as shouted vocals (Everett, 2000). Bands from different states will create their own style of music and as the influence of western swing spread, musicians start to innovate and merge from precedent styles. One good example of a famous western swing band is Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. These processes of mixing and interchanging manage to pull in a bigger crowd especially white Caucasians. This is also fueled by the creation of radio, records and jukeboxes that make western swing music more accessible to the general public (Ripani, 2006). As the music industry begins to be more commercialized, electronic recording and electric guitar are introduced (Ripani, 2006).

Western swing is part and parcel of rock and roll. It is due to the emergence of this music genre that rock and roll is born. Besides that, with the usage of solo instrument performances like saxophone and electric guitar, amplification as well as shouted vocals, these features created a new form of dance music and it is also the basic concept of the modern rock and roll. Apart from that, western swing is also one of its kinds whereby musicians perform in a band. All these aspects have managed to garner a wider audience reception and push the music industry to be commercialized, breaking the barrier between white and black. These are the fundamentals that lead to the creation of rock and roll music.

What did Country Music contribute to Rock and Roll?

During the 1940s and 1950s, rock and roll is very heavily influenced by country music. In the past, country music is also known as hillbilly music (Nettl, Porter, Stone, & Rice, 2001). The fusion of both genres gives birth to the term rockabilly (Nettl, Porter, Stone, & Rice, 2001). It is particularly popular in the southern side of the United States and it is one of the earliest forms of rock and roll music. The most prevalent features of how country music has contributed to rock and roll is the change in the usage of instruments. With the introduction of rockabilly, other musical percussions such as drums and electric guitar are added to produce a wider selection of beats as well as rhythm (Moore, 2003). In the olden days, the sound of the drums is considered to be impure in country music. However, with a more pronounced rhythm, it slowly gains popularity appealing to listeners as a new form of dance music. Besides that, with the infusion of country music, a new wave of white singers has emerged on the rock and roll genre (Moore, 2003). It has also created a platform for female singers as well.

Rockabilly is at its most popular during the 1930s and slowed down during the World War II. It picks up momentum again during the 1950s and 1960s with the emergence of very popular artists. One very good example is Elvis Presley. Apart from that, the combination of country music and rock and roll has also finally traversed boundaries, crossing over to the Brits (Szatmary, 2009). The most notable band is called the Beatles. A whole new movement emerges with singers from British working with American singers like Rolling Stone and Buddy Holly as well as Led Zeppelin and Elvis Presley.

What did Rhythm and Blues contribute to Rock and Roll?

Rhythm and blues or in short, R&B, is created mainly for the African American community during the 1940s (Bogdanov, Woodstra, & Erlewine, 2003). With a more heavy and insistent beat, it begins to incorporate electric blues, gospel and soul music together. This new style of music incorporates instruments such as electric guitar, piano, saxophone, drums and bass. However, the main contribution of rhythm and blues to rock and roll is the usage of electric blues (Bogdanov, Woodstra, & Erlewine, 2003). It creates an alternative to different form of sounds called the distortion (Ripani, 2006). Therefore, it acts as a frequency multiplier making sounds to be more intense, pronounced and amplified. This is the basis for any rock and roll music. It starts getting more attention when musicians start to make use of uptempo blue songs mix with uptempo gospel beat. The messages of these songs are often based on sex, dancing and drinking (Szatmary, 2009).

Due to the influence from rhythm and blues on rock and roll, words like ‘boogie’ and honking’ are coined. It is often said that rock and roll originates from black rhythm and blues with the crooning by white singers. One of the pioneers in playing the electric blue guitar is Chuck Berry.  This style of music appeals not only to the black community but to the post-war society who craves for social freedom as well as a need for excitement and dancing especially to white teenagers.

Conclusion

Therefore, the antecedents to 1950s rock and roll such as western swing, country music as well as rhythm and blues play a crucial part in influencing the aspects of rock music. One of the most notable effects of these antecedents on rock and roll is the usage of different instruments. The incorporation of electric guitars and drums on these antecedents enable musicians to create a new form or style of music that leads to the creation of rock and roll. Apart from that, the antecedents that are mainly influenced by African American music have managed to break society barriers and the white community began to enjoy this genre of music. The formation of small bands in contrast to big bands is also a commercialized appeal. Finally, with the usage of electric blues, distortion can be created; producing a more amplified and uptempo beat in order to cater to a post-war generation who craves for more excitement.

References

Bogdanov, V., Woodstra, C., & Erlewine, S. T. (2003). All Music Guide to the Blues: The Definitive Guide to the Blues. Milwaukee: Backbeat Books.

Everett, W. (2000). Expression in Pop-Rock Music: A Collection of Critical and Analytical Essays. Princeton: Garland.

Frith, S., Straw, W., & Street, J. (2001). The Cambridge Companion to Pop and Rock. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Moore, A. F. (2003). Analyzing Popular Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nettl, B., Porter, J., Stone, R. M., & Rice, T. (2001). The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. New York: Garland Pub.

Ripani, R. J. (2006). The New Blue Music: Changes in Rhythm & Blues. Jackson: Univ. Press of Mississippi.

Shuker, R. (2002). Popular Music: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge.

Szatmary, D. P. (2009). Rockin’ in Time: A Social History of Rock-And-Roll. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

Structural Design of People and Organization

Introduction

It is crucial for every leader of a company to have a comprehensive understanding on the theories and practicality of implementing a good structural design of people and organization for their establishments. One of the main advantages of a good structural design is an increment in the performance of their workers (Carlopio & Andrewartha, 2008). This is due to the direct relationship between the well-organized roles in a company with workers’ efficiency. A search through books, journals and even information from the Internet will lead you into finding a variation in organizational theories and strategies. There are a few prominent figures that are known to have discussed this issue to the highest level such as Goleman, French and Raven as well as Copper Makin and Cox. Each proposes a specific technique and tool that can be used to manage or lead an organization better. There is no hard and fast rules as to which is the best pattern. It all depends on the needs or requirements of a particular organization. However, this article is going to focus on the concepts that are suggested from People and Organization. The effectiveness of the following theories and strategies from this school of thoughts are going to be analyzed by using examples that are shown in a video titled ‘The Corporation’. This article contains a summary of the video ‘The Corporation’ as well as a thorough examination on the key events and characters from the described video using the process motivation theory, structural conflict theory and Peter Block’s positive political strategy (Griffin & Moorhead, 2011). Finally, the conclusion will give a few suggestions as a form of resolution to the problems that are found in this video.

The Corporation

In order to analyze the structure of people and organization, a case study called ‘The Corporation’ will be used. It consists of a four parts video that runs for about half an hour chronicling a few key individuals at Price Waterhouse who are involved in the implementation of a 5 million pound investment in an office automated system.

The idea is, first, suggested to Barbara who is the sales and marketing manager for the company. Due to the traditional filing system, she finds it hard to keep track and organize all the data. Not to mention, it is also very time consuming. Therefore, she feels that it is a worthy investment in order to make her work lighter and more efficient. Later, she brings this idea to John Frank who is the main technical staff. Initially, he shrugs off Barbara’s proposal as he is clearly too busy to handle another project. After much persuasion and partly, due to personal gain, he finally agrees to support the implementation of the office automated system.

The proposal is discussed in the board meeting headed by the finance director, Harry McLeod and he approves the project so that the company will not lose out while competing with other companies that are moving forward in the usage of technology. However, the idea is not supported by all the board members especially Tom Blyth who is the service manager. Later, he will initiate a whole new and separate system for his department to show his disapproval for the office automated system idea.

When the project exceeded the planned budget of 5 million pound, Harry decides to make a drastic cut from a financer point of view. He, totally, disregards the fact that his decision to cut down the budget will give a negative impact towards the project and the company’s profit in the long run. As the implementation of the office automated system begins, there are a number of problems that start to arise.

The owner, David, notices these complications and question Tom regarding the effectiveness of this system. Worried and unsatisfied with Tom’s answer, he asks his good friend, Gary, to investigate. Gary pokes his nose around the office and discovers that there are a few major problems that occur due to poor structural design of the people and organization. He relates his findings to David.

After understanding the scenario presented in ‘The Corporation’, this article will begin to analyze the behaviors of key individuals and events based on three models or concepts of structural design for people and organization. They are motivation, conflict and politics.

Motivation

The process motivation theory is how a person’s needs influence his or her behavior to work harder. A few famous researchers who have significant findings using this theory are Goleman, Katzenbach, Pearson and Axelrod. All agreed that there are two main types of process motivation theory (Williams, 2002). They are known as the Expectancy theory as well as the Equity theory (Bolman & Deal, 2011). The expectancy theory revolves around the amount of effort one is willing to put into his or her work base on the outcome (Bolman & Deal, 2011). Therefore, if the end result is going to be desirable as well as successful and there is a clear way of reaching the goal, then, this will motivate a person to take action so that the predicted outcome will be realized (Williams, 2002).

According to the expectancy theory, there are three factors that will influence a person’s motivation. The first is valence (Carlopio & Andrewartha, 2008). If the outcome will  benefit and fulfill one’s needs, a person will, naturally, be more motivated to ensure that the end result is achieved (Coates, 2001). In the study case ‘The Corporation’, this can be seen on two significant individuals. They are Barbara and John Franks. Both see the attraction behind the implementation of the office automated system project. For Barbara, she will be able to achieve better organization of all the sales and marketing data. The project will allow her to increase her sales as well as in reducing the amount of work and time in data coordination. Meanwhile, John Franks has been requesting for salary increment and a promotion for quite some time. He sees the project as a stepping stone for him to achieve his goals. Therefore, Barbara and John Franks will be motivated to ensure that the project will be successful due to personal gains.

The second and third factor work hand in hand. They are the instrumentality and expectancy factors. One has to have the confidence and the ability to complete the given task in order to achieve the predicted outcome (Slavin, Mizrahi & Morrison, 2003). As the study case has shown, Barbara automatically seeks help from her fellow colleague, John Franks who is well-versed in the information technology field. She realizes that if he can get John to cooperate with her in the office automated project, then, she will have the ability as well as the confidence to achieve a positive end result.

Meanwhile, as the name suggests in the second type of process motivation theory, the equity theory emphasizes on fair treatments towards every individual in an organization (Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2004). Whenever there is a sense of dissatisfaction due to an unjust treatment, a worker will feel demotivated. There are a number of ways a worker can retaliate for being treated unfairly (Robbins & Judge, 2009). They can lower down their effort to match the reward, request for a salary increment, change their opinion regarding the situation or tender a resignation letter (Kulakowski & Chronister, 2006). This is clearly shown in the characters of John and Tom. John feels unsatisfied and overwhelm with the amount of work which he needs to do. Therefore, his productivity is low and only picks projects which he wants to pay focus on. Aside from that, he has also taken the action of asking for a promotion as a justification for his workload. As for Tom, he feels that his department has not been given a fair chance and financial assistance to develop. His dissatisfaction can be heard when he voices out the upgrade needed for the old punch card system.  Therefore, he disagrees with the office automated system project as it is given a higher priority by the board committee. He even tries to outdo his competition by creating a whole new system only for his department.

Conflict

Conflict can happen at any time especially in big organizations. Tension can arise when there is a difference in goals or competition for valuable resources (Robbins & Judge, 2009). It does not just happen between individuals. There can be conflict between departments and even, organizations. Although many people view conflict as a form of negativity in nature and it is best to solve the problems but conflict is not necessarily 100 percent bad. Some individuals will use conflict as a form of motivation to work harder in order to win against the opposing person or group (Beach & Connolly, 2005). Based on the structural conflict theory, there are three types of conflict; interpersonal conflict, role conflict, and inter-group conflict (Dessler & Starke, 2001).

From the case study ‘The Corporation’, conflict arises when Barbara, who is considered as the trigger and cause, proposes the idea of implementing the office automated system. This section will explain the different types of conflict and ways that are used to resolve the problem by utilizing the characters as well as events from the case study. The first stage of conflict happens between different individuals (Dessler & Starke, 2001). This is clearly shown between Barbara and Tom. Their interpersonal conflict happens when Barbara’s idea is given more importance than Tom’s request for a small upgrade for his department. Due to that, Tom is reluctant to support Barbara regardless whether the proposed project is beneficial or negative. He is even refusing to work together with Barbara and John in order to make this project a success. Barbara chooses avoidance as a way to resolve the issue with Tom. She shrugs him off during the board meeting as it is neither a high priority agenda in her list nor will it affect the approval of her project. However, due to this incident, Tom is, even, more determined to prove her wrong and to go against her.

Next, the problems move on to create a role conflict. This happens when individuals are confused or unhappy with their roles and responsibilities (Wren, 2004). This is demonstrated in three characters from the case study when everybody is not clear who is in charge of the project. Barbara, John and Harry feel that each of them is leading the project. The initiation of the idea comes from Barbara. However, she will not have succeeded if John does not help her to make the idea into a reality. Meanwhile, Harry is the one who has approved and allocated the budget for this project. So, each feels a sense of entitlement to be heading the project and decisions are made from the business as well as personal gain point of view. In this instance, Harry uses dominance or power intervention and cut down the budget where he sees fit without considering the project as a whole. Using his higher authority and position in the company, he ignores Barbara’s and John’s request to increase the budget for the project. His move is only beneficial towards the financial department.

As stated earlier, conflicts do not just occur between individuals. It can also affect two different departments. The inter-group conflict happens between Barbara’s and Tom’s department. Due to their inability to work together and lack of support for each other, Tom has created a whole new system mainly to be used in his department only. His new system is going against the office automated system and causes a disturbance in the work flow. This type of conflict also happens between Barbara and the distribution department. Since computers allow the possibility to boost sales, this also means an increase workload for the distribution team. Friction happens when the distribution department cannot manage to send out all the products in time. When Barbara realizes the mess happens partly due to the confusion cause by Tom’s unique system for his department, she chooses confrontation to resolve the conflict between Tom and her. She seeks out her colleague and voices out her opinion in a face to face conversation. There is no positive resolution to the confrontation as Tom refuses to be supportive.

Politics

Nowadays, politics in an establishment is inevitable as individuals try to compete with each other in order to gain benefits and recognition (Stinchcombe, 2000). There is no one more prominent in discussing this issue than Peter Block, the author of ‘The Empowered Manager: Positive Political Skills at Work’. Stated in his book, there are two types of politics. They are bureaucratic and entrepreneurial politics. According to Block (2001), the bureaucratic politic is negative because it involves individuals who are creating conflict for self-interest. Meanwhile, Block (2001) mentioned that entrepreneurial politic is positive because it involves individuals who use good tactics to achieve self-interest as well as for the benefit of the organization goals. He suggests a few methods and techniques that can be used to handle any political events. They are another pair of hands, an expert and a collaborator.

There are a number of political activities that happen in the case study of ‘The Corporation’. This section will use Block’s typology (2001) to analyze strategies that are adopted or not from Barbara’s perspective who is considered as the trigger for all the political activities that are happening in Price Waterhouse. In terms of Tom Blyth, Barbara could have handled the situation better. She should have adopted the ‘another pair of hands’ strategy. Barbara can involve him in her project because Tom can be a great asset. Furthermore, by assigning a certain task to Tom, he will most probably not work against her.

Meanwhile, with John Franks, Barbara has adopted the right political strategy. She uses the expert theory and pulls John to join in her bandwagon. Barbara realizes that she needs John’s expertise in the information technology world in order to realize her office automated system project. By persuading him with a beneficial personal gain, Barbara manages to pull John to her side.

While discussing the budget for her project with Harry McLeod, Barbara allows him to make all the cuts without much persuasion and fight for her project. She should have used the collaborator strategy. There is a window of opportunity if she makes a move to have a discussion with the finance director. This method would have allowed Barbara to put her points across by explaining to Harry why it is necessary to increase the budget allocation.

Conclusion

Based on the models of motivation, conflict and politics that are used to analyze the characters as well as events presented in ‘The Corporation’, it is crucial for all top level management to have a deep understanding in these three concepts in order to increase the performance of their workers as well as the ability to handle a situation better. Failing to do so when the need arises will give a negative impact to the structure of an organization as a whole. As a result, more conflicts may ensue and the inability of the workers to concentrate on their responsibilities causing in a lower performance rate.  Although the methodologies and strategies that are discussed in this article are effective to a certain extent, however, every company should adjust the discussed techniques according to their requirements. The rule of the thumb is to do a thorough research before applying any strategy (Beach & Connolly, 2005).

References

Carlopio, J & Andrewartha, G (2008). Developing management skills: A comprehensive guide or leaders. Pearson Education. Frenchs Forest.

Griffin, R. W. & Moorhead, Gregory (2011). Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations. Griffin Moore. New York.

Bolman, L.G & Deal, T. E. (2011). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice and leadership. Jossey-Bass. San Francisco.

Williams, L.C. (2002). Creating the congruent workplace: Challenges for people and their organizations. Quorum Books. Westport.

Slavin, S, Mizrahi, T & Morrison, J. D (1993). Community organization and social administration: Advances, trends and emerging principles. Routledge. London.

Coates, M (2001). Psychology and organizations. Heinemann. South Africa.

Daft, R. L (2003). Organization theory and design. South-Western College Publication. Boston.

Wagner, J. A & Hollenbeck, J. R (2004). Organizational behavior: Securing competitive advantage. South-Western College Publication. Boston.

Kulakowski, E. C & Chronister, L. U (2006). Research administration and management. Jones & Bartlett. Sudbury.

Robbins, S. P & Judge, T. A (2009). Essentials of organizational behaviors. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.

Dessler, G & Starke, F. A (2001). Management: Leading people and organizations in the 21st century. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.

Stinchcombe, A. L (2000). Social structure and organizations. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. United Kingdom.

Wren, D. A (2004). The evolution of management thought. Wiley. San Francisco.

Beach, L. R & Connolly, T (2005). The psychology of decision making: People in organizations. Sage Publications Inc. Thousand Oaks.

Block, Peter (2001). The empowered manager: Positive political skills at work. Jossey-Bass. San Francisso.

Bhatt, G. D (2001). Knowledge management in organizations: Examining between technologies, techniques and people. Journal of knowledge management, 68-75.

Suggested Marketing Plan for Telstra (A Telecommunication Company in Australia)

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

1. Since Telstra is one the pioneers to provide 3G and 4G services, they are able to create a strong customer foundation and trust.

2. Telstra manages to stretch the value of their customers’ money.

3. Telstra has successfully set up a comprehensive website and they also have stores throughout the country. Furthermore, Telstra’s 3G services are able to cover 99% of Australian’s population.

4. This company carries out various promotional events and projects to keep the loyalty of their customers as well as to attract new users.Weaknesses

1. Their 4G service are still at the initial stages of their implementation plan and there are still rooms for improvement.

2. In comparison to Telstra’s competitors such as Optus and Vodafone, the pricing set by this company is still relatively high.

3. So far, Telstra’s 4G services are only available at capital cities and regional town centres only.

4. Telstra’s marketing strategies are focused on Australia’s consumers. The company has yet to make aggressive moves to broaden their services globally.Opportunities

 

1. Telstra should take full advantage of the partnership with Hutchinson and take full control of the 4G market.

2. Due to their 3G and 4G services, Telstra has made a significant profit throughout the years.

3. In 2011, Telstra has managed to spread their 4G services to cover 80 regions in Australia.

4. Telstra has also came up with a new advertisement that represents the diversity of their customers.Threats

 

1. Although Telstra is currently leading in the communication and technology market, rival companies are not far behind.

2. Due to the constant change in the world’s economy, Telstra may have to revise their prices and plans in order to appeal to the consumers.

2.0       Segmentation, targeting and positioning

2.1       Market segmentation

2.1.1    Demographic variables

  • Consumers are banded together into groups using variables such as age, gender, family size, income, occupation, religion, race, education and nationality (Kotler, 2000).
  • Telstra is paying more attention in crafting their marketing strategies by focusing more on age, gender and income (Walker, Boyd, Mullins & Larreche, 2003).
  • It is important for Telstra to be able to identify and fulfill the communication as well as technology requirements for all different age groups.
  • For example, they have a special SMS plan for their mobile services that appeals to younger generations who tend to message each other more often (Goggin, 2005).
  • Income plays an important role in the way an individual spend their money (Walker, Boyd, Mullins & Larreche, 2003).
  • Prepaid mobile services are available for teenagers who are hoping for more flexibility in terms of the amount of money he or she needs to invest in a month. Meanwhile, those who do not mind spending extra can opt for high speed data transmission services (Goggin, 2005).
  • As for gender, it is a well-known fact that women and men focus on different things in life (Lees-Marshment, 2009). Female tends to pay attention to tiny details such as the designs of a mobile phone. On the other hand, male are more interested in the features.
  • For that matter, Telstra creates different services to fulfill those needs. They offer various mobile phones such as Samsung, iPhone, Nokia and Android that can be tied up to different packages.

2.1.2    Geographic variables

  • Since Telstra is only providing their services in Australia, they have divided their consumers according to states and cities (Mullins, Walker, & Boyd, 2009).
  • There are many factors that will come in play when this variable is taken into consideration while structuring marketing strategies.
  • A certain age group, race or religion may be more prevalent at certain geographical areas (Lees-Marshment, 2009).
  • For example, Melbourne is a metropolitan state with booming business industries as well as developed local government areas. Therefore, the population has a huge number of working professionals (Lees-Marshment, 2009). However, a small district such as Albany in Western Australia will portray a different demographics altogether.
  • Due to the diversity of the population at certain geographical areas, Telstra has come up with different business and marketing strategies.
  • One good example is their 3G services. So far, Telstra is only offering 3G services to major cities only. An expensive program such as this is only beneficial if Telstra can grab a good amount of consumers to try out their new product and services (Cunningham & Turner, 2002).

2.1.3    Psychographic variable

  • Psychographic variable involves grouping consumers together based on social class, lifestyles or personality characteristics (Lovelock & Wirtz, 2006).
  • This can be seen in Telstra’s newest marketing campaign where their advertisements portray various groups of people leading different lifestyles (Lovelock & Wirtz, 2006).
  • For example, the fun seeker group is shown as a group of people who are always on the go and looking for excitement in life. They are depicted as consumers who love to use the text messaging services as well as someone who is looking for great value for their money (Lovelock & Wirtz, 2006).
  • The next group of consumers is grouped as the high achievers. They are very successful and use the latest technology in order to keep up to date with their work (Lovelock & Wirtz, 2006).
  • Finally, in the advertisement, Telstra portrays the ‘family comes first’ group. These consumers are shown to be very family orientated and use technology and communication devices as a medium to keep in touch with their family members (Lovelock & Wirtz, 2006).

2.1.4    Behavioristic variable

  • This kind of variable groups consumers according to their knowledge, response and usage of the product (Luck, 2010).
  • Based on behavioristic variable, companies can try to market their products or services through several points such as occasion segmentation, benefit segmentation, user status, usage rate as well as loyalty status (Luck, 2010).
  • In the case of Telstra, this company pays more attention to factors such as user status and usage rate (Kotler, 2000).
  • Telstra has various promotional programs to maintain the loyalty of their regular customers.
  • For example, if the consumer recharge their prepaid card within a 7 days period notice, Telstra offers a 10 percent discount off any purchase.
  • Besides that, Telstra has also done their market segmentation according to usage rate. They are divided into low usage customers and big spender (Kotler, 2000).
  • For low usage customers, the company offers a great value for money SMS plan. Meanwhile, Telstra is more focus in pushing their 3G services to high usage customers.

2.2       Targeting segmentation

  • Targeting segmentation is different from market segmentation as it only involves the company to identify and choose one or more of those groups so that a detailed as well as specific program can be created for each of them (Roberts, Nelson & Morrison, 2005).
  • Target segmentation is also known as the ‘rifle’ approach (Roberts, Nelson & Morrison, 2005).
  • There are two market segmentations that have been targeted by Telstra; the low usage customers and the technologically conscious customers.
  • Low usage customers are mainly those who have subscribed to their SMS and prepaid services. These are also users who are not financially independent yet (Kotler, 2000).
  • Meanwhile, for the technologically conscious customers, Telstra has decided to come up with attractive programs to push their 3G services.

2.3       Positioning

  • Successful positioning of a product allows consumers to form a positive perception or impression about the product before thinking about competing brands (Morrison & Eastburn, 2006).
  • Telstra applies this market strategy through aggressive advertising and public relation strategies.
  • In 2011, Telstra has launched a new image with a new slogan that said, ‘Australia’s connection to the future’ (Jaray, 2006) in conjunction with the company’s effort to position itself as one of the leading communication and technology company that provides world class 3G services in Australia.

3.0       Strategy

3.1       Product

  • This article is going to observed three products that are available under Telstra’s Internet services. They are the home broadband, mobile broadband and mobile tablets (Jaray, 2006).
  • Their home broadband line is called BigPond. Telstra offers Internet connection through cable as well as ADSL.
  • As for mobile broadband, customers can either choose to go for BigPond’s post-paid or Telstra’s pre-paid options.
  • Telstra has four types of tablets that can be tied up to various plans. So far, they have the Apple iPad, Acer Iconia, Motorola Xoom andAcer Netbook.

3.2       Price

  • Prices vary from one plan to another. It all depends on the types of services a customer wants to have for their home broadband, mobile broadband and mobile tablets.
  • The cheapest plan for home broadband is the BigPond Elite 5GB Liberty. It is priced at $29.95. Meanwhile, their most expensive plan is the BigPond Ultimate 500GB Liberty that is charged for $99.95 (Kotler, 2000).
  • Telstra’s post-paid mobile broadband plan is called the BigPond Liberty from 1GB to 15GB of data allowance. The price ranges from $19.95 to $79.95. Meanwhile, for their pre-paid plans, they are charging different rates based on data allowance. The lowest is 8 cents per MB and the highest will cost 1.47 cents per MB (Kotler, 2000).
  • There are various plans available for each mobile tablet that is offered by Telstra. In general, the cheapest data plan is priced at $29 and the most expensive plan is $89 (Kotler, 2000).

3.3       Place / Distribution

  • Telstra is the provider for the fastest broadband service in Australia (Roberts, Nelson & Morrison, 2005).
  • Initially, BigPond 4G services are only available at all the capitals or central business district in Australia.
  • By the end of 2011, Telstra’s 4G coverage is provided to all associated airports and 80 other regional locations in Australia especially in town centres .
  • Speed may vary due to several factors such as terrain, number of users and the distance from base stations (Roberts, Nelson & Morrison, 2005).
  • However, Telstra’s 3G services are more widely spread and 99 percent of the Australian population are able to enjoy this facility (Roberts, Nelson & Morrison, 2005).

3.4       Promotion

  • Telstra has ongoing promotions such as allowing their customers to opt for bundle packages in order to get cheaper rates (Lees-Marshment, 2009).
  • Telstra also has various contests to attract new consumers. The latest contest is called Telstra Credit Me2U. Two lucky winners will be given an iPhone 4S 32GB.
  • Besides that, Telstra also offers free devices when consumers sign up for their services. For example, customers will be given a free BigPond USB 4G dongle when they subscribe to the BigPond Liberty 2 years plan term.

4.0       Recommendations

4.1       Products

  • Telstra should develop their 4G as well as 3G services in order to provide a faster and smoother experience for their customers (Lovelock & Wirtz, 2006).
  • This company should also offer more options in terms of mobile plans in order to cater to the different demographic of their customers.
  • It will also be beneficial if Telstra can come up with personalize application such as creating a center where consumers are able to get all the latest news, promotions as well as updates.

4.2       Price

  • In comparison to its competitors such as Optus, Telstra still has a relatively higher price (Cunningham & Turner, 2002).
  • Telstra can come up with plans that will offer a better value for their customers’ money as well as flexibility.
  • One of the many ways Telstra can achieve this is through added services like giving free polyphonic ringtones and wireless games.

4.3       Place / Distribution

  • In order to stay ahead of the competitors, Telstra should ensure that their 3G and 4G services are available throughout Australia.
  • Besides that, this company can also build more vending machines or kiosks that allow accessibility to customers to pay bills or add credit (Walker, Boyd, Mullins & Larreche, 2003).

4.4       Promotion

  • Telstra can create promotions that reward their customers for being loyal or whenever they use their services by giving a certain percentage of discounts.
  • Telstra can also sign deals with other companies in order to offer more contests to attract new users.
  • This company should also distribute CD-ROMS to high traffic areas in order to educate the public regarding their newest 3G and 4G services (Goggin, 2005).

5.0       References

Jaray, S (2006). Marketing (Australia Wide). AussieBookSeller. Artarmon.

Kotler, P (2000). Marketing management (The Millennium). Prentice Hall International. New Jersey.

Walker, O, Boyd, H, Mullins, J & Larreche, J.C (2003). Marketing Strategy: A decision-focused approach. Tata McGraw Hill. Noida.

Mullins, J, Walker, O & Boyd, H (2009). Marketing management: A strategic decision-making approach. McGraw Hill. New York.

Lees-Marshment, J (2009). Political marketing: Principles and applications. Routledge. London.

Goggin, G (2005). Virtual nation: The Internet in Australia. University of New South Wales. New South Wales.

Cunningham, S & Turner, G (2002). The media and communications in Australia. Allen & Unwin. New South Wales.

Lovelock, C & Wirtz, J (2006). Services marketing. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.

Luck, D. (2010). Telecommunications prices in Australia: The last twenty years [Electronic Version]. Telecommunications Journal of Australia, 60(1).

Roberts, J, Nelson, C & Morrison, P (2005). A prelaunch diffusion model for evaluating market defense strategies. Marketing Science Journal, 24(1).

Morrison, M & Eastburn, M (2006). A study of brand equity in a commodity market. Australassian Marketing Journal, 14(1).

A SWOT Analysis on Sony’s Home Entertainment Products

* Normally, a SWOT analysis should be written in a table format with bulleted lists.

Strengths

For a long time, Sony has successfully built their name in the home entertainment industry. They are known for their reputation in producing innovative and high quality products (Stadtler, 2011). Based on their history, Sony has a track record of coming up with a lot of new devices, the first of its kind on the consumers market. Besides that, the company also has imprinted their brand among consumers all over the world spread across 204 countries. Despite a drop in sales revenue in 2008, Sony still manages to earn about $88.7 billion in profit margin and is ranked in the top 30 in the InterBrands award as the most recognizable brand among consumers (Stadtler, 2011). This is because Sony has a diversity of products on the market from LCD television to Blue Ray disks that appeal to the consumers.

Besides that, Sony has a group of dedicated and experienced engineers working for the company. Since Sony produces a wide range of home entertainment products, engineers from this company have the opportunity to try their hands on building all these equipment (Pride & Ferrell, 2011). Aside from that, they also can learn from past mistakes and re-apply their knowledge in later years as well as future products. These learning curves that are thrown at the development engineers are highly valued by Sony. They are the company’s living resources and it is something that gives Sony an upper hand over newer competitors (Pride & Ferrell, 2011).

Another strength that defines Sony over the others is their level of competitiveness over other brands on the home entertainment industry (Goektuerk, 2007). Recently, the company has decided to change their tagline to ‘Now Life’s Better’ to go against LG’s motto, ‘Life’s Good’. Apart from that, their latest pricing strategy for high definition television model, Bravia XBR9, is to go directly up against Samsung and LG (Goektuerk, 2007). Finally, Sony also has the ability to expand to different markets and work with various products such as home theatre system, LCD television, video as well as audio devices.

Weaknesses

Despite all of the success Sony has managed to achieve throughout the years, there are a number of weaknesses and wrong moves that the company has experienced. Consequently, Sony has to let go of about 16 000 jobs worldwide and closes six of its production factory (Pahl & Richter, 2009). One of the reasons is the poor number of sales on a few of its products as well as bad business decisions. Since Sony does not manufacture their own LCD panel, they form an alliance with Samsung. This joint venture proves to be a failure and cost the company an estimated net loss of $100 million during 2005 to 2006 (Pahl & Richter, 2009). Besides that, due to tough competition from other brands in terms of pricing, Sony faces a rough time in recent years. Other companies such as Toshiba, Sharp and Panasonic overtake Sony in sales.

Another weakness is connected to Sony’s poor management. This company has too many products on the market from home entertainment, communication to games, there seems to be a lack of direction or concentration (Ferrell & Hartline, 2010). One good example is the building of PlayStation 3. The company’s focus on showing great graphics through high definition television has minimized the number of potential customers. Only those who are already owners of HDTV will be tempted to purchase and enjoy PS3 to its fullest. Besides that, almost 60 percent of production are made in Japan and later, distribute to other regions. This management concept increases the prices of their products and leads to lower sales (Ferrell & Hartline, 2010).

Opportunities

Sony is a company that utilizes their branding image as an innovator. They rarely copy any products from their competitors and always come up with something new (Williams, 2006). The engineering department has been working hard to improve Sony’s products from just being good looking to innovative features such as intelligent and user-friendly applications as well as improve visual appearance for example, the introduction of 3D on their televisions.

Besides that, Sony has also invested and improved their marketing strategies in order to attract new customers, create awareness as well as trust from the consumers (Williams, 2006). One successful advertising technique is the company’s partnership with FIFA or the Federation Internationale de Football Association. Sony is one of the proud sponsors for the World Cup in 2010 and will continue to so for the same event on 2014.

Aside from that, Sony’s realization that they need to be competitive in terms of their pricing has also created a lot of opportunities for the company to build a larger customer base (Stadtler, 2011). One good example is the pricing strategy for Bravia XBR9. Not just that, there has also been talks about expanding their business overseas to promising countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China (Stadtler, 2011). This is a smart move considering that the citizens from these countries represent more than 40 percent of the world’s population.

Threats

There are a number of threats that will hinder Sony from reaching its full potential in the future. First of all, the current economic downturn has caused the company to experience lower revenue (Pride & Ferrell, 2011). Countries such as the United States, Japan and Europe that are hit hard by the slow economy contribute about 74 percent of the company’s profit. Furthermore, the fluctuation in foreign currency exchange has resulted in a stronger Japanese Yen. This works against Sony as it will appear that their products are more expensive (Pride & Ferrell, 2011).

Another form of threat for Sony is the rise in black market (Goektuerk, 2007). Electrical products that are smuggled or counterfeited are on the rise in 2010. The number is supposed to double in the near future. Although manufactured with less quality, these goods appeal to consumers because they are cheaper. Besides that, an emerging production market of electrical counterfeited devices in China has also played a role in taking away some of the revenue from Sony (Goektuerk, 2007).

Finally, there is an increase in the price of raw materials for the manufacturing of electronic devices (Williams, 2006). Partially, this is caused by the unstable supply and demand conditions from companies such as Sony. The effect of the economic slumps as well as the risk in currency exchange has pushed the company to take calculated move. However, it is predicted that Sony has suffered from a loss of about $350 million in 2008 to 2009 due to this reason (Williams, 2006).

References

Ferrell, O. C. & Hartline, M. (2010). Marketing strategy. Cengage Learning. Connecticut.

Goektuerk, H. (2007). Personal buying behavior and marketing decisions. GRIN Verlag. Munich.

Pahl, N. & Richter, A. (2009). SWOT analysis – Idea, methodology and a practical approach. GRIN Verlag. Munich.

Pride, W. & Ferrell, O. C. (2011). Marketing. Cengage Learning. Connecticut.

Stadtler, R. (2011). Strategy coursework – Sony corporation. GRIN Verlag. Munich.

Williams, C. (2006). Management. Cengage Learning. Connecticut.

Concept of Constructivism in the Teaching and Learning of Science

Introduction

Nowadays, there are many talks regarding a paradigm shift in education especially on the methodology of teaching. Teachers are moving away from the concept of traditional classroom teaching to newer ways that can better enhance students’ learning experiences (Bennett, 2005). This rings true especially in the teaching and learning of subjects such as science and mathematics. These areas of studies have become increasingly important as the world is progressing in the technology field. There are many researchers who have found out that students actually understand less than the teachers’ expectations even if they can provide them with good instructions (Bennett, 2005). This is due to the fact that students are required to carry out their own reading and make up their own meaning through the information which they can find from books. Unfortunately, even after careful examination, their understanding can be limited or wrong. Sometimes if they do get the facts right, students tend to face difficulties in retaining that piece of information for a long period of time. It will most probably be lost in their memories tuck behind somewhere in the brains. In order for effective learning to occur, teachers must tap into the students’ right schemata and enable them to connect new ideas to old ones. According to some experts, the best way to do so is allowing students the chance to get hands on experiences (Wellington & Ireson, 2012). Therefore, this research paper is going to focus on the concept of constructivism in the teaching and learning of science. It will include a brief explanation on the theory of constructivism. Besides that, this paper is also going to look at some of the advantages as well as issues regarding to this learning concept. Apart from that, a few examples on ways to implement constructivism in classrooms will be given. Finally, this paper is going to offer a conclusion explaining the effectiveness of this particular learning concept in the teaching of science.

Constructivism

Constructivism is considered to be one of the best methods in teaching the science subject because it is, basically, a theory based on observation and scientific study (Wellington & Ireson, 2012). This learning concept emphasizes on the usage of all the five senses; sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. Constructivist believes that a person learns through experiencing things and later, reflects on those experiences (Hand & Prain, 1995). In order to do so, an individual will have to ask questions, explore and ponder on existing information. If he or she discovers something new, the person will, then, make connections with prior knowledge and decides whether the experience is relevant or not.

This is totally opposite from objectivism that reflects the most common teaching methodology being used currently. They believe that information can be found from books and thus, knowledge can be transferred from the teacher to the students through the implementation of a specific curriculum that covers relevant science contents (Hand & Prain, 1995). However, constructivist insists upon the existence of knowledge inside each individual and students can only make sense of the subject that is being taught by experiencing and interacting with the environment (Hodson, 2009). Therefore, meaning is constructed by the individual and not from words that are written on textbooks.

Consequently, teachers, who are using constructivism as an approach to enhance students’ learning, he or she will adopt problem solving as a learning strategy. Students have to constantly go through activities that will encourage questioning and exploring in order to gain a better understanding of what they are studying. Hence, in a classroom scenario, teachers act as facilitators or mediators rather than spoon feeding students with information (Hodson, 2009). This is one of the main differences between a traditional classroom and a constructivist classroom. Besides that, constructivists also believe that knowledge cannot be memorized and learning should be student centered (Hodson, 2009).

Benefits of using constructivism in the teaching of science

Researchers have found that there are several advantages in practicing constructivism in the classroom. Since students are encouraged to seek for answers through experiments and reflection on their own, they will be more interested in the learning process as they are more actively involved (Harcombe, 2001). In comparison to a traditional classroom scenario, normally, students act as passive listeners. This can be quite boring as students are only required to face the textbooks and try their best to memorize the content. It is scientifically proven that human being can only pay attention to a certain task for a maximum of 20 minutes (Harcombe, 2001). Ideally, students will have to do something else before they can regain their focus. However, this is almost impossible in a traditional classroom setting.

Besides that, the learning concept behind constructivism is the best way to exemplify how education works. This is because constructivist promotes thinking and deep understanding of the content that is being taught. Students will be able to retain the information longer because learning is relatable and fun (Williams, 2011). Unlike in traditional classroom, students tend to memorize this information and probably, they will forget about them once the examination is over. Since the information is no longer useful to them, it will be chucked away and replaced by newer information.

Another benefit of constructivism is the belief that learning is transferable (Kress, Charalampos & Jewitt, 2006). This does not mean the transferring of information from the teacher to students. It has got something to do with the underlying principles of constructivism whereby students are shown techniques such as the ability to ask questions and to reflect on content which they have learnt. These techniques of promoting curiosity and intrigue can be brought forward by the students in their learning of other subjects as well as later on in their real lives (Williams, 2011).

Apart from that, constructivism also creates satisfaction in students. Since students achieve the end of a learning lesson through exploration and questioning, this gives them a sense of ownership to what they have learnt (Kress, Charalampos & Jewitt, 2006). At the end of the day, students feel that they have accomplished something and this will serve as a motivator for them to continue their interest in learning (Kress, Charalampos & Jewitt, 2006). Intrinsic motivation is proven to be extremely powerful in engaging students’ enthusiasm and excitement in the learning process in comparison to extrinsic motivation such as praises or rewards (Psillos & Niedderer, 2002).

Finally, constructivism can also promote good communication and socializing skills (Psillos & Niedderer, 2002). In a constructivist classroom environment, students are encouraged to work in groups in order to collaborate and exchange ideas. Therefore, it is almost compulsory for students to develop skills in articulating their points of view or to ask appropriate questions while completing a school project. They must also learn ways to negotiate with other team members to come up with a solution amicably. This set of skills is very useful in real life scenario especially in working environments when they need to cooperate with others (Psillos & Niedderer, 2002).

Issues and criticism regarding constructivism in the teaching of science

Although many people believe that constructivism is positive in general, however, it has, also, received a few criticisms. First of all, pessimists have argued that progressive educational theories including constructivism are considered to be elitist (Treagust, Duit & Fraser, 1996). They are convinced theories propose by constructivist will only benefit students from privileged background such as committed parents, home environment that is conducive for learning and excellent teachers (Treagust, Duit & Fraser, 1996). Since students from a constructivist classroom are required to explore for the answers themselves, this criticism is not entirely wrong. Students who are at a disadvantaged economically may find themselves dropping behind or outcast due to the lack of resources for example, the accessibility to a computer and the Internet.

Besides that, critics have also argued that constructivism prefers those who are socially adept. During group work, some students who are smarter, more popular or able to voice out their ideas better will gain more advantage over the others (Jain, 1999). Therefore, the learning occurs only to those few students who choose to participate actively during group discussions. Eventually, those who take a back seat will be left out from the learning process. Other than that, critics also believe that ideas from every single student will not be heard (Jain, 1999). This is because the majority will rule over the disagreeing party.

Finally, one of the major criticisms receives by constructivism is the lack of evidence that this learning concept really works (Roth & Tobin, 2005). In a constructivist classroom, students also play a role in the ways they are evaluated. Teachers can assess the students through various channels like initiatives, personal investments, research reports and creativity. Certain criteria of evaluation that are perceived to be relevant by some teachers may be irrelevant to others. Without proper examination, critics argue that students’ progress cannot be measured properly (Roth & Tobin, 2005). This argument is supported by the findings of government research that students from constructivist classrooms are found to be lacking in certain skills in comparison to those who are from traditional classrooms.

Implementation of constructivism in the teaching of science

As it is mentioned earlier in this research paper, in a constructivist classroom, students are encouraged to ask their own questions, allow forming multiple interpretations of the learning process and inspiring group work. Therefore, while forming a lesson using this approach, a teacher must take into mind that learning should be constructed, active, reflective, collaborative, inquiry-based and evolving. In creating a good lesson plan using this learning concept, teachers can use the 5 ‘E’s model (Hodson, 1998).

For first part of the lesson, teachers should try to engage their students to the instructional task (Steffe & Gale, 1995). In this stage, students try to make a connection with their past and present learning experiences. Activities that encourage students to ask questions, use problem solving and think about a surprising event will engage them to focus on the task at hand (Steffe & Gale, 1995). Teachers can use concept cartoon-style drawings to present the different conceptions on science. For example, two persons are sitting on the boat and one of them says that they will fall off the face of the Earth if the row to the end of the river while the other argues that they will not. This will lead to the teacher’s intention of introducing the subject of gravity.

The second part of the lesson will involve the students to explore and get directly involve in finding out the answers (Larochelle, Bednarz & Garrison, 1998). In this stage, students will get the opportunity to try out with materials in order to come up with explanations to this phenomenon. Teachers can provide students with stories or videos on Newton and Galileo. Aside from that, students can also be encouraged to test out with objects of varying weights such as Styrofoam, wood and steel. During the exploration stage, it is best for the students to work together in groups.

The third part of the lesson plan is when students explain to each other and try to organize all the information and knowledge regarding the subject matter, in this case, gravity (Larochelle, Bednarz & Garrison, 1998). In this stage, students will work in groups and discuss with their peers to come up with a logical sequence of events whether the world is flat or round and weight influences the speed of gravity. This is when students get to practice their communication as well as socializing skills. Teachers will only act as a facilitator and push the students to the right direction. Students can conceptualize their ideas through writing, drawing or even videotaping their discovery.

The fourth part of the lesson plan is elaboration (Richardson, 1997). Students will try to expand their ideas from the conclusions they have gained from previous stages. Application of these concepts into the real world is an essential part in a constructivist classroom. For example, students can try to examine why some objects does not follow the law of gravity. A student may observe that two metal weighing at 1 pound each will still drop at the same speed as a piece of 1 pound metal. These types of observations will lead the students to inquire further in order to grasp a new understanding of the concept.

The final part of the lesson plan is the teacher’s evaluation on the students’ understanding of the concept (Richardson, 1997). Assessment can be carried out by the teachers throughout the whole learning process and students are also encouraged to be a part of this stage. Teachers can collect concrete evidence such as asking students to come up with a portfolio on gravity in order to determine whether they have fully understood the topic as well as an evidence to show to their parents and administrators.

Conclusion

More often than not, the concept of constructivism is often viewed negatively by parents who tend to accuse teachers as too lazy to educate their children. However, this learning concept can trigger students’ thirst for knowledge into getting a better understanding of how the world works. This innate curiosity is important especially in the teaching and learning of science. Students are responsible for what they learn by applying prior and present knowledge into understanding specific contents. Besides that, students do not just stop learning after they leave the classroom. They will continue to do so through personal observations and the intense desire to know further. All the skills which they have gotten from constructivism such as social and communication skills can also be applied in real life situations. In a nutshell, teachers should consider adopting this methodology if they want to escape from the constraints of a traditional classroom.

References

Bennett, J. (2005). Teaching and learning science. Continuum International Publishing. London.

Hand, B. & Prain, V. (1995). Teaching and learning in science: The constructivist classroom. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

Harcombe, E. (2001). Science teaching/science learning: Constructivist learning in urban classrooms. Teachers College Press. New York.

Hodson, D. (1998). Teaching and learning science: Towards a personalized approach. Open University Press. Maidenhead.

Hodson, D. (2009). Teaching and learning about science: Language, theories, methods, history, traditions and values. Wiley-Blackwell. New Jersey.

Jain, L. (1999). Innovative teaching and learning: Knowledge-based paradigms. Spinger. New York.

Kress, G., Charalampos, T. & Jewitt, C. (2006). Multimodal teaching and learning: The rhetorics of the science classroom. Continuum International Publishing. London.

Larochelle, M., Bednarz, N. & Garrison, J. (1998). Constructivism and education. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

Psillos, D. & Niedderer, H. (2002). Teaching and learning in the science laboratory. Springer. New York.

Richardson, V. (1997). Constructivist teacher education: Building new understandings. Routledge. London.

Roth, W. M. & Tobin, K. (2005). Teaching together, learning together. Peter Lang. New York.

Steffe, L. & Gale, J. (1995). Constructivism in education. Routledge. London.

Treagust, D., Duit, R. & Fraser, B. (1996). Improving teaching and learning in science and mathematics. Cengage Learning. Connecticut.

Wellington, J. & Ireson, G. (2012). Science learning, science teaching. Routledge. London.

Williams, J. (2011). How science works: Teaching and learning in the science classroom. Continuum International Publishing. London.

Project Proposal for ‘Galaxyonsale’ (A made-up company)

Introduction

Galaxyonsale is a new company established for Australian consumers to do online shopping through its “galaxyonsale.com” website with the convenience of home delivery and pick-up service from their Melbourne-based warehouse at a competitive price. Australian shoppers are increasingly voting with their mouses as recent figures from business research firm IBISWorld show Australian online spending will grow by about 5.5% annually for the next 5 years, from $15.1 billion in 2007-08 to $21.2 billion during 2013-14 (Tan, 2003). While Australia has experienced rapid growth in online shopping, the lack of local big brand retailers selling online is forcing shoppers to buy from overseas competitors (Tan, 2003). Industry commentators say Australia is several years behind the US and UK in online shopping (Tan, 2003). As the consumers are aware of the benefits of doing online shopping on the costs and convenience basis, galaxyonsale is being launched in the market as a vital player. All of their products will be stored in their Melbourne warehouse for faster delivery to their prospective customers. Galaxyonsale product range consists of fashion for men and women, kitchen wares, electronic accessories and home wares. This company has also determined to increase its product pool according to the demand and needs of customers. The main suppliers of Galaxyonsale will be from overseas, since they can get items in affordable price.

1.0       Executive Summary

1.1       Objectives

By setting up this website, Galaxyonsale will like to achieve several objectives. One of them is to create an online shopping environment that caters to the apparel needs of Australian. Besides that, this company will like to become the number one fashion warehouse by earning 60% of the market share. Galaxyonsale also has the objective of receiving 50% profit margin and to have a customer base of 10 000 by the end of the first operating year. Last but not least, this company hopes to achieve a net profit of $75 000 by year two and $100 000 by year three.

1.2       Mission

Galaxyonsale’s mission is to offer quality, name brand western and mid Asian wear in an assortment of sizes and styles to accommodate all varying body styles and shapes as well as to provide branded kitchen ware and electronic accessories in reasonable prices.

1.3       Keys to success

There are a number of ways that Galaxyonsale are planning to implement in order to achieve success in this field. Firstly, this company is organizing to carry an assortment of sizes to fit the more ample frames of all Australians including Asians and South Americans who are also their customer target base. Aside from that, another key to success is to provide customers with top notch personalized customer service in an atmosphere of southern hospitality that Australia is so famously known for. In addition, Galaxyonsale will have to be able to provide branded fashion ware to the door of the consumer with reasonable price. Advertising and promoting are also one way to reach their goals (Bates & Basch, 2003). This should be done in areas where their target customer base can learn about their warehouse and online shopping. Finally, Galaxyonsale are required to continuously review their inventory as well as sales. Adjustment towards the inventory needs to be done accordingly (Bates & Basch, 2003).

2.0       Company Summary

Galaxyonsale is an online business company mainly focused on men’s and women’s fashion as well as essential home ware products. It will be located at 33 Newtons Rd, Little River VIC 3211 being the epicenter of the Avalon airport and harbor (Bates & Basch, 2003). The hours of operation will be on Monday till Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Meanwhile, they will be opened from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. There will also be extended special hours designated during massive sales and during the Christmas holiday shopping season. All merchandise will be purchased according to the company’s mission and customer focus of outfitting all sizes including women’s plus sizes as well as men’s big and tall.

2.1       Company Ownership

Currently, this small business venture is set up by a few trusted investors living around Australia. The purpose of having multiple partners is to form partnerships in order to reduce the risk of losing a lot of money if the business fails (Steingold, 2011). This situation may change once the company is successful and becomes a global organization.

2.2       Start-up Summary

A certain undisclosed amount of money has been invested into the company to enable Galaxyonsale to purchase the necessary equipments, hiring professionals, buying products, maintaining the website and etcetera (Steingold, 2011).

2.3       Company Locations and Facilities

The company is located in Victoria, one of the small towns in Australia. Galaxyonsale has decided to buy a warehouse in Melbourne to ensure fast and efficient deliveries of their products to the customers.

3.0       Products

Galaxyonsale will carry nationally recognized various western and Asian brands that will be listed in the next section. Their selection will range from the basics of Zara to Ralph Lauren, Armani, Calvin Klein, Burberry and Dior. This company will be purchasing from sales representatives and manufacturers in a variety of sizes, colors and styles to fit their target market base. The greatest percentage of merchandise will be in fashion wear followed by accessories, jewelry and kitchenware. The decision to in traduce or eliminate certain brands, styles and sizes will be determined by the management based on customer feedback, suggestions and sales report.

3.1       Product Description

Galaxyonsale will provide a selection of brands that fall within their mission statement. The company’s goal is to carry a selection of labels from the hardcore western wear to the more sophisticated Asian styles. Some of the labels that they will carry for fashion are Wardrobe, Adidas, Nike, Diesel, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Dior, Polish, Gucci, DG, Decca, Classica and G Star just to name a few.

3.2       Competitive Comparison

Galaxyonsale has a number of advantages that will allow them to build their brand identity, add value to their merchandise and build a loyal customer base while standing apart from their competitors (Botha, Bothma & Geldenhuys, 2008). One of the reasons is this company will be the first Australian fashion warehouse providing branded fashion wear that is at least 50 percent less than other retailers like Myer, Boss, Hype and etcetera. Besides that, this company also offers the ‘Galaxy Premium Membership’ that will entitle members to a 10 percent discount on each purchase throughout the year. Another advantage is their ability to offer clothing from XS to XXL sizes for both women and men in order to cater to the various needs of their customers. Galaxyonsale is also determined to ensure that deliveries are made within 5 to 10 working days for efficiency purposes. Last but not least, maintaining a detailed record on each customer by logging their addresses, purchases, sizes and brands will enable Galaxyonsale to perform effective customer follow-up and in-house promotion (Botha, Bothma & Geldenhuys, 2008).

3.3       Sales Literature

Galaxyonsale will use a targeted advertising and sale program to generate publicity and build a customer base (Botha, Bothma & Geldenhuys, 2008). Among one of programs is to distribute 2000 full-colored postcard flyers with a 10 percent discount coupon two weeks prior to the grand opening event. Besides that, they are also planning to mail 200 grand opening invites to new potential customers two weeks before the grand opening in June, 2012. The invitation will also include a promotional 10 percent coupon off a customer’s first purchase. Aside from flyers and invites to attract customers, Galaxyonsale will also give out a total amount of 5000 business cards with Galaxy Shopper Card on the reverse side that entitles the customer to a 10 percent discount on the second purchase.

3.4       Sourcing

Since Galaxyonsale is an online business company that carries multiple brands and products, this gives them an opportunity to source their materials from various places (Rich, 2006). There are many factors that come into play when a company decides the locations on where to get their goods. For this company, they put a lot of emphasis to bring quality products to their customers with an affordable price. Therefore, the core suppliers for Galaxyonsale are from Asian countries such as India, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia in order to keep the price down (Rich, 2006). These are some of the places where this company is planning to source their key products like fashion for men and women, kitchen wares, electronic accessories as well as home wares.

3.5       Technology

As Galaxyonsale make use of the World Wide Web to do their business, it is crucial for the company to hire information technology professionals to maintain the website. It has to be up and running 24 hours 7 days a week without any glitches. Any form of malfunction will cause inconvenience to the customers and cause them to lose trust in the company (Rich, 2006). Aside from that, building up a good storage system for keeping their customers’ data is also one of Galaxyonsale’s top most priorities. Nowadays, online shopping companies have a lot of competitors. One way to make the website pops and more attractive to the customers is the layout as well as the design of the page. Galaxyonsale has a talented group of website designers on board the company (Rich, 2006).

3.6       Future Products

There are no concrete plans yet regarding future products as Galaxyonsale is still a new business company. The decision will be determined by the response from their customers. If the company is gaining sufficient profit according to their expectations, customers can be assured that there will be more brands and products that will be on sale. There is also a possibility that they will try to break into the world of online shopping through mobile by creating special applications.

4.0       Market Analysis Summary

4.1       Market Segmentation

Galaxyonsale has decided to implement market segmentation as one of their marketing strategies. There are many ways the consumers market can be segmented. Generally, it can be divided into four major categories. They are demographic, geographical, psychographic and behavioristic variables (Daft & Marcic, 2003). Demographically, Galaxyonline is trying to market their products to all age groups especially to teenagers and working adults who are familiar with the Internet as well as using a computer (Daft & Marcic, 2003). Therefore, this company’s main focus is to serve customers between the age of 14 to 45 years old. Since Galaxyonsale is an online business company, it is hard for them to segment their customers geographically. However, they are mainly aiming at the consumers market in Australia. As for psychographic variables, they are trying to market their products according to the various personality traits of their customers (Daft & Marcic, 2003). For their fashion and electronic accessories, they are targeting those who are between 14 to 35 years old. This group of customers tends to be more fashion savvy. Meanwhile, they are trying to market kitchen and home wares to consumers within the age group of 22 to 45 years old who are probably married and are more interested in setting up a comfortable home.

4.2       Target Market Segment Strategy

Unlike market segmentation, targeting strategy is more specific where only one or two groups of consumers are chosen by the company so that a more detailed program can be created specifically to cater to their needs better (Daft & Marcic, 2003). From the previous section, there are two groups of customers that are targeted by Galaxyonsale. They belong to the age group between 14 to 45 years old as well as consumers who are computer literate.

4.2.1    Market Needs

Nowadays, most consumers are busy with a hectic schedule and with the current economic turmoil, finding time to go shopping especially during festive seasons seem to be a thing in the past. Therefore, there is an ongoing demand for online shopping, thanks to the growing influence of the Internet. This method of shopping can save the consumers’ time and they are able to view countless of options just by sitting at the comfort of their home (Reuvid & Ollington, 2005). Besides that, sometimes it can be very difficult for plus size men and women to find fashionable clothing at the local stores (Reuvid & Ollington, 2005). This is also one of the reasons why many consumers are turning their options towards online shopping. Aside from that, the Internet is also able to offer consumers with big brands at an affordable price in comparison to retail outlets (Reuvid & Ollington, 2005).

4.2.2    Market Trends

With the options that the World Wide Web is offering to customers, the numbers on online shopping has been growing drastically (Reuvid & Ollington, 2005). Everybody is trying to look for fashion that is unique and different from others. Therefore, there is a demand from big brand retailers which the consumers cannot find them locally. Furthermore, due to changing lifestyles, there are more plus size people nowadays. As a result, there is also a higher request for bigger size clothing that is not available at local stores.

4.2.3    Market Growth

Although Australia is still far behind the US and UK in terms of online shopping, however, in 2010, it is estimated that Australian consumers spend roughly about 3 to 50 percent of their expenditure shopping for their needs on the Internet (Johnson, & Scholes, 2006). If this is divided into every household, each will be spending an estimated of 3 percent. Meanwhile, in 2011, about 25 percent of mobile users are also shopping online using their phones (Johnson, & Scholes, 2006). It is reported by eBay that an item is sold every 15 seconds through mobile online shopping. There are also some online markets that are able to increase their revenues by up to 40 percent in 2010 (Johnson, & Scholes, 2006). Therefore, the online shopping industry is, definitely, an industry that is fast growing.

4.2.4    Industry Analysis

According to recent survey, Australians are spending about $12 billion on online shopping in 2010 and it has increased to about $13.6 billion by 2011 (Johnson, & Scholes, 2006). It is also predicted that this industry will be growing at double the rate in comparison to retail markets in Australia for the four years. Besides that, by 2015, the online shopping industry is estimated to experience a growth of about 12.6 percent with an increase in revenue up to $21.7 billion (Johnson, & Scholes, 2006).

4.3       Main Competitors

There are a few main competitors that will threaten the online shopping industry in Australia. Other international websites that are also promoting online shopping such as eBay and Amazon are assumed to be one of the biggest threats (Partner & Danton, 2009). Besides that, there are an increasing number of big retail chains that are opting to grab a piece of this booming industry such as Myer, Harvey Norman and David Jones have been making small online business such as Galaxyonsale harder to generate profit (Partner & Danton, 2009).

4.4       SWOT Analysis

Strengths

1) Online business allows the company to grab potential customers from all over the country.

2) The cost of maintaining a website is low.

3) The ability to offer a lower price in comparison to retail stores.

Weaknesses

1) It can be troublesome when customers want to return unwanted products via mail.

2) Shipment of products that are heavy can be expensive.

3) Marketing can be a challenge due to less knowledge on the Internet.

Opportunities

1) There are ample opportunities to increase the traffic to the website by getting the name out via blogs, forums and ‘electronic word of mouth’.

2) A thorough research on trends for the year and around the country can help marketing strategies.

3) Customers’ loyalty will be able to help the business during slow times and contribute ideas for additional product lines.

Threats

1) Online shopping is a tough niche because there are many competitors.

2) There are still some trust issues when it comes to buying things online.

3) Larger businesses can set lower prices and threaten small business companies like Galaxyonsale.

 

5.0       Strategy and Implementation Summary

5.1       Competitive Edge

There are a few opportunities that small business companies such as Galaxyonsale can use to their advantage. Firstly, small businesses can offer better communication to their customers (Partner & Danton, 2009). They can do this by having customer service that operates 24/7 as well as utilizing emails and chat rooms to solve any problems. A more personalize approach is possible for companies like Galaxyonsale as they do not need to deal with a huge number of customers. Besides that, online shopping can be done at any given time or place at customers’ convenience (Partner & Danton, 2009). They do not need to specifically make time to go to retail stores in order to make a purchase.

5.2       Marketing Strategy

5.2.1    Pricing Strategy

Galaxyonsale initial plan is to set the pricing based on the competitors’ pricing (Meyerson, 2005). Besides that, market prices will also affect the pricing strategy that will be taken by this company (Meyerson, 2005). By taking into consideration factors such as competition and profit, Galaxyonsale will try their best to come up with prices that will appeal to the local consumer market.

5.2.2    Promotion Strategy

From the previous sections, there are a few promotion strategies that are going to be implemented by Galaxyonsale. First of all, they are planning to distribute 2000 colored flyers with 10 percent discount coupons. Besides that, the company is also going to give out 200 grand opening invites with a 10 percent coupon off a customer’s first purchase. Aside from that, other promotion strategies include the distribution of 5000 business cards and getting the name out via blogs and forums.

5.2.3    Distribution Strategy

All the promotional strategies will be carried out two weeks prior to Galaxyonsale’s grand opening in June, 2012. Besides that, this company is also going to target consumers’ base where they know the location of their warehouse that is in Melbourne.

5.2.4    Marketing Programs

A variety of channels will be used in order to ensure that the marketing programs can be carried out successfully to the intended audience. Galaxyonsale are using sources such as the Internet, public relations and print advertising to get their message across (Meyerson, 2005).

5.2.5    Positioning Statement

Positioning statement is very important to companies so that consumers can relate to a specific image that they are trying to create (Meyerson, 2005). As for Galaxyonsale, they are trying to come across as a small online business company that offers good quality products on fashion and kitchenware with affordable prices.

5.3       Sales Strategy

5.3.1    Sales Forecast

Galaxyonsale is confident that they will be expecting a return of about $400 000 worth of investment within the next 24 months. This company is also hoping to open warehouses in all the major cities in Australia. By the next 5 years, Galaxyonsale is forecasting that they will be able to globalize their online business venture.

6.0       Management Summary

6.1       Organizational Structure

The organizational structure of Galaxyonsale will consist of a president who is also the CEO of the company, a CFO, managers and a team of dedicated employees (Nemati & Barko, 2003).

6.2       Management Team

The management will be headed by a president who will also acts as the CEO of the company. He will be in-charged of making all the crucial decisions for Galaxyonsale. Besides that, there will also be a CFO who will take care of the financial situation of the company.

6.3       Personnel Plan

This will include the entire personal payrolls that are estimated to be given to each individual in the company for the upcoming three years (Nemati & Barko, 2003).

7.0       Financial Plan

7.1       Important Assumptions

There are few assumptions that are important to the success of Galaxyonsale. Some of the factors include current interest rate, long term interest rate and tax rate (Nemati & Barko, 2003). It is crucial to make a prediction of this information so that the company will not suffer from any losses.

7.2       Key Financial Indicators

Galaxyonsale is regarded as a safe investment and it is expected to generate an increase in revenue for years to come. Therefore, an amount of $400 000 will be used to start off the business and to cover the initial operating charges. As the company continues to grow, it will require more investment.

7.3       Break-even Analysis

The break-even analysis of Galaxyonsale can be determined by taking the average first year fixed monthly cost and an average margin (Meyerson & Scarborough, 2008). The company wish to reach $400 000 within a period of 2 years.

7.4       Projected Profit and Loss

Galaxyonsale is making an assumption that the company will be able to gain profit of about $200 000 annually through the sales of product. It is projected that the company will suffer from slow progress or some lost during the 6th and 7th month as the initial buzz from the advertising campaign wear off. However, as the month progresses, it is predicted that the profit margin is going to remain stable partly due to a loyal customer base.

7.5       Projected Balance Sheet

A projected balance sheet is a very important tool for management. It helps companies like Galaxyonsale to know precisely about the direction of the company’s financial growth as well as problems (Meyerson & Scarborough, 2008). Through this projected balance sheet, Galaxyonsale will also be able proposed present and future funding for the company.

Conclusion

There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to setting up a business regardless whether it’s an online or retail store. A thorough proposal that covers all aspects is required in order to provide a general guideline to follow, a projection of the company’s current and possible accomplishment and a tool to attract potential investors.

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Johnson, G & Scholes, K (2006). Exploring corporate strategies: Text and cases. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.

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Meyerson, M & Scarborough, M. E (2008). Mastering online marketing. Entrepreneur Press. Irvine.

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