Marketing plan (assignment 2) marking feedback
Comments to 2015/16 MN2305 students.
A wide range of work was presented, with a mean at the cusp of 2:2 and 2:1, and a range from circa 33 to 85. The strongest work demonstrated a detailed attempt at each and every element explained
in the assessment briefing notes stored on moodle (including the summary criteria document). A pleasing proportion of the group achieved grades in the 70+ zone. Well done, this was a challenging
When you receive your grade and read your feedback, please take time to carefully review all the comments a couple of times and where you can, exchange your work with your peers. As for assignment
1 I would ask that you take 48 hours to reflect carefully before looking to email or speak with any of the teaching team if you are disappointed with the score your receive for this piece of work.
Remember that we do not change grades and any conversation follow up should be looking to look for advice and tips going forwards for future assessments.
Whilst marking I found myself highlighting the following problem points quite often:
(1) A well written marketing analysis of a company (or industry) was presented rather than a marketing (action) plan for a company, brand or product. It is a shame, as had the question been present
a marketing analysis of a company much higher grades would have been justified. Often papers would offer up a selection of text heavy SWOT, PESTLE or 5 forces models and little else. Tables and
diagrams were encouraged for these elements. Stronger marketing plans demonstrated deep and thoughtful analysis which linked through to the recommendation of marcoms actions at the end of the plan.
(2) The assignment required you to research and develop your own composite marketing plan framework using a range of authoritative sources. Only those with the strongest grades appeared to
explicitly show this. A marketing plan text and several key websites were recommended for this. Many with lower grades overlooked this very important requirement, resulting perhaps in (1) above.
(3) Where’s Whalley ? Whilst the use of industry/company research was often adequate, many papers did not demonstrate enough evidence of engagement with marketing theory. Markers put considerable
weight on the demonstration of wider academic reading and showcasing this by referencing text books and journals. Andy’s free, online text appears to have been insufficiently used by those in the
bottom half of the distribution curve. Are you really engaging with the beyond class preparation and consolidation that is expected to accompany your lectures and seminars ? It really shows in the
quality of the work you produce.
As you think about your final year, please note that it is extremely hard to achieve the top grades using an internet only research strategy. Academic journals and text books are crucial in giving
you high quality material to craft your answers with.
(4) A key differentiator for the top classification was the effective consideration of the budget, evaluation and control requirement. Worth 10%, many missed this completely.
(5) Overly descriptive content. Take examples of your writing to CeDAS for a 121 consultation if you are still writing with a very descriptive style. The word count was tight and there was no space
for such work in this assignment. Descriptive padding in the early stages of the plan saw a section called ‘background’ or an ‘introduction’ that described the historical development of the
company. Remember the target audience for a marketing plan is the company management and key marketing partners, likely to be familiar with company history and evolution.
(6) An executive summary that was overly descriptive (see 5 above) and just offered signposting or an outline of the structural framework of the body content. This business writing style required
an abstract like summary of all the key points of the plan, notably the recommendation, cost, benefit and risks.
(7) A large number of scripts did not use in text citations frequently enough, particularly inside analysis frameworks such as SWOT.
(8) Limited research. A three page minimum expectation was clearly communicated. Often a very narrow range of internet only sources were in evidence (i.e. no use of text books and academic
journals). The strongest papers often used 6 pages of double line spaced bibliographic referencing.
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