Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Marketing Dissertation

Effective strategic marketing planning is essential for any organisation to succeed in its chose market. Kotler (2003) states that the key to achieving organisational goals consist of the company being more effective than its competitors in creating, delivering and communicating customer value to its chosen target markets, therefore the organisation must know as much about its competitors, as it does about itself. When attempting a marketing plan it is important to include seven integrated components; Background situation, Marketing objectives, Marketing strategy, Marketing mix, Action plans, Budget and Organisation implications. According to Doyle pg 101, (2002), these will provide us with the information needed as well as a structured path to fulfil the plan. It should also be noted as Kotler (2002) suggested that a degree of openness should be allowed which will help innovative ideas within the total planning systems. This flexibility adds kotler is also a potential source of competitive advantage. Barriers identified by McDonald (2002) which cause problems in implementing plans, ranged from little senior management support, inadequate marketing and planning skills to confusion and delegation of plans. These barriers need to be addressed by the organisation to ensure effective strategic planning.

ANC rental Corporation is a car rental company and is made up of three distinctive brands, National is a well know corporate (business) brand, Alamo car rental has a strong presence in the retail market while the third brand, Guy Salmon is a prestige name in car rental through which they hire executive vehicles. Together the Alamo and National brands make up one of the world’s largest car rental companies with annual revenue of $2.4 billion in 2002. To ensure an effective strategic marketing plan they must be able to give themselves a competitive advantage over rival firms. Wilson & Gilligan (1997) suggests how market orientation requires a focus on customers, competitors, changing environment and company culture. Despite competition ANC rental can rely on numerous strengths. Firstly it has the largest fleet of cars (55,000) (ANC start right, Dec 2003) in the UK, 10,000 more than its nearest competitor Avis. Secondly it has a service support network connected to its 135 branches through out the UK as well as a global reservations office, which can handle 8 languages. This last point proves that ANC is a global brand, which it must incorporate into its strategy if it wants to compete in today’s global economy. The information it collects must be used to give the company global competitive advantage which Yib (1989) states can maximise worldwide performance through sharing and integration. However its weakness includes a lack of identifying small but potential gaps in the market. Wichan pg 151, (1998), states how opportunities do not present themselves, they have to be actively sought out. ANC must use its current resources such as staff to seek new opportunities before the competition does. Another weakness, which is a main cause for its position is lack of brand awareness and image, which in today’s business environment is a key, factor in an organisations success. According to Fill pg 216 (1999), Brand equity is a measure of a number of different components including the beliefs, images and core associations, consumers have about particular brands. Ambler (2003) continues to confirm its importance by stating that firms that measured their main marketing asset (Brand equity) and used both financial and non-financial metrics to assess performance were less likely to cut budgets. He adds that marketers who align their agenda with the corporate goals are under less threat. This is no exception in the car rental business where customer’s needs are to feel “looked after and counted. Marketing plans are needed for ANC’s slogan “ Freedom we’ll take you there” and logo to be seen and heard using different media. Before they can expect to beat their competitors, they first need to strengthen its current position in the consumers mind. A good example of this is when Avis ran their campaign “ We’re number two, we try harder” this showed how they acknowledged its second position in the rental car business.

A marketing audit needs to be executed which according to Lancaster & Massingham (1998) pg 14, is a systematic internal and external environmental review of the companies marketing performance for a given period of time. ANC rental should look at all financial reviews and their position in the industry for the last 5 – 10 yrs which not only will provide them with essential information but also will help them to see what changes are needed to take them where they want to go, Be number 1 in the market place. The structure of the audit that suggests Lancaster & Massingham (1998) will provide the basic for subsequent SWOT analysis, while the external audit will examine the PEST factor. Such issues, which affected the car rental industry, was September 11th, which reduced the number of tourists and social culture which has increased customer demands and wants. Globalisation, Levitt (1983) is a major cause of this, which increased brand equity and competition. ANC should also conduct their marketing audit on a continuing basis that according to McDonald pg 537 (2002) will make it a useful source of information to draw on for decision-making throughout the year. This will give the flexibility needed which will help the plan to succeed. Management at ANC should also understand the twelve guidelines for effective marketing which McDonald (1992) lists are important for companies if they want to gain competitive advantage. This gives them extra information, which is needed when the plan is being created. After they have collected the bulk of the information they must produce a mission statement which according to Doyle pg85 (2002), motivates employees by providing them with an external goal worth striving for. Also a Mission statement represents a visionary view of the overall strategic posture of an organisation and as Johnson & Scholes (1999) suggest is likely to be a persistent and resistant influences on strategic decisions. Therefore it is important to display the mission statement where all employees can see it, canteen, reception, etc. this will give employees a sense of direction which according to Doyle (2002), will identify major policies that define how to treat customers, fellow employees, suppliers and other key stakeholders. This will also take away the traditional strategies used be finance directors, which caused confusion among line managers, which prevented them for taking them seriously. McDonald (1995) suggests marketing planners place a greater emphasis for essential data only and use phases, which explain the underlying thinking behind the objectives and strategies. This way employees at ANC from top management all the way down the chain of command to drivers will understand what the company stands for, its values and where it wants to be. In ANC’s case “To be the Global car rental company of choice”. The marketing team at ANC have done this and have changed the structure of the organisation to adapt to its plan. The importance of drivers as a customer contact point was noted which promoted them to change the driver’s title to key time worker. According to Lancaster & Massingham (1998) pg 17, objectives and strategy can only be achieved through people, structure, systems and methods. ANC’s new consideration for all its employees and other resources help bring about the changes required to meets the organisation’s objectives. This gives staff a sense of belonging and having a say in the company they work for. Satisfaction levels must be high within the organisation before positive results can be achieved.

The whole process must have an effective structure for it to succeed (Wilson & Fook, 1990 Pg 23), this shows how it is no good creating a marketing plan if you don’t lay down a structured plan to implement it. Staffs training programmes need to be implemented to increase performance as well as effectively communicating the strategic plan to staff. MacNamee & McDonnell pg14 (1995) suggest how incentive schemes can generate staff motivation and reward them on the plans’ attainment. This will encourage staff to achieve the plan’s objectives who in short are the key people who ANC rely on to ensure their customers position ANC as their global choice in car rental. Delta Airlines in the US realised in the early 90’s, a simple fact, that by treating its staff well and keeping them motivated and trained, high productivity and superior customer service was implemented which helped them to differentiate the airline from its competitors. ANC will need to introduce a continuous appraisal system to measure staff performance and can help managers assess the ongoing strategy. Structuring the organisation can cut mistakes when implementing the plan, Mintzberg’s (1979) Division of Labour can help the different departments understand their core duties and standardise procedures. However solid communication must allow certain change if needed to take place with minimum fuss. I agree with Alexander (1985) when he brings up the point that top management must first of all clearly communicate with all employees what the new strategic decision is all about. In the rental industry when the drivers have a close contact with customers it is important that these employees feel they have an important role to play in the organisation. Alexander continues to stress how two- way communication within its organisation where e.g. Bolton branch is short two cars but the Manchester branch is slow to cooperate. ANC’s new strategy where “working together” is a key value, they have changed the structure where four or five branches in one area are part of one region, which encourages cooperation and can lead to healthy competition between other regions in the future. The development and management of the strategy can be implemented more successfully through the “lens of design”. This according to Johnson & Scholes (1999) uses economic forces and constraints on the organisation, which are weighed carefully through analytic and evaluative techniques to establish clear strategic direction. This backs up Alexander’s point that top management need to lead the development of strategy in the organisation. This controlling will help determine smooth operation of the strategic plan. But will only work when used with other methods to control the plan and eliminate barriers.

It should be noted that a lot of these barriers, which could render the plan useless, are human made and according to Ambler (2003) lacks an experienced marketing director who understands the fundamentals of marketing. Assertiveness and cooperation is essential to work together with marketing people to understand that contribution and profit is far more important than executing expenditure. Traditional managers concentrate too much on yearly finance reports rather than on long-term strategies. ANC rental have given their marketing department much more power as the strategy is integrated into the total corporate planning system which McDonald (1996) states needs to be achieved by all departments in the organisation such as distribution, finance, process and personnel. To break down some of the barriers to Marketing planning, McDonald (1992), ANC should use methods for implementing the strategic plan. A successful method was developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton in 1992, called The Balanced scorecard methodology. This is an analysis technique designed to translate an organization's mission statement and overall business strategy into specific, quantifiable goals and to monitor the organization's performance in terms of achieving these goals. The methodology examines performance in four areas: financial analysis, includes assessments of measures such as operating costs and return-on-investment; customer analysis looks at customer satisfaction and retention; internal analysis looks at production and innovation, measuring performance in terms of maximizing profit from current products and following indicators for future productivity; and finally, learning and growth analysis explores the effectiveness of management in terms of measures of employee satisfaction and retention and information system performance. However as MacNamee & McDonnell (1995) argue that the balanced scorecard is not a template that can be applied in every business, each organisation such as ANC rental can develop their own customised scorecard to fit their goals and strategy.

When correctly done, strategic planning takes into account all aspects of your organisation and provides criteria for making day-to-day decisions about operations within and outside the organisation. This gives a template against which all such decisions can be evaluated. This leads to greater focus and effectiveness. But by just collecting all the relevant information and using the best components in formulating a strategic plan it must be agreed that this work is rendered useless if it cannot be effectively implemented by the organisation. Successful controlling requires performance measures, suitable reward systems and flexibility embraced by the structure of the organisation. This is needed to create a balanced environment for the plan to go from “idea” to an actual working plan. Motivated employees are the key success factor in implementing a successful plan. This is why strong leadership make the strategy real at a level of achievable that is both meaningful and actionable. This critical leadership issue is how to lead from a position of strength based on a view of the future, and a plan for getting the organisation there. This leadership should come from both marketing planners and the top leadership team which in some organisations are the same. Good communication at all levels of responsibility will create an understanding to highlight the benefits of actually carrying out and keeping to the plan. Obstacles will always occur, internally or externally, but if the necessary foundations are in place; vision, skills, flexibility to change, strong leadership and communication; Management will and should be able to ensure effective planning. For each barrier the remedy is different, and appropriately identifying those barriers is an important step in effective strategic planning. Therefore the plan must have adaptiveness, flexibility, and responsiveness. In the cases of major business change initiatives, success or failure will hinge on the effectiveness and strength of the vision and strategic plan. Also controlling systems such as collecting data with other reports and statistics can help you anticipate and resolve issues before they become problems, or at least minimize the effect of problems by early action. This with enhanced strategic feedback and learning for future results may create new opportunities or risks not anticipated when initial strategies were developed. This forward thinking approach will help any organisation to respond quickly and effectively to changing environmental conditions.

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Religion and Medicine Research Paper

To examine this topic we need to first find out why the divide in religion and medicine has become so wide, mainly in western religions rather than eastern. There is a vast range of views on this, but all need to be considered to totally understand the problem.

One stance is that eastern religions are far more grounded and they developed with a holistic view towards life, mostly started from Confucianism. Western religions originally had a holistic approach to health with many herbalist and alchemist around, but soon surgeons began to gain control over healing methods. The surgeons had understanding of why problems occurred and how they could heal them. Herbalist also had understanding, but it was a spiritual understanding, and this was not accepted. With understanding came power, and since most herbalist and alchemist were women, while the surgeons were men, the surgeons eventually dominated the healing methods and hence scientific medicine came about. Most herbalists and alchemists were woman and midwives and many were considered witches and were burnt on the stake during Pagan times. A loss of knowledge resulted from this, and greater power in the surgical community arose. At this time western healing took over – herbalists who tried to strengthen the body against disease had power taken from them by surgeons who developed ways to kill diseases.

Another view is that the western society was fascinated with science, and therefore understanding. This led to a non-acceptance of “mystical things” such as alternative healing. Ancient beliefs were no longer incorporated into society and there was less and less recognition of a greater being. The western world became arrogant and didn’t acknowledge religion as much whilst fascinated with science and technology. It also became a world devoted to material possession and this came at the “expense of spirituality” – Naturopath.

While another reason for the divide is that western society had become economically stable and therefore they could rely on scientific methods to treat health. In doing so there was a no room for spirituality, as we focused on trying to live forever – no acceptance of outcomes (fate). In the eastern world money was not and is not as available/excessive and therefore the science based health resources are lacking. This means that people will turn to spirituality rather than science, and if problems still arose the grounding of eastern society meant that there was an acceptance of these outcomes. Fate was acknowledged unlike in the western society.

To have religion and medicine coinciding together is extremely important. A Hypnotherapist & Reiki practitioner states, “all three need to be considered” being mental, spiritual and physical in order to heal someone. The Naturopath said that they should work together in order to have holistic healing. While an Orthopaedic Surgeon believes that it is important for them to work together, as many people need to find inner strength/willpower to help the body through tough times. Though he also believes that the actual art of medicine should be scientifically based. In other words medicine shouldn’t exclude religion, but it still essentially needs to be scientifically based.

It is recognized more today that a holistic approach to health should be taken. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognized this fact, and in their new public health approach they have taken a holistic view on health, recognizing the influence of individual behaviours as well as environmental factors. The approach before this was solely focused on the individual while the new public health approach has been made to cater for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of health.

Having medicine and religion working together is extremely helpful as it leads to holistic healing. Without holistic healing, an individual is unable to heal the essential parts of a “being”. For example if someone tries to commit suicide, it is easy to fix whatever damage they have inflicted on their body. But if that is all that is fixed the person will not be totally healed. They must have had contributing factors to make them commit such an act and therefore their mental, emotional and spiritual health needs to be examined and catered for; this is where alternative healing can play its part, as many types of alternative healing are based on being at one with oneself (healing of the mind and soul).

The possibility of religion and medicine working together has mixed views associated with it. Whilst most people want them to work together in order to achieve total holistic healing, some remain sceptical about how they will coincide. A Hypnotherapist & Reiki practitioner stated that it is humans who created the division between the two, and that science is simply “mysticism explained”. When talking about science and religion we can look at the Creationists vs. Evolutionist debate. Creationists say that the world was created over 6 days, while Evolutionists say it was created over millions of years. But who defined a day? Who defined time? Humans did, and it was humans that therefore created the divide. These two groups may actually be talking about the same; the 6 days of creation may have actually taken millions of years. While society remains not to acknowledge that humans created the divide, there will always be one between the two.

Though the Hypnotherapist & Reiki practitioner would like the two to work together she believes that bridging the divide might be hard, as there is different methodology in the two. Religion is based on acceptance while science is based on explanation. This would mean that science would have to accept some things without explanation, which is why the divide was created in the first place (herbalist vs. surgeons) therefore bridging this divide could prove difficult.

A Naturopath and an Orthopaedic surgeon both hope that the existence of both in the medical world will come about and will be possible. A Naturopath stated that society has taken a holistic turn already, and this is backed up by the WHO’s new public health approach, and the recognition the western world now has to the vast amounts of damage they have caused to the environment. He believes that it still could take 200-500 years to happen. An Orthopaedic surgeon also believes that the possibility of these two things coinciding could happen, though he believes that in many eastern countries religion is seen as an alternative way to seek healing while scientific resources are not available. Therefore if resources are made available will spirituality be pushed aside? I believe that this will not be the case as the grounding of these religions is so deep that they will continue to be at one with oneself, whilst still being able to receive scientific based healing. By making a bridge between medicine and religion could it also bridge the gap between the western and the eastern world?

One problem that could contribute to religion and medicine not coinciding may be the vast number of different religions not working together to bridge this gap. But as the Hypnotherapist & Reiki practitioner says, if all these religions realise that they are in essence all speaking and preaching about the same thing – energy, then this problem shouldn’t arise at all. In order for religions to coincide to aid the bridging of this gap they all need to remember: “Religion is cultures expressing the same thing in different ways” – Hypnotherapist & Reiki practitioner.


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Terrorism Essay

On September 11, 2001 at 8:46 A.M. Americans awoke (with=to) the reality of terrorism. The events that unfolded changed our country; it changed the way that we looked at terrorism forever. Americans have heard about terrorism in the past, but no incident had ever struck so hard or so close to home as this one did. This was the worst terrorism attack on the United States since the Oklahoma City Bombing in April of 1995. American(s) watched in awe as terrorists hijacked four planes: two that hit the Twin Towers in New York, one that crashed into the Pentagon, and one that was successfully stopped by heroic passengers in Pennsylvania (Wrobleski, 2003). The threat of terrorism has always been real, but on this day it was brought to light. Unfortunately, there are different types of terrorism that is possible, many of which Americans do not realize. While terrorism is at its greatest, it is important for Americans to know what types of terrorism there are, what (stems=surs?) terroristic acts and what we can and are (we) doing to prevent it.

While the different types of terrorism have not been classified, they have been broken into six different types: Nationalist, Religious, State-Sponsored, Left-Wing, Right-Wing, and Anarchist. Almost each terrorist act that has happened can be placed under one of these categories. Regrettably, there have been new forms of terrorism that have started to surface. These would be bio-terrorism and domestic terrorism (Council, 2003). In order to understand terrorism as a whole we must look at the background and history from which it stems.

Nationalist terrorism can easily be seen in the terrorist group the Irish Republican Army. Many nationalists, such as these, do not see themselves as terrorists, but as mere freedom fighters. They excuse their actions by stating that they are trying to fight for national liberation of their country. The I.R.A. (Irish Republican Army) is an organization that wants to end British rule and unify with the Republic of Ireland. Since the late 1960’s, the I.R.A. has killed more then 1,800 people, many of which were targeted British troops, police officers, and judges (Council, 2003). In July 2002, though, the I.R.A. offered its sympathy to those families that they have killed, and has since partially disarmed and has called out for peace, (although=delete) they admit that they are still an armed force who opposes any foreign occupation in their country (Sullivan, 2001).

Religious terrorism consists of many faiths and cults. They believe that they have the right to commit violence due to their beliefs. Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network is one of the major religious terrorist organizations in the world (Council, 2003). One of the goals of the al-Qaeda network was to oust the United States Armed Forces out of Saudi Arabia with whatever force and acts necessary. Osama bin Laden’s network took full responsibility for the crimes committed on September 11, 2001. Since then, though, the al-Qaeda network has bombed Pakistan and Tunisia, committed suicide attacks in Bali, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia, and has attacked aircraft over Kenya and the Atlantic Ocean (Terrorism, 2002). The al-Qaeda network has continued to terrorize the world despite global efforts to stop them.

Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea, and Sudan are the seven countries that the United States (had=has) declared state-sponsors of terrorism. Even though the United States has made efforts to decrease state-sponsored terrorism, it remains at an all time high. One of the most active countries is Iran, who has continued to sponsor major terrorist organizations such as the Lebanese Hizballah, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and Ahmad Jibril's PFLP-GC (United, 2001). State-sponsored terrorism is one of the worst types of terrorism. This is because it allows the group’s access to the money and means necessary to carry out their acts. A state-sponsored country tries to take the blame away from the country itself, and puts the blame onto a particular terrorist group, while funding the group in the shadows (Council, 2003).

Left-wing terrorism usually seeks not to hurt people in a country; rather they try to free the country of capitalism by destroying monuments and kidnapping capitalist leaders (Council, 2003). One of the major left-wing terrorist groups is Italy’s Red Brigade. First attracting attention in the 1970’s, they continue to kidnap and murder top political and educational citizens in Italy. They are responsible for bombings in Rome, Milan, and Genoa. They are also responsible for the murder of Italy’s former Prime Minister Aldo Moro; it was a murder that shocked Italy, and it was comparable to the murder of J.F.K. in the United States. Police in Italy are still issuing warnings for top party officials in Italy; a sure sign that the Red Brigade is still active and harmful (Israely, 2003).

Just this past September German officials took custody of eleven neo-Nazi’s. Also taken into custody was 30 pounds of explosives and hand grenades (Boston, 2003). The neo-Nazi’s, to this day, represent right-wing terrorism. They want to overthrow democratic governments in exchange for a fascist government (Council, 2003). Nobody can forget the attacks that the neo-Nazi’s led against the Jews some 65 years ago. Although lacking structural organization, there have been some minor attacks by the neo-Nazis since the 1930’s. There have also been some spin-off groups that claim to hold the same goals as the neo-Nazis; one of these groups is the Baader-Meinhof gang. The Baader-Meinhof gang has been responsible for the murders of German business leaders and politicians, and the attacks on United States military posts in the past two decades (Boston, 2003).

Anarchists want to overthrow established governments. They were big during the 1870’s until the 1920’s. A major example of an anarchist attack is the murder of the United States former president William McKinley, who was killed in 1901 by a Hungarian refugee (Council, 2003). It is a fact that anarchists remain, even in the United States. There are many websites dedicated to the overthrowing of the United States government, and these websites have been made by our own people. One website,, even answers questions ranging from how to become an anarchist to what anarchy could do for the United States health care system. With the protests of globalizations on the rise, experts are expecting an increase of anarchist violence (Council, 2003).

New technology and scientific developments are being discovered every day, and along with them comes new waves of terrorism. One of the most frightening types of new terrorism is bioterrorism. One of the most publicized acts of bioterrorism has been the anthrax scare that has riddled the United States. The fact is that bioterrorism can strike anyone and anywhere. It can be in our food, it can be in our air, and it can even be in our water. Bioterrorism represents "the most significant national security threat in the 21st century," said Tara O'Toole, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies. She also states that the most possible bioterrorism attacks include anthrax, smallpox, and biological agents in out water and food supply. Currently the United States has teamed together five agencies with the preparation and prevention of a bioterrorism attack: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, FDA, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (Posner, 2003).

Another new category of terrorism is domestic terrorism. Groups that fall under domestic terrorism include animal rights activists, pro-life activists, and environmentalists (eco-terrorists). We have all heard some of the insanely acts committed by one or more of these groups. One of the major domestic terrorist groups is the Environmental Liberation Front (E.L.F.). They have attacked car dealerships, burned down apartment complexes, and torched laboratories. An animal activist group, the Animal Liberation Front, has been responsible for $45 million worth of damage in at least 600 arsons and other incidents. Unfortunately, the crimes are always traditionally covered. The American Legislative Exchange Council states that state legislatures “make no legal distinction between the common thug who vandalizes a public park and an organized ecoterrorist “ and “this allows for a significant circular turnover rate, where criminals return to their organizations to commit further crimes in other locations or jurisdictions” (Bandow, 2003). In Conclusion, many Americans still do not realize the Total Threat of Terrorism, but after reading this paper I hope to convey to others the effects and the different Types of Terrorism. I believe this country is a lot more informed than it used to be, after the events of September 11th, 2001. Also you can see it in the way this country is trying to protect itself. 1) Increased Security of National Airports. 2) Increased Security at all major Military Installations, 3) More involvement in Overseas Affairs. 4) Increased Security at many Federal Buildings, and 5) Just an overall better idea of what Terrorism really is and just how important it is to protect ourselves from the Threat of Acts of Terrorism.


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