Market Research

Market Research

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     Smith, Inc. and its consultants have worked together to determine particular popular industries in the Northern Arizona area in which to invest. We have found that there is overwhelming demand for a local football team and even more demand from Arizona State University students to adopt a Division One, NCAA football team. As a result, we have researched the possibilities of investing in a sports stadium to support the team and have determined whether or not it would be a lucrative business. The Northern Arizona area is certainly a growing, commercial region; however, with its economic success comes a high cost or production and business operation. It is my intent to discuss the proposed Jack Hunt Stadium and its potential economic success. As Vice President of Market Research, I have included in our proposal an extensive study of the local and regional area to identify market viability. In this study I have explored various aspects of market research to include demand, target markets, demographics, geographic location, sales forecasting methods, and overall assessments. You will find the market has been researched extensively to gain an accurate understanding of the public's perception of the facility and potential directions that could enhance attendance and revenue.
     We will begin by establishing Smith, Inc.'s level of involvement in promoting the local ASU football games and other ASU athletic events. In addition to the games, I have evaluated our role in promoting the use of the student center which is intended for daily use regardless of whether or not a specific athletic event is taking place that day. The facility marketing department is to organize the events and develop a marketing plan in order to promote the events in the local community and media. I have concluded that sporting events need only to be advertised to inform ASU students of the dates and times of games versus the surrounding community which prescribes more effort in promoting our facility. In my study I have found that ASU students are craving for a popular, competitive Division One football team. The team could bring in tremendous revenue from students alone. ASU is one of very few Arizona universities that do not have an NCAA football team. However, it is not because the area or the university cannot afford to enter the league or that the local community will not support the facility, both for recreation or financially.

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In fact, the standard of living I the area is one of the highest in the nation and could quite easily support a local sports stadium. Thus, promoting events within the student body should not require much funding due to the already existing demand. The community requires more attention and advertising simply because families are not always aware of the events occuring in the university.
     The first step in marketing research is gathering data pertinent to the proposal. Primary data are those data that have been collected for the first time by the researcher for the specific research project at hand. Secondary data are data already gathered by someone other than the researcher or data already existing. I have exhausted all sources of secondary data simply because it is less costly and a more efficient way of evaluating the market. It is unnecessary, costly, and a poor use of time and effort to reinvent the wheel. The importance in using secondary data arises from several different factors including providing background, suggesting sample selection, and determining hypothesis. In some cases, the information and insights gained from secondary resarch are sufficient in determining the economic viability of a local sports stadium. It has provided us with the background necessary to understand the market and public. It has also guided me in determining how to poll a diverse and accurate sample of the local area population in gathering primary data.
     Results of the secondary data have indicated some positive results in our market evaluation. The Fairfax area and the northern Arizona region is an increasingly wealthy and economically sound area. Businesses have a overwhelmingly high success rate and have grown steadily over the past 10 years. Investments into the area have proven to be lucrative and have instigated even more investment into area business. I have conducted an evaluation of several different firms' financial statements and stock quotes over the past 10 years and its relative standing compared to other firms in the same industry. Included in this study are firms such as MRJ Technology Solutions, Synergy Inc., and the Washington Sports Club. All companies' financial statements reflect economic success and steady viability.
     Determining demand is the next step in researching a market. Typically, a firm will choose to invest in product demand or a service demand. In our particular business it is actually both. In product demand, we will offer retail stores selling Patriot Gear as well as commercial stores such as the Gap, Abercrombie and Fitch, or Banana Republic. The Patriot Gear store will provide for the academic and athletic needs of the students. It will cater to the desires of future ASU students, current students, and their families. Student athletes will also be able to purchase ASU paraphernalia and athletic equipment. The commericial retail stores will lease their space and bring in additional revenue simply by its existence and ability to draw I consumers to the student center. We have selected these companies based on popular demand of the ASU student body as the students are the main focus in targeting a market to these stores. In the same manner, we have identified services to provide as well. The demand for particular services on campus has helped us to conclude that students want a more centralized, commercialized student center away from academics but existing on campus. Some services aside from the main attraction, athletic games, include restaurants, bars, and arcades. Students living on campus especially have voiced their demands. They want a local bar they can call their own in the heart of the ASU community where everyone, students and faculty, can sit down at Happy Hour and have a drink. Alcoholic beverages will also be sold for the athletic events, however, strict rules will accompany its purchase and consumption. Demand for both products and services will be met to satisfy the needs of the student body.
     It is quite obvious that the ASU student body is the primary target market in our investment. Because the sports stadium exists on campus, it will directly affect those living on campus. Of course, the commuting students will also find convenience in having a large student center to cater to their needs. The sporting events are targeted at the students and the local community. However, the student center is mostly aimed at solely the students. Area residents may find it more convenient to go to another area bar, restraurant, or retail store. However, because our prices will not be any different than those offered by companies it should not deter consumers from choosing our services. It merely offers the public more choices.
     Collecting data on the demographics of the market area is essential to researching the market feasibility. This study analyzes the market demand for a new product, brand, or service. This type of study usually evaluates potential market size and determines what kind of demand might be expected and what market segments might be most receptive to the introduction of the new products and services. Also in evaluating demographics, market segmentation of targeting markets determine how a market is segmented by product usage, demand, or customer profiles. Fairfax county is found to have a large percentage of individuals under the age of 40. This may be attributable to the college community, the surburban atmosphere outside Washington D.C., and the abundance of job opportunities to young, college graduates. Its standard of living and high wages have attracted not only businesses but individuals to work for those businesses. Because these businesses in the local area have proven to be quite profitable, the standard of living has steadily increased and the demand to live and work in the area have climbed as well.
     Determining he geographic location goes hand in hand with determining the target market and market segmentation. We chose to locate the stadium at ASU because it has proven to be a prime area to do business. As mentioned earlier, the consumers are overwhelming, the area is fairly wealthy with salaries averaging around $70,000, and the location is in an area already well-known for sponsoring entertainment events due to the Patriot Center. The drawbacks, however, are expected to generate some negativity from area residents. These costs in investing at ASU include increased traffic to a currently congested area, lack of adequate parking available on campus, and competition from the National Football League and the Washington Redskins games. These costs will be discussed further later in this analysis. In addressing the negative aspects of the proposed sports stadium we have made suggestions and determined possible solutions in overcoming these obstacles.
     Sales forecasting defined is the amount of sales a firm expects to achieve during some future period under a given marketing plan and expected market conditions. In the sales forecasting process, we have started off by identifyig the external and internal forces of influence. These forces are expected to affect the sales during the forecast period. Some external forces are the expected economic conditions, actions by the government, actions by key competitors, social influences, and technological changes. For example, should the level of unemployment rise, the sports stadium would actually provide more jobs in the community. Also, if a neighboring university, perhaps in the Washington D.C. area also adopt an NCAA football team, it may in fact draw some of Fairfax residents to their games and events. Internal forces, on the other hand, include changes in the firm's production facilities, planned acquisitions, introduction of additional products, present market share, and recent trend in sales. Planned acquistions influences the value of the firm in that it significantly increases the asset base and equity of a firm. This would then increase the market price of the stock and the overall worth of the firm. Should we decide to acquire another firm or company to work jointly, we could thereby increase the value of the firm. The higher the stock price, the more individuals there are to invest in our firm. As a result, we are able to use that invested capital to add onto the sports stadium and further cater to the desires of the target market. It is obvious that assessing the influences of both forces is beneficial in the sales forecasting process.
     Next, we have prepared our initial forecast. We have directed out marketing strategy to target mainly the student body and to advertise intensively to the local community. Following the initial forecast is the development of a marketing strategy, the preparation of a formal forecast, and finally monitoring the forecast to see who well it depicts what is actually occuring. It is my intention to continue to montior sales and make necessary adjustments so that the forecast comes clower to the actual response of the market. This process shows the link between forecasting and our actual planned activities. However, in order to forecast I have used a method of gathering primary data. I took a survey of 100 individuals, 50 of which are ASU students and 50 who are area residents at Giant Food Store. The questions I raised were:
1) On average, how many games would you or a family member attend a semester?
2) On average, how many days a week would you or a family member use the student center?
3) If ASU were to adopt an NCAA football team and provide for it with an elaborate stadium and student center, would this make you or a family member more apt to attending this university?
To the first question, the average response of individuals polled was 2 to 3 games a semester. The second question provided higher results of 2 to 3 times a week. Finally, the third questions produced and overwhelming response of 76% claiming ASU to be more marketable and appealing to college bound graduating seniors. These results have influenced my decision in forecasting sales and determining a marketing strategy.
     Overall, in my thorough assessment of the market and its economic potential, I have arrived at recurring costs and benefits of investing in the Jack Hunt Stadium. The costs include the influx of traffic, the distrubance of nearby homes, and limited parkig available on campus. However, we have also determined ways in which to combat these negative aspects. We intend to hire the ASU police to direct traffic during significant sporting events. To prevent the public from roaming the area after events, we will implement strict rules against loitering. The 9,546 spaces of available parking on campus may not be enough to provide for the 22,000 available seats in the stadium. However, I suspect it will not be a severe shortage assuming that attendees share vehicles when traveling to the games. Shuttles will also be running from each of the Lots during these events. The benefits of having a ASU sports stadium are that it will commercialize Fairfax, create publicity for the university, and increase the standard of living in the area. In conclusion, the assessment I make after having done extensive marketing research is to invest in the Jack Hunt Stadium.
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