Market Environment and Research

 Most of us think of primary marketing efforts as being focused on the introduction of new products. In reality, all products undergo a lifecycle: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. The task of managing a given product at any stage of that lifecycle is significant and offers multiple opportunities for success or failure. A large number of new products fail at launch (introduction), while many go on to live long market lives. 

 
Case studies are a very effective way of applying business concepts to a real-world situation and that approach will be used for this activity. For this assessment, consider that you work as a marketing analyst for a consulting firm and that your manager asked you to develop a case study for the executive team of the organization in the case. That executive team will use your analysis and recommendations in their business planning.
Preparation
For this assessment, refer to the REI Case Study – Research Guide, linked in the Resources under the Required Resources heading. In addition, conduct independent research to develop a case study based on REI.
Your research resources should include the REI organization’s Web site, but you are also expected to use information about REI that has been gathered by organizations that are devoted to marketing research. These organizations are referred to as secondary sources. A short list of secondary sources is provided for you in the REI Case Study – Research Guide. Use these sites to get your research started. You are encouraged to explore further secondary sources.
Conduct your research on REI, focusing on the following topics:

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How does the current U.S. economy affect REI retail operations? Specify potential marketing changes needed based upon emerging trends in this environmental factor.
How does the current global economy affect REI retail operations? Specify potential marketing changes needed based upon emerging trends in this environmental factor.
What types of legal and regulatory forces affect REI in the United States? Specify potential marketing changes needed based upon emerging trends in this environmental factor.
What types of social and culture trends affect REI? Specify potential marketing changes needed based upon emerging trends in this environmental factor.
What types of technology changes affect REI? Specify potential marketing changes needed based upon emerging trends in this environmental factor.

Organizational Profile Development
Based on your research, develop an organizational profile for REI’s marketing environment, analyzing the key environmental factors of the U.S. economy, global economy, legal and regulatory environment, socio-cultural forces, and technological forces.

Identify three or more of the secondary sources of information available for conducting market research on REI.
Develop a short analysis of the value of these secondary sources, specifically in gathering information on REI.

How might these secondary sources be used to develop an integrated marketing plan? What are the limitations of the identified sources?
How valuable would their information be in developing a marketing plan that would contribute to the company’s economic success? What are potential limitations of these sources for this purpose?

Based on your executive audience, your case study should be well organized and written in clear, succinct language. Follow APA rules for attributing sources that support your analysis and conclusions.

 
This research guide can be used as a starting point for investigating REI’s marketing practices.
Explore the Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) Web site for an overview of the company philosophy, products, and services. Check out the content of the About REI section of the Web site. Note: The following company background information was formerly presented on the Web site.
REI’s thriving spirit was born in the 1930s when Pacific Northwest mountaineer Lloyd Anderson began his search for an ice axe. Lloyd wanted a reliable tool at a reasonable price but had no success in finding one locally. He eventually found a high-quality model in an Austrian alpine gear catalog for a mere $3.50, shipping included. Word about his find quickly spread among Seattle’s climbing community, which led Lloyd and his wife, Mary, to convene with 21 fellow climbers to establish an outdoor gear co-op in 1938 (REI, 2007).
You might find it interesting to compare this historical outline with the content currently featured on the About REI page.
In this course, you will also be required to use secondary research resources. Explore and review the marketing research resources of the organizations below:

https://www.nsga.org/ 

 https://www.sfia.org/ 

Use the Internet Archive tool, the https://archive.org/, to search for REI.com and you will find historical versions of REI Web site pages. Select a few pages and compare REI’s former prices and product offerings with the current online catalog.

Secondary research resources can also be found through organizations affiliated with REI.  https://www.entre-prises.us/ , the organization that built the first climbing wall in the REI flagship store, provided the following secondary research information about REI:

“REI opened the doors to its flagship store in Seattle, in 1996.
This large retail store is located adjacent to Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle.
Up to 250,000 people drive by the store every day. It was important to REI to capture their attention.
REI looked to Entre Prises to build a 65 ft. freestanding structure that would be the central focus of the store.
After ten months of construction, 4 miles of rebar, and 120 tons of concrete, the ICON for REI was sculpted. REI has received unparalleled media response from the climbing wall. People wait hours to climb the Entre Prises Pinnacle and in the first year over 10,000 people climbed it, and the interest continues to grow!” (Entre Prises USA, Inc., 2007).

 

References
Entre Prises USA, Inc. (n.d.). REI flagship store: Entre prises creates a masterpiece! Retrieved from http://www.epusa.com/featured_project.php?otype=i&id=13
Entre Prises USA, Inc. (2013). Entre Prises: Climbing walls. Retrieved from http://www.epusa.com
Internet Archive. (2013). Wayback machine. Retrieved from http://archive.org/web/web.php
National Sporting Goods Association. (2013). NSGA. Retrieved from http://www.nsga.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1
REI, Inc. (2007). The REI story. Retrieved from http://www.rei.com/jobs/story.jsp
REI. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.rei.com
Sports and Fitness Industry Association. (2013). SFIA. Retrieved from http://www.sfia.org

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