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MKT260 Research Skills Guide: Planning

Understanding your task

It is important to break down the requirements of your assessment task before you start searching for information so that you can plan your approach.

At this first stage, you need to work out:

  • what the assessment is asking you to do
  • how you are going to search for answers to the question

The best place to find this information is your Subject Outline. You should carefully read all elements of the assessment information available. If you are confused or unsure about the assessment topic, ask your lecturer or tutor who will be happy to talk it through with you.

Let's look at your assessments

In Assessment 1  you have been asked to choose an Australian company that is operating in an international (foreign) country. Then:

  • Provide a brief background of the company including the international structure, product range and competitive position.
  • Discuss the company's external environment in the foreign country including economic and financial, political and legal, cultural, technological and environmental factors and issues. In your discussion compare to Australia's external environment and give implications for the organisations
  • Identify and explain one new product or service opportunity in the foreign country

In Assessment 2 you are asked to read the case titled Wal-Mart's entry into Africa in Chapter 8 of your textbook, and answer the following questions:

  • Critically evaluate the potential challenges which Wal-Mart is likely to confront in doing business in South Africa in view of the difficult process it had to go through to gain entry.
  • Given Wal-Mart’s experience in entering international markets, did its entry into South Africa require a detailed screening approach?
  • Assume you have been appointed a consultant to Wal-Mart and have been asked to review Wal-Mart’s strategy in entering South Africa’s retail sector. What could Wal-Mart have done differently in its strategy to enter the sector?
  • Identify and discuss the pros and cons of Wal-Mart’s strategy of entering into a joint venture with Massmart.
  • Now that Wal-Mart has managed to get approval for its joint venture, what measures can it take in order to ease the tensions that existed between it and the coalition that was against the venture?

And in Assessment 3 you are expected to develop an international marketing plan for your company in A1 to launch a new product/service into a new market.

As part of this plan you will need to consider and report on:

  • the external environment of the target country
  • market opportunities and threats including competition and potential customer demand
  • market selection and entry including modes of entry, segmentation, target and positioning
  • the four elements of the marking mix - product, promotion, pricing and place

Note - the information here is a summary of what is in your subject outline. It is here as a guide, not a replacement for your full assessment information.

What information do you need?

In Assessment 1 you need to use at least one academic references for each environmental factor, meaning a minimum of five references for the whole assessment.

In Assessment 2 you are expected to use at least 5 academic references to support your answers.

And in Assessment 3 you are expected to use at least 10 academic references.


To successfully complete your assessment tasks you will need a range of information including:

  • company, industry, government and market information and reports
  • country information such as population, industry, trade, political, environmental, legal and economic statistics and indicators

This information will greatly assist you in completing your critical analysis of the external environment, respond to the case study questions and  prepare your marketing plan.

Across all assessments you will also need theory and academic sources such as books, journal articles and reliable websites and reports that discuss key concepts from your tasks. These will provide the evidence and justification for your analysis and your marketing plan.

Where will you find this information?

The following pages of this guide will help you locate the information you need using a range of library databases and resources, and free websites. There are also some recommended websites included in the Resources folder of your Interact2 subject site.

Note: Any use of Wikipedia as a source for the assignment will result in an automatic zero mark, as it is not a reliable source.

Remember, no matter where you find your resources you still need to evaluate them to ensure they are reliable and suitable for use. Check the Evaluate page for tips.