Title

Unit 5 - Marketing and Customer Needs
Quick revise
In this unit candidates will investigate how businesses use marketing activities to meet customers’ needs and deal with competition.
 
1. Customer Needs
 
In this section candidates will explore how businesses carry out customer research in order to identify and understand the needs of their customers and, therefore, attempt to meet them.
 
1.1 Understanding Customer Needs
 
• the range of customer needs
• the importance of customer characteristics.
Candidates should be aware of the different types of customer needs, including: understanding the value and suitability of a product, information about a product and its functions and reassurance about after-sales services.
 
Candidates should understand how customer needs change according to the customer’s characteristics. These customer characteristics include: age, sex, location, socio-economic factors and lifestyle.
1.2 Measuring Customer Satisfaction
 
• methods of customer research
• presenting the results of customer research
• analysing the results of customer research to
meet customer needs.
Candidates should be aware of the different methods of carrying out customer research. These should include: use of existing business data (eg sales records, complaints and returned goods), primary research such as questionnaires, observations, customer panels or interviews.
 
Candidates should be aware of the ways in which customer research can be presented, including the use of tables, charts and line graphs.
 
Candidates should be able to analyse the results of customer research by recognising significant features of the results and any trends or patterns within them.
 
2. Marketing Activities
 
In this section candidates will explore the ways in which businesses try to establish an advantage over their competitors by altering their marketing activities. The study of marketing activities should focus on how businesses use these activities in practice. Consideration should be given to how technology is, or could be, used to enhance these activities.
 
2.1 Selecting Products
 
• developing a product range.
Candidates should understand why businesses remove, modify and add products to their product ranges.
2.2 Setting Prices
 
• the factors influencing pricing decisions.
Candidates should be aware of the factors that influence a products price. These include: the cost of the product, customer value and competitor prices.
2.3 Using Promotional Activities
 
• the range of promotional activities available to
businesses
• communicating with customers.
Candidates should be aware of the following promotional activities: personal selling, merchandising, sales promotion and advertising.
 
Candidates should understand how businesses select the method and content of promotional activities to communicate effectively with customers.
2.4 Choosing Appropriate Outlets/Distributors
 
• factors influencing the choice of outlets/
distributors
• the impact of technology.
This should focus on a practical consideration of how businesses select the most appropriate outlet/distributor.
 
Candidates should be aware of how technology, such as ICT, has created new outlet/distribution opportunities.

2.5 Marketing Activities and Competition

• identifying competitors
• establishing a competitive advantage
• the importance of location.
Candidates should be able to identify the following features of competitors: prices charged for similar products, characteristics of similar products, location and promotional activities used.
 
Candidates should be aware of how businesses respond to competition by altering their marketing activities to establish a competitive advantage, eg by offering new products or implementing new promotional activities.
 
Candidates should understand how the location of a business affects its ability to deal with competitors, eg proximity to customers and competitors.
 
3. Customer Service
 
In this section candidates will investigate the meaning and importance of customer service and how businesses decide on the level of customer service they will offer to their customers.
 
3.1 Effective Customer Service
 
• the features of customer service
• the importance of customer service.
Candidates should be familiar with the features of customer service relating to: staff (eg helpfulness and communication skills), premises (eg layout, directions and range of facilities), delivery of goods (eg availability and speed), and after-sales care (eg exchange of goods and guarantees).
 
The importance of customer service should be considered in terms of its ability to: gain/retain customers, gain customer satisfaction and loyalty and improve the image and reputation of the business.
3.2 Altering the Levels of Customer Service
 
• meeting the needs of the target market
• the impact of technology.
Candidates should be aware of how businesses alter customer service features (eg after-sales care) according to the needs of their target markets. They should be aware of the ways in which the level of customer service offered can be matched against the requirements of different target markets, eg whether or not to provide dedicated telephone support lines.
 
The impact of technology should be considered in terms of how it can be used to improve and develop customer service, especially through the use of email and websites.
 
Assessment
 
This unit will be assessed by means of a controlled assessment. The work must be the candidate’s own individual response, produced under controlled conditions.
 
Task Setting
 
This unit will be assessed on a portfolio of evidence, based on the candidate’s own research of a business which must investigate:
A how measuring customer satisfaction contributes to the success of the business
B the key marketing activities and customer service used by the business to meet customer needs
C whether the business is successfully meeting customer needs, taking into account the activities of competitors.
 
Candidates’ portfolios must include evidence of materials used to make one presentation on whether the business is successfully meeting customer needs.
 
Task Taking
 
• Preparation
 
Before candidates embark on their investigation, centres should prepare them by teaching the key terms and concepts contained within this unit. It is anticipated that this will take up to 50 hours. During this phase, you should also ensure that candidates are familiar with the marking criteria and are aware of the need to evaluate their findings.
 
• Research and Planning
 
Having taught the topics, it is suggested that candidates spend about 17 hours researching the business. During the research and planning phase, teachers may give feedback to individual candidates to support them in their learning but this assistance must be recorded. Candidates may work with others during the research and planning stage. Each candidate must, however, produce an individual response to the tasks.
 
Final Presentation
 
Candidates should spend about seven hours writing up their findings. While writing up their response candidates must work independently and complete all work under supervision. This time may be divided into more than one session, provided that the teacher collects all materials at the end of each session, keeps them under secure conditions and returns them to candidates at the beginning of the next session.
 
Task Marking
 
Centres must mark all controlled assessments using the marking criteria on the next two pages. The work will be moderated by AQA according to the procedures outlined in section 7 of this specification.
 
Level
AO1 (21 marks)
AO2 (25 marks)
AO3 (24 marks)
4
21–16 marks
The candidate selects relevant and detailed data/information from a wide range of sources. Appropriate methods are used to organise and communicate the data/information effectively.
 
The candidate demonstrates substantial knowledge and understanding of relevant business concepts, issues and terminology.
25 –19 marks
The candidate demonstrates the ability to apply effectively and consistently skills, knowledge and understanding when:
 
• thoroughly planning and carrying out the investigation;
• successfully completing key parts of the investigation.
24 –19 marks
The candidate draws a range of
appropriate conclusions based on:
 
• an analysis of the selected data/information to produce key findings;
• an evaluation, supported by a reasoned justification, of the significance of the key findings.
Ideas are well structured and organised in a clear and appropriate form. Spelling,
punctuation and grammar are used accurately. Specialist terms are used frequently and effectively.
3
15 –11 marks
The candidate selects relevant data/information from a range of sources. Some appropriate methods are used to organise
and communicate the data/information.
 
The candidate demonstrates good knowledge and understanding of relevant
business concepts, issues and terminology.
18 –13 marks
The candidate demonstrates the ability to apply skills, knowledge and understanding when:
 
• planning and carrying out the
investigation;
• completing aspects of the
investigation.
18 –13 marks
The candidate draws some appropriate conclusions based on:
• a partial analysis of selected data/information to produce some findings;
• a judgement, with some justification,of the significance of the findings.
 
Ideas are organised in an appropriate form. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are used with reasonable accuracy. Some appropriate use of specialist terms is evident.
 
2
10 – 6 marks
The candidate selects data/information from a limited range of sources. A limited attempt is made to organise the data/information.
 
The candidate demonstrates a basic knowledge and understanding of some
relevant business concepts, issues and terminology.
12 –7 marks
The candidate demonstrates some ability to apply skills, knowledge and understanding when:
 
• carrying out the investigation;
• attempting to complete aspects of the investigation.
12 –7 marks
The candidate reaches some simple conclusions based on:
 
• a review of selected data/information
in order to identify results from the investigation;
• a basic judgement, based upon limited evidence, of the significance of the investigation’s results.
 
An attempt to organise and structure ideas in an appropriate form. Spelling,
punctuation and grammar are used with some accuracy but there are some errors. Specialist terms are used occasionally.
1
5 –1 marks
The candidate has collated data/information from a limited range of sources. The data/information is presented without any attempt to organise it.
The candidate demonstrates limited knowledge and understanding of some business concepts and issues. There is little use of business terminology.
6 –1 marks
The candidate attempts to apply skills, knowledge and understanding when:
 
• carrying out the investigation;
• describing some outcomes of the investigation.
6 –1 marks
The candidate states some conclusions based on:
 
• collected data/information;
• unsupported judgements.
 
Ideas are presented in a way that is adequate to convey meaning. The rules of spelling, punctuation and grammar are not fully understood and there are frequent errors. Few or no specialist terms are used.
0
0 marks
The candidate presents no relevant data/information nor demonstrates any knowledge and understanding of business
concepts, issues and terminology.
0 marks
The candidate makes no attempt to apply knowledge and understanding to the investigation.
0 marks
The candidate makes no attempt to state conclusions nor analyse and evaluate evidence.
 
 
 
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