Help with “marketing strategy” and marketing and other issues etc questions. F293 revision business studies ocr


So I got an email yesterday and tried to help someone answer a question that asks to “recommend a marketing strategy.” For this question, you need to base it around the four 4 p’s as much as possible.That is, product, price, place and promotion. These are some of the points I suggested to consider. Hope it helps anyone! 🙂

As in talk about product, price place and promotion like what factors are there to consider. Okay so like,
Price: can they afford it? if not why not? how do we know? what are the costs associated? if they cant afford it should they forget about it or should they find another source of finance? which one and why?
Promotion: what adverising should they use? above the line or below the line? which type? how much will it cost? justify the best way why you think that. How could they promote the product successfully?
Product: how can they make their product market well? will they need to focus on what kind of production method they will be using? which one and why? do they have the USP to market the product well? should they carry out market research to have a more customer orientated product?
Place; what channels of distribution should they use and why? which one is most beneficial and what are the drawbacks of the one you  choose? should they stock the product or have a stockist or an outlet? 
Hope this helps?? its just about getting into as much detail about these things and it should help..

Goodbye F297!

Hi everyone,

How did your F292 exam go? What questions did you enjoy and did you expect any? Did you find  any difficult? Be sure to let me know!

I hope everyone gets the grades we deserve! After today my focus will be F293 so also let me know anything you would like help with, as always on here or 🙂

Interest rates are set to rise in 2015′. Assess how this will affect APSL’s strategic direction. (23)

**This question was kindly posted on my ‘About’ page comments, anonymously

Interest rates are set to rise in 2015′. Assess how this will affect APSL’s strategic direction. (23)

Interest rates are the cost of borrowing and the reward for saving. If interest rates increase the cost of borrowing increases. A rise in interest rates will therefore make it more difficult to reduce gearing if they have variable interest rates because total interest payments will rise. Therefore Net profit will fall which will also make it more difficult to increase the returns for the shareholders. If interest rates are fixed then they will not be affected in the short-term but it is likely that they will only be fixed for a 2-5 year period.

A rise in interest rates will also mean that consumer spending is likely to fall as mortgage costs will rise meaning that discretionary income will fall for many households. Furthermore, it makes savings more attractive and makes it more expensive to borrow/use credit cards for big ticket items. APSL supplies to firms making Caravans, lawnmowers, shower trays etc which are all big ticket items so are likely to be bought using credit for many consumers. Therefore the demand for these products may fall, especially if incomes aren’t increasing at the same pace so APSL may face a fall in sales in the UK market. They may have to discount to maintain sales levels which would reduce profit margins.

A rise in interest rates is likely to appreciate the pound. This is because overseas investors will take advantage of higher interest rates in the UK and buy pounds to put into UK bank accounts. An appreciation of the pound makes exports dearer and imports cheaper. This will make it more difficult to achieve their objective of increasing exports. They may need to cut prices to offset the exchange rate appreciation. However, it is unlikely that the exchange rate will appreciate against all markets and it may not have an impact if other countries such as the EU put up interest rates as well. In the case of the EU and USA this is highly likely as these countries have had similar economic problems to the UK. Furthermore, products like flaxiboard are likely to be price inelastic as it is lighter and environmentally friendly so will be bought because of it’s features rather than price.

In conclusion, a rise in interest rates will make it more difficult for APSL to achieve its strategic objectives. However, they are unlikely to change their direction as they are aiming to export which spreads the risk of rising interest rates and they are have focused of product differentiation in terms of quality, making products less price elastic so less vulnerable to interest rate changes.

Evaluate APSLs three owner directors decision to realign APSL as a Niche producer, specialising in low volume,low lead time high quality parts.

Before making the decision to realign APSL as a niche producer, the business must undergo a strategic review. These should include a number of stages (apt) including:

  1. Review the environment in which it operates
  2. Identify and analyse PESTLE
  3. Undertake a market survey
  4. Research competition
  5. Auditing resources
  6. Making predictive assumptions to what internal/external factor may alter the future period.

APSL should make use of different techniques of forecasting such as:

  • porter’s five forces
  • product portfolio analysis
  • ratio analysis
  • time series

Advantages include:

  • Higher profits
  • Less waste (only producing customer orders)
  • Better customer service (more contact with customers)

Disadvantages include:

  • downtime increased [less output, more bespoke items]
  • more time invested in producing one off niche products
  • deliveries more expensive> many small items
  • harder to train employees consistently
  • higher non compliant parts




Evaluate Peter’s suggestion to compliment wages with fringe benefits (lines 55-59).

According to the case study, Peter pays 10% higher than that available to semi skilled staff in order to attract staff with the necessary abilities required to work at APSL. In addition, he believes that he should also complement wages with fringe benefits for example a subsidised canteen, yet they have been successful. It becomes clear that the employees would much rather have maximum possible pay instead.

What are fringe benefits?

  • Subsidised canteen: mentioned by APSL
  • Company car
  • Vouchers
  • Medical checks
  • Discount on APSL products
  • Pension plans

There could be a number of reasons as to why Peter would like to compliment wages with fringe benefits on top of his competitive rate of 10% above most other semi skilled staff wages. However, it is important that APSL evaluate this suggestion in line with their key objective of improving solvency ratios to ensure that they do not conflict.

One advantage of complimenting wages with fringe benefits is that it could offer a cheaper alternative compared with paying 10% higher. For example, by having a subsidised canteen, it means that staff will still have to pay a proportion to contribute towards their meals, however APSL will be providing some money towards it. If it turns out that having competitive fringe benefits such as this is cheaper than paying employees additional monetary wages, it is something for APSL to suggest. The business places an importance on having employees that are well trained and understand the business’ keen objective of maintaining high quality, and therefore if APSL do not provide incentives on top of their competitive rates, it may limit the level of skills that APSL have the capacity of employing. Inevitably, less benefits will attract less staff and therefore Peter’s suggestion of a subsidised canteen helps to contribute to better working conditions for staff to stay with APSL, which as a result, will improve quality rates due to long term, skilled staff, rather than short term, less experienced staff if APSL experience high staff turnover.

However, it is clear that staff are reluctant to accept fringe benefits, and would much rather be offered “maximum possible” pay, and then “make their own individual choices about, what, if any additional perks they buy.” Therefore, if Peter was to introduce fringe benefits such as vouchers and health/fitness club memberships, it is likely to conflict with the business’ key objective of improving solvency ratios. Certainly, investing in fringe benefits for the entire production will be a costly expense and therefore APSL must carefully evaluate whether this is a beneficial one that allows them to meet their objective. For one, having committed and happy staff that are regularly complimented with fringe benefits is likely to reduce staff turnover and as a result improve the motivation and quality offered at APSL, and in conclusion result in better profit margins. However, it is also fair to argue that buy offering such lavish benefits can be costly and therefore APSL may face jeopardising meeting their key objectives. Paying for staff to have health/fitness membership can be approximately up to £50 per month and therefore, this will have an eventual impact on the profit margins at APSL. Whilst it could be argued that having fringe benefits is essential for APSL to “select” rather than “accept”, it must be made sure that they do not hinder the company’s ability to meet objectives.

Further to this, APSL could consider having fringe benefits to specific staff members. By doing this, APSL does not waste excessive money in spending on benefits for all staff, but rather the ones who deserve it. For example, if a production member shows particular interest and has high output in a particular month, APSL could reward that employee with a company car/medical check ups. These are often one off payments that will not require a continuous investment from APSL and therefore fringe benefits can be given out when they can be afforded. This is likely to have a number of benefits. For one, by offering fringe benefits to specific employees it will not only reduce expenses and as a result improve solvency as opposed to offering it to all staff, but also means that employees are motivated to reap benefits in the future, as well as feel as though they are valued and being recognised in the business, which in hand will improve job satisfaction and incentives to do well at APSL.

By contrast, it is also reasonable to argue that Peter should not compliment wages with fringe benefits. Not only is this a frivolous extra expense that the business will occur, accompanied by the scheme to pay 10% higher, but also it is clear that employees are interested. It may be said that if employees do not wish to have fringe benefits, Peter will just be unsuccessfully investing in schemes such as a subsidised canteen, where it will not improve employee turnover, absenteeism or output. Whilst employees may feel recognised, it is unlikely that this will encourage the level of skilled workers that are interested in working at APSL and therefore Peter may have to re-evaluate this suggestion. One idea for APSL to consider is instead of fringe benefits, APSL may offer piece rate. By offering piece rate wages, employees of the business will directly benefit from working hard and achieving high output, where other employees that do not produce as much do not get the same level of pay. This is advantageous as it means there is a direct correlation between work ethic and reward, however, employees have to remember that a main focus at APSL is high quality and thus a high volume production with low quality output will not be rewarded.

Peter should not compliment wages with fringe benefits when it will not be valued by employees. The current scheme of 10% on top of regular employees is already a large proportion of expenses that APSl will have to undergo and therefore the business will need to make cutbacks, and hold back on investing in fringe benefits to reward employees when there are other, more vital issues to consider such as improving solvency.





9 explain why the term terrorism is controversial and has been contested?

Terrorism, by Goodin, has been defined as a means of aiming to achieve political reach through the use of aggressive actions, often creating fear and apprehension. Examples of terrorism include suicide bombings, plane hijacks and hostages. They are often high profile and pursued by non state actors.

  1. the term has been controversial due to the illegitimacy it implies. Yet, one terrorist can be another’s freedom fighter and therefore it proves unfair to all.
  2. critics say that this term systematically delegitimises groups and motives by upholding existing power structure.
  3. radical theorists argue that the term terrorism should be rejected from an association between non state actors and rather emphasised with “state terrorism”

10 to what extent is the environment a global issue?

  1. The environment has no borders and therefore each state is vulnerable for another’s.
  2. Free riders may feel that due to the environment being a collective good, they have no responsibility
  3. Concerted action is needed and therefore it becomes a global issue [radical theory]

11 explain the tensions between human rights and state sovereignty?

Human rights are the rights to which people are supposedly entitled by virtue of

being human. These rights are universal, fundamental, indivisible and absolute.

Tensions exist between human rights and state sovereignty because the former has

cosmopolitan implications that conflict with the latter. Human rights imply that

there are standards of conduct that should apply in all countries and in all parts of

the world, regardless of nationality, religion, ethnicity and so forth. State

sovereignty, by contrast, implies that each state should be regarded as an

independent and autonomous entity, solely responsible for determining the

conditions of life within their borders. States’ rights therefore conflict with human

rights, a tension that is particularly evident in the case of humanitarian intervention

which may be carried out in furtherance of human rights but amounts to a violation

of state sovereignty.

12 distinguish between the alternative and orthodox view of development

The ‘orthodox’, or economic liberal, view of development understands poverty

squarely in economic terms and implies that development can be equated with

economic growth, an increase in GDP. The central mechanism, from this

perspective, for promoting growth is a free-market system, with underdevelopment

being explained in terms of blockages that prevent the establishment

of market capitalism.

The ‘alternative’ view of development tends to reflect the ideas of the global South.

It adopts a humanistic view of poverty, based on opportunity and empowerment,

rather than an economic model. It also tends to stress factors such as self-reliance,

ecological balance (sustainable development), social and cultural inclusion and the

recognition that global poverty has a structural character, stemming, in part, from

disparities in the international trading system.

13 international action over climate change will always be blocked by a disagreement between developed and developing states?

There are three main reasons to why developing countries disagree with developed solutions to resolve climate change:

  1. Developed states believe they have a higher population and therefore emission levels should be set accordingly, but developed countries are reluctant to accept this due to lower population.
  2. Developing states believe they have a “right to development” in the same way that developed states had in order to grow.
  3. Developing states believe that it is mostly the developed states that caused high levels of pollution in the first place in order to develop.




1 What is neo-colonialism and how has it been used to promote global inequality?

Neo colonialism refers to a process where the developed countries control the developing through economic dominance rather than political control. This can explain inequality in many ways:

  1. TNC’s that exploit states with less strictly enforced laws e.g. child labour and sweatshops
  2. International monetary institutions such as the IMF and the WTO with SAPS
  3. Free trade and globalisation that allow the Core countries to exploit the peripheral countries through cheap labour and cheap materials.

2 Why has humanitarian intervention been criticised?

  1. When military intervention is justified on the basis of humanitarian purpose, it is hard to truly establish whether intervention is on the basis of self interest of moral concern.
  2. Humanitarian intervention often leaves a state in a worse position and requires babysitting from the UN in the future.
  3. Humanitarian intervention means that a state’s sovereignty is destroyed and thus has implications for global politics.

3 What is the tragedy of the commons and what are it’s implications?

  1. The tragedy of the commons establishes the theory of collective good without enclosures being eventually ruined due to ‘freeriders’ who will herd their cattle without limitation due to the idea that it is ‘collectively’ owned and therefore will not have to take responsibility. Hardin argues: “freedom in commons brings ruin to all.”
  2. One implication for global politics is that it means states take on the role of freeriders for example USA, this means that they ruin resources and carelessly consume collective good such as air through pollution. It means that states are failing to take collective responsibility for the earth.
  3. Additionally, a further implication is that states are then pressured into taking increased political action to ensure that states DO now take control of their waste and emissions.

4 What are the main reasons behind nuclear proliferation?

  1. Nuclear proliferation is seen as the ultimate deterrent. For example, USA intervened in Iraq but not in North Korea
  2. Nuclear proliferation has some political prestige attached: seen as marking of a Great power (nuclear club consists of the P5)
  3. It can also be seen as a deterrence for regional tensions: the reason behind India and Pakistan both acquiring nuclear weapons.

5 The World Bank and IMF have failed the worlds poor?


  1. Pressure to take SAPS undermine state sovereignty
  2. SAPs often leave countries in a worse state: increase dependence on Northern economies
  3. A primary emphasis on economic reform may not always take human rights into consideration


  1. There is no obligation to accept SAPS
  2. since the late 1980’s IMF and the World Bank have placed an importance on poverty reduction
  3. SAPS have clearly helped in South Korea
  4. Asian Tigers in Hong Kong, Taiwan etc are now living above the $1 a day due to assistance attained by the IMF

6 To what extent are human rights effectively protected in the modern world?


  1. growing body of human rights laws in international legislation for example the 1948 UN declaration of human rights, followed by the Bill of Human rights and the European convention on Human Rights. ECHR prevails state law and therefore provides extra protection
  2. growing number of NGO’s such as Amnesty and HRW that evolve to protect Human Rights, notable success in protecting the rights of working children rights.


  1. Conflicts with state sovereignty: states should be able to treat constituents how they wish
  2. Abuses in China and Russia have resisted international pressure due to the fear of damaging economic relationships
  3. States abuse through war on terror and GITMO mean that their pressure on OTHER states lack effectiveness (controversial hypocrisy)

7 The idea of “clash of civilisations” has been greatly exaggerated


  1. States are able to peacefully coexist and have cross cultural relationships: the USA and Saudi being allies.
  2. War now occurs more frequently within states rather than between different civilisations
  3. States clashing eg tensions between USA and China can be said due to great power rivalries.
  4. Evidence states can actually work together e.g Balkans in Ottoman era
  5. Civilisations are fragmented and xomp


  1. China and USA- Civilisational clashes. China being apart of the “Asian affirmation”
  2. War on terror confirms cultural clash
  3. Huntingdon: if not culture then what? The decline in ideological clash since Cold War has led to an inevitable increase in religious clash
  4. The rise in Islamic Fundamentalism