External Environmental Analysis - Strategic Decision Making

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  • The External Environment: Opportunities, Threats, Industry Competition, and Competitor Analysis Detailed instructor notes on three topics have been included for this chapter: • How do firms maintain growth during difficult economic times? Bank of America and Nation’s Bank are given as examples with notes regarding past performance and current strategies. These notes begin with the first slide on “External Environment.” • How firms anticipate and deal with new entrants to the market. Wal-Mart’s entrance into the retail grocery business is detailed. These notes begin with the slide titles “Industry Environment,” which is the initial discussion of the five forces of competition. • How firms respond to new competitors (lead, follow, or ignore). Examples of leading, following, and ignoring include: o Universal Studios and Disney o Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles o Amazon.com and Borders Books o CNN and NBC o CNN and ABC o CNN and CBS These notes begin with the first slide titled “Competitor Analysis.”
  • The External Environment Where do firms find growth in poor economic times? Example: Financial Services Industry (Bank of America and NationsBank) Past Strategies In the 1990s, NationsBank and Bank of America expanded through asset gathering, diversification (i.e., inter-state banking, geographic, product, etc.). In less that ten years they went from a roughly $8 billion to more than $620 billion on $35 billion in revenue in 2001. M&A History 1992 NCNB and C&S Sovran form NationsBank 1994 NationsBank acquires MNC 1995 NationsBank acquires BankSouth 1996 NationsBank acquires Boatman’s Bank & Montgomery Securities 1997 NationsBank acquires Barnet Bank 1998 NationsBank and Bank of America merge Major thrust U.S.-based retail banking: Consumer banking accounts for over 61% of Bank of America revenue and NI. (Continued next slide.)
  • The External Environment (cont.) Where do firms find growth in poor economic times? Example: Financial Services Industry (Bank of America and NationsBank) (cont.) Major Threat Bank of America has had very slow revenue growth the past three years. The goal is to have greater than 10% growth going forward: 1998 - $30.8 billion 1999 - $32.5 billion (rate 5.5%) 2000 - $33.2 billion (rate 3.1% 2001 - $34.9 billion (rate 5.1%) Key Strategy Leverage demographic and socioeconomic changes in the United States: • Powerful branch network (4,208 as of 12/02) • Powerful ATM network (13,013 as of 12/02) • Do business in states with high minority populations (especially Latin-Americans), namely California, Texas, Florida, Maryland, Arizona, and so on) (Continued next slide.)
  • The External Environment (cont.) Where do firms find growth in poor economic times? Example: Financial Services Industry (Bank of America and NationsBank) (cont.) Target Growing Minority Market Expansion into areas where minority population is growing the fastest: • Product development: SafePay, which allows immigrants, specifically Latin Americans, to send cash back home. Competes with Monygram and Western Union. • Targeted Marketing I: Leverage outlets like Univision and Telemundo to reach Latin American population • Targeted Marketing II: Install Spanish-language option ATMs in all key markets • Diversity hiring strategy: Aggressively hire a diverse management-level workforce in order to better reflect the customer base • Customer Service I: Multilingual customer service call centers and branch personnel • Consumer Service II: Multilingual websites Punch Line Bank of America is betting on the demographic changes to generate much needed revenue growth.
  • Industry Environment Can firms anticipate new entrants to the market? (Grocery Retailing) Example 1: Wal-Mart Question How do we (Wal-Mart) leverage our strengths (fast turnover of goods, low-cost volume buying, etc.) to increase traffic and volume at our stores? In 2000 U.S. grocery sales grew by 3.4%, reaching $570 billion. Answer • Create and expand shelf space for groceries and dry good products. • Expand Supercenter Format to leverage additional shelf space: in 2001, grocery sales accounted for $17.1 billion in sales or 30% of total sales: o First Supercenter store opened in 1988; by 2000 Wal-Mart had 721 Supercenters o Supercenter openings consist of 60%-70% of new store openings within Wal-Mart o Wal-Mart projects 1,400 Supercenters by 2005 Fast Forward What share of the grocery market will Wal-Mart control in 2010?  
  • Five Forces Model of Competition Can firms anticipate new entrants to the market? (Grocery Retailing) Example 2: Traditional Supermarkets Question Given the low margins and relatively low growth of this industry, should we (traditional supermarkets) expect new entrants into our domain? In 2000 U.S. grocery sales grew by 3.4%, reaching $570 billion. Answer No new entrants are likely. Thus prepare for continued industry consolidation. Specific Case Winn Dixie (now known as WD) is a good example. It has over 1,000 stores in 14 states, primarily in the Southeast, a stronghold for Wal-Mart. WD has responded to Wal-Mart’s challenge by remodeling its stores (over 60% in the franchise), closing unprofitable stores (112 stores in 2001) and other manufacturing / distribution centers, taking a $522 million restructuring charge. Strategic Reaction I Crank up M&A activity to gain economies of scale and lower its cost structure: • In 2000 WD acquired the Gooding’s Markets chain in Orlando. • In 2001 WD acquired 68 stores of Mississippi-based Jitney Jungle. (Continued on next slide.)
  • Five Forces Model of Competition (cont.) Can firms anticipate new entrants to the market? (Grocery Retailing) Example 2: Traditional Supermarkets (cont.) Strategic Reaction II Expand private label items: WD brand items carry higher profit margins than comparable national brands. Fifty-one percent of buying public purchase private label brands “every time” or “fairly often” when they shop. WD can leverage this trend. For example, its WD Chek soda is a market leader in many of WD’s core markets. Fast Forward Will WD still be in existence as an independent company in 2010?
  • Competitor Analysis How should a firm respond to a new competitor, lead, follow, or ignore? Lead: Universal Studios’ Universal Park, a New Entrant Reaction by Established Firm: Disney Response I In response to Universal Studios building its Universal Park in Orlando, Florida, on Disney’s home turf, Disney aggressively built New Parks, new attractions to retain the buying public’s interest: • In 2000, Disney expanded the MGM Park by adding new rides (Tower of Doom, etc.) • In 2001, Disney completed its newest masterpiece, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a cross between a traditional zoo and a traditional Disney theme park Response II Disney also expanded from its core Orlando turf by building attractions and/or strengthening attractions at its other theme parks: • In 2000 Disney opened its California Adventure • Disney also added attractions to both its Paris and Tokyo theme parks in order to maintain or expand its market position • Disney is planning on building a new park in Hong Kong in order to tap into the growing affluence of East Asia, especially the Chinese market (Continued on next slide.)
  • Competitor Analysis (cont.) How should a firm respond to a new competitor, lead, follow, or ignore? Follow: Amazon.com, a New Delivery Channel for Books Reaction by Established Firms: Barnes & Nobles and Borders Books Barnes & Nobles After the initial shock and denial, Barnes & Nobles has spawned out its own online bookstore. It also used its brick-and-mortar presence to deliver community experience and worked to establish new joint ventures. For example, Barnes & Nobles used existing assets that Amazon.com does not have to create “community centers” and “places of leisure” with comfy sofas, coffee bars, poetry readings, music recitals, art shows, etc. Borders Books Borders engaged in even deeper denial and “wait-and-see” tactics. Finally it maintained its current platform by merging with Waldenbooks to imitate Barnes & Nobles’ community centers strategy and by using Amazon.com as its online platform. (Continued next slide.)
  • Competitor Analysis (cont.) How should a firm respond to a new competitor, lead, follow, or ignore? Follow: CNN, the All-News Cable Television Channel Reaction by Established Firm: NBC NBC NBC tried to “tap” into the growing market for cable news television and follow CNN’s all-day news channel by creating MSNBC, a joint venture with Microsoft, to broaden its news operations. Facts • MSNBC and MSNBC.com launched in 1996 • As of July 2002, MSNBC’s viewership was 76 million • MSNBC revamped its format towards more talk news shows in order to expand its product line and to retain and expand its market share in response to Fox News Note: No financial data available. (Continued on next slide.)
  • Competitor Analysis (cont.) How should a firm respond to a new competitor, lead, follow, or ignore? Ignore: CNN, the All-News Cable Television Channel Reaction by Established Firms: CBS and ABC Television Broadcast Networks CBS and ABC decided to ignore CNN’s entrance into the marketplace and maintain its core news programming without launching a 24-hour news only channel as a direct reaction to CNN. CBS Lineup • 6:00 Evening News 60 Minutes I and II feature news story programs 48 Hours Investigates feature news story program ABC Lineup • 6:00 Evening News • 20/20 feature news story program • Primetime feature news story program • Peter Jenning’s special broadcast shows (e.g., Islam-related show)
  • External Environmental Analysis - Strategic Decision Making

    1. 1. The External Environment: Opportunities, Threats, Industry Competition, and Competitor Analysis Date Session Time 02.02.2009. 8 & 9 1115 -1500 Analyzing Strategic Issues
    2. 2. Environments <ul><li>External </li></ul><ul><li>Internal </li></ul>
    3. 3. External Environment <ul><li>Proximate </li></ul><ul><li>Distant </li></ul>
    4. 4. Proximate <ul><li>Suppliers and Vendors </li></ul><ul><li>Some control </li></ul><ul><li>Manageable </li></ul><ul><li>Could be industry specific </li></ul>
    5. 5. Distant <ul><li>Regulations </li></ul><ul><li>Laws </li></ul><ul><li>Global treaties </li></ul><ul><li>Organizations have no control </li></ul><ul><li>Less manageable </li></ul><ul><li>Are similar to all industry firms </li></ul>
    6. 6. The External Environment General Environment General Environment General Environment Industry Environment Threat of new entrants Power of suppliers Power of buyers Product substitutes Intensity of rivalry Competitor Environment Economic Political/Legal Technological Global Demographic Sociocultural
    7. 7. External Environment <ul><li>General Environment </li></ul><ul><li>Industry Environment </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive Environment </li></ul>
    8. 8. External Environment <ul><li>General Environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Influences the industry and firms inside the industry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Firms can not directly control these but collect information and formulate strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Six Segments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Demographic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Economic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Political/legal </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Socio- cultural </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technological </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Global </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Demographic Elements <ul><li>Population size </li></ul><ul><li>Age Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Geographic distribution </li></ul>
    10. 10. Environmental Changes <ul><li>Social Changes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Double income, consumerism, superior- higher education for kids, working women, less time for household work, health consciousness, healthy food, vacations. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Subway, Pizza Hut, Fortune hotels, Apollo Executive Health Check, Crèche </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Demographical Changes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People live longer - Old age requirements, homes, security, superior health services, self reliant, gadgets, entertainment to keep busy meaningfully, to learn new hobbies without physical demands, will remain active and healthy- find a product or service, psychological demand - sense of belongingness- counseling, spending of time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Medical insurance </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Economic Elements <ul><li>Inflation rate </li></ul><ul><li>Interest rates </li></ul><ul><li>Trade deficit or surplus </li></ul><ul><li>Personal savings rate </li></ul><ul><li>Business savings rates </li></ul><ul><li>Gross domestic product </li></ul><ul><li>Budget deficit or surplus </li></ul>
    12. 12. Political/Legal Elements <ul><li>Laws </li></ul><ul><li>Taxation </li></ul><ul><li>Monopolies </li></ul><ul><li>Political pluralism </li></ul><ul><li>Political philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>Judicial System </li></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>Legal Changes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Governmental regulations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Helmets, fire extinguishers in vehicles, pollution control devices and checking centers, window screens, seat belts, waste water management in house, alternative sources of energy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Market Changes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Demand Changes, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic growth, leading to increase in variety and demand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>New product and services, retailing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bharti-Wal-Mart, Reliance Fresh, Subhiksha, Biyanis </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Services-BPO, KPO </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Power windows, AB, ALS </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Low cost carriers > Go Air, Jet Lite </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Outsourcing-Medical Transcription </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SEZs </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Land Banking </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 14. <ul><li>Technological Changes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New product leading to ancillary, supporting and enriching products and services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile phone </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Camera, Hands free, FM, Video, Mobile car charger, e-mail, internet browsing </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Internet </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Medical transcription, on line teaching, e-bay, on line sales, virtual showrooms, video conferencing </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ecological Changes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tsunami, Earthquake, Floods </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Low cost pre – fab housing </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Warning Systems </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rapid Evacuation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ozone Layer depletion </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Controlling of Chlorofluorocarbons release </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Industry > air-conditioning, refrigeration, aviation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Socio - Cultural Elements <ul><li>Women in Work </li></ul><ul><li>Work force diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural values </li></ul><ul><li>Attitude towards life and quality of life and products </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Materialist aspects </li></ul>
    16. 16. Technological Elements <ul><li>Product Innovation </li></ul><ul><li>R & D spending </li></ul><ul><li>Quick diffusion of technology </li></ul><ul><li>Applications of knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Focus of private and government-supported R&D expenditures </li></ul><ul><li>New communication technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Product Obsolescence </li></ul>
    17. 17. Global Elements <ul><li>Forex </li></ul><ul><li>Treaties </li></ul><ul><li>WTO </li></ul><ul><li>UN </li></ul><ul><li>Trade Barriers </li></ul>
    18. 18. Industry Environment <ul><li>Influence the firm directly and Its competitive action: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Threat of new entrants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bargaining power of suppliers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bargaining power of buyers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The threat of product substitute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intensity of rivalry </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These 5 forces determine industry profit potential </li></ul><ul><li>Position your firm to influence these and defend your firm from influence of these </li></ul>
    19. 19. Competitive Environment <ul><li>Competitive analysis – in similar industries </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jet and King Fisher </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What drives the competitor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As shown by its future objectives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What competitor is doing and can do </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As revealed by its current strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What competitor believes about the industry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As shown by its assumptions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What the competitors capabilities are </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As shown by its strengths and weaknesses </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. External Environments <ul><li>Features as of now </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Turbulent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demanding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unknown trajectory and velocity </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Handling Mode or Coping Mode <ul><li>Scanning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify early signals of environmental changes and trends </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Monitoring </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Detecting meaning through ongoing observations of environmental changes and trends </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forecasting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing projections of anticipated outcomes based on monitored changes and trends </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Assessing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determining timing and importance of environmental changes and trends for firms’ strategies and their management </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. External Environmental Analysis <ul><li>A continuous process which includes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scanning: Identifying early signals of environmental changes and trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monitoring: Detecting meaning through ongoing observations of environmental changes and trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forecasting: Developing projections of anticipated outcomes based on monitored changes and trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessing: Determining the timing and importance of environmental changes and trends for firms’ strategies and their management </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23.
    24. 24. External Environmental Analysis Strategic Intent Strategic Mission The External Environment Analysis of general environment Analysis of industry environment Analysis of competitor environment The External Environment
    25. 25. Industry Environment <ul><li>A set of factors that directly influences a company and its competitive actions and responses </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction among these factors determine an industry’s profit potential </li></ul><ul><li>Threat of new entrants </li></ul><ul><li>Power of suppliers </li></ul><ul><li>Power of buyers </li></ul><ul><li>Product substitutes </li></ul><ul><li>Intensity of rivalry </li></ul>
    26. 26. Porter’s Five Forces Model <ul><li>Identify current and potential consumers and determine which firms serve them </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct competitive analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize that suppliers and buyers can become competitors </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize that producers of potential substitutes may become competitors </li></ul>
    27. 27. Five Forces Model of Competition Threat of New Entrants Bargaining Power of Suppliers Bargaining Power of Buyers Threat of Substitute Products Rivalry Among Competing Firms Five Forces of Competition
    28. 28. Threat of New Entrants <ul><li>Barriers to entry </li></ul><ul><li>Economies of scale </li></ul><ul><li>Product differentiation </li></ul><ul><li>Capital requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Switching costs </li></ul><ul><li>Access to distribution channels </li></ul><ul><li>Cost disadvantages independent of scale </li></ul><ul><li>Government policy </li></ul><ul><li>Expected retaliation </li></ul>
    29. 29. Bargaining Power of Suppliers <ul><li>A supplier group is powerful when: </li></ul><ul><li>it is dominated by a few large companies </li></ul><ul><li>satisfactory substitute products are not available to industry firms </li></ul><ul><li>industry firms are not a significant customer for the supplier group </li></ul><ul><li>suppliers’ goods are critical to buyers’ marketplace success </li></ul><ul><li>effectiveness of suppliers’ products has created high switching costs </li></ul><ul><li>suppliers are a credible threat to integrate forward into the buyers’ industry </li></ul>
    30. 30. Bargaining Power of Buyers <ul><li>Buyers (customers) are powerful when : </li></ul><ul><li>they purchase a large portion of an industry’s total output </li></ul><ul><li>the sales of the product being purchased account for a significant portion of the seller’s annual revenues </li></ul><ul><li>they could easily switch to another product </li></ul><ul><li>the industry’s products are undifferentiated or standardized, and buyers pose a credible threat if they were to integrate backward into the seller’s industry </li></ul>
    31. 31. Threat of Substitute Products <ul><li>Product substitutes are strong threat when: </li></ul><ul><li>customers face few switching costs </li></ul><ul><li>substitute product’s price is lower </li></ul><ul><li>substitute product’s quality and performance capabilities are equal to or greater than those of the competing product </li></ul>
    32. 32. Intensity of Rivalry <ul><li>Intensity of rivalry is stronger when competitors: </li></ul><ul><li>are numerous or equally balanced </li></ul><ul><li>experience slow industry growth </li></ul><ul><li>have high fixed costs or high storage costs </li></ul><ul><li>lack differentiation or low switching costs </li></ul><ul><li>experience high strategic stakes </li></ul><ul><li>have high exit barriers </li></ul>
    33. 33. High Exit Barriers <ul><li>Common exit barriers include: </li></ul><ul><li>specialized assets (assets with values linked to a particular business or location) </li></ul><ul><li>fixed costs of exit such as labor agreements </li></ul><ul><li>strategic interrelationships (relationships of mutual dependence between one business and other parts of a company’s operation, such as shared facilities and access to financial markets) </li></ul><ul><li>emotional barriers (career concerns, loyalty to employees, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>government and social restrictions </li></ul>
    34. 34. Strategic Groups <ul><li>Strategic group: a group of firms in an industry following the same or similar strategy along the same strategic dimensions </li></ul><ul><li>The strategy followed by a strategic group differs from strategies being implemented by other companies in the industry </li></ul>
    35. 35. Competitor Analysis <ul><li>Future Objectives: </li></ul><ul><li>How do our goals compare with our competitors’ goals? </li></ul><ul><li>Where will the emphasis be placed in the future? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the attitude toward risk? </li></ul>Future objectives
    36. 36. Competitor Analysis <ul><li>Current Strategy: </li></ul><ul><li>How are we currently competing? </li></ul><ul><li>Does this strategy support changes in the competitive structure? </li></ul>Current strategy Future objectives
    37. 37. Competitor Analysis <ul><li>Assumptions: </li></ul><ul><li>Do we assume the future will be volatile? </li></ul><ul><li>Are we operating under a status quo? </li></ul><ul><li>What assumptions do our competitors hold about the industry and themselves? </li></ul>Assumptions Current strategy Future objectives
    38. 38. Competitor Analysis <ul><li>Capabilities: </li></ul><ul><li>What are our strengths and weaknesses? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we rate compared to our competitors? </li></ul>Capabilities Assumptions Current strategy Future objectives
    39. 39. Competitor Analysis Response: <ul><li>What will our competitors do in the future? </li></ul><ul><li>Where do we hold an advantage over our competitors? </li></ul><ul><li>How will this change our relationship with our competitors? </li></ul>Response Capabilities Assumptions Current strategy Future objectives
    40. 40. Competitive Profile Matrix (CPM) Identifies firm’s major competitors and their strengths and weaknesses in relation to a specific firm’s strategic positions
    41. 41. Value Assignment for CPM Absolutely Arbitrary Major Strength 4 Minor Strength 3 Minor Weakness 2 Major Weakness 1
    42. 42. Lenovo Apple Dell CSF’s Weight Rating Weighted Score Rating Weighted Score Rating Weighted Score Market Share 0.15 3 0.45 2 0.30 4 0.60 Inventory System 0.08 2 0.16 2 0.16 4 0.32 Financial Position 0.10 2 0.20 3 0.30 3 0.30 Product Quality 0.08 3 0.24 4 0.32 3 0.24 Consumer Loyalty 0.02 3 0.06 3 0.06 4 0.08 Sales Distribution 0.10 3 0.30 2 0.20 3 0.30 Global Experience 0.15 3 0.45 2 0.30 4 0.60 Org. Structure 0.05 3 0.15 3 0.15 3 0.15 Production Capacity 0.04 3 0.12 3 0.12 3 0.12 E-commerce 0.10 3 0.30 3 0.30 3 0.30 Customer Service 0.10 3 0.30 2 0.20 4 0.40 Price Competitiveness 0.02 4 0.08 1 0.02 3 0.06 Managerial Experience 0.01 2 0.02 4 0.04 2 0.02 Total 1.00 2.83 2.47 3.49
    43. 43. Industry Analysis CPM Just because one firm receives a 3.49 rating and another receives a 2.47 rating, it does not follow that the first firm is 41% better than the second. Numbers reveal the relative strengths of firms but implied precision is an illusion. Numbers are not magic. The aim is to assimilate and evaluate information in a meaningful manner so that correct decision -making may take place.

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