Marketing Plan

Building your Marketing Plan

Questions you should answer to complete you plan:

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Ø What is the product I will be using to develop my plan?

Ø To give focus to your marketing plan you should have written a mission statement of 25 words or less.

Ø You should have listed at least three non-financial goals and three financial goals.

Ø You should write your competitive advantage in 35 words or less and do a SWOT analysis table.

Ø Draw a simple organization chart for your organization.

Ø Develop a Gantt chart to schedule the key activities to implement your marketing plan.

Ø In terms of control, list four or five critical factors such as revenues and number of customers and how frequently (monthly, quarterly) you will monitor them to determine if special actions are needed.

Ø Identify what, if any, ethical and social issues might arise. Describe in one or two sentences, how you are planning to address each potential issue.

Ø Identify the consumers who are most likely to buy your product – the primary target .market – in terms of their demographic characteristics and other kinds of characteristics you believe are important.

Ø Describe the main points of difference of your product for this group and what problem they help solve for the consumer, in terms of consumer purchase decision process.

Ø Identify the one or two key influences for each of the following: marketing mix, psychological, and situational influences.

Ø Your marketing plan needs an estimate of the size of the market potential or industry potential.

Ø What features of your product are especially important to potential customers?

Ø In which countries do these potential customer live?

Ø What are the special marketing issues that are involved in trying to reach them?

Writing Suggestions for Marketing Plans

1. The specific format for a marketing plan depends on:

· The target audience and purpose. The marketing plan is sent to all individuals within the organization who must implement the plan or are affected by it. It has the additional function of being an important sales document.

· The kind and complexity of the organization.

· The industry. Geographic, competitive, product development cycles, etc. all impact the scope and nature of the marketing plan developed.

2. Readers of the marketing plan from both internal and external audiences must perceive that the answers to the following questions are favorable within the first five minutes:

· Is the marketing idea valid?

· Is there something unique or distinctive about the product or service that separates it from substitutes or competitors?

· Is there a clear market for the product or service?

· Are the financial projections realistic and healthy?

· Does the plan clearly describe how the organization will get their investment/resources back and make a profit?

3. Writing style suggestions for successful marketing plans include the following:

· Use a direct, professional writing style.

· Use appropriate business terms without jargon.

· Use present and future tenses with active voice (“I will write an effective marketing plan.”) rather than past tense and passive voice (“An effective marketing plan was written by me.”).

· Be positive and specific to convey potential success.

· Avoid superlatives (“terrific” or “wonderful”) or vague generalities.

· Use numbers for impact, justifying projections with reasonable quantitative assumptions, where possible.

· Use bullet points for succinctness and emphasis.

· Use “A-level” (the 1st level) and “B-level” (the 2nd level) headings under the numbered section headings to help readers make easy transitions from one topic to another.

· Use visuals where appropriate. Photos, illustrations, graphs, and charts enable massive amounts of information to be presented succinctly.

· Student plans for class should be about 20 pages, not including the Executive Summary and appendices.

· Use care in layout, design, and presentation. Laser or ink-jet printers give a more professional look than dot-matrix printers.

· Use 11- or 12-point serif (with feet, such as Palatino or Times New Roman) type in the text and san serif (without feet, such as Arial, Calibri, or Tahoma) in graphs and charts.

· Bind the plan with a nice cover and have a title page.

Marketing Plan Outline

A. Cover Page

1. Marketing Plan for Organization/Company name:

2. Proposed by:

3. Submitted to:

4. Date:

B. Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Company Description

3. Strategic Focus and Plan

a. Mission/Vision

b. Goals

c. Core Competency and Sustainable Competitive Advantage

4. Situation Analysis

a. SWOT analysis

i. Internal Strengths and Weaknesses: Management, Offerings, Marketing, Personnel, Finance, Manufacturing, and Research and Development (R&D)

ii. External Opportunities and Threats: Consumer/Social, Economic, Technological, Competitive, and Legal/Regulatory

b. Industry Analysis

c. Competitor Analysis

d. Company Analysis

e. Customer Analysis

5. Market-Product Focus

a. Marketing and Product Objectives

b. Target Markets

c. Points of Difference

d. Positioning

6. Market-Product Focus

a. Product Strategy

b. Price Strategy

c. Promotion Strategy

d. Place (Distribution) Strategy

7. Financial Data and Projections

a. Past Sales Revenues

b. Five-Year Projections

8. Organizational Structure

9. Implementation

10. Evaluation and Control

Student Guide for Writing a Marketing Plan

1. Executive Summary

The Executive Summary “sells” the marketing plan to readers through its clarity and brevity. The summary should present a description of the product/service, its target market, and its need within the market. The summary should also provide an overview of the main points of the plan and should emphasize an action orientation.

2. Company Description

The company description should highlight the recent history and successes of the organization.

3. Strategic Focus and Plan

While not included in all marketing plans, the Strategic Focus and Plan sets the strategic direction for the entire organization. One approach is to use the strategic marketing process and/or diversification and synergy analyses

a. Mission/Vision

The Mission/Vision statement is a qualitative statement that specifies the markets and product lines in which a business will compete. A mission statement can dramatically affect the range of a firm’s marketing activities by narrowing or broadening the competitive playing field. An effective mission statement must be clear and direct

b. Goals

The Goals section of a marketing plan sets both financial and non-financial targets. Goals should be in quantitative terms, where possible, to facilitate measuring the company’s future performance

· An example of a non-financial goal: “Philip Morris will diversify its product lines to achieve 50 percent of sales revenue in non-tobacco products in the next five years.”

· An example of a financial goal (note it is specific and measurable): “XYZ Inc. will increase sales from $10 million in 2009 to $15 million in 2013.”

c. Core Competency and Sustainable Competitive Advantage

· Competencies are an organization’s special capabilities, including skills, technologies, and resources, which distinguish it from other organizations and provide value to its customers. A competitive advantage is a unique strength relative to competitors, often based on quality, time, cost, or innovation.

· An example of a competitive advantage: “McDonalds’ competitive advantage is its large number of restaurants, more than double its competitors, making it more convenient for customers than any other fast food restaurant in the world.”

4. Situation Analysis

The essence of the situation analysis is taking stock of where the firm or product has been recently, where it is now, and where it is headed. The situation analysis is the first of three steps in the planning stage

a. SWOT Analysis

· The SWOT analysis is an effective shorthand summary of the situation analysis.

· The acronym is used to describe an organization’s internal Strengths and Weaknesses and its external Opportunities and Threats. This analysis provides a solid foundation to identify subsequent actions in the marketing plan.

· The SWOT analysis can be effectively presented in a tabular format (see Appendix A), followed by a text discussion that elaborates on the information in the table.

· An analysis to identify internal strengths and weaknesses usually includes the following areas in an organization:

When analyzing:

Consider:

Management

experience level, management style, size

Offerings

uniqueness, quality, price

Marketing

type and scope of marketing plan

Personnel

quality and experience of workforce

Finance

sales revenues

Manufacturing

quality and dependability of suppliers

R&D

plans for continual product improvement, budget

· An analysis to identify external opportunities and threats usually includes the following factors:

When analyzing:

Consider:

Consumer/Social

size and stability of market

Economic

current and projected economic situation of market

Technological

the effect of technology on any facet of the business

Competitive

number and size of competitors

Legal/Regulatory

the effect of legal/regulatory issues on any part of the business

b. Industry Analysis

The industry analysis section should provide the backdrop for a more detailed analysis of the competition, the company, and the customer. An in-depth analysis will give both internal and external readers of the plan confidence in the company’s ability to understand its own industry.

c. Competitor Analysis

An effective analysis of the competition should demonstrate that the company has a realistic understanding of its major competitors and their marketing strategies. As in with the industry analysis, a realistic assessment makes readers feel confident that the marketing actions in the plan are well grounded

d. Company Analysis

The company analysis provides details of a company’s strengths and marketing strategies that will enable it to achieve its marketing goals.

e. Customer Analysis

A thorough customer analysis answers the question: “Who are our customers?” Understanding your customers and what they want is critical in satisfying them and providing genuine value

5. Market-Product Focus

a. Marketing and Product Objectives

· Setting product objectives and identifying target market segments significantly increases the chance that a product will be successful.

· The objectives and goals should be stated in measurable terms so that they can be measured during the program implementation and evaluation phases of the marketing plan

b. Target Markets

· Because an organization cannot satisfy the needs of all consumers, it must concentrate its marketing efforts on the needs of specific niches or target markets.

· Consider why a particular target market was selected and how the product or service meets the needs of the target market

c. Points of Difference

Points of difference are those characteristics of a product that make it superior to competitive substitutes. The greatest single factor in a new product’s failure is the lack of significant points of difference

d. Positioning

A product’s unique points of difference are communicated by way of a positioning strategy

6. Marketing Program

Everything that has gone on before in the marketing plan sets the stage for the marketing mix actions-the 4 Ps–covered in the marketing plan. Product, price, promotion, and place (distribution) strategies are all detailed in the Marketing Program section of the plan

When describing
these strategies:

Include these elements:

Product

features, brand name, packaging, service, warranty

Price

list price, discounts, allowances, credit terms, payment
period

Promotion

advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, publicity

Place/Distribution

outlets, channels, coverage, transportation, stock level

7. Financial Data and Projections

All the marketing mix decisions covered in the marketing program have both revenue and expense effects. In this section of the marketing plan, both past and projected financial data are included. A key indicator of what future sales will be is to examine past sales

8. Organization

A marketing program needs a marketing organization to implement it. This section of the marketing plan may include an organizational chart with both current and projected positions represented

9. Implementation Plan

a. The implementation plan shows how a company will turn plans into results. To implement a marketing program successfully, hundreds of detailed decisions are often required.

b. These marketing tactics are detailed operational decisions essential to the overall success of marketing strategies. Unlike marketing strategies, marketing tactics involve actions that must be taken immediately

c. For each strategy describe what has to be performed to carry it out. For example, if the plan calls for adding television advertising, implementation might involve contacting an ad agency and arranging a meeting, agreeing on objectives, targeting audiences, and scheduling a flight of advertisements. If the plan calls for increasing the price, a breakeven schedule of alternative prices might be performed.

10. Evaluation

a. The purpose of the evaluation phase of the strategic marketing process is to keep the marketing program moving in the direction set for it.

b. In the evaluation phase, the marketing manager compares the results of the marketing program with the goals in the written plans to identify deviations. The marketing manager then acts on the deviations to correct the negative and exploit the positive ones

A. Appendices

The appendices contain pertinent supplemental information that is too detailed to be included in the body of the marketing plan. Examples include sample ads for the company or its competitors, detailed break-even calculations for various sets of assumptions, etc.

Evaluation Form Useful for
All Written Materials

Name/Group: Date:

Course: Grade:

Content Factor

Excellent

Very Good

Acceptable

Poor

Logic

Creativity

Quality of Data Collection

Analysis of Data

Thoroughness

Specifics

Writing Factor

Excellent

Very Good

Acceptable

Poor

Appearance

Spelling/Grammar

Clear Style

Organization/Headings

Effectiveness of Tables/Figures

Other Comments

Tips for PowerPoint Slide Presentations
of Marketing Plan Elements[1]

Why do we use visual aids? Since it difficult for people to absorb detailed, complex or quantitative information exclusively by ear, we need to use our eyes to assist our ears to:

· Clarify. Simplify information by using an outline, picture, chart or graph. Use phrases or words to emphasize the main ideas.

· Visualize, make concrete. Audience may need to “see” what you are talking about in order to understand. Use a map or pictures.

· Remember. Emphasize ideas by using headings and bullet points.

· Structure. Assist listeners by showing how the parts fit together. Use an overview and transitions.

· Create Interest. Use simple images and color without distracting from the message.

General rules for presentations/using visuals.

· Practice your presentation 3-4 times in front of a mirror and/or team members.

· Rehearse with your visuals!

· Presentation should be 20 to 25 minutes in length; add another 20 minutes for questions.

· Before the presentation, request that the audience hold its questions until the end of the presentation.

· Provide a handout so the audience can take notes.

· Audio-visual materials should support, not dominate the message. Audience attention belongs on the speaker and the message. Don’t decorate your presentation or hide behind special effects.

· Don’t talk to the screen or read your presentation. Focus on the audience.

· Talk your slides. Each line on the screen should be developed with at least one paragraph of speech.

· Check the equipment BEFORE the presentation.

Specific rules for presentations/using visuals.

· Introduction:

– Introduce team members and the instructor.

– Briefly state the background/purpose. Give the audience reasons for listening

– Grab the audience’s attention to establish the tone, rapport, and credibility of the presentation.

– Overview of the presentation.

[1] From handouts by Dr. Nona Mason, Director of the Management of Business Communications Program at the University of St. Thomas, Dr. Lori Abrams, Abrams Consulting, and Managerial Communications Guide, University of Minnesota.

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