WRITING THE MARKETING PLAN
Perform background research on the business category to gain an understanding of buyer behavior, key industry players, key factors that influence the market, etc. (These sources should be shown in the Sources section of your paper.
Identify the initial parts of a good marketing plan (i.e. competition, background industry information, and external impacts, etc.)
Do a thorough SWOT analysis, and make it prominent in your report. This, of course, supports your recommendations. (Again, document all sources.)
Do a study of consumer behavior based on demographics, and other secondary sources. (Document all sources.)
Identify segments and differences between segments.
From this background preparation, write the marketing plan to target the segment(s), complete with goals and strategies to support the pursuit of these goals (1st year to 5th year). See the sample outline below.
It is suggested you start your work on this project early in the semester. You may consult with me at any time as you progress to completion. I will check with each student as to the progress of their marketing plan throughout the semester.
Academic honesty is expected. Any instances of plagiarism will be dealt with in accordance with university policy.
Charts and graphs (either in the body of the report or in appendices) are encouraged in order to illustrate certain key points in your marketing plan.
SUGGESTED FORMAT OF THE MARKETING PLAN
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY-This is a summary and overview of your marketing plan.
As a suggestion, write this last after you have completed the comprehensive marketing plan. (It will be easier to do.) Summarize the environment, the market profile, the information you have, goals for performance, etc. How does this plan fit with existing organizational policy? (2 pages)
II. SITUATION ANALYSIS-This is also known as the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Consider internal strengths and weaknesses of the marketing program and the ability of the organization (structure, leadership, talent, infrastructure, etc.) to support the marketing strategy. Consider external opportunities and threats in terms of sales analyses, competition, industry trends, customer profiles and potential, and other assumptions and constraints related to the plan, including:
A. Market Analysis-Assess the market in terms of size, scope, market share, sales history, growth potential, etc.
B. Industry Analysis-Assess the industry in terms of capacity, new entrants and ease of entry, substitutes, buying power of competitors.
C. Competition-Assess the competition in terms of intensity, market share, brand identification, etc.
D. Environmental Factors-Assess the external environment related to social, political, demographic, technological, and regulatory influences.
III. OBJECTIVES-What are our goals and objectives with this strategy? Do these goals fit with the organizational goals? How did we determine these goals, and are they reachable in 3 to 5 years or longer?
IV. MARKETING MIX-This is significant in any marketing plan. The entire marketing plan and strategic approach is built around the manipulation of the marketing mix. Consider:
A. Products/Services-What are they? What are their features? What is the utility of it? Is it used for anything other than its intended purpose?
B. Price-What level in consideration of the market profile and the intended niche? What will be its compensatory nature, i.e. throughout its life cycle? How will price position the product or service? What will be the most price per unit of issue, i.e. commercially and institutionally (if applicable)?
C. Promotion-Who are we trying to reach? What will be the message? What will be the medium? What is the role of promotion in positioning?
D. Place-Consider the channels to include distribution, location of target markets, method of selling, etc. Where are the customers? How are we going to get the products or services to our customers, and how difficult is it for us to reach them? Is there potential for ROI?
V. INFORMATION SOURCES-This relates to control of the implementation of the marketing plan. How and who will monitor it? By what means will we measure performance? What will be the sources of information? Who has responsibility for the research? How will we revise the plan if necessary? What will be a good forecasting methodology? What will we do with feedback when we get it? Do we have a valid plan for measuring and benchmarking?
VI. CONTINGENCIES-Is our plan flexible? Do we have contingencies? How do we deal with changes in the internal and external environment? (The SWOT is ongoing.) Do we have the latitude to revise our goals? What happens with a surge in demand or a decline?
VII. BUDGET-What is our budget? Is it adequate? What type of work should we do in house, versus, outsourcing, for example? Who controls budget and how does the marketing team know how to stay within budget limitations? What are reporting requirements related to budgeting?
VIII. IMPLEMENTATION-Who has responsibility for implementation? Do we have the talent to implement the plan? Do we have the resources to bring in new talent and/or outsource some of the responsibility for implementation? What are the reporting requirements over the duration of the plan from the marketing team, and to higher management?
Note: Use the headings in bold to set up your marketing plan. You may use subheadings as you see fit. The questions included under each heading are for your consideration. They may not even be applicable to your plan. Moreover, you may have other questions and situations to consider for each heading dependent upon the unique nature of your project. For more details refer to the grading rubric for Marketing Plan.
The body of the Marketing Plan should be no more than 20 pages. You should also include: a cover page, Table of Contents page, Reference page, and any appendices). Cite atleast 10 references (not including your texts or Wikipedia or other similar online encyclopedias). At least four of your references must come from referred journal articles.