The Marketing Plan
The importance of the marketing plan assignment in this course underscores the significance of planning to the marketing function of a large organization, or to the survival of a small to mid-size organization.
Your marketing plan assignment began with the new product proposal process in Week 2. In Week 2 you were asked to submit a proposal describing three possible product ideas. See, the New Product Proposal Assignment for more information.
At this point you should have ONE product you will develop for this marketing plan. See your feedback on the New Product Proposal and contact the professor if you are unclear on your product selection. Go no further with this assignment until you have the one product for your marketing plan.
Writing and Research
The clear communication of ideas is essential to effective marketing, therefore a significant portion of the marketing plan grade is devoted to communication which includes writing, format and presentation.
The marketing plan is a research assignment. You will need to perform substantial research about your chosen product and the market for that offering. That research should involve high quality sources. You will be provided the Marketing Plan Resources document. This will point you to high quality sources to begin your research and should save you time.
You will write and submit a 20-page, double-spaced marketing plan on your selected product. The page limit does not include the cover, table of contents, appendices and the reference list.
The marketing plan will be formatted as a Word® document.
The font size is 11-12. Acceptable fonts are:
- Times New Roman
All factual material (e.g. facts, figures, charts, statistics) must be properly source cited in APA format. A reference list in APA format is required.
Follow this format for your Marketing Plan and use these section headings in your plan:
- Executive Summary
- Where are we now? Situation Analysis
- The Product
- Value Proposition
- The Company
- Competitors & Collaborators
- Business Climate
- SWOT Analysis
- Critical Issues
- Where do we want to go? Objectives & Analysis
- Marketing Objectives
- Financial Objectives
- Customers/Target Market Analysis
- How do we get there? Strategy Implementation
- Product & Brand Strategy
- Pricing Strategy
- Distribution Strategy
- Marketing Communications Strategy
- Other Resources
- Legal & Ethical Issue Analysis
- Measurement of Results
Each section must include all of the material described here.
The executive summary is a high-level summary of the most important elements of the plan. The purpose of the section is to serve as a “hook” for a reader with limited time. Understand that in a professional marketing setting not every reader would have the ability to read your entire plan. It may be necessary for your plan to receive initial approval from gate-keepers who must be convinced in a few minutes whether to approve sending it to the level, or not. This section should be about one page; if it goes to a second page there should be a reason for doing so. Don’t confuse this with an introduction! The executive summary should be tightly edited and very factual. Give a compelling and complete view of the plan in as few words as possible. The executive summary must be appropriate to the scope and contents of the plan; therefore, we advise you write this section of the plan last.
Situation Analysis – Where are we now?
This is an introduction to your product. Provide a detailed description of the product. There may be some overlap between this section and the more extensive product & brand strategy section; however, the two sections must be consistent.
What is the Value Proposition of your product for the customer? Who is this product for (what type of customer)? What problem does this product solve for that customer? Why do customers need this product?
This is a brief introduction to the company overall. Describe the company, its mission and vision. What are its products and who are its major customers. Is this a consumer-facing company (B2C) or a business to business company (B2B)?
Competition & Collaborators
Competitive analysis should include both direct and indirect competitors.
A PESTEL (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Ethical, Legal) analysis is appropriate in this section. Since the ethical and legal issues will be covered in a separate section, you may cover the PEST only here.
Many possible tools are possible for analysis, but a SWOT analysis is an expected element of a marketing plan. This section should contain your original analysis of the internal strengths and weaknesses as well as the external opportunities and threats for this company. You may consult SWOT examples found through the library databases for inspiration, but do not submit a SWOT copied from another source, even if the source citation for the SWOT is provided. Original insights, particularly as they might relate to your product would be valuable in this section.
This section addresses the most critical areas identified in the SWOT analysis, particularly those that might pose a barrier to success. Explain the strategy for optimizing the strengths and opportunities identified and minimizing the weaknesses and threats.
Objectives and Analysis – Where do we want to go?
Specify THREE specific marketing objectives to achieve with your plan for your product. Many marketing objectives relate to sales and market share. One of your objectives should be a metric that is customer focused (reduce customer acquisition costs, increase customer retention, etc). Remember, the very best marketing objectives are SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound).
Common financial objectives relate to costs and expenses. Forecast sales and expenses over one year. Cost out the marketing expenses specifically, such as the cost of the communications plan and the need to hire new marketers, if applicable.
Customers/Target Market Analysis
This is perhaps the most important part of the plan because it is where you will discuss your customers, how you define your market and how well you recognize your competitive environment. Customer analysis should reflect the learning about how markets are segmented and targeted. Use a variety of geographic, demographic, psychographic, etc. bases to define your target market. Include in this section the market size, market trends and growth potential. Research should be apparent and appropriate to the product.
Strategy Implementation – How do we get there?
Product & Brand Strategy
The most important aspects of any product are features, benefits and price. You will discuss pricing in the following section. This section presents the “how” of your plan – how your organization will develop, market and sell the product the customer needs. What is your product strategy? Remember to address the aspects of the augmented product model, for example you could address the major product components (e.g., package, label, etc.). How will the product be positioned? What is the branding strategy? Detail your strategy and discuss why it is the most appropriate one for the product and the market.
Of all the available pricing strategies, which one makes sense for this product and why? What should be the price of this product? Why?
How will the product find its way to the customer? Will you use marketing intermediaries? Channel partners?
Marketing Communications Strategy
How will customers know about your product? What is your plan? Is this a product that would benefit from digital marketing or social media support? Influencer marketing? Print, TV? Why?
Are any other company resources needed to successfully bring this product to market? For example, will there be a need for marketing research? If so, specify what types you anticipate. If not, you may leave out this section of the plan.
Legal & Ethical Issues Analysis
Will you create a new name or any patentable intellectual property for this product? Would you wish to protect those assets legally? Identify any regulatory or other legal issues that may affect the marketing of your product and discuss how you plan to address those issues. You also will mention any potential ethical issues you have identified with your product and how you plan to address those issues.
Measurement of Results
How will results be measured and when? Be specific about the metrics that will be used and how. How do these relate to the marketing and financial objectives established earlier in your plan? Are you measuring the correct outcomes?
Remember, the marketing plan is itself a communication tool. This is the place where you have your final opportunity to make the “pitch,” so don’t waste a word. Repeat only the highlights and make a strong close.
Questions about this assignment are welcome at any time in the “Ask the Professor” area of the classroom.
 Do not post or share outside of MRKT 620.
Marketing assignment #2