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  1. Your plan must contain the following required headings and subheadings for the marketing plan (See the marketing plan rubric (Provide link) for specific point assignments)
    • Executive Summary
    • Situation Analysis
  • Company analysis  
  • Customer market analysis
  • Competitive market analysis
  • External market environment
  • SWOT analysis
    • Marketing strategy
      • Target Market
      • Product
      • Place
      • Promotion
      • Price
    • Implementation and control
  1. Review the marketing plan template downloadin the files area (This template is for a much more extensive plan than the one you will write) to assist you with preparing the plan.  Note: Under no circumstances should you use any wording/formatting of this template as part of your plan.
  2. Format:
    • Name your file with your name, and paper 1 i.e. Jones paper 1 or Brown paper 1.
    • Your file should be in either Microsoft word (.doc or .docx) or rich text (.rtf) format.

Your Company Name Marketing Plan

Your Company Name Marketing Plan

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Company Name

Marketing Plan

Company Address

City, State, Zip

Phone: 123-456-7890

Fax: 123-456-7890

Email: [email protected]

Web Site: www.company.com

Contact: Jack Smith

Table of Contents

3Executive Summary

Marketing Objectives 3

Goods or Services 3

Resources Needed 3

Projected Outcomes 3

Company Description 3

Strategic Focus and Plan 3

Mission/Vision 3

Goals 3

Core Competency 3

Situation Analysis 3

Internal Focus 3

External Focus 3

Industry Analysis/Trends 3

Competitor Analysis 3

Company Analysis 3

Customer Analysis 3

SWOT Analysis Summary 3

Market – Product Focus 3

Marketing and Product Objectives 3

Target Markets 3

Points of Difference 3

Positioning 3

Marketing Program 3

Product and Product Strategy 3

Price 3

Promotion 3

Place 3

Data and Projections 3

Sales Forecasting Methods Used 3

Sales Data 3

Costs 3

Financial Projections 3

Financial Information Systems Needs 3

Organization 3

Implementation Plan 3

People Required 3

Manufacturing, Financial and Other Resources Needed 3

Timing 3

Evaluation and Control 3

Marketing Information Systems Needed 3

Criterion Measures with Objectives 3

Appendix A: Biographical Sketches of Key Personnel 3

Appendix B: Support Material 3

Executive Summary

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The executive summary is a concise overview of the marketing plan. It is often the last section of the marketing plan written. Its purpose is to provide the reader with enough information to quickly judge whether or not the plan is feasible. This section of the plan should address, with brief summary statements, items such as your marketing objectives, goods or services included in the plan, resources required and projected outcomes. Remember that the purpose of a marketing plan is to serve as an internal sales document. Take your time when developing the Executive Summary: many experts consider it to be the single most important element of the marketing plan.

Marketing Objectives

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In this section, briefly describe your marketing objectives. Ask yourself why is it important to market your goods or services? What do you hope to accomplish? What image does your good or service have in the eyes of the consumer? What marketing channels will you use to offer your product? How will your current customers react to a new product offering? State your marketing objectives in a format that is measurable. Are you seeking to increase gross sales? What are your market share objectives?

Goods or Services

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In this section, briefly describe your products, product lines, and services. What are you selling? Is it a good, a service, or more commonly, a combination of the two? What are the product’s benefits? What makes you think that this good or service is in needed in the marketplace?

Resources Needed

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In this section, briefly describe the technological, financial and human resources needed to execute your plan. What are the costs associated with these resources? Who is responsible for covering these costs? Do you have the resources in place or will you have to obtain them? When considering human resources, can you out-source by hiring consultants, are you re-assigning current employees, or will you need to hire new employees?

Projected Outcomes

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In this section, briefly describe what the projected outcomes of your marketing efforts will be. Is there a payback period? When will your proposed marketing plan produce a profit? Describe the type of outcomes you expect to achieve in both the short term and the long term? Essentially, you are presenting compelling evidence that your plan will work.

Company Description

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In this section of the marketing plan, provide a brief overview of the company, its product lines and its overall marketing strategy. Remember that many readers of the marketing plan will be company employees as well, so keep your descriptions brief and concise. In addition, highlight the company’s recent history and successes –use these to build the reader’s confidence that your company and its current marketing plans are on the right course.

Strategic Focus and Plan

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The Strategic Focus and Plan sets the strategic direction for the entire organization, a direction with which proposed actions of the marketing plan must be consistent. This section may or may not be included in the marketing plan, depending on the plan’s intended audience. The components of this section of the marketing plan consist of the mission/vision, goals, and core competency/sustainable competitive advantage.

Mission/Vision

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Concisely define the mission/vision of the company. This qualitative description focuses on the fundamental activities the company will undertake in order to best serve its stakeholder groups. Describe in general terms product, price and place strategies and how these will maximize shareholder value and build relationships with stakeholder groups.

Goals

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The Goals section sets both the financial and non-financial targets – where possible in quantitative terms – against which the company’s performance will be measures. It is acceptable to use lists or other information presentation techniques to improve the readability of this section of the marketing plan.

Core Competency

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Discuss the company’s core competency and any sustainable competitive advantages accrued. Your core competency is your unique ability to do something that your competition cannot or does not do to meet consumer needs. Core competencies yield competitive advantages. These competitive advantages allow you to more effectively and efficiently compete in the marketplace. Competitive advantages include items such as lower cost factors of production, unique products, unique technologies, unique marketing expertise, protected access to markets, etc. Ultimately you should envision competitive advantage as layers of an onion: you need multiple and fluid layers of competitive advantage to sustain long-term economic health. A single competitive advantage is not defendable in the long-term unless it provides you with a monopoly on one of the factors of production.

Situation Analysis

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Most marketers use a form of situation analysis called a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) to assist them in conducting a company analysis. The Strengths and Weaknesses usually have an internal focus (within the company) and Opportunities and Threats have an external focus (outside of the company). Many companies seek to match strengths with opportunities while managing weaknesses and containing threats. A balancing act to be certain and one that requires brutal honesty in order to be effective. The Situation analysis is a snapshot to answer the question “Where are we now?”

Internal Focus

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In this section of the SWOT analysis, describe the current state of the Strengths and Weaknesses of the company. Internal factors to consider when developing a SWOT analysis include items such as Management, Offerings, Marketing, Personnel, Finance, Manufacturing, Research & Development, Information Systems, etc. The goal is to provide an overview of the management team, the product offerings, and the functional areas of the organization and their ability to react to opportunities in the external environment.

External Focus

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In this section of the SWOT analysis, describe the current and/or anticipated state of Opportunities and Threats outside the control of the organization. External factors to consider include the Consumer/Social environment, the Competitive environment, the Technological environment, the Economic environment and the Legal/Regulatory environment.

Consumer/Social

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Describe and opportunities and threats perceived in the consumer and/or social environment such as changing consumer tastes, changing social perceptions of the product class or product, etc. Illustrate that you understand the fluidity in the consumer and social environments and that you’ve determined the direction of future changes in preference. Think about who your current customers are and what your current product offerings are and how these present both opportunities and threats. Provide an analysis of the cultural and social environments in which you’ll be operating and discuss the potential impact that these environments may have on the success of your marketing plan. How culturally or socially sensitive is your product? Discuss cultural or social constraints placed on marketers in this product category. What are cultural or social trends in this market and how will this impact your marketing plan?

Competitive

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In this section, describe any competitive opportunities and threats that you foresee in the future. Is your product or process patentable? Do you have a strong brand name, brand equity or other unique competitive advantage that will be hard for competitors to negate?

Technological

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In this section of the marketing plan, discuss the technological environment as it concerns the product or products contained within the scope of this marketing plan. How critical of a role does technology play in the successful marketing of your product? Are any of your core competencies technologically dependent? What technological developments do you foresee on the horizon and how might they impact your marketing plan? Likewise, describe any technological threats looming on the horizon and how they may impact your company’s situation.

Economic

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Describe the current economic environment in which you’ll be competing. What is its scope (local, regional, national or international)? What trends are observable (economic contraction, expansion, etc.)? What are the economic projections for the near future and the long-term? Do current or future economic conditions present opportunities and threats? For instance, is there seasonality in your industry? Is there a predictable business cycle? Describe the current state of the economy in which you’ll operate and your expectations for the future.

Regulatory

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Describe any legal or regulatory factors that present opportunities or threats for your company. Is there a changing legal or regulatory statute that presents new opportunities for how you conduct business or what products you sell? Is there increasing regulation in your industry? Provide an overview of the political and legal environments in which you’ll be operating. Discuss any regulatory issues that impact how and where you will market your product. Are there regulations regarding product, price, place or promotion that impact how you intend to market your product? Analyze the stability of the political and legal environments in which you plan to operate.

Industry Analysis/Trends

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The Industry Analysis section provides the backdrop for the subsequent, more detailed analysis of competition, the company, and the company’s consumers. Without an in-depth understanding of the industry, the remaining analyses may be misdirected. Use this section to demonstrate to the plan’s readers that you understand the industry in which you compete and that you are cognizant of trends impacting the industry.

Competitor Analysis

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As with the Industry Analysis, the Competitors Analysis demonstrates that the company has a realistic understanding of who it’s major competitors are and what their marketing strategies are. The beauty of our free market system is that consumers have choice. And that open competition ultimately leads to higher quality, lower cost goods for the market. In this section of the marketing plan, describe who your current competitors are, predict who any likely future competitors will be, and discuss the differences in competitive advantages or core competencies that exist among the competitors in the marketplace.

Nature of Current/Likely Competitors

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Knowing as much as you can about your competition allows you to make informed decisions when it comes to implementing your marketing plan. Define who your current competitors are, what their position is in the market, and how much of a threat they are to your success. Again, this section of the marketing plan is highly dependent on the current stage of the product life cycle. If your product is in the introduction or growth phase, there are probably fewer current competitors and many likely competitors. If you are in the maturity phase of the PLC, the competition is fairly well defined. Gather as much information about the competition as possible. Much of it can be used in the following two sub-sections.

Current Status of Prospective Competitors

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Are you competing with companies comparable in size? Or are they much larger? Are you competing against much smaller companies or boutiques? Are your competitors profitable? What do you do better than your competitors can do? What do your competitors do better than you can do? Can you anticipate the emergence of new competitors? Use the table below or one that you modify to summarize these core competencies.

YouCompetitor 1Competitor 2Competitor 3Competitor n
Core Strength
Secondary Strength
Next Strength
Biggest Weakness
Second Weakness
Next Weakness

Core Competency Comparison

Competitive Barriers

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Discuss any competitive barriers that you need to overcome, any barriers to entry that exist in the market and any sources of competitive advantage that you enjoy. Competitive barriers include items such as economies of scale and scope that must be reached in order to be profitable in the market, access to distribution channels, access to customers, etc. Barriers to entry may include items such as high levels of capital investment, long payback periods, proprietary technology, legal or regulatory restrictions, etc.

Company Analysis

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The Company Analysis provides details of the company’s strengths and marketing strategies that will enable it achieve the mission, vision and goals identified earlier.

Company Strengths and Overall Marketing Strategies

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Define the overall company objectives in terms of return on investment, long-term financial health, growth expectations, and the focus on building shareholder equity. Historically, how well has the company met its objectives? Are there noticeable trends? What is the current economic status of the company and what is the target economic status?

Discuss the company’s overall marketing objectives for the products it sells. Potential objectives include, but are not limited to, capturing and defending market share, reaching target levels of gross sales, reaching target levels of net sales, building brand name recognition and/or brand equity, inventory turnover targets, etc.

Company Resources

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All marketing decisions are constrained by resource availability. In this section of the marketing plan, discuss company financial, technological and human resources that impact your marketing plan. Creatively determine how you can overcome resource limitations to leverage the best possible performance given these limitations.

Customer Analysis

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Marketing decisions should always be made with the consumer in mind. The marketing concept dictates that marketers focus on meeting consumer needs in order to build successful long-term exchange relationships. Satisfying customers and providing genuine value to them is why organizations exist in a market economy. In this section of the marketing plan, demonstrate that you’ve performed a detailed analysis of your potential market for the products included in the marketing plan, how the consumers in the defined markets typically purchase your product and for what reason, and what type of relationship you plan to establish with these consumers. Whereas the previous sections provide the foundation on which to build a marketing plan, this section provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate the reason why the plan exists: to serve the needs of potential customers.

Customer Characteristics

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In this section of the marketing plan, discuss who makes up the market for your product. Remember that there are three conditions for being considered as a viable market: consumers must have the ability, willingness and authority to purchase what you are selling to be considered a market for your product. Provide evidence that you’ve sufficiently researched who meets the three criteria to be considered a market for your product, how you’ve determined this, and describe the demographic and/or psychographic characteristics of a “typical” consumer. Keep in mind that while there is typically overall or general market for your product (the three criteria from above), there may be multiple customer profiles that can be generated from this market based upon demographic and psychographic reasons for purchase.

Furthermore, knowing that there are three general strategies for applying the marketing mix to defined markets (undifferentiated, concentrated and differentiated), discuss which of the three general strategies that you intend to utilize and justify your decision. This general strategy decision will strongly influence the following two sub-segments of the marketing plan.

Possible Segmenting Dimensions

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Based upon your selection of a general marketing strategy in the section above, and on the premise that you can’t be everything to everyone, describe possible market segmentation variables that you plan to use individually or in combination to break down the overall market into potential segments. Typical segmentation dimensions include items such as demographics, psychographics, geo-demographics, and behavioral factors. However, the beauty of segmentation is that you as the marketer have the opportunity to define segments as you see fit. Not all competitors in your product category or class will have defined identical market segments. Marketing in general, and segmenting specifically, is an art. The only guidelines for selecting segmentation dimensions are that the dimensions are observable, consistent and logical. Ideally market segments meet the following four criteria: they are homogeneous within, heterogeneous between, substantial and operational.

Key Influences on the Buying Process

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In this section of the marketing plan, discuss the key influences on the buying process. Why do the consumers in your target market(s) purchase the product? How does the level of involvement associated with the product (high involvement versus low involvement) impact the information search and buying process? Are there elements of the marketing mix that influence how or where the product is purchased? Knowing the key influences on the buying process allows marketers to develop a marketing mix that is better able to satisfy consumer needs.

Type of Buying Situation

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What is the typical buying situation for your product? What needs must the customer have identified to begin the purchase process? Describe the typical buying situation or situations that consumers can expect to experience when they purchase your product. Who, what, where, when and why, the five W’s of journalism, may provide you with a basic framework with which to describe the types of buying situations that you foresee.

Nature of Relationship with Customers

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Discuss the nature of the relationship with your customers that you wish to establish. Remember that customers and their needs drive our business. And that it is easier to sell more to existing customers than it is to acquire new customers. What type of customer loyalty programs do you envision establishing for the product(s) being marketed? Do loyalty programs make sense for your product? Are there peripheral ways of generating customer loyalty such as building a strong brand identity that meets the needs of the customers? Take the time to demonstrate that you’ve considered how the nature of your product dictates the nature of your potential relationships with your customers.

SWOT Analysis Summary

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A SWOT Analysis is a specific type of situation analysis designed to gauge the competitiveness of a company given its limitations. The strengths and weaknesses are usually thought of as internal to the company and the opportunities and threats are usually thought of as external to the company. In order for a SWOT analysis to be useful, the information it contains must be brutally honest. This is not the time to gloss over weaknesses or to minimized threats. Complete each section separately (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and to summarize your findings in the table provided below.

StrengthsWeaknesses
· Strength 1· Strength 2· Strength 3· Strength 4· Strength n· Weakness 1· Weakness 2· Weakness 3· Weakness 4· Weakness n
OpportunitiesThreats
– Opportunity 1- Opportunity 2- Opportunity 3- Opportunity 4- Opportunity n· Threat 1· Threat 2· Threat 3· Threat 4· Threat n

SWOT Analysis Matrix

Market – Product Focus

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This section of the marketing plan highlights your understanding of the market in which you compete, its possible segments and/or sub-segments and how your product serves unmet consumer needs in the market. This is the “meat and potatoes” of the marketing plan

Marketing and Product Objectives

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Concisely define the market in which you will be competing. Remember that to be considered a market for your product(s), potential customers must have the ability, willingness and authority to purchase your product(s). Concisely define the product offering. Determine which stage of the product life cycle the market is in and discuss how this impacts your marketing strategy. For instance, if you are introducing a new product class to consumers your initial task will be to build primary demand for the product class. If you are introducing a new product into an existing, mature, market your goal may be to acquire market share at the expense of your competition. Properly defining the market in which you’ll compete is the foundation of the marketing plan.

Target Markets

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After regrouping the heterogeneous overall market into smaller homogeneous market segments, and depending on the general strategy for applying the marketing mix that you’ve selected, discuss which segments that you’ll pursue with your marketing efforts and why. Typically the target markets selected have the following characteristics: they are large enough economically to warrant attention and they are stable. If you focus all of your marketing efforts on one market target market, you are using a concentrated strategy or a single target market approach. If you select multiple segments and develop different marketing mixes for each segment, you are using a differentiated or multiple target market approach. If you treat the entire market as your target market, you are using an undifferentiated strategy. A compromise to the former may be to combine two or more segments and to target the combined segments with one marketing mix. Each strategy has its associated plusses and minuses. It is up to you to justify which approach that you intend to use and why.

Points of Difference

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An organization cannot grow by offering only “me-too” products. The greatest single factor in a new product’s failure is the lack of significant Points of Difference that set it apart from competitors’ substitutes. How does your product compare to competitive offerings vis-à-vis features and benefits? Use the table below or one that you modify to show this competitive comparison.

Good/Service ComparisonYour ProductCompetitor 1Competitor 2Competitor 3Competitor n
Price
Perceived Quality
Marketing/salesAdvantages
Feature 1
Feature 2
Feature 3
Benefit 1
Benefit 2
Benefit 3

Competitive Comparison Matrix

Positioning

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A positioning strategy helps communicate the company’s unique points of difference of its products to prospective customers in a simple, clear way. Describe how you currently or propose to position your product(s) vis-à-vis the competition in the minds of consumers. Proper positioning leads to competitive advantages and the development of brand equity.

Marketing Program

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Everything contained in the previous sections of the marketing plan serve to set the stage for this section in which you present the marketing mix actions – the 4 Ps – covered in the marketing program. Describe in detail how your manipulation of the marketing mix variables will serve consumer needs while simultaneously maximizing shareholder equity.

Product and Product Strategy

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Use this section to describe in detail the key elements of the company’s product strategy. Provide an overview of the product class, the product’s stage in the Product Life Cycle, any warranties or guaranties associated with the product, etc.

Product Class

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Describe the general product class in which you will be competing. What type of consumer or business product are you proposing? What, if any, consumer preferences must be addressed in order to succeed in this product class?

Current Product Life Cycle Stage

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In what stage of the product life cycle is the overall product class: Introduction, Growth, Maturity or Decline? Has the industry gone through turbulence (a hypothetical stage of the product life cycle just after growth and before maturity during which there is an industry shake-up and non-profitable competitors drop out)? Is there an opportunity for arbitrage (introducing the product into a new market in a different stage of the product life cycle)?

Specification of Core and Augmented Product

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In this section, describe the product(s) that you will be marketing. The core product is the basic physical good or service being marketed. The augmented product is the combination of goods and related services combined to provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Very few items are “pure goods” or “pure services.” Discuss the combination of goods and services you are offering. Most offerings are a combination of the two: some mix of good and service. Bundling goods with service can be a source of competitive advantage. Sears’ appliances are a good example: there are better appliances on the market, but few can match Sears’ level of after-sale service.

Supporting Customer Services Needed

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Whether you use the concept of an augmented product or not, all products need a certain level of service support. In this section of the marketing plan, describe all levels of customer service needed to launch and support your product. Where will you locate customer service centers? How many do you need? What services will they provide and who will pay for them?

Warranty

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