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Overview For Marketing Plan: A Guide to Help You
Through Those Difficult Times
The following outline contains a list of questions and suggestions that should help you in your
efforts to develop a marketing plan. If you have any comments or questions, do not hesitate
to contact me. Also, please be sure to cite the sources from which you collected data.
I. Identify the name of the product market
A. What are you realistically looking to realize as far as return on investment (ROI)?
B. What is the nature of your business? Will you have certain peculiarities that you
must deal with government regulations? Are there any other constraints that you must
II. Identify the potential customers
A. Perform a market segmentation analysis (not that the more detail the better) to
ascertain the target market(s).
B. Identify likely trends of the target market(s)…i.e. Are they growing, shrinking, or
C. What is the typical buying behavior of the target market(s) for your product…in other
words, why do they buy?
D. What will your relationship be with the customers? (i.e. relationship building or
simple transactions such as purchasing your product from a shelf in a supermarket).
III. Identify your competitors (Competitive environment)
A. Are there many competitors? Remember, even if there are few competitors, the
competitors, the competition could still be fierce.
B. Will the competition horizon likely change?
C. Describe what your competitive advantage is with your product. (Be creative but
realistic in this section).
D. List the barriers to entry for you or future competition. (i.e. high start-up costs due to
the need for large amounts of capital such as in the automobile or oil and gas
exploration industries).
IV. Give an analysis of the external environment that you as a marketing manager do not
have control over (those environments discussed in class and in the text). Are there
any trends in any of these environments that can your business?
A. Economic environment
B. Technological environment
C. Political and Legal environment
D. Social and Cultural environment
E. Demographic environment
F. Physical environment
V. Have an understanding of your company and be realistic about it (avoid the halo effect).
A. Be sure to include the S.W.O.T. of your firm including customers, competition, and
other aspects of the external market. In other words, show how your company is
positioned with the environments discussed in III and IV.
VI. Conduct some elementary level of market research (for demographic information).
A. Use some form of secondary data such as census
B. If you feel so motivated, collect some primary data.
C. Identify your marketing information system needs (computer hardware, software,
VII. Identify your product
A. What is your product class? Obtain the S.I.C. code for your product to at least 4
digits. It might also be useful to check the NAICS to help you identify your competition.
B. Identify what stage your product is in in the product life cycles. Remember, products
marketed internationally may be in more than one stage of the product life cycle.
C. If this is a new product, what are your requirement to get the product launched.
(This is probably more detailed than you need to get, but if you feel inclined to do so,
feel free to “go for it!”).
D. What types of warranties will you offer for your product?
E. What is the specific branding strategy that you want to use? Please explain why
you went with the branding strategy you selected.
F. How will you package your product? Describe the packaging and its uses
(protection, promotion, etc.)
G. Does the product fit with the existing product line?
H. Does the product fit with the overall corporate strategy?
VIII. Identify the place objectives
A. What levels of customer service are you looking for? (What is a reasonable % of
shortages are you willing to live with and why?) How will you support those customer
service levels (JIT, warehouses, etc.)? What are the advantages and disadvantages of
the customer service levels selected to support those levels?
B. Describe the channels such as use of wholesalers, retailers (which stores and how
many, where in terms of location).
C. How and why will you handle customer service problems?
D. How will you handle reverse logistics?
IX. Promotion
A. Identify your promotion objectives (persuade or inform) and explain why.
B. What types of advertising will you use and why?
C. Will you use any other types of promotion? If so, why? If not, why not?
D. Will you use any type of publicity? If so, why?
X. Price
A. Give an idea of the demand (is it elastic or inelastic). This is rather intuitive and
does not require a separate market research study.
B. Describe what you would look at when ascertaining costs of the product.
C. Describe how flexible you are with your prices.
D. Identify corporate goals in terms of objectives (i.e. % of profit, market share, etc.)
Make sure that your pricing strategies are the correct ones to meet those objectives.
XI. Identify special resources required for implementation
A. People
B. Financial Resources
XII. Try to give accurate forecasts
A. Sales. Try the following titles: Market Share Reporter, S&P Industry Surveys,
Manufacturing USA, Service Industries USA.
B. Costs (Based on your projected sales numbers, production, etc. This does not have
to be 100% accurate. You can make educated guesses by looking at numbers of units
of your product sold, revenues, figure out the profits made and deduce the costs from
XIII. Identify the specific timing. Develop a timetable or chart. Incorporate at timeline from MS
Project or other Project Management software.
A. Advertising campaigns
B. Sales
C. Anything else that may be “planned”. Be cognizant of the product life cycle and plan
NOTE: There are many places where you could get bogged down trying to collect hard data.
DON’T GET BOGGED DOWN!! If the information you want is not readily available (and you
tried to get it) just indicate where you could possibly get the information and give your best
guess. Remember, the purpose here is to give you an understanding of the process
marketing managers must go through in order to successfully market a product.
I strongly encourage you to use charts, tables and graphs as much as possible!!!! These are
very helpful in understanding complex issues. Consider them especially in the timeline and
other analyses identified in the textbook.
See the following example of a competitor analysis:
Share (%)
Directions Strengths Weaknesse
Position Product
ABC 10 Decline Reputation
is good
innovative Weak Cars
XYZ 23 Steady High growth Cash flow Strong Cars
The following books are on reserve at the library and may be taken out overnight if
necessary. If you do take one or more out, please remember to return it the next day so your
peers may also have an opportunity to utilize the resources.
a. Lifestyle Market Segmentation by Ronald Michman. The book is good for identifying
market segments but even more importantly, there is an excellent list of references after each
chapter which you might find useful.
b. Marketing by Matrix by McDonald and Leppard. This is an excellent book to help you
evaluate your business situations and formulate strategic decisions through the use of
matrices. The book is loaded with good ideas and heuristics to help you pinpoint “workable”
decisions. As I mentioned in class, the use of matrices such as those in this book are useful
in your marketing plans.
c. Segmentation and Positioning for Strategic Marketing Decisions by Myers. Excellent
book with keen insight into the segmentation process and how to position your products. The
book is somewhat more detailed than the others but gives you a good perspective from which
to approach your product market.
The VALS site can be useful for you in identifying various lifestyles of your target market and
the subsequent development of your marketing strategies.

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