2023 STUDENT GUIDE FOR WRITING A MARKETING PLAN 1 Executive Summary The Executive



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.

IMPORTANT: Write this last after all the other sections have been completed.

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 (see Chapters 2 and 22).

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
(see Chapter 2).

b. Objectives (SMART)

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 (see Chapter 2).

· 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 2012 to $15 million in 2016.”

c. Strategy

· Explain the marketing strategy that will be used and why it was chosen. (Ex: A market penetration strategy will be used in order to increase market share from XX to XX.)

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 (see Chapters 2 and 22).

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:




experience level,   management style, size



uniqueness, quality, price



type and scope of marketing   plan



quality and experience of   workforce



sales revenues



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:




size and stability of   market



current and projected   economic situation of market



the effect of technology on   any facet of the business



number and size of   competitors



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 (see Chapters 2, 3, 8, 9, and 22).

5. Market-Product Focus

a. 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 (see Chapter 9).

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 (see Chapter 10).

d. Positioning Map

A product’s unique points of difference are communicated by way of a positioning strategy (see Chapters 9 and 10).

6. Marketing Program

Everything that has gone on before in the marketing plan sets the stage for the marketing mix actions—the 4 Ps (or 7 Ps for services marketing)—covered in the marketing plan. Product, price, promotion, and place (distribution) strategies are all detailed in the Marketing Program section of the plan (see Chapters 2, 10-21).


When   describing these   strategies:

Include these elements:



features, brand name,   packaging, services, warranty
  (see Chapters 10 through 12)



list price,   discounts, allowances, credit terms, payment period (see Chapters 13 and 14)



advertising, personal   selling, sales promotion, publicity, and social media (see Chapters 17   through 20)



retail outlets,   channels, coverage, interactive marketing
  (see Chapters 15, 16 and 21)

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
(see Chapter 8).

8. Conclusion

Now that all the work has been done to prepare the marketing plan, pull the ideas together and give the reader a final conclusion to end the paper.

A. References and Appendices

A correctly formatted reference list must be included to show the source of all factual information.

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.

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