Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements
Marketing Plan – Instructions
Learning Objectives for me (Student):
• Practice writing a one-year “launch” marketing plan with given data, i.e., with the case study attached.
• Apply and demonstrate understanding of key course concepts through Session 6.
Comment from (Prof): The objective here is to put the pieces together. I’m not looking for ‘creative marketing strategy’. Rather, I’m looking for a disciplined approach to using the marketing plan format and building strategy recommendations that are supported by strong analysis and rationale (given the data in the case). It also requires demonstrating that you can apply the concepts introduced in the course through Session 6.
Do not do any outside research. That is, use only the materials from the course – lectures, readings, exercises, handouts – to help you. No outside research means that you should not go to the Internet or to the Library.
Writer (Please feel free to let me know if you need any other information or material to help besides all I attached and sent)
• Individual Marketing Plan Instructions (this)
• Marketing Plan Outline (Just a Word document in outline format. It’s a great way to organize information and get your ideas down on paper at the same time.)
• Sample Marketing Plan (for a technology, but will give you a sense of what the look.)
• Marketing Plan Sections document (this includes detailed information about what kinds of information you might see in each section of a marketing plan. Do *not* use it as your guide for this assignment; it will be too complex.
Linkages: A marketing plan, like a persuasive proposal, needs solid linkages between sections. This is to ensure that the reader understands the plan the way you intended for them to understand it. Therefore, make sure that your Situation Analysis, like a database, introduces all of the facts that you will use/refer to later – i.e., in the SWOT, STP, Place/Pricing Strategies, Marketing Research Next Steps, Financials. Note that there are 10 points allocated to linkages shown in the grading form.
Length: Maximum 15 pages of text, double-spaced, 1” margins, 12 pt Times New Roman font. (It is unlikely you will need that amount of space. This is about quality, not quantity). In addition, you may use unlimited attachments/appendices/exhibits provided each is referenced in the text and that each exhibit truly adds to the understanding of the document. Good exhibits also include a brief description of what it is you want us to see.
A. Executive Summary: This is a brief summary of what you are submitting in *this* deliverable. What will upper management want to know? (Length guideline: 1 page)
B. Marketing Situation Analysis: Gather evidence from the case. Remember that the Situation Analysis is laying the groundwork for the Opportunities and Issues Analysis and, from that, for strategy recommendations. Therefore, this includes information that could later show up as external (customer, competitor, context, collaborator) threats and opportunities as well as internal (company/product) strengths/weaknesses. (Length guideline: 3-5 pages) Note: Avoid copying large sections of the document here.
o Provide a brief background of the company/organization/entrepreneur/inventor, as appropriate.
o Provide a brief description of the product/service described in the case. What is the current state, or status, of the product/service/technology? Is it ready to go? Does it need more development work? Does it have patents?
o What problems do potential end user/consumers (at least two) have that this product can solve?
o How is this problem currently being addressed by potential users/buyers?
o Describe two potential end users/consumers of this /product/service. Make sure you describe people. The objective here is to start examining at least two end user market segments that have a problem that this product/technology could solve. In addition, be sure to address how you suspect this person goes about making buying decisions. You can make some assumptions here or pull on your own personal experience.
o Also consider your intermediaries as customers (as opposed to consumers). What problems do *they* have that this product could address? How do you suspect this group goes about making buying decisions?
• Industry and Competition
o Industry: Use Porter’s Five Forces to assess the health/future/attractiveness of the industry (or industries) in which this technology would compete. (Caution: This is NOT a description of the markets. They would be in the Customers/Markets section above. The industry refers to the manufacturers (or other technologies) with which you would compete in order to serve the market.)
o Competition: Identify and describe 1-2 competitive technologies/ products/services, including substitutes or functional competitors.
o Remember that you are laying key groundwork here for strategy. Therefore, you will need to include factors (evidence) that could translate to competitor weaknesses that could support your eventual differentiation and positioning. Recall that ‘differentiation’ means figuring out a) what is important to your target customer and b) how you can do *that thing* better or differently than your competition.
o Identify and describe macroenvironment factors (e.g., political, economic) that could have an impact on the successful commercialization of this technology.
o Identify and describe current or potential collaborators (e.g., intermediaries) who might be involved in the marketing of the product/service. Be careful not to make recommendations here. It is simply background information.
C. Market Potential: Include your estimate of total market potential (in units) and an identification of at least two market segments within that market that could potentially be targeted and the market potential for each segment. (Length guideline: 1 page plus exhibit(s))
D. Opportunities/Issues Analysis: In this section, reflect back on the information in the Marketing Situation Analysis and identify external opportunities and threats (i.e. from competition, customers, collaborators, context, potential). These are things to which you could respond with marketing strategy. (The “how” of the response is strategy – do NOT include that yet). In addition, identify the internal strengths and weaknesses of the company/organization as they relate to this technology/product, and as they relate to the opportunities and threats you’ve listed. Then, identify and discuss any additional issues or concerns that would have to be addressed in your marketing strategies. (Length guideline: 2-3 pages)
E. Objectives: (Length guideline: ½ page)
1) Financial Objectives: See mktg plan sections document for ideas
2) Marketing Objectives: See mktg plan sections document for ideas
F. Strategy Recommendations:
1) Recommend one market segment to target. Provide rationale. Be sure to address the relative attractiveness of the segments as part of your rationale. (Length guideline: +/- 1 page; could refer to/discuss an exhibit.) Note that much of your background for this section will have been introduced in the Customer section of the Situation Analysis above and discussed in the O/I Analysis. Simply refer back to it.
2) Recommend a differentiation strategy and include a positioning statement as modeled in the class notes and discussed in Crossing the Chasm. Provide rationale for differentiation strategy. (Length guideline: +/-1 page.) Note that all of your background for this section will have been introduced in the Company, Customer and Competition sections of the Situation Analysis above and discussed in the O/I Analysis. Simply refer back to it.
3) Marketing Mix
i. Describe Current Product Strategy. Since Product Strategy has not yet been discussed in class, simply provide a very brief description of the product/service/license that is discussed in the case. (Length guideline: ½ – 1 page)
ii. Recommend Pricing Strategy. Recommend a *specific* price to end user. The case gives a consumer price range of $50-$65. Pick a number from those and move on. A brief explanation for the choice is required, but no detailed rationale is expected or necessary. (Length guideline: ½ – 1 page)
iii. DO NOT DO – Promotion Strategy (While there is lots of information in Exhibit 3, please do *not* do promotion strategy. We haven’t discussed it in class yet; there are no points allocated for it on the grading form.). Simply assume that you will spend whatever budget you choose to adopt for the purpose of working it into your financials.
iv. Recommend Place (Distribution) Strategy Recommend a specific distribution strategy, with the focus on the three retail options e.g., which of the retail distribution options do you recommend using? All of them? Some of them? Which one(s)? Why? What are the financial implications of each? Note that this should also include the use of the company’s own sales people to reach that/those distribution outlets. The cost of a sales person is listed in Exhibit 3 of the case.
G. Action Programs:
1) Budget: Simply *decide* on the budget to be used based on the budget alternatives provided in the case. This, then, will flow into your financials below.
H. Marketing Research Next Steps: Specify the marketing research that you would do during the year of your marketing plan. What would be the objectives and general method(s) used? No cost information is expected here. However, I do expect some specific ideas. (Length guideline: ½-1 page)
I. Financials: Once you have an estimate of your first year’s unit sales and have chosen a price, you will be able to develop Financials for the year of the marketing plan. You could do a Profit & Loss statement or a Contribution Analysis. Be sure to include a breakeven analysis based on the marketing costs, since the Director of Marketing in the case needs to be able to tell management how many units would need to be sold in order to recoup the costs of the marketing programs.
Be sure to identify your assumptions. Since this will basically be a table with some comments regarding assumptions, you are welcome to do this as an exhibit if you wish. If you do that, put the Financials section into the document with a comment to reference the exhibit.
Presentation/Style: Double spaced; 15 pages maximum of text, plus unlimited* exhibits; paragraphs indented, 1” margins; 12 pt Times New Roman Font; page numbers; grammar/spelling/etc.
*A Note about the Marketing Plan Sections document: You will notice that the sections document is extremely complex. You will not have access to all of the information identified. However, it could be used as a general guideline in order to collect the kinds of information that will be helpful to the formation of marketing strategy.