The product or service chosen may be:
1. Something that is totally new to the marketplace (e. g. glow-in-the dark bubble gum, home cholesterol test, or remote control lawn mower); or
2. Something that is already being sold on the market. Many of the "new and improved" products that firms decide to market are actually very similar, if not identical, to what some other firm is already marketing. Note, it may not be an existing franchise (such as McDonald’s or a Ford dealership) or extension of an existing business (unless that student owns that business).
1. Title Page (APA Journal pages 23 – 24
The cover sheet which must be used as the cover sheet for this assignment can be found under the Resources tab in Blackboard.
2. Table of Contents
The table of contents is a listing of everything contained in the plan and where it is located in the report.
Reports that contain a variety of charts and figures may also have a table of exhibits listing their titles and page
numbers within the report. At Hodges University, a Table of Contents is required for five pages or more. See
Course Documents for the template.
3. Abstract (also called Executive Summary) (AA Journal pages 25 – 27)
This section presents an abbreviated overview of the proposed plan for quick management skimming (between 150 and 250 words). This must logically be written in the final section because it serves as a brief overview of the main points. The abstract should be on a page by itself and the last page written.
4. Introduction (APA Journal pages 27 – 28)
This section of the paper must be “introduced” as major heading (centered) entitled Introduction. The types of information and amount of detail reported in the introduction depend in part on whether the plan is being designed for a new or existing product or brand. Essentially, the introduction “introduces” the project and describes the purpose of the paper and what will be accomplished through completion of the project. It should also provide a detailed description of the product and its price. This section should be no more than 2 pages. The introduction is the first page of the body of text .
5. Situational Analysis (class discussion and notes)
This section presents relevant background data on both the internal and external environments affecting the proposed company. This section should discuss the analyses of internal and external environments, SWOT analysis, and the industry your company is in.
In Michael Porter’s (1980) words, “the essence of formulating competitive strategy is relating a company to its
environment” (p. 3) Obviously, this means that you must thoroughly understand the company and its industry,
as well as the outside environmental forces that affect the industry, in order to be successful in this pursuit.
Analysis of Internal Environment: (Internal environment consists of board of directors, corporate culture,
and employees. Use scholarly definitions here.)
Analysis of External Environment
(External environment consists of task and general environments.) The student is expected to
analyze each aspect (12). The subheadings include: competitors, customers, suppliers, strategic allies,
regulators, unions, and owners, technological dimension, socio-cultural dimension, political-legal
dimension, international dimension, and economic dimension.
SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (What is SWOT analysis? Use a
scholarly definition. Why is it done? What does the SWOT analysis tell you about the viability of the
organization, the industry, and the environment of the firm you have chosen?) See templates of what is a
SWOT Analysis and how to complete in Course Documents in Blackboard.
Industry Analysis: What are the current trends in the industry in which the corporation operates? (See
Standard & Poor’s database as well as Business & Company Resource Center database.). See In-
dustry Analysis handout in Course Documents in Blackboard.
Mission and Vision Statements: Develop for your company. Be sure these statements align with the
SWOT Analysis. (Use scholarly definitions here.)
6. Analysis of Markets and Customers (class discussion and notes)
This portion of the paper analyzes the market and consumer needs and behaviors regarding the proposed good or service. It will be necessary to project market changes and forecast future demand for or sales of the proposed good or service. Hodges University Library contains detailed market research reports for most industries.
7. Marketing Planning (Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning)
Marketing Planning is the “heart” of the paper. It contains three major elements:
(1) Market Segmentation—the process of grouping customers within a market according to similar needs, habits, or attitudes that can be addressed through marketing. The purpose is to form groupings that are internally similar yet sufficiently different that each grouping will not react in exactly the same way to the same marketing activities. Segmentation is an important part of marketing planning because it allows marketers to focus their resources on the most promising opportunities
(2) Targeting—segmentation lays the foundation for targeting, decisions about which market segments to enter and the segment coverage strategy to use. The target market is the segment of the overall market that a company chooses to pursue. This section discusses the customer base and justification for it, demographics, geographics, psychographics, consumer or organizational buyer behavior, etc.
(3) Positioning for Competitive Advantage—After market segmentation and targeting, marketers are ready for positioning, using marketing to give the brand or product a distinctive and meaningful place (position) in the minds of targeted customers.
8. Determining Objectives and Strategic Direction
Here the marketer will determine the strategic direction for the product or service. The chosen strategic direction must be consistent with the remainder of the marketing plan.
Once the strategic direction is set, marketers have to establish short and long term goals. Remember that objectives are effective only if they are specific, time defined, and measurable; realistic but challenging; consistent with the mission and overall organizational goals; consistent with internal resources and core competencies; and appropriate for external environmental opportunities and threats.
9. Marketing Mix (Class discussion and notes)
Define a marketing mix and using four subheadings, illustrate the marketing mix–product, place, price, and promotion as well as strategies such as value chain analysis that create and deliver value based on the needs and behavior of the targeted market segments.
10. Budgeting, Forecasting, and Tracking Progress (Class discussion and notes)
Companies need to establish specific checkpoints, practices, and standards for measuring progress so they can accurately track marketing plan implementation and be ready with a control intervention if necessary. The four key tools for measuring progress are (1) forecasts, future projections of what sales and costs are likely to look like in the period covered by the plan; (2) budgets, time-defined allocations of financial outlays for specific functions or programs; (3) schedules, time-defined plans for completing work that relates to a specific purpose or program; and (4) metrics, numerical measures of specific performance-related activities and outcomes.
Projected Income Statements/Breakeven Analysis–This section provides management with a summary of all projected revenues (Sales Forecast) and expenses (Estimates of Marketing Costs), as well as a calculation of the break-even point in units and dollars.
This section also includes any additional information or documents relevant to the plan. If any graphs, charts, or other supplements are used, then place on an Appendix.
11. Implementation and Control of the Marketing Plan
This section contains a discussion and justification of how the marketing plan will be implemented and controlled. It explains how management will determine if the strategy is working and whether changes need to be made. It also summarizes what alternatives are available to management in case the current environment changes.
This section should be the culmination of your analysis and critical thinking about this organization and the marketing of this product or service. It should be rich with your own thoughts, analysis, and interpretation. Remember, this portion fully states the case for the viability or lack thereof your plan.
13. References (APA Journal page 37)
The only mandatory item that should be included here is a list of all relevant reference sources used in the construction of your plan. It is expected that the reference section will contain at least 15 sources. At least 10 sources will come from scholarly research located by utilizing the resources of the Library. Remember that most sites found on the www, including Wikipedia, are not scholarly sources.
Paper Length – Report length should be the last thing the student considers when preparing the written report. However, it should be noted that "typical" reports have ranged in the 18-25 page category and the paper MUST NOT exceed 25 pages. All papers must adhere to the guidelines provided in the APA Style Guide / Publication Manual.
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