Prerequisite for Marketing Plan

  1. Objectives

In a multiproduct and/or multiservice organization, a marketing plan necessary for each individual product, product line, or service offered to the market. It is necessary, therefore, to ascertain overall company objectives of an individual product or service.

  1. What is the organization’s overall long-term and short-term objective?
  2. How does this objective or set of objectives differ from that of the previous year?
  3. Why (if a change has taken place) was it necessary to alter the organization’s objective(s)?
  1. Organization
  1. On what basis is the firm or government unit currently organized (e.g., functionally, by product management system, etc.)?
  2. Are there alternative organizational designs that could be employed?
  3. Would any alternative organizational design better help to meet objective(s)? Why?

The Marketing Plan

  1. Situation Analysis

 

  1. Current Year’s Result

 

  1. What marketing objective(s) did the organization establish for itself the last year’s marketing plan?
  2. Determine the organization’s sales, costs, market share, and resulting profit or loss for the following:
    1. Each product and service in the line
    2. Each geographic area
    3. Each different type of market (e.g., consumer or industrial market or document stores and specialty stores)
  3. How do the results cited above compare with those planned for in last year’s marketing plan?

 

  1. Competitive Situation

 

  1. What industry (or industries) is the firm or organization competing in?
  2. What product/service is being provided?
  3. What have total industry sales been for the past five years?
  4. Which organization do we compete with directly. And what are the market share and  sales volume of each?
  5. What is our organization’s share of market?
  6. Are there any related products or services that we are indirectly competing against? If yes, explain.
  7. Do we compete on a local, regional, or national basis?
  8. Do our competitors compete on a local, regional, or national basis?
  9. At what rate (in percent) has the industry been expanding (or contracting) in the last five years?
  10. Is our product or service used at a constant rate all year, or is demand seasonal in nature?
  1. Did the state of the national, regional, or local economy effect industry sales? If yes, explain in detail.

 

  1. Nature of the Market

 

  1. Describe what is known demographically about the typical customer for our generic product service in terms of the following:

 

  1. Sex
  2. Age
  3. Marital Status
  4. Education
  5. Occupation
  6. Geographic region
  7. Urban or rural residence
  8. Size of household
  9. Age of children in household
  10. Rent or own home

 

  1. Do our customers differ demographically from our competitors’ customers?
  2. Are there any social class differences between industry customers in general and purchasers of our brand? If yes, explain any and all differences.
    1. Do consumers have any common personality traits? If yes, which ones? (Note: Questions b, c, and d below refer to the various segments of an A10 inventory, the measurement instrument employed to ascertain life style characteristics.
    2. What activities do customers of the generic product or service our organization provides engage in?
    3. What types of interests do the industry’s customers pursue?
    4. Are there any options or beliefs generally held by our industry’s customers that differ from those of the public at large?
    5. Are there any significant differences from a psychographic or life style point of view between our customers and our competitors customers? If yes, explain in detail.
    6. What is the media usage pattern of our past customers?
    7. Are the media habits of our customers similar to those of the entire industry? If not, specifically cite any and all differences.
    8. Is there a definable “heavy half” for our product or service?
    9. How do our organization’s sales to heavy users compare with industry averages?
      1. How often do customers purchase out type of product or service?
      2. Is the product normally purchased in single or multiply units?
      3. If multiple units are purchased, what is the average number of units purchased at a time?
        1. In what type of out let is our product typically sold?
        2. Do purchasers of other “brands,” differ with respect to where and when they purchase or the number of units usually purchased?

 

  1. Basic Positioning Strategy:

Today’s marketer realizes that the market for a product generally contains several separate and distinct segments, with a particular brand selling best to only a single segment (or very few segments). Assume that a marketing research study has identified the segments within the marketplace, and make the assumptions necessary to answer the questions which follow.

    1. Product: What Qualities should our physical product have to be most effective in satisfying our chosen segment(s)?
    1. What are the various segments within the marketplace for this type of product or service?
    2. What criterion has been most effective in defining the segments
    3. What is the size of each segment?
    4. Which segments contain enough people to make marketing profitable?
    5. Can all the segments be reached efficiently, that is, can standard media and distribution channels be employed? If no, which segments must be excluded from consideration and why?
  1. What are the important criteria that would be used as axes on a multidimensional “brand” map?
  2. What is the product position on a brand map of each “brand” currently available for sale (including ours)?
    1. Are we satisfied with the position of our product or service?
    2. What can be said favorably about it?
    3. What can be said unfavorably about it?
  3. Which market segment  or segments is each of our competitors attempting to sell to?
  4. Which market segment or segments are we trying to reach?
  5. Why have we chosen to pursue this segment in the past?
  6. Should we continue to aim at this segment?
  7. In what significant ways is this segment different from the other? Explain in terms of one or more of the following:
    1. Demographic
    2. Benefit sought
    3. Product uses
    4. Psychographic profile
    5. Pricing
    6. Other considerations
  8. What are the marketing mix considerations necessary to reach the segment(s) we have traditionally aimed at?
    1. Price: What are the special pricing considerations necessary to market most effectively within our chosen segment(s)?
    2. Promotion: What type of promotional mix will be most effective?
    3. Placement: Are there any special distribution requirements necessary to sell to our chosen segment(s)?
    1. How many other organizations are attempting to sell to the same segment(s) we have in the past viewed as our target market?
    2. On what basis are those vying for this segment differentiating their products?
    3. How have we been differentiating our product?
    4. Has our method been effective?
    1. In what stage of the product life cycle is our product?
    2. How long has it been in this stage?
    3. How long is it likely to remain in this stage?

 

  1. Last Year’s Marketing Mix:

 

    1. What was the breath (width) and depth of the organization’s product line?
    2. How did this compare to our major competitors’ product or service offerings?
  1. How many brand names was our product sold under? If more than one, explain.
  2. What was our organization’s pricing strategy?
  3. What pricing strategy was used by the major competitors?
  4. How was the product packaged in terms of:
    1. Type of container
    2. Sizes Available
    1. What Warranty was provided?
    2. Was this warranty more or less comprehensive than the one offered by competing firms?
  5. How much was spent last year for the following:
    1. Advertising
    2. Personal Selling
    3. Sales Promotion
    4. Publicity
    1. What distribution channels were used for the product or service?
    2. Were transportation and storage facilities adequate?

 

  1. Resource Analysis

 

  1. Evaluate the organization’s strengths by answering the following questions:
    1. Do we have a superior product? If yes, how?
    2. Do we have superior advertising? If yes, explain.
    3. Do we distribute our product more efficiently? If yes, explain.
    4. Are we able to price our offerings below competitive levels? If yes, how is this possible?
    5. Generally speaking, is there anything else that our organization can do more effectively than our competitors? If yes, explain in detail.
  2. What are our limitations?
  3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of our major competitors?

 

  1. Environmental Projections

 

    1. What is the GNP forecast for the coming year?
    2. What is the unemployment outlook?
    3. What is the inflation rate estimated to be for the twelvemonths of this marketing plan?
    4. What direction are interest rates forecast to move in the next year?
    5. If applicable, what will be the value of the U.S dollar on the world currency markets in the coming year?
    1. What are industry sales forecast to be?
    2. Has the government and/or any trade association projected industry sales? If yes, what is the projection?
  1. Describe the trend in industry wide competition (increasing, decreasing, or remaining about the same) during the following time spans:
    1. The next six months
    2. The next year
    3. The next three years
  2. Are there any new technological developments that may affect our industry in the next year? If yes, explain the impact the developments are likely to have sales.
  3. Are there any demographic trends that may affect industry sales? If yes, explain in detail.
  4. Do you believe any of our competitors will attempt to change their brand’s product position and/or the market segment(s) they aim at? If yes, explain.
  5. Will any change occur in the life cycle stage of the product or service during the next year? If yes, which stage will the product/service be entering, and what are the marketing implications of this change?
    1. What will our sales-in dollars, units, and market share-be for the period of this marketing  plan?
    2. How did we arrive at these figures?
    3. What assumptions have we made?

 

  1. Problems

 

  1. What problems have developed within the past year that should be acted upon in the coming twelve months?
  2. What problems that should have been ameliorated within the past year are still evident and must be dealt with this year’s marketing plan?

 

  1. Objective:

 

  1. Given the current situation with respect to product sales, competition, and the forecasted state of the environment for the next twelve months, what overall objective with respect to the specific product or service this marketing plan represents should the organization seek?
  2. Why has this objective or set of objectives been selected?

 

  1. Marketing Strategy:

 

  1. What marketing strategies (such as increased awareness, entrance into new markets, etc.) will allow the organization to meet its objective(s) stated above?
  2. Describe generally the overall marketing strategy the organization should follow in the areas of:
    1. Product
    2. Price
    3. Promotion
    4. Distribution
  3. For any of the strategies cited in question 2 above that depart from the previous year’s marketing plan, explain why the change is necessary.

 

  1. Level of marketing effort:

 

  1. How much money can the organization afford to spend on its marketing effort? (Base your answer on past performance, past spending levels, and environmental projections.)
  2. How did you determine the amount cited in question 1?
  3. Can this amount accomplish the desired marketing strategy in each of the four marketing mix areas?
  4. Is there any way that the organization can ascertain the optimum allocation for any or all of the marketing mix variables? If yes, explain in detail.

 

  1.  Marketing Mix Development:

 

A. Product

 

  1. What is the organization’s objective with regard to overall product strategy (see part v1, question 2)?
  2.  
    1. What is the organization’s strategy regarding the breadth and depth of product or service offerings in the coming year?
    2. What is the estimated effect of this policy?
  3. How will this differ from competitive offerings?
    1. What may be the likely competitive reaction, if any, to our product policy?
    2.   Would it be necessary to respond to such competitive reaction? If yes, what form would our response take?
  4. In what type of package(s) will our product be sold?
  5. In what size package(s) will the product be sold?
  6. Will the type and/or size of the package(S) used create any distribution problems for the firm? If yes, what packaging factors must be considered in determining an optimum distribution system for the firm?
  7. Should any product modifications be attempted based upon life cycle considerations? If yes, explain.
  8. Is repositioning our product or service necessary or desirable? If yes, what strategy should be used to accomplish this repositioning?
  9. Is there any modification of the product or service that would enable us to better meet the needs of our customers or broaden our appeal (i.e., appeal to other market segments)?
    1. To what market segment(s) do we wish to market?
    2. What are the unique properties of the chosen market segment(s)?
    3. Why was this segment or these segments chosen?
    4. If the above represents a departure from the previous year, explain the rationale for the change.

 

B. Price

 

  1. What will be our overall pricing strategy (see part  v1, question 2)?
  2. Have we changed our price compared with our competitor’s prices?
  3. How does our price compare with our competitor’s prices?
  4. What is the probable competitive reaction to our pricing structure?
  5. Do we play to maintain the same basic pricing structure for the entire year? If not, then what is to be changed and when are the changes to take effective?
  6. Should the firm run price specials (e.g., factory authorized sales, etc.) during the year? If yes, indicate the timing and reasons for such promotions.
  7. What would be the estimated effect on our sales of lowering or raising the price of our brand?
  8. Is our pricing strategy consistent with the stage of the product life cycle the product service is in?
  9. What terms of sale are we going to offer our customers (e.g., discounts, allowances, etc.)?
  10. How do our terms of sale compare with those of our competitors?
  11. Are our channels of distribution likely to react favorably or unfavorably to our pricing structure? Explain.
  12. What prices are we going to charge for our product or service?

 

C. Promotion

 

  1. What is the total amount allocated for promotional expenditures?
  2. Describe how this amount is to be divided among:
    1. Advertising
    2. Personal selling
    3. Sales Promotion
    4. Publicity
  3. What are the overall objectives of the promotional program (see part v1, question 2)?
    1. What are our advertising objectives?
    2. What is our copy strategy?
    3. What is our media strategy?
    4. In what ways do we expect our advertising to differ from that of our competitors?
    5. Will our product or service be advertised all year on a continuous basis and at a constant level, or will the advertising be restricted to specific time periods? Explain in detail your rational.
    6. Exactly who are we attempting to reach with our advertising?
    7. How do we intent to evaluate the effectiveness of the advertising program? Be specific.
    1. How important is personal selling to the sale of our product or service compared to advertising?
    2. Will the level of spending for advertising and personal selling reflect this ratio?
    3. Is there a significant difference in the amount allocated to personal to personal selling is this year’s plan compared to previous years? If yes, what is the reason for this change?
    1. What percentage of the promotional budget is to be allocated to sales promotion?
    2. Does this percentage differ from the previous year? If yes, how and why?
    3. What forms of sales promotion are to be utilized?
    4. What is the objective of each of the forms of sales promotion to be used?
    5. What will be the likely reaction of our competitors to our sales promotion program?
    6. What contingency plans if any should we make?
    1. Will our public relations function be handled internally or by an outside agency?
    2. What will be the objectives of our publicity program?

 

D. Distribution

 

  1. What distribution channels were employed last year?
  2. How do we rate effectiveness of our current distribution system?
  3. Would these same channels allow us to meet our marketing objectives this year?
  4. Should any of our existing channels be eliminated? Why?
  5. Should any new channels of distribution be utilized? If yes, which ones and why?
  6. Are any of our competitors using any distribution channels that we are not using? If yes, and if such channels are not mentioned in the above question, why not?
  7. Are there any developments either in where, when, or how consumers wish to purchase our type of product or service that may necessitate a change in the way product is distributed during the coming year? If yes, explain fully.

 

  1. Testing and Research

 

  1. If the product or service is new (or a significant modification is to be made) and it requires testing, develop a plan for the testing of the new product. You have the option of starting such testing of the new product. You have the option of starting such testing by concept testing or using the focus group interview level. You may then continue the program through a multicity full-scale test marketing program.
  2. Why types of research studies should be conducted during the life of this marketing plan? NOTE: Consider the scenario you are working with as well as the types of information you would like to have had available but were not provided with. On these bases, cite three to five marketing research projects you believe should be undertaken by the firm within the next twelve months, and state your rationale for each one. You may also wish to cite some of the many and varied syndicated services that could provide you with data about your product, advertising, and/or distribution system.

 

  1. Evaluation and Control

 

  1. What type of monthly information do we require in order to compare actual to planned results? (Note: The answer to this question may in part answer the following question.)
  2. To what syndicated services do we wish to subscribe, and what is our rationale for each?
  3. How can we best remain alert to marketplace and competitive developments?

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