The Marketing Plan

The marketing plan project is designed to assist with developing practical skills in the marketing process through the development of a marketing plan. You will independently select, research, prepare and submit a marketing plan for a business or non-profit of interest. Your selection can be for a personal entrepreneurial venture, an existing small business, or a fictitious small business. You may choose existing or start-up situations. Please consult your instructor if you need help with your choice. You will develop new components of the plan, module-by-module. You will submit the final draft in the 15th module for this class.

A marketing plan primarily deals with the future, so the actual plan will be a projection of strategies and outcomes. The final project will include and be graded on the following components:

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Situation Analysis “What type of business are you in?” (200 points)

Analysis of market

Industry information/trends

SWOT Analysis

Competition Analysis

Business Proposition “Why will your customers choose you?” (200 points)

Mission Statement

Market Research

Target market

Statement of Philosophy about Ethical Considerations

Strategies & Action Plan – “How and when will we get there?” (400 points)

Product or Service and Place (where will you sell your product)

Positioning

Promotion Plan and Budget (including branding, advertising, public relations, social media strategy, sales promotions)

Price

Attracting and Retaining Customers

Customer Satisfaction and Retention

Evaluation – “Are the strategies and action plan meeting your objectives?” (100 points)

Evaluation Plan (metrics, tools, calendar, etc.)

Overall Professionalism – “Is your plan polished, effective, and professional?” (100 points)

Writing Quality

Visual Cues

Format

Citations

Situation Analysis – “What type of business are you in?” (200 points)

Analysis of market: Provide an analysis of general market demographic research (i.e., local of possible and national)

Industry information/trends: Evaluate Industry information/trends relevant to your business and your marketing plan.

SWOT Analysis: Identify your company’s Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats by conducting a SWOT analysis. Challenge yourself to identify factors that don’t come to mind immediately.

Competition Analysis: Evaluate the competition for the small business that is the focus of your marketing plan. Customers are those businesses that you believe offer your potential customers the most likely choice between choosing your offering and theirs. Identify at least three of the main competitors for your small business. Challenge yourself: “Who” can customers identify as generally direct or possibly indirect competitors of yours? After identifying these competitors define their strengths and weaknesses.

Business Proposition – “Why will your customers choose you?” (200 points)

Mission/Vision Statement: A mission statement is brief and expresses an entrepreneur’s vision for what the company is and what it stands for. It is the broadest expression of a company’s purpose. The mission statement defines the direction in which it will move and serves to ground the entire business. Create your mission statement. Challenge yourself to really understand what type of business are you in. More importantly, how will customers and employees perceive your business?

Market Research (Primary Research): Develop a minimum of ten questions for your target market (or willing volunteers!) and select the best market research method/s for collecting your data. Explain why you chose this method/s. Be prepared to discuss how you will seek to collect this data, too (Survey Monkey, social media, focus group, personal interviews, in market observations, etc.). Please address the following questions and provide an analysis and summary of your research findings.:

What is the problem/s I need to solve?

What are the uncertainties or customer expectations I need to solve and understand?

What method/s of marketing research will work best for me? – and why?

What questions will I ask and in what forum will I ask them?

How will I collect the answers and tabulate them so I can develop insights?

Target market: Identify specific market segments which achieve your goals. Provide a rationale explaining how you selected your target market. Be sure to include any relevant data.

Statement of Philosophy about Ethical Considerations: This section of the marketing plan asks you to articulate your philosophy about business and marketing ethics. Questions to consider and address include:

Is your business’s mission aligned with corporate social responsibility principles? If so how?

What are the company values that will inform how your employees do their jobs and treat your customers?

How will you treat your employees? What will work life look like?

What ethical considerations will guide your decision making?

Strategies & Action Plan – “How and when will we get there?” (400 points)

Product or Service and Place: Describe your project’s product, service, or idea and provide a comprehensive description of the value you will offer your customers. Challenge yourself and consider

What tangible or intangible products or services are you selling?

To which consumer offering category does your product or service most closely align? Explain.

What kind of packaging will your product require?

If you are promoting a service, what steps will you take to assure service quality?

Positioning: What is your Marketing Plan project’s USP? Why will customers choose your offering? What customer value will you offer? Articulate what distinguishes your offering from your competition. Challenge yourself, what differentiates what you are offering from your customer’s point-of-view?

Promotion Plan and Budget (including branding, advertising, public relations, social media strategy, sales promotions)

Branding. Consider your branding strategy. How will you leverage characteristics of your offering such as pricing, quality and packaging to develop a brand? Will you employ story-telling to develop your brand? If so, what might your business’s story be?

Advertising Campaign. Design an advertising campaign using the “Steps in Designing an Advertising Plan.” Delve into specifics. Create a promotional calendar, sample advertisements and posts, and put together a promotional budget. How much does it cost to place an ad on Facebook or Instagram? How much is an ad in Seven Days? On a local radio station? A music streaming service?

Price: Establish price for your product. Please be sure to explain the following:

Your pricing objectives

Explanation of pricing considerations

Pricing strategy

Price elasticity

Estimated break-even point

Attracting and Retaining Customers: Explain how you will apply the principles of consumer behavior and the framework for the consumer decision process to attract and retain customers for your small business.

Customer Satisfaction and Retention: This section of your Marketing Plan asks you to develop strategies to retain customers.

What will customer service look like at your business? What is your customer service philosophy? What training will be provided?

How will your business cultivate customer loyalty?

How will your business measure customer satisfaction?

How will you design a feedback system so that your business can be responsive to customers?

Evaluation – “Are the strategies and action plan meeting your objectives?” (100 points)

Evaluation: Develop an evaluation plan that will help you measure the success of your marketing plan. Your evaluation plan should address the following:

What metrics will you use to measure whether you have achieved your marketing objectives?

Which tools will you use to collect metrics (i.e., website or google analytics, customer satisfaction survey results, etc.)?

How often will you collect and evaluate data?

What will you do with the information that you collect?

Who will be involved in the evaluation process?

Overall Professionalism – “Is your plan polished, effective, and professional?” (100 points)

Writing Quality:

Clear, professional writing.

No sentence structure errors (no run-ons or fragments)

Free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors

Visual Cues: Visual cues that enhance and clarify key marketing plan findings, insights, and strategies.

Format:

A PowerPoint, Word document, or PDF are all acceptable.

Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri font. 11- or 12-point font.

Title page/slide with project title and date

Clear heading for each section throughout

Appendices with supporting materials – surveys, graphs, maps, promotional pieces, etc.

Citations: APA or MLA are acceptable

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