Concise Marketing Plan

Concise Marketing Plan (
Part 1: Introduction
Part 1 of the plan is designed to provide the reader with the necessary information to fully understand the purpose
of the marketing plan. This part also includes organizational background information, which may be particularly
important if the audience for the plan is not familiar with the company, such as potential financial backers.
This part of the plan contains two key components:
1. Purpose of the Marketing Plan
2. Organization Mission Statement
Some of the information, in particular the mission statement, may require the input of upper-management. The
information in this part will prove useful later in the plan as a point of reference for material that will be
introduced (e.g., may help explain pricing decisions). In cases in which there are separately operated divisions or
SBU, there may also be mission statements for each.
Purpose of the Marketing Plan
The main body of the Marketing Plan often starts with the planner providing the rationale for the plan. The tasks
associated with this section are to (Length: 1 paragraph):
• Offer brief explanation for why this plan was produced
o e.g., introduce new product, enter new markets, continue growth of existing product, yearly
review and planning document, etc.
• Suggest what may be done with the information contained in the plan
o e.g., set targets to be achieved in the next year, represents a departmental report to be included in
larger business or strategic plan, etc.
Organization Mission Statement
For larger firms this may already exist in a public way (e.g., found in annual report, found on corporate website)
but for many others this may need to be formulated.
The organization mission statement consists of a short, finely-honed paragraph that considers the following issues
(Length: 1 paragraph):
• Identifies a stable (i.e., not dramatically changing every year), long-run vision of the organization that can
answer such questions as:
o Why is the company in business?
o What markets do we serve and why do we serve these markets?
o In general terms, what are the main benefits we offer our customers?
 e.g., a low price software provider may state they offer “practical and highly affordable
business solutions”
o What does this company want to be known for?
o What is the company out to prove to the industry, customers, partners, employees, etc.?
o What is the general corporate philosophy for doing business?
o What products/services does the company offer?
Part 2: Situational Analysis
The situational analysis is designed to take a snapshot of where things stand at the time the plan is presented.
The situational analysis covers the following key areas:
• Current Products
• Current Target Market
• Current Distributor Network
• Current Competitors
• External Forces
Analysis: Current Product(s)
May be able to skip this section if plan is for a new product and no related products exist.
Provide detailed analysis of the company’s product(s). (Length: 1-2 pages).
• Describe the company’s current product(s) offerings in terms of: o Product Attributes
 Describe the main product features, major benefits received by those using the product,
current branding strategies, etc.
o Pricing
 Describe pricing used at all distribution levels such as pricing to final users and to
distributors, incentives offered, discounts, etc.
o Distribution
 Describe how the product is made accessible to final users including channels used,
major benefits received by distributors, how product is shipped, process for handling
orders, etc.
o Promotion
 Describe promotional programs and strategies in terms of advertising, sales promotion,
personal selling and public relations, how product is currently positioned in the market,
o Services Offered
 Describe support services provided to final users and distributors before, during and after
the sale
Analysis: Current Target Market(s)
Examine in detail the company’s current target market(s). Obviously to do this section correctly takes a great deal
of customer-focused research. (Length: 2-3 pages).
• Describe the target market approach:
o What general strategy is used to reach targeted customers? Generally approaches include:
 mass market – aim to sell to a large broad market
 segmentation approach – aim to selectively target one (niche) or more markets
• Describe demographic/psychographic profile of the market:
o Profile criteria may include:
 gender, income, age, occupation, education, family life cycle, geographic region,
lifestyle, attitudes, purchasing characteristics, etc.
• Describe the following characteristics of targeted customers:
o Needs/benefits sought by market
o Product usage
 Consider answers to these questions related to customers using the product such as:
 who is using the product?
 why do they use the product?
 when do they use the product?
 how is the product used?
o Product positioning
 Evaluate how customers perceive the product in relation to competitor’s products or to
other solutions they use to solve their problems
o Attitudes
 What is the target market’s attitude regarding the company’s product?
 What is the target market’s attitude regarding the general product category?
 i.e., exam the general attitude regarding how products from all companies serve
the target market’s needs
• Describe the purchasing process:
o How does the target market make their purchase?
 What does the decision-making process involve?
 What sources of information are sought?
 What is a timeline for a purchase (e.g., impulse vs. extended decision-making)?
o Who makes the purchase?
 Does user purchase or is other party responsible (e.g., parent purchasing for children)?
o Who or what may influence the purchase?
• Provide market size estimates:
o Keep in mind these are estimates for the market not for a specific product
 Provide size estimates for the potential market  What is the largest possible market if all buy?
 Provide estimates of size for the current target market
 What percent of the potential market actually purchased?
 Provide estimates of future growth rates
 At least through the timeframe for the plan (e.g., 1 year) but most likely longer
(e.g., 3-5 year projections)
Analysis: Current Distributor Network(s)
This may not apply if company does not use distributors. Evaluate how the company’s product(s) is distributed.
Clearly marketing plans for a service company may not have much detail here but this section will most likely
have some relevance even for service firms (e.g., package delivery services, online legal service, etc,). (Length: 2
• Describe the channels/supply chain employed to sell and deliver the product: (Note: internal sales force
discussion should appear under company promotion in Current Product Analysis above.)
o Options may include:
 direct to customer
 indirect via a distributor
 combination of both
• What are the needs/benefits sought by distributors?
• Describe the product’s role within the distributor network:
o How is this product used within the distributor’s business?
o How important is product within the distributor’s strategy?
o How is product positioned?
 e.g., how does distributor view product in relation to competition
o Attitudes and perceptions about company’s product(s)
• Purchase process
o How does distributor network make their purchase?
o Who or what influence distributor’s purchases?
• Demographics
o Who makes up the distributor network?
 types
 size
 geographic region
Analysis: Current Competitor(s)
Examine the main competitors serving the same target market. For much more detail on analyzing competitors see
the Preparing a Market Study tutorial. This section may also benefit from the use of comparison tables. (Length:
3-4 pages).
• Describe direct competitors in terms of:
o Target markets served
o Product attributes
o Pricing
o Promotion
o Distribution including the distributor network
o Services offered
• Discuss competitor’s strengths and weaknesses:
o May need to consider much more than just marketing issues such as:
 financial standing
 target market perception
 R & D capabilities
• Discuss competitive trends:
o May need to include discussion of future competitive threats
 markets served
Analysis: External Forces
Describe trends, events, conditions that are external (usually uncontrolled by the company) that may impact the
company’s product(s) or the market. (Length: 1-2 pages) • Areas of consideration:
o social and cultural
o demographic
o economic
o technological
o political
o legal, regulatory, ethical
Analysis: Summary
Finally, summarize all information in the Situational Analysis. (Length: 1 page)
• Provide a SWOT analysis for the company’s product(s) that includes:
o Strengths
o Weaknesses
o Opportunities
o Threats
Part 3: Marketing Strategy
Those reading a marketing plan need a clear picture of the direction the product will take. Also, they want to see
that some accountability has been built into the plan so that the plan is not just fluff but results in measurable
actions. The best way to provide this information is through a section devoted to identifying the key strategies and
objectives for the product(s).
This section consists of three major issues:
• Marketing Strategy (Generic Strategy)
• Financial Objectives
• Marketing Objectives
Identify Marketing Strategy (You only have to choose one general strategy for the purpose of
this marketing plan assignment)
In this section identify the general marketing strategy under which this plan is being developed. It is very possible
that a product will follow more than one strategy (e.g., sell more of same product to current customers but also
find new customers in new markets). Plan developers may get some guidance and also rationale for strategy by
examining results from the Situational Analysis. Additionally, planners should refer to the Mission Statement in
Step 1 to insure strategies are in line with how the company views itself. (Page length: less than 1 page)
Strategies generally fall under one of the following (or in some cases more than one) ideas:
• Market growth (see ansoff matrix)
o Higher market penetration
 Sell more to same market (i.e., get current customers to buy more or buy more
 If overall market is growing this may not necessarily mean a growth in overall
market share
 If overall market is not growing this means a growth in overall market share
o Find new markets
 Sell to markets or market segments not previously targeted
o Develop new products for existing customers
o Develop new products for new customers
Part 4: Tactical Marketing Programs
This is the heart of the marketing plan. It contains descriptions of detailed tactics to be carried out. It is typically
the longest section of the plan, often representing 50% or more of total page count.
In this section details and timetables are presented for six key decision areas:
• Target Markets
• Product
• Promotion
• Pricing • Distribution
• Other Areas
Preferably this section includes a brief summary of current marketing decisions (see Part 2: Situational Analysis)
so readers of the plan can easily compare what was planned to what is planned.
Tactical Decisions: Target Market
If the target market remains the same as what was identified in the Situational Analysis then identifying the
market will be relatively easy though justification for continuing with this market is required. For new markets a
more detailed discussion is needed. This section also includes the sales forecast which is the driving force for all
financial forecasts. Depending on the depth of detail sought in the marketing plan, it may be a good idea to
include likelihood scenarios, such as best case, worst case, and probable case, when developing the sales forecast.
(Length: 1-2 pages)
• Target market description:
o Brief summary of current target market
• Product positioning:
o Brief summary of product position
 How does target market view product in relation to competitor’s products?
• Sales forecast for each product:
o Brief summary of current sales
o Describe forecast
Tactical Decisions: Product
In this section discuss the decisions to be made for existing or new products and services. Make sure to consider
all aspects of product decisions (branding, labeling, packaging) and not just the product itself. Also, keep in mind
product decisions can also impact distributors (e.g., distributor’s response to packaging used to ship the product).
(Length: 1-3 pages)
o Brief summary of current product decisions for users and distributors in terms of:
 General description
 e.g., category of product, product line information
 Features/attributes offered
 list key features
 main benefits target market receives
 Branding
 Packaging
 Labeling
Tactical Decisions: Promotion
Describe the decisions related to how the product will be promoted. In general, promotion consists of five major
areas – advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing and personal selling – though not all may
be used. Timetables for promotion are important since certain types of promotions (e.g., magazine ads, trade
shows) require long lead times. Most information in this section can be shown in tables and graphs. Each of the
four promotion areas is separated out, however, some planners find it easier to combine the areas. For instance,
the promotional areas could be combined within special promotion programs, such as Holiday Promotion
Program, Summer Promotion Program, etc. (Length: 1-3 pages)
• Brief summary of current promotional decisions for users and distributors in terms of:
o General description for four promotional areas:
 advertising
 sales promotion
 personal selling
 public relations
 direct marketing
o Message/theme
o Methods used:
 Summarize methods used
 Summarize spending for each method
o Interrelation of four promotional areas
 e.g., explain how advertising supports sales promotionTactical Decisions: Distribution
This marketing tactics section lays out the distribution plan for the product or service. Distribution is a broad
concept that includes all activities and entities (e.g., value chain partners) responsible for getting the product or
service to the customer. Distribution costs can represent a high portion of the overall cost of the product so an
efficient distribution system may be critical for marketing success. (Length: 1-3 pages)
• Brief summary of current distribution network/value chain decisions:
o Types of channels used
 direct – e.g., direct via sales force, Internet, etc.
 indirect – e.g., retailers, wholesalers, agents
 combination
o Level of market coverage
 intensive – e.g., mass availability
 selective – e.g., wide availability
 exclusive – e.g., restricted availability
o Distribution costs
Tactical Decisions: Pricing
Pricing decisions can be a complicated undertaking that requires knowledge of the market, competitors, economic
conditions and, of course, customers. For this section it is not necessary to provide extensive financial evaluation
of the pricing decision since most of this will take place in Part 5 Budgeting and Implementation, however, the
use of tables and graphs may be helpful in showing pricing trends and pricing decisions within various categories.
(Length: 1-2 pages)
• Brief summary of current pricing decisions:
o Describe pricing decisions by:
 model/product
 segment
 channel
 geography
 other
o Adjustments and Allowances
 Discounting
 Payment terms
o Distribution costs
Tactical Decisions: Additional Considerations
(These may be optional.)
In this section include a discussion of other marketing decision areas. Two additional areas – customer support
service and marketing research – are provided though it is possible others exist. (Length: 1 page or less each)
• Customer Support Services
o Brief summary of current customer support services decisions:
 types offered:
 e.g. call center, online, service desk, walk-up, on-site
 customers being serviced:
 e.g., current customers, potential customers, distributor network
 service delivery method:
 e.g., internally managed, contracted, partnership arrangement
o Identify planned changes
 Summarize changes
 Justify changes:
 Due to results
 Due to research
 Due to competition
 Other
o Describe planned changes
 Objectives
 e.g., availability, response time, satisfaction level  Types offered
 Customers being serviced
 Service delivery method
 Spending and timetables
• Market Research
o Brief summary of current market research efforts
 Projects
 e.g., completed, in process, under consideration
 Research responsibility
 e.g., internally managed, contracted, partnership arrangement
 Identify planned changes
 Summarize changes
 Justify changes:
 Due to results
 Due to research
 Due to competition
 Other
 Describe planned changes
 Objectives
 e.g., customer analysis, market analysis, competitor analysis, exploratory
 Projects
 Service responsibility
 Spending and timetables
Part 5: Budgeting, Performance and Implementation
In many ways this part of the marketing plan is the area that will ultimately “sell” the plan to those who have the
power to give final approval. This step consists of three key topics:
• Marketing Budget – presents a clear picture of the financial implications of the plan
• Performance Analysis – presents the expected results of the plan including its financial impact
• Implementation Schedule – shows timelines and identify those responsible for performing tasks
Setting the Marketing Budget
This section should lay out spending requirements necessary for meeting the plan’s objectives. It is expected that
several tables and graphs will be presented along with narratives explaining important budget issues. (Length: 2-3
• Outline spending requirements for each tactical marketing decision
o Breakdown each tactical category
 e.g., types of advertising, types of services offered, marketing research expense, etc.
o Show detailed spending timetable by:
 Month
 Year
o Show spending by:
 Product (if plan is for more than one)
 Segment/Geographic area
Performance Analysis
This section should contain various performance metrics including the financial implications of the plan in terms
of contributions to the company’s bottom line. HOWEVER, as was stated in the beginning of the Marketing Plan
tutorial, the marketing plan is generally a component of a larger business plan. We do not cover a full financial
discussion such as a full balance sheet, income statement, detailed ratio analysis, etc., though these could be
included if necessary. Again, numerous tables and graphs should be presented. (Length: 2-3 pages)
• Marketing Contribution
o Show revenue versus expenses for marketing decisions
 Revenue should follow sales forecasts (see Part 4)
 Show expenses by category (e.g., advertising) and sub-category (e.g., types of
advertising) o Breakdown by:
 Product
 Segment/Geographic area
 Distribution Network/Channel
• Breakeven Analysis:
o Primarily for plans that involve the sale of tangible products, the breakeven analysis indicates the
level of sales (generally described in terms of number of units sold) required before the company
realizes positive marketing contribution.
o Requires understanding of:
 Fixed costs – cost that occur no matter level of sales
 Variable costs – cost that may change as level of sales varies
o Present as both graph and chart
 Show breakeven point over level of sales volume
 From zero through best scenario sales level
 Show breakeven over time
• Ratio Analysis
o Limit to important marketing ratios that are common to the industry
 e.g., sales cycle, advertising-to-sales, conversions from trial to purchase, website trafficto-search engine marketing, etc.
 Distribution Network/Channel
Provide a discussion of how and by whom the plan will be carried out. (Length: 1-2 pages)
• Detailed schedule of tasks and those responsible:
o Breakdown by important tactical marketing decisions
 Best presented in a Gantt chart format.
o Identify those responsible for each important task:
 If unsure leave generic
 e.g., advertising agency, web hosting company, distributors, etc.
Part 6: Additional Considerations
The final major section in the Marketing Plan prepares the reader for potential situations that may affect the plan.
In this way the reader is provided with a somewhat more balanced picture of what the company may face as it
attempts to implement the plan. (Length: 2-3 pages)
1. Internal Factors
• Discuss company factors that may affect the plan
o e.g., loss of funding sources, loss of key personnel, current plan is linked to success to other
products that may not reach their goals, production problems, etc.
2. External Factors
• Discuss outside factors that may affect the plan
o e.g., supply chain problems, competitor reaction, technological developments, legal
environment, societal changes, economic issues, governmental concerns, etc.
3. Research Limitations
• Discuss problems that may exist with the research information on which assumptions are being made
o e.g., difficult to find solid data on a certain subjec

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