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Resources for Marketing Plan Assignment

This document contains resources suggested by faculty in the Marketing Program as a starting point for your research.  For research help you also may ask a librarian.  UMUC librarians are available by chat, email and phone.  See details at http://umuc.edu/library/.  For questions about the assignment, consult your professor.

 

1. Sample Marketing Plans

a. Sample Marketing Plan for Mobile News Games, LLC

b. Sample Marketing Plan for Pasta Restaurant

 

2. Primary Research

a. Conduct your own potential consumer surveys, focus groups or other original market research.

b. Interview marketers and other managers and executives at your own company. Hint: cite facts used from personal exchanges in APA Format as “Personal Communications” using rule 6.20 of the APA 6th ed.

 

3. Secondary Research

a. Recommended databases for marketing, Retrieved from http://libguides.umuc.edu/c.php?g=318048&p=2124051

b. Business research:  Conducting market research (n.d.) Retrieved from http://sites.umuc.edu/library/libhow/businessresearch-marketresearch.cfm

c. Business research:  Finding demographic or psychographic information (n.d.) Retrieved from http://sites.umuc.edu/library/libhow/businessresearch-demographics.cfm

d. Business research:  Finding industry overviews (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sites.umuc.edu/library/libhow/businessresearch-industryoverviews.cfm

e. Business research:  Finding industry trends and projections (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sites.umuc.edu/library/libhow/businessresearch-industrytrends.cfm

f. Business research:  Finding market share information (n.d.) Retrieved from http://sites.umuc.edu/library/libhow/businessresearch-marketshare.cfm

g. Business research:  Finding market size information (n.d.) Retrieved from http://sites.umuc.edu/library/libhow/businessresearch-marketsize.cfm

h. Business research:  SWOT analysis  research (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://sites.umuc.edu/library/libhow/businessresearch-swot.cfm

 

i. Company/Industry Research Reports

i. Hoover’s UMUC’s subscription will allow you to create highly relevant reports. For example, you can obtain a full list of competitors for a company here. From there click “compare competitors” and look at the competitive landscape screen. If you are asked for a Hoover’s ID, see instructions here.

ii. Mergent Online is similar to Hoover’s and can be an especially good source for information about non-public companies.

iii. Business Insights Essentials features comparison charts for companies or industries. Hint: go to “comparison charts,” choose company or industry, start with one company or industry, and one available metric then add more. This database contains expert-prepared SWOT analyses of hundreds of companies. Look here to understand SWOT.

iv. ABI Inform Hint: go to the “Browse” tab to find the options.

 

j. Company News/Publications

i. Factiva by Dow Jones offers industry and company news stories. Hint: log in through UMUC Library (look in databases by title)

ii. Nexis Uni (formerly Lexis/Nexis Academic) offers unique information under “Get Company Info.” Hint: log in through UMUC Library(look in databases by title)

iii. Company publications such as annual reports, press releases and white papers may contain good data. Look for these on company websites. Find the annual reports of competitors.

 

k. Government sources

i. The U.S. Census

ii. American Fact Finder from the Census

iii. Census Business Builder

iv. Census Infographics

v. Industry Statistics from the Census

vi. Bureau of Labor Statistics

vii. BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey

 

l. Industry sources

i. Industry groups and trade associations

ii. Industry publications and websites

1. Advertising Age magazine, Retrieved from http://adage.com/; Click the ‘spyglass icon’ on the right side of the horizontal menu at the top of the home page.

2. The American Marketing Association, Retrieved from http://www.ama.org

3. Brand Channel, Retrieved from  https://www.brandchannel.com/; Click the word “search” in the horizontal menu at the top of the home page.

4. Chief Marketer, Retrieved from http://www.chiefmarketer.com/; The search tool is in the top left corner of the home page.

5. The Economist magazine, Retrieved from https://www.economist.com/; Click the word ‘Search’ at the top right corner of the home page. Articles offer a global perspective.

6. McKinsey consulting, Retrieved from http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/; Click the ‘spyglass icon’ on the right top corner of the home page. Emphasis on trends and competitive industries.

7. strategy+business by Price Waterhouse Cooper consulting, Retrieved from https://www.strategy-business.com/; Click the ‘spyglass icon’ on the top right corner of the home page. Information about competitive industries and general marketing trends.

 

m. Consumer segmentation tools & research

i. Neilsen MyBest Segments

ii. Esri Zip Code Look-up

iii. Gallup Research on Customer Engagement

 

n. Scholarly Articles

i. Google Academic Search. https://scholar.google.com/ This gives emphasis to scholarly publications. Narrow your search to exact terms because general searches will produce massive results.

o. Ask a librarian! Did you know that UMUC librarians are available by chat, email and phone?! See details at http://umuc.edu/library/.

 

The Marketing Plan

The Marketing Plan Assignment is due on the final day of Week 11, at 11:59pm eastern time. This is an individual assignment. The Marketing Plan is worth 30% of the final grade for this course.[footnoteRef:1] [1: The Marketing Program adheres to the Departmental Policy on Originality of work. This policy appears in the syllabus for this course in the Grading Information section and reads in part, “The work in this class must be your own and original to this course. Work prepared for other courses or use of material obtained from other students is expressly prohibited and can result in a grade of zero “0” for the assignment and/or course failure…” This means you may not reuse a product/service idea that you have submitted in a prior course, either at UMUC or elsewhere. Please be aware that the marketing plan proposal and the marketing plan will be submitted to Turnitin and issues with originality will be forwarded to the Dean’s Office under the Academic Integrity process. ]

The importance of the marketing plan assignment in this course underscores the significance of planning to the marketing function of a large organization, or to the survival of a small to mid-size organization.

 

Getting Started

Your marketing plan assignment began with the marketing plan proposal product idea generation and selection process in Week 2. In Week 2 you were asked to submit a proposal describing three possible product/service ideas. See, the Marketing Plan Proposal Assignment for more information.

At this point you should have one product/service; you will develop a marketing plan for this product/service. See the feedback on the Marketing Plan Proposal and contact the professor if you are unclear on your product/service selection. Go no further with this assignment until you have the one product/service for your marketing plan.

 

Writing and Research

The clear communication of ideas is essential to effective marketing, therefore a significant portion of the grade on the marketing plan is devoted to communication which includes writing, format and presentation.

 

Research Resources

The marketing plan is a research assignment. You will need to perform substantial research about your chosen product and the market for that offering. That research should involve high quality sources. In Week 2 of the classroom you will find a Marketing Plan Resources document. This document contains links to resources suggested by UMUC professors and librarians. This will point you to high quality sources to begin your research and should save you time.

 

Writing Resources

UMUC provides excellent resources for students who wish to obtain assistance with writing improvement. Anyone may register for Writing Tutoring by going to the classroom and following the path (Content>Writing Tutoring). Simply click on the link and register. There is no charge for this service and it is available for the duration of the assignment.

 

Requirements

You will write and submit a 20-page, double-spaced marketing plan on your selected product/service. The page limit does not include appendices and the reference list.

 

Format

The paper will be formatted as a Word document.

The font size is 11-12. Acceptable fonts are:

 

Arial

· Cambria

· Calibri

· Times New Roman

· Verdana

All factual material (e.g. facts, figures, charts, statistics) must be properly source cited in APA format. A reference list in APA format is required.

Follow this format for your Marketing Plan and use these section headings in your plan:

I. Executive Summary

II. Where are we now? Situation Analysis

 

a. The Product (or Service)

b. Value Proposition

c. The Company

d. Competitors & Collaborators

e. Business Climate

f. SWOT Analysis

g. Critical Issues

 

III. Where do we want to go? Objectives & Analysis

a. Marketing Objectives

b. Financial Objectives

c. Customers/Target Market Analysis

 

IV. How do we get there? Strategy Implementation

a. Product & Brand Strategy

b. Pricing Strategy

c. Distribution Strategy

d. Marketing Communications Strategy

e. Other Resources

f. Legal & Ethical Issue Analysis

g. Measurement of Results

 

V. Conclusion

 

 

Reference List

Each section must include all of the material described here.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is a high-level summary of the most important elements of the plan. The purpose of the section is to serve as a “hook” for a reader with limited time. Understand that in a professional marketing setting not every reader would have the ability to read your entire plan. It may be necessary for your plan to receive initial approval from gate-keepers who must be convinced in a few minutes whether to approve sending it to the level, or not. This section should be about one page; if it goes to a second page there should be a reason for doing so. Don’t confuse this with an introduction! The executive summary should be tightly edited and very factual. Give a compelling and complete view of the plan in as few words as possible. The executive summary must be appropriate to the scope and contents of the plan; therefore, we advise you write this section of the plan last.

 

Situation Analysis – Where are we now?

The Product (or Service)

This is an introduction to your product/service. Provide a detailed description of the product/service. There may be some overlap between this section and the more extensive product & brand strategy section; however, the two sections must be consistent.

 

Value Proposition

What is the Value Proposition of your product/service for the customer? What problem does this product/service solve for the customer? Why do customers need this product/service?

 

The Company

This is a brief introduction to the company overall. Describe the company, its mission and vision. What are its products and who are its major customers. Is this a consumer-facing company (B2C) or a business to business company (B2B)?

 

Competition & Collaborators

Competitive analysis should include both direct and indirect competitors.

 

Business Climate

A PESTEL (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Ethical, Legal) analysis is appropriate in this section. Since the ethical and legal issues will be covered in a separate section, you may cover the PEST only here.

 

SWOT Analysis

Many possible tools are possible for analysis, but a SWOT analysis is an expected element of a marketing plan. This section should contain your original analysis of the internal strengths and weaknesses as well as the external opportunities and threats for this company. You may consult SWOT examples found through the library databases for inspiration, but do not submit a SWOT copied from another source, even if the source citation for the SWOT is provided. Original insights, particularly as they might relate to your product/service would be valuable in this section.

 

 

Critical Issues

This section addresses the most critical areas identified in the SWOT analysis, particularly those that might pose a barrier to success. Explain the strategy for optimizing the strengths and opportunities identified and minimizing the weaknesses and threats.

 

Objectives and Analysis – Where do we want to go?

Marketing Objectives

Many marketing objectives relate to sales and market share. Specify THREE specific marketing objectives to achieve with your plan. One of your objectives should be a metric that is customer focused (reduce customer acquisition costs, increase customer retention, etc). Remember, the very best marketing objectives are just like SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound).

 

Financial Objectives

Common financial objectives relate to costs and expenses. Forecast sales and expenses over one year. Cost out the marketing expenses specifically, such as the cost of the communications plan and the need to hire new marketers, if applicable.

 

Customers/Target Market Analysis

Customer analysis should reflect the learning about how markets are target and segmented.

This is perhaps the most important part of the plan because it is where you will discuss your customers, how you define your market and how well you recognize your competitive environment. Use a variety of geographic, demographic, psychographic, etc. bases to define your target market. Include in this section the market size, market trends and growth potential. Research should be apparent and appropriate to the product/service.

 

Strategy Implementation – How do we get there?

Product & Brand Strategy

The most important aspects of any product/service are features, benefits and price. You will discuss pricing in the following section. This section presents the “how” of your plan – how your organization will develop, market and sell the product/service the customer needs. What is your product strategy? Remember to address the aspects of the augmented product model, for example you could address the major product components (e.g., package, label, etc.). How will the product be positioned? What is the branding strategy? Detail your strategy and discuss why it is the most appropriate one for the product/service and the market.

 

Pricing Strategy

Of all the available pricing strategies, which one makes sense for this product/service and why? What should be the price of this product/service? Why?

 

Distribution Strategy

How will the product/service find its way to the customer? Will you use marketing intermediaries? Channel partners?

 

Marketing Communications Strategy

How will customers know about your product? What is your plan? Is this a product/service that would benefit from digital marketing or social media support? Influencer marketing? Print, TV? Why?

 

Other Resources

Are any other company resources needed to successfully bring this product/service to market? For example, will there be a need for marketing research? If so, specify what types you anticipate. If not, you may leave out this section of the plan.

 

Legal & Ethical Issues Analysis

Identify any regulatory or other legal issues that may affect the marketing of your product/service and discuss how you plan to address those issues. You also will mention any potential ethical issues you have identified with your product/service and how you plan to address those issues.

 

Measurement of Results

How will results be measured and when? Be specific about the metrics that will be used and how. How do these relate to the marketing and financial objectives established earlier in your plan? Are you measuring the correct outcomes?

 

Conclusion

Remember, the marketing plan is itself a communication tool. This is the place where you have your final opportunity to make the “pitch,” so don’t waste a word. Repeat only the highlights and make a strong close.

 

Questions

Questions about this assignment are welcome at any time in the “Ask the Professor” area of the classroom.

Grading Rubric

A grading rubric for this assignment is provided below. Please scroll down for the full rubric.

 

Rubric

Qualities & Criteria Excellent

90-100%

Good – Very Good

80-90%

Improvement Needed

70-80%

Unsatisfactory

<70%

Fo Content – Possible points: 80
Executive Summary

&

Situation Analysis

Executive summary appropriate to scope & contents of plan.

Product/service description is clear and highly appropriate.

Value proposition is clear and highly appropriate in terms of customer perception of value. Need analysis is closely aligned with value proposition.

Company analysis is clear and highly appropriate to product/service

SWOT analysis is insightful.

Critical issues follow logically from SWOT.

Market size & growth clearly connects growth rate with chosen target market.

Market trends analysis clear and highly appropriate.

Target market analysis clear and highly appropriate.

Competitive analysis excellent understanding of competition, both direct & indirect.

PEST analysis is excellent.

Executive summary may need more information.

Product/service description is clear and appropriate.

Value Proposition may need more information and/or support esp in relation to customer perception of value.

Need analysis may need more information and/or support.

Company analysis may need more information and/or support.

SWOT may need more information and/or support.

Critical issues may need more information and/or support.

Market trends may need more information and/or support.

Target market may need more information and/or support.

Competitive analysis may need more information and/or support.

PEST analysis may need more information/or support.

Executive summary may lack clarity.

Product/service description may lack clarity.

Value Proposition may lack clarity. Need analysis may lack clarity.

Company analysis may lack clarity.

SWOT may lack clarity.

Critical issues may lack clarity.

Market size & growth may lack clarity.

Market trends analysis may lack clarity.

Target market analysis may lack clarity..

Competitive analysis may lack clarity.

PEST analysis may lack clarity.

Executive summary is missing/ does not accurately describe scope & contents.

Product/service description missing or inaccurate.

Value proposition missing or inaccurate. Need analysis missing or inaccurate.

Company analysis missing or inaccurate.

SWOT missing or inaccurate.

Critical issues missing or inaccurate.

Market size & growth missing or inaccurate.

Market trends analysis missing or inaccurate.

Target market analysis missing or inaccurate.

Competitive analysis missing or inaccurate.

PEST analysis is missing or inaccurate.

Possible Points: 40 40 – 36 35.99 – 32 31.99 – 28 Under 28
Points
Objectives, Strategy & Conclusion Marketing objectives are measurable, specific and time-limited. Appear achievable.

Financial objectives clearly expressed for example as in expected revenue or profits.

Customer analysis indicates exceptional understanding of target market.

Product strategy is clear and highly appropriate to product/service. Branding strategy is clear and highly suited to product/service.

Positioning strategy is clearly expressed and highly appropriate to product /service.

Pricing strategy is clear and highly appropriate to the product/service.

Distribution strategy is highly appropriate to the product/service.

IMC strategy is well planned, integrated and appropriate.

Marketing research activities are highly appropriate in all aspects, if present (not a required element).

Plan includes highly appropriate legal and ethical considerations.

Plan includes highly appropriate metrics for measurement of results.

Marketing objectives are measurable, specific and time-limited.

Financial objectives may need more information and/or support.

Customer analysis may need more information and/or support.

Product strategy may need more information and/or support. Branding strategy may need more information and/or support

Positioning strategy may need more information and/or support.

Pricing strategy may need more information and/or support.

Distribution strategy may need more information and/or support.

IMC strategy may need more information and/or support.

Marketing research activities may need more information and/or support, if present (not a required element).

Legal considerations in plan may need more information and/or support.

Metrics for measurement of results may need more information and/or support.

Marketing objectives are not specific and/or measurable or time-limited.

Financial objectives may lack clarity.

Customer analysis may lack clarity.

Product strategy may lack clarity. Branding strategy may lack clarity.

Positioning strategy may lack clarity.

Pricing strategy may lack clarity.

Distribution strategy may lack clarity.

IMC strategy may lack clarity.

Marketing research activities may lack clarity, if present (not a required element).

Legal considerations may lack clarity.

Ethical considerations may lack clarity.

Metrics for measurement of results may lack clarity.

Marketing objectives are unclear or missing.

The ideas presented are not practical or executable.

The ideas presented are impractical to implement.

Customer analysis missing or inaccurate.

Financial objectives missing.

Product strategy missing. Branding strategy missing.

Positioning strategy missing

Pricing strategy missing.

Distribution strategy missing.

IMC strategy missing.

Marketing research activities missing (not a required element).

Legal considerations missing.

Ethical considerations missing.

Metrics for measurement of results missing.

Possible Points: 40 40 – 36 35.99 – 32 31.99 – 28 Under 28
Points
Total Content 80 – 72 71.99 – 64 63.99 – 66 Below 56
Content Points

 

Communication – Possible points: 20
Writing, format and presentation, including research and use of quality sources Overall, graduate level writing is reflected throughout the marketing plan.

Marketing plan reflects appropriate graduate level research effort. High quality sources are used.

All sources are well integrated into the analysis.

All sources are identified and cited properly in the text and the reference list

Citations are properly used (APA format). Marketing plan is exceptional with respect to format and professional presentation.

Overall, writing in marketing plan meets graduate standards.

Fewer than 5 errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and/or sentence structure in marketing plan.

Marketing plan reflects graduate level research effort. Some questionable sources may be used, but these sources are not relied upon exclusively.

Sources are well integrated into the analysis, not merely quoted.

All sources are identified and cited properly in the text and the reference list.

Few errors in the proper use of citations (APA format). Marketing plan is well formatted and professionally presented.

Overall, writing in marketing plan does not meet graduate standards.

Unacceptable number of errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure in marketing plan.

Marketing plan reflects lower level graduate research effort. Some questionable sources were used and relied upon.

Research is sparse and insufficient

Sources are not integrated into the analysis, but merely quoted.

Citations and/or reference list are not properly used (APA format). Marketing plan is not well formatted or professionally presented.

Overall, writing does not meet graduate standards.

Unacceptable number of errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure in marketing plan. Marketing plan reflects little evidence of research or uses sources that are not reliable and credible.

Any sources used were merely quoted.

Citations and/or reference list are not properly used (APA format).

Marketing plan is not properly formatted or professionally presented.

Possible Points (20) 20 – 18 17.99 – 16 15.99 – 14 Below 14
Communication Points
Content points + Communication points =

TOTAL Grade

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