Students will develop a marketing plan based on a product or service that they have chosen.
(Hint: keep your product or service idea simple. Example ideas: Restaurant, single product web store, product kiosk, travel agency, fruit stand, small retail store, coffee shop, or possibly a bakery. Should you have a business idea of your own, use that to build your plan.)
For each assignment, students will compose a written analysis along with a top line summary in PowerPoint. In all plan assignments, incorporate marketing terminology, include graphics, charts, and/or outlines when that form of communication is warranted; additionally, include a discussion of your logic and reasoning for all decisions made and directions taken. The information students include in their marketing plan will be based on information from public secondary sources, company or personal web sites, as well as professional experiences and insights. Surveys and primary research are encouraged but not required.
All assignments need to follow APA style, using 12 point Times New Roman font. Properly cite all research included in your work. Prior to starting the marketing plan, students will need to prepare a marketing plan synopsis for mentor approval.
Research portion of the plan:
1. Prepare and submit a Target Market Analysis
2. Prepare and submit an Environmental and SWOT Analysis
3. Prepare and submit a Competitor Analysis
4. Prepare and submit a Budget Analysis
5. Prepare and submit a Pricing and Distribution Strategy Marketing Mix portion of the plan:
6. Prepare and submit a Marketing Mix
7. Prepare and submit a Schedule for the Promotion Strategy
8. Prepare and submit a Sales Strategy
You may propose an alternative project of their own design that shows attainment of the corresponding course outcome. The mentor must approve the alternative project.
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Students will create a customer-oriented marketing plan in this course. The marketing plan you create should be something that interests you and will be simple enough to fulfill the course requirements (a complex idea requires full comprehension of the course ideas and the presentation of a fully integrated marketing plan as the final outcome in this class, which can be quite challenging). Be aware that this class will be incorporating finance and project management into the marketing plan. In order to incorporate all of these different areas into the completed marketing plan, you will need to relate all of the outcomes and course objectives to one another.
When building your marketing plan, be mindful of:
- Who you are marketing to?
- How to position your product and be noticed by your customers.
- How to find the open market opportunities to deliver wants and needs, based on demographic, lifestyle, financial capabilities, and more.
- How to deliver the right value at the right price.
SWOT is the acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The SWOT takes a look at the micro view of not only your business, but also the business of your competitors. This is a strategic overview in assessing marketing opportunities and challenges. When you conduct your SWOT analysis, keep in mind that you’ll want to relate items to not only the marketing aspects, but also to finance and project management.
PEST stands for Political, Environmental, Social and Technological. The PEST analysis is a macro view of the business environment. This analysis is an overview of factors that will influence your marketing plan.
As the name implies, this is the study and analysis of the target market. It is the process of identifying customers from whom your business will be buying products or services. This is a major analysis to assess the readiness, size, buying behaviors, and relevance of the target market as well as localizing the needs or wants for your service or product. The data that students collect should be clearly separated between primary and secondary sources. Factors comprising an effective analysis include:
- Demographic segmentation (generational, behavioral, psychographic, international, industry)
- Consumer attitudes
- Life cycle
- Opinion leaders
- Social class
It is crucial for business people to examine every aspect of a market before entering it. There are many important marketing terms to learn and understand within the target market context.
In today’s business environment, competitors come in many forms, often in ways unforeseen by many business owners. Consequently, it is very important to keep a keen eye on your industry and emerging industries. In analyzing your competition, students need to address:
In budget analysis, students will be exposed to methods of budgeting based on the analysis of the market, competition, and current economy that affect the end users’ buying power. Discussion should include alternative methods depending on scenario, as well as services and products offered. There are four primary budgeting methods; your analysis will involve determining which is applicable to your business and which is not. Occasionally it is acceptable to utilize different methods depending on the product or service and its associated life cycle. The four primary methods are:
- Affordable methods
- Percentage of sales method
- Competitive parity method
- Objective and task method
Keep in mind that in marketing, finance, and project management, what you learn later on may cause you to change your previous assumptions.
The marketing mix is what many individuals think of when the discussion of marketing comes up. Students, however, learn that this is only one aspect of marketing. Without all the research that goes into learning about the customer, finding the right pricing mechanism, understanding how budget plays a role and what the micro and macro forces of the marketplace are doing, the marketing mix cannot possibly be delivered in an effective manner.The marketing mix includes all the elements of marketing. Often considered Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), the marketing mix will address the different types of marketing techniques and methods as well as different media vessels of advertising. With today’s evolution of marketing and forms of information exchange, marketing has different effective alternatives that work best in certain scenarios; this is the challenge presented to you for your own product or service for this class – determining the right mix, frequency, costs, and message for your audience.
The schedule involves balancing the appropriate marketing mix. Again with finance and its influence of the bigger picture to the marketing and business plans, scheduling of your marketing should be balanced effectively so your company can maintain a healthy bottom line. In this outcome you will be exposed to:
- CPM (cost per thousand / impression)
- Different forms of media channels
- Frequency of marketing /advertising
- Media Schedule after choosing the desired channels or forms
In encompassing the objectives you have learned so far, the next delivery component comes in the way of pricing strategies. Pricing strategies are affected by many factors at this point. From budgeting, advertising, and much more. Depending on your products and services, there is not one price that fits all strategies. Students will find depending on the chosen media or distribution channels, the pricing strategies will differ immensely. Distribution channels to be discussed in the next section include:
- Value-based pricing
- Good-value pricing
- Value-added pricing
- Variable cost pricing
- Cost-based pricing
- Fixed cost pricing
… there are many, more more, too many to list here.
When pricing your product or service, different segments requires different pricing strategies. In understanding these pricing strategies, you are encouraged to completely understand each of the tenants of the best known pricing strategy models. Pricing is the only revenue producing component in marketing – it’s an important aspect.
As mentioned before, distribution strategy dictates some components of pricing strategy. However, distribution channels do give the company a different avenue in generating revenue. You will be learning different forms of distribution and the most common practices used by various industries.You will also learn the importance of intermediaries.
Students will learn the process and nature of effective selling. This will cover an in-depth discussion pertaining to the selling process. The sales force department is crucial in every business, from prospecting to closing the deal. Sales is also another form of marketing and advertising that resonates at a more personal level. Marketers will learn the importance of the sales process, building the right sales team, determining which of the many elements of the promotional mix to use in the marketing mix, and more.