MKT 5410


"Irregularity and want of method are only supportable in men of great learning or genius, who are often too full to be exact, and therefore choose to throw down their pearls in heaps before the reader, rather than be at the pains of stringing them." - Addison


1.       The project consists of creating a marketing plan for a local business. See the attached "Outline for Marketing Plans" for more detail regarding the marketing plan format. Your text The Marketing Plan specifically details the preparation process for a marketing plan. Feel free to use the textbook's CD as needed or chosen.

2.       You may work independently or in groups of up to four people. More people working on a project should result in a more substantial result. Team grades will be adjusted via the attached peer evaluation form. Each team member will hand in his/her confidential peer evaluation form directly to Dr. Williams.

3.       Choose a local business that can and will provide the needed information. They are more apt to do this if you know them and/or offer them the results of your study. You can use your own business or work situation but you must check with Dr. Williams before you proceed. You are encouraged to use library research and Internet resources substantially and appropriately.

4.       Due Dates

         Sept. 23: Marketing Plan Proposal Due (1-2 pages typed indicating what you want to do, who you will interview, how you will get the information, team members responsibilities, schedule of activities, and any anticipated problems)

         Oct. 14: Schedule Marketing Plan Presentations

         Nov. 18 - Dec. 9: Marketing Plan Presentations (These will not be critiqued by the class.)

         Dec. 9: Typed Marketing Plan Due

5.       It is recognized that you may not be able to get all of the requested information due to confidentiality, competitive issues, time constraints, and/or difficulties in meeting with key marketing personnel. Do the best you can do given your time and situation. The intention of the project is for you to get the flavor of this so that when you become a marketing manager or own your own company or supervise marketing managers in a Fortune 500 company, you will know what is expected and will have insight into the process of creating and using a marketing plan. This is meant as a learning process not as a critical tool of judgment. In the past, students have responded favorably to this type of project. So, have this be as rigorous as possible while you also stay married, get promoted, maintain your health, make needed life changes, and otherwise live a regular, decent, happy life.

6.       The project will be evaluated on the thoroughness with which the product and companies were chosen and covered, the appropriate use of library and internet research, overall organization and completion of activities, attention to detail, professional style of writing and speaking, professional appearance (or packaging of the written and oral material), successful positioning of the outline and oral presentation, and meeting deadlines punctually.

7.       Dr. Williams will keep the original paper. If you want your paper returned with comments, please supply an additional copy.


"The fruit that can fall without shaking, indeed is too mellow for me." – Lady M. W. Montague



I.         Title Page

II.       Table of Contents

III.      Executive Summary (The Opportunity, Required Investment, Payback, Why You Will Succeed, Competitive Advantage.)

A.      The summary should present a description of the product/services, its target market and its need within that market. The summary should also present an overview of the main points of the plan, i.e., the marketing mix and the sales and profits for the first two years.

B.      The relationship between the organization's mission, objectives, strategy, and the marketing plan should be clearly expressed.

C.      The summary should emphasize an action orientation.

D.      It should be written in such a way that it helps top management find the plan's major points quickly.

IV.    Introduction

V.      Situational Analysis

A.      Situation environment (business conditions, economic conditions, state of technology, demand trends, laws, etc.).

1.       Important aspects of the company's history.

2.       Describe the company's current products or services.

a.       What are their sales, prices, and gross margins in dollars?

b.       What is their share of the market?

c.       How do they compare to the competition?

3.       Describe important external conditions and/or trends impacting the industry: social, technological, economic, legal/regulatory, competitive, institutional.

a.       Include a review of competition, which identifies major competitors and assesses their market positions and strategies for product quality, pricing, distribution, and promotion.

b.       Is the size of the market of the product category increasing or decreasing and how fast?

c.       Why has the market remained stable or changed?

4.       Do these conditions create opportunities for the product/service?

5.       Do these conditions pose threats to the product/service?

VI.    Target Market (Demographics, psychographics, geographics, lifestyle, any other segmentation used.)

A.      Describe the firm's possible market segments.

1.       What are the characteristics of each of the market segments? (Age, geography, income, lifestyles, etc.)

2.       Assess the potential of each market segment.

B.      Describe the chosen target markets.

1.       Why was this target market selected?

2.       How does the product or service meet the needs of the target market?

C.      Describe the purchase decision behavior of the target markets. (Who, why, when, where, how much, how often, and how should be answered.)

D.      What is the general sales forecast for the target market of the product/service?

VII.   Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (Explain how you will handle each.)

A.      This section requires the manager to look ahead and visualize the major threats and opportunities facing the product/service. The purpose is to counter the managers' tendency to focus on current problems and failure to anticipate important developments that can have significant impacts on the firm. Managers should list as many threats and opportunities as they can imagine.

B.      Suppose the manager at a cigarette company comes up with the following list:

1.       The U.S. Surgeon General is asking Congress to pass a law requiring that every cigarette band include a skull and crossbones on the front of the package and the warning: "Scientific evidence shows that daily smoking shortens a person's life by an average of seven years."

2.       An increasing number of public places are prohibiting smoking or are setting up separate sections for smokers and nonsmokers.

3.       A new insect is attacking tobacco-growing areas, leading to the possibility of smaller crops in the future and larger price increases if some means cannot be found to control it.

4.       The company's research lab is on the verge of finding a way to turn lettuce into benign tobacco. If successful, the new tobacco will be enjoyable and harmless.

5.       Cigarette smoking is rapidly increasing in foreign markets, especially in developing nations.

C.      Each item has implications for the cigarette business. The first three are threats. Not all threats warrant the same attention or concern. The manager should assess each threat according to its potential severity and its probability of occurrence. The results of assessing the three threats listed above are shown below. All three are high in potential severity, and two have a high probability of occurring.

D.      Threats and opportunities. Create a grid to graphically portray the potential severity/attractiveness of the threats and opportunities.

VIII. Marketing Objectives and Goals (Including when you will reach them.)

A.      What are the corporate marketing objectives of the product/service under evaluation?

B.      What are the specific marketing objectives of the product/service under evaluation?

C.      Are the objectives of the marketing plan compatible with the overall marketing objectives of the company and/or business unit?

IX.     Marketing Strategy (Nitching, positioning, entry timing, etc. - show how your strategy makes use of your competitive advantage.)

A.      Outlines the broad marketing logic by which the business unit hopes to achieve its marketing objectives and the specifics of target markets, positioning, and marketing expenditure levels.  It outlines specific strategies for each marketing mix element and explains how each responds to the threats, opportunities, and critical issues spelled out earlier in the plan.

B.      Who are the competitors and/or what are the product substitutes for the product?

C.      Does the organization have an obvious competitive advantage? If yes, what is it? Consider brand names, service, price, distribution, technology, and personnel.

D.      Provide a complete competitive analysis for the product/service. This should include:

1.       Major competitors' strengths and weaknesses.

2.       Brand positioning and competitive advantage.

3.       Market share.

E.      Does the product/service have a competitive advantage? If yes, explain your competitive strategy.

F.      How will the product or service be positioned?

X.       Marketing Tactics (The 4 p's.)

A.      Spells out how marketing strategies will be turned into specific action programs that answer the following questions:  What will be done?  When will it be done?  Who is responsible for doing it?  How much will it cost?

B.      Product/Service.

1.       What is the total product concept for this good or service? Describe the product/service in terms of features and benefits.

2.       Will it satisfy consumer's needs? How will the consumer use the product? Will consumers purchase the product?

3.       How does the product differ from that of the competition?

4.       Describe the package (size, color, label, logo, etc.) and its benefits.

5.       Are any product modifications expected as the product moves through the product life cycle?

6.       Are any warranties or guarantees offered?

7.       What is the test marketing process for the product/service?

C.      Pricing.

1.       What is the overall pricing policy for the organization?

2.       What are the organization's pricing objectives?

3.       What is the pricing structure for this product or service, i.e., pricing method, approach and strategy?

4.       How does the pricing structure for the product or service compare to that of the competition?

5.       What is the target market's evaluation of price and its ability to purchase? Will there be significant demand at this price? What is the estimated effect of lowering or raising the price of the product or service?

6.       What is the competition's likely reaction to the pricing strategy for the product or service at this price level?

7.       What (if any) price promotions (sales, discounts, allowances, etc.) will be used during the year?

D.      Distribution.

1.       What is the current distribution strategy?

2.       How effective are the current distribution channels? Will these same channels be used for the new product/service? Why?

3.       What (if any) new distribution channels should be added to accommodate the new product/service?

4.       Does the competition use any distribution channels not presently being used by the planning organization?

5.       What (if any) expected future developments could affect how, what, when, or where consumers will purchase this product/service?

E.      Marketing Communications.

1.       What are the communication objectives for the organization's product or service?

2.       What is the overall promotional strategy for the organization? Describe in terms of structure, tasks, and strategy (push/pull).

3.       How much money is allocated for the promotional budget? How will it be divided?

4.       What are the copy and media strategies for this product or service? How does the advertising differ from any competitors?

5.       What is the role of personal selling in the promotional mix? What is the ratio of advertising spending to personal selling spending? Does this ratio reflect the importance given to personal selling in the overall promotional strategy?

6.       What is the role of sales promotion? What is the ratio of advertising expenditures to sales promotion expenditures? Does this ratio reflect the importance given to sales promotion in the overall promotional strategy?

7.       What type of sales promotion will be used?

8.       What are the objectives of the public relations program?

XI.     Organization, Evaluation, Budget, Control, Accountability, and Implementation

A.      Organization chart for project.

1.       For the product or service being planned for, develop a timeline that will explain:

a.       What is to be accomplished and how much will it cost?

b.       Who will do it?

c.       When will it be done?

2.       How will results be measured? (Consider sales analysis, market share analysis, and cost analysis, etc.) What information is needed for comparison of actual and planned results?

3.       Who will be responsible for monitoring and controlling the marketing plan? Who is accountable for significant deviations from the plan?

4.       Develop a pro forma statement for the first two years of sales and detail the income and expenses in both quantitative and qualitative format.

B.      Project development schedules.

C.      A supporting marketing budget is detailed which is essentially a projected profit-and-loss statement.  It shows expected revenues (forecasted number of units sold and the average net price) and expected costs (of production, distribution, and marketing).  The difference is the projected profit.  Once approved by higher management, the budget becomes the basis for materials buying, production scheduling, personnel planning, and marketing operations.

1.       Breakeven chart.

2.       Cash flow.

3.       Profit and loss statement.

4.       Balance sheets.

D.      What controls will be used to monitor progress and allow higher management to review implementation results and spot products/services that are not meeting their goals?

E.      Other relevant information.

XII.    Summary (Summarize everything and emphasize competitive advantage.)

XIII.  Appendices

A.      Bibliography or references.

B.      Endnotes.

C.      Other material, as required. 


"Thinking well is wise; planning well wiser; doing well wisest and best of all." - Persian Proverb



  1. Subhash, C. Jain, Marketing Planning Strategy, 4th Edition, Cincinnati, Ohio: South-Western Publishing Company, 1993, p. 5.
  2. William A. Cohen, The Marketing Plan, New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, 2001.
  3. Kotler, Principles of Marketing, 9e, Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2001, p. 69-74.
  4. The marketing plan outline included in this appendix is an adaptation of the marketing plan exercise used by Professor Anne M. Devine, Alverno College, Business and Management Division, 3401 S. 39th Street, Milwaukee, WI  53234-3922.


"The immature mind hops from one thing to another; the mature mind seeks to follow through." – Harry A. Overstreet


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