Annual marketing plan

Principles of Marketing
The goal of this project is to provide you with an experience in addressing a real-life marketing opportunity, i.e. you will be creating an “original” product concept, gaining an understanding of a particular market, deciding which customers to target, and developing the marketing mix required to introduce your product concept. You may develop this project from the perspective of a start-up company or an established firm who is adding your novel product/service to their existing line.
The five interim exercises (as well as the final report) provide integrated, comprehensive coverage of the topics contained in the text. A description of the overall project as well as each exercise is found below.
The Final Report: A single comprehensive final report. Document should be singled spaced and submitted through Connect.
*All following exercises should be completed as the answers will help you write the final report. The exercises are NOT part of the report.
Situation Analysis/Utilizing Secondary Sources of Information
1. To improve your understanding of the nature of product markets and how they can be broken down into segments and the strategic role of targeting.
2. To create an awareness of the competitive climate and general environmental conditions your company would be facing.
3. To familiarize you with the types of secondary data used in marketing research.
1. Specify your tentative product concept. (As you progress through the exercises you are likely to refine, or possibly change this.)
2. Find the NAICS/SIC code (corresponding to a manufacturing industry) that most closely describes your product category. Use economic census data from the U.S. Census Bureau to find and report the total sales and number of competitors in those industries (if available).
3. Use the on-line Business & Economics databases available through the Towson University Cook Library (e.g., ABI/Inform Business Source Premier, FIS Online, Lexis-Nexis) and any other relevant databases to search for information related to your product concept.
4. Based on your determination of an NAICS/SIC code for your new product, use electronic and/or print databases (e.g., F&S Index, Market Share Reporter, Wall Street Journal ) , and/or Internet-based resources to look up information on present (direct or indirect) and potential competitors. (If articles are found and cited, list the title of the article, date and publication in an exhibit titled “References.” Identify the three firms that you feel will be your most important competitors. Then briefly summarize their competitive stance, i.e., discuss their market share, competitive strengths and weaknesses and speculate on what response(s) they might make in response to the introduction of your product/service into the market.
5. Attempt to quantify the size and growth trends for the overall product market that you will be competing in. Determine which variables appear to be most important for defining market segments. Provide an overview of the major segments in terms of size, buying power, and past growth trends. Specify who your target market(s) will be, and provide a demographic profile of your target(s). (For example, you may find useful information from the U.S. Population Census, or sources such as Simmons Study of Media and Markets, American Demographics, Lifestyle Market Analyst. ) Review the information from U.S. Bureau of the Census , Standard and Poor’s Industry Surveys, Sales & Marketing Management Annual Buying Power Index, and any other relevant sources to forecast the size and economic well-being of your future target market over the next ten years. Report on any other relevant data about your target.
6. Create a SWOT analysis for the company that you represent.
Product Attributes and Positioning
1. To create an awareness of the nature of product offerings relative to customers’ shopping behavior.
2. To improve your understanding of the many attributes, including branding, that comprises a product offering and the strategic importance of positioning.
1. Identify the product classification your product concept would fall under and explain the implications for shopping behavior (i.e., whether your product would be viewed as a convenience, shopping, specialty, or unsought good) and the entire marketing mix.
2. Provide a summary description of your product concept. Identify the core benefit underlying your product concept and which of the product characteristics would be included as the tangible versus the augmented product.
3. Discuss how you would attempt to position your product concept relative to the competition. Identify the two most salient product characteristics related to your concept and draw a perceptual map that shows how you expect to position your product compared to how customers are likely to perceive competitors’ products on these same characteristics.
4. Identify and justify what type of branding you would use for your product.
5. Create a mock-up package design and product logo
6. Include a perceptual map.
Pricing Strategy
1. To improve your understanding of pricing elements.
2. To develop an introductory pricing strategy.
1. Identify and discuss whether you would expect demand for your product concept to be price elastic or inelastic and the factors that would be responsible for this.
2. Discuss and define each pricing strategy you would be following. Also address whether skimming or penetration pricing would be feasible for the introduction. Explain why.
3. (a) If your marketing plan is from the manufacturer’s perspective, discuss whether you would expect to offer discounts and/or allowances to channel members (i.e. wholesalers and/or retailers). Which types would you use? Why?
b. If your plan is from the perspective of a service provider (or retailer), discuss what types of discounts and/or allowances to channel members, if any, you would likely be able to take advantage of. Why?
4. Discuss whether you would expect to offer discounts and/or to consumers. Which types would you use? Why?
5. List suggested prices for your product or service and promotional pricing
Place/Distribution Strategy
To improve your understanding of the importance and nature of channels of distribution and how they are managed.
1. Identify, geographically, where your target market would be concentrated and discuss whether you’d expect to introduce your product to the entire segment all at once (i.e., a national or international roll out) or in phases (i.e., regionally). Explain why.
(a) If your plan involves a product: Given your target and the nature of your product (e.g. convenience, shopping, specialty, or unsought good category), discuss how intensive your distribution would need to be, if you will be using traditional store-based retailers. If you are proposing any form of electronic commerce, elaborate on your rationale for doing so and the relative advantages and disadvantages compared to store-based distribution.
(b) If your plan involves a service: Given your target and the nature of your (e.g., tangible good/intangible service mix service; service delivery: i.e., equipment/facility-driven versus people driven), discuss how intensive your distribution coverage would need to be, i.e., would it be centralized (one point of delivery/operation) decentralized (many points of delivery/operation), or somewhere in between? If you are proposing any form of electronic commerce, elaborate on your rationale for doing so, i.e., as a customer/marketing communications mode, a means to deliver your service, or both, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of using this mode.
2. Draw a diagram of your proposed channel of distribution (include the types of intermediaries and flows). If your plan involves a product, portray your channel(s) from the manufacturer of the end-product to the end user or consumer; if you are doing a service, your channel(s) should portray both the service aspect (service provider to customer) and the product aspect (from the end product manufacturer(s), through your firm and finally to the targeted customers). Identify and discuss whether this represents a direct or indirect channel structure and whether a dual distribution strategy is being proposed. Elaborate on why you chose this particular structure. Give examples of the types of intermediaries (e.g. discount retailers – Wal-Mart, Target; upscale department stores – Nordstrom, Saks) that would be used and explain why you would use them.
Market Communications (Promotion) Program
1. To create an awareness of the relationship of the market communications program to the nature of customers’ information needs and shopping behavior, product complexity and distribution channel configuration.
2. To improve your understanding of promotion as a communications process.
1. Provide a detailed description of your marketing communications program. Identify the role and relative importance of each element of your marketing communications mix and relate your choice to customers’ information needs, experience, level of purchasing involvement, and shopping behavior.
2. Provide a timeline of your advertising throughout the year.
3. Discuss whether your communications program represents a push versus a pull strategy (or a hybrid approach).
4. Create at least two of the following: a simulated print or broadcast advertisement (e.g. mock print ad, demo radio spot, or TV story board or video), a web page, or a point-of-sale display.
5. Explain a Loyalty Program you would create for customers.
Final Written Report
Your final report should reflect a high level of quality, not only to demonstrate your mastery of relevant marketing concepts and their application, but also in terms of readability (i.e. good sentence structure and grammar, selective use of exhibits to illustrate key points) and persuasiveness.
Report must be single spaced.
I. Introduction/Executive Summary (1 page), which provides a brief overview of the marketing plan being recommended and why.
II. Abbreviated Situation Analysis (1 page ), which summarizes:
A. Industry/Product Category
B. Competitive Analysis
C. Market and Segment Analysis
D. Mission Statement
III. Target Market Overview
IV. Marketing Mix (5 pages), which addresses the four P’s:
A. Product
B. Pricing
C. Place (Distribution)
D. Promotion (Market Communications)
V. Supporting Exhibits
VI. Bibliography/References
� Not all of these sources may be available through the Cook Library, but may be available from other University System of Maryland libraries or other local sources.


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