1 Marketing Plan Proforma THE STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO DEVELOPING YOUR OWN MARKETING PLAN
2 INTRODUCTION- What is Marketing? The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines it as the Management process for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements, profitably. To work effectively, marketing requires thorough planning and this document has been designed to help you in that process by developing your own marketing plan. The following pages highlight key areas of your business which need to be reviewed and developed. We have provided prompts to help you to identify further sources of information, where relevant. Used properly, this document should enable you to develop and improve your own in-house marketing capability. It can also be used in conjunction with a consultant/advisor to focus on the main marketing management issues for your business.
3 HOW TO USE THE MARKETING PLAN PROFORMA The Marketing Plan Proforma is a working document, and uses a question and answer approach to help you develop your own Marketing Plan. It covers the main areas involved in marketing planning, but it is not intended to be all embracing. You should therefore identify and substitute other areas more relevant to your particular business, where appropriate, when completing the document. Please ignore any sections which you consider do not apply to your business. There are 7 Main Stages to Developing a Marketing Plan 1 Business Review/Marketing Audit The Marketing Audit is a snapshot of your company, the market in which you operate and the effectiveness of your marketing activity at the moment. 2 Market Research Finding out information about your markets and customers 3 SWOT Analysis The SWOT Analysis examines the major Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats currently facing your business, drawing from the information obtained from the Marketing Audit and other strategic issues 4 Set Objectives Deciding what we want to achieve over the next 3 years-firm, quantifiable objectives 5 Agree Target Segments Agreeing who to target our marketing activity at 6 Develop Marketing Strategy Determining what we need to do to achieve our objectives 7 Develop Action Plan Making sure we document what needs to be done, who will do it, costs etc
4 To assist you with this work, we have included three sections attached to this document entitled How to complete the Marketing Audit How to complete the SWOT Analysis How to complete the Marketing Plan You should refer to each relevant section before and after completing the appropriate element of the Proforma to ensure that you are on the right track. You will note that spaces have been beside each section that forms part of the Marketing Plan. This is where you start doing some work! You should fill in the areas opposite the prompt questions to start developing your own Marketing Plan
5 STAGE 1-THE MARKETING AUDIT Let s look at the first area to examine then, the Marketing Audit. Although it may sound a bit off-putting at first, and remind us a bit of the yearly financial audit, the Marketing Audit is a straightforward and important exercise. It is a review of how your business is performing from a marketing point of view and provides the building blocks for the later stages of the Marketing Plan. The Marketing Audit is divided into two areas, External and Internal. The External audit involves reviewing factors and trends in the marketplace which might affect your business and the Internal audit examines key areas inside your own business and considering how they are performing. Let s take a look at each of these areas in turn. Refer to the section How To Complete The Marketing Audit at the end of this document. External Audit The External Audit then basically examines factors that occur in the outside world, which affect your business. The exact factors, and their importance to us will vary, according to such things as the size of your business and the sectors/countries in which we operate. The main areas to consider though, have been summarised in the following sections. Let s look at each of these in a little more detail, with a few prompt questions to help us. You should complete the blank sections for your own business, covering each of these areas.
6 Economic What are the current trends in terms of inflation, unemployment, investment, consumer disposable income etc? How is this affecting our business? Legal What changes in legislation are taking place which could affect our business (UK/EU)? Social/Cultural Are there any changes in population structure, lifestyles etc which could influence demand for our products? What are they? Technological: What changes are taking place in your industry in terms of new equipment, energy-saving techniques, substitute products, product development? How are you responding to these changes? Environmental How will trends in green considerations affect your business? What EU legislation is or is likely to influence demand for, or the production processes for, your goods?
7 Checklist-External Audit Am I sure that the information contained above is accurate? Yes No Unsure What sources of information have I used? How could I illustrate to myself and others that this is an accurate representation of the market? Which of the above areas do I need to obtain further information on? Are there any other areas not covered, but are specific to my business that I need to obtain information on? Action Point Refer to Section 1 How to complete the Marketing Audit together with the further sources of information identified to assist you in completing the gaps in information highlighted above.
8 Internal Audit The Internal Audit examines those factors over which you as business managers have some direct control, unlike the External ones over which you generally have little or no influence. It involves building up a knowledge of your business. It is important that this process is done objectively, and so if you are doing the audit yourself, be honest and candid. Even ask some of your customers or suppliers for example what they think of you in certain areas, to see if they agree with you! The main areas that you should assess as part of the internal audit are outlined in the following sections: Company Background When was the business formed? Where is it located? Full address, telephone number and fax number? What type of business is it? ie Sole trader, Partnership, Limited company?
9 Is it an independent company or part of a group? Give details. What is the ownership structure of the business? Organisation Chart Outline the company s organisation chart and responsibilities? How many people does your business employ? Management Responsibilities
10 Outline who are the key management staff in the business together with their main responsibilities? What are their skills and experience? What are their qualifications? Who is responsible for marketing?
11 Sale and Profitability Performance What has been the company s profitability performance (gross and net) over the past three years? Year Ending Sales Sales Inc/Dec % Gross Profit GP% Net Profit NP % What has been the company s sales (volume/value) performance over the past 3 years analysed by: Geographic area Industry sector Product Major customers
12 Products/Services What are your company s main products and services? What benefits do your products/services offer to your customers? Should certain products be dropped from the product range, should others be modified? Do new products need to be developed? Which products contribute most to sales and profitability?
13 Pricing What are your pricing levels? Do they differ by customer? How do you determine your pricing levels? Are there opportunities for price increases? What effect would this have? How price competitive are you? Do your prices reflect the perceived value of your products to customers? How price competitive are you?
14 Distribution Are the current distribution methods used the most appropriate and cost effective? Have you considered others? What are their advantages/disadvantages for your company?
15 Promotion How do you let the market know about your company and it s products? Is this effective? What was the overall budget last year? What alternative options are open to you? Have these been considered in relation to your own business? Does your selling and promotional activity stress the benefits of your products? What are they?
16 Planning Do you have a formal written marketing/business plan? Have you established clear consistent marketing objectives? What are they? What is your marketing strategy? Do you have one? Does it meet your marketing objectives?
17 Checklist-Internal Audit Am I sure that the information contained above is accurate? Yes No Unsure What sources of information have I used? How could I illustrate to myself and others that this is an accurate representation of the market? Which of the above areas do I need to obtain further information on? Are there any other areas not covered, but are specific to my business that I need to obtain information on? Action Point
18 STAGE 2-MARKET RESEARCH What is the market size for your products, and is it growing? (Analyse by volume and value). What are the levels/trends in pricing operating in the marketplace? What are the normal trade practises re: discounts etc.? What is the existing distribution structure within your markets (ie are goods normally supplied to customers direct, through distributors/wholesalers etc.)? Who are the major customers in the market and where are they located? Is the market very fragmented? What are the key factors in the customers buying decision? (eg. Price, quality of product/service, location of supplier, customer support)
19 What are the major methods of promoting goods to customers in your market (eg Salesforce, advertising, exhibitions, public relations, direct mail)? Who are the major competitors in the market? Where are they located? What are their main strengths and weaknesses? What do my customers think of my products/services
20 STAGE 3-SWOT ANALYSIS Refer to the Section How To Complete The SWOT Analysis. The next stage is to summarise the findings of the Marketing Audit, combined with other important strategic issues into something called a SWOT Analysis. This basically involves analysing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats facing your business. It can be a very powerful tool to assess your business. When completing the SWOT analysis, it is important to remember that Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to the business, and that Opportunities and Threats are external. Fundamental areas to consider in the SWOT analysis are outlined below: Strengths and Weaknesses (Based on the Internal Audit) Sales/profitability Products Promotional activities Customer service Pricing Management skills, experiences Resources These example areas may be either strengths or weaknesses, depending on your own company s position. Outline your own business strengths and weaknesses below. Rank A-D.
21 Opportunities and Threats Market trends/growth Customer requirements Competitive developments Economic Legal Social/cultural Technological Environmental These areas may be either Opportunities or threats, depending on your own company s position: Outline the opportunities and threats for your own business below.
22 Checklist-SWOT Analysis Am I sure that the Strengths/Weaknesses outlined above are internal to the business and the Opportunities and Threats are external? Yes No Unsure If no or unsure, discuss them with your colleagues or business associates
23 THE MARKETING PLAN The Marketing Plan outlines in written format, what your business wants to achieve over the next, say 2-3 years, and how this will be done. A good marketing plan will demonstrate a clear understanding of your marketplace, your position within it, your intentions and how these will be carried out. It will outline what resources are required to implement the plan, the costs associated with undertaking each activity, who is to undertake them and when! The Marketing Audit outlined what you have been doing in the past. Marketing Plan indicates what you will aim to do in the future. The The Marketing Plan itself needs to cover a number of important areas. These are summarised again below: Marketing Plan Set Objectives Agree Target Segments Develop Marketing strategy Determine: Product approaches Pricing approaches Distribution approaches Promotional approaches Develop Sales Projections Outline Assumptions Develop Contingency Plans Determine Resources Develop Marketing Action Plan Monitor Implementation Refer to the Section How To Complete The Marketing Plan
24 STAGE 4-SET MARKETING OBJECTIVES Marketing Objectives should be quantified and measurable over a specified time period. They outline what the business wants to achieve over the next, say three years. Marketing Objectives normally relate to activities such as sales levels, profit, market share, market penetration etc. Some examples of specific Marketing objectives are outlined below: - To achieve sales of 2m during the current year - To achieve a market share of 5% by year 1 - To generate awareness of our product of 20% by year 2 Outline your anticipated sales projections over the next three years. Year Ending Sales Sales Inc/Dec % Gross Profit GP% Net Profit NP %
25 Assumptions Outline the main assumptions that have been used to justify the sales projections and why you think the sales projections will be achieved? Contingency Plans What effect will it have on your business, if say only 75% of the above sales projections are reached? What plans have you made to react to such a situation?
26 STAGE 5-Agree Target Market Segments Once you have agreed what you want to achieve, then determine which marketing segments you want to target. This might look at follows Market Segment Existing Customers Past Customers Lost Bids Enquired Prospect Group 1 Prospect Group 2 Prospect Group 3 Description Dealt with in the past 12 months Not dealt with in the past 12 months Quoted but not Converted Enquired but not Quoted Prospects in targeted segment Prospects in targeted segment Prospects in targeted segment
27 Products New Existing STAGE 6-Develop your Marketing Strategy The Marketing Strategy outlines how the Marketing Objectives, determined in the previous section, are to actually be achieved. There are 4 broad strategies for the development of a company, and it is likely that your Marketing Strategy will fall into one or more of these areas, which we have summarised below: Existing Markets New Market Penetration Market Development Product Development Diversificatio n Market Penetration Expanding sales of your present product range into existing markets is known as market penetration. This essentially involves increasing sales to your existing customers and to similar potential customers in the markets in which you already operate. Market Development Developing new markets for your range of products is market development. This can involve actively seeking opportunities for your products in other geographic areas, ie other parts of the UK, the EU or overseas.
28 Product Development Product Development involves producing/supplying new products/services to markets in which you already operate. It is often easier to sell new products to customers you know than to introduce products to those that you do not know already. Diversification Diversification is the process of the development of new products for new markets. This strategy is often the most difficult and most expensive to undertake. Within the chosen Marketing Strategy, however, there a number of specific areas which need to be considered in further detail to add depth and understanding to the plan. You will need to consider these areas outlined below, using the prompt questions as guidelines, bearing in mind the Marketing Objectives that you have set and the broad Marketing Strategy that you have adopted. You already looked at these areas in the Marketing Audit, but that was in relation to what you have done in the past. You now need to consider them in terms of what you need to do under each of the headings in the future to ensure that the Marketing Objectives that you have just set, can be achieved.
29 Product/Service Strategy Do you need to consider changes in terms of product performance of your current product range? Specify. Are any changes required in the quality/features of your current products? Do you need to consider the rationalisation of your product range? Do you need to consider new product development?
30 Pricing Strategy What is your pricing policy? What costs have you taken into account when finalising your pricing decision eg. production, distributor margins etc. Are these reasonable? Are your products priced with a view to the competition, the image, quality and benefits of your product? What is your approach to discounts?
31 Distribution Strategy Do you need to change your delivery arrangements/distribution channels? If so, how and for what reasons? What are you doing to improve customer service? Promotion Strategy What promotional methods are you planning to use? Exhibitions, Direct Mail, PR. eg: Advertising, Why have these methods been chosen? How will you measure the effectiveness of your promotional activity?
32 Marketing Resources Who will have overall responsibility for the implementation of the plan? What are their skills? Do they need additional training in sales in marketing? Specify. Indicate plans to rectify the situation. Do you need additional help to implement the plan eg new staff, consultants. Specify. Monitoring How do you intend to monitor the implementation of the plan?
33 STAGE 7-Marketing Action Plan An example of a typical Marketing Action Plan is outlined below for guidance. Activity Responsibility Timing Cost
34 Marketing Budgets Outline your anticipated expenditure on marketing over the period of the plan.
35 Checklist-Marketing Plan Have I formulated my Marketing Objectives? Yes?... No?... Are they quantifiable, measurable and over a specified period of time? Yes?... No?... Will the Marketing Strategy that I have developed ensure that the Objectives are met? Yes?... No?... Do the various elements of the strategy (product, price, distribution promotion etc) make sense. Are they consistent? Yes?... No?... Action Point Refer to the Section How To Complete The Marketing Strategy.
36 Support Information HOW TO COMPLETE THE MARKETING AUDIT The first stage of the Marketing Audit then, the external audit, is a review of the marketplace in which your company operates, your customers and competitors and your position within the market. This is followed by the internal audit, a detailed review of how your business is performing in a number of key areas. External Audit To complete the sections in the external audit, you will need to: - Review the information that you already have in-house on the areas identified - Identify what gaps in information remain - Undertake some research to fill in the gaps. The research can be undertaken either by you or your colleagues, or by commissioning consultants. Internal Audit The internal audit involves an objective look at your business, from a marketing point of view. Often this process is undertaken by a consultant, though it can also be undertaken with care by existing management. In these cases we would recommend that the major findings are tested out on people who know the company well, such as customers or suppliers in order to verify the information obtained.
37 HOW TO COMPLETE THE SWOT ANALYSIS One of the best ways of conducting a SWOT Analysis, if possible, is to get 2-3 of the senior people in the business together in a room with a flipchart and brainstorm to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats facing the business One person should take responsibility for running the session and writing the key points on the flipchart for reference. For the sake of a constructive session, everyone should agree that no negative comments are made about suggestions put forward. ( The idea here, is that people do not feel intimidated by putting forward potentially good suggestions by the fear of rejection or looking silly). Once all the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats have been identified on the flip chart, then there is an opportunity to take the process to the next stage and rank them in order of importance to the business. For example, there may have been 10 opportunities identified for the business. On further ranking, however, only three of these may have been listed as A s, 2 B s, 1 C and 4 D s. (Ranking from A-D is common, where A=Highly Significant and D=Not Very Significant). This approach should be applied to the other areas of the SWOT Analysis to complete the overall picture for the business.
38 HOW TO COMPLETE THE MARKETING PLAN You will already have identified from the section on the Marketing Plan, which broad strategy you will be adopting, ie whether it will be a Market Penetration, Market Development, Product Development or Diversification Strategy. As was indicated, the next stage is to determine what specifically you need to do/consider under the following areas: - Product - Price - Distribution - Promotion Let s consider these issues in a bit more detail below, as they are so important to the successful development of the plan: Product Your response to issues concerning your product range will naturally be influenced by your choice of broad strategy. For example, if you have chosen a Market Penetration Strategy ie to increase your share of your existing markets with your existing products, new product development will not be a key issue. If, however, you are attempting to sell new products to your existing markets, Product Development, the introduction of new products is obviously fundamental and needs to be given detailed consideration. Price Pricing is an important area over which you have responsibility. It is vital that your products and services are priced at a level which fits in with your image and position within the marketplace, how the competition prices etc. Pricing is a strategic decision. In many ways the level at which you price is influenced by what you want to achieve in the market. For example if you want to gain a high level of penetration in a particular market, with a mind to longer
39 term profits, then you might price at a relatively low level to achieve this objective. If, however, you have spent a lot of money developing a new product, with which you have a short-term technical lead, then you may decide to price at a high level in the early stages to skim as much return for your business as possible. This approach is not surprisingly called Market Skimming, whilst the former approach is called a market penetration or market development pricing strategy. Most companies, however, tend to price at a level similar to their main competitors. This approach is called competitive parity. You should decide upon your approach to pricing and why. Distribution Distribution relates to more than the physical transportation of goods. It also relates to the actual channels chosen to move your products from your business to the end-user. Options to consider can include: Direct to end user Via agents Via Distributors Via Wholesalers The route chosen will be determined by a number of factors such as: What is common practise in the market Number of potential customers and where they are located Requirements in term margin (ie you gain a greater margin by supplying directly to the end user customer, but you may not have the resources or capability to do this on your own). Based on an analysis of the above factors, your resources and strategy you will need to determine which is the most appropriate distribution approach for your business.
40 Promotion Promotion covers the methods of communicating with your customers. The various methods to consider should include the following: Promotional Mix Websites Marketing Social Media Advertising Public Relations Direct Marketing Exhibitions Sales Promotions Packaging Merchandising Sponsorship Word of Mouth Corporate Identity Networking
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Your business plan helping you with your business planning and forecasting Name of business Date when completed Please read the following notes before completing the form. (You may wish to talk to an accountant