How To Write an Effective Marketing Plan

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1 How To Write an Effective Marketing Plan A Quick Start Guide for Avaya BusinessPartners + Plan + Use this guide to begin crafting a new future for your company. Execute Continue the Quick Start series to take your plan from concept to completion. Visit Avaya Partner Marketing Central at for more Quick Start Guides and additional resources.

2 , & Introduction What is marketing? The word marketing describes an organization, a discipline, and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers. Marketing also manages customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders. Philosophically, marketing focuses on satisfying our customers needs, wants, and requirements. Therefore, marketing needs to be everyone s concern. It s all about representing the customer s needs to the company. The diverse set of marketing tools and tactics is the most cost-effective way to reach a broad customer audience and communicate the value offered by your company and its products and services. Impressions Solicits Responders Why do I need a marketing plan? A marketing plan helps put both demand and revenue generation into perspective. By looking at past performance, researching markets and customers and making appropriate recommendations, and setting informed goals for future performance you can focus your efforts in the most effective areas and create ideal conditions for a healthy pipeline of leads and, ideally, sales. With a solid marketing plan in place, you can better align your marketing resources with targets and tactics that will bring the most return for your business. Use this Quick Start Guide to learn more about marketing plans and to create your own. It will give you rationales, structure, and advice on all phases of marketing plan development. And don t forget when it s time to turn your plan into action, visit Avaya Partner Marketing Central online for pre-made assets (marketing materials) that can decrease your time and cost to market. Leads Marketing Funnel Qualified Leads Proposal Sales Funnel Avaya Partner Portal Pre-Contact Closed Sales Marketing and sales: working together. Avaya believes that marketing and sales both play a crucial role in the purchase process. From the first impression a customer receives via advertising through the implementation of a completed sale, marketing and sales should work together to cultivate and build awareness, qualify leads, and ultimately increase sales. Marketing programs expand your company s reach and drive lead generation, without adding sales resources and face-to-face meetings with every prospect. Public Relations, Search Engine Marketing, and advertising helps you increase awareness among your target audience and ensure that you are considered as a viable vendor when the customer need arises. Further, marketing enables the sales team with tools they need to provide customers the value proposition of your company s products and services. The Avaya Partner Portal is a free resource center for Avaya Partners that offers hundreds of useful reference materials to help you execute your marketing plans. Used in conjunction with the Avaya Partner Marketing Central, where you can craft and deliver the perfect message to your customers with professional demand generation materials, including direct mail, , print ads, radio scripts, telemarketing scripts, seminar in a box, and much more. Partner Portal: Visit and use your SSO login. Avaya PMC: Visit 2

3 Redistribute Purpose & Mission, & Gather Results Refine Message Introduction Test What is a marketing plan? A marketing plan is a detailed, researched, and essential document for Avaya Partners to build, launch, and manage successful marketing programs. To build a marketing plan, adhere to the principles of the SMART method Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-based Your plan should describe the Specific results you re looking to achieve, and make sure those results are Measurable. Product Your overall Target goals Markets should be Achievable Competitor given your audience Financial and marketplace, Business/Marketing and Realistic in the context of your business goals. Finally, setting Time-based milestones will help maintain Environment the organizational momentum you need to realize those goals. As a component of an overall business strategy and business plan, a marketing plan is typically created for a new calendar or fiscal year or specifically to launch a new product, or to remedy a business challenge. The marketing plan acts as a support element to the overall business plan, and strives to: Drive business/sales through strategies and tactics that create awareness and generate leads among new prospects and existing clients. Strengths Weaknesses Set common goals and direction for future marketing efforts. Sales Encourage marketing personnel to evaluate the results of past marketing decisions. Break even poi Encourage marketing personnel to understand the market in which they operate. Time Motivate and support sales personnel with a common goal and the means to reach that goal. Provide reference and support for securing funding for new initiatives. Opportunities Threats How will this guide help? There are many ways to develop and format a marketing plan. Of course, developing a marketing plan assumes a working understanding of marketing principles, so be sure to research basic marketing principles and techniques. This Quick Start Guide helps you create a six-part plan that includes: Purpose & Mission, & Market Competitors Economic Conditions Customers This format can be adapted fairly easily for many different uses within your marketing organization. The page length suggested for each section Marketing represents a single-spaced typed format for a plan focused on a single product but plans will vary based on Strategy specific business requirements. Distribution Product & Promotion 3

4 , & Test Purpose & Mission Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-based Product Competitor Financial Business/Marketing Environment The first step is to define a purpose for your marketing plan and a mission statement for your company. These help unfamiliar readers fully understand the purpose of the marketing plan by providing organizational background information, strategic partners, potential financial backers and other contextual information. Purpose of the Marketing Plan First, explain Strengths or summarize why Weaknesses the marketing plan was produced. Examples include creating awareness, filling the sales funnel, launching new product(s) or new market(s), continuing Sales Break even point growth of existing product(s), etc. The plan may also be a departmental report from marketing to be included in larger business or strategic plan. Mission Statement A mission statement is a short, well-crafted paragraph that defines the overarching goals of the organization. Opportunities Everything the company Threats does should reflect the mission, so the statement should attempt to address the following: ++Why is the company in business? ++ What products and service solutions does the company offer? ++ What core markets or vertical industries do we serve? Why? ++What are the main benefits we offer our customers? ++What does this company want to be known for among our customers, partners, and employees? ++ What is our general philosophy for doing business? Market Competitors Economic Conditions Customers For larger Partners, a mission statement for the company may already exist (e.g., in annual report, on corporate web site). Others may have to create one, often with the input of executive management. When creating a mission statement, also consider the following influences on your business: Company History How did the company begin? What are the major events of the company, products, and markets you serve? Marketing Strategy Distribution Product & Promotion Resources and Competencies What are we good at? What is special about us compared to current and future competitors? Time Environment Physical facilities and locations Advanced equipment and deployment resources Competitive environment What do we do that gives us a competitive advantage (e.g. our people, products, financial position, technical capabilities, strategic partnerships, etc.)? Economic climate Technological advancements 4

5 , & The situational analysis is a snapshot of the current conditions that exist at the time the plan is presented. This is an extremely important and potentially time-consuming effort that covers six key areas: 1. Current Product Analyze your company s product portfolio across all relevant criteria (1-2 pages based on portfolio). In this exercise, product refers to physical product, software, and/or services offered or sold by the company. ++ Current products Describe the current products from Avaya (and other manufacturers) you market. Give details of main product features/attributes, major benefits, current positioning and branding strategies around those products. ++ Product pricing Describe pricing strategies like customer packages or bundles, incentives, discounts, manufacturer s incentives, and promotions, co-op and joint marketing funds. ++ Product promotion Describe promotional programs and strategies for advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and public relations, and product positioning in market. 2. Current Describe in detail your company s current target markets and the unique set of marketing variables for each (2-3 pages based on markets or verticals). ++ Marketing approach What is the strategy used to identify and target customers? Examples include mass market (sell to a large broad market) and segmented verticals (selectively target specific industries or markets). ++ Demographic/psychographic profile Who are the customers in your target markets? Include profile criteria like occupational title, gender, income, age, education, geographic region, attitudes toward technology, purchasing characteristics, etc. ++ Targeted customers Look at the product/service needs, usage and benefits sought by customers in your market. Who is using the products? How do they use the products? When do they use the products? Also evaluate how customers perceive your products (product positioning) versus your competitor s or other solutions they use to solve their problems. How does your target market feel about the company s product offerings? What is their attitude regarding the telecommunications and technology category in general? ++ Purchase process How does the target audience make a purchase? What information do they need or use? What is involved in the decision-making process (timeline, approvals/authorities, etc.)? Will anyone (e.g. requisitioning department) or anything outside of your control have influence? ++ Market size estimates Estimate the whole market not only those who may buy a specific product. Provide size estimates for the potential market, the percentage of the potential market that is likely to purchase, and future growth rates within the timeframe for the marketing plan (i.e. 1-5 years). 5

6 , & 3. Competitor Research, analyze, and compare the main competitors serving the same target market as your company (4-5 pages based on number of markets/verticals). Comparison tables often help clarify this information. ++ Direct Competitors Describe competitor target markets, product portfolio, pricing, promotions, sales approach or network, and other services offered. ++ Competitor Strengths and Weaknesses Consider more than just marketing issues and dig into competitor financial standing, target market penetration, lab or advanced testing, and deployment capabilities. ++ Competitive Trends What do you see changing in the market that could work to your advantage? Disadvantage? Include discussion of potential competitive threats. 4. Financial Present a breakdown of marketing revenues and expenses (usually 2-4 pages). Using a graphical format, such as tables and graphs with an introductory paragraph, is generally recommended. Make sure to include total dollar (or regional currency) amounts as well as percentage market share. Also, for highly detailed plans, you may include monthly or even weekly sales figures. Just follow the categories listed below for all: ++ Current Sales Overall industry sales and market share (for at least the last year): Total market sales Total company sales Total for competition By product and service categories: Total for product categories Total for company s products Total for competition By geographic region: Total for each region Total for company by region Total for competition by region ++ Profitability Revenues: Overall company revenue Revenue by product or service line Revenue by business unit Marketing Expenses: Brand: Expenses related to building the company brand and markets Demand Generation: Expenses related to driving high-quality leads to the sales force Sales Enablement: Expenses related to providing tools and materials to the sales force Direct: Expenses related to marketing a product or service to a specific individual Indirect or Proportional: Generally broad marketing expenses that may be assigned to a product or service based on some established criteria (e.g. a product s percentage of overall company sales) 6

7 , & 5. Business/Marketing Environment Describe external trends, events, and conditions beyond your control that may impact the company, the products, or the market (1-3 pages). Look at the following factors to fully assess your business and marketing environment: Specific Measurable Achievable 6. Summary of Current Situation Product Competitor Briefly summarize all information in the, ideally in the SWOT format: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (1 page). Fin An ++Economic ++Regulatory or Political (i.e. Sarbanes Oxley) ++Technological ++ Legal ++ Geographic ++ Seasonal ++ Vertical or Market Specific Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats Marketing Strategy Distribution Product & Promotion 7

8 , & and Objectives The audience for a marketing plan expects a clear picture of the company s direction, as well as some built-in accountability to ensure the plan will yield measurable results. Provide this by identifying the key strategies and objectives for the company in three major areas:, Financial Objectives, and Marketing Objectives. As you develop this plan, let the results of your guide and support the general marketing strategy you develop. Also, refer to the Mission Statement to see that strategies align with the company vision (1 page). Keep in mind that a product or service might follow more than one strategy (e.g. sell more of same product to current customers but also find new customers in new markets). Sample strategies include: Financial Objectives The ultimate goal of the marketing plan for most organizations is the effect it will have on the bottom line. Measures should reflect income statement items and common ratios (1 page). ++ Customer sales, by volume and growth percentage ++ Margins ++ Profitability ++Ratios (use common financial ratios and other marketing metrics for your industry) ++ Market growth Increase market share (wallet share) and market penetration ++ New market development Bring new product offerings to existing customers Bring existing product offerings to new customers in different industries, vertical markets or geographic regions ++ Market stability Maintain market position, especially during economic or market decline Generally requires capturing additional market share from others in the industry ++ Cost control Contain costs or operate more effectively Works well in combination with market growth or market stability ++ Market exit Techniques to depart a market 8

9 , & and Objectives Marketing Objectives Marketing success can be measured against many different metrics. All are important for uncovering conditions and circumstances facing the company that are not easily seen through financial measures. For instance, strong sales figures for a product won t show that it also is losing ground to competitors. The marketing objectives section defines goals across several functional marketing areas. Add strength to this section by including available marketing metrics (1-2 pages). ++ Target market objectives Market share (Total, by segments) Customers (Total, number/percentage new vs. retained) Purchases (Rate of purchases, size or volume of purchases) ++ Branding and demand generation objectives Level of brand awareness New leads Leads from existing customers Leads from new customers Average sales opportunity by lead Traffic building Lead to sales conversion Product trials Sales force (Cycle time, cost per call, closing rate, customer visits) ++ Market research objectives Studies initiated Studies completed ++ Internal resource objectives Test lab development Professional certifications ++ Other objectives Strategic partnerships developed New products launched 9

10 Product Competitor Financial Business/Marketing Environment Purpose & Mission, & Strengths Weaknesses Sales Break ev This is the heart of the marketing plan and typically the longest section. Describe the tactics that will achieve the objectives and goals established earlier in the plan. Try to also include a brief summary of current marketing activity (see ) so the audience can easily compare previous efforts to planned efforts. Every business Opportunities has a different optimal Threats marketing mix for attracting customers but it s widely accepted that a combination of both brand awareness and demand generation tactics works best. So finding the right mix of messaging and effective offers delivered via print, postal, web and other channels is key. To help with your decision-making, this guide outlines the following: Product and Promotion Distribution ++ Other Areas Time Market Competitors Economic Conditions Customers Marketing Strategy Distribution Product & Promotion Avaya Partner Marketing Central Partner Marketing Central is a free resource center for Avaya Partners that offers hundreds of customizable templates to help you execute your marketing plans. Craft and deliver the perfect message to your customers with professionally written and designed demand generation materials, including direct mail, , print ads, radio scripts, telemarketing scripts, seminar in a box, and much more. Visit 10

11 , & Create an overview of markets you ll target and the type of marketing that will support your efforts. If the target market(s) is the same as in the, then focus on justification for continuing within the market. For new markets, add all necessary details to create measurable marketing efforts (1-2 pages). This section also includes sales estimates the driving force for all financial forecasting. Depending on the depth of the marketing plan, it may be a good idea to include forecast scenarios (best case, worst case, and probable case). Target Market Write a brief summary of current target markets Summarize planned changes and justify based on results, research, competition or market opportunity Describe target market tactical objectives, methods, and audience identification and segmentation Product or Service Marketing Write a brief product positioning statement for each product/ service offering. Include how target thinks about the product vs. competitors Summarize planned changes and justify based on results, research, competition or market opportunity Describe target market tactical objectives and methods to create demand for the product Sales Forecast for Each Product Offering Write a brief summary of current sales Summarize changes in forecast and justify (i.e. what criteria determine figures) Give numerical estimates in categories like total sales and sales by segment(s), plus forecast scenarios (best case, worst case, probable) 11

12 , & Product and Promotion Describe how the products will be marketed. Provide timetables for your marketing efforts since some placements (like magazine ads or trade shows) require long lead times. Use tables and graphs to show each area of activity separately unless there is a great deal of overlap (for example, direct mail that drives leads to a Web site that collects registrations to a live event) (4-10 pages) Summarize current marketing activity. Summarize planned changes and justify based on results, research, competition or market opportunity. Describe planned changes directed to the targeted user market. ++Include any relevant product and promotion topics General description Branding Promotions Advertising Public Relations Events Web site / online campaigns Demand generation / lead generation / direct response campaigns Relationship marketing / nurturing campaigns Up sell / cross sell campaigns Search Engine Optimization and/or Marketing (SEO, SEM) Telemarketing Registration gen programs Appointment setting programs Database acquisition Paid lead generation 12

13 , & Sales Break even point Time decisions can be complicated. You need a firm grasp of the market, competitors, economic conditions and, of course, your customers. You shouldn t need to provide extensive financial evaluation of pricing. Instead, show pricing trends and pricing decisions within various categories (1-3 pages). Market Competitors Economic Conditions Customers First, summarize current pricing models. Describe pricing strategies for current product offering and outline adjustments and allowances (discounting plans, payment terms). Also summarize planned changes and justify based on results, research, competition or market opportunity. Use the following to describe planned changes: ++ Objectives Return On Investment (ROI) Market share Profit level Price leadership Competitive matching ++ Factors affecting price setting Value differential between your offering and a competitor s offering (determines whether you can have price premium, price parity or sell at a discount relative to competitors) Market growth and share objectives Cost factors (fixed and variable) Customer expectations Company expectations (required margins, ROI) Demand considerations (market elasticity, availability, product life cycle) Competition Economic conditions Legal and regulatory considerations 13

14 , &, and This part of the marketing plan will ultimately sell the plan to those who have authority to approve it. Focus on these three important topics to help gain approval for your plan: 1. The Marketing Budget This section presents a clear picture of the financial implications of the plan. Define the spending requirements for each tactical marketing effort through tables, graphs and narratives explaining important budget issues (2-4 pages). ++ Break down each tactical category Program development costs Campaign costs Outside agency / vendor costs Media costs Printing and production costs Event marketing expense Market research expense Training / travel / miscellaneous Other expenses ++ Show detailed spending timetables by month and by year ++Show spending by products and services, business segment and geographic area 2. Performance This section presents the expected results of the plan in terms of sales and the company s overall bottom line. Since the marketing plan is usually a component of a larger business plan, only show full financial breakdowns (full balance sheet, income statement, detailed ratio analysis, etc.) as needed to project marketing plan results (1-3 pages). 14

15 Test, &, and Product Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-based Competitor Financial Business/Marketing Environment 2. Performance (continued) Recommended success metrics Avaya s collective marketing history has yielded a series of marketing benchmarks to measure the success of your marketing efforts in these key areas: Strengths Weaknesses ++ Leads generated ++ Qualified leads generated ++ Close rates ++ Percent of revenue from new vs. current customers ++ Percent of revenue of new vs. current business Opportunities segments Threats ++Percent of revenue generated customer reference program ++ Market share growth ++Web MUVs ++ Number of press articles Marketing contribution Show revenue versus expenses for marketing activity to determine the Return On Program Spend (ROPS) for each activity. List expenses by tactical activity and break down by product, business segment and geographic Marketing area. Obviously, revenue should align with sales Strategy forecasts outlined earlier in the plan. Breakeven analysis Distribution Product & Promotion This analysis shows the level of sales (e.g. number of sales/systems) required before the company realizes a positive marketing contribution. This subject requires an understanding of fixed costs (costs regardless of sales level) versus variable costs (costs that may change as level of sales varies). Through graphs and charts, show the break-even point over level of sales volume estimates (worst through best case sales level scenarios) and over time. Sales Also present a ratio analysis limited to important marketing ratios that are common to the industry, such as: ++ Sales cycle ++Average cost per lead ++ Advertising cost per sale ++ Conversions by activity 3. Plan Provide timelines and identify those responsible for performing tasks in the plan (1-2 pages). Create a detailed schedule of tasks for specific marketing tactics and assign an individual to be responsible for each (if unsure or unassigned leave generic). As needed, also include execution partners: ++ Advertising agency ++ Campaign agency ++ Web hosting company ++ Public relations firm Time Market Competitors Economic Conditions Customers Break even point 15

16 , & The final section prepares the audience for potential situations that may affect the plan. Considering potential internal and external influences will balance the picture of plan implementation presented throughout (2-3 pages). ++ Consider internal factors Market share (Total, by segments) Loss of key personnel Current plan is linked to the success of other products that may not reach their goals ++ Consider external factors Manufacturer problems Supply chain problems Competitor reaction Technological developments Legal environment Economic issues Governmental and regulatory concerns ++ Consider research limitations Discuss any issues with research information Gauge strength of assumptions made Identify difficult-to-vet or speculative data Contact your local Avaya Marketing Resource to learn how to put this plan into action. Version 1-2/27/09 16

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