Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network
Northeast Regional Office


Marketing Plan Outline


I. Mission Statement

  1. State the purpose of the marketing plan.

  2. Explain why you are in business, both personal and business goals.

  3. Review business goals and objectives as well as specific strategies to reach them.
     

II. Product/Service

  1. Identify each product in terms of name, trademark, color, shape or other characteristic, including packaging and labeling.

  2. Differentiate products/services in terms of exclusive processes or superior ingredients and other features.

  3. Describe product weaknesses.

  4. Describe product lines, and new products/services that will be introduced, as well as old products that will be dropped.

  5. Cost of each product.

  6. Price you charge for each product.

  7. Identify percent of annual sales and total dollar amount each product represents.
     

III. Market

  1. Identify your customers - include all demographic and lifestyle information. 

  2. Identify location of customers (local, regional, national or international).

  3. Identify factors in customer selection of the products/services and brands, including resistance.

  4. Identify the size of the total market.

  5. Identify market trends - include information about market studies and test marketing.

  6. List factors that affect purchasing such as: (1) seasons; (2) obsolescence; (3) tax considerations; (4) price, availability, service; (5) emotional considerations; and (6) all other factors.

  7. Will promotional activities be concentrated in specific markets?
     

IV. Distribution

  1. Identify the most effective methods for getting products/services to customers in the target market.
    1. Dispensers, racks, etc.
    2. Samples, trial offers, premiums.

  2. Identify the need for warehousing of products and distribution channels if not sold direct to buyer.
    1. Describe policies with regard to franchise arrangements, consignments, stocking, house accounts, and returned goods. 
    2. Importance of line to distributor.
    3. Discount schedule.
    4. Dealer identification, such as sign, decal, or wall plaque.
    5. Deals, allowances, incentives.
    6. Sales training.
    7. Sales aids, including how they are to be used and how they will be paid for.
    8. Cooperative advertising plan.
    9. Identify existing distributors, level of satisfaction with them, and any new distributors (by market or industry) the company may pursue.
     

V. Competition (Direct and Indirect)

  1. Identify competitors by divisions, product lines and markets.

  2. Identify and compare your company's and your competitors' strengths and weaknesses.

  3. Compare your marketing techniques with those of your competitors.
     

VI. Pricing

  1. Review product/service costs for accuracy, including all variable and fixed expenses.

  2. Be sure all products/services carry their share of expenses plus provide for profit.

  3. Compare prices for your products/services with similar products/services in the industry.
    1. If your prices are higher, do they provide the necessary added value to justify the higher price?
    2. If your prices are lower, do you know why they are, and is the lower price part of your marketing strategy?

     

VII. Marketing

  1. Review advertising program - discuss:
    l. Use of ad agency and/or in-house ad department
    2. Media used, how selected and target audience
    3. Include samples of advertising programs
    4. Seasonal factors
    5. Recent and current performance
    6. Role of advertising in relationship to sales
    7. Total expenditures spent on each medium and each product/service
    8. Measure in terms of increase in sales or share of market, product/service awareness, sales leads, conversions, or new customers

  2. Review public relations activities - discuss:
    l. Plans, policies and procedures
    2. Product publicity
    3. Special programs
    4. Appraise all external and internal communications

  3. Review current direct sales activities - is your direct marketing compensation plan consistent with the goals and objectives of your company?
     

VIII. Sales Forecasting

  1. Review sales history.

  2. Show recent sales trends.

  3. Make any seasonal adjustments.

  4. Project sales and income for next four quarters
     

IX. Action Plan

  1. List all marketing strategies/activities.

  2. Prioritize all strategies by levels of importance.

  3. Assign responsibility for each marketing activity.

  4. Indicate a time frame for completion.
     

X. Production 

  1. If your marketing plan increases sales, can production meet the additional demand?

  2. If not, why not? Is it cost effective to increase production at current pace? 

  

Marketing Plan (pdf)