You have arrived at the site of the Marketing Plan Guide prepared by Professor David Nowell of Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Oakville, Canada. This site was developed because various books and people present different, and sometimes confusing, terms and approaches for this fundamental marketing tool. The dream of this site is to present a view that is more comprehensive and helpful than that found in the texts, while recognizing the different views people take of the marketing plan process.
This site is structured so you can look over the various elements to the Marketing Plan, see at a glance how all the pieces connect and review a simple example to get some sense of what a writeup might look like. To your left is a guide to the basic format of the marketing plan, with each section linked to a fuller explanation of the concept. Click on the words and you will be taken to that section.
Choosing the Connections link on the left will take you to an overview of how each section connects to the others in the marketing plan. This is aimed at helping you to see the way it all ties together. A Marketing Plan is, after all, a structured way of dealing with marketing issues, not a random collection of incomprehensible bits and pieces.
The Greenkeeper Mowers Sample Case, includes a very short case as a marketing plan example of the kind of information you might collect. For maximum learning, you are urged to prepare your own marketing plan from the case, then compare it with the sample marketing plan writeup. To access the case, select Analyze this case: Greenkeeper Mowers.
Then, take your analysis and compare it with the sample one. For that,choose Greenkeeper Mowers: Sample Case Analysis. There are notes (in italics) which explain some of the reasoning behind the comments. This analysis is not “perfect” by any stretch. It does present one point of view which can and should be challenged, since multiple solutions are normal in marketing cases.
There is a helpful two-page summary of the basic marketing plan concepts, which you can open and print by clicking on print me a plan. Note this will open a new window in your browser. Once it does, just select print and choose File, Close to leave that window.
While business people and students from all schools and nations are welcome to visit this site, requests for help on specific plans or assignments will not be given, except for my own students. If you require guidance, ask your professor or colleagues. Comments via e-mail are welcome if you find the site useful or have suggestions. Use the link to the left, or use firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marketing plans work on two basic levels. At the strategic marketing plan level, marketers are scanning the environment, pondering what is happening and looking for emerging or robust market segments which they could consider as target markets. The outcomes of such plans are clearly identified target markets and the strategies which will meet their needs, as identified in our analysis. Marketing plan objectives are typically on the level of sales, profit, return on investment or, for the larger firm, market share.
Tactical plans, in contrast, presume the target market and marketing strategy as a given and don’t look much at the external environment. They deal with issues such as raising awareness or getting more returning customers. The main way to tell at which level you are working is whether your target market is a given or not. If you are scanning the environment, you are seeking new target markets or looking for subtle changes in your exisiting target markets; you are preparing a Marketing Plan. If however, you start from the premise that you know exactly who your target market is, you would then develop a range of tactics to reach them; this is a Tactical Plan.
Many people mistakenly operate at the tactical level when they should be at the strategic level. For instance, suppose your product sales were poor, so you came up with a plan to advertise more. The result was an even faster decline in sales. Why? People found even faster that your product was terrible. Had a strategic marketing plan been developed, we would have determined what consumers want, compared those desires to our product and made the appropriate modifications.
This site deals with marketing plans at the strategic level. The focus is thus on the external environment and the identification of segments, along with the target market selection, positioning and development of the 4Ps we expect from marketers.
If your task is to develop a tactical plan, you don’t need to do the external analysis, because it must have been done already to identify the tactics. Hence, you could start with your objective, such as raising awareness, then show how you would execute and evaluate the tactic that should do that. This is a much shorter document and could be an appendix to a full marketing plan. Sample of a tactical plan.
So, join us for a journey through this key marketing document. Your reward will be a fuller understanding of the process and the product of marketing plan analysis.