Marketing Plan Outline
The following article explores key components need to be included in designing an effective marketing plan.

Product Performance
Two to three paragraphs summarizing the product's performance relative to last year's plan, along with explanations of variances from the plan. Any research conducted on product performance or quality can be included in this section as well.

Highlights from the background analysis, using bullet points as much as possible. It is useful to include the market analysis, competitive analysis, and/or performance history worksheets as attachments or exhibits.

Long-Term Objective
A statement indicating the long-term direction for your product line and its long- term "fit" within the corporate strategic plan.

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Problems that might make it difficult to achieve the objectives. List the steps to be taken to minimize the risk. Opportunities that will help in achieving the objectives.

Sales Forecasts/Goals
A statement of the product's forecasted sales for the next fiscal year. If there are several products or product lines to be examined separately, use a tabular format.

Marketing Objectives
Brief statements of objectives for the product or line for the next fiscal year. These can be stated in terms of revenue/profit, new-product trials, retention rates, etc.

Marketing Program
Positioning statement
Make sure that it lists the unique selling feature(s) of the product (i.e., how the product is to be perceived in the customer's mind relative to the competition). The positioning statement should be clear enough to be the "glue" for coordinating the subsequent marketing mix variables.

Target market(s)
Several paragraphs with a description of and rationale for the primary and secondary target markets.

Product strategy
This section can contain several items, depending on the company and product requirements. There will be one or more objectives, each followed by a brief strategy statement. The format will usually be as follows:

Brief product description (such as one contained in a catalog) indicating the competitive differences, along with a table of the sizes and variety of products in the line.
Product objectives, including new uses, repositioning, line extensions/modifications, programs to improve quality, or new-product introductions.
Capacity utilization, including existing capacity along with manufacturing requirements of the marketing plan.

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Pricing strategy
A general statement of the pricing strategy used for the product(s). Include any planned changes in price, discounts, warranties, and terms and conditions of sale, along with a table indicating the expected impact on selling and profit performance.

Advertising strategy
a. National advertising:
This section will have three components:
The competitive product differentiation to include in the advertising message.
The media plan along with a calendar of expected insertions.
Cost/spending information

b. Cooperative advertising
A statement of the goals and general program description of cooperative advertising programs with channel members.

c. Trade advertising
If advertising to intermediaries who resell the product, the message and media plan should be summarized in this section.

Promotion strategy
There are several types of sales promotions, support materials, trade show plans, and other nonadvertising promotions that may be part of the marketing plan. These may be part of separate plans or strategy documents but should at least be summarized in this section.

Field sales plan
The field sales plan is almost always a separate planning document. Nevertheless, include any information that directly impacts the product or its marketing plan. For example, any training or incentive programs that are part of the budget or that are recommended in addition to the standard field sales plan should be included here.

Distribution strategy
Any recommendations regarding changes to the channel of distribution, including adding or deleting intermediaries, should be included. Also incorporate any programs necessary to motivate channel members or to collect information about the end-user from them.

Product support
Any recommendations regarding the warranty/ guarantee for the product, customer service changes, or any other product support issues that affect the achievement of the product objectives.

Marketing Requirements
Any training requirements (e.g., for customers) not included elsewhere in the marketing plan.

Marketing Research
Any planned research for the fiscal year, providing the proposal as an attachment.

Financial Summary
A pro forma profit and loss statement for the product(s).

An action schedule indicating who does what by when. Allow space for the appropriate individuals to sign and date their agreement to the stated tasks.

Source : Linda Gorchels, The Product Managers Handbook, McGraw Hill. You can find this excellent book here

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