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Attachment 1

Creating a Marketing Plan:

An Overview

E x c e r p t e d f r o m

Marketer’s Toolkit:

The 10 Strategies You Need to Succeed

Harvard Business School Press Boston, Massachusetts

ISBN-10: 1-4221-0256-4 ISBN-13: 978-1-4221-0256-5 2564BC

For the exclusive use of X. Wu, 2021.

This document is authorized for use only by Xiaomiao Wu in Spring 2021 Marketing Management taught by Matt Fisher, San Francisco State University from Jan 2021 to Jul 2021.

Copyright 2006 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation All rights reserved

Printed in the United States of America

This chapter was originally published as chapter 2 of Marketer’s Toolkit, copyright 2006 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior permission of the publisher. Requests for

Harvard Business School Publishing, 60 Harvard Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02163. permission should be directed to [email protected], or mailed to Permissions,

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Creating a Marketing Plan

Key Topics Covered in This Chapter

• The purpose of a marketing plan

• Planning the elements of the marketing mix

• Controlling the plan

An Overview

2

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“P l a n y o u r w o r k , and work your plan.”That timeless piece of business philosophy canhelp you succeed in any number of workplace activities—including marketing. This chapter explains the market- ing plan and its many elements.

From Strategy to Plan

A marketing plan lays out a campaign that aims to fulfill a company’s market strategy. At the business unit or product level, the plan aims to transform a product or service concept into a successful offering that meets the needs of target customers and fulfills the company’s expectations for sales, market share, and so forth. The plan states ex- actly what the company will do in launching new products and sup- porting older ones. It indicates the timing of sales and promotional activities, pricing intentions, and distribution efforts. How the plan will be controlled and the results measured are also part of the plan. Plans are contained in binders and are treated with confidentiality lest competitors use their details to deploy counterefforts.

Most plans include the following (for the company or for a product line):

• An executive summary.

• A table of contents.

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• A summary of the current situation. This contains all relevant data, including SWOT analysis (analysis of strengths, weak- nesses, opportunities, and competitive threats).

• A focused assessment of the market opportunity. This includes a statement of target market segments, a customer and needs assessment, and the competitive challenges faced by the com- pany and its products (or particular product line).

• Financial and marketing goals. Financial goals are usually ex- pressed as incremental revenue improvements, and expected profits at the end of the planning period. Marketing goals are expressed as unit sales or market share.

• A summary of the company’s marketing strategy. This sum- mary identifies the target market and indicates how the product or product line will be positioned, distributed, and priced. It also enumerates the specific actions that will be taken to achieve the stated goals. Those actions may include reorganiza- tion of the sales force, the use of customer rebates, a national ad campaign, direct mail programs, and so forth.

• A month-to-month marketing budget.

• Forecast month-to-month unit sales and revenues.

• A plan for monitoring and evaluating action plans in progress and at the end of the plan period.

Note that the appendix contains a helpful marketing plan template that you can use to develop a plan that fits your company’s unique re- quirements. Check it out.

Implementing Your Plan via the Marketing Mix

The marketing plan begins with customer targeting, something we’ll deal with in detail later. After the target customer segments have been identified, the plan addresses them through the marketing

Creating a Marketing Plan 3

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mix. The marketing mix—also called the four P’s of marketing— includes product, place, price, and promotion (see figure 2-1). These represent the tools you will use to pursue your objectives in the tar- get market.

(Note: Identifying the target market is an essential part of any marketing plan. So, too, is position. We discuss these important top- ics in chapter 4.)

Product

The product (or service) is the centerpiece of the marketing mix. Whether it’s a life insurance policy, a washing machine, or a broad- band Internet service, the product is the company’s offer to cus- tomers. That offer includes physical aspects as well as the less tangible elements, such as warranties, option choices, and after-sales service. Thus, the product is the entire package you offer to customers.

Marketer’s Toolkit

Price

Product

Promotion

Place Target market

F I G U R E 2 - 1

Applying the marketing mix to a target market

4

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You can differentiate products physically or through the services your company provides in support of the product. Products’ physi- cal distinctions include the following:

• Form—size, shape, physical structure; for example, aspirin coating and dosage

• Features—for example, a word processing program’s new text- editing tool

• Performance quality—the level at which the product’s primary characteristics function

• Conformance quality—the degree to which all the units of the product perform equally

• Durability—the product’s expected operating life under natural or stressful conditions

• Reliability—the probability that the product won’t malfunction or fail

• Repairability—the ease with which the product can be fixed if it malfunctions

• Style—the product’s look and feel

• Design—the way all the foregoing qualities work together (it’s easy to use, looks nice, and lasts a long time)

You can also differentiate your product by service distinctions that set it apart. Service distinctions include the following:

• Ordering ease—how easy it is for customers to buy the product

• Delivery—how quickly and accurately the product is delivered

• Installation—how well the work is done to make the product usable in its intended location

• Customer training—whether your company offers to train cus- tomers in using the product

Creating a Marketing Plan 5

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• Customer consulting—whether your company offers advice or research services to buyers

• Maintenance and repair—how well your company helps cus- tomers keep the product in good working order

The actual design of the product or service should be guided by a deep understanding of what customers need, want, and are willing to pay for, as determined by market understanding and research.

Place

Place refers to the point of sale and the distribution of the product or service. Place may be a retail store, a national distributor network, an e-commerce Web site, or a direct mail catalog. Offering the product where and when customers want it is one of the most critical aspects of any marketing plan.

Witness the success of Amazon.com and Dell. Amazon.com made books and other items handily available to customers 24/7, and in a place that many found convenient—an Internet Web site. At a time when the book-buying public had to make time-consuming trips to a bricks-and-mortar bookstore and browse through thousands of on-shelf products, Amazon.com offered a less time-consuming al- ternative and far greater product selection. True, Amazon.com cus- tomers missed out on the pleasures of traditional bookstore browsing and had only limited opportunities to thumb through prospective pur- chases. But Amazon.com’s “place” gave them something bookstores didn’t provide: customer reviews and ratings.

Dell’s is another story of “place” success. Its strategic decision to sell directly to customers gave it a leg up on competitors in the battle for personal computer sales. While rivals followed the traditional ap- proach of distributing through retail stores and dealers, Dell skipped the middleman. Selling direct allowed Dell to do the following:

• Capture customer information that would otherwise be missed through other forms of distribution

Marketer’s Toolkit6

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• Practice made-to-order manufacturing, another differentiating factor in a product class where competing products are very similar

• Make its product available 24/7

Few companies use a single place for transacting business with customers. Many have market channels through which they meet cus- tomers; the more numerous and effective these channels are, the greater the opportunities to make sales. The publisher of this book, for example, will take advantage of several channels, as shown in fig- ure 2-2. It will use a sales force to obtain shelf space in retail book- stores and will sell through Amazon.com. The sales force will also sell some copies to book wholesalers, which in turn will supply in- dependent bookstores. Specialized employees of the publisher will pursue direct bulk sales with corporations and with book clubs. Meanwhile, a foreign rights specialist in the publisher’s marketing department will attempt to sell translation rights for the book to non-English-language publishers around the world. The publisher will also use its e-commerce Web site to sell directly to final cus- tomers, avoiding the middlemen and the discounts they extract.

Creating a Marketing Plan

Publisher Sales force

E-commerce Web site

Amazon.com

Book chains

Independent bookstores

Wholesalers

Foreign publishers, book clubs, and corporate sales

Individual customers

F I G U R E 2 - 2

Many paths to the customer

7

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There are many paths to customers. A market-driven company takes as many of them as it can reasonably handle without causing conflicts between channels.

What aspects of “place” does your company use in its marketing plans? Are these the most optimal for satisfying customers and pro- ducing the sales and profits you seek, or are you simply following an old, unexamined blueprint for putting your product or service in front of customers? Think about it. Place is often taken for granted, but it makes a huge impact on marketing performance.

Price

Price is what a buyer must give up in exchange for your product or service. Pricing in a competitive environment is both critical and challenging. If you set the price too low, you’ll increase unit sales at the expense of profits. If you set it too high, some of your customers will walk into the waiting arms of competitors. Price decisions in- clude price point, list price, discounts, payment period, and so on.

In free and competitive markets, pricing is the linchpin of most transactions. When a customer who wants a product perceives that its value is worth the asking price, a transaction will take place, bar- ring other choices. Thus, moving the price higher or lower regulates the quantity of units sold. This point has implications for the prod- uct life cycle. You can price much more aggressively when your product is perceived as new, unique, and without strong substitutes, but you must often reduce your price as substitutes and competitors appear in the maturity stage of the cycle.

Generally, your flexibility in pricing is a function of the unique- ness of your product or service (see figure 2-3). This is because cus- tomers have difficulty in assessing the value of more unique offerings, such as a custom-built guitar or a fully restored 1962 MG sports car. There are few if any comparables, making valuation difficult. The exact opposite is true among commodity products, such as heating oil and electrical wiring. In these cases, sellers have little flexibility. If they price their offering higher than the going rate, sales will plum- met. If they drop the price, sales will temporarily increase but will

Marketer’s Toolkit8

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level off as competitors drop their prices—confounding the prof- itability of all sellers.

Some sellers successfully maintain a high price by surrounding their very ordinary products with an aura of uniqueness, quality, or exoticism. This approach is commonplace in, for example, the cos- metics industry.

Wherever you price your product or service, that price is an im- portant element of the marketing mix and will have an impact on your results. You can price for any of the following objectives: to in- crease unit sales, profits, or market share; to undermine a competi- tor; or to keep competitors from entering your turf. Successful companies design their new products with specific price targets in mind. (Note: For more details on pricing, refer to chapter 9).

Promotion

Promotion, the fourth element in the marketing mix, is the most dif- ficult one to describe. It is all the communicative activities you use to ensure that customers know about your offerings, have a favorable

Creating a Marketing Plan

Uniqueness

F le

xi b

ili ty

Custom-built home

Tract housing

Low High

Low

High

F I G U R E 2 - 3

Pricing flexibility and product uniqueness

9

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impression of them, and actually make a transaction. These activities include advertising, catalogs, contests, public relations, and personal selling. Within these categories we have TV, radio, and print ads, billboards, product placements in movies, sponsorship of public TV and radio channels, two-for-one dinner specials, customer loyalty programs, telemarketing, direct mail sales, and door-to-door solici- tations. And on and on.

The many faces of promotion are too numerous to cover in a book of this size. Suffice it to say that, along with market research, promotion provides the critical communication link between your company and the customers you aim to serve.

Controlling Plan Implementation

Even when you’re prepared with a cohesive plan, adequate re- sources, and all the right skills, you are bound to encounter surprises during implementation of your marketing plan. That’s because busi- ness, like life, rarely plays out according to plan. Here are a few ex- amples of the many surprises your firm may experience:

• Customer demand is lower than what your market research led you to believe.

• Consumers use your product in ways you never intended.

• A previously invisible competitor blindsides you with a daz- zling new offering.

• The cost of an ad campaign is higher than you estimated.

Constant monitoring and control of the firm’s marketing activ- ities can help your company respond effectively to these kinds of un- expected events. Table 2-1 shows four types of marketing controls and explains who’s responsible, why you might select a particular form of control, and how you might implement these control mea- sures. Note that many items in the “How to control” column are quantitative metrics: expense-to-sales ratio, product territory prof- itability, and so forth. Metrics are like the gauges on an aircraft con-

Marketer’s Toolkit10

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trol panel, indicating where you are and showing key parameters of operating performance.

Depending on your role, you may find yourself responsible for one or more of these activities. Or others in your company may need your help in gathering the required information to conduct these assessments. Whichever part of the control process you’re in- volved in, you can feel proud about contributing to a key stage in your firm’s marketing campaign.

Summing Up

• A marketing plan states exactly what the company will do in launching new products and supporting older ones. It indi- cates the timing of its sales and promotional activities, pricing

Creating a Marketing Plan

TA B L E 2 - 1

Controlling your marketing plan

Who is Why this Type of control responsible? control type? How to control

Annual plan Top and middle To assess whether Analyze sales, market managers planned results have share, marketing

been achieved expense-to-sales ratio

Profitability Marketing To see where the Measure profitability controllers company is making by product, territory,

and losing money customer, segment, channel, order size; measure ROI

Efficiency Line and staff To improve the Measure efficiency of managers; spending and impact sales force, advertise- marketing of marketing ments, sales promo- controllers dollars tions, distribution

Strategy Top managers, To ask whether the Review marketing marketing company is pursuing effectiveness and auditors the best market, company’s social and

product, and channel ethical responsibilities opportunities

Source: Harvard ManageMentor® on Marketing Essentials, adapted with permission.

11

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intentions, and distribution efforts. How the plan will be con- trolled and the results measured are also part of the plan.

• A marketing plan is based on customer targeting and the ele- ments of the marketing mix: product (or service), place, price, and promotion (the four P’s).

• Product is the company’s offer to customers. It includes the physical aspects of the offer as well as intangible elements, such as warranties.

• Place refers to the point of sale and the distribution of the product or service. Place may be a retail store, a national dis- tributor network, an e-commerce Web site, a direct mail cata- log, or something else.

• Price is what a buyer must give up in exchange for the seller’s product. In free and competitive markets it is a regulator of customer demand. Generally, sellers have greater flexibility in pricing when their offer is unique; they have less flexibility as their offers become commodity-like.

• Promotion describes the many communicative activities used to ensure that customers know about the company’s offerings, have a favorable impression of them, and actually make a transaction.

Marketer’s Toolkit12

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Notes

Chapter 2

1. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, volume 1 (London: Kegan Paul, 1911), 177.

2. Edward Mead Earle, ed., Makers of Modern Strategy (Prince- ton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1943).

3. Michael E. Porter, Competitive Strategy (New York: Free Press, 1985), xxiv.

4. Michael E. Porter, “What Is Strategy?” Harvard Business Re- view, November–December 1996, 61–78.

13

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Harvard Business Essentials

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Attachment 2

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Article Notes 3

 

Bendle, N. T., & Bagga, C. K. (2016). The metrics that marketers muddle. MIT Sloan Management Review, 57(3), 73-82.

Despite their widely acknowledged importance, some popular marketing metrics are regularly misunderstood and misused. One major reason for marketing’s diminishing role is the difficulty of meaning its impact: The value marketers generate is often difficult to quantify. The main goals of this article are to understand how these marketing metrics are used and understood and to develop ideas to help marketers unmuddle their metrics. The authors conducted surveys from managers from all functions across the business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries.

 

5 Best Known Marketing Metrics:

-       Market share

-       Net Promoter Score (NPS)

-       The Value of a ‘Like’

-       Consumer Lifetime Value (CLV)

-       Return on Investment (ROI)

Market Share

Market share is a popular marketing metric. One reason for why manager value market share is that research from the 1970s suggested a link between market share and ROI; however, the linkage may be less clear: the studies have found it is often correlational rather than causal. The survey found that there were two ways managers used market share: as an ultimate objective or as an intermediate measure of success. Increasing market share is not a meaningful ultimate objective for maximizing shareholder value and stakeholder management: If the aim is to maximize the returns to shareholders, increased market share offers no benefits unless it eventually generates profits. In some markets, bigger can be better; however, economies of scale do not automatically apply all markets.

Unmuddling Market Share:

The authors suggest a simple set of rules for the appropriate use of the market share metric:

-       Managers should not consider market share as the ultimate objective or as a proxy for absolute size.

-       Managers should evaluate it from the competitors’ and consumers’ point of view. If an increase in market share is not going to get positive feedback from competitors and consumers, then an increase in market share will not lead to a productive result.

-       Managers should analyze whether market share drives profitability in your industry. Companies with superior products tend to have high market share and high profitability because product superiority causes both.

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This means that the two metrics are correlated, BUT it does not necessarily mean that increasing market share will increase profits.

 

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

This metric is used to measure customer loyalty to a firm. Companies among diverse industries have embraced NPS as a way to monitor their customer service operations while NPS also has been seen as a system that allows managers to use the scores to shape managerial actions.

One of the advantages of NPS is its simplicity: It is easy for managers and employees to understand the goal of having more promoters and fewer detractors. However, there are weaknesses: E.g., in the net promoter literature, a customer’s worth to Apple has been described as the customer’s spending, ignoring the costs associated with serving the customer. It is also easy to imagine how to increase the net promoter score (such as making customers happier) while destroying even to-line growth (by slashing prices). Another problem with NPS as a metric is the classification system: The boundaries between scores of 6 and 7 (detractors and passives) and 8 and 9 (passive and promoters) seem somewhat arbitrary and culturally specific.

Unmuddling NPS:

The value of NPS depends on whether a manager sees it as a metric or as a system. The authors suggest that the NPS metric cannot change the marketing performance. However, they advise using this metric as a part of a system employed in evaluating the performance which might lead to a cultural shift within the organization.

 

The Value of a ‘Like’

This metric is used for measuring the social media capital of the company. New approaches are being developed all the time and they have the potential to aid understanding of how social media creates value. It is measured as the difference between the average value of customers endorsing the company and the average value of the customers who are not endorsing the company. The majority of managers link between their social media spending the value of a ‘like’. However, it does not mean that the cause of the differences in users’ value is attributable to a company’s social media strategy. And the reason that social media strategy shouldn’t be seen as the driver of value difference between fans and nonfans is because customers who are social media fans will differ from nonfans for reasons unrelated to the company’s social media strategy.

Unmuddling the Value of a ‘Like’:

This difference between two groups of consumers does not suggest an effect of online marketing activity or lack thereof. It should be investigated thoroughly by the managers. If the management is using the revenue to measure customer value, then this marketing metric does not give a good estimate. However, if the company does want to understand the impact of social media marketing, they should use randomized control experiments to derive causal answers.

Consumer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Consumer lifetime value (CLV), which is the present value of cash flows from a customer relationship, can help managers in decision making related to investment in developing customer relationships, as it is used to measure the value of the current customer base. If the management is using the customer value in their decision-making process, then CLV is a useful tool for them.

Unmuddling CLV:

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The authors suggest that CLV calculations should not include the customer acquisition cost and the estimated CLV should be compared to the estimated acquisition cost to derive conclusions. The bigger the difference between the estimated CLV and the estimated acquisition cost, the better the acquisition campaign.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on investment is a popular and potentially important metric allowing for the comparison of disparate investments. A critical requirement for calculating ROI is knowing the net profit generated by a specific investment decision. According to the authors, there is confusion within management over the use of ROI. However, as ROI is understood across disciplines, it is a powerful metric to communicate across the organization.

Unmuddling ROI:

The authors advise that if a manager is assessing the financial return on an investment, then ROI is an appropriate metric and can be calculated by dividing the incremental profits by the investments. Agribusiness marketing managers who are passionate about establishing the credibility of the value created through marketing should be thorough in their use of metrics. Most importantly, they should be able to understand the metric, its use and what it represents.