Your group is responsible for the development of a Strategic Marketing Plan (SMP) for a Strategic Business Unit (SBU) within a firm and must ultimately be a long-term plan (3-5 years). This checklist is provided to assist students with achieving this.
1. Length: 8,000 words maximum (approx. 35 pages) including appendices and references – Reports over this size will incur a penalty of 10% for every 10% over the word count
2. Font: Arial 11 point
3. Text: print one side only, 1.5 spaced, report style writing
4. Margin: 1.5cm left side margin and 3 cm right side margin
5. Binding: staple top left corner
The following sections MUST be included in your Plan – without every one of these sections (with every one done well), the document is relatively worthless, and will be assessed as such.
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Executive Summary is NOT an introduction. It is a summary of the key strategies you are recommending the corporation use to achieve its marketing objectives and goals, and your explanation of why these marketing strategies are needed.
2. CONTENTS PAGE
List your headings and sub-headings using a numerical format and ensure the corresponding page number is correct.
(NB: You do not list the Executive Summery in the contents page, it is a stand-alone document)
3. CORPORATION & SBU BACKGROUND
Provide a brief outline on the corporation as it is today. Discuss the company structure, key stakeholders/influencers, overall performance, other business operations and interests.
Give details of the SBU for which you are developing the strategic marketing plan. Give details of product(s) covered by the SBU, the geographical scope of the SBU, its operations, strategic fit within the corporate structure and overall financial performance.
4. SBU SITUATION ANALYSIS (Where are we now?)
Review the internal (micro-) and external (macro-) environments of the SBU, including:
4.1 SBU Corporate Appraisal
Senior Mgmt e.g. how does their skills and values affect the direction of the company.
Corporate Culture e.g. how does employees’ values and attitudes affect how the company operates.
Corporate Stakeholders e.g. identify the relevant stakeholders and how they affect the company’s operations.
Corporate Resources e.g. how do the firm’s resources affect the SBU’s strategies.
Review of Past Performance e.g. identify and review previous strategies that have made a significant impact (positive and negative) on the company.
4.2 SBU Customers
Provide a brief summary of relevant and major changes and trends that have occurred within the SBU’s industry over the last 5-10 years.
Discuss relevant changes and trends in the macroenvironment (i.e. PESTEL) that that have occurred within the SBU’s industry.
Analyse market performance in which the SBU is operating. Provide detailed information on the SBU’s key market segments, their growth/decline (provide data on sales, growth, market share, etc. for the past 5 years) and the reasons for this. Use tables/graphs to clearly demonstrate your findings.
4.3 SBU Competition (Use a table format)
List major competitors of the SBU, their market share or some measure of their relative success and power compared to your own SBU.
Review the performance of each competitor to date.
Review relative resources, profitability, key competitive advantages and Sustainable Competitive Advantages of each of the key competitors.
4.4 Key Findings
List the major key findings from your analysis presented in 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3.
5. SBU OBJECTIVES AND GOALS (“Where do we want to be”?)
Indicate the time period (years) for the strategic marketing plan and list separately the objectives and goals for the SBU for the time period. Relate these to your Situational Analysis (Section 4). Be realistic – don’t come up with either objectives or goals that are unrealistic (i.e. a very remote
likelihood of your SBU actually achieving them), or objectives and goals that are already achieved (what is the point of doing this?).
6. RECOMMENDED STRATEGIES (“How do we achieve our objectives and goal?”)
You need to recommend strategies that are relevant to helping you achieve the SBU’s objectives and goals listed in Section 5. This may include some or all of the following:
6.1 Market Strategies
6.2 Product Strategies
6.3 Pricing Strategies
6.4 Distribution Strategies
6.5 Promotion Strategies
The strategies themselves should logically flow from your analysis of the internal and external environments e.g. developing strategies that will leverage the SBU’s strengths to create further sustainable competitive advantages, or to deal with competitors before they negatively impact on the SBU’s performance.
7. IMPLEMENTATION PROGRAM (“How do we operationalise our strategies described in Section 6?”)
Present the proposed plan for implementation/control in the form of a Table.
8. BUDGET SUMMARY
Provide an estimate of all costs associated with the strategies.
Appendices should be used to include relevant information that your group has based the Strategic Marketing Plan on that was not critically important enough to be included in the body of the Plan itself. If you evaluated various strategic alternatives, provide this comparison in the appendices.
10. SOURCES OF INFORMATION
List all key sources of information your group has used to discover information on the 3Cs or other areas of relevance to the Strategic Marketing Plan. Particularly good sources add weight / credibility to your Plan and hence are likely to earn you “bonus marks”.
Some common problems to avoid:
An Executive Summary is NOT an introduction; it must address all areas of the plan in one page
The plan must focus on the Strategic Business Unit (SBU) and not the Corporation
A lack of diverse and credible information sources
Data on Corporation and SBU should NOT be treated as identical
Lack of use of strategic tools to summarise/prove a point
The plan should not deviate into an ‘International Marketing Plan’ with several country markets being analysed
Different sections of the plan not linking together (e.g. no flow through the plan)
Objectives and Goals are not ‘SMART’
Objectives and Goals are not built from the Situation Analysis
Strategies do not link with the Situation Analysis and/or Company Information
Strategies are not built from the Objectives and Goals
Strategies are merely listed, and do not show how they can achieve the Objectives and Goals
Implementation table and/or Budget do not link with the Strategies and/or are not realistic
Details and costs for the Implementation table and/or Budget should not be simply plucked from the air
Appendices are additional information; they do not have to be read by the reader.