Step-by-step instructions are found in this
column. Read each section and then respond in the column to the right.
Insert your copy in the gray text block in response
to the directions
in the column to the left.
Write the name of your company here:
Write your address here:
Insert the dates for which this plan covers:
The introduction of your marketing plan will provide an executive
summary of your entire document. In addition, it will highlight the
mission and objectives of your business in order to establish the
context in which your marketing plan will be implemented.
Your mission statement is a two or three-sentence answer to two
questions. First, "What business are we in?" This may initially seem
obvious because you are a producer and supplier of books.
Second, "Who are we trying to serve?" Create a profile of the people
who are the ultimate beneficiaries of your content.
For example, the mission statement for Book Marketing Works is: “Become
the leading and most respected brand-name entity that provides high
quality, pragmatic sales and marketing resources that continually
enhance a publisher’s efforts to generate more revenue and profits for
See Strategy # 13 in Beyond the Bookstore for more instructions
on writing your mission statement.
1.2 Executive summary
Briefly describe the history of your publishing firm. In addition,
include the business structure (corporation, limited liability company,
partnership, sole proprietorship, limited partnership), names of owners
and any significant events since it began.
Summarize your product lines, distribution strategies,
pricing strategies and your existing and planned promotional campaign.
Describe your target markets and a profile of prospective customers in
Even if you are the only person who will see your plan, this summary
will give you a frequent reminder of the task you have set for
yourself. Make it brief and motivating, something to which you can
refer on a regular basis.
2) The MARKET ANALYSIS section of your marketing plan
provides a detailed description of the current marketplace in which you
compete, including the specific niches. Describe your customers,
potential customers and competition.
2.1 Market Definition
Analyze the publishing industry as it impacts your business.
Show the growth rate of your various sub-segments of the book market,
in terms of units and dollars. Update this regularly.
2.2 Market Segmentation
Given the industry situation you described in 2.1, in which specific
market niches do you intend to compete, and what is the expected
potential of each. For example, if your overall market is Children’s
Books, you may choose to market to segments such as bookstores,
libraries, schools or corporations. Talk about the current size and
geographical scope of each as well as their growth rate and potential.
Use units and/or dollars to characterize each niche.
Specific data may be found in libraries, journals, trade press,
directories, government publications, focus groups and books. The
documented use of facts and statistics will add to the credibility of
your marketing plan.
Analyze competitive titles. Gather information and keep abreast of the
competitions' activities in relation to new products, pricing,
distribution systems and promotional programs. This information will
assist in your development of new titles. Competitive data will also
enable you to create promotional material that will position the title
A simple way to uncover competitive information is through a visit to
Amazon.com. Here, a quick search will provide you with titles, authors
and prices as well as reviews of each competitive title.
Include a discussion of your qualitative conclusions. List your primary
competitors and what you are doing to close the gap between your
business and theirs, or to widen your lead.
3) Your EXISTING MARKETING ORGANIZATION. Given the market
situation you described above, how will you organize your marketing
strategies to maximize your competitive strengths? Describe your
present products and services, channels of distribution, pricing
philosophy and promotions. See Chapters One, Five and Six of Beyond the
Bookstore for more instructions on completing this section.
3.1 Description Of Your Current
This portion of your plan defines the present status of your marketing
capabilities. Describe the products and services you offer. Do the same
for your existing channels of distribution and the promotional programs
you have in place.
4) ISSUES AND OPPORTUNTIES. In the context of the
information you have analyzed thus far, what are your significant
strengths and weaknesses? Next, what opportunities do you expect to
create or exploit, and what threats do you foresee and how will you
Tell the strong points of your line of products and
services as well as your business itself. A strength could be as
straightforward as the quality of your production or marketing prowess,
or subtler examples such as an exclusive URL or the respect your titles
create in the minds of your customers. 4.1 Strengths
It is sometimes difficult to describe your areas of
weakness, but an awareness of them can help you correct them.
Objectively describe areas in need of improvement, such as company
reputation and track record, technological hurdles, and obstacles to
clear understanding of the customer's fundamental needs. 4.2 Weaknesses
Describe the opportunities that exist in the marketplace
and market niches in which you have chosen to compete. Present these
opportunities realistically, using facts and statistics to substantiate
them. 4.3 Opportunities
This section highlights the inherent or potential risks
or hazards you see in the marketplace. As you describe each, the focus
should not be gloom and doom, but rather the critical issues that could
be menacing to your position. 4.4 Threats
This section funnels the data and analysis from the preceding analysis
into your objectives. Concise writing and presentation in this section
will help you focus on your goals.
The purpose of objectives is to divide your long-term vision into
attainable goals. Traditional business planning requires that
objectives be written, functional, measurable, specific and
time-oriented. However, objectives must be more than that or they
simply remain good intentions.
For example, an objective might be stated as, "Increase our sales." A
more desirable objective would be, "Increase our annual sales by X%,
and profits by Y% over 2003's performance." See Strategy # 14 in Beyond
the Bookstore< for more tips on writing your goals.
Since you know your sales forecast, distribution
discounts, and expected returns, the next step is to specify the net
income you expect to receive for the planning period. 5.1 Financial Objectives
Financial goals might include but certainly are not limited to the
following: sales volume, cost, gross margin, net profit, cash flow, and
Set goals in each of the four area of marketing:
product, distribution, price and promotion. Describe how you will seek
new titles to bring to market (or new markets for existing titles),
different distribution channels, unique ways to offer price incentives
while maintaining your margins, and original ways to promote your
titles above the ever-increasing clutter of competitive advertising,
sales promotions and publicity. 5.2 Marketing Objectives
Examples might include, but should not be limited to, the following:
new market segments, sales volume, market share (in each niche), total
units per purchase by customer or niche, average dollar amount per
order, rate of repeat purchase and number of new title introductions.
Creativity must be applied to find new titles to bring
to market (or new markets for existing titles), different distribution
channels, ways to offer price incentives while maintaining your margins
and original ways to promote your titles above the ever-increasing
clutter of competitive advertising, sales and publicity. 5.3 Innovation Objectives
6) GENERAL MARKETING STRATEGIES. This section presents your
overall approach to accomplishing your mission and objectives in each
of five key dimensions referred to here as: Positioning, Product,
Price, Promotion and Place (distribution).
Outline your game plan for organizing these variables. If you have more
than one target market segment, then you might have one game plan for
all the segments or you may have tailored a market strategy for each
different target segment.
Positioning establishes the desired perception of your
titles relative to the competition. In other words, what should be the
first thing that comes to your customers’ minds when they think of your
titles? For example, when most people think of 6.1 Positioning
Chicken Soup for the
Soul books, heartwarming stories immediately come to their minds.
Your positioning statement could change for every market segment. In
this space, explain the image your product line creates (or should
create) in the minds of people in your target market.
See Strategy # 24 in Beyond the Bookstore for tips on defining
your title’s position for various niches.
In special-sales marketing, buyers are more concerned
with the content of your book than with its form. Describe how people
want your content delivered and how you will provide it to them as such
(book, booklet, DVD, spiral-bound workbook). 6.2 Product and packaging
See Strategy # 17 in Beyond the Bookstore for tips on
developing a product strategy.
Discuss the incentives and discounts you might offer to
stimulate demand. 6.3 Pricing strategy
See Strategy # 32 in Beyond the Bookstore for tips on pricing
your books profitably.
Describe all the methods you will use to make your
books available and accessible to the target customers in: 6.4 Distribution Strategy
Special Distribution (discount stores, airport stores, supermarkets,
Commercial Sales (companies, associations, schools, government
Niche Markets (gift shops; specialty stores, museums, book clubs,
How will you promote your titles and persuade customers
to buy your books? 6.5 Promotion Strategy
7) SPECIFIC MARKETING PROGRAMS. This is the action part of
your marketing plan and tells the reader what marketing actions you
will take to fulfill your strategies and reach your objectives. Discuss
your specific plans for developing your product lines, building your
distribution, enhancing your pricing strategies and creating new
promotions your titles.
What new products will you introduce? To what target
markets will they be directed? How will you preserve product quality?
For which titles will you perform test marketing? 7.1 Product Line Tactics
The packaging for one title may be different for various target
segments. For instance, you may decide to release a title in hard cover
for the library market, in soft cover for bookstores and in a small, 4”
x 6” size for gift markets.
Distribution discounts and the costs of production and
marketing are two of the components to consider when pricing your
books. Describe pricing incentives you may offer. For instance, if you
choose a competitive pricing strategy you might differentiate your
titles by offering coupons or refunds. 7.2 Pricing Tactics
Who are the specific partners you will use to distribute
your books in each market segment? What are their terms? Who will pay
shipping? What fees will they charge for placement in their catalogs?
In what time period will you be paid? What percent of sales do you
expect to be returned? 7.3 Distribution Tactics
Be specific about how you will reach Special Distribution prospects,
Commercial Sales buyers and potential customers in Niche Markets.
Tell how your promotional plan will be different for
each title and author. 7.4 General Promotion Tactics
List the actions, dates, and people responsible for each
personal selling program, such as making personal sales calls on
prospective customers, networking at trade shows, making personal
presentations and conducting events at retail stores. 7.4.1 Personal Selling
List each direct marketing-related action that you plan
to implement. 7.4.2 Direct Marketing Tactics
Describe each sales promotion-related action that you
expect to take. 7.4.3 Sales Promotion Tactics
How will you apply publicity and public relations to
reach your objectives? Types of programs might include press releases,
press kits, reviews and media performances. Will you engage a
professional publicist? Will you write and send out a press release on
your new special products and services? 7.4.4 Publicity
Explain the advertising-related actions that you will
perform, listing the actions, dates, and people responsible for each
advertising program. 7.4.5 Advertising Programs
8) DEVELOP CONTINGENCY PLANS. This presents contingency
plans designed to protect the critical strategies of your plan from the
associated risks that you have identified in the "Threats" section. The
contingency plans basically tell the reader what you will do if things
do not go according to plan. A contingency plan minimizes risk by
addressing the following issues:
so problems are revealed more quickly. Watch marketplace and financial
results, as well as analyzing the implications of any changes. 8.1 Set Up Monitoring Operations
in advance so that minimal time and energy is spent on deciding what to
do after the problem is recognized. Action plans are proactive
responses to business or program problems rather than reactive ones. 8.2 Define Alternative Plans Of