The Marketing Plan Explorer module is a generic "outline" of a marketing plan. It provides a full tree structured outline of a marketing plan with descriptions and examples for every section.
The purpose of the Marketing Plan Explorer is to guide students and assist them in developing a comprehensive marketing plan document. Additionally, this module helps students to understand three reasons why marketing plans are important to organizations. 1. Formal written plans assist organizations as a communication vehicle, 2. Marketing plans are a device for organizational learning, and 3. They provide an organization with evidence of what they are trying to accomplish and how they are trying to accomplish it.
Target Student Population:
Because of the highly integrative nature of the project, it is recommended for senior-level marketing students taking "Marketing Management" or a "Capstone Marketing" type of course. It could also be used successfully in a graduate-level introductory marketing course.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students should have a very solid grasp of principles of marketing or some other introduction to marketing course prior to using this material. Ideally, students will have also completed at least four additional marketing courses such as Consumer Behavior, Integrated Marketing Communications, Marketing Research, etc. Without an understanding of marketing theories as prerequisite knowledge, students may have difficulty integrating all of the components in a comprehensive marketing plan. Furthermore,
due to the intense research needed, students need to be skilled at using library and computer sources to obtain information needed for the plan.
Type of Material:
This is an extremely time-intensive activity for students to complete.
It would likely be used as a group project to be completed over an entire semester.
Evaluation and Observation
This module is written for students so that they can see how a marketing plan is written in a step-by-step fashion. As a suggestion, it could be improved by adding an "instructional notes" section on how instructors might utilize this plan. (i.e., break it into parts over the semester vs. one plan for semester; how to integrate it with case work or a simulation; perhaps a series of in-class questions to go with each section). While the materials are targeted towards students, it would be helpful to repackage some areas towards the audience of marketing academics.
Students can "copy" the full outline of a marketing plan from http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/katrichis/Mktg_Pln/Outline_fULL.htm and then "paste" it into a word processing document for editing.
The format used in the Marketing Plan Explorer focuses on the conceptual side of the marketing plan and pays less attention to the financial aspects of the plan. The author states, "While complete and detailed budgets are really outside the scope of a marketing class, no plan is complete without them." We agree that no plan is complete without them, but we respectfully disagree with the author's assumption that budgets are beyond the scope of an upper-division marketing class. In reality, a marketing plan without a detailed budget is incomplete. Budgeting for marketing is often a difficult section for students to grasp, however, budgets force students to go back and see how all of the pieces fit together. Students need to understand how much it would really cost to implement their ideas and plans.
The topic, VI. Evaluating Alternatives and Reaching Decisions,
? and topic VII., ?Implementation,? are not adequately addressed.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The "Introduction" page on the site provides users with a general orientation to the marketing planning process and the Marketing Plan Explorer.
The learning objectives are clear.
Students at the University of Hartford created the examples in The Marketing Plan Explorer. While they serve as an application of each section of the marketing plan, using examples from a real-life marketing plan could strengthen the module.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
There are three kinds of navigation that can be used with the Marketing Explorer:
1. Zoom: Allows the user to see a detailed outline of the section or sub-section specified. 2. Description: Allows the user to view a narrative description of the section associated with the button. 3. Example: Allows students to view written examples of the associated section of the marketing plan.
An area of concern is the overall navigational structure of this website. It is cumbersome and hard to understand exactly where you are in the website. In most parts of the web site, users must rely on their "back" button to move from one section of the website to another. Because you can end up at any particular destination from more than one source in the Marketing Plan Explorer the "back" button in your browser must be used to get back where you came from.
Students may want to print off an entire marketing plan as an example for reference. Currently, this would require students visiting many pages and then printing them off individually. By having the entire marketing plan example on one web page, students can have the entire plan available in one location. An internal (anchor/link) hyperlinking system can help students navigate within the various sections of the document.