Zsolt Katona - Marketing Plan Project

  Home | Research | Teaching | Dancing |  

Marketing Plan Project - Evaluating a New Product Opportunity


In this project you play the role of a marketing manager/entrepreneur whose task is to study the market and the strategy for a new product or service idea that your company is considering and develop a marketing plan. You must choose a new product, or service idea that your group is interested in. Ideally, the chosen product concept must not be a “me-too” business opportunity which copies some existing product. I encourage you to choose a product or service that is relevant to the company or industry that one or several of the group members are interested in. Or it could be a business concept that you have been considering.

Assignment Report Format

The final written assignment should not be more than 2500 words (excluding the executive summary). In addition, you may attach up to 5 exhibits which present any supporting analysis that you have done. Finally you should also attach your 2-page questionnaire. The final report should contain the following:

  1. Executive Summary: This would be about 1/2 to 1 page in length which succinctly summarizes your new product idea, your segmentation, positioning, and marketing mix recommendations (minus recommendation support), and the key insights that you derived. You do not need to add implementation details. The executive summary must be kept to under one page and is not included in the word limit for the report.
  2. Products/Services Description: This should be a brief description of the product or service and its market. You can include the value proposition, core product benefit for the target market, the relevant product attributes and features.
  3. Objectives: This is a brief statement of the ultimate business goal of the marketing plan (i.e., the key outcome you are trying to achieve). Since each team will be creating a new product or service for a company, this goal is likely to be similar across teams. In addition to the ultimate goal, you might also list necessary sub-goals to achieve the ultimate goal (i.e., key targets and activities that must be accomplished to achieve the ultimate goal). These will necessarily be of a marketing nature. Furthermore, this section should list the key performance indicator(s) that will be used to measure success and the timeframe in which you plan to achieve the goals.
  4. Segmentation, Target Market Identification and Positioning: You should conduct a segmentation analysis considering various ways to segment the market and select the optimal target market segment(s). You must consider alternative positioning platforms for your chosen product concept and choose the optimal positioning for the product.
  5. Marketing Mix Recommendation: You must specify what the marketing mix challenges are if the product were to be launched and provide recommendations on the proposed marketing strategy (product, price, distribution, promotion and advertising). You do not necessarily need to cover every element of the marketing mix, but may focus on the ones that are most critical for your problem. This section will probably be the largest section of the plan because it is where most of the marketing recommendations are made and justified. Credit will be given to groups that are able to integrate these the components in #4 and # 5 and demonstrate their interrelationship in the report. Groups will also benefit from applying the concepts and issues discussed in the class throughout the semester.
  6. Implementation Details – Action Steps, Financial Evaluation, Controls: here is where you will include your important action steps, your timeline for key decisions and actions, your assessment of the risks you face with backup plans to mitigate risks if/when they arise, your financial analysis that provides evidence that your plan could succeed, and a list of the metrics and key performance indicators you will monitor to determine whether your plan is working.

Time Line

The following is a suggested timeline. The only official date is when you must submit the groups and your final report.

  • Week 1: Convene group and pick product idea
  • Submit list of group members and basic idea by 10/20, 11pm
  • Week 2: Conduct secondary research on product category, market, and competitive environment.
  • Week 3-4: Develop Survey Questionnaire. Pretest and refine the questionnaire on 2-3 consumers.
  • Week 5-6: Collecting data (approx. 25 respondents) and analyze data. Make decisions on STP and the design of product/service.
  • Week 7: make decisions on marketing mix recommendations.
  • Week 8: Pulling it all together, write marketing plan report.
  • Submit final report 12/16, 11pm

Data Collection Task

An objective of this project is to give you first-hand exposure in conducting a small-scale market research. Thus, to collect information for your new product and to aid in understanding the segmentation and positioning decision you may conduct secondary and primary research. For your secondary research, you can search free sources on the Internet, but you may access sources of secondary research (e.g., market and industry reports and archived news and trade press articles) available at the Long Library. In addition to your secondary research, you can also conduct some basic primary research in the form of a market survey. Your research should focus on the product/service category you intend to enter. Note that your research may reveal that your initial hypotheses need adjustment and the customer value gaps your new product or service can fill may emerge quite differently from your original conceptions. In the past, my experience has been that groups find conducting and analyzing primary research to be exciting.

Study Design

When designing the questionnaire for the research study you can refer to the market research chapter that will be included in your reading materials for self-study. This will help you to better design the questions for your survey. You can also refer to the marketing research textbook listed below and available in the library. These additional resources will be kept on hold in the library as an introduction to conducting marketing research. The following are a few suggestions:

  1. Limit the questionnaire to a maximum of about two pages. You will get more cooperation from respondents if you mention that this is part of a university project.
  2. A sample size of around 25 respondents will be sufficient for the purposes of the assignment.
  3. It may be desirable to make primary objective of this survey to learn how the various target segments react to your chosen i) product concept ii) alternative positioning concepts and iii) important aspects of marketing strategy such as pricing. Your research can help you to identify target segments, but given the duration available, it is acceptable if the survey does not involve a detailed market segmentation exercise.
  4. Pay heed to sample selection. You cannot select people to interview who might have nothing to do with your chosen product concept. If your class mates are a relevant target for your product you may interview them, but please ensure that they do not form more than 50% of the sample.

Questionnaire Content

In studying a target market, and to evaluate your product’s idea you need to decide what information is a must and which can be had only from direct consumer interviews (plus other information that is relevant to your product/service). Some issues to consider are:

  1. Information to evaluate segment attractiveness, potential etc.
  2. Interest, purchase intentions and consumer evaluation of the new product concept.
  3. How members of the target market make decisions, what are their needs and who influences their purchase decisions.
  4. The relative importance of various product/service features.
  5. Consumer price sensitivity
  6. How do they evaluate key brands in the category on important dimensions?
  7. In what ways are key brands/competitors in the category not meeting the needs of your target market?
You may potentially use the information from the study to conduct some relevant analysis of consumer behavior and consumer preferences (e.g., conjoint analysis) and behaviors that might aid your segmentation/positioning decision. Apart from the techniques discussed in the class, your are encouraged to use simple and basic data analysis techniques such as tabulations and cross-tabulations.

Data Collection

Many groups in the past have found it very convenient to run their surveys online through tools such as Survey Monkey or Qualtrics (Go to berkeley.qualtrics.com for a Qualtrics interface provided to Berkeley students). If you decide that you do not need to do face to face interviews, you can explore the option to administer your survey online. Note: Do not use the built-in conjoint analysis survey in Qualtrics. Unfortunately, it is not a real conjoint analysis.