Personal Marketing Plan
Personal Marketing Plan
PURPOSE / LEARNING OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this assignment is to work through the steps of a marketing plan in a context that is highly relevant and potentially advantageous to each student. That context is your future (or current) job search. Students should gain experience with the various components of a marketing plan and have the opportunity to apply marketing concepts to a real marketing challenge. In addition, students should have a better understanding of themselves and the challenges of making themselves marketable.
Following the marketing plan structure documented below, each student should produce a business-quality document that summarizes their plan to successfully enter the job market upon graduation. The document should be well-written, easy to follow, represent a high level of in-depth thinking and analysis, and meet all the quality and formatting guidelines highlighted within this assignment description.
THE PERSONAL MARKETING PLAN STRUCTURE
The PMP produced by each student IS REQUIRED TO FOLLOW the following structure:
Name / Major Header: Using the header function, put two things in the top right corner of the first page (only): your Name (first line) and your Major (second line). Nothing else should appear with these two. This means do not put your student number, the class, the date, etc. They are unnecessary and make the document look unprofessional. Adding unnecessary items will result in a 5% penalty.
Title: Use this exact title: “Personal Marketing Plan” and center and bold it.
After these two items, please continue with the body of your Personal Marketing Plan while strictly following the six section structure documented below.
1. MISSION. This section should be short, one sentence statement of your purpose. It should answer the question: What do you want to accomplish in the larger environment? Remember that this statement should be meaningful, specific, yet motivating.
NOTE: The “Mission” section of the PMP is the one part where you should think “big picture.” It is NOT the same thing as a resume objective statement and should not reference your dream job title (i.e., “CEO” or “CFO”).
For the rest of the PMP you should focus just on the time from this semester to your job search.
2. DESIRED JOB. In this section identify the ENTRY LEVEL job that you would wish to obtain with the firms you have identified as your target firms. Examples may include: account executive (salesperson), auditor, financial services representative, advertising assistant, store manager. After the job title, you should briefly describe the responsibilities and/or skills needed for this entry level job. Do not reference the company you wish to work for in this section.
3. TARGET MARKETS. This section should “generically” describe the type of organizations that you want to target. To do this you should consider what demographic (e.g. large vs. small), psychographic (conservative vs. progressive corporate culture), and behavioristic (e.g. automobile manufacturer) characteristics that you wish those organizations to possess. After this generic description, identify at four (4) firms or organizations that fit your requirements. In addition, give two (2) reasons why your chosen segments are attractive target markets. Please do this section in that exact order: the generic description, the four example firms, and the two reasons.
4. POSITIONING STATEMENT. In this section you should state the position you desire to establish in the minds of your target firms. Remember, positioning originates in the mind of the consumer, and in this case the consumer is the potential employer. Thus, what attitudes and mindset do you want them to have concerning you? Specifically, you should identify two (2) words or phrases that are related to the skills and/or knowledge you would like to offer to the market (e.g. significant selling skills, ability to execute a creative advertising campaign, full understanding of standard auditing procedures), and two (2) words or phrases that identify personal traits you would bring to the job market (e.g. hardworking, detail oriented, fun loving).
• Think of it this way: after an interview has wrapped up, if you could secretly listen to the post-interview conversation, what would you like to hear said about you?
5. MARKETING MIX: How will you use your four tools (product, place, promotion, and price) to create the position you have documented above.
a. Product: Remember, YOU ARE THE PRODUCT. Thus, what product do you want to present to the marketplace? Identify four (4) key product features that you intend on possessing at the time of your job search (e.g. completed an accounting internship with Arthur Anderson, president of the XYZ fraternity, employed full-time throughout school). Using a list type format, identify the feature and give a quick description of that feature. Continue with an explanation of why and how that feature would be a benefit to the hiring firm (not to you!)
1. List Type Format: This is an example of what I mean by a list type format. When doing the assignment, use this format for both the product & promotion sections.
1. VP of Programs for the Sales & Business Marketing Association: In this position I organized 14 employer meetings that connected over 100 students with over 40 employers. Through this experience I have gained organizational and multi-tasking skills that will allow me to handle greater levels of work and still perform effectively.
Notice how the title of the product feature is descriptive, yet efficient, and stands out via the use of bolding. The description of duties is specific and concrete, and the benefit this product feature creates is directly expressed. You should mimic this approach.
b. Promotion: How will you communicate with the market that you are available and qualified to be their employment solution? What promotional tactics will you employ and why are they appropriate? Each student should list three (3) promotional techniques they will use. Each should be specific, unique, and students should attempt to “think out of the resume/e-portfolio box”! In fact, resume & e-portfolio cannot be on your list of four unless it is because you plan to do something significantly out of the ordinary or unique in relation to a resume or e-portfolio. For each technique you should include three items: (1) briefly explain the specifics of that tactic, (2) approximate how much the tactic will cost, and (3) identify and explain how and why you think this tactic will be successful for you. As you did in the Product section, please use a list format when presenting your promotional techniques.
• Students should take the time to review the myriad of potential promotional tactics available to them by considering the many ways that firms and organizations promote themselves to their target audiences. One way to do this is to go through the textbook chapters on promotion and write down all of the promotional tactics used as examples, and then creatively consider how you could translate those ideas into workable tactics for your personal promotion.
1. Airplane Banner: I will purchase a flying banner that will fly over one WMU, MSU and UM football game. This banner will read: “Sky High Results: Sales Training by PartnerBuilding. www.partnerbuilding.com”. The cost of this will be approximately $1200. This banner will be effective because many business people attend these games and my saying will create curiosity and web site hits which should lead to prospects contacting me.
Notice the title of the promotional method is descriptive, yet efficient, and stands out via the use of bolding & underlining. The description of the method is specific and concrete and includes its cost (your method choices should be cost realistic for you). And lastly, I have explained how and why I think this promotional method will work. You should mimic this approach.
c. Place: First, identify any geographical preferences or limitations you have (e.g. plan to look for a job in Michigan only). Second, identify the distribution channels your job search will utilize? List at least two (2) direct channels you will use to distribute yourself (or the materials that represent you), and list at least two (2) indirect channels. Direct channels involve you connecting directly with the targeted firms, while indirect channels involve you using an independent intermediary (like your Uncle in the industry) to distribute your materials for you. Mailing (e-mail or snail mail) resumes directly to a firm is a direct channel; the postal service (or other transportation companies), do not constitute an “independent intermediary.”
d. Price: What will it cost the market to hire you? Research the starting salaries for your chosen field and list that salary (or salary range) and the source where you obtained your information.
6. EXECUTION PLAN: Each student should list a semester-by-semester plan that documents specifically what needs to be done between this semester and the start of your job search, and when each thing will get done. This should include any “product development” efforts that still need to occur (e.g. Spring 2015: Finish classes for BBA degree, Spring/Summer 2015: obtain marketing internship, Fall 2016: get certification in Novell networks) and should include your schedule for the creation of your promotional materials/efforts (e.g. Fall 2016: get airplane banner made and in air).
As this is a personal marketing plan, I expect uniqueness in content and thinking, however, students should strictly follow the structure of this assignment (outlined in the previous sections) for two reasons: (1) it will earn you a higher grade; (2) it will result in a more specific, and thus, more useful final product. In the end, the quality of your plan as a whole will determine your grade, and thus, students should put a great deal of thought and analysis into the production of their plan and their document.
THE GRADING STANDARDS
Students should realize I have very high expectations for this document and the buzzword I use to describe these expectations is “business-quality”. This means a document that you would feel good about if you were handing it to your boss or a key customer. That means zero grammar problems, no typos, perfect spelling, great printer quality, and formatting that enhances the visual organization of the document. It means that this is not a “paper” in the traditional academic sense. It should mimic a business proposal or memo, not an English 101 paper. That means that besides having excellent content, it should take advantage of formatting (like this assignment description does) and it should be concise (fewest words used to convey the meaning). The specific grading standards are:
• EFFECTIVE CONTENT: Does the document represent a well thought out marketing plan that is strongly grounded in the class concepts and techniques? Does it address each of the areas that it was supposed to? And lastly, if enacted, would it be useful to you in your employment search?
• EFFECTIVE WRITING: Does the writing present the ideas in a clear and concise manner? Does the student use words and grammar effectively? (see further description below)
1. ERROR FREE: The document should be free of any “typos”, spelling errors, or grammar mistakes. Each error will result in a one (1) point reduction in the student’s grade.
2. CONCISE: The writing should be concise, which is defined as using the fewest number of words that effectively represent your ideas. To achieve concise, students should expect to produce a first draft that is much longer than two pages and then reconsider each sentence, paragraph, and section to see how the number of words can be reduced without weakening the quality of the argument / ideas.
• VISUALLY EFFECTIVE: Is there a strong visual organization to the document and does it look and feel like a business document? (see further description below)
Document Formatting Requirements: Below, six specific formatting requirements are documented and I will strictly enforce these requirements when grading your PMP.
1. The document cannot exceed 2 pages of content on a single sheet of white paper. Printing should be back-to-back. Thus, students should be handing in a single sheet of white paper that has printing on both sides. If you have a staple in your paper, you are doing it wrong.
2. The document font should never be smaller than 10 point.
3. The margins should be at least 1 inch on all sides of each page.
4. The document can use any mix of line spacing as long as it is not less than single spaced.
5. The document should be printed on a business-quality printer (laser or high quality ink-jet) and should be on plain white paper.
6. No cover page. Simply use the header function to put your name and major in the top right corner of the first page only. (DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR STUDENT NUMBER.)
Each violation of the formatting guidelines will result in a 5% grade reduction.
In addition to the requirements above, high scoring PMP’s will be visually effective. This means that the underlying structure / organization / outline of the document should be clear to the reader. You should still write in full sentences aiming to find a balance between paragraph form and the outline form. Effective use of formatting tools (e.g. bolding, underlining, indenting, numbered lists, and bullet statements) should allow you to achieve this standard. Given the structured nature of this assignment, students should use the mandated arrangement outlined in this assignment description as their organizational guide. For instance, students should have distinct, visual sections for each of the six sections required by the assignment.
EXAMPLE: I consider this document to have achieved the balance between the paragraph form and the formatted outline form that you should strive for.
A few tips and common problems……..
• MULTIPLE DRAFTS. Historically, students who have attempted to create their written assignments for me in one draft have performed poorly. The usual problems include points off for sloppy mistakes, writing that is unclear and not concise, and a general lack of depth to the ideas embedded within the document. I strongly suggest a multiple draft approach.
• BE DISCIPLINED. Please review the syllabus for the policy on handing in this assignment and the penalties for handing in the assignment late. Students who wish to earn a high grade on this assignment should start by being disciplined enough to not lose points for handing in the assignment late or violating the formatting or writing quality guidelines. Even a high quality set of ideas can quickly turn to a poor grade without such discipline.
• USE YOUR RESOURCES. Be sure to review your notes and the text to gain a full understanding of each topic area and to potentially gain ideas for the specifics of your plan. In addition, please recognize that I will be available in office hours to help you with your assignment.
• WRITE IN PLAIN ENGLISH! Students have this horrible habit of trying to create elaborate sentences full of “big words.” They often fail miserably at their attempts. A simple example from a previous semester: “I will bring a plethora amount of ideas to the firm that hires me.” First, with the exception of the “Three Amigos” movie script, who actually uses the word “plethora” in normal conversation? Don’t use words that would not be readily understandable to the normal business audience. Instead of that awkward sounding sentence, the author could have saved three words and wrote: “I will bring many ideas to the firm that hires me.” The second problem with the author using that particular sentence is the addition of “amount” after “plethora.” This indicated that the author didn’t really understand the meaning of the word “plethora,” because the use of “amount” is redundant. Thus, the writer went for the big word to sound impressive, and instead came across as unimpressive. Avoid this. Write directly, simply, and stay clear of big words and convoluted sentence structures. In the end, you will COMMUNICATE better, and that is the truest test of good writing.
• FIRST PERSON IS OK: In most business writing you would not write in the first person, however, since this as a personal marketing plan, use of that style is acceptable.
• AVOID ORPHANED HEADINGS: I have encountered many “orphaned” headings while reviewing these assignments. An orphaned heading is one that has no text below it before the page break. It is a big no-no in business writing. If you have a heading, the general rule is that there should be at least two-lines of text immediately below it before there is a page break. If you can’t get two lines to fit, move the heading to the next page so it stays with the text it represents.
• RIGHT CREEP: Students waste a lot of space by continuously indenting farther and farther right as the document sections unfold. Be careful of this as it can make it very difficult to fit all of the content you need if the entire document is squashed into the right side of the page.
• COMMON FORMATTING MISTAKES THAT HAVE LED TO POINT LOSSES: The most common reasons why people lose points on the assignment when it comes to the formatting requirements are: (1) they violate the 2 page limit and/or don’t print it back-to-back on a single sheet of paper, (2) they use a lousy printer, (3) they put their name and major somewhere else besides in a header in the top right corner of the first page, (4) they add unnecessary information to the header that is supposed to contain only their name and major, (5) they don’t know the correct spelling of their major, and (6) they use a paper color other than plain white. Consider yourself warned. Strictly and carefully follow the formatting requirements and you should be fine, violate them, and you will be docked points.