Instructions for Creating Your
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A marketing plan may be your most important tool for selling successfully in special-sales markets. The table below provides step-by-step instructions that will help you create a practical marketing plan. Brief directions are found in the left-hand column. These also refer you to the appropriate Strategy in Beyond the Bookstore™ where you can find even more assistance. Read the instructions for each step, and then write your response in the gray text block in the right-hand column. Use as much space as you need.
After you have completed all the requested information, go to the Word document “Marketing_Plan_ Print_Ready” on The Marketing Planning CD-ROM™. Here you will find your text in the form of a complete marketing plan, ready for printing.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: / From: To:
1) MISSION STATEMENT. This section of your marketing plan should describe your special-sales mission, the reason why you are in business.
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.
Instead, look more closely at what you are really providing. In special-sales marketing, the product is a variable through which you deliver your content to the appropriate market. What information do you convey? How do you want people to respond upon reading your content? How will their lives change as a result? This will give you greater understanding of your mission.
Second, "Who are we trying to serve?" Create a profile of the people who are the ultimate beneficiaries of your content.
See Strategy # 13 in Beyond the Bookstore for more instructions on writing your mission statement.
2) Executive Summary. This section of your marketing plan provides a synopsis of your entire document. It should define your overall objective and the general strategies that you will implement to reach it, describing the context in which your marketing plan will be implemented.
2.1 Executive summary
Briefly describe the history of your publishing firm, the date on which it was started and its current location. 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, target markets, distribution strategies, pricing strategies and your existing and planned promotional campaign. Depict your target segments and a profile of prospective customers in each.
Also include a brief and general description of your marketing organization. Describe how it is structured by function or geography. Describe any strategic alliances in which you have entered and the people you employ on a freelance basis.
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.
3) OBJECTIVES. This section of your marketing plan should clearly state your overall marketing goals. The purpose is to divide your long-term vision into short-range, attainable goals. Traditional business planning requires that objectives be written, functional, measurable, attainable, specific and time-oriented.
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 200Z's performance." See Strategy # 14 in Beyond the Bookstore for more tips on writing your objectives.
3.1 Financial Objectives
Once you know your sales forecast, distribution discounts, and expected returns, specify the net income you expect to receive for the planning period.
3.2 Marketing Objectives
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.
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, frequency of purchase by customer or niche, average dollar amount per order, rate of repeat purchase, number of new title introductions, number of titles available, awareness levels and preference rates.
4) The EXISTING SITUATION section of your marketing plan provides a general description of your current marketing circumstances. 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.
4.1 Description of your current marketing capabilities
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 efforts you have in place.
5) SPECIFIC MARKETING PROGRAMS. This is the action part of your marketing plan. Here you create a description of the specific tasks you will perform to build upon your existing capabilities. Discuss your plans for developing your product lines, building your distribution, enhancing your pricing strategies and creating new promotions your titles. See Chapters Five, Six, Nine and Ten, as well as Appendix F in Beyond the Bookstore for more instructions on completing this section. The Marketing Planning CD will help you calculate your break-even points for direct mail campaigns, trade show events and tours.
5.1 Product line tactics
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?
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. The same title might also be customized for your corporate prospects. Describe the specific actions you will take to design and build your product lines.
Use the Timeline in The Marketing Planning CD as a reminder of when to initiate marketing actions, and for lists of suppliers who can help you perform each step.
5.2 Pricing tactics
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.
See Chapter Ten in Beyond the Bookstore for formulas you can use to price your products profitably.
5.3 Distribution tactics
For each market segment and product, decide whether you will market through distributors or wholesalers, or directly to the customer. Will the wholesalers assess their usual 55% discount (65% or more for distributors) or will you bargain for other 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? How will you reach the Special Distribution sector?
The Distribution Profitability Calculator in The Marketing Planning CD can be a significant aid in helping you decide which combination of distribution channels could be the most profitable
5.4 General Promotion Tactics
There are several major components of promotion, and these must act in tandem for maximum effectiveness. Describe how you will coordinate advertising, sales promotion, direct mail, publicity and personal selling to help reach your objectives.
Your promotional plan could also be different for each author. One might excel in media performances and book signings while another may loathe them.
See Chapter Six in Beyond the Bookstore for tips on implementing overall promotion strategy.
5.4.1 Personal Selling
This section should list the actions, dates, and people responsible for each personal selling program. It encompasses face-to-face communication such as making personal sales calls on prospective customers, networking at trade shows, making personal presentations and conducting events at retail stores.
5.4.2 Direct Marketing Tactics
List any major direct marketing-related actions that you plan to implement.
See Strategy # 71 in Beyond the Bookstore for tips on creating profitable direct mail campaigns. Also use The Marketing Planning CD to calculate your break-even point.
5.4.3 Sales Promotion Tactics
Describe any major sales promotion-related actions that you expect to take.
Define how you will use 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?
5.4.5 Advertising Programs
Explain the advertising-related actions that you will perform in support of all your product lines, in each segment. The data in this section should list specifically the actions, dates, and people responsible for each advertising program.