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Guide For Writing A Marketing Plan

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All marketing subjects place great emphasis on the development of written and oral communications skills. This section sets out style guidelines for written assignments for use in this subject (HBM110). The Harvard style of referencing is required for all written assessments submitted for HBM110.

The library has also published a useful guide (free from the information desk) titled “How to find out Bibliographies and Footnotes” вЂ" this information is also available form Swinburne library web site. Please note that textual references rather than footnotes are used in the Harvard system.

1 Some Hints on Getting Started

All assignments in HBM110 The Marketing Concept are designed to illustrate not only theory but also the practical applications of this theory to marketing practice. For each assignment, students should:

• carefully read the appropriate chapter(s) in their text, and

• search out (and then show evidence of using) further references on the topic, either in texts, the press or in journals.

Searching out references:

Once a topic has been chosen, it is best to make a rough plan of the major facets of the topic which the paper will address. In practice, however, this is frequently not possible and the first step is to build up a set of topic references using the library catalogue, subject indexes and abstracts. The bibliographies in the text books are also often useful. The sources on the reference list should be collected and quickly examined to see how useful they will be. This is done by looking at the Contents pages, Indexes, Introductions and Summaries where provided. Try to select two or three which seem to give a good general cover of the selected topic. Skim through these books, or the relevant sections of them, making a note of what appear to be the most important aspects of the question or topic being considered. From this, draw up a rough plan of the major facets of the topic.

When taking notes, use a separate sheet of paper for each section. (Some people prefer to use 5 x 3 cards for this purpose.) In selecting texts and source material to read first, preference should be given to the most recently published works and to books which give a good general cover of the subject. Use of the Contents page and Index can considerably lessen the amount you need to read.

When studying a particular text, put the full details on a “References” sheet and use an abbreviated version on the section sheets. Leave a fairly wide margin on the section sheets and when you wish to make a note of some point mentioned in the text, put the page number in the margin and write brief notes of the information, in your own words. Sometimes, the author's comments are so lucid or so specific that you feel they should be copied verbatim but as a general rule, students should avoid copying passages from the texts. This is most important, because a paper which consists of extended passages from the textbooks, with or without acknowledgment, is not acceptable.

If other important aspects of the topic emerge during this study of the texts, add them to the original plan and make separate section sheets for them. Frequently, several books will have the same piece of information. In such cases, cite the source which is most recent or which appears to be most authoritative. For example, a recent article in a professional journal by an expert in the particular field is preferable to a small section in a book intended for the general public that was published some years ago.

When all note taking is finished, the plan should be rearranged, if necessary, and expanded to include sub-sections suggested by your readings. The section notes should then be collated. Points which reinforce each other, or which are related, should be combined. Points which appear to conflict should be investigated further and the differences reconciled. Where this is impossible, indicate that the matter is controversial but say where you think the weight of evidence appears to point. It is usually best to rewrite these collated notes on a fresh sheet (but retain the original notes, since they indicate the sources of your information).

The rough draft of the report or essay can then be written from the collated notes. Whenever you use a piece of information from your notes, run a line through it, so that you do not duplicate the use of that information, which makes it look as though you are “padding out” the essay or report. Use only that information which is relevant to your plan - it is not always necessary to include all the information you have, simply because you have taken notes about it.

2 The Report Itself

Business reports should include the following sections:

• Assignment and project cover sheet

• Covering Page

• An Executive Summary

• Table of Contents

• Introduction

• The Body of the Paper

• Conclusions

• Reference list

• Appendixes

Reports must be legible, and typed using double spacing for the main text and single spacing for long quotations. While writing, keep asking yourself these questions:

• who will read the report?

• will the reader understand what I am writing?

• am I making it as easy as possible to read the report?

• does the report meet its objectives?

• does the report leave the reader better informed and knowing what to do next?

A report must be systematic. Always ask yourself these questions:

• is each section and the content of each section arranged in a logical sequence?

• can



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