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Marketing Plan Example

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Marketing Plan


Star Software, Inc., is a small, family-owned corporation in the first year of a transition

from first-generation to second-generation leadership. Star Software sells

custom-made calendar programs and related items to about 400 businesses, which

use the software mainly for promotion. Star's 18 employees face scheduling challenges,

as Star's business is highly seasonal, with its greatest demand during

October, November, and December. In other months, the equipment and staff are

sometimes idle. A major challenge facing Star Software is how to increase profits

and make better use of its resources during the off-season.

An evaluation of the company's internal strengths and weaknesses and external

opportunities and threats served as the foundation for this strategic analysis and

marketing plan. The plan focuses on the company's growth strategy, suggesting

ways in which it can build on existing customer relationships, and on the development

of new products and/or services targeted to specific customer niches. Since

Star Software markets a product used primarily as a promotional tool by its clients,

it currently is considered a business-to-business marketer.


Founded as a commercial printing company, Star Software, Inc., has evolved into a

marketer of high-quality, custom-made calendar software and related business-tobusiness

specialty items. In the mid-1960s, Bob McLemore purchased the company

and, through his full-time commitment, turned it into a very successful family-run

operation. In the near future, McLemore's 37-year-old son, Jonathan, will take over

as Star Software's president and allow the elder McLemore to scale back his


A. The Marketing Environment

1. Competitive forces. The competition in the specialty advertising industry is very

strong on a local and regional basis but somewhat weak nationally. Sales figures

for the industry as a whole are difficult to obtain since very little business

is conducted on a national scale.

The competition within the calendar industry is strong in the paper segment

and weak in the software-based segment. Currently paper calendars hold a

dominant market share of approximately 90 percent; however, the software-

based segment is growing rapidly. The 10 percent market share held by

software-based calendars is divided among many different firms. Star Software,

which holds 30 percent of the software-based calendar market, is the only company

that markets a software-based calendar on a national basis. As softwarebased

calendars become more popular, additional competition is expected to

enter the market.

2. Economic forces. Nationwide, many companies have reduced their overall promotion

budgets as they face the need to cut expenses. However, most of these

reductions have occurred in the budgets for mass media advertising (television,

magazines, newspapers). While overall promotion budgets are shrinking, many

companies are diverting a larger percentage of their budgets to sales promotion

and specialty advertising. This trend is expected to continue as a weak, slowgrowth

economy forces most companies to focus more on the "value" they

receive from their promotion dollar. Specialty advertising, such as can be done

with a software-based calendar, provides this value.

3. Political forces. There are no expected political influences or events that could

affect the operations of Star Software.

4. Legal and regulatory forces. In recent years, more attention has been paid to

"junk mail." A large percentage of specialty advertising products are distributed

by mail, and some of these products are considered "junk." Although this label

is attached to the type of products Star Software makes, the problem of junk

mail falls on the clients of Star Software and not on the company itself. While

legislation may be introduced to curb the tide of advertising delivered through

the mail, the fact that more companies are diverting their promotion dollars to

specialty advertising indicates that most companies do not fear the potential for

increased legislation.

5. Technological forces. A major emerging technological trend involves personal

information managers (PIMs), or personal digital assistants (PDAs). A PDA is a

handheld device, similar in size to a large calculator, that can store a wide variety

of information, including personal notes, addresses, and a calendar. Some

PDAs even have the ability to fax letters via microwave communication. As this

trend continues, current



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