Strategic marketing reports, such as marketing plans, comprehensively consider existing market conditions, competitive landscapes and financial objectives in order to devise an approach to greater market share and stability. Informational marketing reports, such as market research reports, uncover data that aid in securing stronger market positions and formulating smarter strategies. Whether your goal is to craft a marketing plan or provide market research, your marketing report needs to relay characteristically massive amounts of information to its readers in a well-organised way. Thankfully, established formats exist to help you do that well.
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Present an overview of your marketing plan's subject, goals and methods under "Purpose and Mission." Present "big picture" background information that will help your readers understand how or why your report has evolved. Relate your undertaking to your organisation's overall mission.
Present a "Situational Analysis" that sufficiently describes your subject product or service. Cover its features, pricing, distribution details, promotional strategies and end-user or distributor support services. Clearly, if your product or service is new, then this section may be skipped.
Identify the key "Market Strategies and Objectives" that you want or need to accomplish in specific and measurable terms. Depict the approach that is currently being undertaken to achieve market growth, stability and cost containment. Next, describe the objectives that your company hopes to achieve financially in terms of customer sales, channel sales and profitability. Then, describe your marketing objectives in terms of target markets, promotions, distribution channels and market research.
Describe the "Tactical Marketing Program" that will essentially serve as your road map to previously stated objectives. Include pertinent details and timetables for developing and implementing promotions, pricing, distribution, customer support and market research.
Present the cost and schedule requirements and implications of your tactical action plan in a "Budgeting, Performance and Implementation" section. Set a clear marketing budget as well as a schedule and responsibility matrix.
Conclude with "Additional Considerations." Describe various internal and external factors that may positively or adversely affect your marketing plan's implementation.
Begin with a clear statement of "Objectives." Explain why you are undertaking your research, what you aim to uncover and to what ends its results can be used.
Present a comprehensive "Market Description." Depict your overall market first and then present the specifics of the market that you are targeting. Dwell on what your target market finds particularly appealing.
Provide "Market Metrics." Offer hard numbers that quantify the size of your overall and target markets, and depict current levels of market penetration and product or service usage. Project future market growth soundly on the basis of various industry and socio-economic indicators.
Perform a thorough "Competitive Analysis." Create an overview of the competitive landscape, and then perform detailed SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analyses of current competitors. Describe also potential competitors that are on your radar.
Conclude with "Additional Information." Discuss how extraneous factors and market trends could impact your research results and their interpretations.
Tips and warnings
- Optimise the readability of your marketing reports by liberally using bulleted lists, visuals such as graphs and charts and headings and subheadings. Use one clear typeface throughout or two at the most. Break large blocks of text into multiple paragraphs.
- Use the past tense to explain methods and procedures. Use the present tense for interpretations and statements regarding results.
- Use APA (American Psychological Association) guidelines to list sources and cite references within your report.
- Adopt an informal memo-style format for marketing reports that your readers need to quickly focus on the outcomes of specific undertakings or decide on a specific issue (see Resources). This format would work well to impart, for example, the results of a short survey or the pros and cons of responding to a particular request for proposal.
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