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Arrow Guide to Creating An Effective Marketing Plan

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Section Three: Develop a Draft or Preliminary Plan

Below are general descriptions and guidelines for the composition of various sections that you may include in your preliminary plan.

Executive Summary.

A summary of your overall plan; although this will be the first section in your final document, it is often best to write this upon completion of your first draft.

Situation Analysis (Market Summary, Market Issues and Needs, Market Trends).

This section is an evaluation of the situation and trends in the transportation industry and your particular segment. It should function as a snapshot of where things stand at the time the plan is presented. You will want to include the market demographics table you developed in section 1.4 and information from section 1.6. Also, describe market issues and needs as well as applicable market trends as subsections.

Filling the Need: Technology/Innovation Description and Mission.

This is also commonly called the Product Analysis section. Describe your innovation and include where and how it has already been used with descriptive visuals when possible.

Target Markets.

In this section, include a bulleted list of your primary and secondary targeted audiences (beneficiaries, users and decision-makers). This list may be refined based on the discussion from your Team Retreat. You may also want to reference your market demographics table included in the previous section.


Write a concise statement that specifies the need(s) you are fulfilling, benefits your innovation/technology offers, and features that deliver those benefits.

Program Goals

What are the overarching goals of your innovation? Include training and implementation goals with specific years for each. Reference any industry or headquarter requirement(s) that your innovation will help fulfill.


Describe the opportunities that create a favorable climate for your target audience to adopt your innovation.


Describe the obstacles that may make it difficult for your target audience to adopt your innovation.

Marketing Objectives

The objective of your marketing plan should be to identify various strategies ands activities that will result in meeting the goals you identify.

Marketing Tactics and Channels

Marketing activities that support your marketing strategy and define the general approach you will take to meet your objective. The channels are the means of delivering your message to your defined target audience. Prioritize activities based on potential impacts and timing (some may need to occur before others can be implemented).


Describe funding sources and dollars that are currently secured for the implementation of your plan, and describe other potential resources (if applicable). Include a concise summary of your overall budget. The action plan table/spreadsheet developed at the Team Retreat will also indicate a breakdown of the budget required. Plan to modify as needed and communicate with core team members.


Include the information you compiled during the preliminary tasks (section 1.9) delineating how you will measure the success of your plan. Consider how often your team will need to come together for progress reports—both via teleconference/interactive television and face-to-face.


This section illustrates timelines and identifies those responsible for performing tasks; information for this section should come from the action plan formulated at your Team Retreat.

Contingency Planning

Detail how you will change your course if your original action plan falls short. How often will you meet with your team to review progress? Will you modify the plan throughout the effort if strategies do not work?


Include resources in this section that you will need to refer to during implementation of your plan. Examples include: success stories; publicity; list of current leadership (and contact information) of your primary target audiences; feedback or survey results.

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Scott Wolf
Center for Accelerating Innovation

This page last modified on 04/04/11

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration