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Market Planning Guide Paperback – September 13, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Kaplan Business; 6 edition (September 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0793159717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0793159710
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David H. “Andy” Bangs, Jr., is a longtime entrepreneur, founder of Upstart Publishing Company, bestselling author, and former banker. Calling himself “Writer, Sailor, Appreciator” (not necessarily in that order), Bangs’s genial insights on building businesses have made him one of the most sought-after experts on business planning.  From his home base on the coast of New England, he has penned such perennial business classics as The Market Planning Guide and The Start-Up Guide and has coauthored numerous others.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


This book, the sixth edition of The Market Planning Guide, is my latest attempt to help you wrestle with the central problem facing your business: How can you attract enough customers willing and ready to buy your products and services at a price that yields you a profit? To make this more difficult, you have to answer that question in a highly competitive and rapidly changing world.

My favorite definition of marketing is the creation, satisfaction and retention of customers. Any business (more generally, any organization) will thrive only as long as it can come up with a steady stream of new customers. Even if you start with a steady base of loyal customers, roughly 30 percent of that base will erode each year due to fluctuations in the economy, people moving out of your trading area, the encroachment of new and indirect competitors, modification in tastes and habits, and a host of other changes. This is inevitable. Change happens.

Marketing is a challenge for all businesses, not just small ones. Look at two recent examples of marketing mismanagement. Kmart, caught between the low-cost provider Wal-Mart and the better positioning of Target, couldn’t decide where to focus its efforts. The blue-light specials, which worked brilliantly in the ’70s and ’80s, lost out to Wal-Mart’s "lower prices all the times" strategy and Target’s more exciting and slightly more upscale offerings. Stock-out problems didn’t help Kmart either; half-empty shelves have little appeal in a retail environment. Kmart did do a lot of things right—the linkage with Martha Stewart provided some ray of hope. But the major strategic blunder of lost customer focus did Kmart in. If you don’t know who your customers are, how can you possibly know what they want that you can provide?

The other major blunder is Enron. My guess is that towards the end they had no idea what business they were in. Originally they traded energy, buying energy here and selling it over there. But what kind of business were they at the end of 2001? A trader of financial instruments called futures? A gambling casino, plunging heavily on derivatives? (Remember Orange County’s bankruptcy a few years back? Long Term Capital’s bailout? Derivatives are dangerous even for the most sophisticated traders!) What was Enron buying and selling—energy, water, or who knows what else? One of the major keys to marketing success is to know what business you are in and be able to communicate that knowledge to employers, customers, prospects, investors, and other stakeholders clearly and succinctly. And that means knowing what you sell, to what market, and in what fashion.

If you are in a small business you have less margin for error than the Enrons and Kmarts. You don’t have the capital to keep going if you make a serious error in your marketing. If you are in a larger business where your career depends on meeting marketing goals that you may or may not have had a hand in setting, the business will most likely keep chugging along without you. Whether you run a small business unit or something larger, it is in your interest to do what you can to correctly market your products. In any business, some internal marketing will be necessary. You have to sell an idea to your staff, boss, and colleagues. You can’t escape the marketing imperative.

This book is structured around 30 questions. As you proceed, new ideas crop up, new doors open, and old doors shut. You’ll find that you will revise, revisit, amplify, reject, and otherwise improve your plan over time. This is an organic process, not a neat linear job where you can check off Question 1, Question 2, and so on. Think of concocting a stew—you need a few ingredients, some tools, and time to let the flavors blend. You also want to make subtle changes (add paprika, garlic, grated some cheese). Presentation is important: What does the final result look like? Your marketing plan evolves in the same way. You need a few ingredients. You don’t add everything you can find. Selectivity is important. You need information. You need time to mull things over. You need to be flexible enough to make the small changes that separate a good marketing plan from a bland, dull, useless plan. And of course in making both stews and marketing plans, experience will ensure better, more consistent results.

My friend, Pete Worrell, sent me a quotation from Roger Babson, the financier and philanthropist who called the 1929 stock market crash:

Experience has taught me that there is one chief reason why some people succeed and others fail. The difference is not one of knowing, but of doing. The successful man is not so superior in ability as in action. So far as success can be reduced to a formula, it consists of this: doing what you know you should do.

In The Market Planning Guide I try to help you know what you should do. I wish you success!

—Andy Bangs

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harinath Thummalapalli on October 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a large cover book (8.5 by 11) of 240 pages filled with exercises in workbook style. Having purchased several really good marketing books, I had learned the theory and practice but in coming up with my own marketing plan I lacked a workbook. This book filled the void.
The book has 12 chapters and four sections in the Appendix. The best part about the book is that in each chapter, the authors clearly explain the high-level theory and provide the exercises to help you come up with the answers right for your situation. These exercise take the form of sections in each chapter headed by a question. Overall, there are 30 sections (or questions) in the book. This is a good approach as any workbook needs questions to stimulate your thinking and be an effective workbook.
The topics are well chosen - products and services, customers and prospects, competitive analysis, price setting, advertising and promotion, etc. One of my personal favorite chapters was on price setting which isn't dealt with in great detail in a lot of books. I am currently following this simple approach in setting the prices for the various services offered in my small business.
Why only 4 stars? There isn't enough coverage of the website component of a business. But for the very low price of this book, you can't go wrong in buying this excellent marketing workbook. Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Odom on July 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
David Bangs does an excellent job of helping businesspersons break down the process of creating a marketing strategy. I particularly like this book as it takes you through a process that can create not only a marketing plan but also a reevaluation of your business plan. I have used this book successfully in more than one small business to guide owners through the process of identifying opportunities and accompanying strategies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Hill on August 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
The book is a good model for creating market plans. More examples of plans would add more value to the book. Overall, the book is a good tool to use in unveiling a new product or service into the market.
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