Elements of the Proposal
What is a proposal?
A proposal is a formal business document in which a company
offers to sell its goods and/or services to someone else. For example,
if UNC wanted to build a new dorm, it might request proposals from
different architecture firms to see which one could come up with the
best design at the most reasonable cost. Then it might solicit
proposals from different contractors to determine who could do the
best job for the lowest amount of money.
Proposals also circulate within companies: a group might submit
a proposal to a superior in order to obtain his or her permission to go
ahead with a project. Such is the case with the proposal you will be
doing for Feeder 2.2.
The overarching goal of this proposal is to convince your boss to
approve of your marketing plan. To do this, you must show him or her
• you understand why the film might not have performed
well at the box office
• you have analyzed the original trailer carefully to
determine why it might have turned audiences away from
• you understand the demographic the original film was
• you have come up with an intriguing new trailer and have
described it in detail
• you have a good rationale as to why your trailer is
preferable to the original
Parts of the Proposal
1. Title page
2. Letter of transmittal
Most proposals open with a transmittal letter, which is very
similar to a memo of transmittal, only it’s aimed at someone outside
your company rather than within. You, however, are not required to
do a letter of transmittal for this project.
3. Executive summary
Similar to an abstract, the executive summary is just what it
sounds like—a quick, though thorough, summary of your proposal.
The executive summary should be complete and able to stand on its
own, with no major points from the proposal omitted. It is important
that the summary be brief, concise, and flawless. It is permissible to
use bullet points in this section of the proposal.
o Statement of purpose: say why you’re writing the
proposal. This may sound self-evident, but oftentimes
proposals are passed around to different executives who
may not have read the original request for the proposal.
o Show that you understand the problem/task assigned.
Mention any difficulties that may be encountered and how
you propose to overcome them. (i.e., “We are aware that
senior citizens don’t tend to be impulse buyers; therefore,
in our ad campaign, we stress the practicality of the
o Procedures: state, without exaggeration, how you will
meet the requirements of your reader
o In this section, anticipate what the film distribution
company will be looking for, and state how your agency
can meet the company’s needs. (In other words, go back
to the assignment and make sure you’ve covered
everything it asks for.) Convince your boss that the
distribution company will love your campaign and want to
hire your firm.
o Provide data that prove that your team has done its
research: show you know the facts about your film’s box
office performance and about the demographic it was
originally aimed at. All data should tie in to your
advertising campaign in some way.
o Give your boss a detailed and clear description of the
original trailer, as well as a holistic analysis of the trailer.
Include positive things about the trailer as well as reasons
why it might have failed.
o Carefully describe your new trailer in terms of plot,
organization, dialogue, music, pacing, narration, etc.
o Provide a rationale as to why you created the trailer that
you did, and why you think it will be successful.
o Analyze the new demographic your trailer is aimed at. Or,
if you’re targeting the same demographic, state why your
changed trailer will appeal more to them than the old one
o If applicable, include other suggestions you have for
marketing the DVD.
o Reiterate your main points. End powerfully, giving your
boss a strong positive impression of your team and your
campaign. Leave your boss thinking that he or she wants
to approve your proposal at once (and give you all
Following the report proper, include any information which will
not neatly fit into the body of the report in appendix form. Your
appendices might include:
--any long graphs or charts (NOTE: if the information in a graph
or chart is crucial to your proposal, or will make it more persuasive,
include it in the text in one form or another. It’s fine to repeat the
information in a different form in your appendix.)
Further Notes About Proposals
• You are required to use subheadings in your proposal. Subtitles
should be detailed enough to act as short summaries of the data
in each subsection. For example, Box Office Statistics for Titanic
would not a good subtitle as it’s too general; Titanic A Huge
Success at the Box Office would be preferable. Your subtitles
should give your reader a quick overview of your proposal all by
• Cite wherever necessary using APA format (which we’ll go over
• The proposal must be 4-6 double-spaced pages long, not
including title page, executive summary, reference page, or
appendices. You may single space the report after you have
reached this length, if you choose.