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How to Write a Proposal for a Pilot Project

Developing a strong pilot program proposal is critical

Pilot programs are trial versions of a major program that are launched to a small group of users or to a specific geographic area and evaluated to determine the value of rolling out the program nation-wide. Manufacturers use pilot programs to test consumer response to new products and pricing strategies. Major retailers use pilot programs to test new store concepts, merchandising sets and signage. Developing a strong pilot program proposal is critical because the future of the full program depends on the success of the pilot.

Identify the program by name and, if applicable, by number. If you are providing a proposal for goods or services, provide the client’s name, address and phone number as well as the name of your company and your business address and phone number. Date the proposal.

Describe the program. Explain whether this is a project introduction, an advertising trial, etc. Give details about the product or service being piloted. Explain how the proposed program differs from other programs currently being used.

State the areas in which the program pilot will be conducted. If the program will be implemented in specific physical locations (such as all XYZ stores in Atlanta), attach a list of the location addresses.

Create a project time line. Identify major milestones such as the ship date for the first store, the date on which all locations will be complete and the date on which the pilot project data collection will close.

Create a project budget. Identify all costs associated with implementing and running the pilot, including the labor needed to analyze the results. Include costs associated with subcontractors and suppliers and the cost of capital for the dollars invested in the project.

Explain how the project will be evaluated. State how data will be collected and analyzed. Explain what results constitute a successful program. Success may be based on soft data (such as customer approval) or on hard data (such as sales numbers) depending on the overall goal of the project.

Provide a budget and return estimate for the roll-out and explain how soon it can be completed if the pilot program is successful.

About the Author

Maggie Worth has more than 18 years of marketing and business management experience. She has conducted training classes in resume, fiction and web writing and has written textbooks, resumes, professional and technical documents, ad copy, video scripts and articles for lifestyle magazines. She is director of marketing communications strategy and special projects for a university.