What Is A Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a detailed set of strategies for communicating, promoting, and delivering a product or service to a defined audience. A marketing plan may cover media advertising, social media, public relations, sponsorship, direct mail, and more.

There is a lot of jargon in the world of marketing, and there are a lot of people telling you what you need to do. But what do they mean by marketing plan? What does it entail? The first step is to take a very clear look at your business and think about what you have to say about it. What makes you different? What makes you appealing to your customers? What differentiates you from your competitors?

Creating a marketing plan, as it is more commonly known, is a complex process that provides a framework for the development of a business and its market position, as well as the enhancement of its competitive advantage. 

In addition to utilizing the expertise and specialist knowledge of marketing personnel, this should involve all functions and departments within an organization, rather than remaining the exclusive domain of marketing. 

To be able to support the process and play their part in promoting the organisation’s products and services, managers need to understand what is involved and what issues need to be considered when developing a plan.

A standard approach to marketing planning helps to:

  • Adopt a rational approach to decision-making
  • Recognize emerging threats and opportunities
  • Consider changing market conditions and the interaction of internal and external factors
  • Connect the various marketing elements in a coherent manner
  • Make sure the organization’s approach is consistent
  • Establish a market-oriented culture.

An annual plan may focus on the coming year or take a medium- or long-term approach to development. 

Sets clear goals, lists the actions that will be taken to reach them, the ideal timeframes that will apply, milestones and metrics that will be used, and the resources that will be needed.

What Is The Purpose of a Marketing Plan?

The purpose of a marketing plan is to maintain control over what happens in your company. It helps you measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and if they are providing people with what they want to be based on their goals.

McDonald (2007) states that marketing planning is necessary because:

  • Turbulence, complexity, and competition are on the rise
  • Technological change is accelerating
  • In order for the marketing planner to identify sources of competitive advantage, an organized approach is necessary
  • Superiors must inform their subordinates
  • Support is needed for non-marketing functions
  • To set objectives and strategies, subordinates need to get resources and gain commitment

In order to adapt to changing conditions, organizations need a strategic marketing plan

Various business environments exist. To remain successful, organizations must continuously adapt and develop.

Marketing plans provide a systematic framework for analyzing the market and providing a well-defined strategy for achieving strategic goals.

What do you want to achieve?

You would be surprised how many people don’t answer these questions. If you can’t quickly and clearly state what sets you apart, why someone should buy from you, and what you want to achieve, chances are very high that you will not get these results.

STRATEGY FOR MARKETING

Clear objectives and a focus aligned with the organization’s corporate goals are needed for a strategy. Planning a marketing strategy involves three components:

1. Customers

2. Competition

3. Internal issues

The following steps are suggested as a staged approach to developing marketing strategies:

  • Identifying the mission, vision, and corporate strategy of the organization
  • A thorough analysis of resources, capabilities, and opportunities
  • Conducting a customer and competitor analysis of the surrounding environment
  • The segmentation, targeting, and positioning process

Marketing opportunities are circumstances and timings that allow an organization to take actions toward reaching a target market.

A strategic analysis of a number of factors will determine how appealing a market is to an organization. These factors include:

  • Scanning the external environment;
  • Analyzing the relative competencies and capabilities of the organization;
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats currently and in the future;
  • Identifying the customer’s needs and wants so the organization can respond to changing requirements and understand them.

Identify what you believe are the marketing opportunities available to your organization or one you know well in the short, medium, and long term.

Planning the budget

There are two important things to do when planning your marketing budget: estimating the cost of your marketing and setting a marketing goal. To get started, you should think about how much you can afford to spend each year on marketing and what your desired target is. If you want to increase sales by 20%, for example, you need to identify the total revenue increase needed and then consider how much it would cost to implement that change.

Quality Control and Monitoring Processes

One of the most important steps in any marketing plan is developing effective quality control and monitoring processes. Used correctly, they can provide insights into what your customers want and how to improve your products and services. 

Resources/Helpful Tools

The Balanced Scorecard is another important tool. It helps you to measure your marketing ROI and show improvement in the future. Visit www.BalancedScorecardInstitute.org for more information on the Balanced Scorecard.

Summary

Marketing plans describe activities intended to achieve specific marketing goals, whether they are product-specific, market-specific, or company-wide.

 Marketing plans begin with the identification of specific customer and/or product needs and how the firm intends to meet them while generating an acceptable level of return. 

Market development plans generally include an analysis of all strategic issues, such as the business environment, actual product performance and trends, competitors, the corporate mission statement, and organizational capabilities. 

To ensure that the marketing plan is fully understood, it should be communicated to appropriate staff, preferably through an oral briefing with questions and answers.

Good luck with developing your own plan