Building an Effective Marketing Plan

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Building An effective MArketing plAn
sent to all individuals in the organization who must implement the plan or who will be affected by it. If the plan is directed to an external audience, such as friends, banks, venture capitalists, or potential investors, for the purpose of raising capital, it has the additional function of being an important sales document. In this case, it contains elements such as the strategic plan/focus, organization, structure, and biographies of key personnel that would rarely appear in an internal marketing plan. Also, the financial information is far more detailed when the plan is used to raise outside capital. The elements of a marketing plan for each of these two audiences are compared in Figure A–1. The kind and complexity of the organization. A small neighborhood restaurant has a somewhat different marketing plan than Nestlé, which serves international markets. The restaurant’s plan would be relatively simple and directed at serving customers in a local market. In Nestlé’s case, because there is a hierarchy of marketing plans, various levels of detail would be used—such as the entire organization, the strategic business unit, or the product/product line. The industry. Both the restaurant serving a local market and Bombardier, selling subway cars and planes globally, analyze competition. Not only are their geographic thrusts far different, but also the complexities of their offerings and, hence, the time periods likely to be covered by their plans differ. A one-year marketing plan may be adequate for the restaurant, but Bombardier may need a five-year planning horizon because product-development cycles for complex, new medical devices may be three or four years.


“New ideas are a dime a dozen,” observes Arthur R. Kydd, “and so are new products and new technologies.” Kydd should know. As chief executive officer of St. Croix Venture Partners, he and his firm have provided the seed money and venture capital to launch more than 60 start-up firms in the last 25 years. Today, those firms have more than 5,000 employees. Kydd explains: I get 200 to 300 marketing and business plans a year to look at, and St. Croix provides start-up financing for only two or three. What sets a potentially successful idea, product, or technology apart from all the rest is markets and marketing. If you have a real product with a distinctive point of difference that satisfies the needs of customers, you may have a winner. And you get a real feel for this in a well-written marketing or business plan.1


This appendix (1) describes what marketing and business plans are, including the purposes and guidelines in writing effective plans, and (2) provides a sample marketing plan.

Marketing Plans and Business Plans
After explaining the meanings, purposes, and audiences of marketing plans and business plans, this section describes some writing guidelines for them and what external funders often look for in successful plans. l

Meanings, Purposes, and Audiences
A marketing plan is a road map for the marketing activities of an organization for a specified future period of time, such as one year or five years.2 It is important to note that no single “generic” marketing plan applies to all organizations and all situations. Rather, the specific format for a marketing plan for an organization depends on the following: l The target audience and purpose. Elements included in a particular marketing plan depend heavily on (1) who the audience is and (2) what its purpose is. A marketing plan for an internal audience seeks to point the direction for future marketing activities and is

In contrast to a marketing plan, a business plan is a road map for the entire organization for a specified future period of time, such as one year or five years.3 A key difference between a marketing plan and a business plan is that the business plan contains details on the research and development...
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