MARKETING PLAN The Marketing Plan: An Introduction
As a marketer, you’ll need a good marketing plan to provide direction and focus for your brand, product, or company. With a detailed plan, any business will be better prepared to launch a new product or build sales for existing products. Nonprofit organizations also use marketing plans to guide their fundraising and outreach efforts. Even government agencies put together marketing plans for initiatives such as building public awareness of proper nutrition and stimulating area tourism.
The Purpose and Content of a Marketing Plan
Unlike a business plan, which offers a broad overview of the entire organization’s mission, objectives, strategy, and resource allocation, a marketing plan has a more limited scope. It serves to document how the organization’s strategic objectives will be achieved through specific marketing strategies and tactics, with the customer as the starting point. It is also linked to the plans of other departments within the organization. Suppose a marketing plan calls for selling 200,000 units annually. The production department must gear up to make that many units, the finance department must have funding available to cover the expenses, the human resources department must be ready to hire and train staff, and so on. Without the appropriate level of organizational support and resources, no marketing plan can succeed. Although the exact length and layout will vary from company to company, a marketing plan usually contains the sections described in Table X on page Y. Smaller businesses may create shorter or less formal marketing plans, whereas corporations frequently require highly structured marketing plans. To guide implementation effectively, every part of the plan must be described in considerable detail. Sometimes a company will post its marketing plan on an internal Web site, which allows managers and employees in different locations to consult specific sections and collaborate on additions or changes.
The Role of Research
Marketing plans are not created in a vacuum. To develop successful strategies and action programs, marketers need up-to-date information about the environment, the competition, and the market segments to be served. Often, analysis of internal data is the starting point for assessing the current marketing situation, supplemented by marketing intelligence and research investigating the overall market, the competition, key issues, and threats and opportunities issues. As the plan is put into effect, marketers use advertising and other forms of research to measure progress toward objectives and identify areas for improvement if results fall short of projections. Finally, marketers use marketing research to learn more about their customers’ requirements, expectations, perceptions, and satisfaction levels. This deeper understanding provides a foundation for building competitive advantage through well-informed segmenting, targeting, and positioning decisions. Thus, the marketing plan should outline what marketing research will be conducted and how the findings will be applied.
The Role of Relationships
The marketing plan shows how the company will establish and maintain profitable customer relationships. In the process, however, it also shapes a number of internal and external relationships. First, it affects how marketing personnel work with each other and with other departments to deliver value and satisfy customers. Second, it affects how the company works
APPENDIX 1 Marketing Plan with suppliers, distributors, and strategic alliance partners to achieve the objectives listed in the plan. Third, it influences the company’s dealings with other stakeholders, including government regulators, the media, and the community at large. All of these relationships are important to the organization’s...