The Essential Ingredients of a Fully-Functional Marketing Plan

 

Strategic planning is crucial in the delivery of any responsibility within a corporate entity. Aside from outlining the specific objectives of a department, there’s also a need to align the plan with the company’s general standing and image.

Hence, there should be a lot of work that must be put into drafting and finalizing a marketing plan, which includes gathering of previous data and brainstorming over what every action should be aimed at in the future.

The key elements of a marketing plan – at your disposal – are outlined in an article at Entrepreneur.com:

Preparing to write

Before you begin to write, pull together some information you’ll need. Getting the information first avoids interruptions in the thinking and writing process. Have on hand:

  • Your company’s latest financial reports (profit and loss, operating budgets and so on) and latest sales figures by product and region for the current and the past three years
  • A listing of each product or service in the current line, along with target markets
  • An organization table (If you can count your employees on one hand, you can probably omit this.)
  • Your understanding of your marketplace: your competitors, geographical boundaries, types of customers you sell to
  • Ask each of your salespeople and/or customer-relations people to list the most crucial points, in their opinion, that need to be included in the coming year’s marketing plan.

Threats and Opportunities

This section is an extension of the “market situation” section, and it should focus on the bad and good implications of the current market:

  • What trends in the marketplace are against you?
  • Are there competitive trends that are ominous?
  • Are your current products poised to succeed in the market as it now exists?
  • What trends in the marketplace favor you?
  • Are there competitive trends working to your benefit?
  • Are the demographics of your market in your favor? Against you?

Goal for It
If you’re new to the marketing plan racket, how do you set a quantifiable goal? Start with your past. Review your past sales numbers, your growth over the years in different markets, the size of typical new customers, and how new product introductions have fared.

Controls: Tracking Effectiveness

To track progress on your marketing plan throughout the year, establish a regular schedule of meetings, and spell this out in writing. How will you make adjustments to your plan midstream? How will you monitor progress in sales/costs to make changes during the year? You can’t leave yourself without this capability.

Executive Summary

Put a brief summary at the front of your marketing plan binder. On a single page, sum up (with key financial numbers) in no more than a single page the contents of your marketing plan. Use bullet points, short sentences and bold type for major points, and stay focused on the big issues. What does someone have to know about your plan to have any sense of it?

Read the full post at The Ingredients of a Marketing Plan