The Marketing Plan: An Introduction (pp A1–A2)
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 fund-raising and outreach efforts. Even government agencies develop 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 ...view middle of the document...
The Role of Research
Marketing plans are not created in a vacuum. To develop successful strategies and action programs, marketers require up-to-date information about the environment, the competition, and the market segments to be served. Often, an analysis of internal data is the starting point for assessing the current marketing situation; this is supplemented by marketing intelligence and research investigating the overall market, the competition, key issues, and threats and opportunities. As the plan is implemented, marketers use a variety of research techniques to measure progress toward objectives and identify areas for improvement if the results fall short of projections. Finally, marketing research helps marketers learn more about their customers’ requirements, expectations, perceptions, and satisfaction levels. This deeper understanding is the foundation for building competitive advantage through well-informed segmenting, targeting, differentiating, and positioning decisions. Thus, the marketing plan should outline what marketing research will be conducted and how the findings will be applied.
| Marketing Plan
The Role of Relationships
The marketing plan shows how the company will establish and maintain profitable customer relationships. It also shapes several 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 with suppliers, distributors, and strategic alliance partners to achieve the objectives 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 success, so they should be considered when a marketing plan is being developed.
From Marketing Plan to Marketing Action
Companies generally create yearly marketing plans, although some plans cover longer periods of time. Marketers start planning well in advance of the implementation date to allow time for marketing research, thorough analysis, management review, and coordination between departments. Then, after each action program begins, marketers monitor ongoing results, compare them with projections, analyze any differences, and take corrective steps as needed. Some marketers also prepare contingency plans if certain conditions emerge. Because of inevitable and sometimes unpredictable environmental changes, marketers must be ready to update and adapt marketing plans at any time. For effective implementation and control, the marketing plan should define how progress toward objectives will be measured. Managers typically use budgets, schedules, and performance standards for monitoring and evaluating results. With budgets, they can compare planned expenditures with actual expenditures for a given week, month, or other time period....