Marketing Plan Overview
The market planning is perhaps the most important tool or component in planning a business. Marketing is the method by which you transmit information about your business to customers. That is, you put information about your business into the market in hope of further you business interest. To do this effectively requires detailed planning. In fact, many entrepreneurs concentrated almost exclusively on planning the operational aspects of the business and spend far too little time on developing a marketing plan. The marketing plan is more than a plan for the method or tool that you will use to reach customers. It involves developing a strategic approach to what type of information you wish to provide to customers (brand), what customers to target (different segments), and how to target them (actual marketing actions). Within the marketing plan you will set goals, allocated resources to specific sales and marketing functions, track performance, and establish criteria for monitoring and controlling your marketing efforts.
Drawing Information from the Feasibility and Strategic Analyses
Much of the information that you developed in the feasibility and strategic analyses is now employed in the marketing plan. Particularly, you will need to apply the information you have developed to explain the following:
- The strength and weaknesses of the business that relate to particular market opportunities.
- The different customer segments.
- Note: You will need to analyze your business message from the viewpoint of the target customers. Different customer segments will receive and respond to aspects of the business different. You will need to scope your message to accommodate the target segment
- The current competition in the market.
- Note: One strategic objective of marketing is to differentiate your product or service from competitors in the market. Marketing is the manner in which you deliver your differentiation message. Understanding the competitor’s business (strengths and weaknesses) will allow you to scope your message to differentiate your product.
- Where to apply your resources.
- Note: When conducting the SWOT analysis, you identified potential opportunities and threats in the industry. Understand where opportunities and threats exist will help you understand where to allocate your available resources.
- Establishing goals.
- Note: Measurable goals are a very important part of any marketing plan. This provides a metric for progress and accomplishment. In order to establish measurable goals, you have to have an understanding of the market size, operational capabilities, financial projections, etc.
- Updating the marketing plan.
- Note: The marketing plan, like the business plan, should be a fluid and ever-changing document. As the market evolves, so should your marketing plan. Understanding your business and the industry characteristics (see again the SWOT analysis, PESTEL analysis, and Porter’s five forces) will allow you to mold your marketing plan to meet the change market demands (opportunities).