A marketing plan serves a number of purposes within any organization: it provides a road map for all marketing activities of the firm for the future; it ensures that marketing activities are in agreement with the corporate strategic plan; it forces marketing managers to review and think objectively through all steps in the marketing process; it assists in the budgeting process to match resources with marketing objectives; and it creates a process to monitor actual against expected results. There are five logical steps in a systematic marketing planning process:
1. Situation Analysis. This includes portfolio analysis, competitor analysis, segmentation analysis, and SWOT analysis. Forecasting becomes an important stage in the planning process to support a SWOT.
2. Setting marketing goals and objectives. Goals are the primary aims of the organization, and objectives are the specific aims that managers accomplish to achieve organizational goals.
3. Marketing Strategy: Targeting and positioning. Target markets should be selected from the previously developed list of available segments. Positioning is a natural follow- through from market segmentation and target marketing.
4. Tactics and action plans. This part of the marketing plan shows how the organization intends to use the various promotional tools at its disposal.
5. Resource requirements. The marketing plan needs to address the resources required to support the strategies and meet the objectives, and measures need to be put in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing plan.
6. Evaluation: You may spend significant resources on marketing initiatives and it is important that you have taken the time to determine if they are really effective or if your efforts are better spent somewhere else.
All five stages of a marketing plan are crucial. In this activity we’ll focus primarily on stage five; resources for supporting your strategy.
First, if you’ve not yet put a marketing plan together, think about your analysis and objectives for your own business.
Now, begin by summarizing your strategy in one to two lines. Then highlight your target market and positioning in another one to two lines. Devote the most time in this activity to addressing the resources required and measures you’ll take to evaluate your marketing plan.