A marketing plan serves numerous 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 steps in a systematic marketing planning process:

1. Situation Analysis. This includes portfolio analysis, competitor analysis, segmentation analysis, and SWOT/C analysis. Forecasting becomes an important stage in the planning process to support a SWOT/C.
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 core elements of a traditional marketing plan.
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 effectiveness of the marketing plan.