Why do I have to write a marketing plan?
Every business needs a marketing plan. It’s a basic document like the business plan, the Articles of Association, the Company Agreement, or the menu of a restaurant. Unfortunately, there are still countless small and medium-sized enterprises that do not bother to prepare and maintain the marketing plan. Such a document is essential for the development of companies, as ad-case, ill-thought-out and flawed sales, and advertising decisions are made without planning.
Of course, there are companies in exceptional situations who need to go to unnecessary trouble to see if there will be a buyer for their products. For example, we can think here of the enveloping winners of public procurement or of the exclusive supplier of a multinational company. Fortunately, these companies are not the majority in the economy.
The carefully prepared plan outlines the path to success and shows how to acquire, retain, and encourage customers to buy again. If you don’t already have a marketing plan or are about to renovate it, you’ll really appreciate this article!
Structure of the marketing plan
The ideal marketing plan is made up of at least 6+1 chapters:
- Executive summary
- Market analysis
- Market segmentation and consumer analysis
- Definition of targets and designation of KPI indicators
- Strategy and tactics
- Budget, return, and (+1) risks
The chapter on budgeting and return may also include risks, so it is not always worth integrating it in a separate chapter.
Relationship between a marketing plan and business plan
The marketing plan is related to the business plan of businesses. It goes without saying that a business plan must also analyze market conditions, consumers, products, and services. It’s a good idea to create your marketing plan at the same time as your business plan, as the two documents are extremely closely related. However, there are points in a marketing plan that explain certain elements in more detail. A marketing and sales strategy is typically a point of a marketing plan that needs to be more detailed than a business plan.
What questions do each chapter of the marketing plan answer?
1. Executive Summary
The management summary is at the beginning of the plan, but it’s a good idea to write it at the very end of the planning process. The summary contains the most important corner points and is up to one or two pages long. Its goal is to give company managers and employees outside the marketing area a quick picture without reading the entire document. The following points should not be omitted:
(a) Short presentation of products and services
(b) Positioning products and services (how should consumers think about
the product/services? – e.g. premium expensive service or functional product available)
c) Delineating the target market
d) Competitive advantages of products/services over competitors (free delivery, guarantee, the first sale of newest products, price advantage, better customer service, more design, more segmented consumer groups, etc.)
(e) The purpose and basic tactical elements of marketing (business objective -> marketing target -> marketing and sales
strategy) f) Key indicators and target numbers (number of visitors to the website, conversion rate, revenues, market share, etc.)
2. Market analysis
There are many types of market analysis to write. More complex analyses may not be the most useful, as you should always keep in mind the relationship between the energy invested and the expected return. Below are the points worth considering and analyzing in-depth the elements that are relevant and special for your business. The marketing plan can be closely linked to the size of the business/project. There’s no need to shoot a sparrow with a cannon, but there’s also flawed thinking about under design.
(a) Economic environment
(b) Social environment
(c) Technological environment
(d) Industry trends
f) SWOT analysis
3. Market segmentation and consumer analysis
Every business needs to be aware of who its potential consumers are. Identifying consumers and consumer groups help to develop a marketing strategy, as it becomes known who should be targeted. And you can identify the ideal marketing and sales tools based on the target group.
For example, the following consumer characteristics are considered by almost all businesses:
a) Geographical location (where do my customers live and where do my customers often go?)
b) Demographics (what age are they, what gender are buyers? What is the typical family situation and how much money do they have?)
(c) Lifestyle (social class, personality, interests)
d) Behaviour (frequency of product/service use, obsolescence, repurchase, brand ness typical?)
4. Defining business goals and selecting KPI numbers
This chapter describes the mission of the company, which effectively means presenting the company in a one-word way. For example, Marketing21’s mission is to “increase companies’ revenue through online marketing solutions.” It is then necessary to address specific business objectives (revenue, market share, etc.) and then to find key indicators (KPIs) that can be linked to achieving the goal.
It’s not the longest chapter in the marketing plan, but it’s the basis of every decision!
Without a mission, you can only set goals at random. And poorly defined targets lead to irrelevant key indicators.
5. Marketing strategy and tactics
Does this chapter address how we approximate KPI numbers? The following questions are worth considering here:
(b) Product strategy
(c) Sales strategy
(d) Advertising strategy
(e) Human resources,
(f) Process organization and process development
6. Budget, return,s and risks
When planning expected costs and expected revenues, it is worth staying on the ground of reality and conducting thorough research. If numbers are difficult to estimate, you might want to outline several possible scenarios (for example, an optimistic, a pessimistic, and a scenario in between).
+1. It’s also a good idea to calculate the risks in your marketing plan
For example, questions should be asked
What impact would the appearance of a capital-strong competitor have on the market?
Are liquidity risks foreseeable?
How does a sudden technological change affect the company?