A marketing plan is one of those buzzwords that has been haunting business managers and marketing managers for decades. A simple search of the term “Marketing plan” in a search engine will result in billions of entries.
Thousands of books have been written on the topic and every day multitude of articles on the topic is being published.
In this article, we have decided to introduce a simplified and down to earth version of the marketing plan. Although there seems to be numerous formats of marketing plans, each should answer four questions that are listed below.
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to go?
- How do we want to get there?
- What results we expect to get once we are there?
Part one: situational analysis
The first question your marketing plan needs to answer is “ where are we now? “. This section is commonly referred to as the situational analysis of the plan.
This part itself can be divided into sub sections which are as follows:
- Customer analysis
Who are our ideal customers, how do they make a decision, where can you find them, what needs and challenges they have, how can you foster long term relationships with them
- Competitor analysis
Who are my main competitors, what are their strategies, what are their strengths and weaknesses, where do they compete
- Company analysis
What resources do we have at our disposal, what are our core competencies, what are our weaknesses.
Part two: Marketing strategy
The second question that we listed above is “where do we want to go?”.
Any analysis of the business vision and future plans has something to do with strategy.
This section draws on the previous section of the marketing plan. Based on the situation analysis, you need to make a decision regarding the company’s future.
Part three: Marketing tactics
“How do we want to get there?”. Now your strategy needs to be operationalized. This section commonly included the analysis of your marketing mix “4P or 7P”.
For any strategy to transition into tactics, you need to answer the following questions:
- What needs to be done?
- When do we need to do that?
- How much time is needed?
- How much money is needed?
- Which teams need to be involved?
Part four: Forecasts and Objectives
Given all your strategies and tactics, which have been outlined in the previous sections, carried out, what results will we get?
The forecasts in this section are in the following domains.
- Revenue forecasts
- Market share forecasts
- User and customer acquisition forecasts
- Profit and loss analysis