software-657188_640What is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is an important component of a company’s overall business plan. The business plan is often a collection of financial information and the company’s mission statement and values, establishing why the company exists. The marketing plan outlines how the company carries out its mission, usually drawing from long-term strategic marketing goals.

Who Uses Marketing Plans?

Marketing plans are used by startups and small companies, all the way to medium-sized and large corporations. The planning that goes into achieving company objectives is a universal need in any business, and marketing is no different. A long-term view is required, but then a segmented, short-term plan determines the steps along the way to attaining the end goal.

Why Are Marketing Plans Important?

A marketing plan, for business purposes, is like the roadmap to success for your company. Without it, your company will be lost, directionless and unsure of its destination. Having an internet marketing plan is crucial to discovering potential hazards and successes. Marketing plans provide:

  • A common blueprint for everyone in the company
  • A common well to document marketing strategies
  • A collection of benchmarks to enable easy top-level review of marketing goals and progress

If you’re not sure what a marketing plan should look like or entail, look up a marketing plan example or a marketing plan template to help you get a better idea of what such plans are like. The creation of a marketing plan ideally takes a few days—not a few hours. The research and analysis that goes into such a detailed plan takes time and discussion.

What Goes Into a Marketing Plan?

Writing a marketing plan is a little more complex than jotting down a few ideas. It requires the analysis of different facets of business marketing in general. That’s why before you start making a marketing plan for your company, you need to determine the following:

  • Marketing budget. How much money do you have to spend on the strategies you plan to implement? Making a plan without consulting your allotted resources is disastrous. Marketing your business requires money. You need to have a set budget before you start making any sort of plan so that you don’t go outside of those resources.
  • Market research: PEST, SWOT. These two acronyms describe two important aspects of business marketing that require analysis. Marketers must complete each analysis in order to understand what it takes to create an excellent marketing plan.

The PEST analysis includes:

o   Political and legal environment (are there laws or regulations on your products?).

o   Economic environment.

o   Social and cultural environment.

o   Technological environment (will you need cutting-edge technology?).

The SWOT analysis includes:

o   Strengths. What are your company’s internal strengths?

o   Weaknesses. What are your company’s internal weaknesses?

o   Opportunities. What’s out there that could improve your company?

o   Threats. What’s out there that could ruin your business if you’re not careful?

  • Goals. Write down (don’t just think about) your company’s ultimate goal and subsequent goals. Then write down your marketing goals for your business and what you want to see happen. This will help you make marketing plan outlines that will keep you organized as you write your plan.

How Do You Write a Marketing Plan?

Establishing a marketing plan outline is the first step to creating a marketing plan for your business. Once you know what your plan should entail, the creation will come much more smoothly. Here’s an outline of what a business marketing plan should include:

  • An executive summary. This is a high-level summary of your entire marketing plan, and as such, should be written last. However, it should be the first section in your report. Keep the executive summary short and sweet—two to three sentences at most.
  • Target audience. Define your customers’ demographic profile, psychographic profile and their wants and needs according to your products or services.
  • A situational analysis. This is basically a snapshot of your company, customer base and market at large. It should include company analysis, customer analysis, competitor analysis, collaborators, PEST analysis and SWOT analysis.
  • Unique selling proposition. Think of a USP that resonates strongly with customers and that sets you apart from your competitors. Your unique selling point is critical in establishing your company’s identity and what you want to be known for.
  • Pricing and positioning strategy. How you want to be known in the market directly correlates with the price of your services or products. If you want to be the premier brand in your industry, then don’t have too low of a price or vice versa.
  • Distribution plan. This will outline how customers will buy from you. Do you want to set up a purchasing system through your website or through other retailers? Figure out the best way to reach your customers and make sure it will be easy for them to reach you, too.
  • Marketing strategy and materials. Determining your marketing strategy is one of the most important aspects of a marketing plan. Will you use television ads, press releases, online advertising, social media, etc. to promote your product? Decide which one will be the most effective in reaching your customers. Marketing materials are the collateral, like your website, print brochures, business cards and catalogs that you use to promote your business.
  • Customer retention and referral strategy. Develop a strategy that focuses on getting your current customers to buy more often rather than investing time and energy into securing new customers. Identify and document ways to retain your customers. In addition to retention, focus on referring. Come up with a solid customer referral program in which your current customers are encouraged to refer one new customer every so often. This could revolutionize your success.
  • Projection. In this section, document your expected promotional expenses and what your results will be in terms of new customers, sales and profits. Include your expected results from your new retention strategy and so on. Although these projections will not be 100 percent accurate, they will give you a guideline on which expenses and strategies should give you the highest return on investment.

Get Your Own Free Leads Analysis and See How Sprint Marketing Can Improve Your Marketing Plan

Strategic marketing is one of Sprint Marketing’s greatest strengths. Our company is built on the expertise of individuals who have had years of experience creating a marketing plan for various B2B companies. We have designed a marketing process that has proven successful for companies who follow our marketing planning techniques. Don’t wait to get your free leads analysis to see how we can improve your marketing plan today.