A marketing plan is a strategic plan that aims to identify an organization's products and services, and explain how to market them to potential consumers. It is designed to map out the marketing strategies, costs, and estimated results over time (Moderandi Inc., 2013). The purpose of a marketing plan is to (Commonwealth of Australia, 2021):
What makes a good marketing plan?
A successful marketing plan should include the following elements (Moderandi Inc., 2013):
Marketing plans should also include any and/or all of these to successfully accomplish their objective(s) (Luther, 2011):
Phases of a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan consists of three main phases:
Most of your time will be spent in the planning stage because you must develop a marketing strategy for the plan. Watch the video below for an introduction to marketing plans.
Before developing a marketing plan, it is important to understand an organization's strengths and weaknesses and how to use them to your advantage. Analyzing your market allows you to identify what makes an organization unique. Use the S.W.O.T. analysis strategy to complete a market analysis, which consists of four parts (Commonwealth of Australia, 2021):
Identifying these elements will help you understand where an organization fits in the market and what it does well. It also helps you identify areas for improvement. Once you understand your target market, you can begin brainstorming marketing objectives.
When you understand a business's position in the market (S.W.O.T. analysis), you can brainstorm goals or objectives that you want the marketing plan to achieve. Consider the following questions when discussing objectives:
To assist with this step, use S.M.A.R.T. goals to set reasonable objectives for the marketing plan (Commonwealth of Australia, 2021):
Following these guidelines ensures that the goals remain realistic and achievable.
When you have determined the goals of your marketing plan, you must identify what marketing activities will best achieve those goals. They must be appropriate for both the business and the target market (consumer). Marketing activities are actions or events that are designed to achieve a specific marketing goal. They typically last for a set period of time and are evaluated for effectiveness at the end of the time period. If the activities do not contribute to achieving the plan's objective, they are reevaluated and revised.
Types of Market Strategies
According to Woschnick (2021), there are several marketing strategies that are considered the most effective:
Depending on your marketing plan, you may use one or more of these strategies. The marketing strategies you implement will also depend on your target market and marketing goals. View our page on digital marketing if you are interested in utilizing technology in your marketing plan.
Once you have determined the appropriate marketing strategy for your plan, you will need to set a budget for your plan. It is important to set a reasonable and affordable budget that will accomplish the goals of the marketing plan. Consider the following when developing your marketing budget (Commonwealth of Australia, 2021):
In some cases, you may not have a marketing budget. In these scenarios, you will want to utilize low-cost or free marketing strategies. These may include public relations, media interactions, and social media marketing.
A marketing plan should have flexibility so that it can be updated or revised as needed. Revisions or updates are typically determined by checkpoint evaluations. Checkpoint evaluations are meant to keep your plan on track and ensure that it is working properly. Depending on your marketing strategy, the frequency of these checkpoints may vary. Evaluating your marketing plan at certain times keeps the plan on track for achieving the desired outcomes. Evaluations involve analyzing marketing results and matching them with the original objectives.
Your marketing plan should include evaluation checkpoints so that updates can be made at any point in time. Revisions and/or updates may be made for any of the following reasons (Commonwealth of Australia, 2021):