Every business, small or large, will be more successful with a business plan. And the key component of a business plan is the marketing plan. A good marketing plan summarizes the who, what, where, when, and how much questions of company marketing and sales activities for the planning year:
- Who are our target buyers?
- What sources of uniqueness or positioning in the market do we have?
- Where will we implement our marketing spending plans?
- When will marketing spending plans occur?
- How much sales, spending, and profits will we achieve?
The financial projections contained in your business plan are based on the assumptions contained in your marketing plan. It is the marketing plan that details when expenditures will be made, what level of sales will be achieved, and how and when advertising and promotional expenditures will be made. Here are the major elements of a marketing plan:
- The situation analysis describes the total marketing environment in which the company competes and the status of company products and distribution channels.
- The opportunity and issue analysis analyzes the major external opportunities and threats to the company and the internal strengths and weaknesses of the company, along with a discussion of key issues facing the company.
- The goals and objectives section outlines major company goals and the marketing and financial objectives.
- The marketing strategy section provides the company's marketing strategy statement, summarizing the key target buyer description, competitive market segments the company will compete in, the unique positioning of the company and its products compared to the competition, the reasons why it is unique or compelling to buyers, price strategy versus the competition, marketing spending strategy with advertising and promotion, and possible R&D and market research expenditure strategies.
- The sales and marketing plan outlines each specific marketing event or action plan to increase sales. For example, it may contain a summary of quarterly promotion and advertising plans, with spending, timing, and share or shipment goals for each program.