Guide to Writing a Marketing Plan

Posted on December 07, 2013 by Michael Martin Leaño

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a business document that describes a company’s market position or niche and overall marketing strategy for a specific duration. A marketing plan could be part of a larger business plan.

Details to include in a marketing plan

Here are the suggested details to include in a comprehensive marketing plan. We’ve included what you need to cover in each.

Business particulars
Naturally, you need to provide information on the business that the marketing plan is written for.

  • Business overview
    Name the current business owners and provide information on the business itself–where it’s situated, how long it’s been running, etc.
  • List of products and/or services
    Enumerate all of the company’s products and/or services and describe each. Don’t forget to include the price and Goods and Services Tax.
  • Expected demand
    Talk about the amount of products or services that your customers are expected to purchase. For instance, if you’re selling cookies, how many will one customer purchase in six months or a dozen months?
  • Pricing approach
    Does the company have certain guidelines to pricing? Provide details why you’re using this approach.
  • Value to customer
    How does a typical customer view the product or service? Is it a luxury or does it fulfil a need?
  • Potential for growth
    What is the expected growth of the product or service in the future? What about the market itself? What will drive its progress?
  • SWOT analysis
    SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats involved in a business. It’s a useful strategic planning method for identifying factors that are beneficial and harmful to your enterprise.
    • Strengths cover the features of the company that give it an edge over others.
    • Weaknesses are characteristics that put the business at a disadvantage in relation to others.
    • Opportunities refer to external chances to improve the company’s operation.
    • Threats are external forces that can cause difficulties for the business.

      Remember to discuss how to deal with each of the weaknesses and threats.
  • Sales and marketing employees
    List down all the sales and marketing employees, including their titles and responsibilities.

Goal setting

  • Mission and vision statement
    Every marketing plan needs a mission and vision statement to give it purpose. It should outline your plans for the future and how you will achieve those plans.
  • Objectives
    Talk about your company’s short-term and long-term objectives, and detail how your company will meet those objectives.

Market details

  • Market position
    This refers to how you position your products and services in the market. Are they high-end, midrange/competitive or low-cost? Where do your products and services stand in relation to your competitors?
  • Unique selling position
    Discuss what differentiates your product or service from the others in the market. What makes your business unique from the competition?
  • Customer details
    • Demographics
      Describe your target market. Include details like gender, age, education, social status, behaviour, needs, lifestyle, interests, values and viewpoints.
    • Main customers
      Among your target market, you also need to identify your main customers, whose satisfaction with your product or service is crucial to your business.
    • Customer relationship management
      CRM is a strategy used for bolstering customer loyalty. This is where you deal with how your business will maintain a good working relationship with your customers. Include techniques on how to keep customers returning and standards in customer service.
  • Competitor details
    Enumerate five or more competitors. Include details like company size, projected market share, unique selling position, strengths, weaknesses and more importantly, how can you do better what they offer.
  • Market research
    This is where you provide details on your research, which helped you evaluate the market. Include a copy of the actual research. For instance, if you distributed a questionnaire, attach its duplicate.
  • Sales objectives
    Talk about how much products or services you expect to sell during a specific period (i.e. monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annually).
  • Sales and marketing strategy
    Outline the methods and strategies will you carry out to achieve your marketing goals. Examples include online advertising, print ads, social media, branding and public relations. Include details on distribution channels, why you use each channel, and how your sales and marketing strategies are better than the competition.

Funding details
The financing section should detail how you’re going to fund all your marketing efforts.

  • Price of product or service
    How much will you sell your products and services? Make sure you consider factors such as personal costs, overhead expenses, cash flow, profit margin and working capital.
  • Sales forecasts
    How much do you expect to sell? How long do you think it would take to reach these numbers? Do seasonal effects play a role?
  • Budget
    This section would detail how much you plan to allocate for each channel and promotion. Ideally, there is a separate allocation for each month.
  • Monitoring the effects
    Here is where you analyse the effects of your marketing efforts. List down each marketing channel, detail how each is monitored and talk about its corresponding effects on sales and profit.

Always include any other supporting documents that helped you complete your marketing plan.

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