Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Formal Marketing Plan

My last blog post was about the 4 P's or the basic ingredients to the so called, Marketing Mix.  I stated that the 4 P's are the foundation of a proper marketing plan.  Don't have a marketing plan?  Now is as good a time as any to get started.



Here is a list of topics that should be included in your formal marketing plan and some examples of the specifics:
  1. Executive Summary - this is at the front, but usually written last
  2. Current Situation Analysis - covers areas like resources, offering, KSFs, economic environment, socio-cultural, technology trends, etc.  Should include macro and micro analysis
  3. Market Summary - size, growth trend, regional differences, market needs, market trends, market position of the firm
  4. S.W.O.T.  -  remember that 'strengths' & 'weaknesses' are internal to the firm;  'opportunities' & 'threats' are external and reflect the target market
  5. Competitive Analysis - market share, market positions of competitors, strengths and weaknesses of competitors;  don't forget your customer's options 'not to use' as a competitor
  6. Critical Issues - these are make-or-break issues like the need for a marketing automation platform or content development strategy
  7. Marketing Strategy - how will the marketing strategy support the business strategy and/or corporate strategy?  objectives, target market definition, positioning, value proposition?  Will you use inbound, outbound, content, or combination?
  8. The Offering - describe the product or service
  9. Price - describe the pricing strategy
  10. Promotion - budget, tactics, messaging, regional differences
  11. Sales Channel - how will you move your product or service to the market so it can be purchased; direct, distribution, resellers, agents, licensing, other
  12. Financials - describe the important financial data, net sales growth, EBIT, targets, regional breakdown if applicable
  13. Controls & Measurement - how will you measure the marketing ROI and marketing spend, KPIs, planning milestones
This is not the only way to construct a formal Marketing Plan, however, it is a fairly comprehensive outline of a standard plan.  There are many, many textbooks, references and templates available and most of them are pretty good.  This Amazon page shows a few good references to get you started just in case you don't already have a marketing plan in place.  Today is a great day to get started on a plan or to update your existing plan.  These documents are not meant to be written and then ignored.  A good marketing plan is a dynamic document meant to be referred to and updated as your business environment lives and develops.