'How do I write a marketing plan?' is a critical question for any business. You'll find plenty of free marketing plan templates on the web, but what you include will depend on both your business and your sector. Your marketing plan should answer three basic questions:
1) Where are we now?
2) Where do we want to be?
3) How do we get there?
So you need to start by assessing your company's current customers,
competitors, markets and marketing activity. This is sometimes called
a marketing audit and often includes a SWOT analysis. Once you've
looked at your current situation, you then need to decide which types of
market and customers you want to serve, how you segment these and position your company, and what you need to do this, in terms of human resources, budgets and timescales. Some people add a fourth question to their marketing plan which is 'how do we know when we get there?'. In other words, you need to put some system of checks and milestones in place, with SMART objectives, so that you can evaluate whether your marketing strategy is producing the results you intend.
An outline structure for the content of your marketing plan might be as follows:
1) Situation analysis
Background to your product or service (price, how/where its sold, branding, unique selling points, gross & net margins)
Market analysis (market size & structure, market trends)
Customer analysis (size of purchases, key customers, buying habits, loyalty, socio-demographic analysis)
Competitor analysis (their strenghts and weaknesses, their marketing)
SWOT analysis (your internal strengths and weaknesses, your external opportunities and threats)
Critical success factors
Quantitative targets (sales, profit, ROI, market share)
Qualitative targets (postitioning, key segments, customer satisfaction)
Milestones and checkpoints
Alternative strategies for differentiation
Evaluation of these against your objectives
The marketing mix of the 4Ps or 7Ps: product, price, place, promotion, people, processes and physical evidence
4) Operational plans
Action plan with timescales
Need more help with your marketing, marketing strategy, internal or external communications or strategic plan? For advice from an experienced and qualified marketing and business planning consultant, email [email protected] or call us on 0114 2307723 or 07919 102699.