Elements of a Marketing Plan

I just wanted to publish this really quick Marketing Plan template for you all.

1. Executive Summary
Write 2-3 paragraphs that just explain the document that the reader is about to read. I would suggest that your write one paragraph on what business you are in, one on your target markets/customers and one on where the revenues are going to come from.

2. Situation Analysis
What business are you in maybe some high level figures (sales, market share etc). Anything on any specific threats or opportunities.

2.1. Market Summary
Where are your best sales generated from ? (what type of customers?, which products etc).

2.1.1. Market Demographics
An overview that profiles your best markets/customers (i.e. what sector are they in, how big are they etc).

2.1.2. Market Trends
Any trends spotted in your notes, and general market trends of forecasts noted.

2.1.3. SWOT Analysis
During your note taking, you will have noted your companies strengths and weaknesses, and also any opportunities and threats when you looked at your competitors.

2.1.4. Competitor Analysis
Any notes of interest about your competition, especially if you believe its why they are good at what they do.

2.2. SWOT Analysis
Write down your companies strengths and weaknesses and any External Opportunities and Threats that you have made a note of, you only need bullet points.

2.3. Competition
Do your competitors fall into certain categories?
Name your largest competitors, do you know what percentage of the market they have?

2.4. Services
What services do you offer your customers?
Again, bullet points are fine here, you just need basic information for now.

2.5. Keys to Success
Do you know what these are ? They usually center around:

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Growth
  • Customer Retention
  • Operations Effectiveness
  • Products
  • People (your staff)

2.6. Critical Issues
Do you know what these are ? They maybe things like:

  • Customer Retention
  • High operating costs
  • Poor brand awareness
  • Poor market focus
  • Little marketing effort
  • People poorly trained and lack motivation

2.7. Historical Results
Jot down those old sales figures, note anything activity or product you were particularly successful at.

2.8. Micro-environment
You may not be able to fully answer this right now, but use the following headings later.

Consumer trends - what's generally happening in the market.
Economic changes - is the market spending? General business economy good or bad ?
Technology advancements - technology is advancing, are your products ? what are your customers expecting ?
Competitive activity - is competition increasing ? What sort of customers are they winning ?
Political and legal environment - is your business related to political changes ? This could include tax, legislation etc

3.0. Marketing Strategy
Based on what you know, you should have a good idea of what you need to do, this is your Marketing Strategy, write it down.

It could be based on revenues, operating costs, customers or market share

3.1. Mission
You might be in a position to suggest a Mission for the business.
There are a few basic elements that a good mission statement offers:
  • It identifies your organisation
  • It identifies your customers
  • It tells the world what you do

3.2. Marketing Objectives
How do you intend to achieve your stated strategy?

3.3. Financial Objectives
If you want to, you can set yourself some financial objectives. These really need to be worked out with the sales teams too.

3.4. Target Market
What are your primary target markets?

3.5. Positioning
How do you intend to position yourself in the market.

I recommend using the following template ... "For [Customer Segment], our [Product/Service] is [Your USP's or SSP's]".

3.6. Strategy Pyramids
A Strategy Pyramid if correctly written will show in bullet form your proposed Short Term, Medium Term and Long Term strategies.

3.7. Marketing Mix
Write an overview of what (if anything) has worked well over previous years.

3.7.1. Services Marketing
An overview of the services you will be offering your customers.

3.7.2. Pricing Policy
What pricing policy will you adopt ?

Is it to charge less than your competitors ? Cost plus model ?

3.7.3. Promotion Policy
Provide an idea of the value of the budget you might adopt for marketing (if you really do not know at this stage, quote between 1.0 - 2.0% of revenues.

What type of media would you expect to use ?
  • TV
  • National Press
  • Regional Press
  • Trade Magazines
  • Advertorials
  • Exhibitions
  • Direct Marketing
  • Telemarketing
  • Business Gifts
  • Case Studies
  • Newsletters
  • Literature
  • Presentations
  • Sponsorship

3.7.4. Product Policy
Do you have any specific product policy in mind ? Any products sold well in previous years that need updating ? Any products not selling and need withdrawing ?

3.7.5. Distribution Policy
Will you be using a direct salesforce? Indirect salesforce, Internet ?

3.8. Market Research
Will you be conducting any market research ?
Are there any areas of the market you have little or no knowledge ?

4.0. Financials, Budgets, and Forecasts
Financial overview, include marketing budget, potential forecasts, and any assumptions you may have made.

4.1. Breakeven Analysis
If you have the time to quickly workout your breakeven point note it here.

4.2. Sales Forecast
What sales are you expecting for the year ?
If you can, break it out by month, product and sales area.

4.3. Marketing Budget
Have a quick think about the amounts of money you need to spend on marketing and start detailing it here, just use a 'rule of thumb' if you need to right now;

example:

Business Press ... 34%
Literature ... 10%
Exhibitions ... 14%
Direct Marketing ... 8%
PR ... 4%
Regional Newspapers ... 15%
National Newspapers ... 15%


4.3. Marketing Budget - Return on Investment
You know what you want to spend on marketing, you have made an assumption about the value of the sales, therefore you can work our your return on marketing spend.

5.0. Controls
What controls will you put in place?
Recap on your objectives, pull out some milestones, and sales goals..

5.1. Tactical Plan
Make a chart, marketing activity up the left hand side and quarters or months along the bottom. Suggest some headline activity that should be taking place.

5.2. Marketing Organisation
Quickly draw your marketing organisation, show where they feed into sales

5.3. Contingency Plan
Always plan for the worse, some things that can go wrong include:

Revenues EXCEED projection - can your after-sales team support the effort ? You may need to hire additional staff, and bring in more equipment.
Revenues MISS projection - you have to prepare for the possibility, you may have to redouble your marketing efforts (you MUST NOT decrease marketing spend ... things will then get worse!), you have to get your message out to the market clearer.

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