The marketing plan can be defined as a detailed well-written business document of a company. It includes all the required actions that are needed to be taken in order to achieve a specific goal like increasing market share, deciding targeted audience, launching or re-launching of products or services, etc. The usual range of a marketing plan is from one year to five years depending on the companies.
An ideal marketing plan consists of seven basic components that help with optimum utilization of resources and time. They are as follows:
1. Market research
The foundation step of a marketing plan is market research as without the relevant information nothing can be planned. All information is acquired about the market that is currently buying your product or service or can buy in the future. It also helps with the new entries, pricing decisions and identifying the targeted audience.
2. Target market
After you are done with the market research, it is time to define your target market. Market research will help you understand your audience and their needs and demands. Now that you have an understanding, it is easier to design marketing strategies according to those particular segment of buyers and focus on delivering your message to those right buyers in a right way of places and promotion.
3. Competitor analysis
The next focus must be on the competitors in the market especially those offering a similar product or service. Without analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, product quality, pricing, and market standings, a marketing plan is incomplete. After the analysis of the competitions, create a unique selling proposition (called as USP) in order to stand out while approaching your target market.
4. Marketing strategy
Marketing strategy is basically the marketing mix as it focuses on product, price, place, and promotion. It basically helps with the optimum utilization of limited resources and time to reach your target audience. So clearly mention all the features, benefits and USP of your product, pricing strategies, promotional tools and distribution plan in your marketing plan.
5. Marketing budget
Preparing a market budget will save a lot of trouble and helps you focus on marketing efforts without any mishap. While preparing a marketing plan, the marketing budget must be developed by analyzing the company’s finances and finding the actual cost of marketing activities like advertising, website development, digital marketing, events, public relations, sponsorships, salaries of marketing staff and rent of the office space. The marketing budget will help you focus on marketing efforts that are less costly but more effective.
6. Marketing goals
In a marketing plan, establishing goals is important as it provides to do list along with the deadlines and the work is clearly assigned with all the roles, responsibilities and expectations to the employees at the beginning. Marketing goals also include bigger prospects like increasing market share by 30% by this year or to acquire 15 new clients in a month or to increase profits by 20% in a year or to open new branches or launch new products.
7. Monitoring market response
Identify all the tools you are going to use to monitor, analyze and evaluate the market response to your marketing activities. Then describe these tools clearly in the marketing plan as it will help you understand the effectiveness of your marketing plan and derive all the future adjustments needed.