Marketing Plan

A marketing plan, which is often part of an overall business plan, describes the current market position and marketing strategy of a business.  A marketing plan usually has a lifespan between one to five years and its purpose is to present steps to follow that will help a business achieve its objectives within that one-to-five-year time frame.  A marketing plan, therefore, is critical to the success of a business.  College students studying business are very familiar with the business marketing plan, as it is a common assignment in that field of study.  To make the task of writing a marketing plan easier, some tips and guidelines have been provided below.

Key Elements to Include in a Marketing Plan

  • Mission: Explain the business goals of the company.
  • Objectives: Gain customers, increase profits, develop and promote company name, reputation and brand.
  • Target market: Identify the company's target market and analyze and address their needs.
  • SWOT analysis: A truthful and accurate analysis of the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • A Message: The company's message should show why its product or service is better than its competitors' and why the company's customers will benefit from its products or services.
  • Tasks and activities: This includes advertising in all media forms, Internet networking, promotions, exhibits, public relations, etc.
  • Logistics: Details on how the marketing plan will be implemented and executed (e.g., technical requirements, staffing, etc.)
  • Metrics: Explain how the implementation, execution and results of the marketing plan will be measured, collected, and analyzed.
  • Budget: Detail the costs of implementing the marketing plan.

Tips for Writing a Marketing Plan

  • Describe your product or service clearly and concisely.
  • Clearly define your target audience and include specific, relevant demographics.
  • Be clear about your objectives, but also be sure to keep them reasonable and within obtainable limits.
  • List deadlines you hope to meet.
  • Include a budget for all marketing activities and name the person that will be responsible for that activity.
  • Specify distribution channels.
  • Identify your competitors.
  • View a marketing plan sample on a similar product to get an idea of what you need to include in your own marketing plan.
  • Buy a marketing plan to use as a template marketing plan for your own marketing plan or to use as a resource for essential data.
  • Ask for the help of an objective, experienced third party who can guide you through the research and writing process.

Marketing Plan Format

  • Purpose and Mission
  • Situational Analysis
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Marketing Strategy and Objective
  • Budget, Performance Analysis, Implementation and Execution

In sum, a marketing plan needs to be thoroughly researched, very detailed, and written in a professional manner.  It would behoove anyone writing a marketing plan to take advantage of any available resources that could make the writing process simpler.  The tips provided above are just some suggestions that can be useful, but it's always a good idea to also get the opinions of others who have experience with writing marketing plans and to look at examples of other marketing plans.  With proper preparation and guidance, you're guaranteed to write an excellent paper.

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