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The Essential Contents
of a Marketing Plan
Excerpt from On
Target: The Book on Marketing Plans by Tim Berry and Doug Wilson
Every marketing plan
has to fit the needs and situation. Even so, there are standard components
you just can't do without. A marketing plan should always have a situation
analysis, marketing strategy, sales forecast, and expense budget.
- Situation Analysis:
Normally this will include a market analysis, a SWOT analysis (strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), and a competitive analysis.
The market analysis will include market forecast, segmentation, customer
information, and market needs analysis.
- Marketing Strategy:
This should include at least a mission statement, objectives, and focused
strategy including market segment focus and product positioning.
- Sales Forecast:
This would include enough detail to track sales month by month and follow
up on plan-vs.-actual analysis. Normally a plan will also include specific
sales by product, by region or market segment, by channels, by manager
responsibilities, and other elements. The forecast alone is a bare minimum.
- Expense Budget:
This ought to include enough detail to track expenses month by month
and follow up on plan-vs.-actual analysis. Normally a plan will also
include specific sales tactics, programs, management responsibilities,
promotion, and other elements. The expense budget is a bare minimum.
Are They Enough?
These minimum requirements above are not the ideal, just the minimum.
In most cases you'll begin a marketing plan with an Executive Summary,
and you'll also follow those essentials just described with a review of
organizational impact, risks and contingencies, and pending issues.
Include a Specific
You should also remember that planning is about the results, not the plan
itself. A marketing plan must be measured by the results it produces.
The implementation of your plan is much more important than its brilliant
ideas or massive market research. You can influence implementation by
building a plan full of specific, measurable and concrete plans that can
be tracked and followed up. Plan-vs.-actual analysis is critical to the
eventual results, and you should build it into your plan.
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