A marketing plan can help you increase your sales and grow your company through a better understanding of the market in which you operate. A marketing plan provides the road-map for promoting and selling your company’s products and services to your target markets.

What goes into a Marketing Plan?

In developing a marketing plan, you will collect and interpret a variety of crucial information related to how you sell your products or business services. An effective marketing plan will identify areas you should focus on to attract new customers or help retain customers you currently have. To be effective, a plan needs to address the following.

    Value Proposition

    • What tangible benefit does your product or service provide to your customers?
    • What problem do you solve for your customer?
    • How your value proposition differentiates you from the competition.

    Company Capabilities

    • What are your current resources (financial, technical, personnel)?
    • What is your production/operational capacity?
    • What are your areas of expertise?

    Market Environment

    • Who are your target customers?
    • Who are your competitors? What are their products and pricing models?
    • What is the market size and growth rate? How difficult is it to enter this market?
    • How is it affected by the overall economy?

    Customer Desires

    • Who is purchasing your goods and services in this market segment?
    • What are the qualities or features they are looking for?
    • What are their price sensitivities and buying patterns?
    • How did they hear about your company?

Marketing Strategy, Tactics and Action Plan

Once you feel you have a good understanding of your company, your competitors, and your target market, your plan should define strategies and tactics to achieve your company’s objectives. Possible tactics your plan should address are;

    Target Market

    You may choose to segment your target market differently to carve out a niche for your company to focus on.

    Product

    You may add additional features to make your product more compelling or competitive in the marketplace.

    Customers

    You may decide to launch programs to:

    • Retain your current customers with a loyalty program or providing other repeat customer incentives
    • Acquire new customers by marketing your product or services in new ways such as at trade shows, association events, or advertising

    Pricing

    You may choose to modify your pricing based on the market environment.

    Sales Channels

    You may choose to begin selling your products over the web or through a new sales channel.

Key Terminology

  • Action Plan
    A description of the activities required to meet your objective.
  • Break-even Analysis
    A review of the sales activity required to cover the fixed costs of providing your products and services.
  • Executive Summary
    A brief description that encapsulates the nature and objectives of your marketing plan.
  • Market
    The customers willing to purchase the products and services you offer.
  • Marketing Concept
    The idea of achieving a mutually beneficial relationship by matching the company’s capabilities with the desires of its consumers.
  • Market Environment
    The dynamic environment the business operates within; including its markets, competition, customers, government and trends.
  • Marketing Mix
    The appropriate combination of product, pricing, promotion and placement used for selling the product or service in the market.
  • Product Management
    The process of developing products that cater to the desires of the customer.
  • Market Segment
    A group of customers with common needs.
  • Market Share
    The sales of the company divided by the total sales in its Target Market.
  • Marketing Objectives
    The means for achieving your desired growth. They must be measurable, quantifiable, and time specific
  • Marketing Strategy
    The outcome of your analysis that provides an approach to meeting your marketing objectives.
  • Profit and Loss Statement
    A financial statement showing profit and/or loss of the company over a specified period.
  • Situational Analysis
    A review of current practices and operations to determine what is, what has happened and what will happen.
  • SWOT Analysis
    An in-depth analysis of your businesses Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
  • Target Marketing
    The process of identifying customers whose needs your company can satisfy.
  • Value Proposition
    The tangible value that a customer derives from your product or service.