Everyone wants to be the next Bill Gates and Satya Nadella of business, but why can there be only one Bill Gates or Satya Nadella, the answer lies in the fact that these successful people have a plan with adequate competencies to execute the plan. The key in the differentiating factor is a plan that drives the business to success. A marketing plan is the core of a business plan. Note that there is not a single standard way of devising a marketing plan.
The marketing plan must be a part of the continuous process improvement for achieving overall organizational effectiveness.
The marketing plan must consist of the following.
The statement in the mission must be indicative of the purpose behind the marketing plan. It is a check on the business goals and objectives and the roadmap to achieve them. The mission statement answers the fundamental questions of what business the company is n and what the target market is.
The next step in the process is the diagnosis. We must be able to visualize where we want to be in coming future and to do this the organization must be able to determine where the company sees itself in coming future from where it is now.
Identify the deliverables as a product or service. Identify the offering. If it is a product category, then define it using the characteristic such as colour, shape, state, packaging, labelling etc. Weigh the strength of your and the competitor'. At the same time know the weaknesses of the product or service. You should be able to categorically determine the product’s or services personality.
The next important task is to understand the market for business. For this, there should be information about the gender orientation whether it is intended for males or females. The age group involved. The level of education to adapt to the product or service, the income level.
Identifying the channel of distribution. There should be adequate knowledge about the product or service to reach the intended users. This is with the help of intermediaries such as retailers, wholesalers etc. Note that lesser the number of intermediaries the cheaper would be the price of the product.
Devising a proper plan for clear communication is a necessity. By communicating the value of the product, the seller can communicate the value proposition. This, in turn, would help you set an image in the mind of the customer which is called “Positioning”. The promotion makes the job easy for the product. The promotions can go in the form of advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, publicity and public relations. One must also realise the immense potential behind promotions involved.
The business must be well aware of the competition. This can be a direct or indirect competition. The key is to categorically determine the competitors in the same product, and the markets. This involves a follow up in the form of comparing the marketing techniques with that of the competitors.
The next decision is about the pricing. It is the monetary measure of the value derived from the goods and services.
Price can be high, low and fixed. If the prices are fixed, it will highly impact the sales volume. If the prices are low, it will impact the profitability of the company. If the prices are soaring high, it will be a hurdle for all the market to purchase the product or avail for the services if they are offered by the competitors at a low price with the same specification. The price in accordance with the limit set must provide a value to the consumer.
After deciding all other factors, this should be backed by an action plan of setting goals and strategy. It is a means to achieve the end. Note that the action plan must comply with the overall policies of the organization. The action plan must measure performance against the goals set. This is followed by taking corrective actions.
The marketing environment consists of various forces such as competitive, economical, political, legal, technological and socio-cultural forces.
The business must have performed a SWOT analysis and seek market opportunities. It is a good practice to analyse the offering from a consumer. In fact, the business can leverage this to get the knowledge from its customers to shape the business operations. For a business to be a success, the business must channelise its resources in the direction of the greater good of the organization.
The best of learning is from experience. The business must utilise the information from the sources such as customers, markets, competition the ERPs and put in the marketing plan to drive the business. This should be practised within the established budget. There should be a track of the attainment of the goal.
The marketing plan can act as a tool to compete in the market for the customers. It should again be changing, improving and dynamic with the business.
Let us now take a look at the importance of marketing plan. These are:
If we were to summarise the benefits of a marketing plan, those would be
4. It helps in better control and ensure preparedness for the future
Characteristics of a marketing plan
The marketing plan is the spine of the organization. It is the roadmap on which the organization achieves its strategic objectives. It is by a marketing plan that the resources are evenly balanced. This is an asset to estimate the growth. It is the result of the marketing plan today that will help in reaping the benefits in the future. For sustainability in the fast-paced world, there needs to be backing, and the strength of the marketing plan determines the success of the organization.
A marketing plan if flexible would help the organization in the long run as the dynamics around the business keeps on changing at a fast pace.