Essential Contents of a Marketing Plan
Shared by: PaloAltoSoftware
The Essential Contents of a Marketing Plan Every marketing plan has to fit the needs and situation of your business. Even so, there are standard components you just can't do without. A marketing plan should always define your target market/ideal customer, describe your difference/positioning, project your sales forecast and expense budget, and create a marketing calendar for turning the plan into action. Target Market/Ideal Customer Analyze the common demographic, psychographic, behavioral and geographic factors that your ideal customers share. Include any market needs — common frustrations or problems — that you are solving, as well as any growth or change in the target market group as a whole. The goal is to narrow your market down to fully qualified leads, not to be everything to everybody. Difference/Positioning Describe how you are essentially different from all the others who say they do what you do. This will include the core message and branding you use to communicate this difference to your target market, as well as to your staff, affiliates, and everyone who interacts with your organization. Sales Forecast This should include enough detail to track sales month by month and follow up on plan-vs.actual analysis. Your sales forecast should reflect multi-level product or service offerings with a low entry barrier, which encourages repeat purchases and interactions that will generate referrals. 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 planvs.-actual analysis. Normally a plan will also include specific breakdowns for direct mail, advertising, public relations, and referral expenses, as well as any expenses related to your Web plan. 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 a Marketing Vision statement which lays out your overall goals. You'll also follow those essentials just described with a targeted product/service list which links prices to client level (prospect/client/champion), detailed lead conversion strategies for closing sales, a review of organizational impact, and specific marketing metrics regarding leads, conversions, number of transactions per customer, and referrals. Marketing Calendar A plan is just ideas until you turn it into concrete milestones with dates, budgets, and assignment of responsibilities. The marketing calendar needs to include: Daily marketing commitments you undertake to make marketing a habit, not an afterthought. Weekly assignments for specific tasks such as calling reporters, writing thank you notes, researching mailing lists, etc. Monthly and yearly strategic plans for internal marketing training, and reviewing your marketing progress against initial goals. Include a Specific Action Plan 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 tactics and actions that can be tracked and followed up. Plan-vs.-actual analysis is critical to the eventual results, and you should build it into your action plan.
Shared by: Palo Alto Software
Palo Alto Software is the worldwide leader in business plan software and marketing plan software. The company was founded in 1983 by Tim Berry, a business planning expert, Stanford MBA, and co-founder of Borland International with (More...) a long history of technology sector leadership in the Silicon Valley. Despite the company's name, Palo Alto Software is now headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, with international offices in London and Ireland.