How to create a Marketing Plan!

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I wanted to start the New Year with a small discussion on marketing plans. Now a lot has been said about marketing and sales and which is better and so on. But there is one fundamental principle when it comes to marketing plans. Marketing plans are intended to support the business plan. So if the business does a strategic plan and derives an operational plan based on the strategic plan then it is advisable for marketing to do the same.

Marketing plan should never be prepared in isolation as marketing as a function is there to support the business.

So the essential elements of the marketing plan are the fundamental 4Ps (product, price, place and promotion) of marketing, which eventually leads to a 5th P Positioning.

Which of the Ps forms a part of the marketing plan is again subject to the nature of business. For example in the services business there is lesser emphasis on product and more emphasis on promotion, but for most technology products (Like Automobiles) the heavy emphasis is on the product and the price.

Once the overall mission of the marketing is decided for the year then the focus is on what marketing would deliver for the business in order for the business to achieve its goals. For example, if the goal of business is to expand into new geographies then marketing will ensure that there is more awareness created in that geography.

marketing Plan-001

Marketing plan essentially consists of the following components:

  1. Study of the business environment- This studies the current scenario, the trends, competition, regulations, local economies in case of multi nationals.
  2. Corporate vision-This is derived from the business as to what is the current vision for the company
  3. Marketing priorities- Based on the vision from the business, business environment
  4. Consumer Analysis- Analysis on consumer behavior especially analysis from Point of sale data
  5. Market Research – I believe this should be based on sales data to form inputs into the marketing plan. An independent market research can be done as well but I believe be that it would be a waste of time.
  6. The 4 Ps- Whichever P is relevant, some companies specially in the services use the 7 Ps the other three Ps being People, process and physical environment.
        • Detailed strategy of each of the 4 or 7 Ps based on corporate and marketing priorities
        • Analysis using tools like BCG Matrix to recognize the cash cows and star products
        • Possible portfolio reorganization
  7. Segmentation- Key activity which is based on the value that the customer seeks from the firm and its product or services. This will ascertain which is the market size for a particular product or service and hence the rest of the strategy.
  8. Targeting- Identification of marketing channels that would be used to target the above segments. The targeting can vary from product to product and from geography to geography for the same firm.
  9. Positioning- Based on the above all activities would give us the positioning for the product or service.
  10. Marketing Budget Points 1-9 also form the input for the budget. There might be two essential components the fixed budget which is used for business as usual marketing activities. The variable budget can be used for product launches, special promotions and other external spends like endorsements.
  11. Summary- A quick summary of all activities that are planned for the year from a marketing perspective
  12. Marketing Calendar- A view to business on the marketing calendar to help them allocate their resources to major marketing activities
  13. Appendix- All supporting information should go into that to help others understand the details that have been delved into to build the plan.

Creating marketing plans is a very painful process, but it important as all strategic and tactical decisions in marketing are based on the plan. Every quarter or even a month a check has to be kept on the marketing fulfillment as measured against the plan. If there is a very dynamic change in the market for example the global meltdown in 2008, then the plan has to be re assessed.

A final tip to all marketers – Please allocate and spend the budget in the first two quarters otherwise it becomes a challenge as most budgets are squeezed at the end of the year. And invariably marketing is the first causality.

As usual do let me know your views and I would be happy to answer any questions.

  1. Dr Vikram says

    Hi Raju

    I agree, marketing plan has to support the business plan, otherwise it is not going to be helpful at all.

  2. Raju Penumatcha says

    Very practical ideas Dr Vikram. the essential actions for converting a business plan to real results is a marketing plan supported by all the other functions in an organization.

    well said Dr Vikram.

  3. Dr Vikram says

    Hi Pradeep

    I am happy that you found the article useful.

  4. Dr Vikram says

    Hi Careerblogindia

    Thank you for your kind words really appreciate it.

  5. Facility Management in India says

    Your ideas are undoubtedly awesome.These are the building blocks for marketing your business.Thanks for sharing.

  6. Dr Vikram says

    Hi James

    I agree and that is the key but often i have seen that the marketing plan is not supporting the business plan. Maturity in the support functions and in marketing will ensure that the marketing plan supports the business imperatives.

  7. James Greg says

    Marketing plan is directly connected to the business plan. The 5 P’s sure play a huge role in promoting a business depending on its nature. A food company can never adopt a business plan of a consulting company yet they both would have their own separate 5 P’s.

  8. careerblogindia says

    very good resource…

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