Elements of a Marketing Plan
- The executive summary gives an overview of the key elements of the marketing plan.
- The situation analysis examines all the aspects that may impact the sales of a specific company.
- The goals state what the organization plans to achieve through the implementation of the marketing plan.
- Additional elements of a marketing plan include the: marketing strategy, tactical programs, implementation, budget, controls, and exhibits
- Product line - A product line is the marketing strategy of offering several related products for sale as individual units.
A technology startup's marketing plan may not be the same as that of a more established company due to the different environments in which they operate. For example, the startup may not state exactly where it plans to spend its advertising funds due to its ever-changing environment. An established consumer goods company, by contrast, may have a media plan for the entire year.
A marketing plan's elements, length, and focus can vary depending on the company, the industry it is in, and whether the plan is written for:
- one offering
- a product line
- a product portfolio.
For example, a technology startup's marketing plan may not be the same as that of a more established company due to the different environments in which they operate. The technology startup operates in a market that can change at the blink of an eye and its marketing plan may reflect this fact by being less elaborate and more flexible than that of the established company. For example, the startup may not state exactly where it plans to spend its advertising funds. An established consumer goods company, by contrast, may have a media plan for the entire year.
In spite of these differences, there are certain elements that readers expect to find in marketing plans. These elements are the:
- Executive summary
- Situation analysis
- Marketing strategy
- Tactical programs
The Executive Summary gives an overview of the key elements of the marketing plan, with a specific focus on product, pricing, promotion, and placement. It describes the offering the company is making in the marketing plan which also includes people (staff), process (of providing a service), physical evidence (which makes the service more tangible to potential customers), and philosophy (whereby the product reflects the philosophy of the organization).
Many readers use the executive summary to determine whether the entire plan is worth reading. This is your time to impress. Don't overlook its importance.
The situation analysis examines all the aspects that may impact the sales of a specific company. It looks at both the macro-environmental factors that affect many firms within the environment and the micro-environmental factors that specifically affect the firm.
The purpose of the situation analysis is to indicate the organizational and product position of the company, as well as the overall survival of the business within the environment. Companies must be able to provide a summary of opportunities and problems that may be encountered within the environment to gauge an understanding of their own capabilities within the market.
This element of the marketing plan states what the organization plans to achieve through the implementation of the marketing plan. The goals may be stated in terms of profits or market share, for example.
The goals will flow to the marketing department from upper management.
It's all good and well to know what needs to be done and the tools you have to accomplish them, but without a strategy explaining how you are going to use these resources to reach your goals, you may find yourself running around in circles and running out of resources before the goals are reached. The strategy that is set forth in the plan must be strong enough to compel investors to put money into the company or project.
The marketing strategy provides the overall picture of how the stated goals are to be met. The tactical program gets down to specifics. It details the day-to-day activities in the major marketing areas that will be performed to fulfill the strategy and achieve the stated goals.
Implementation involves presenting an action plan which lists the specific actions that need to be taken to reach the goal of the marketing plan. It also lists which department or person in the organization is responsible for carrying out the action.
This element of the marketing plan specifies the total resource allocation available for the marketing plan and the potential return on this investment.
How will you know if your plan is a success without some way of measuring its impact? This section of the marketing plan explains how you are going to get that done. Controls also allow you to monitor your activities and make the appropriate adjustments when necessary. The actions of monitoring, evaluating, and measuring all fall under the heading of "controls".
Exhibits will appear at the end of your marketing plan and will provide the details that back up what you stated in the main part of your marketing plan.
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