What is a Marketing Plan?
Updated: May 6, 2022
Every business's fundamental step of growth is marketing.
By Kevin Kim on April 27, 2022
Image by Hilary Allison © The Balance 2020
But what exactly is marketing?
Marketing is a part of a business organization that is in charge of pushing the business to connect with the right customers and address their wants or needs. To be more specific, there are 4 different objectives to marketing: product, place, price, promotion.
Product is the good or the service that is being marketed to meet the needs and wants of customers
Place refers to the method or channels for distributing the goods or the service that is being sold for it to reach the customers.
Price is how much the consumer has to pay to receive the goods or services they buy.
Promotion refers to the "how" aspect of increasing exposure on the product for the consumer to buy the product.
Why is a marketing plan needed?
Marketing planning is an extensive, well-thought out process that is created to meet the objectives of the company. It is a systemic process that involves many different aspects of marketing utilized effectively unanimously to achieve the best results and increase sales.
The main advantage for creating a marketing plan is that it is the single fastest way of reaching a firm's objectives. Most for-profit organizations focus on increasing sales and extrapolate the most amount of market share available and create an automated business cycle, but are never able to reach their desired objectives because they are not able to create an effective marketing plan. So in this blog, Polar Media will explain how to create an effective marketing plan.
Elements of a marketing plan
A marketing plan consists of 4 different elements: the marketing audit, marketing objectives, marketing strategies, monitoring and review, and evaluation. These 4 components of the marketing plan touches all the required attributes and focuses the business to achieve its goals by breaking it down into milestones. For example, if the ultimate objective for the company is to increase their market share by 10%, a marketing plan allows the business to create steps that is the basis towards the goal.
In this instance, they would first need to create a marketing audit which essentially is an analysis of the market. It examines the current market situation and the forecasted figures of the market in which the business operates. Some integral statistics to have for this marketing plan is market size, customer base, barriers to entry, competition, geographic characteristics, demographic characteristics, market growth rate, seasonal and cyclical characteristics, total available market, serviceable available market, and serviceable obtainable market.
After creating a marketing audit and having a clear sense of how the market operates and its future, the firm must now set clear marketing objectives to help them reach their ultimate mission statement. Now a marketing objective is different from the firm's objective because marketing objectives are smaller in scope and magnitude and are small milestones to reach in terms of marketing. A business objective is usually just one goal and requires all 5 business sectors to cooperate to expand the business itself. A marketing objective is one of the most important aspect to a marketing plan but most businesses are doubtful this is important which ultimately leads to their downfall. Some of the most common categories of marketing objectives are market share, market leadership, product positioning, consumer satisfaction, high market standing.
Now that there is a clear marketing objective for the marketing team to achieve, there needs to be careful implementations of various strategies to reach these goals. There are a myriad of different combinations of marketing strategies but if businesses implement the wrong ones, it is a waste of money and time. Because there are so many different industries that businesses operate in, there are a couple of broad categories for strategies that most businesses turn towards: market development, product development, diversification, product innovation, price reductions, redesigning, repackaging, new markets, brand extensions.
Monitoring and Review
Now that all of the strategies are in place, the next step is to keep watch of how effective the marketing strategies are working. Think of it as like day trading, if one strategies does not work well, pull out; if it is doing well, invest more. Granted, there are different stages and time period for marketing strategies to show its efficacy or failure but the business organization has to be smart about how long and how much they spend on the marketing strategies. This part might be the most crucial aspect and the longest period for marketing as it requires a lot of PR to take place and communications between departments. The marketing team and the sales team is required to work together to carefully scrutinize the marketing strategies and to monitor quantitively.
Now that most marketing strategies have peaked and started to wane or even remain consistent, the final evaluation of the marketing plan comes in. This part is important for the business to understand the pros and cons of their marketing plan as well as finding room for improvement. In the evaluation section, businesses would find the return on investment, reviewing sales numbers, customer response reactions, marketing reach expansion, marketing partner response, outside sales feedback, and actions of competitors. Finding these statistics will give a business a general idea of where the marketing strategies were effective in and where it can improve. If a business is able to evaluate the marketing plan to its fullest extent, the company will be able to scale up as they consistently improve over time.