What is a Marketing Plan and why is it important?

What is a Marketing Plan and why is it important?

A marketing plan is like a map: it shows the path and destination where the company is going and how it is going to get there. It is an action plan embodied in a written document. In this, the different opportunities that the company has to penetrate a certain market are identified. It includes the characteristics and the position of the competition within this market as well as the techniques and strategies that will be used in order to position and maintain themselves within this market.

Many marketing experts agree that not having a marketing plan is doing things halfway. In other words, it is like wanting to run without having learned to walk. This invaluable management tool is essential to carry out a development strategy for your business. The marketing plan, which is carried out, will allow the company to identify market opportunities, set annual goals and find ways to achieve strategic objectives.

Given the above, you can already deduce the importance of a marketing plan. Its importance lies in the fact that it provides the company with a clear vision of its objectives and the path it must follow to achieve them. Additionally, it allows optimizing and achieving the best use of essential resources such as time, budget and effort. It also contributes to obtaining the maximum possible return on the investment made. Other equally important benefits are:

Helps minimize risks

In the world of marketing, as in any field in general, any action that is implemented without prior analysis and planning risks failure, it is a waste of resources. Creating a marketing plan aligned with the company’s objectives will serve as a practical operational guide that tells all employees and team members which way to go. In this way, the risks during the execution of the plan will be minimized.

Contributes to the development of an action plan

Since the marketing plan is an essential tool for the growth of your business, an action plan should be developed and described according to each priority segment of the market that is of interest to the company. To achieve this, a marketing mix must be taken into account: product, promotion, distribution and price. Also, it is recommended to develop performance indicators to measure their efficiency and adjust them as necessary.

Helps detect and understand changes in the external environment

It is important that the company has and in turn documents an overview of the competition in the market. This consists of knowing what they are doing, whether they are developing new products, hiring new employees or preparing partnerships. Knowing the actions of competitors will allow the company to predict changes in its environment with a higher percentage of effectiveness. In this way, the plans and strategies that will be implemented in the future are adjusted.

It is used to evaluate the performance of the different departments related to the area of ​​marketing and sales

Many companies make the mistake of separately analyzing the performance of the sales department, without taking into account the progress in achieving the objectives established by marketing. Part of the importance of the marketing plan is that it allows you to link and continuously monitor the achievement of the objectives set. In this way, it is determined who has managed or not to meet the assigned goals.

What does a marketing plan consist of?

A marketing plan consists of a logical sequence of strategies and actions designed to achieve the objectives established in the designed marketing campaign. This plan is embodied in a business document that also specifically outlines a variety of details including tactics, plans, costs, objectives, and action steps related to the planned campaign. It also includes the specifications corresponding to the period of validity of the campaign.

Something important to know is that a marketing plan is not a static document. It must change and evolve as the business grows and new and changing marketing trends evolve. Many companies make the mistake of creating a marketing plan and then setting it aside. However, a good marketing plan is a road map that indicates the direction to achieve your business goals, which should be evaluated and updated frequently.

Aspects to take into account when developing a marketing plan

When preparing a marketing plan, certain aspects must be analyzed that will help to know and understand the market. For example:

  • Details about your business, brand and/or product. For example, what is your product or service? What works and what challenges do you have in creating new customers?
  • What is the target market of your business? Who is the most likely buyer of what you offer?, define your market, and determine how your product or service helps people, identify the type of people who can benefit.
  • What are your goals for the project period? Be specific about your goals, such as growing your email list by a certain number of recipients over the next year, or finding a commensurate number of new customers. It is important to be able to measure the effectiveness of your marketing plan with a quantifiable objective.
  • What marketing tactics will you use to achieve your market and goals? Let your target market be a guide in deciding which marketing strategies to use.

What does a marketing plan have to include?

Designing a marketing plan is drawing the course that the company has to follow, generally, in the next 12 months. A marketing strategy cannot be followed if a good plan has not been previously designed. But, in order to do so, we must first know what a marketing plan must have, and know what we must include in it. There are many definitions of a marketing plan, but few precise guidelines about what it should contain or what purpose it should serve.

As a general rule, a marketing plan should clearly show, and in the simplest possible way, the market trends and the segments that comprise it, the requirements and the ways to achieve the objectives, the action priorities. And, one of the most important aspects, the financial consequences and commercial effects of the implementation of the planned activities. These activities are almost always included in the annual budget of the companies

Main ingredients of a marketing plan

The right marketing plan for each company should have information about the product market and how the company plans to achieve its marketing goals. Likewise, establish the direction to be followed by the company and the area of ​​interest of the brand. Remember that knowing what a marketing plan has allows you to use the available resources in the best possible way. In this way you can make a correct distribution of them in the planned period.

The marketing plan, in addition to including the strategies and tactics with which the organization intends to achieve business objectives, must include the customer as a fundamental part and starting point of any strategy. Additionally:

  • The plan must be simple and the content must be understandable and practical.
  • It must contain measurable and specific goals with tasks and dates for their completion and a specific budget.
  • It has to be feasible to do.
  • It must be complete, duly detailed and contain the necessary elements.