what's a marketing plan for, what's a plan for? If you're looking to achieve results, you need a plan for whatever you set out to achieve in life. If you're an athlete you need a "training plan", if you want to improve your health you need a "nutritional plan" and if you're a prisoner who just happened to land on this blog, you also need an "escape plan". And as you might expect, the world of marketing is no stranger to this. If you're looking to meet the needs of the consumer whether you're a large, medium or small business, you need a "marketing plan". That's right, no matter the size of your organisation or whether you are just one person, the goal is always to meet the expectations of the consumer.
what is a marketing plan for?
In the world of marketing, organisation is fundamental. So what is a marketing plan for? To set objectives, establish a timetable, determine how long certain actions will take to achieve certain objectives, etc. Within this plan, everything must be specified to the millimetre, for example, the planned operational actions must be established for a given period, which could be a year. Also, within the plan, the means that will be used, the business figures that will be achieved and the corresponding deadlines are detailed.
If you are still wondering what a marketing plan is for, a marketing plan is a strategic analysis of the company, allowing you to programme the different actions and objectives, determine the target, the product mix and the budget. It is not only useful for product launches, but also for monitoring the objectives after the launch. Time, budget and effort are the three essential resources that a marketing plan will help to optimise within an organisation.
what are the essential characteristics of a marketing plan?
Luis Ángel Sanz de la Tajada, PhD in Economics and Business Studies, defines a marketing plan as a document that defines the objectives to be achieved in a given period of time. It is also a document that details the programmes and means of action that are necessary to achieve the stated objectives within the planned timeframe. After this definition, let's look at some of the characteristic features of a marketing plan:
- It is flexible and quick to implement. It allows a market test to be carried out very quickly.
- It provides a great deal of information about the competition.
- It has a structured and systematically focused content.
- It contains the programmes and means of action to achieve the set objectives.
- It defines the fields of responsibility and establishes control procedures.
- It is analytical, as it allows companies to know how to store, interpret and classify data in order to make smarter decisions.
3 phases for drawing up a marketing plan
Before looking at what a marketing plan is for, it is important to understand its structure. A marketing plan is divided into 3 phases and each phase into stages. Each one has a mission and all of them are important, so pay close attention to the following information:
Situation analysis and diagnosis: Where are we?
This first phase is divided into two stages: the analysis stage and the situation diagnosis stage. In the first stage, an analysis of the internal and external situation of the organisation is carried out. To do this, it is necessary to analyse the environment in order to know the situation and perspectives of the economic sector in which you are going to work. After this, a consumer analysis is carried out in order to segment the target audience. Finally, an analysis of the competition is carried out. Once this first stage is completed, we can move on to the situation diagnosis stage by carrying out a SWOT analysis (weaknesses, threats, strengths, opportunities).
Strategic marketing decisions: What are our objectives?
This second phase is divided into two stages: formulating marketing objectives and outlining marketing strategies. It is essential to define the organisation's objectives in the first stage and it should not be forgotten that they must be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. These are key to measuring results and act as a guide for the organisation's growth. Once the SMART objectives have been defined, we can now outline the strategies, which will allow the organisation to focus on the available resources and use them in the best possible way.
Operational marketing decisions: How do we do it?
This third phase has only one stage and that is the action plan. Here, the deadlines for implementing the strategies must be established and the financial, material and human resources must be allocated. These actions must be detailed in the marketing plan and each action must contain information such as the description of the action, its objectives, the start and end date, the budget allocated, the person in charge and the monitoring plan to evaluate its impact.
what is a marketing plan for? 5 benefits of making one?
Maximise the impact of your actions
Planning marketing actions means going through a phase of observation, benchmarking, data analysis and even studies carried out with the help of surveys, polls or focus groups. Thanks to this, you can find out who your consumers and potential customers are, how they buy, where and why. It also allows you to find out how your competitors talk to them, in what tone and what works. Thanks to this information, you can design actions that will maximise their impact.
Define your product and your target
It is important to ask yourself "How am I going to position myself with my offer in a competitive market? Once you define what your positioning will be, you should record it in writing in your marketing plan so that you have a physical material to fall back on in case the strategy is not working. This way you can compare if there is a gap between the marketing plan and its execution.
Better identify your opportunities
The market is constantly evolving, new trends are emerging every day and the marketing plan should not be oblivious to this. Therefore a marketing plan should be constantly evolving in order to adjust the brand to the current needs of the market. Metrics allow you to have a precise knowledge of customer behaviour and allow you to modify your plan according to this data.
Increases reputation and credibility
Having an action plan provides a lot of reassurance and confidence both internally and externally. Knowing where you stand, knowing how to talk to your customers, how to get them to come to you and buy your products, all this reinforces the credibility of the organisation not only with customers, but also with internal stakeholders such as suppliers, partners, investors, etc.
Knowing how to act in the future
A marketing plan allows you to measure, analyse and plan on an ongoing basis. It adjusts as time goes on and according to new needs and expectations of consumers. It allows you to have an outline and to be able to modify or update it according to what comes up or unforeseen events. An annual marketing plan is very useful because, by planning, there is less chance of failure.
And don't forget, if you want to succeed, you must make your marketing plan!