A well thought out game plan is a winning strategy in any battle! Your business is no less than a battle too, in which your competitors are trying to outsmart you every moment. To win this war, you need a game plan for your business. In other words, you need a marketing plan.
A marketing plan is a highly researched, well-written document which details all marketing actions necessary to achieve business objectives. It could be for a product, service, brand or a product line. From time to time, you need to stand back and see if your plan is working, and whether your day to day activities are aligned with it.
So let us begin with the basics of writing a marketing plan:
1. Title page - This must include the name of your company and the management team which is instrumental in developing strategies.
2. Executive summary - This is a quick overview of the main points in your plan. Although the summary comes first, it is best written last. This will ensure that you have not overlooked something and that your plan makes sense.
3. Current situation - Here, you need to analyze both the macro environment as well as the current market situation. The macro environment analysis will give you an insight into the economy, and larger legal and technical aspects that can impact your business. The current market situation will throw light on the potential market segment, competitor landscape, industry structure etc.
4. Consumer behavior - Present an analysis of your customers' demographic profile and buying habits, talk about key motivators, loyalty segments and similar issues.
5. Company analysis - This is your chance to do some blah blah on your company. Just kidding! Analyze the internal situation of the company in terms of its vision and mission, long-term business objectives, short term goals, resource position etc. This is also an appropriate place to do a thorough SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. This will help you identify the sustainable competitive advantages of your company, and also understand the key success factors for your business.
6. Market research - This chapter describes the process of data collection, method of analysis and key findings.
7. Marketing strategy - Step 1 - discuss product mix, product life cycle management, brand name, brand image etc. Step 2 - analyze market share by products, customer segments and geography Step 3 - it's all about money, honey! this is where you talk pricing strategy Step 4 - share your advertising and promotion plans Step 5 - put down your ideas about how you will distribute our product.
8. Implementation - discuss the nitty-gritty out here. Chart out resource requirements, key deliverables, time frame and other issues related to implementation.
9. Financial summaries - include projections of income, break-even analysis, and payback period. List assumptions clearly.
10. Outlook - this contains predictions for the future and plans of action for alternative scenarios, if any.
11. Appendix - include all supporting material, tables and data.
Generally, a basic marketing plan will run into 30 - 40 pages. While you could abridge your report, make sure you don't miss out any important aspects.
Finally, we'll leave you with a thought - if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!
About the author: Hi, I am Akhil Shahani, a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed. Over the years I have run many successful businesses & made many mistakes on the way. I have created http://www.aykya.com to help you benefit from all I've learned on my journey. Please visit us & download our special 'Freebie of the Month' as a thank you for your visit.
Author: Akhil Shahani