B&F Business Plans
A marketing plan is a business document written for the purpose of describing the current market position of a business and its marketing strategy for the period covered by the marketing plan. Marketing plans are usually valid for up to five years.
Purpose of your Marketing Plan
The aim of creating a marketing plan is to clearly show what steps will be undertaken to achieve the business' marketing & sales objectives.
Think of it as your compass or a roadmap for your initiative. It ensures that everyone working on your initiative will work toward the same goals, address the same audiences, speak with a unified voice, and operate with the same set of objectives within the desired time frame. A marketing plan ensures that your initiative moves from the planning stage through implementation and evaluation, on time and without interruptions. Granted, there will always be surprises and unexpected developments, so you should also view the marketing plan as a living document—one that should be periodically updated and revisited.
What's in a Marketing Plan?
A typical small business marketing plan might include a description of its competitors, the demand for the product or service, and the strengths and weaknesses from a market standpoint of both the business and its competitors.
Another element usually contained in a marketing plan is the marketing mix, also known as the Seven P's, namely price, place, product, promotion, people, physical evidence (such as uniforms, facilities, or livery) and process (i.e. the whole customer experience, e.g. a visit to the Disney World).
Keeping a Marketing Plan up to Date
Like a business plan, a marketing plan is an important document that needs to be updated on a regular basis. Even five year marketing plans should be revisited periodically - at least once each year - to address changes in market conditions, demand, pricing issues, etc.
An effective marketing plan takes a good deal of research which may serve for about two years only since things change, markets evolve, and customers come and go and the research has to take place anew.