Not many people take the trouble to write a marketing plan - why?
Writing the marketing plan does take time, but we have to question what else we would be doing. Probably day-to-day actions that should be prescribed by the marketing plan and may actually not be things we should be doing at all, or doing differently. So take time to think about the shape of the plan. Discuss ideas with colleagues and your agencies, don’t simply dust off the last plan, but do review what worked, what didn’t and understand why. Once committed to paper, having a route plan will in turn make day-to-day life easier, because you now know where you are heading. Things will of course change. New opportunities will present themselves. New threats will emerge. At least you now have something against which they can be evaluated. Don’t be afraid to modify the plan if that is what is required. It is after all only a plan constructed at a particular moment in time. But update, build in the new items so that you still have your route map.
The marketing plan is quite a different animal to the business plan. I see it as an important sub-set. It is a manifesto of aims and a programme of activities that should be reviewed and updated annually or quarterly depending on the business’s timescales and be used to both describe and measure progress. The marketing plan derives from the business plan and should start by restating the business objectives. Some of these may be long term and eternal, others specific to a time frame. Such a marketing plan could then include the main areas of identified activities, these could cover some or all of the following:-
· Size, sectors, competition, share, products & services, channels
· Marketing organization
· Personnel, outsource agencies, research, areas of responsibility
· Business programmes
· Pricing, products, information, training
· Marketing communications
· Campaigns: advertising, PR, Direct Marketing, web, print support, exhibitions
· Product development
· New products, deleted products, maintained products – product portfolio
· Intellectual property - Patents, trademarks, software protection
· Budget - Expenditure and income plan
Read more about Marketing Planning in Technical Marketing: Ideas for Engineers from etbooks.