Preparing a detailed marketing plan

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Last updated on July 21, 2015

A detailed marketing plan sets clear, realistic and measurable objectives, includes deadlines, provides a budget, and allocates responsibilities.

Your marketing plan should include the following elements:

Marketing objectives

  • Consider what you must do to maintain a competitive edge. This might include:
    • increasing sales by territory and product
    • increasing the number of customers
    • increasing the value of sales per customer
    • lifting your business profile
    • improving the standard of customer service
    • competitive prices
    • introducing new products or services.
  • Ensure the objectives you set can be converted to numbers and can therefore be measured – this makes them easier to manage.

Definition of your target market

  • Segment the market by dividing it into smaller groups based on customer characteristics such as geography, demographics and psychographics (e.g. personality, lifestyle) or buying situations such as desired benefits, rate of usage and buying conditions.
  • Select the segment(s) you want to target based on such factors as customer demand, your relative competitive position and profitability.

Analysis of your present market position

  • Industry
    • size of the domestic market
    • size of the export market
    • your existing market share
    • your potential market share
  • Customers
    • who your customers (or potential customers) are
    • why your customers do business with you
    • demographics and other characteristics
    • the methods you use, or propose to use, to communicate with your customers
    • how effective these methods are
    • quality of service
    • what your customers' prime decision-making motivations are, e.g. price, quality, service
  • Products or services
    • a description of what you offer
    • what makes your products or services competitive
    • how they are different from those offered by your competitors
    • how they satisfy customers
    • quality, design and appearance
    • costs of producing and distributing
    • your unique selling proposition (USP)
    • details about production time

Pricing policy

  • the value that customers perceive in your products or services
  • benefits that you offer
  • cost of producing and distributing your product or service
  • strengths of your product or service relative to that of your competitors
  • your business image
  • prices charged by your competitors (exercise care here – their product or service may not be truly comparable to your own)
  • sensitivity of customer demand to price variations
  • alternatives to changes in price
  • impact of price changes on your sales volume and profits

Marketing strategies for each product or customer group

  • Product strategies
    • number of items to be included in your product or service range
    • opportunities for introducing better or exclusive products in the future
    • labelling and packaging
    • branding
    • product or service launches
    • approaches to raise the standard of customer service
    • warranties or guarantees you propose to extend to your customers
    • budget
  • Price strategies
    • target returns on investment
    • how you propose to price your product or service so it is attractive to your customers
    • how you intend to maintain or improve your profit margins
  • Place strategies
    • system for distributing your product or service (e.g. retail, wholesale, sales staff, agents, online)
    • where you propose to locate your business and why
    • budget
  • Promotion strategies
    • advertising
    • direct marketing
    • sales promotion
    • sponsorship
    • public relations
    • social media
    • communication methods with customers and potential customers
    • appearance of premises and staff
    • range and standard of sales literature
    • budget

Action plan

  • what has to be done
  • when it has to be done
  • who will be responsible for carrying out the various tasks in the plan

Monitoring, evaluation and control

  • What you propose to monitor and measure
  • Who will be responsible for carrying out this task
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