What is a marketing plan and how to make one?

A marketing plan (or marketing plan) is a document that describes the marketing situation of a company, the marketing objectives that will be sought, the marketing strategies that will allow achieving the objectives, and the action plans that will allow the strategies to be implemented.

Making a marketing plan allows us to plan marketing activities and, therefore, be more efficient in carrying them out, reduce uncertainty and minimize risk, serves as a guide to carry out and coordinate these activities, and helps us control and evaluate the results.

Making a marketing plan is often thought of as a complex task reserved only for large companies; But the truth is that it is a simple task that any entrepreneur or small businessman can carry out as long as he knows the necessary steps.

In this article we tell you what a marketing plan is, what is its importance, and how to do one step by step through the development of its parts. Also, we present you a common structure and an example of a marketing plan that you can use as a model or reference to develop yours.

A marketing plan is a document where the marketing planning of a company is written.

In this article you will find:

  • What is a marketing plan?
  • What is the importance of a marketing plan?
  • How to make a marketing plan?
    • 1. The executive summary
    • 2. The marketing situation
    • 3. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
    • 4. Marketing objectives
    • 5. Marketing strategies
    • 6. Action plans
  • Structure of a marketing plan
  • Example of a marketing plan
  • Summary

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan (or marketing plan) is a document that describes the marketing situation of a company, the marketing objectives that will be sought, the marketing strategies that will allow achieving the objectives, and the action plans that will allow the strategies to be implemented.

Unlike the business plan that covers all aspects of a company, the marketing plan only covers aspects related to marketing; However, considering that marketing is closely related to the environment of a company, and with other areas or departments of this, its scope is still broad.

There is no standard structure or format that all companies have to use when making their marketing plans; Instead, a company can use the structure or format that it deems best according to its needs or the objectives it seeks to achieve with the plan.

However, a marketing plan usually has a structure or format with the following parts or sections:

  • The executive summary : This part summarizes the most important points of the other parts of the plan.
  • The Marketing Situation : This part provides information on various aspects of the company’s marketing, such as the company, the product, and the target market.
  • The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats : this part identifies the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the company.
  • Marketing objectives : in this part, the marketing objectives to be achieved are indicated.
  • Marketing strategies : this part outlines the marketing strategies that will be used to achieve the objectives.
  • Action plans : this part specifies the steps and other aspects necessary to implement the formulated marketing strategies.

Marketing plans are usually carried out annually or whenever they are considered necessary (for example, when a new product is going to be launched on the market, or when it is sought to increase the sales of the products that are already available), by the marketers or managers of the marketing of the company.

Likewise, like any business plan, the marketing plan is not a static document, but a flexible document that can and should be modified or corrected if the circumstances warrant it, especially today where market changes are constant.

What is the importance of a marketing plan?

The main importance of a marketing plan is that it allows us to plan marketing objectives and strategies, and courses of action and, therefore, allows us to be more efficient in implementing the strategies, anticipating the facts, reducing uncertainty and minimizing the risk.

But in addition to being a planning instrument , the marketing plan is also an organizational instrument since it allows us to organize the tasks or activities necessary to implement the marketing strategies, the resources necessary to carry out these tasks or activities, and the personnel in charge to make them.

It is also a coordination instrument since it allows us to coordinate the tasks or activities necessary to implement the marketing strategies, the allocation of the necessary resources to carry out these tasks or activities, and the functions of the personnel in charge of carrying them out.

And, finally, it is a control instrument since it allows us to control the implementation of marketing strategies and the performance of the personnel in charge of carrying out the tasks or activities necessary for the implementation, and an evaluation instrument since it allows us to evaluate and Compare the results obtained with the planned ones.

How to make a marketing plan?

Making a marketing plan is often thought of as a complex task reserved only for large companies; But the truth is that it is a simple task that any entrepreneur or small businessman can carry out as long as he knows the necessary steps.

Let’s see below how to make a marketing plan step by step through the development of each of its parts or sections:

Remember that there is no standard structure or format for every marketing plan, but rather that a company can use the structure or format that it deems best according to its needs or the objectives of its plan.

1. The executive summary

The first part or section of a marketing plan is the executive summary. In this a summary of the most important points of the other parts of the plan is made, so that despite going to the beginning of this, it should be elaborated after having elaborated the other parts.

The executive summary is usually made up of the following elements:

  • the description of the company.
  • the product description.
  • the description of the target market.
  • the main strengths and weaknesses detected.
  • the main opportunities and threats detected.
  • the main marketing objectives to be achieved.
  • the main marketing strategies that will be used to achieve the objectives.
  • the personnel in charge of executing the plan.
  • the budget required for the execution of the plan.

The objective of the executive summary is for the reader to have a succinct overview of the marketing plan, and to quickly get to know its most important points, so it should be effectively a summary and be written in clear and concise language.

As we have mentioned, the executive summary shows a summary of the most important points of the other parts of the plan, so the explanation of each of its elements will be found throughout this guide.

2. The marketing situation

After the executive summary the next part or section of the marketing plan is the marketing situation. This provides information on various aspects related to the marketing of the company.

The marketing situation is usually made up of the following elements:

The company

At this point a review of the company is made; for example, what is your name, what is your vision, mission and values, what do you do, what is your market share, what is your level of sales, what are your resources, what are your capabilities? , what are its competitive advantages, etc.

The product

At this point a review is made of the product (or products) that the company offers or will offer; for example, it is pointed out what it consists of, how it works, what are its main characteristics or benefits, what are its differentiating characteristics (the characteristics that allow or will allow it to be distinguished from competing products), etc.

The environment

At this point a review of the environment of the company is made ; for example, factors or forces in the environment that affect or could affect the company and that could represent an opportunity or a threat (for example, interest rates, government regulations, new technologies, etc.) are mentioned and analyzed.

The target market

This point indicates what the company’s target market is or will be (the set of consumers to whom the company directs or will direct its marketing efforts), and what its main characteristics are (for example, what its needs are). , tastes, preferences, desires, consumption habits, purchasing behaviors, customs, attitudes, etc.).

Competition

This point indicates which are or will be the main competitors of the company, and what are its main characteristics (for example, what is its location, market share, sales volume, market experience, resources, capabilities, main strategies, competitive advantages, strengths, weaknesses, etc.).

3. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

This part or section identifies the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the company.

Identifying strengths and weaknesses allows you to have a basis on which to set marketing objectives and strategies, since the idea is to establish marketing objectives and strategies that allow you to enhance strengths and neutralize weaknesses.

Some examples of strengths are:

  • surplus working capital.
  • strategically located sales points.
  • good customer service.

Some examples of weaknesses are:

  • bad location.
  • ineffective advertising.
  • little innovation.

Keep in mind that to detect strengths and weaknesses it may be necessary to previously carry out an internal analysis of the company.

While identifying opportunities and threats allows you to have a basis on which to set marketing objectives and strategies, since the idea is to establish marketing objectives and strategies that allow you to take advantage of opportunities and face threats.

Some examples of opportunities are:

  • increased internet shopping.
  • new free trade agreements.
  • financial problems of the competition.

Some examples of threats are:

  • new competitors entering the market.
  • market entry of new substitute products.
  • competitive price reduction.

Keep in mind that to detect opportunities and threats it may be necessary to previously carry out an external analysis of the company.

In order to better analyze the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, a SWOT matrix is usually included at this point .

4. Marketing objectives

In this part or section the marketing objectives to be achieved are indicated.

Marketing objectives are usually both general and specific.

The objectives of general marketing are generic objectives that are aligned with the goals and mission of the company.

Some examples of general marketing objectives are:

  • to be a leading company in the market.
  • position the brand in the minds of consumers.
  • To be a company recognized for its quality in customer service.

While specific marketing objectives are concrete objectives expressed in terms of quantity and time, which allow the general objectives to be achieved.

Some examples of specific marketing objectives are:

  • achieve a 15% market share by the end of the year.
  • increase monthly sales by 20% for the second semester.
  • open 2 new stores for the first quarter of next year.

In order to establish marketing objectives, basically resources and capacities, strengths and weaknesses (objectives that allow to strengthen strengths and neutralize weaknesses), and opportunities and threats (objectives that allow us to take advantage of opportunities and face to threats) of the company.

5. Marketing strategies

This part or section outlines the marketing strategies that will be used to achieve the proposed objectives.

Marketing strategies are typically classified into strategies for product , price , distribution, and promotion .

Some examples of marketing strategies for the product are:

  • include new characteristics or attributes to the product.
  • launch a new product line.
  • add new complementary services to the product.

Some examples of marketing strategies for price are:

  • launch a new product with a low price in order to achieve rapid penetration.
  • increase the price of the product in order to increase the quality feeling.
  • reduce prices below those of the competition in order to gain market share.

Some examples of marketing strategies for distribution are:

  • work with intermediary businesses in order to increase product coverage.
  • use the Internet as a point of sale.
  • increase the number of delivery vehicles.

Some examples of marketing strategies for promotion are:

  • offer the offer to purchase a second product at half price for the purchase of the first.
  • Post ads on classified ad sites on the Internet.
  • give publicity items such as pens, key chains, or pencil cases bearing the company logo.

In order to formulate marketing strategies, resources and capacities, strengths and weaknesses (strategies that allow strengthening strengths and neutralize weaknesses), and opportunities and threats (strategies that allow taking advantage of opportunities and coping) must be taken into account. to threats) of the company.

6. Action plans

Finally, this part or section specifies the steps and other aspects necessary to implement or execute the formulated marketing strategies.

Action plans are usually made up of the following elements:

  • the tasks to be carried out : the tasks, activities or actions to be carried out that are necessary to implement the marketing strategies.
  • the allocation of resources : the resources that will be used to carry out the tasks and implement the marketing strategies, and the way in which they will be distributed.
  • those responsible : those responsible and responsible for performing the tasks and implementing the marketing strategies
  • task scheduling : the schedule with start dates and deadlines for completing tasks and implementing marketing strategies.
  • the required budget : the budget required to perform the tasks and implement the marketing strategies; that is, to execute the marketing plan.

The action plans serve as a guide to implement or execute the marketing strategies, but they also serve as an instrument of control and evaluation, since they allow us to verify that the tasks are being carried out as specified, and that they are being met on time. agreed.

Structure of a marketing plan

Here is a summary of the structure of a marketing plan that we have previously used:

The executive summary
  • The description of the company.
  • The description of the product.
  • The description of the target market.
  • The main strengths and weaknesses.
  • The main opportunities and threats.
  • The main marketing objectives.
  • The main marketing strategies.
  • The work team.
  • The required budget.
The marketing situation
  • The company
  • The product
  • The environment
  • The target market
  • Competition
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Opportunities and threats
Marketing objectives
  • General marketing objectives
  • Specific marketing objectives
Marketing strategies
  • Marketing strategies for the product
  • Marketing strategies for the price
  • Marketing strategies for distribution
  • Marketing strategies for promotion
Action plans
  • The tasks to be performed
  • The allocation of resources
  • The responsible
  • Task scheduling
  • The budget required

Example of a marketing plan

The following is an example of a marketing plan by a shell company dedicated to selling youth clothing, which is about to launch a new clothing brand to the market.

Remember that there is no standard structure or format that must be used for every marketing plan, but a company can use the one that they think is best for their needs or the objectives of their plan.

The marketing situation

The company Abcde is a company dedicated to the sale of clothing for young people basically made up of shirts, blouses, shirts, pants and shorts, and which has attractive and differentiated models.

To design the garments, the company will hire designers who are in charge of this task, for its preparation it will send them to be made to external garment workshops, and for sale it will sell them through three clothing stores it has, and an online store that he will send to design.

The company is about to launch a new brand of clothing for the first time on the market and, due to the increase in online shopping by young people, it will focus its marketing efforts on promoting and selling its new brand through this medium. .

The target market

The target market is made up of young people in an average age range of 16 to 30 years, who like to dress in attractive and differentiated clothing.

The main characteristics of the consumer that makes up the target market are the following:

  • Look for good quality clothes with fashionable and different models.
  • look for relatively cheap clothes.
  • She usually buys her clothes at clothing stores and department stores.
  • usually spends time on the Internet, especially on social networks.
  • is starting to buy online.

Competition

The company’s main competitors are companies A, B, and C.

The following table shows the main strengths and weaknesses that have been identified for these competitors:

Main strengths Main weaknesses
Competitor A
  • Good quality clothing.
  • Brand positioned in the minds of consumers.
  • Lack of ability to keep prices low.
Competitor B
  • Good variety of models.
  • Good presence on social networks.
  • Few points of sale.
Competitor C
  • Attractive and differentiated models.
  • Various points of sale.
  • Poor customer service.

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

After having carried out an analysis of the company’s environment, and the resources and capabilities it has, the following strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats have been identified:

Strengths :

  • Experience in the sale of clothing : the company has only been founded for a few years; However, its owners and workers have extensive experience in the sale of clothing.
  • Strategically located stores : The company has 3 strategically located clothing stores, which would facilitate the introduction to the market and the positioning of the new brand.

Weaknesses :

  • First own brand : Despite having extensive experience in the sale of clothing, the owners and workers of the company do not have much experience in introducing a new clothing brand to the market.
  • New brand in the market : as it is a new brand, it is not known in the market, unlike other brands that have a good recognition in it.
  • It does not have its own clothing workshops : the company does not have its own clothing workshops.

Opportunities :

  • Increase in Internet shopping by young people : due, among other things, to the incentive that large companies are making for people to buy their products over the Internet, and to the easy access that people have today to credit cards, Internet purchases by young people are increasing.
  • Unattractive and Differentiated Competitive Models : Most competitors do not have attractive and differentiated models.

Threats :

  • Increase in the number of competitors : the number of companies dedicated to selling youth clothing with its own brand entering the market is increasing.
  • High demand from the youth public : young people today are quite demanding in terms of the quality of clothing; however, they are not willing to pay much for these.
  • Pressure to set low prices : due to increasing competition and the demand of the young public, clothing prices are lower and lower, thus reducing the profitability of the companies that sell them.

The following SWOT matrix shows a summary of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats:

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Experience in the sale of clothing.
  • Strategically located stores.
  • First own brand.
  • New brand on the market.
  • It does not have its own clothing workshops.
Opportunities
  • Increase in online shopping by young people.
  • Unattractive and differentiated competition models.
  • Focus marketing efforts on promoting and selling the new brand on the Internet.
  • Design good quality garments with attractive, fashionable and differentiated models.
Threats
  • Increased number of competitors.
  • High demand from the youth public.
  • Pressure to set low prices.
  • Take advantage of the stores you have to introduce and position the new brand.
  • Use good quality fabrics and other supplies.
  • Work with recognized garment workshops in the market.

Marketing objectives

Taking into account the resources and capabilities of the company, and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats detected, the following marketing objectives have been established:

General marketing objectives :

  • position the brand in the minds of young people.
  • Being a clothing brand recognized for its good quality and attractive and distinctive models.
  • have a broad Internet presence.

Specific marketing objectives :

  • achieve a 5% market share in the first year.
  • selling 20,000 items of the new brand in the first year.
  • have sales of US $ 600,000 for the new brand in the second year.

Marketing strategies

The marketing strategies that will be used to achieve the proposed marketing objectives are as follows:

Strategies for the product :

  • designers of the market will be hired to design clothing, specialized in the design of youth clothing.
  • Fabrics and other good quality supplies will be used to make the garments, and work will be carried out with market-recognized garment workshops.
  • Good quality garments will be designed and made with attractive, fashionable and differentiated models.

Price strategies :

  • the introductory price of the apparel will be $ 20, and will then be increased to $ 30.
  • In order to encourage sales in the online store, during the first three months of its creation, a 10% discount will be offered on all products, and the free home delivery service will be provided for purchases over US $ 50.

Strategies for promotion :

  • In order to take advantage of the increase in online shopping by young people, an attractive and professional-looking online store will be created through which the clothes are also sold, and then it will be promoted through the Google Ads advertising program. .
  • In order to take advantage of the fact that young people often spend time on Facebook, they will have an active participation in this social network, which will include promoting some of the publications through the Facebook advertising program.
  • It will be advertised in specialized magazines dedicated to young people, where the differentiated models of the garments will be highlighted.

Distribution strategies :

  • In order to take advantage of the increase in online shopping by young people, in addition to selling clothing in the clothing stores that the company owns, they will also be sold through an online store.
  • Eventually they will also seek to sell the garments through intermediary businesses such as third-party clothing stores and department stores.

The activities program

The new clothing brand will launch on the market in February of next year. The program of activities necessary to implement the marketing strategies, which will be carried out during the first 5 months of next year, is detailed below.

  • January : The new clothing items will be designed and sent to the external clothing workshops to be made, and the online store will be sent to design a web design agency.
  • February : the new clothing items will be exhibited in clothing stores and in the online store, and will begin with the promotion of these through Facebook.
  • March : The online store will be advertised through the Google Ads advertising program.
  • April : Looking to work with intermediary businesses such as third-party clothing stores and department stores through which the garments can also be sold.
  • May : garments will be advertised in specialized magazines dedicated to young people, where their differentiated models will be highlighted.

Summary

  • A marketing plan is a document that describes the marketing situation of a company, its marketing objectives, its marketing strategies, and the action plans to implement the strategies.
  • In other words, a marketing plan is a document where a company’s marketing planning is written down.
  • Making a marketing plan allows us to plan marketing activities and, therefore, be more efficient in carrying them out, reduce uncertainty and minimize risk, serves as a guide to carry out and coordinate these activities, and helps us control and evaluate the results.
  • Finally, there is no standard structure for every marketing plan, but generally the parts of a marketing plan are: the executive summary, the marketing situation, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the marketing objectives, the marketing strategies, and action plans

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