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On Target : The Book on Marketing Plans
BY Tim Berry, Doug Wilson
Publisher: Palo Alto Software; 2nd Printing edition (October 2000)
It's About the Plan
So you're looking to develop a marketing plan. You might be a business owner or business manager. You might be a marketing expert, beginner, or pragmatic do-it-yourself person. Either way, our goal is to help you get that plan built in a logical, orderly way and accomplish your goals.
If you're already a marketing expert, we think we can still help you develop a plan. You probably already know all we have to offer about marketing strategy and tactics, but we can help you through the planning process, give you the step-by-step guide, and suggest a methodology for channeling what you know into a logically sequenced, orderly plan that you'll be able to implement. You know as well as anybody that marketing plans are not as generally accepted and defined as business plans, so the framework itself can help you get the job done.
If you're not a marketing expert, then look at this book as a practical guide to the basics, and a part of the process of developing a plan. We've tried to give you all you really need to know, from a practical point of view, to develop a marketing plan. This book includes details on how to develop your strategy, how to focus on key elements, analyze and research your market, develop strategy and tactics, project your sales and build your budget, so you can create a plan that you can implement.
Regardless of your background or experience, you want your marketing plan to be a useful document that describes your current situation, states your strategy, and outlines a pragmatic approach to accomplish your desired results.
From the Publisher
The Essential Contents of a Marketing Plan
The exact nature of your plan, and your marketing situation, dictates its contents. You add or subtract detail to suit your needs. However, there are some absolutely essential standards components that your plan ought to contain.
Every marketing plan has to fit the needs and situation. Even so, there are standard components you just can't do without. A marketing plan should always have a situation analysis, marketing strategy, sales forecast, and expense budget.
Situation Analysis: Normally this will include a market analysis, a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), and a competitive analysis. The market analysis will include market forecast, segmentation, customer information, and market needs analysis.
Marketing Strategy: This should include at least a mission statement, objectives, and focused strategy including market segment focus and product positioning.
Sales Forecast: This would include enough detail to track sales month by month and follow up on plan-vs.-actual analysis. Normally a plan will also include specific sales by product, by region or market segment, by channels, by manager responsibilities, and other elements. The forecast alone is a bare minimum.
Expense Budget: This ought to include enough detail to track expenses month by month and follow up on plan-vs.-actual analysis. Normally a plan will also include specific sales tactics, programs, management responsibilities, promotion, and other elements. The expense budget is a bare minimum.
Are They Enough?
These minimum requirements above are not the ideal, just the minimum. In most cases you'll begin a marketing plan with an Executive Summary, and you'll also follow those essentials just described with a review of organizational impact, risks and contingencies, and pending issues.
Include a Specific Action Plan
You should also remember that planning is about the results, not the plan itself. A marketing plan must be measured by the results it produces. The implementation of your plan is much more important than its brilliant ideas or massive market research. You can influence implementation by building a plan full of specific measurable, and concrete plans that can be tracked and followed up. Plan-vs.-actual analysis is critical to the eventual results, and you should build it into your plan.