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,
customer information, and market
Marketing Strategy: This should include at least a mission statement,
objectives, and focused strategy including market segment focus and product
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
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.