Marketing Manual - Marketing Plan Guide
Overview of the marketing plan process
It is necessary that anyone starting a business should have a
very good understanding of the
market to which he/she plans to sell. This
understanding of the market needs to be evaluated using marketing plans. The
preparation of marketing plans can sometimes be tedious but in the end is very
rewarding. Consider that the failure or success of a business lies heavily on
the ability to plan and implement strategies. Therefore we have formulated the
following marketing planning process that can be utilized by any small business.
Introduction to marketing planning:
Marketing planning is the use of business resources so as to
achieve marketing objectives.
Although it may seem that at first marketing planning is a
simple step-by-step process it is in fact a more complex multi faceted business
discipline that requires patience to master. In this section we will briefly
outline the process that we recommend you adopt in creating your own marketing
The following are the steps that need to be followed to develop
an effective marketing plan.
Step 1: Goal Setting
1. Vision/ Mission for the business
2. Business objectives (objectives
Step 2: Situation review
1. Marketing audit
2. SWOT Analyses
Step 3: Strategy Formulation
1. Marketing objectives and Strategies
2. Estimate expected results
3. Identify alternative plans and mixes
Step 4: Resource Allocation and Monitoring
2. Implementation program
Goal Setting - Vision/ Mission for the business
Your strategic marketing plan should begin with a vision/
mission statement. This is for most businessmen the most difficult aspect of the
planning process since it forces you to decide the purpose of your business.
Further, it is also very qualitative and different people in your organization
may have differing ideas about what your company should be doing.
The vision statement is a very brief statement of the end state of your business
wants to achieve – i.e. imagine your business when it has reached its true and
optimal potential then describe this condition.
The following should appear in the mission statement (please keep the statement
to less than one page):
1. Role or contribution
2. Business definition – It is important to define the
business in terms of the benefits you provide and needs that are satisfied –
avoid defining the business in terms of products being manufactured.
3. Competitive advantage – list here the most important resources that
the business process in relation to the business environment in which it
operates and in contrast with the competitor businesses.
4. The future focus of the business
Setting Business Objectives
objectives directly flow from the overall corporate objectives. This is
generally to increase profit to X amount. Which can be achieved by any number of
ways including the following:
The Marketing Audit
Basically, a marketing audit is a method that is used to review
how a business relates to its environment in which it operates. It is best
described as a means where a company identifies its own strengths and weaknesses
and then related then to external opportunities and threats. It is therefore a
method that you can use to position the business to its greatest advantage.
A SWOT is a summary of the marketing audit that has already been
carried out under the headings internal strengths and weaknesses as they relate
to external threats and opportunities. Detailed means of how to carry out a SWOT
analysis will be provided in the following sections.
There may be certain assumptions that need to be made in the
marketing planning process. It is always best to keep the assumptions to a
minimum. If many assumptions have been made it will become necessary to review
the plan periodically to check whether the assumptions are reasonable based on
the changing business environment. If the assumptions are proven wrong it may
become necessary to redo the marketing plan.
Marketing Objective and Strategies
An objective is what you want to achieve. A strategy is how you
will achieve the objective.
Estimate expected results and prepare contingency plans
Prepare forecasts of what will be achieved through the marketing
strategies. It is essential that you have in place a plan B just in case the
main strategy does not prove as rewarding as expected. The techniques and
tactics will be explained in the following sections.
All marketing plans include a detailed break up of the costs
involved. It is necessary to ensure that every Dollar expended is bringing
higher return to the business.
Here ends the introduction to the marketing plan guide - links that follow deal
in detail with various key aspects of the marketing plan.
1: Improve your ability to understand customers and markets
2: Understand the key aspects of your product/ service and make more sales
3: Basic techniques to increase sales and advertising effort
4: Learn how to use personal selling to boost sales
5: Learn how to set the best price to increase sales
6: Choose the best techniques of delivering the product to the target
7:Purchase a marketing plan template that can be adapted to your own company's requirements.