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 plan.

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 template)

Step 2: Situation review
1. Marketing audit
2. SWOT Analyses
3. Assumptions

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
1. Budget
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

  • Profit

  • Service

  • Opportunity seeker

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

  • What the firm plans to do

  • What it might do

  • What it will do


Setting Business Objectives

The business 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:

  • Increase sales

  • Increase selling price

  • Increase market share

  • New product launch

  • Change product mix in sales etc.

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.

SWOT Analyses

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.

The Budget

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.

Chapter 1: Improve your ability to understand customers and markets

Chapter 2: Understand the key aspects of your product/ service and make more sales

Chapter 3: Basic techniques to increase sales and advertising effort

Chapter 4: Learn how to use personal selling to boost sales

Chapter 5: Learn how to set the best price to increase sales

Chapter 6: Choose the best techniques of delivering the product to the target market

Chapter 7:Purchase a marketing plan template that can be adapted to your own company's requirements.