Join Drew Boyd for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding why a marketing plan is important, part of Writing a Marketing Plan.
- Perhaps the most vital aspect of any business is the marketing function. A business can't really get off the gound until it sells something. A marketing plan provides a roadmap for running and coordinating marketing programs. It helps align the many people and organizations involved in commercializing your products and services. A formal, written marketing plan is a great way to document the planning process. It serves many purposes. But a marketing plan doesn't have to be a long and formal document.
Even a simple one that answers these three questions will help: Where are we now? Where are we going? And how do we get there? First, it captures all the things you and your team have learned about the market, the competition, and your customers. This information is critical because it becomes the supporting evidence for the strategies that you and your team decide to pursue. Second, the plan serves as a tool to help you align the organization.
Marketing involves many people, so you'll need to get everyone on board and going in the same direction. The written plan becomes a source document to create presentations, to conduct training, and to give directions to external partners. Believe me, you'll use it a lot. Finally, the written plan lays out a coherent and coordinated set of marketing programs with schedules and budgets so you can run a smooth operation. To write the plan, don't wait until the very end of the planning process.
I like to start writing it right from the very beginning. Here's a tip that makes it easy. Create a blank PowerPoint presentation with just the headings of each component on a separate page, and keep it with you during team meetings. As you collect information or make key decisions, write or type it into the appropriate slide. That helps you keep the document up-to-date as you move through the process. When you have enough written material, go ahead and create a first draft, but be sure to date the draft as you'll be making regular updates and revisions.
A written marketing plan is a dynamic document and you should expect to make changes to it as conditions in the market change. If you create a great plan and update it regularly, it'll help you stay ahead of the competition.
- Planning for a marketing campaign
- Writing the situation analysis
- Writing the strategic, tactical, and budget sections of the plan
- Leveraging your plan