Steps to create a marketing plan and how your business can benefit from it
For a firm to be successful in its marketing efforts, it should have an effective marketing plan. Some large companies may have plans with hundreds of pages and small companies with just half a page. You should always track your performance to follow the plan properly. You can do this by leaving a tab for putting in monthly reports on sales and manufacturing. You could also use a three ring binder where you can put your marketing plan and refer to it at least quarterly. It would be better if you refer it monthly.
Your plan should always focus on the coming year and it should cover one year. This is the best way to think about marketing for small companies. As time passes by, things change, markets evolve and customers come and go. Your marketing plan should also address the medium term future, two to four years down the road.
Even if your plan is just a few pages long, you should allow yourself a couple of months to write the marketing plan. The plan has its challenges while you execute it. However, developing it is the “heavy lifting” of marketing. There are two different reasons why firms normally keep their marketing plan very private:
- The plans are too scant and they do not want them to see the day light.
- They may be packed with lots of information which they do not want to reveal as it would help them to compete.
If you want to have a good and effective marketing plan then you have to involve many people in it. You need to get feed back from different parts of your company to make your marketing plan work such as the finance, personnel, manufacturing, supplies and so on. Your key people can share any insights and provide with realistic information on how to achieve your goals and what is achievable. Your plan could have another dimension if any unrealized marketing opportunities are added to it.
Your business plan covers more than marketing as it tells you about your goals, what you need to do and what you must avoid. Financing, discussions of locations, staffing, strategic alliance and many more are included in a business plan. You need to change your plan or mind in order to do something that is outside the business plan.