Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

Building a Successful Marketing Plan

Published on Mar 25, 2010

Summary

Read 'Building a Successful Marketing Plan' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Every business, small or large, will be more successful with a marketing plan. A good marketing plan summarizes the who, what, where, when, and how much questions of company marketing and sales activities for the planning year:
  • Who are our target buyers?
  • What constitutes our uniqueness in the market?
  • Where will we spend our resources?
  • When will marketing initiatives occur?
  • How much sales, spending, and profits will we achieve?
The financial projections in your business plan are based on assumptions in your marketing plan. It is the marketing plan that details when expenditures will be made, what level of sales will be achieved, and how and when advertising and promotional expenditures will be made. There are five major elements of a marketing plan:
  • The situation analysis describes the total marketing environment in which the company competes and the status of your products and channels;
  • The opportunity and issues analysis examines external opportunities and threats to the company as well as internal strengths and weaknesses of the company;
  • The goals and objectives section outlines major company goals and marketing and financial objectives;
  • The marketing strategy summarizes all of your strategic elements: the target buyer, the market segments the company competes in, the unique positioning of the company and its products compared to the competition, price strategy, promotional strategy, the works.
  • The sales and marketing plan outlines each specific marketing event or action plan to increase sales. For example, it may contain a summary of quarterly promotion and advertising plans, with spending, timing, and share or shipment goals for each program.
When it comes to business planning, one proverb needs to be kept in clear view: "A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow." Don't tinker and fuss so much that your plan never finds its way into practice. Get something good on the rails, then refine as you go until it's great. See also: situation analysis opportunity and issue analysis goals and objectives marketing strategy sales and marketing plan Given that most start-up and small businesses have limited budgets and resources that are already stretched thin--How crucial do you think a marketing plan is for a start-up?