“There dreams into reality. A plan defines the objectives

“There
are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality;
and then there are those who turn one into the other.”

Douglas
H. Everett

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A plan is one of the
first steps that needs to be done for us to change our dreams into reality. A
plan defines the objectives of our dreams and our goals. Hence, a plan should
consist of what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, who are the people
responsible, where the action is to be taken as well as why are we planning in
the first place. Although planning is quite a frustrating process personally as
well as in a business scenario, if done in the right manner it could prove to
be very advantageous. In everyday life, planning is quite essential since it
saves people the time to perform repetitive actions. Lack of a plan can be a
serious disaster and can lead to huge losses, both financially as well as emotionally.

Planning helps in
achieving objectives and is a continuous process. However, if followed strictly
a plan could turn out to be quite rigid thus not allowing creativity to nurture
itself. We plan mostly to make sure that when the going gets tough we can go
back to the original plan to see what next needs to be done next, instead of
wasting more time. It basically gives a direction to move forward towards the
goals set to achieve.

A more defined approach
in planning is required by a business plan. As such a planning process leads to
preparing a business plan (Nunn & Mcguire, 2010). This means that planning
is the stepping stone for a business plan. You need to be careful to address
all the parts of the business in the business plan and it must contain a (a)
Title Page, (b) Table of Contents, (c) Executive Summary, (d) Business
Description, (e) Management, (f) Market and Business Analysis, (g) Business and
Market Development, (h) Marketing and Sales, (I) Financial Data, (j)
Application of funds, and (k) an Appendix (Nunn & Mcguire, 2010). A
business plan is a necessity for every business.

A marketing plan is one
of the components of a business plan. It is a strategically written document
that is very intricate in its details and gives a clear picture on the goals
and objectives that are to be achieved by the company. It is prepared by the
leaders of the company along with the marketing team (Kokemuller, 2016).  It also gives us a time-frame within which we
must complete the objectives. It includes market situation analysis, action
programs, budgets, sales forecasts, strategies and projected financial
statements (Westwood, 2002). The main purpose of preparing a marketing plan is
to put the company on the right path (Kokemuller, 2016). Here the right path
will be a right move in marketing. Every company within any industry has the
aim to increase its business, a marketing plan helps to achieve this. The
frequency of preparing a marketing plan varies from company to company, it
could be every few years or can be done yearly (Kokemuller, 2016). This totally
depends on the Strategic leaders of the company along with the size of the
company.

Marketing Plan

A marketing plan should
be clear, concise, quantified, focused, achievable and must be agreeable to
everyone within the company. According to Baker, a typical marketing plan for a
medium and large sized would include:

1. Title page – This
holds specific to a marketing document. It needs to clearly indicate that the
document is a marketing plan. Hence it should have it written on the title
page.

2. Executive Summary –
The whole plan that has been proposed by the team should be written down in a
short and precise manner so that a reader gets a brief idea of what the whole
plan.

3. Current Situation –
This deals with multiple scenarios at the same time. For the team to assess the
current situation of the business, one needs to understand the Macroenvironmental
factors, the market factors, the consumers which they are dealing with, along
with the skills and resources that the company has.

·        
Macroenvironment must cover the Economic,
Legal, Governmental, Technological, Ecological, Sociocultural and the supply
chain aspect of the environment surrounding the business.

·        
Market Analysis here should include market
size, the market segmentation, A complete SWOT analysis of the company, market
trends as well as Porters 5 Forces model or PEST analysis.

·        
The marketing plan must also take into
consideration the consumer which they are planning to cater to. For example,
their buying behavior, demographics etc.

·        
Analysis of the current situation should
also go ahead and look into the company and see what the company consists of,
its employers, suppliers, the total team that helps in contributing to the
profit of the company.

4. Marketing Strategy – A
right strategy needs to be formulated so that it is easier for the conversion
of the business objectives of the company into marketing preference
(Getscher,2017). The strategy that is formed needs to be less complex and more
achievable and attainable. There are two situations that are likely to occur
for a marketing strategy to fail. Either, the strategy become complex and too
hard to decipher thus resulting in the failure of the strategy and the other
could be that it has a lot of steps due to which it gets hard to follow and the
strategy fails (Getscher,2017). The most common strategy that is used in a
marketing plan is the 4Ps of Marketing Mix wherein the 4Ps’ are price, product,
place and promotion. The term “Marketing Mix” was coined by Borden in the year
1965. The original Borden Marketing Mix contained 12 elements such as product
planning, pricing, branding, channels of distribution, personal selling,
advertising, promotions, packaging, display, servicing, physical handling and
fact finding and analysis (Goi,2009). These elements have changed over the
years and now the simplest form of the marketing Mix is the 4Ps. By keeping in mind,
the current 4P’s in preparing the strategy, the company can prepare the
strategy in a manner that is convenient and efficient.

6. Implementation – Once
the plan is prepared, the final touches to the plan need to be made. This includes
assigning responsibilities to the employees involved in the case along with the
incentives that need to be given to them. This phase also includes giving the
employees the necessary training that is required for them to implement the
marketing plan. A Gantt Chart is prepared which allows us to showcase the
activities that need to be performed alongside the time (Gantt.com). A Gantt
Chart displays what needs to be done and when the activity needs to be
performed (Gantt.com).

Figure 1

 

5. Financial Summary – In
this phase, the team prepares a portfolio which contains the financial details
of the company, the budget details, the monthly income statements, the
breakeven analysis of the company so that the team is aware of any constraints
that they could face financially and be informed completely. This part of the
plan, helps the team to be always on track with what happens in the business so
that if they need to tweak the plan in emergency situations, they can.

6. Future Predictions – In
this phase, all the different types of issues that could happen are predicted
and a plan for each of those issues is discussed and written down so that in
case if any thing goes wrong, they have a backup plan. (Wikipedia)

This is how a basic new
marketing plan must contain. Once a plan has been made, the team needs to go back
to the marketing plan every time they feel that they are stuck and do not know
where to go from there. Sometimes, a plan that was discussed and prepared does
not really work and, so you could go back to the plan and changes can be made
based on what happened.

I have discussed only one
way of preparing a Marketing Plan, but there are several ways of preparing and
implementing a marketing plan. One of the basic models of a marketing plan
template is as shown as below: –

Figure
2

There are different types
of Marketing plans that are used in today’s world. Direct Marketing, Indirect
Marketing, Cause Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Niche Marketing will be the
few examples of Marketing plans (Hose, 2017). Each of them are different in
their own unique way and have different uses to the company.

Benefits of a marketing
plan  

It helps in being a guide
for all the marketing activities that the firm needs to carry out (Bowen,2002).
It compels the managers to review each activity objectively so that all the
steps are carefully written down and that the budget is prepared accordingly
(Bowen,2002). The marketing plan does not only benefit the company, it also
benefits the team i.e. marketing team as well as the strategic leaders since it
helps them to understand the company better and prepare for the worse scenario
if that ever happens. It also helps you build up on your hope for the coming
year since the marketing efforts can be assessed and we can plan how we could
change and do things differently the next year around (Luke,2013). It also you
to have a new outlook for the future with renewed efforts and new opportunities
to attain (Luke,2013).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Nunn, L., & McGuire, B. (2010). The
importance of a good business plan. Journal of Business & Economics
Research, 8(2), 95.

Kokemuller, N. (2016). Purposes of a marketing
plan. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/purposes-marketing-plan-61663.ht on 12/04/2017

Westwood, J. (2002). The Marketing Plan: A
Step-by-step Guide. Kogan Page
Publishers.

Baker, M. (2008). The Strategic Marketing Plan Audit.

Getscher, Alexis (2017). Six actionable steps
to build a strategic marketing plan at your organization. Retrieved from https://www.bizible.com/blog/strategic-marketing-plan on
12/04/2017

Goi, C. (2009). A review of marketing mix: 4Ps
or more? International Journal of
Marketing Studies, 1(1), 1

Figure 1 Source – Gantt Chart Diagram, retrieved
from http://www.advsofteng.com/doc/cdpydoc/gantt.htm on
12/04/2017

Gantt Chart Definition retrieved from www.gantt.com on 12/04/2017

Figure 2 Source – Marketing Plan template,
retrieved from www.siriusdecisions.com on 12/04/2017

Hose, C. (2002). Kinds of marketing plans.
Retrieved from www.smallbusiness.chron.com on 12/04/2017

Bowen, J. (2002). Benefits of marketing plan. UNLC Gaming Research & Review Journal, 6(2) Pg. 73

Luke, K. (2013). 5 steps to a new marketing plan. Journal of Financial Planning, 26 (12), Pg. 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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