HOW TO CREATE A MARKETING PLAN - DEFINITION, STRUCTURE, RECOMMENDATIONS
WHAT IS MARKETING PLAN
Creating or developing a marketing plan is one of the main tasks for marketers or business owners. However, the concept of a marketing plan often varies in meaning among marketers and entrepreneurs. Some believe that a marketing plan can fit on a single page, while others lean towards a more extensive version spanning 10-15 pages. There are those who insist that a marketing plan should be the size of a doctoral dissertation. Opinions also differ regarding its content and essential elements. Some consider the marketing strategy itself to be the plan, while others argue that a marketing plan should include market positioning, and still others believe it should focus on specific actions within the marketing mix.
The truth is that marketing is not an exact science, and every perspective has the right to exist and the potential for success. A detailed 200-page marketing plan could lead to business failure, while a one-page plan could bring success, and vice versa. Nevertheless, we believe that a marketing plan and thorough work on it are the foundation for business success.
Formally, a marketing plan is a document that contains the main marketing objectives of a company, the strategy and the tools for achieving them, including a detailed breakdown of marketing activities for each element of the marketing mix over a defined period of time.
However, if we move away from formalism, the creation of a marketing plan is, in fact, the most important creative process that consists of three elements:
- The analytical part provides an understanding of which segments and target audiences deserve attention, the competitive situation in the market, the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, and whether the business has sufficient capabilities to compete successfully, among other factors.
- The creative part involves marketers determining the optimal marketing strategy from a range of possibilities. They create a brand platform from scratch or study current elements and their effectiveness. They position the brand using points of parity and differentiation, integrate secondary associations, and more.
- The planning part outlines the entire marketing mix according to the concepts of 4P, 8P, or 12P. It specifies the methods and tools for promoting the product in the market, as well as the timeframes and sequence of implementation.
It should be noted that in practice, these three elements are not used sequentially but often run in parallel, or it may be necessary to revisit previous stages for adjustments. In other words, marketers analyze, create, plan, then reassess, eliminate unnecessary aspects, add new elements, analyze again, and plan again. The process concludes when the marketer is completely satisfied and confident in the result. Understanding the nature of this process is crucial to maintain confidence in oneself, in the process itself, and in the outcome.
MARKETING PLAN STRUCTURE
Let us now examine the typical structure of a marketing plan and highlight its key elements and their significance. The structure of a marketing plan
is as follows:1. MARKETING STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT
1.1. Market analysis
, which involves describing the market in general terms; the market volume dynamics over the past 3-5 years; the market share of key market segments in B2C/B2B/B2G, sales channels, key product characteristics, target audiences, and price segments; major trends in technology and consumer needs; an overview of regulatory and other risks, such as potential changes in taxation and legislation.
1.2. Competitive environment analysis
, including the market structure in terms of the market share of key players; the structure of relevant segments in terms of players' shares; descriptions of the business models of major competitors in terms of sources of goods, target audiences, sales channels, communication channels, and pricing policies.
1.3. Evaluation of internal capabilities
, which involves describing the company's own business model in terms of sources of goods, target audiences, sales channels, communication channels, and pricing policies; the company's marketing budget for the year; the number of employees in the marketing department; the qualifications of employees regarding their knowledge of setting up marketing campaigns in digital environments, traditional media, outdoor advertising; knowledge in the areas of design and IT development; experience in working with subcontractors in marketing, advertising, design, and IT.
1.4. Development and evaluation of possible effective strategies
, including modeling a range of realistic strategies, eliminating strategies that involve intense competition, high costs, imbalances between subcontractors and own resources, and forming a shortlist of effective strategies.
1.5. Selection and formalization of the chosen strategy
, which involves selecting a strategy based on criteria such as realism, profitability, adaptability, and scalability, and formalizing the strategy by defining goals, resource base, and implementation timelines.
In practice, at this stage, marketers gather information about the market and key competitors, identify their own resource base, compare market realities and trends with their own resources, model several effective strategies, choose the most optimal one, and formalize the chosen marketing strategy. 2. BRANDING AND POSITIONING
2.1. Studying the target market
, which involves analyzing the positioning and value propositions of competitors, identifying points of parity and points of differentiation among competitors, and studying consumer perceptions of competitor offerings.
2.2. Creating a brand platform
, which includes describing consumer needs and attitudes towards the category, describing the functional and emotional attributes and advantages of the own product, modeling desired consumer perception, and modeling desired relationships between the brand and consumers.
2.3. Developing positioning
, which entails determining relevant points of parity and unique points of differentiation, identifying secondary associations suitable for accelerated positioning, developing the brand's value proposition, developing the brand's story and mission, developing recommendations and requirements for basic brand elements (name, domain, logo, slogan, packaging, etc.), and ensuring the integration of points of parity and differentiation into a cohesive positioning system.
At this stage, marketers have studied consumer needs and competitors' offerings, understood what is important to consumers, identified which attributes and advantages of their own product need to be communicated to them, and are ready to proceed with planning marketing programs in the form of an 8P marketing mix, i.e. planning methods and tools for communicating information.3. MARKETING MIX ACCORDING TO 8P CONCEPT
- Development of product strategy
- Development of distribution channel strategy
- Development of pricing strategy
- Development of communication channel strategy
- Development of human resource utilization strategies
- Development of partnership strategy
- Development of workflow strategy
- Development of performance monitoring tools
Regarding the development and planning of the marketing mix, we have discussed these processes in detail in the following articles:
We strongly recommend reading these articles for a comprehensive understanding of planning the marketing mix within the framework of creating a marketing plan.
QUESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
So, above we described an expanded structure of a marketing plan with its main elements. In conclusion, it should be noted that, as our practice shows, there is no ideal example of a marketing plan. In each case, there are so many factors present that make each case unique and impossible for simple copying.
The creation of a marketing plan is indeed a necessary and useful process for any business, allowing a better understanding of its own opportunities in relation to the market and developing an effective action plan that allows for systematic and responsible business development. Therefore, we recommend not neglecting the marketing plan and organizing its development and implementation. However, if for any reason there is no opportunity to dive into the process on your own, we recommend reaching out to our company for qualified and professional assistance.
Achieving the commercial goals of a company through effective marketing requires a deep understanding of the market situation, understanding consumer needs, the ability to analyze and find alternatives, and a creative approach to problem-solving. Our company has extensive experience in determining the optimal marketing strategy for the client's business, creating a powerful brand and market positioning, as well as developing a marketing mix for the implementation of the chosen strategy. You can familiarize yourself with the services and solutions our company offers on the "Services
" and "Solutions
" pages, respectively.