The purpose of any plan is to document important information and decisions which can help to focus on the direction in which you aim to pursue. A marketing plan maps the steps a company must follow in order to achieve its business objectives and goals.
The planning stage gives a company the opportunity to review its current status versus its aspirations. By identifying gaps between where you are now and where you want to be, will make you question many aspects of the business and the market in which you are trying to compete.
The good old PESTLE analysis and SWOT analysis stand the tests of time, because they allow a company to review the most critical factors affecting the business. Even though we all believe we know our markets so well, there is always room to assess any changes, new influences and competitive dynamics, and understand how these may affect our company and what it is trying to achieve. (See our Top Tips http://www.vgandassociates.com/top-tips-swot-pestle/)
The marketing plan focuses the key stakeholders on the fundamentals of the business: the current proposition, positioning, product offerings, company methods and strategies, target markets and marketing activity, and then consider the need for ways to improve or change aspects which will in turn, endeavour to meet the company objectives.
It is vital for a marketing plan to contain specific and realistic objectives and controls. That way throughout the year, a company can measure its performance closely and adapt accordingly, without too much variation and deviation. All departments from sales to finance and operations to marketing, must feed into the review process of the marketing plan. This is crucial so that a. the plan maintains to be a living document and not just forgotten after the initial plan is agreed, and b. a company can stay on track to achieve the goals it agreed at the outset.
Even though a company may have to dedicate specific time for the key management to implement the initial plan, it will provide a clear direction and coordination for all functional areas. It will also help to assess current resources and re-allocate where necessary. And, by agreeing the priorities, goals and strategies, the marketing plan should help to motivate a team and give a benchmark for effectively measuring progress and success.
Go to http://www.vgandassociates.com/dont-look/ to download the VG&A Marketing Planning Brief Template.