A marketing plan is a very important element of the marketing management process. This article defines the meaning of marketing management and the importance of a marketing plan in it.
A marketing plan is an important part of the overall marketing management of any business. A marketing plan helps in shaping the direction of the company and its marketers. That is why a better marketing plan leads to better results.
Marketing Planning Definition
Philip Kotler defines it as “Marketing plans are developed for individual products, lines, brands, channels, or customer groups. The marketing plan is one of the most important outputs of the marketing process”.
According to Winchester “An effective marketing plan defines how and why the company is in business, what markets are good targets for its products, and how customers should be pursued. With a marketing plan in place, a company uses the plan to measure how effectively corporate goals have been met”.
Elements of Marketing Plan
The marketing plan is often a complex and diverse document that examines many areas. For most plans, the key elements of marketing plan found in the document include:
- Organizational Mission
- Executive Summary and Table of Contents
- Situation Analysis
- Marketing Strategy
- Marketing Strategy
- Financial Projections
- Implementation Control
Represents the guiding force of an organization by identifying the long-run vision for what the organization hopes to achieve. The mission comes from the top leaders of the organization and often remains unchanged for many years.
Executive Summary and Table of Contents
The marketing plan should open with a summary of the main goals and recommendations. A table of contents outlines the rest of the plan and all the supporting and operational details.
This section presents relevant background data on sales, costs, the market, competitors, and various forces in the macroenvironment. All this information is used to carry out a SWOT analysis.
Achieving objectives requires the marketer to engage in marketing decision-making which indicates where resources (e.g., marketing funds) will be directed. However, before spending begins on individual marketing decisions (e.g., where to advertise) the marketer needs to establish a general plan of action that summarizes what will be done to reach the stated objectives.
Here, the product manager defines the mission and marketing, and financial objectives. The manager also defines those managers then establishes the product lines’ competitive positioning which will inform the game plan to accomplish the plan’s objectives.
Financial projections include a sales forecast, an expense forecast, and a break-even analysis on the revenue side, the projections show the forecasted sales volume by month and product category. On the expense side, the projections show the expected costs of marketing.
This section outlines the controls for monitoring and adjusting the implementation of the plan. Typically the goals and budgets are spelled out for each month or quarter so management can review each period’s result and take corrective actions as needed.
Characteristics of Marketing Plan
Following are the characteristics of the market plan:
- A good marketing plan should communicate to every member what is desired of each member so that they have some level of goal clarity, understanding of assumptions that lie behind the goals and the context of each activity and decision.
- Since in most of the organizations planning is a mutually agreed-upon activity, a good marketing plan should also stimulate individual and group commitment.
- An effective marketing plan provides you with objective information to confidently make decisions. This includes research that identifies the consumer need for your product or service, customer demographic characteristics, the competition from which they are buying, the places they are buying and the prices they are willing to pay.
- Different organizations follow different kinds of planning approaches. Organizations where top management sets both the goals and plans for the lower management follows a top-down approach.
- In democratic and participative organizations, there is a bottom-up approach in which each unit in the organization creates its own goals and plans, which are then approved by the top management.
- The third approach is to have goals down-plans up approach. In this approach the top management sets the goal but various business units create their own plans to meet these goals.
- A good marketing plan would include a section on identifying, comparing and recommending distribution strategies.
Let us now discuss the components of a marketing plan.
It is the reason for which a company exists. A mission statement is a direct statement that shows why a company is in business, provides basic guidelines for further planning, and organizes broad parameters for the future.
Most of the useful mission statements encourage staff and customers.
Objectives are the set of goals to be achieved within a specified timeframe. Corporate objectives are essential goals the company as a whole wish to achieve within a given timeframe such as one or five years.
Marketing audit helps in examining and evaluating the marketing strategies, activities, problems, goals, and results.
It is done to check all the aspects of business directly linked to the marketing department. It is done not only at the initial stage of the marketing planning process but also at a series of points during the execution of the plan.
The information collected through the marketing audit process is used for the development of a SWOT Analysis. It is an analysis of the company’s marketing efforts and its strengths, weaknesses, options, and warnings related to marketing functions.
A good marketing plan depends on in-depth customer understanding and knowledge. However, it is not possible to know everything about the customer, and many different things are assumed about the customer. Example: Assumptions of who the target buyers might be.
Marketing Objectives and Strategies
After identification of options and challenges, the next step is to develop marketing objectives that mark the end state to achieve.
Marketing strategies are formed to achieve the marketing goals and objectives. They are formed to determine how to achieve those target points.
Forecast the Expected Results
Marketing managers have to predict the expected results. They have to project the future numbers, features, and trends in the target market.
Without proper forecasting, the marketing plan could have impractical goals or fall short of what is promised to deliver.
Create Alternative Plan
An alternate or substitute marketing plan is created and kept ready to be executed in the place of the primary marketing plan if the whole or some part of the primary marketing plan is dropped.
The marketing budget is the process of documenting the desired costs of the proposed marketing plan.
One common method is to allocate the marketing budget depending on the percentage of revenue. Other methods are a comparative method, all you can afford, and the task method.
Implementation and Evaluation
At this stage, the marketing team is all set to put their plans into action. This may include spending money on advertising, launching new products, interacting with potential new customers, opening new retail outlets, etc.
A marketing planning process is required to be verified and updated regularly.
Importance of Marketing Plan
We can summarize the importance of marketing planning in the following manner:
- It helps in avoiding future uncertainties.
- It helps in management by objectives.
- It helps in achieving objectives.
- It helps in coordination and communication among the departments.
- It helps in control.
- It helps the customers in getting complete satisfaction.
HUL has gone into strategic partnerships with technology companies for such targeted market development. In this direction, the company’s salespersons will be expected to carry hand-held devices in which all details of Kirana stores will be there of the areas they operate in.
HUL has also launched initiatives like ‘go to market’ and ‘Bushfire’ so that the company can ensure reaching its products to seven million outlets instead of selling the product in just 2,000 modern trade stores.
What is Marketing Management?
Marketing management is the process of developing strategies and planning for the business such as advertisement, promotions, sales, etc. Marketing management is also an art and science. it helps in choosing the right target markets and audiences
Functions of Marketing Management
Combination Of Marketing And Management
Marketing management is a combination of management and marketing. Because marketing helps to acquire new customers and management helps to retain old customers in the business.
Marketing management is a business process. Marketing management decisions are knowledge-based decisions. Because when the manager takes this decision it affects sales of the products directly. So, the manager needs logical terms to take decisions.
Marketing is the combination of activities designed to produce profit through ascertaining, creating, stimulating, and satisfying the needs of a selected market.
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Importance of Marketing Management
- Analysing Market Opportunities, marketing management helps to Analysing Market, it collects the data from the market which helps it to Analyse new Market Opportunities.
- Creation of Customer, Marketing management helps in creation of new customers. When the company supplies its customers interested products it helps to create new customers.
- It helps to Increase the production of existing products and Reduce the cost of sales and distribution.
- It helps to increase per capita income and creates more demand of goods by the consumers.
Scope of Marketing Management
- Marketing management helps to analyze the market. Marketing research helps to identify the needs, wants and preferences of the targeted customer.
- Marketing management helps to achieve the marketing objectives of the company. It helps to achieve the predetermined goals. Marketing management main aim is to maximise the customer’s satisfaction.
- Pricing is one of the complex function of marketing management. Pricing determines whether the customer will buy the product or not. So, the company needs to decide the suitable price for its products and services.
- After setting up pricing and distributions network, the Evaluation work starts. It helps to identify the effectiveness of marketing plans and actions.
Without a marketing plan, you might as well walk into a dark room without any light. You could see but there would be nothing to guide you. There are some elements of marketing that are there to help people make informed decisions when they approach your business. All these elements are connected and you will realize how important a written marketing plan is when you look at all of them together.
It is possible to develop a successful company without a marketing strategy, but it will take far longer. It’s no surprise that the world’s most successful organizations have a defined strategy, plan, budget, and resource allocation for each of the parts that are critical to the effective implementation of their marketing strategy.