Authentic marketing is not the art of selling what you make but knowing what to make. It is the art of identifying and understanding customer needs and creating solutions that deliver satisfaction to customers, profits to the company and benefits for the stakeholders.
A marketing plan is simply the route to the success of a product. As William Randolph Hearst wisely stated, “If you make a product good enough, even though you live in the depths of the forest the public will make a path to your door, says the philosopher. But if you want the public in sufficient numbers, you would better construct a highway.
The foundation of a well-written marketing plan is a solid marketing strategy. Before you begin to construct a marketing plan, in accordance with a template, allow your creative juices to fill a flip file with thoughts and ideas of how you can market your product in a unique way. This can range from photographs, to words, images or something that you just find interesting or inspiring. Once you have gathered your thoughts, carefully choose and order your ideas. The next step is to take these creative ideas and merge them with the business environment. This is done through compiling a marketing plan.
Below I have provided you with a marketing plan template, with each aspect explained in detail to ensure you will be well on your way to creating your highway.
This page includes:
The name of the business
The name of the document i.e. Marketing Plan
The date of preparation
Name, address and contact number of the person who prepared the plan
2. TABLE OF CONTENTS WITH PAGE NUMBERS
Briefly describe the product or service. Emphasize unique or innovative features.
4. SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS
Description of your total potential market (your potential customers)
Discuss how your product/service satisfies the needs of this market
Describe the particular customers you will target
Estimate, through factual data, the size of the total potential market and your target market
Estimate, through factual data, the growth potential of these two markets. Consider local, national and international markets
Consider your potential market share
The competitive environment:
Identify your major competitors: name, location, and market share
Compare your product/service with that of your major competitors (brand name, quality, image, price, etc.)
Compare your company with that of your major competitors (reputation, size, distribution channels, location, etc.)
Consider how easy is it for new competition to enter this market
Conclude what you have learned from watching your competition
Research if competitors’ sales are increasing, decreasing or are steady and consider why
The technological environment:
Consider if technology will affect your product/service
Assess when the product/service will be expected to become obsolete
Consider if your company is equipped to adapt quickly to changes
The socio-political environment:
Describe changing attitudes and trends. Look at how flexible and responsive your firm can be
List new laws and regulations that may affect your business as well as consider the financial impact
5. PROBLEMS AND OPPORTUNITIES
State each problem and opportunity and discuss how you will approach them
State objectives in precise, quantifiable terms. (e.g. “To obtain a sales volume of3000 units by the end of the fiscal year.”)
Discuss in detail how you will reach your objectives. When discussing this remember to take into account your problems and opportunities as well as the potential reactions of your competitors
8. ACTION PLAN
Discuss how will you implement the above strategy
The product or service quality, branding, packaging, modification, location etc.
When pricing, how you will price your product/service so that it will be competitive, yet profitable
Servicing of product
9. FINANCIAL DATA
Consider sales projections for the next five years (optimistic, pessimistic, realistic)
Compile a breakeven analysis
Compile a monthly cash flow for the first year
Lastly “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read” – Leo Bernett.