A marketing plan is a document that describes the marketing situation of a company, the marketing objectives that will be sought, the marketing strategies that will achieve the objectives, and the action plans that will allow implementing the strategies.

Making a marketing plan allows us to plan marketing activities and, therefore, be more efficient in carrying them out, reduce uncertainty and minimize risk, it guides us to carry out and coordinate these activities, and helps us control and evaluate the results.

It is often thought that making a marketing plan is a complex task reserved only for large companies, but the truth is that it is a simple task that any entrepreneur or small business owner can perform whenever he knows the necessary steps.

In this article, we tell you what is a marketing plan, what is its importance, and how to make one step by step through the development of its parts. We also present a common structure and an example of a marketing plan that you can use as a model or reference to develop yours.

A marketing plan is a document in which the marketing planning of a company is written down.

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What is a marketing plan?

What is a marketing plan and how to make one? (includes structure and example)
What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a document that describes the marketing situation of a company, the marketing objectives that will be sought, the marketing strategies that will achieve the objectives, and the action plans that will allow implementing the strategies.

Unlike the business plan that covers all aspects of a company, the marketing plan only covers aspects related to marketing; however, considering that marketing has a close relationship with the environment of a company, and with other areas or departments of the company, its scope is still wide.

There is no standard structure or format that all companies have to use when making their marketing plans; rather, a company can use the structure or format that it deems most convenient according to its needs or the objectives it seeks to achieve with the plan.

However, a marketing plan usually has a structure or format with the following parts or sections:

  • The executive summary: in this part, a summary of the most important points of the other parts of the plan is made.
  • The marketing situation: this part provides information on various aspects related to the marketing of the company, such as the company, the product, and the target market.
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats: in this part, the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the company are indicated.
  • The marketing objectives: this part indicates the marketing objectives that will be sought.
  • Marketing strategies: this part indicates the marketing strategies that will be used to achieve the objectives.
  • The action plans: this part specifies the steps and other aspects necessary to implement the marketing strategies formulated.

Marketing plans are usually carried out annually or whenever they are considered necessary (for example, when a new product is going to be launched on the market, or it is sought to increase sales of the products that are already available), by marketers or marketing managers of the company.

Also, like any business plan, the marketing plan is not a static document, but a flexible document that can be modified or corrected if circumstances warrant, especially today where market changes are constant.

What is the importance of a marketing plan?

The main importance of a marketing plan is that it allows us to plan marketing objectives and strategies, and courses of action and, therefore, allows us to be more efficient in implementing the strategies, anticipating the facts, reducing uncertainty and minimizing the risk.

But in addition to being a planning instrument, the marketing plan is also an organizational instrument because it allows us to organize the tasks or activities necessary to implement the marketing strategies, the resources necessary to perform these tasks or activities, and the personnel in charge of making them.

It is also an instrument of coordination since it allows us to coordinate the tasks or activities necessary to implement the marketing strategies, the allocation of the necessary resources to perform these tasks or activities, and the functions of the personnel in charge of carrying them out.

And, finally, it is an instrument of control since it allows us to control the implementation of marketing strategies and the performance of the personnel in charge of performing the tasks or activities necessary for the implementation, and an evaluation instrument since it allows us to evaluate and compare the results obtained with the planned ones.

How to make a marketing plan?

It is often thought that making a marketing plan is a complex task reserved only for large companies, but the truth is that it is a simple task that any entrepreneur or small business owner can perform whenever he knows the necessary steps.

Let’s see below how to make a marketing plan step by step through the development of each of its parts or sections:

Remember that there is no standard structure or format for any marketing plan, but rather that a company can use the structure or format that it deems most convenient according to its needs or the objectives of its plan.

1# The executive summary

The first part or section of a marketing plan is the executive summary. This is a summary of the most important points of the other parts of the plan, so despite going to the beginning of this plan, it should be prepared after having developed the other parts.

The executive summary is usually made up of the following elements:

  • Description of the company.
  • Product description.
  • Description of the target market.
  • The main strengths and weaknesses detected.
  • Main opportunities and threats detected.
  • The main marketing objectives to be achieved.
  • Main marketing strategies that will be used to achieve the objectives.
  • Personnel responsible for the execution of the plan.
  • Budget required for the execution of the plan.

The objective of the executive summary is that the reader has a general and brief vision of the marketing plan, and can quickly know its most important points, so it must be effectively a summary and be written in a clear and concise language.

2# The marketing situation

After the executive summary, the next part or section of the marketing plan is the marketing situation. This provides information on various aspects related to the marketing of the company.

The marketing situation is usually made up of the following elements:

The company

At this point a review of the company is made; For example, it is indicated what is your name, what is your vision, your mission, and your values, what do you do, what is your participation in the market, what is your level of sales, what are your resources, what are your capabilities , what are your competitive advantages, etc.

The product

At this point a review of the product (or products) offered or will be offered by the company; for example, it is indicated in what it consists, how it works, what are its main characteristics or benefits, what are its differentiating characteristics (the characteristics that allow it or will allow it to be distinguished from competing products), etc.

The environment

At this point a review of the company’s environment is made; for example, the factors or forces of the environment that affect or could affect the company and that could mean an opportunity or a threat (for example, interest rates, government regulations, new technologies, etc.) are mentioned and analyzed.

The target market

This point indicates what the company’s target market is or will be (the set of consumers to whom the company directs or will direct its marketing efforts), and what are its main characteristics (for example, what are its needs, tastes, preferences, desires, consumption habits, buying behaviors, customs, attitudes, etc.).

Competition

At this point, it is indicated which are or will be the main competitors of the company, and what are its main characteristics (for example, what is its location, market share, sales volume, market experience, resources, capabilities, main strategies, competitive advantages, strengths, weaknesses, etc.).

3# Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

In this part or section, the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the company are indicated.

Identifying strengths and weaknesses allows us to have a basis on which to establish marketing objectives and strategies since the idea is to establish marketing objectives and strategies that allow strengthening strengths and neutralizing weaknesses.

Some examples of strengths are:

  • Excess working capital.
  • Strategically located sales points.
  • Good customer service.

Some examples of weaknesses are:

  • Bad location
  • Ineffective advertising.
  • Little innovation

Keep in mind that to detect strengths and weaknesses, it may be necessary to perform an internal analysis of the company.

While identifying opportunities and threats allows having a base on which to establish the objectives and marketing strategies, since the idea is to establish objectives and marketing strategies that allow taking advantage of the opportunities and deal with the threats.

Some examples of opportunities are:

  • Increase in Internet purchases.
  • New free trade agreements.
  • Financial problems of competition.

Some examples of threats are:

  • Market entry of new competitors.
  • Market entry of new substitute products.
  • Competition price reduction.

Keep in mind that to detect opportunities and threats, it may be necessary to carry out an external analysis of the company.

To perform a better analysis of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, a SWOT matrix is usually included at this point.

4# The marketing objectives

In this part or section, the marketing objectives to be achieved are indicated.

Marketing objectives are usually both general and specific.

The objectives of general marketing are generic objectives that are aligned with the goals and mission of the company.

Some examples of general marketing objectives are:

  • Be a leading company in the market.
  • Position the brand in the minds of consumers.
  • Be a company recognized for its quality in customer service.

While the specific marketing objectives are specific objectives expressed in terms of quantity and time, which allow achieving the general objectives.

Some examples of specific marketing objectives are:

  • Achieve a 15% market share at the end of the year.
  • Increase monthly sales by 20% for the second half.
  • Open 2 new stores for the first quarter of next year.

To establish the marketing objectives, resources and capacities, strengths, and weaknesses (objectives that allow strengthening strengths and neutralize weaknesses), and opportunities and threats (objectives that allow us to take advantage of opportunities and deal with them, should be taken into account to threats) of the company.

5# Marketing strategies

This part or section indicates the marketing strategies that will be used to achieve the proposed objectives.

Marketing strategies are usually classified into strategies for product, price, distribution, and promotion.

Some examples of marketing strategies for the product are:

  • Include new features or attributes to the product.
  • Launch a new product line.
  • Add new complementary services to the product.

Some examples of marketing strategies for the price are:

  • launch a new product at a low price to achieve rapid penetration.
  • Increase the price of the product to increase the feeling of quality.
  • Reduce prices below those of the competition to win the market.

Some examples of marketing strategies for distribution are:

  • Work with intermediary businesses to increase product coverage.
  • Use the Internet as a point of sale.
  • Increase the number of delivery vehicles.

Some examples of marketing strategies for promotion are:

  • Offer to purchase a second product at half price for the purchase of the first.
  • Post ads on classified ad sites on the Internet.
  • Give away advertising items such as pens, key chains or holsters that carry the company logo.

To formulate marketing strategies, resources and capacities, strengths and weaknesses (strategies that allow strengthening strengths and neutralize weaknesses), and opportunities and threats (strategies that allow seizing opportunities and coping with them, should be taken into account to threats) of the company.

6# The action plans

Finally, this part or section specifies the steps and other aspects necessary to implement or execute the marketing strategies formulated.

Action plans are usually made up of the following elements:

  • The tasks to be performed: the tasks, activities or actions that are going to be performed necessary to implement the marketing strategies.
  • The allocation of resources: the resources that will be used to perform the tasks and implement the marketing strategies, and how they will be distributed.
  • Those responsible: those responsible for carrying out tasks and implementing marketing strategies
  • The scheduling of tasks: the schedule with the start dates and deadlines for performing the tasks and implementing the marketing strategies.
  • The required budget: the budget required to perform the tasks and implement the marketing strategies; that is, to execute the marketing plan.

Action plans serve as a guide to implement or execute the marketing strategies, but also serve as an instrument of control and evaluation, since they allow us to verify that the tasks are being developed as specified and that they are being fulfilled in the deadlines agreed.

Structure of a Marketing Plan

Below is a summary of the structure of a marketing plan that we have previously used:

Executive summary

  • The description of the company.
  • The product description.
  • The description of the target market.
  • The main strengths and weaknesses.
  • The main opportunities and threats.
  • Main marketing objectives.
  • The main marketing strategies.
  • The work team.
  • The required budget.

The marketing situation

  • The company
  • The product
  • The environment
  • The target market
  • Competition

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • The opportunities and threats

Marketing objectives

  • The general marketing objectives
  • The specific marketing objectives

Marketing strategies

  • Marketing strategies for the product
  • The Marketing strategies for the price
  • Marketing strategies for distribution
  • Marketing strategies for promotion

Action plans

  • The tasks to be performed
  • The allocation of resources
  • The responsible
  • The scheduling of tasks
  • The required budget

Example of a marketing plan

The following is an example of a marketing plan of a fictitious company dedicated to the sale of clothing for young people, which is about to launch a new clothing brand to the market.

Remember that there is no standard structure or format that should be used for any marketing plan, but rather that a company can use the one that it deems most convenient according to its needs or the objectives of its plan.

The marketing situation

The company Abcde is a company dedicated to the sale of clothing for young people consisting of shirts, blouses, shirts, pants, and shorts, and that has attractive and differentiated models.

To design the garments the company will hire designers who are responsible for this task. for its preparation, it will send them to make external clothing workshops, and for sale, it will sell them through three clothing stores that it has, and an online store that will send to design.

The company is about to launch a new clothing brand to the market for the first time and, due to the increase in Internet purchases by young people, will focus its marketing efforts on promoting and selling its new brand through this medium.

The target market

The target market is made up of young people in an average age range of 16 to 30 years, who like to dress in attractive and differentiated clothing.

The main characteristics of the consumer that makes up the target market are the following:

  • Look for good quality clothes with fashionable and differentiated models.
  • Look for relatively cheap clothes.
  • Usually buys his clothes in clothing stores and department stores.
  • He usually spends time on the Internet, especially on social networks.
  • You are starting to buy online.

Competition

The main competitors of the company are companies A, B, and C.

The following table shows the main strengths and weaknesses that have been identified from these competitors:

Main strengthsMain weaknesses
Competitor AGarments of good quality.
Brand positioned in the minds of consumers.
Lack of ability to keep prices low.
Competitor BGood variety of models.
Good presence in social networks.
Few points of sales.
Competitor CAttractive and differentiated models.
Several points of sales.
Bad customer service

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

After having carried out an analysis of the company’s environment, and the resources and capabilities it has, the following strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats have been identified:

Strengths:

  • Experience in the sale of clothing: the company has been founded for a few years; However, the owners and workers of this have extensive experience in the sale of clothing.
  • Strategically located stores: the company has 3 strategically located clothing stores, which would facilitate the introduction to the market and the positioning of the new brand.

Weaknesses:

  • First, own brand: despite having extensive experience in the sale of clothing, the owners and workers of the company do not have much experience in introducing a new clothing brand to the market.
  • New brand in the market: being a new brand, it is not known in the market, unlike other brands that have a good recognition in this.
  • It does not have its clothing workshops: the company does not have its clothing workshops.

Opportunities:

  • Increase in Internet purchases by young people: Large companies are making for people to buy their products through the Internet, and the easy access that people now have to Credit cards, Internet purchases by young people is growing.
  • Unattractive and differentiated competition models: most competitors do not have attractive and differentiated models.

Threats:

  • Increase in the number of competitors: the number of companies dedicated to selling clothes for young people with their brand entering the market is increasing.
  • A high demand of the young public: young people today are quite demanding in terms of the quality of clothing; however, they are not willing to pay much for these.
  • The pressure to set low prices: due to the growing competition and the demand of the young public, the prices of clothing are getting lower and lower, thus reducing the profitability of the companies that sell them.

The following SWOT matrix shows a summary of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats:

StrengthsWeaknesses
Experience in the sale of clothing.
Stores strategically located.
First own brand.
New brand in the market.
It does not have its own clothing workshops.
Opportunities
Increase in Internet purchases by young people.
Unattractive and differentiated competition models.
Focus marketing efforts on promoting and selling the new brand on the Internet.Design good quality garments with attractive, fashionable and differentiated models.
Threats
Increase in the number of competitors.
High requirement of the youth audience.
The pressure to set low prices.
Take advantage of the stores you have to introduce and position the new brand.Use fabrics and other good quality supplies.
Work with clothing workshops recognized in the market.

Marketing objectives

Taking into account the resources and capabilities of the company, and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats detected, the following marketing objectives have been established:

General Marketing Objectives :

  • Position the brand in the minds of young people.
  • Being a clothing brand recognized for its good quality and attractive and differentiated models.
  • Have a broad presence on the Internet.

Specific marketing objectives :

  • Achieve a 5% market share in the first year.
  • sell 20,000 items of the new brand in the first year.
  • Have sales for the US $ 600,000 of the new brand in the second year.

Marketing Strategies

The marketing strategies that will be used to achieve the proposed marketing objectives are the following:

Strategies for the product:

  • For the design of the garments, designers with experience in the market and specialized in the design of clothing for young people will be hired.
  • For the manufacture of the garments, fabrics and other supplies of good quality will be used, and work will be carried out with clothing workshops recognized in the market.
  • Good quality garments that have attractive, fashionable and differentiated models will be designed and made.

Strategies for the price:

  • The introductory price of clothing will be the US $ 20, and then it will be increased to the US $ 30.
  • To encourage sales in the online store, during the first three months of being created, a 10% discount will be offered on all products, and free home delivery service will be provided for purchases over the US $ 50.

Promotion strategies:

  • To take advantage of the increase in Internet shopping by young people, an online store of attractive and professional appearance will be created through which the garments are also sold, and then promoted through the Google Ads advertising program.
  • To take advantage of the fact that young people usually spend time on Facebook, they will have active participation in this social network, which will include promoting some of the publications through the Facebook advertising program.
  • Advertising will be made in specialized magazines dedicated to young people, where differentiated models of garments will be highlighted.

Strategies for distribution:

  • To take advantage of the increase in Internet purchases by young people, in addition to selling clothing in clothing stores that the company owns, they will also be sold through an online store.
  • Eventually, they will also seek to sell the garments through intermediary businesses such as third-party clothing stores and department stores.

The Program of Activities

The new clothing brand will be launched in February next year. The program of the activities necessary to implement the marketing strategies, which will be carried out during the first 5 months of next year, is detailed below.

  • January: the new clothing will be designed and sent to the external clothing workshops, and the online store will be sent to a web design agency.
  • February: the new clothes will be exhibited in the clothing stores and the online store, and they will begin with the promotion of these through Facebook.
  • March: the online store will be advertised through the Google Ads advertising program.
  • April: it will seek to work with intermediary businesses such as third-party clothing stores and department stores through which the garments can also be sold.
  • May: he will publicize the clothes in magazines dedicated to young people, where different models of these will be highlighted.

Summary

A marketing plan is a document where the situation of a company’s marketing, marketing objectives, marketing strategies, and action plans to implement the strategies described.

In other words, a marketing plan is a document in which the marketing planning of a company is written down.

Making a marketing plan allows us to plan marketing activities and, therefore, be more efficient in carrying them out, reduce uncertainty and minimize risk, it guides us to carry out and coordinate these activities, and helps us control and evaluate the results.

Finally, there is no standard structure for any marketing plan, but usually, the parts of a marketing plan are the executive summary, the marketing situation, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the marketing objectives, the marketing strategies, and action plans.

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