Marketing Plan

A marketing strategy is a fundamental component of any business plan.  Even the most revolutionary new product cannot be successfully rolled out without some concept of the external market environment.  Frequently technology developed in research labs is assumed to have commercial value simply because it has unique qualities.  Although this is often sufficient to warrant continued research funding it may not translate into a commercial product.  This process is often referred to as a solution in search of a problem; the technology precedes the market need.  This is not necessarily a negative sign; many very successful products have been introduced into markets that have not previously registered any interest in such a product.  However, it is always a good idea to be able to anticipate the reaction of the market to the product and be able to explain the strategy to potential investors.

marketing

The above figure shows a general outline for a marketing plan. This plan can be generated for a product, company or other suitable planning unit.

The Situation Analysis is composed of the market description and characteristics, size estimates and growth projections. Breaking down the market into segments; segmentation, will aid in focusing the strategy. Analysis of the competitive environment is included here as well.

The Target Markets are those segments of the market that are seen as focus of the sales effort. Management will select these markets on the basis of maximum value provided to the customer. This component will describe the target market, its size, growth rate and end-users' characteristics.

The Positioning Strategy will indicate how management wants its target market to perceive its brand. This section will include specific strategies for products, distribution, price and promotion. Product strategy will be linked to Product Development and Promotion is included within Marketing Communications.

The Market Plan should also include a budget for resources and activities to implement the plan. Additionally the forecast will include estimates as to the effect the plan will have on revenues and profits thereby making a business case for the plan.

Each portion of the plan should be tied to a specific objective, a concrete objective that can be validated. There may be specific objectives for different products or target markets depending on the degree of detail that is needed. Major objectives may be broken down into smaller metrics so that progress towards the objective can be measured.