By Laura Patterson
even think of waging a battle or producing marketing materials without
a marketing plan example," advises Jay Conrad Levinson, president of
Guerilla Marketing, International.
businesspeople know intuitively that successful marketing requires an
effective marketing plan example, a blueprint for action. In the past
few years, however, many companies were too caught up in day-to-day
activities and living out the drama of the moment to focus on
That won't work anymore in today's sobered economy. As resources in
companies tighten, a marketing plan is required to prioritize and
select the best opportunities. Moreover, an effective plan can
positively impact the bottom line. Research shows that companies with
a marketing plan example experience a 24 to 30 percent improvement in sales
over those without.
A marketing plan example does not need to be elaborate or overly complex, but
it must be relevant and actionable. Below are five areas companies
should explore and address when planning.
One: Market Research
In order for marketers to do their job of creating and keeping
customers, they must conduct research to understand their markets and
the shifts in the marketplace. Through research and evaluation of
their products or services, companies learn what customers value most
and what barriers exist to marketing their offerings. This knowledge
guides decision-making and can reduce the number of projects to be
undertaken and increase the usefulness of those that are done.
It is important to view market research as an investment, not an
expense. Even on a small budget, companies can search on the Internet
and in libraries, purchase reports, and conduct focus groups and
electronic surveys. It is also crucial to conduct research regularly
and periodically, as markets change very rapidly in today's dynamic
A defensible market position and clear value proposition form the
foundation beneath the creation of a marketing plan. Marketing
initiatives within the plan should be anchored to the company's
positioning to create a consistent dialogue with the customer.
Using market research, companies can better understand what their
customers value about the company and its offerings. This information
can guide how to position the company, locating a defensible position
in the market and owning that space in the mind of the customer. They
must also make sure that the company's pricing and offerings are
aligned with the value perceived with the customer.
Three: Strategies and Tactics
Moving a company from a stage of awareness to one of consideration
takes a sound marketing strategy designed to drive demand and
influence purchasing behavior. According to famed business strategist
Michael Porter, a strategy "creates a company's position, making
trade-offs and forging fit among activities." Marketing strategies are
often formed around selling existing products in existing markets,
extending existing products to new markets, or introducing new
products to new markets.
Strategies often include the expected results; they provide the "how"
and the direction for the course of action. With clear strategies in
place, a logical set of tactical operations and actions follow. It is
from these tactics, that the timelines, resources, and budget for the
marketing plan example are derived.
Metrics are an essential part of any marketing plan example, providing a means
to assess progress. By constantly measuring actual performance against
the metrics, companies can determine if they are meeting the
objectives of the plan and whether an adjustment is required.
Like market research, metrics must be taken periodically as markets
change in order to remain effective. Metrics tend to reveal more
information when taken regularly over a long period of time, showing
which initiatives are most successful and efficient. This can rally
support for the plan, as metrics demonstrate accountability and
provide evidence for undertaking certain marketing projects.
Five: Business Plan Alignment
Most importantly, the marketing plan must be in synch with the
company's business plan. Marketing goals must be prioritized against
the company's business goals. Marketing strategies should be based on
how the company can best provide value. Demand generation tactics must
be aligned with the sales pipeline and the goals of the sales
organization. Some people create their marketing plan in a vacuum and
are surprised when they find little support and success in their plan.
A Marketing Plan Checklist
With knowledge in these five areas, the marketing plan should come
together easily. The checklist below will help round out the marketing
plan and ensure its completeness.
Does the marketing plan address: