A marketing plan is usually part of a larger, comprehensive business plan or general business strategy of a company, firm or organization. For a marketing plan to be successful and viable, the company needs to establish and devise a good marketing strategy and set some marketing objectives. In establishing their marketing activities, a company has to focus on the products or services they are offering and opt for a marketing concept which will focus on production, product, selling or marketing orientation, or all of the above. The marketing plan must also contain market research, surveys on customers to find out what they like, what they are most likely to buy and what type of promotion they are more inclined to respond to.
It is of course true that each company must come up with a marketing plan that is molded on the type of product or service they are offering. Therefore, when a company’s top management sets up a business plan, a strategic mission and objective for their firm, the marketing planning must be done according to these general regulations. This is valid for all the departments in a firm and they too must devise their plans by following the general objectives. Moreover, having a good marketing plan is especially important for big scale business ideas, because the risks are higher, the investments must be higher, and usually a lot more people are involved. Not everyone can set up a good marketing plan, and what it usually takes, besides studies in the field, is a lot of experience, and an intuition for business. Whether you’re working for big scale business ideas or small businesses, you have to pay attention to every detail, and everything must be accounted for.
Generally, a marketing plan will deal with strategy and tactics and most companies and organizations devise their strategic planning once a year, though in some cases they may choose to plan for two or three years ahead, more or less strictly. For a two-year planning or three-year planning, a more approximate strategy may be devised, so that it can be adapted to unforeseen situations and market fluctuations. The goals and objectives of a company will be influenced by the general corporate aim of the company but, contrary to general belief, they will not only be directed towards the customer, but towards the employees as well, offering them incentives such as percentage pay and others to motivate them towards achieving the general goals of the marketing plan.
A good and comprehensive marketing plan should contain and take into consideration the following aspects: financial data (brought in by the accounting and finance departments), product data (from the research and development departments), sales and distribution data, information from the advertising and merchandising departments and market data resulted from the company’s own market research, gathered from product-specific or customer-specific surveys, depending on the marketing concept that the company adheres to.