Marketing plans are detailed strategies of how to go about successfully marketing a product or products and earning a projected amount of return from the effort. A comprehensive marketing plan will consider such important elements as distribution costs, production costs, advertising expenses and any expense related to identifying and marketing the products to the consumers in the targeted markets. The marketing plan may focus on strategies related to the upcoming twelve-month period, the next calendar year, or include a span of three to five years into the future.
While this is not always the case, companies tend to develop a marketing plan by calling upon the services of a marketing specialist. Marketing specialists may be associated with the public relations firm hired by the company to build a viable advertising campaign, or be an employee of the company. In both scenarios, the specialist will work with others within the corporate structure to develop a plan that efficiently attracts advertisers and consumers alike, while earning the greatest degree of return possible within the time frame of the marketing plan.
A truly solid marketing plan goes beyond defining broad goals. Often, the plan is highly detailed by moving past broad objectives to identify specific goals that are met all through the life of the marketing plan. Along with setting these specific goals, an escalation list or a list of action items is also spelled out for each goal. This helps the marketer to not only know what the goal happens to be, but also how to go about achieving the goal.
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The development of a proper marketing plan involves information collected from several different sources. Opinions of advertisers on the product line are very important. Corporate executives provide information involving the manufacturing process and costs associated with creating the products. Marketing executives identify consumers who are most likely to buy the product, define the characteristics that apply to this consumer base, and how the product line will meet their current needs and wants.
While there are templates available for marketing plans, it is usually difficult to simply fill in the blanks of a form and come up with a workable plan. However, these guidelines and templates can help lay the foundation for a plan that is specifically geared to the products that will be marketed and to the consumers who will purchase the products. The creation of a viable marketing plan is not a task that is accomplished overnight, even for a small business. Generally, at least three to six months is needed to work out the details that will lead to the formation of a marketing plan that has a good chance for success.