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Go-To-Market Strategies: Arriving at a Marketing Plan: Moving from Thinking to Doing

Most people make plans for special events like a weekend away, a party or a vacation.

Why, then, are many business people so uncomfortable planning for their products’ marketing?

How do you get beyond thinking of a plan as a four-letter word?

Writing a strategic marketing plan is critical because it provides your company with a guide to growing profits. It is very important that you do not see your marketing plan as just an academic exercise. Look at it as your plan for profitability, a guide for your employees, and your payback for work well done.

Don’t worry about the formalities of planning. You won’t need special software or a “killer” format. Use the back for a napkin or a paper bag if you must-just start putting your marketing plan in writing. What you learn about your company and put in writing during the planning process is the most valuable part of creating the document. Plus capturing all those ideas floating in your head and putting them on paper will help you organize your thinking.

To illustrate the contents of a marketing plan, the chart below compares the typical segments of a marketing plan with the activities necessary to organize a vacation. Everyone likes taking a vacation, and planning them is often part of the fun...the travel shows, brochures, and books, thinking of what you’d like to do and the way you’d like to get there and what you’d like to do when you are there. A marketing plan offers your company the same opportunity-where do you want to go, how will you get there, what do you need to do to reach your destination. The example should move you past “planning phobia” and get you started enjoying the profits that come from a well designed and executed marketing plan.

Market Plan Examples

Market Plan Examples
Background Information
  Description Example Vacation Example
Strengths What are the specific strengths of your company? Great customer service Good with directions
Weaknesses What are the weaknesses in your company? Lack of effective advertising Trip is expensive
Threats Are there competitive or environmental threats that can disrupt your company? Other companies with similar services Getting stung by a jelly fish
Opportunities Are there opportunities in your company? New audiences, changes in the market, etc. New places to see and people to meet
Market Segments     People who like exotic places
Target Markets     Trip partner
Marketing Goals
  Description Example Vacation Example
Goals What you would like to accomplish with your company. Increase revenues by 10%
Increase market share 7%
Going to the barrier reef with my partner for a relaxing time at a price within my budget
Strategies (How will you get to where you want to be?)
  Description Example Vacation Example
Product Development plans, packaging, brand names, line additions iPhone, iPhone 7s What town? What resort?
Pricing Value, Cost-Plus, Competitive, discount, payment schedules and terms Your product cost:\$45 VS. Competitor's product cost:\$44 How much will it cost? What's the price range?
Distribution Channels Direct, sales force, online, distributors, value-added resellers, catalogs, etc Retail stores like JcPenny's Which airline will you use? What is your schedule going to look like?
Promotion Design, package, brand/logo design, warranty, customer service/satisfaction process iPhone Apple symbol What message will generate excitement? How will you do this? With a video? A story?
Tactical Action Plan (What needs to be done, time lines, staffing, budgets)
  Description Example Vacation Example
Product Design, package, brand/logo design, warranty, customer service/satisfaction process ????? Reservations for airlines, hotel, activities, transportation, etc.
Pricing Schedule, payment terms, discounts Black Friday, Cyber Monday Bringing a debit card, making sure your credit card has no foreign transaction fees, etc.
Distribution Incentives, materials, sales tools, prospect lists "Buy One, Get The Second Free" Getting there: reservations, re-confirming reservations, arranging transportation
Promotion Type, quantity, time line, PR, trade shows list, direct mail production, online production "Exclusive offer for the month of October" Sharing content from the web, sending links to sites, watching travel videos with partners and leaving travel books around.


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