Just like when you set off on a new exciting journey by car, in order for you to know where your business needs to go, you need a roadmap… That’s why you create a business plan with clear business goals and strategies.
Your business goals are the specific financial targets and the milestones you hope to achieve with your business over the next 12 months to 3 years, even 5 years. They thrash out your business as a whole …your mission, vision and values that drive you forward, and cover such business challenges like your overall revenue targets and value, your product range, the precise markets and number of customers, and where your revenue will come from.
Your marketing plan should also include clear marketing goals. However, these are not the same as your business goals.
Your marketing goals and strategies are a subset of your business goals. Which means your business strategies become your marketing goals as to how you focus on your range of existing and new products and services to align these with your business plan goals with the aim to sell these products to your existing and future market opportunities… Which is where the groups of customers exist to take up your purchase offers.
Subsequently, marketing goals are not random, but planned acts of specific activities to achieve your higher-level business’ product and market strategies …your chosen products in your selected customer markets.
What this means is that your marketing goals will guide and focus you on how you actually undertake and get results to reach your overall financial business targets through your product and market choices available.
This is where you consider the following four options. Firstly, market penetration within your current customer markets. Secondly, market development into new groups of customers. Thirdly, new product development. And fourthly how you diversify into new markets with newly developed products.
In a nutshell, a good marketing plan helps you better achieve your business goals. It puts all of your ideal product and market parts together so that you can implement your plan more easily. And it ensures that your efforts will be as rewarding as possible and your money spent in the best way possible.
Which means your marketing plan is an essential part of your overall business plan because it focuses on every aspect of your business’s interaction with your customers to maximise your marketing efforts and make the most of your precious resources.
What’s more, while marketing planning is an important ongoing process your marketing plan is the actual output and includes everything from analyses of your market, the internal workings of your business, and your products …to the actual marketing strategies and tactical action programmes that will help you reach your business financial goals.
The 5 key elements of a marketing plan are:
Market Analysis – This is a detailed analysis of your market, your customers, your competitors, and other external local, national and international factors which will affect your business such as government legislation, the economy, trade, etc.
- Marketing Goals – A definition of your marketing goals …in terms of the financial targets you want to achieve based on your chosen products and markets and how they add up to your overall business financial goals.
- Marketing Mix – Your marketing strategies which dictate your detailed tactical action programmes that you will implementation to realise your goals.
- Marketing Budget – A budget for your marketing expenses to implement your marketing action plan.
- Marketing Control – A process for monitoring, evaluating, measuring and reviewing your marketing plan in the context of your overall financial business targets.
In summary, a marketing plan puts together and presents all of the important data and information you need to make decisions regarding your business’s marketing …the activities focused on delivering your customer’s needs and wants, which is the core of any business’s success.
In effect, the marketing aspect of your business supports and helps you to deliver, review, monitor and control your overall business plan in your market segments i.e. your groups of customers with whom you are aiming to supply the right products and services to.