Strategic Marketing planning is one of the necessary steps in creating a successful business plan. Simply put, the marketing plan keeps those who wish to provide goods and services in touch with the interests and needs of those customers who are potential buyers. The process of developing and implementing a strategic method to identify potential consumer demand and to then satisfy that demand profitably is known as marketing planning. A successful plan involves extensive research, data analysis, a marketing strategy and regular re-evaluation.
We need to evaluate Macro-Environmental factors as well as Micro-Environmental factors. The first phase will be looking Market Analysis, Market Segmentation, and competitive environment (Porter Five Forces).
Looking inward at the strengths and weaknesses of specific market segments (SWOT Analysis), looking outward at the public interests (PESTLE), and recognizing the competition are necessary prerequisites to creating an effective marketing plan. Internal company files can reflect past successes and failures in product promotion, delivery and public appeal. Researchers will also look at the financial, operational and legal aspects of the business in terms of how each department can impact and support new marketing strategies. Interviewing or surveying current and potential customers will expose both the public perception of the company's achievement thus far and opinions about the demand for new or improved products or services. Trade publications are a third and valuable source of information about market needs and current competition.
From this gathered data, the company can analyse how well it is doing at present, its ability to bring a new product or service to market ( Ansoff Matrix) , the public demand for this new or improved offering, and the price at which a profit can be obtained. Demographics are created that will help pinpoint the target audience for each new offering. It is from this step that the company will decide whether to move forward or to delay action.
PLAN THE MARKETING MIX
This process decides which marketing activities will be implemented, looking at the Marketing Mix and at the Pricing Models. It is the strategy for bringing the product or service to the public in a manner that creates Sustainable Competitive Advantage. As specific marketing objectives are decided, a plan is created to achieve those goals in a timely fashion. Working backwards from the goals, planners set measurable tasks or actions, assign them to specific persons, and frame them within yearly, monthly and weekly calendar schedules. Earlier market analysis helped pinpoint the personalities and shopping habits of potential customers. Now, the company can create effective marketing materials and implement a plan to get its advertising information before the targeted audience. An effective strategy must present the product in such a manner that potential customers will not only be aware of it, but that they will demand it from this company because of its uniqueness, and they will be willing to pay for it.
Any successful marketing planning must include evaluation and Marketing Accountability. Businesses evolve and products or services may have limited life spans. Reviewing and revising as necessary keeps the company on track with its goals and objectives.
Marketing planning plays an important role in any business, but it is especially important for those starting a new venture. A commitment to understanding the processes of gathering information, analyzing data, creating an effective marketing mix and evaluating progress will be well worth the investment in terms of future sales and financial security. It will also demonstrate to potential investors that this company has done its homework and is positioned for success.