How to Make a Marketing Plan

Marketing plans can vary in size and some of the largest companies on the planet will have plans that are quite detailed. There are no extremely right or wrong ways to make a marketing plan, as long as it is created in a professional manner.

Also the plan does not have to be completed in one sitting. Take as long as you need. Some companies might have taken months to make the appropriate marketing plan when they first got started. However, it does not really matter the length of time it takes to make it, but rather what are the essential components you would like to put inside of it.

When you are writing your company’s marketing plan, the plan should be allowed to cover at least until the next projected sales year. This will give your company time to evaluate how effective the plan was and make any changes for the upcoming year. Therefore, aim to have your marketing plan compiled and ready for the start of the new fiscal year. This way any issues that need to be changed, can be done right at the beginning. As you modify your plan, you can allow it to become more advanced by inserting a section that outlines where the company would like to be within the next three to five years. What this does is sets a goal that the company can work towards.

Keep in mind that it is essential to have it readily accessible to all of the key decision-makers of the company. This can mean having it bound or placing it within a folder. Once you have made your plan, it is essential to review it to see if the company is sticking to the key objectives that were listed and outlined within the plan. It will also be essential to use it to monitor how well the sale of the product is happening.

Keep in mind that writing a marketing plan is one of the key elements of your company’s future and should not be taken lightly. This is considered one of the areas of “advanced” marketing. Therefore, when compiling your strategy, also consider the challenges that your company can face if there is a sharp turn in the economy. This information should be clearly outlined, so that everyone knows what and how the solution is to be done.

It is vital to remember that a company should spend some time in producing a marketing plan. Some companies only produce a business plan, but fail to look at the relationship between marketing and the success of the business. Even though the marketing plan is just one area of the business plan, it should not be overlooked. This is the plan that you make that will be used to see the goals within your business plan come reality.

Your Ticket to Greater Sales and Profitability – A Well-Written and Executed Marketing Plan

The net result of the marketing plan effort is to use your resources, time and money, most effectively and efficiently. By being more responsive to the market, assuring consistency of marketing materials and timing, and communicating better internally, your company becomes a well-oiled machine exceeding customer expectations. You market the right products, to well-suited market segments, with effective marketing materials and support from all corners of your organization. A marketing plan is your ticket to attaining your sales and profitability goals.

Sales Flow More Easily When You Respond to the Market
Of course, you should always have your eyes open for market changes. The marketing plan advantage, however, is that it requires you to take stock periodically of market place opportunities and threats along with your company’s strengths and weaknesses. This enables you to play to your strengths and market opportunities while minimizing your weaknesses and market threats.

For example, The Simple Phone Company offers mobile telephones with a limited feature set. As Mary, the Marketing Manager, creates her marketing plan, she notices that her competitors are introducing phones with an increased number of advanced applications. She realizes that due to their products’ lack of features, they cannot compete head on. However, her review of trends reveals an older population, ages 65+, is starting to purchase cell phones in growing numbers. This group tends not to be as techno savvy the younger generation. Mary has uncovered an opportunity to target older people by promoting simple, easy-to-use phones with large, friendly keys. She is able to transform a possible weakness into product benefit by targeting a well-matched market segment. This shows how upfront planning can better focus your marketing efforts and help spur your sales.

Marketing Messages Create Greater Impact When They are Consistent

Your marketing plan specifies your marketing initiatives’ timing and message, assuring consistency.

• Planning assures consistent timing
If you plan to send a monthly e-newsletter, you can choose topics at the beginning of the year and start working on them immediately to assure a consistent schedule that doesn’t get backed up during the busiest periods. Those who receive the e-newsletter start to anticipate it and develop a relationship with your organization.

• Consistent messages result from planning
The marketing plan spells out your positioning and message for use on all materials. Mary uses the message: “Easy-to-Use Mobile Phones for Mature Adults.” By staying consistent in message, you are more likely to increase your brand awareness, a necessary precursor to sales.

Communication assures Smooth Operations
In well-run companies marketing is often the central hub. The marketing plan is created in the marketing department in consultation with other departments. This maximizes its effectiveness. For example, sales people have valuable input on how to gain product placement in the distribution channels. Engineering may have ideas about how to build the trade show booth. Fully using internal resources is important because it produces the best plan and fosters buy-in.

Once the plan is completed, marketing managers communicate it to all departments that play a role in supporting the plan. For example, Mary communicated her plan with customer service, sales, manufacturing, accounting and more to assure they were ready to support the trade show launch of the new mobile phone. The sales and customer service managers were able to schedule training and plan sales calls in advance. Accounting was able to anticipate cash flow issues related to the load-in promotions. The manufacturing manager was able to scale up production. As this example shows, using the marketing plan as a communication tool enables the smooth operation of a company.

Plan for Success–Create a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan that assures market responsiveness, consistent messaging and internal communication can be the difference between a company that simply survives and one that thrives. Create one, execute it well and move onto the path to success and profitability.

The Essential Restaurant Marketing Plan

Why do you need a restaurant marketing plan? For the same reason that a builder needs blueprints to build a house. A goal without a plan is just a wish. Are you wishing for success or do you have a plan in place for success?

A comprehensive restaurant marketing plan should be created once a year, where you take the time to assess your current business condition, and make goals for the next 12 months to map out where you want the business to be a year from now. A complete plan contains an in-depth analysis of where you are, what the conditions are in the market, and identifies your opportunities for growth.

Many restaurant operators believe that a marketing plan is essentially an advertising calendar. “We’re scheduled to be on the radio this week, followed by a coupon mailer next week, then some TV ads plus a newspaper insert.” While an advertising and promotions calendar is useful and should be a part of your marketing plan, it is not the plan itself.

Following is an outline of the main sections of a marketing plan.

• Executive Summary: This is an overview of what’s to come, the “Cliffs Notes” version of your restaurant marketing plan. Consider this as the condensed elevator speech that summarizes what’s contained in the following pages. The Executive Summary should be written last, after all the other sections are completed.

• Situation Analysis: This section includes a Market Summary, presenting your Target Markets, Market Needs, Market Trends, and Market Growth. This is followed by a SWOT Analysis of your business, which looks at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to your restaurant business. Follow this up with a look at your competition, and your service offerings and keys to success.

• Marketing Strategy: Start this section with your Mission Statement, followed by your marketing objectives and goals for the coming year. This leads into a look at your Financial Objectives because marketing should be an investment that brings a return for the company. The next sub-sections deal with the nitty gritty of your marketing. Who are you targeting? How are you positioning your restaurant? What methods are you using to reach your target audience? Follow it up with any marketing research you may have available.

• Financials, Budgets, and Forecasts: This section provides an overview of the financial aspects of your restaurant as they relate to the marketing efforts, including break-even analysis, sales forecasts and expense forecasts.

• Controls: This final section breaks down how this plan is being put into action. Lay out the timeline of the important milestones for your marketing initiatives. This could include dates for planning, production, implementation, analyzing results, etc. plus budgeting information.

Creating a comprehensive restaurant marketing plan takes some time and effort, but you will enjoy many benefits by having a plan. You will have a better understanding of your business; it provides an opportunity to really think about where you currently are; and it helps identify what direction your company needs to go to really grow. The restaurant marketing plan is the roadmap to turn your goals into a reality.