In the age of market economy, marketing plan has emerged as a major substitute to the standard and traditional tools of budgeting and forecasting in business management. This essay is aimed at discussing the various aspects of and issues related to marketing plan. …
This essay is aimed at discussing the various aspects of and issues related to marketing plan. In this context, first the role and nature of a marketing plan is discussed. Next, the structure of a standard marketing plan is explained. After that, there are the sections in which elements of marketing plan are elaborated sequentially. The links between marketing plan elements are discussed in the following section. In the section of assumptions, there is a discussion related to the common misconceptions regarding the marketing plan as a whole. Reputable journal, text, and Internet based sources have been used throughout the paper. Role and Nature of Marketing Plan What is a Marketing Plan? A marketing plan is used in backend and management operations. It is aimed at the potential consumers and also the public at large. The complete plan is kept like a guiding document for personnel involved in advertising, sales, and marketing. Marketing plans contain the results obtained by research, which help in identifying tactics and strategies for communicating with the consumers. Hence, it must have an ethical but persuasive orientation. (Solomon et al, 2012; Kang et al, 2002) What is the relationship between a Marketing Plan and a Business Plan? Marketing and business plans have a significant number of elements and subsections in common. In drafting the overall strategic plan, both marketing and business plans may lead to common or overlapping implications. Business plans cover market analyses and marketing research in the context of the whole business including the fiscal affairs. Nevertheless, there are certain differences between a marketing plan and a business plan. Differences between a Marketing Plan and a Business Plan Marketing Plan Business Plan The plan is intended for the potential customers and general public. It is implemented by the personnel involved in sales, advertising, distribution and promotion. (Solomon et al, 2012) Potential investors are shown a business plan as a first step to help them decide whether or not to invest. According to Mason and Stark (2004, p. 227), “Bankers stress the financial aspects of the proposal and give little emphasis to market, entrepreneur or other issues.” Marketing plan has a customer or consumer oriented persuasive approach (Cravens et al, 2009) Business plan has a financier or investor oriented persuasive approach (Chen et al, 2009) The planner must concentrate more on preparing milestone charts, sales forecasts, marketing research, etc. (Wood, 2011) The planner must refer to the marketing plan but adequately cover the financial information and other details related to the organization. It must be used along with the business plan to draft the strategic plan Business planning is precondition to strategic planning Helps in the processes like “product line asset development” (Kang et al, 2002, p. 203) Helps in a variety of processes such as management accounting, cash flows, preparing financial statements, etc. Table – 1: Marketing Plan versus Business Plan What are Marketing Plans used for? The marketing plan includes various kinds of analyses to determine marketing strategies like pricing, distribution, and perks that are to be rewarded to the salespeople and retailers who generate better sales for the company. Further, strategic incentives are provided on the basis of market plans. These incentives include different types of offerings, special packages, free gifts, etc. to retain the existing clients and/or attract new clients particularly for service-oriented businesses. In sum, a marketing plan is drafted for achieving sales & distribution targets, winning customers, achieving competitive advantage, ...
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