The Marketing Plan
The Marketing Plan is part of the Annual Operating Plan (AOP) and lays out both the strategical and tactical plans for the company to meet its organizational and financial objectives. Included in the plan are the four Ps of the marketing mix (the controllables), contingencies for the uncontrollables (environment, competition, etc.), a detailed budget, and a timeline for achieving the objectives (often in the form of a Gantt chart). [For definitions of these terms view: Marketing Basics.]
I have seen several different types of marketing plans. Some were simple and included only a few pages, others were elaborate with four-color covers and hundreds of slick coated pages. However, regardless of the marketing plan format, all that ever matters is, “Will it work for you?”
The “Page Contents” on the left links to a sample plan, with budgets, outlines, and more, using a format that has worked for me. It should give you an idea of the type of material to cover within your own plan. The example covers a lot of ground but is still not comprehensive since a final plan would usually have more charts and graphs, a thorough treatment of the category life cycle, positioning, a contingency plan and, to ensure buy-in, and accompanying formal group presentation.
Also included is a Template that you may wish to cut, copy and paste into your word processor to help you outline your own plan.
Marketing Plan Topics (select to view content)
You may require additional funding to execute the marketing plan. This can be obtained by personal and private contributions, vendors (extending credit), bank loans, government agencies, investment from venture capital firms, alliance companies (i.e., Intel, Motorola, IBM, etc.), and angels (wealthy individuals like Paul Allen, Ray Norda, etc.), or by going public. Click here to learn more about these various options, to see typical expense ratios, for a budget spreadsheet, etc.
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