The Marketing Plan is often a complex and diverse document that examines many areas. For most plans the key components found in the document include:
- Purpose and Mission Statement – This provides an explanation as to why the Marketing Plan is being prepared. In most cases, this section of the plan will also include a short discussion of the organization mission, which represents the long-run vision for what the organization hopes to be. The mission comes from the top leaders of the organization and often remains unchanged for many years.
- Marketing Objectives – Reflects what the organization expects to achieve with its marketing efforts. As with the mission, objectives also flow from the top of the organization down to the marketing department. Objectives can be in the form of financial goals (i.e., profits) or marketing goals (e.g., achieve certain level of market share).
- Marketing Strategy – Achieving objectives requires the marketer engage in marketing decision-making, which indicates where resources (e.g., marketing funds) will be directed. However, before spending begins on individual marketing decisions (e.g., where to advertise), the marketer needs to establish a general plan of action that summarizes what will be done to reach the stated objectives.
- Tactical Marketing Programs – Marketing strategy sets the stage for specific actions that take place. Marketing tactics are the day-to-day activities that marketers undertake and involve the major marketing decision areas. As would be expected, this is the key area of the Marketing Plan since it explains exactly what will be done to reach the organization’s objectives.
- Forecasts and Budget – The marketing budget lays out the spending requirements needed to carry out marketing tactics. While the marketing department may request a certain level of funding they feel is required, in the end it is upper-management that will have final say on how much financial support will be offered. In most cases, such requests must be justified with the marketer developing forecasts that may include estimates of sales volume, number of customer visits, level of product awareness, coupon usage rates, and many others.
- Implementation and Analysis – This section identifies how and by whom the tactical programs are carried out. In many cases, a timeline is presented showing when tasks will occur and who will be responsible. Additionally, it shows how and when success will be measured.
For more detailed discussion of each of these components see the How to Write a Marketing Plan Tutorial.