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Marketing Plan

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Definition: A marketing plan is a business document written for the purpose of describing the current market position of a business and its marketing strategy for the period covered by the marketing plan. Marketing plans usually have a life of from one to five years.

Purpose of a Marketing Plan

The purpose of creating a marketing plan is to clearly show what steps will be undertaken to achieve the business' marketing objectives.

While some small business owners include their marketing plan as part of their overall business plan, if a business owner follows the recommended SBA format, parts of the marketing plan will be included in the various areas of the business plan. As an alternative, the marketing plan may be attached in its entirety as an appendix to a business plan.

What's in a Marketing Plan?

A typical small business marketing plan might include a description of its competitors, the demand for the product or service, and the strengths and weaknesses from a market standpoint of both the business and its competitors.

Other elements usually contained in a marketing plan include:

  • Description of the product or service, including special features
  • Marketing budget, including the advertising and promotional plan
  • Description of the business location, including advantages and disadvantages for marketing
  • Pricing strategy
  • Market segmentation (specializing in specific niche markets or, if mass marketing, how marketing strategy might differ between different segments, such as age groups).

Keeping a Marketing Plan up to Date

Like a business plan, a marketing plan is an important document that needs to be updated on a regular basis. Even five year marketing plans should be revisited periodically - at least once each year - to address changes in market conditions, demand, pricing issues, etc.

Examples:
Because my business seemed to be struggling, I decided to go about creating a marketing plan. The process of researching and writing the document was a bit taxing, but in the end, I think my marketing plan will have a positive impact on my earnings this year.
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Brian Price, executive director of marketing
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