For any business, having a strong marketing plan is crucial to long term success. Launching new products, promoting existing products, and building brand recognition are all important aspects of running a business that cannot be effectively managed without having a solid plan in place for marketing the product, service, or your business in general. Regardless of the details of the situation, having a well-thought-out marketing plan is critical, so perhaps the first question to ask is: what exactly does a marketing plan entail?

Creating a marketing plan for your business requires that you have a good idea of what that plan should be composed of. The first step in the process is knowing what the purpose of your marketing plan is. In broad terms, the marketing plan for a business is the strategies the business uses to get the word out about its products and services. There is usually a time frame involved, such as quarterly or yearly time frames. In addition, marketing plans generally include the business’ goals, expense budgets, and other relevant information.

The type of goals that a business might include in a marketing plan should be very specific, and be something that can be measured reliably in order to determine if the goal was successfully attained. A goal that is either nonspecific or difficult to measure is a goal that can never be met, since there is no way to reliably state that it has been done. In regards to expense budgets, it is important for a business to know how many funds can be devoted to marketing efforts, in order to avoid wasting money on marketing efforts that offer a low return on investment. Budgets are one of the most effective ways to provide a measurable way to compare different strategies and identify which ones are more efficient monetarily.

There are several components that are important to include in a marketing plan, some of which have been listed here as examples. Other important aspects of marketing plans include key performance indicators, or KPIs, the proposed target audience, and any known information regarding competitor’s marketing plans and strategies. For additional information and suggestions that can be used in creating marketing plans, check out this post for further reading.