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MARKETINGPLANS

The exact nature of your plan, and yourmarketing situation, dictates its contents. You addor subtract detail to suit your needs. However, thereare some absolutely essential standard componentsthat your plan ought to contain.The Essential Contents of aMarketing PlanEvery marketing plan has to fit the need andthe situation. Even so, there are standardcomponents you just can't do without. Amarketing plan should always have a situationanalysis, marketing strategy, sales forecast, andexpense budget.•Situation Analysis: Normally this willinclude a market analysis, a SWOT analysis(strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, andthreats), and a competitive analysis. Themarket analysis will include market forecast,segmentation, customer information, andmarket needs analysis.
Marketing Strategy: This shouldinclude at least a mission statement,objectives, and focused strategyincluding market segment focus andproduct positioning
Sales Forecast: This would includeenough detail to track sales monthby month and follow up on plan-vs.-actual analysis. Normally a plan willalso include specific sales by product,region, or market segment, bychannels, manager responsibilities,and other elements. The forecastalone is a bare minimum.
Expense Budget: This ought toinclude enough detail to trackexpenses month by month andfollow up on plan-vs.-actualanalysis. Normally a plan will alsoinclude specific sales tactics,programs by managementresponsibilities, promotion, andother elements. The expense budgetis also a bare minimum.

Are They Enough?These essentials are not the ideal,just the minimum. In most cases, you’llbegin a marketing plan with anExecutive Summary, and you'll alsofollow those essentials just describedwith a review of organizational impact,risks and contingencies, and pendingissues.

Include a Specific Action Plan
You should also remember thatplanning is about the results, not theplan itself. A marketing plan must bemeasured by the results it produces. Theimplementation of your plan is moreimportant than its brilliant ideas ormassive market research. You caninfluence implementation by building aplan full of specific, measurable, andconcrete plans that can be tracked andfollowed up. Plan-vs.-actual analysis iscritical to the eventual results, and youshould build it into your plan.
Marketing Plan Text Outline
In the real world you'll want tocustomize your plan’s text outlineaccording to whether you are sellingproducts or services, to businesses orindividual consumers, or you're anonprofit organization. Although theoutline does change in some respects asa result, the following sample outline isa good standard for a basic marketingplan. You can add detail or take it awayto suit your needs.

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