Developing an effective marketing plan is an important part of any good company business plan. A marketing plan takes the decisions that were made in Identifying the Target Market, How to Reach them, Marketing Campaigns, Marketing Strategy and Marketing Objectives and formulates them into a detailed plan including the dates they will be executed, costs incurred and projected results. The marketing plan then will become part of the company business plan. Marketing and business plans can span various periods of time such as 1, 3 and 5 years. Detailed one year marketing and business plans should always be formulated before the start of each year and should include impacts on expenses and sales by month.
Develop the Schedule
The most important part of the marketing plan is the schedule. The schedule establishes when events will occur, when expenses will be incurred and when anticipated results will be recognized. Any particular marketing program will have different factors that will determine these things. For example a trade show or auto show will require a number of things leading up to the actual event such as paying for your spot or booth, signage, etc. The actual event may include travel expenses. And there may be an impact on sales at the event as well as after. Lead times for all items must be considered and added to the schedule for the plan.
Include the Costs of Marketing Programs
It is essential that all costs that will be incurred as part of each particular marketing program are identified and added to the plan. The projected costs must be as accurate as possible but often they must be developed using estimates. The time period in which the cost will be incurred should be identified as accurately as possible. Then each expense item should be posted to the marketing plan in the month in which it will occur. Expenses could be onetime costs or they may be recurring.
Projecting the Results of Marketing Programs
The projected return on invested marketing capital is the reason for developing and executing marketing programs. So sales generated by the marketing effort and the period in which they will occur should be identified and added to the marketing plan. Projecting sales that result from marketing programs can be based on different kinds of information. Basing these figures on historical data is one option if the marketing program or a similar one has been employed in the past. However if the marketing program is something new and there is no historical data from the business to utilize then industry averages can be a good source for the projections. General averages that span all businesses will not be as reliable as information that is specific to the Tire and Auto Repair business. Also geographic and seasonal factors should be taken into consideration if possible. This can be one of the areas where association memberships and social networking can be very helpful.
Finalizing the Plan
The marketing plan is tightly linked to the overall business plan as both impact each other. So some knowledge of the current status and future plans of the business is necessary to completing the marketing plan. Finalizing the plan involves evaluating the impact of costs and sales projections for the marketing programs to be employed and adjusting the numbers to be in line with the sales and gross profit expectations of the business. When the marketing plan is refined to the point that it best supports the business plan it will be complete.