The Marketing Plan is the basic management tool that should be used by any market-oriented company that wants to be competitive. During its launching phase, the different actions that must be carried out in the marketing area must be established, in order to reach the desired objectives. This can not be considered as an isolated action within the company, but on the contrary, it must be fully coordinated with the rest of the departments in a coherent manner according to the the strategic plan, making the eventual adaptations when needed with regards to the general plan of the company. This gives a valid response to the needs and issues that might raise along the way.
In marketing, as in any other managerial activity, any action that is executed without proper planning entails at least a high risk of failure or extensive waste of resources and efforts. If an unplanned action eventually turns out to be a success, we should ask ourselves whether or not we would have achieved even more if we had operated under a plan. Trying to make a project succeed without using a marketing plan is like trying to pilot a plane in a dark night without a compass or a clear destination.
The marketing plan provides a clear vision of the final goal and what you want to achieve, while reporting in detail on your way to the achievement of the goal our situation and position, marking the milestones to be covered for its achievement. It allows us to calculate how long it will take to cover each stage, thus giving us a clear idea of the time we must spend in order to achieve it, what personnel we should devote to achieving the objectives and what economic resources we should employ.
Without a marketing plan we will never know how we have achieved the results of our company, and therefore, we will be exposed to market seizures.
We only have to analyze the strategies of the most successful companies in the world (or in any country), to understand that the marketing plan is one of the main assets in obtaining the results. But in addition, it brings to the company, from a marketing perspective, a current and future vision that will serve to mark its guidelines with the minimum error and the maximum guarantees.
More often than not, we hear that SMEs do not make marketing plans because they do not have a budget for it, but instead, they are investing in advertising; there is the common misconception in thinking that the marketing plan is something complex that only large corporations with large budgets can afford, but instead they (SMEs) rather invest in advertising campaigns, just because it’s what the competition does, without a genuine plan beforehand.
A marketing plan must be done because it allows us to mark a direction when making investments, knowing the point where we are and the objectives that we want to achieve with the resources we have.
But, on the other hand, this has to be subordinated to the strategic plan, which does not exist in many cases (again appealing to the usual “we are an SME and we do not have the means to make a strategic plan”, as if it required a super structure).
These are the reasons why any SME needs a Marketing Plan:
- At all times we operate with our eyes on a map in which we reflect the current situation.
- It is useful for management control.
- It links the different teams to jobs incorporated for the achievement of the objectives.
- It allows us to obtain and manage efficiently the resources for the realization of the plan.
- It stimulates analysis and better use of resources.
- It informs us correctly of our position and the competition’s.
- The future ceases to be a question of great dimensions and serious risk.
- Activities and outcomes can be controlled and evaluated according to the objectives.
- It facilitates progress towards the achievement of our goals.