The net result of the marketing plan effort is to use your resources, time and money, most effectively and efficiently. By being more responsive to the market, assuring consistency of marketing materials and timing, and communicating better internally, your company becomes a well-oiled machine exceeding customer expectations. You market the right products, to well-suited market segments, with effective marketing materials and support from all corners of your organization. A marketing plan is your ticket to attaining your sales and profitability goals.

Sales Flow More Easily When You Respond to the Market
Of course, you should always have your eyes open for market changes. The marketing plan advantage, however, is that it requires you to take stock periodically of market place opportunities and threats along with your company’s strengths and weaknesses. This enables you to play to your strengths and market opportunities while minimizing your weaknesses and market threats.

For example, The Simple Phone Company offers mobile telephones with a limited feature set. As Mary, the Marketing Manager, creates her marketing plan, she notices that her competitors are introducing phones with an increased number of advanced applications. She realizes that due to their products’ lack of features, they cannot compete head on. However, her review of trends reveals an older population, ages 65+, is starting to purchase cell phones in growing numbers. This group tends not to be as techno savvy the younger generation. Mary has uncovered an opportunity to target older people by promoting simple, easy-to-use phones with large, friendly keys. She is able to transform a possible weakness into product benefit by targeting a well-matched market segment. This shows how upfront planning can better focus your marketing efforts and help spur your sales.

Marketing Messages Create Greater Impact When They are Consistent

Your marketing plan specifies your marketing initiatives’ timing and message, assuring consistency.

• Planning assures consistent timing
If you plan to send a monthly e-newsletter, you can choose topics at the beginning of the year and start working on them immediately to assure a consistent schedule that doesn’t get backed up during the busiest periods. Those who receive the e-newsletter start to anticipate it and develop a relationship with your organization.

• Consistent messages result from planning
The marketing plan spells out your positioning and message for use on all materials. Mary uses the message: “Easy-to-Use Mobile Phones for Mature Adults.” By staying consistent in message, you are more likely to increase your brand awareness, a necessary precursor to sales.

Communication assures Smooth Operations
In well-run companies marketing is often the central hub. The marketing plan is created in the marketing department in consultation with other departments. This maximizes its effectiveness. For example, sales people have valuable input on how to gain product placement in the distribution channels. Engineering may have ideas about how to build the trade show booth. Fully using internal resources is important because it produces the best plan and fosters buy-in.

Once the plan is completed, marketing managers communicate it to all departments that play a role in supporting the plan. For example, Mary communicated her plan with customer service, sales, manufacturing, accounting and more to assure they were ready to support the trade show launch of the new mobile phone. The sales and customer service managers were able to schedule training and plan sales calls in advance. Accounting was able to anticipate cash flow issues related to the load-in promotions. The manufacturing manager was able to scale up production. As this example shows, using the marketing plan as a communication tool enables the smooth operation of a company.

Plan for Success–Create a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan that assures market responsiveness, consistent messaging and internal communication can be the difference between a company that simply survives and one that thrives. Create one, execute it well and move onto the path to success and profitability.

Written by Carolyn Frith of Carolyn Frith Marketing in Phoenixville, PA.

Carolyn Frith Marketing helps with everything from the big picture of marketing strategy and planning to the details of creating persuasive marketing materials.

So, if you’re working too hard and your marketing materials are hardly working, get help. No need to add more work to your jam-packed, not-a-minute-to-spare days. No need to stress over learning a completely new skill. Put over 25 years of marketing experience to work or you.