A marketing plan is a corporate document that is written for the function of knowing the position of the company and the strategies which that business has to put down to be successful and remain relevant in the competitive market (Muske et al.,2015).McDonald and Wilson (2011) define a marketing plan as a document that sets out an organizations strategy to make money. The marketing plan is composed of different parts that set out numerous aspects of a firms stratagem to be successful. These plans usually have a life from a period of one to five years. What lie at the center of the marketing plan is the customer and the strategies to make a profit through customer attraction. It focuses on the companys intimate and close attention of the clients and identifies that satisfying the consumers is the base of a business. Its role is to create a strategy for the success with an emphasis on the customers.
What objectives should a marketing plan accomplish?
The marketing plan has four primary goals to achieve. The first objective is to determine wants and needs of the customers through market research. According to McDonald and Wilson (2011) the marketing plan should answer who buys the service or the products and where they live. Through research, a marketing plan should know the income levels of the customers in the market and the age patterns. By answering those questions, the needs and wants of the consumer can directly be evaluated.
The second objective is to pinpoint the specific target markets the small company will serve. The most efficacious companies have well-defined representations of the customers they seek to entice. Target markets are the clusters of customers at whom the organizations aim its services or goods. According to Westwood (2013), pinpointing the target market gives greater marketing competence. This is because the mass marketing method of the past is perilous and expensive. The marketing process can then reach targeted group that has the uppermost propensity to buy. A study carried by Palmer (2012) revealed that the general market is not prolific for the small companies hence the marketing plan should clearly outline that market that will favor the small organizations.
The third objective of a marketing plan is to analyze the firms competitive advantages and build a marketing strategy. According to Palmer (2012), to progress, a firm should locate its competitive edge to beat its competitors. A company should have at least one advantage over its competitors to help it successfully compete in the market. Such benefits may include valuable resources such as the reputation of the brand, unique products, higher profit margin, and the culture of the company. These competitive advantages can be achieved through external changes such PEST or within the company.
The last objective of the marketing plan is to create a marketing mix that meets customer needs and wants. The marketing mix involves the price, place, promotion, and price. These 4Ps are paramount in making sure decisions and strategies. According to Westwood (2013), a marketing strategy may not include all the 4p's and5'c. However, a good marketing strategy will consider the effects on all of them to make critical decisions.
How can market research benefit a small business owner? List some possible sources of market information
Market research is an operative method to learn about prospective customers, their, habits, opinions, trends, and their plans. The research is very imperative for a small company since it is used to determine the geographic area of the business and demographic physiognomies of its consumers such as age, income, gender and the educational level (Muske et al.,2015). Market research is significant for the growing firm since it is used to identify the difference between the wrong and the right decisions that affect sales of an organization. It also reveals unfilled needs proposed marketing plans and recognize the competition's weaknesses and strengths since the business cannot prosper with poor decisions. For the small businesses, market research involves recording information, asking questions, and taking the time to learn from such information. Market research cultivates information base to approximate sales, create the strategy of the market, and decide on how to enter the market (Muske et al.,2015). One of the approaches to market research is to compare competitors' weaknesses; the customer wants and needs as well as the consumers demographics. For instance, a broad customer base of twofold income folks with unrestricted income may exist. If this type of customer base is ignored, competitors' weaknesses are turned into business strength by increasing store hours weekends and evening.
Some possible sources of market information
McDonald, M., & Wilson, H. (2011). Marketing plans: How to prepare them, how to use them. John Wiley & Sons.
Muske, G., Hancock, C., Reimers-Hild, C., & Dye, A. (2015). Marketing and Your Small Business: A Guide for Small Business Owners.
Palmer, A. (2012). Introduction to marketing: theory and practice. Oxford University Press.
Westwood, J. (2013). How to write a marketing plan. Kogan Page Publishers.
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