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The 5 Elements of Effective Marketing Planning

Group of people brainstorming together
Credit: Blue Planet Studio / stock.adobe.com

The quality of marketing planning often determines the success or failure of a product; sometimes, even, the future of a company. To give your marketing plan a solid foundation, we recommend that you give due consideration to the following five building components:

  1. Analysis
  2. Goals
  3. Strategy
  4. Implementation
  5. Review

1. Strategic Analysis

At the core of the strategic analysis is the existing scenario in which the company, product or service is operating. Key issues that must be dealt with comprehensively are:

  • Market analysis: What is the market potential of the product or service?
  • Customer analysis: What is the target group(s) in question, and what is their buying behavior?
  • Competitor analysis: What competitors are operating on the market and how do they operate?
  • Competitive advantages: What makes your offer stand out from others? What is your unique selling point/unique value proposition?

2. Setting Goals

What goals do you wish to achieve as a company or with your offering? Here we distinguish between:

  • Financial goals: goals easily measurable with “hard” data, e.g. sales growth, market share or return
  • Goals relating to your market and customers: goals that are difficult to measure using data, e.g. customer satisfaction, capacity for innovation, the organization’s customer orientation, employee engagement and satisfaction, winning new customers or corporate image

Do not rely on financial goals alone, since in most cases, there is a delayed reaction to worsening figures. Goals relating to your market and customers (e.g. decreasing customer satisfaction) are often early indicators of a change.

3. Choosing a Strategy

A strategy describes the way you will achieve the goals you have already set and develops a competitive advantage. Porter’s competition matrix defines three basic strategies:

  • Differentiation through quality and service
  • Cost leadership by gaining a price advantage
  • Specialization in niche markets not previously served

4. Strategy Implementation (marketing mix)

Strategy implementation is the most costly step in the marketing planning process and often requires considerable human resources. The four cornerstones of a marketing mix are:

  • Product policy
  • Pricing policy
  • Distribution policy
  • Communications policy

The previously determined marketing budget is then split up between these instruments. The goal is to achieve the strategy as efficiently and successfully as possible.

5. Performance Review

The vital “last” step in a marketing plan is performance review, which checks the extent to which the marketing instruments are helping to achieve the goals set:
  • Shortcomings in the implementation can be detected early.
  • Teams’ performance can be checked and optimized
  • In the case of deviations from the set profitability ratios for products, markets, segments, customers, distribution channels, etc., counter-measures can be taken or the marketing mix adjusted accordingly
All of this is obviously of key importance – in theory. But what should a marketing plan for your company look like in practice? While many companies still resort to spreadsheet software such as Excel, there are now many specialized software solutions that do the job. In our article from the “Marketing Planning” series, we take a closer look at the most important criteria to consider when selecting marketing software.

Author

Peter Ramsenthaler

Peter Ramsenthaler

When working for a global brand back in the 90s, Peter realized that spreadsheet overload and inefficient processes were holding back the marketing team. That’s when he decided to build a martech platform that gives businesses back control and allows marketers to bring great ideas to life.