The marketing planning process involves conducting an analysis, establishing objectives, setting budgets and writing the plan. Businesses need to conduct thorough market research in order to begin the marketing planning process. This information can then be used in an analysis to discover its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, known as a SWOT analysis. By looking at the position of the business internally and externally, the goals and objectives of the marketing plan can be determined. Financial projections and budgets should be created for each objective to determine if they are feasible, and if so, the marketing plan can be formalized.
Conducting a SWOT analysis is one of the first steps of the marketing planning process. By looking internally at the business’s strengths and weaknesses, it can build a marketing plan that is centered on its individual position. The opportunities and threats are external conditions that the business must be aware of in order to create a competitive advantage and understand potential problems. The business should not overlook its weaknesses, but figure out ways to overcome them within the marketing plan.
Establishing objectives and goals based on the SWOT analysis stage of the marketing planning process will provide the business with direction for its overall plan. These objectives should be specific, attainable and measurable. The more specific it is, the easier it will be for employees to follow and know if they are on target. For instance, if the objective is to increase website traffic by 75%, then marketers will have a clear understanding of what is expected from them and a specific goal to attain.
Creating financial projections and budget stages of the marketing planning process can help marketers understand if their objections and goals can be pursued. Marketers must make sure that the resources are available for each objective, as well as have numbers available to prove that using these resources will be a profitable investment. During this process, input should be gathered from several departments to verify that there are enough human resources to handle the effects of implementing the marketing plan. For instance, marketers should discuss with the IT department if it will be able to handle the additional workload if there is a significant increase in traffic or if new features must be added to the website.
Writing the marketing plan is the last phase of the process. The marketing plan starts with the business’s mission statement and objectives, marketing research and SWOT analysis. The next section should include the marketing objectives and strategies, financial projections and budget. The plan should also include strategies to overcome any weaknesses and threats, plus realistic numbers to back any claims or predictions.