I am writing this the morning after the night before! And no, unfortunately,
the night before was not a “blast” but, was in fact, spent talking
marketing until 4.00 in the morning! How sad is that? I really must get a
Rather bizarrely, most of the discussion, debate, racontre or downright
argument was spent talking about the strategic marketing plan.
Why did the strategic marketing plan become such a bone of
contention … because he hasn’t got one and I said he should have!
Allow me to explain.
I will not reveal his identity, but it is suffice to say that he runs a small
retail business which he has taken over from his family. In doing so, my
mate allowed a “settling in” period which enabled him to acquaint himself
fully with the business side of things i.e. accounts, suppliers, staffing,
banking arrangements, insurance cover etc. All audited in a through and
precise manner. So far, so good …
However, a review of stock levels and a period of cautious purchasing
revealed that there were a number of stock lines that were not moving
and a great deal of concern was voiced about the direction in which the
business needed to go.
Now this is where we began to argue.
It is my opinion that at this stage in the business cycle a full strategic
marketing plan would have proved extremely useful. But it did not
happen. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the micro/small businessman all
too often avoids strategic plans.
Why do I regard marketing plans to be so important?
1. As Dwight D Eisenhower said - “its not the plan that is important,
it is the planning” – the process of conducting market research in
order to develop a focussed targeted approach to a businesses
future is intuitive by nature and carried out well can only help in the
process of making informed business decisions. 2. Because they force the business to think ahead, enabling longer
term planning to replace fire fighting. 3. If a third party can be used to develop a marketing plan, their
objectivity can prove enlightening.
4. And finally, whilst planning for the future of a business can be
costly, not planning ahead can be far more costly in the long term
– leading to poor advertising, incorrect ordering, uncompetitive
pricing etc .
Typical headings for a marketing plan should include:
? Internal Audit – strengths and weaknesses of the
company and/or its products.
? External Audit – a look at political legal economical
technological environmental and social influences on
the company and/or its market place
? Market research – national, regional and local
? Setting Marketing Objectives, such as, who is the
primary target market - do you want to sell more to
existing customers or find new customers
? Marketing Strategies
i. Product – what products to stock
ii. Price - how much to charge and why
iii. Place – where to sell (retail/wholesale/on-line)
iv. Promotion – direct marketing, advertise, PR
v. People – how do they represent the company
vi. Process – from packaging to stock control,
vii. Physical Evidence – the ‘face’ of the business
viii. Protection – trade mark, licence, copyright
? Action Planning – the who does what
? Evaluation and Control – measuring the success of the