The paper 'Nature and the Characteristics of a Marketing Plan Tool " is a perfect example of marketing coursework. Contemporary business and market environments are characterized by cut-throat competition and changing social-cultural, economic, political, legal, environmental, technological and financial market forces that have necessitated modern organizations to be more keen and aware of their internal and external environments particularly when creating a suitable balance between the two (Fifield, 2012). Among ways that organizations learn and are conversant with their business and marketing environments is by regularly and continuously developing, implementing and evaluating their marketing plans in order to enhance their competitive advantage as noted by McDonald & Keegan (2002).
This report seeks to explore the nature and the characteristics of a marketing plan tool by analyzing in-depth the role, structure and the elements of a marketing plan. In addition, the report will evaluate the links that exist between marketing plan elements and the basic misconception that exists relating to a marketing plan. The role and nature of the marketing plan According to McDonald & Keegan, (2002), Marketing plans are marketing tools in the form of comprehensively written documents which establishes the direction and the plan of actions that an organization needs to take in order to accomplish their marketing aims, objectives and expectations.
A marketing plan acts as a point of reference for a firm’ s marketing activities, and it can be prepared for short term duration such as one year or for a longer-term such as three to five years (Westwood, 2002). Essentially, a marketing plan features the marketing budget, the firm’ s target market and more importantly outlining which is the most suitable, cost-effective, relevant and feasible media to use to create awareness, educate, inform and reach the chosen target market as supported by Fifield (2012).
Payne et al. (2011) argue that marketing plans offer a firm a broader and wider perspective and insights into the business and the industry within which it exists and provides a comprehensive outlook on creating targeted market strategies. Regardless of the size and type of an organization, developing a marketing plan is essential since it determines the success or failure of a marketing campaign (Ferell & Hartline, 2010).
This is because, a marketing plan brings into sharp focus what works for a particular organization and what does not; it defines the most suitable market to target and who not to target and offering direction on where, when and how to allocate resources and where, when and how not to (Lamb, et al. , 2008). According to Hamper & Baugh, (1980), it is fundamental that any marketing plan is not only clear in terms of what needs to be done and measurable in terms of the expected results in order to monitor performance but also, it needs to be focused, have achievable goals and more importantly, the marketing plan needs to be agreed upon by all stakeholders in order to ensure commitment from each stakeholder during the implementation stage. It is pertinent to note that marketing plans draw on the wider objectives and mission established in an organization’ s business plan.
Payne et al. (2011) indicates that the difference that exists between a marketing plan and a business plan is that the latter indicates ways in which an organization will convert a product idea into a proposition that is commercially feasible while the former seeks to focus on matters relating to the four Ps of a product or service.
The four Ps represents the Product, Price, Promotion and Place (McDonald & Keegan, 2002). Westwood, (2002) argue that business plans differ from marketing plans in that they do not entail action plans, which are a common feature in a basic marketing plan. Instead, a business plan primarily provides aims and directions (Hamper & Baugh, 1980).
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