Marketing Plan Advantages
The biggest advantage of a marketing plan is building a bridge between the vision of the organization and the marketing and sales of products and services. At the strategic (upper management) level, organizations have a mission and vision. This mission and vision must translate from the executive team to all internal and external stakeholders. This is called alignment, or having all stakeholders (along with the organization) on the same page. Marketing plans are particularly useful in aligning the vision with the brand, and ensuring that what is communicated to potential customers is accurate and meaningful to the core target market.
Provides Market Data
Marketing plans are largely research based, at least in the earlier stages of development. In order to build a marketing plan that matches the needs of the market, the organization will invest in accumulating research and data on the behaviors, needs, opportunities, and threats of the external market environment. Useful frameworks to look into for this are the PESTEL framework, SWOT analysis, and Porter’s Five Forces. It is also critical to conduct a competitive analysis in order to understand the organization’s position relative to key competitors.
This requires investment in market research. Market research should be both quantitative and qualitative, matching the capabilities of the organization with the opportunities offered in the market. Building a ‘fit’ between the organization and the market requires understanding both through research.
Helps Brand Building
With a strong research-oriented understanding of the market, and alignment across the organization in terms of vision and mission, the organization can now build a brand that represents the vision while addressing core needs in the market. Through associating the organization’s competitive advantages with a given need in the marketplace, the organization can begin building a brand within a target market(s).
In nearly all contexts, planning is a great tool for avoiding risks. The simplest way to avoid making a mistake is considering all potential options, weighing the opportunity costs, and selecting the option with the lowest risk and/or the highest return (the optimal risk/return ratio). Marketing plans enable the research required to consider the risks and returns of various segments, equipping the organization with the knowledge to mitigate risk and capture opportunities.