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The Marketing Plan - Introduction

This chapter concentrates on understanding the fundamental principles of an effective marketing plan.  Marketing is generally considered to be an essential component of successful businesses, as even if an organisation has the best product or service available, unless customers know about it through marketing, they are not going to purchase it.  Chaston (2014) comments that it is a problem many new business start-ups make, in that they identify a gap in the market place for a new product but fail to market it properly.  When we say ‘properly’ we mean there is a difference between a scattergun approach to sharing information about a product across social media, and preparing a fully researched, targeted, and focused marketing plan and strategy.  This takes time and effort and involves many different parts but is inevitably worth the effort in the long term.

The chapter uses the SOSTAC framework for developing a marketing plan, which is an acronym for:

  • Situational analysis
  • Objectives
  • Strategy
  • Tactics
  • Action
  • Control

Within each of these stages in the plan there are a number of tools and processes which can be applied and adapted to help produce a bespoke marketing plan which will present a product or service in the best possible light to the desired target market place.  Using the example of a fictional organisation to demonstrate the process, this chapter offers step-by-step guidance on the fundamentals of a successful marketing plan.  However, it is vitally important to remember that although the SOSTAC framework can be used as a template, each and every time it will be necessary to conduct an up-to-date analysis of the current marketplace and the tools and resources available for marketing.

The chapter will now proceed to explaining the elements needed for a marketing plan to introduce a new, effective marketing strategy.