There are many reasons companies should use structured marketing plans. One of the foremost reasons is so business owners can keep track of their marketing goals and objectives. Things you should consider when marketing include products, prices, distribution, promotions, competitors and customers. Marketing plans enable business owners to keep track of these essential elements and make adjustments to their marketing strategies as needed.
Staying Within Budget
Companies using structured marketing plans are more likely to spend their money wisely, according to the United States Small Business Administration. Marketers also can more easily stay within their spending limits with a structured marketing plan. There may also be times when a business owner is spending more in one area of his plan than another. For example, a consumer packaged-goods marketing department may be exceeding its budget in advertising toward the end of the fiscal year. The structured marketing plan may enable the marketing manager to cut back in another area, such as market research, to meet the budget.
Meeting Customer Needs
A company that allocates part of its budget to identifying and studying key customers is more likely to meet its needs. Business owners often allocate portions of their structured marketing plans to identifying certain characteristics about customers. For example, a company may use customer surveys to better study the ages, incomes and household sizes of its customers. Simultaneously, it may ask customers what new product features, flavors or sizes they want in the survey. The company can then adjust its product lines to better meet its customers' needs.
Monitoring the Competition
Marketers who use structured marketing plans can better monitor their competition. It is important for business owners to keep track of their market share versus that of key competitors. Market share is the percentage of sales a company controls out of total sales in the industry. Companies also must identify which companies are the market leaders. Additionally, marketers must know the strengths and weaknesses of key competitors to create various marketing strategies. Some companies institute SWOT analyses in their structured marketing plans, where they compare their own strengths and weakness to those of their competitors. That way they can use certain strengths to their advantage. For example, an electronics manufacturer may have strong distribution channels. It may use the distribution channels to further strengthen its position in the marketplace.
Measuring Advertising Impact
Marketing departments that use structured marketing plans are better able to measure the impact of their advertising. These marketers keep track of all the ads they run, studying which ones produce profits. They then eliminate the ads that aren't producing. Simultaneously, they may allocate more funds toward the more-effective media and ads.