A marketing plan is a sub-set of the operational or business plan. It identifies how you will find out more about your customers' needs, how you will develop existing and new services to match their needs, and how you will let them know.
Essential elements of a marketing plan include:
- Service description - explain exactly what it is that you're marketing e.g. the organisation as a whole or a specific service?
- Situational analysis - briefly summarise the current situation e.g. why your community needs the service.
- Service analysis - are there any other groups offering the same or a similar service in your community? Is the service offered by the other group meeting the needs of your clients?
- Target market(s) - this is the core target (client) that your programmes are directed towards. It is more specific and usually identifies a particular client group, with specific needs e.g. who is mostly likely to be interested in using your service? What are their demographics e.g. age, gender, ethnicity etc?
- Marketing objectives - you specify what you want to achieve by using a marketing plan. These objectives should be measurable (with time-frames and specific outcomes) and be realistic.
- Marketing strategies - based on all the information you have gathered, what is the main strategic approach that you will take to achieve the marketing objectives?
- Pricing - will you charge for your service? If you do, will it be a flat rate or a sliding rate, dependent on income etc?
- Strategic alignments - what other organisations could you work with to help achieve your objectives?
- Promotional activities - detail the specific things you will do to implement the plan. Always keep in mind who your target audience is and how cost effective each media type (e.g. TV, newspapers etc) is in reaching that audience. It may be more cost effective to use local school and church newsletters or free local papers, as not everyone buys a newspaper.
- Budget - what is the total budget for the plan? Give details of how you plan to spend it.
- Performance measures - how will you measure your objectives and who will do the measuring? You may want to measure things such as customer satisfaction, service usage. Ways to measure these may include customer surveys etc.
(Adapted from Developing a Marketing Plan, Te Papa National Services).