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Marketing is about identifying and meeting human and social needs. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders. A marketing plan is the focus of all business projects because the plan will describe how to attract and retain customers. This is the most crucial aspect of a business. A well written marketing plan will help increase sales and profit margins. You have to be able to convince customers that you have the best product or service for them at the best possible price. If a marketing plan fails and customers are not convinced, then there is a waste of time and money.
There are many advantages in using a marketing plan as a tool for identifying and developing strategies. Identifying customer needs and wants and determining the demand for a product can help identify new and/or potential customers, analyze competitive advantages, and help in the design of products that fulfill consumer’s needs.
Disadvantages in using a marketing plan can identify the weaknesses in a marketer’s business skills, which can lead to faulty marketing decisions if data is not analyzed properly. Unrealistic financial projections can interpret the market plan incorrectly and identify weaknesses in a business plan.
A marketer’s task is to devise marketing activities and assemble fully integrated marketing programs that create, communicate, and deliver value for consumers. Marketing activities come in all forms. E. Jerome McCarthy classified these activities as marketing mix tools of four broad kinds, which he called the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion (Van Vliet).
The four P’s represent the sellers’ view of the marketing tools available for influencing buyers. The use of a marketing mix is an excellent way and a crucial tool to help understand what the product or service can offer and how to plan for a successful product offering. The marketing mix is most commonly executed through the 4 P’s of marketing: Price, Product, Promotion, and Place (Kotelnikov).
Price covers the actual amount the end user is expected to pay for a product. How a product is priced will directly affect how it sells. If a product is priced higher or lower than its perceived value, then it will not sell. If there is a positive customer value, then a product may be successfully priced higher than its objective monetary value. If a product has little value in the eyes of the consumer, then it may need to be underpriced to sell (Kotelnikov).
The product is either a tangible good or an intangible service that is seemed to meet a specific customer need or demand. The benefits offered by the product and all its features need to be understood and the unique selling proposition of the product need to be studied. In addition, the potential buyers of the product need to be identified and understood (Kotelnikov).
Promotions are the marketing communication strategies and techniques. These may include advertising, sales promotions, special offers and public relations. It is important to differentiate between marketing and promotion. Promotion is just the communication aspect of the entire marketing function (Kotelnikov).
Place has to do with how the product will be provided to the customer. Distribution is a key element of placement. The placement strategy will help assess what channel is the most suited to a product. How a product is accessed by the end user also needs to compliment the rest of the product strategy (Kotelnikov).
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