Writing a marketing plan   The marketing plan is a vital part of any business, whether its small, medium, or a multi-national corporation. A marketing plan, if written, researched and planned correctly will allow you to give your marketing team a starting point from which to work their plan of action from.   A marketing plan not only gives to a starting point, but also allows you to chart your success and progress according to how you planned it out in the initial stages. You will also be able to keep your eye on the ball with a well structured marketing plan, as it is sometimes difficult to remember the parts of your plan that are not directly linked to day to day operations; with a proper, documented plan, you can reflect on it at any time.   There are a few things to keep in mind before you start writing a marketing plan, and even so, you should give yourself a few months at least to get it done, or you will find yourself rushing the job and will be at risk of dropping the ball at key moments.   Firstly, remember that creating this plan will mean that your marketing team will, first and foremost, have to take a look at the internal structures of your marketing campaign to identify strengths and weaknesses. They will also need to evaluate the market that your company works in to identify trends in the market that you could capitalize on.   Once you have done your research and are able to begin the process of writing the plan, begin with a clear and concise mission statement. This statement should be able to describe in two or three paragraphs what your company does, how it interacts with clients and which markets you serve or plan to serve in future.   Next, you will be compiling the bulk of your marketing plan, which includes detailed explanations of your target markets, products, your offered services, as well as your detailed marketing plan – the one that you plan to implement through your various channels.   You will also have to provide a thorough understanding of your competition, and come up with effective ways of keeping your company one step ahead of theirs. This step must show that you have an understanding on some level of your opposition’s business processes, customer base, product line, etc.   The last step of your initial write up will be the setting of your objectives. You will need to set goals for your marketing team that are both realistic (since they will need to achieve these goals within a set amount of time) and quantifiable (because you will need to be able to measure the progress by some means, for example, financially or by business growth percentages).   Written By Wesley Geyer Creative Writer for ATKA SA