Marketing is a matchmaking process that takes your products or service and find people who actually need them. Marketing is a win-win proposition, when done correctly and ethically. It takes a little planning, and that's where the marketing plan comes in.

The marketing plan takes marketing a step further. It is a written document, resulting from a planning and thought process that outlines exactly what you are going to do to create and maintain those good customer relationships. A good plan includes prioritized objectives, quantifiable goals, lists strategies, and has a budget.

Why should you write a marketing plan for your company?

The planning process provides value all on its own.

Most of us know the gist of maintaining good client relationships. We know that we should provide good service and a quality product. We know how to be nice to our clients, so do we really need to write a marketing plan? The simple answer is yes. The planning process has a lot of value because it identifies your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and it creates commitment, goals, a budget, and an implementation plan.

The process helps identify

1. Strengths

2. Weaknesses

3. Opportunities

4. Threats

The process creates

1. Commitment

2. Budget

3. Quantifiable & prioritized goals

4. An implementation plan

Ten reasons to go through the planning process and write an actual document

1. Commitment: It solidifies your commitment to marketing. Writing the document adds to that commitment.

2. Goals:It helps you clarify your goals into quantifiable, prioritized, and meaningful company objectives.

3. Organization: It forces you to use an organized approach to marketing. Part of the final marketing plan is an implementation plan that you can use as a to-do list and assignment sheet.

4. Budget: It gives you a budget, which takes away the fear of not knowing.

5. Strengths: The process helps you figure out your strengths.

6. Weaknesses: It helps you figure out your weaknesses.

7. Opportunities: It helps you figure out potential opportunities that might not have occurred to you before.

8. Threats: It helps you figure out potential threats. Any threat you can prepare for is less of a threat.

9. Assumptions: It makes you aware of your basic assumptions.

10. Resources: If you need resources, a marketing plan can help you get them. The final document shows that you and your company are serious.