What are the components of a marketing plan?

Marketing should always begin with a thorough marketing plan, which allows you to evaluate the market potential for your products or services and develop strategies to meet that potential. A complete, written marketing plan contains seven main components:
1. Market research and analysis: The first component of a marketing plan allows you to gather pertinent information about the potential market for your product(s) and/or service(s), evaluate strengths and weaknesses, and identify a target audience.
2. Marketing and financial goals and objectives: This component of a marketing plan consists of defining your marketing and financial goals and objectives. The goals and objectives will help you focus and evaluate your marketing efforts.
3. Marketing mix: The marketing mix component of a marketing plan describes the specific strategies you will implement to reach your target audience, entice the target audience to spend their money, and create a desire in them to return to your enterprise. Strategies covering the 4 P’s of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion) are developed.
4. Marketing budget: This component of a marketing plan consists of developing a marketing budget, which will allow you to plan for marketing expenditures.
5. Monitoring and evaluating market response: This component of a marketing plan describes the strategies you will use to monitor and evaluate the market response to your marketing strategies. Evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing plan will allow you to make adjustments to meet your goals.
6. Contingency plan: The contingency plan describes possible adjustments to make to your strategies if your marketing tactics are more or less effective than originally planned.
7. Marketing plan checklist: The final component of your marketing plan is a marketing plan checklist. This checklist allows you to summarize the tasks that need to be accomplished to put your plan into action.
Additional information on marketing is available at the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture. In particular, the publication called “Marketing for the Value-Added Agricultural Enterprise” discusses the development of a marketing plan.