For a business to succeed, it needs to be guided by a well thought out plan. The marketing plan and the business plan are the two primary documents that help organize the operations of a company so that it can succeed. One of the reasons there is confusion between the marketing plan and the business plan is that companies do not understand how they work.
So, what is the difference between a marketing plan and a business plan?
The business plan vs marketing plan debate has been on for many years with many company executives seeking to understand them deeply. To better understand these two documents, it is essential to understand their components in detail. Below are the primary elements that business owners need to learn concerning a marketing plan vs business plan.
Components of a business plan
A business plan is an overview that provides information on various aspects of an organization. The plan often contains multiple types of data that is important to the growth of the business. In some cases, you will also need to prepare a business case which is a summarized version of the plan but from a strategic angle. To better understand the debate concerning business plan vs business case, you need to understand the elements of a typical business plan. These elements include:
- The overall strategy of the company – The business plan outlines the missions and goals of the company focusing on the steps to be taken to see it succeed.
- Market analysis – Researching the market that your business will operate in, is vital for its success. The study mainly focuses on the target market, competitors and the overall outlook of the industry.
- Products and services – The product or service offered to target customers’ needs to be clearly defined. In some cases, a business plan may focus strictly on products, but others may combine both products and services.
- Financial plans – Projecting of expenses is essential for a company to remain steady. Planning finances give you an idea of the viability of the business at the moment and in the future.
- Operations – Having an understanding of the day to day running of a company is vital for its success. The plan outlines steps to be taken to ensure everything runs smoothly.
- Sales projections – The plan provides sales estimates for the business in the short and long-term. The sales forecast allows for necessary adjustments to business strategies to ensure good sales at all times.
Components of a marketing plan
A marketing plan outlines the actions that will be implemented to ensure the missions and goals of the company are achieved. Most times, it is implemented alongside a marketing strategy which ensures the goals are executed. When thinking about a marketing plan vs marketing strategy, it is advisable to give priority to the plan. Some of the critical things to consider when developing a marketing plan for businesses are listed below.
- Target market – Getting to understand your customers and the best way to attract them to your product is vital for businesses. It is essential to have a strategy that generates customers on a regular basis resulting in sales.
- Price points – The prices at which products or services are sold should be highlighted in the marketing plan. Calculations that led to the arrival of the final price should also be emphasized for a better understanding of the financials.
- Competition – It is crucial for a business to identify the challenges posed by competitors and highlight ways to overcome them in the plan. When working on a marketing business model, it is important that it contains solutions to every possible problem so that quick execution is possible.
How a business plan and marketing plan work together
The success of a business relies on its ability to implement a marketing business plan successfully. Fortunately, there are proven ways in which these documents can be beneficial to a business regardless of its size or years in operation. Some of the advantages of using both documents in your company simultaneously include:
Businesses that adopt plan marketing find it easier to remain consistent in the way they approach the overall running of the enterprise. The approach involves the integration of the two so that the result is a gradual growth of the business towards agreed goals. The business plan highlights the objective of the company while the marketing plan ensures implementation takes place.
2. Increased sales
The projections in the business plan inform sales resulting in the growth within a company. The predictions are seen as a target that must be met if the marketing strategies are to remain relevant. Most times, learning the difference between a marketing plan and business plan makes integration easier resulting in consistent sales throughout the year.
3. Realistic business projections
Business owners need to understand the principles of business vs marketing when putting together their projections. It is easier to market a business and make gradual changes to the types of services or products being offered based on realistic projections. Additionally, revising the predictions based on new findings is vital for the growth of the business.
4. Focus on strategies
Pinpointing the strategies highlighted in the marketing plan and matching them to the proposals in the business plan increases the chances of success. It is advisable to prioritize the strategies to be implemented and execute them as per the budget set aside. When used properly, the integrated plan can also result in newer prospects and strategy that will be useful for any business.
5. Staying ahead of the competition
Understanding the market and using the analysis provided in a business plan makes it easier for a company to stand out from the rest. Companies that adopt the use of an integrated plan can rest assured that they will see an increase in sales even as they respond to customer needs.
6. Creation of a functional master business plan
Regular interaction with both plans makes it possible to craft a master plan that can guide the operations of the business. When the marketing and business plans merge seamlessly, the results are seen in the exponential growth for the company all year round. If unsure of the direction to take in building an integrated plan, consider consulting an expert in business operations and marketing.
Generally, businesses that understand the difference between a business plan and marketing plan are almost always successful.