As a business offers a new service or takes a new product to market, it needs to create a marketing plan for introducing consumers to the service or product. The development of a marketing plan takes time and the marketing team must address a number of critical issues along the way.

Market Segment Selection

Selecting the appropriate market segment to focus marketing efforts on presents one of the most critical issues in marketing plan development. Excluding some market segments requires little thought. It makes no sense to actively market baby products to senior citizens or to market retirement villages to college students. In cases where the product can potentially serve multiple market segments, the business needs to engage in market research to pick out the market segment or segments that provide sufficient size and sufficiently low barriers to entry, such as competition, to make the marketing effort worthwhile.


Marketing plans can suffer from the inclusion of generalities or fluff that only bears a tangential relationship to a business strategy. For example, a general marketing goal might read, “capture more of the youth market.” The youth market represents so much socio-economic diversity that the objective allows for no clear path to plotting steps to make it happen. A specific goal, such as “increase sales 15% to white, middle-class males between 25 and 30 years of age,” allows the marketing team to focus on the needs, wants and desires of a particular group and develop steps to attract those buyers.


A key issue facing marketing as an industry and in terms of marketing plans is measurability. Some marketing goals, such as raise brand awareness, yield poor measurability. Surveys can help to indicate whether key features of brand awareness appear to improve over time, but the outcomes often do not manifest clearly on a quarterly or yearly schedule. Some elements of marketing lend themselves to measurement. A marketing team can theoretically track whether X number of radio spots aired or ads appeared in certain publications, as well as draw correlations between campaigns and sales numbers. A marketing plan should aim to make as many elements as possible quantifiably measurable as it enables progress tracking and accountability.


Realism about achievability must temper the development of a marketing plan. The amount of money a business owner puts into a marketing budget will define the scope of a marketing plan, as well as the number of marketing pieces and communication channels employed to distribute those marketing pieces. Environmental factors impact the overall effectiveness of marketing efforts. The state of the economy, as well as competitor businesses and the strength of competitor brands all influence the achievability of a marketing plan. A business owner cannot expect marketing to make his businesses dominant in tightly contested markets, where mere parity or even second place marks a massive achievement.