Almost all new products and services today are thoroughly researched before they are brought to the market. Most products have a marketing plan that was formulated back in the early stages of product development, a plan that is refined (often along with the product itself) as the market evolves or is better understood. The product definition, often called the product description, is the key starting point of a marketing plan.
Typical Parts of a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan typically contains an overview of the company (and customer) goals, a product description/definition detailing how a product meets or furthers these goals, and the strategies to be employed in bringing the product to the market in the most advantageous manner.
An effective marketing plan begins with a comprehensive definition of the product, not just what it is, but what it does, how it does it, and who is likely to be interested in buying it (and why). This product definition should be dynamic and reflect the needs of the company and the customer. A product definition at least includes the elements of product positioning, product differentiation and product life cycle.
Objectives of the Marketing Plan
A marketing plan will also outline objectives, most often on multiple levels, from roll-out dates to preliminary sales goals, and will usually provide some benchmarks to gauge success.
Strategy to Accomplish Objectives
The strategies underlying the development of the product and how implementing these strategies will lead to the optimal market acceptance of the new product are, of course, key to the success of the marketing plan. Marketing history has numerous examples of useful products with great potential that never achieved the success they could have because of marketing strategies that focused on the wrong demographic or backfired due to timing or some other unanticipated reason.