A marketing plan lets you implement an integrated strategy with regard to your customers and your sales goals. The marketing plan identifies the characteristics of your potential customers, details where to find them, specifies how to reach them and suggests how much they will pay. It forms the basis of your sales activities and marketing initiatives. Its purpose is to focus your efforts and avoid wasting your resources.

Target Markets

A marketing plan helps you analyze which markets are accessible to your company and define target markets. Accessible markets are made up of people your company can reach with its sales efforts. Geographic, social, community and cultural factors limit accessible markets. Target markets are accessible markets whose members may have a need for your products and are willing to pay a reasonable price. The purpose of this aspect of the marketing plan is to prevent your company from trying to sell products to people who are not going to buy them.


Segmenting your market divides your target market into groups of potential customers with similar needs and characteristics. The purpose of segmentation is to customize your sales approach to match the characteristics of each market segment. Such a strategy helps avoid approaches that are unlikely to succeed with particular groups. If you have a low-income market segment, your approach emphasizes value. A segment made up of families might use a strategy centered on healthy living. Segmentation focuses your sales efforts to increase their effectiveness.


Your marketing plan makes sure you get good value for the money you spend on promoting your products. The purpose of this part of the strategy is to guide you in using media that is most likely to be effective for each market segment and product. The marketing plan tells you if you should use the tabloid press, high-end fashion magazines or direct mail. It helps you decide whether to place TV ads on reality shows or on PBS. Your marketing plan helps you choose the most effective promotional strategy.


Once your marketing plan has guided you to identify your potential customers and inform them about your products through targeted promotions, it helps you decide how to make it convenient for the customers to purchase your products. If your customers are local and concentrated, a central retail location with lots of parking will work. For high-value products, direct sales may be the most effective. For dispersed customers, online offers might be appropriate. The marketing plan helps determine the sales channels that are most likely to meet your requirements and help you reach your goals.