Is there really a difference between a Business Plan and a Marketing Plan? Does either really matter? Is it necessary to have both? The answer is yes, yes and yes.
What is a Business Plan?
According to Wikipedia:
A business plan is a formal written document containing business goals, the methods on how these goals can be attained, and the time frame that these goals need to be achieved. It also describes the nature of the business, includes background information on the organization, the organization’s financial projections, and the strategies it intends to implement to achieve stated targets. In its entirety, this document serves as a roadmap that provides direction to the business.
Part of the definition touches on strategies that should be included. One of the strategies that a business plan outlines is a marketing plan.
What is a Marketing Plan?
According to Wikipedia:
A marketing plan is a comprehensive document or blueprint that outlines business advertising and marketing efforts for the coming year. It describes the business activities involved in accomplishing specific marketing objectives within a set time frame. A marketing plan also includes a description of the current marketing position of a business, a discussion of the target market and a description of the marketing mix that a business will use to achieve its marketing goals.
Do They Really Matter
Before I discuss why having a business plan and a marketing plan is important, I felt compelled to share what some of the world’s top performers, entrepreneurs, etc. have always advised, ‘write down your goals’.
There are numerous accounts of highly successful people discussing the importance of not only writing down goals but setting deadlines and having clear and concise plans of action to achieve each goal.
Well, having a business plan is essentially a more structured and formal way of writing out goals for your business.
A detailed business plan touches on each part of your business, including operations, human resources, finance, marketing, etc.
Speaking of marketing, the biggest challenge most new businesses face is attracting clients. For this reason, successful business owners understand the importance of having a marketing plan.
Your marketing plan should include specifics like:
A description of the goods and/or services you offer
Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
What sets you apart from the competition
How you will market it
Just like with your personal goals, having a business plan and marketing plan gives you the structure for how you will go about your business each day, week, month and even year. It may be necessary to make adjustments over time; as things are subject change, to ensure you put your business in the most optimal position for success.
Business plans play a major role in the growth and financing of your business. If one of your goals is to get outside funding via investors, bank loans, venture capitalists, etc. they all want to know that they are making a safe investment.
Giving someone your word simply isn’t enough. Investors want to see something that will ease their anxiety and assure them they will get a return on their investment. A business plan, with a marketing plan included, can do that.
The way I see it, a business plan is a formal document that outlines every aspect of an organization. Much like writing down your personal goals, a business plan gives organizations a game plan for success.
Included in this game plan should be their marketing plan; which gives a detailed overview of how they will distinguish themselves in the marketplace and attract clients through their unique selling proposition.
Having a detailed business plan helps organizations strengthen their chances of receiving outside funding to achieve their goals.
A properly constructed business plan assures investors that you (organizations) have your stuff together. It shows that there is a plan in place for the foreseeable future.
So yes, they are both very important and when done correctly, they go hand in hand.