What Is the Difference Between a Marketing & Business Plan? | Small Business

By Chron Contributor Updated September 08, 2020 The business plan and the marketing plan are both essential aspects of successful businesses. These plans not only help businesses organize their operations, but help benchmark their success or failure. Since business industries change with customer demand and the economic environment, the business […]

By Updated September 08, 2020

The business plan and the marketing plan are both essential aspects of successful businesses. These plans not only help businesses organize their operations, but help benchmark their success or failure. Since business industries change with customer demand and the economic environment, the business plan and marketing plan must evolve throughout the lifespan of the business.

The Positive ROI of Business Plans

The business plan provides a wide overview of the business, which includes information on staff, operations, location, marketing and financial aspects, as well as clearly outlined missions and goals. Often used as a financial tool, the business plan provides lenders with necessary details to determine if the business is viable, financially sound and able to repay.

Although business plans are most commonly known for assisting new businesses, they should be used throughout the life of the business. Not only does it help to develop competitive strategies, the business plan can determine if the actual activity of the business matches the forecasted plans. Founders who write business plans are 2.5 times as likely to start businesses than individuals who miss this vital step, reports careers agency TopTal.

Marketing Plan Helps You Strategize

The marketing plan details the specific marketing actions that achieve the company’s missions and goals. For instance, this plan identifies the price points for the products you are selling, target markets and competition. It explains how the business generates customers through advertisements, trade show participation and new referrals. By explaining how the business will overcome competitive challenges by other companies, the marketing plan is a key section within the business plan and requires detailed industry research and consideration.

Marketing plans are, by definition, strategic, reports the industry magazine Business 2 Community. They force you think about how you will get your product in front of customers, and gets you used to working with timelines and key performance metrics. Investors want to make sure you have these ducks in a row before you invest.

Business Development Vs Marketing Vs Sales

The business plan and marketing plan are interdependent and must be consistent with one another if you are to generate sales. The business plan identifies the goals and missions of the business, while the marketing plan explains how the business will achieve, if not exceed, those goals and missions. If the plans of the business change, the business’s course of action also changes. A good marketing plan should never deviate from the objective of the business plan.

Things to Consider

Both plans should be reviewed periodically. While the business plan can be reviewed once a year, the marketing plan should be reviewed once per quarter at the beginning of the fiscal year. Reviewing periodically ensures that the business is operating according to outlined strategies. Comparing actual versus outlined activities helps measure business success and identify any new or updated strategies that are in-tune with current economic environment.

There are no length requirements for the business plan or the marketing plan. However, both plans should be long enough to provide concise and detailed information. The benefits of marketing and business development are only realized if the information within the plans is well-researched and includes supporting evidence for facts presented. The goals, missions and strategies within these plans should be measurable and attainable, and reviewed and updated as the business evolves.

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