Once marketers have a sound understanding of the market they are targeting, they can begin selecting the marketing activities that will allow them to achieve their goals. Questions of budget typically arise at this point; some firms plan to spend a certain percentage of sales on marketing efforts, while others specify a set dollar amount, and budget limitations can factor into the selection of activities. Along with traditional forms of advertising, such as television, radio, newspaper, and magazine advertisements, marketers can also choose from less conventional promotional materials including online banner bars and buttons, as well as both print and online newsletters, and press releases. Regardless of the activities selected, "the major task in developing effective advertising is to make sure the ads reflect the specific marketing goals and objectives," wrote Agency Sales Magazine columnist John R. Graham in a September 1998 article.
Trade show exhibits, seminars, special events, charitable activities, and even things like letterhead and business cards can all factor into a marketing plan, as can strategic alliances with other firms. One of online services powerhouse America Online's (AOL) most lauded marketing tactics was its 1996 deal with Microsoft Corp. which required the software giant to include AOL software on its Windows 95 operating system. In a similar move, dot.com startups could include as a major marketing strategy in their plans the securing of links from heavily trafficked sites like Yahoo! and Amazon to their sites.
Many firms also include in their marketing plan an explanation of how the effectiveness of marketing activities will be measured. Ideally, marketing executives are able to review their plans periodically, allowing for the discontinuation of those tactics that prove ineffective. Conversely, those activities that worked well might be continued and also used in future marketing plans.
Beech, Wendy M. "Crafting Your Sales Technique: With a Marketing Plan, You Can Put Your Sales and Promotion Strategies in Place." Black Enterprise, December 1997.
Fridstein, Stan. "Marketing Plan." Catalog Age, July 2000.
Graham, John R. "Working With a Marketing Plan." Agency Sales Magazine, September 1998.
Holly, Tricia A. "Marketing Magic." Travel Agent, September 3, 2001.
Regan, Keith. "I-Marketing Interview: Verizon." E-Commerce Times, August 16, 2001. Available from www.ecommercetimes.com.
Vigoroso, Mark W. "I-Marketing Interview: General Motors." E-Commerce Times, September 20, 2001. Available from www.ecommercetimes.com.
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