Business Plan, Marketing Plan, or Both?

“if I have a marketing plan, do I need (or want) a business plan too?” Good question. And so is its opposite question too, “if I have a business plan, do I also need (or want) a marketing plan?”

As for a lot of these planning questions, you’re going to get different answers from different people. There’s no consensus on this.  But here’s my answer:

  1. Marketing is critical to business, and every business plan has a lot of marketing plan in it. There’s no need to keep the marketing separate from the rest of the planning. The marketing plan is an extremely important part of the business plan. No need to do it separately.
  2. That is, however, unless you are one of those people who are responsible for marketing, but not for the whole company. You don’t manage cash or financial strategy or ownership of the business. Then your job is marketing and related functions like sales and customer service and branding and social media and SEO, and so forth. You ask for the resource, and somebody else reviews, prioritizes, and gives you that resource or a reason why not. You probably have to manage expenses and show how they relate to sales and the health of the company. You probably have to show how those expenses make good business sense. You should probably be doing marketing planning, not the whole business planning; just your subset.

So to me, at least, the marketing planning is different from the business planning because it’s a subset. It doesn’t deal with financial health or financial strategy. It should have projections for sales, cost of sales, and sales and marketing expenses. It doesn’t project overall cash flow or the projected balance sheet. It probably deals with personnel, but just the related personnel, not the whole company personnel or larger personnel strategies.

Somebody just asked me that in email.

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