Topic 2 Designing the Marketing Plan, Phase 1

MISSION – The basis of a Marketing Plan (MP) is the organisation’s vision and mission statement, which describes the organisation’s aspirations and raison d’être. The mission as well as the organisation’s long-term objectives must be already defined in the initial stages of an organisation’s strategic plan and inform all other ensuing operational plans (e.g. marketing plan, human resources plan, production plans, etc.). Accordingly, the organisation’s mission and objectives form the foundation upon which the MP develops.

SITUATION ANALYSIS – In order to develop the next stages of the MP, a situation analysis must take place. This includes market research, which can focus on various important aspects in order to help the organisation identify market opportunities. Aspects that can be researched and analysed include, among others:

The process of creating a Marketing Plan.Graph by Maria Kouri

  • The organisation’s existing products, services, offerings, infrastructure and budgeting potential. Internal environment evaluation.
  • The competition’s offerings, marketing strategies, target groups.
  • Market research (participants & non-participants) to enable market segmentation and subsequent target group selection.
  • External environment analysis.

All the data gathered from the market research and situation analysis is used to design a S.W.O.T. analysis. This analysis is a useful tool to visualise succinctly the Internal and External Factors that impact upon an organisation. It helps the latter define the most effective ways to capitalise on Strengths, address Weaknesses, identify Opportunities and avoid Threats, in order to realise its objectives efficiently. A S.W.O.T. analysis can be drawn either regarding an organisation as a whole or a specific project or business plan (such as the marketing plan).

Matrix of S.W.O.T. analysis

Through a realistic internal analysis, organisations can establish their Strengths and Weaknesses. These comprise the tangible and intangible characteristics that are advantageous or disadvantageous, respectively, for the organisation. Similarly, an analysis of the external environment the organisation functions in gives a clear idea on the political, social, cultural, educational, legal, financial, technological, environmental and other factors that may create Opportunities or generate Threats for a cultural organisation. For example, think of the ripples that a provocative, challenging artwork can create in a conservative socio-cultural environment and the impact on the organisation. On the other hand, a threatening factor can be used to create an opportunity. Just consider the impact of the COVID pandemic on cultural organisations: they were forced to shut their doors and suspend their functions, but on the other hand, they exploited digital technologies to expand their offerings and their audiences turning a threat into an opportunity and a new strength (investment in IT technologies).

SWOT analysis for a hypothetical cultural organisation. Graph by Maria Kouri