A marketing plan is a document that basically sets out a firm’s entire strategy for how to make money off of a given product or outlet. The marketing plan includes many different parts, all of which set out various aspects of a firm’s strategy for making money.
One way to think about what a marketing plan does is to realize that it needs to address the “4 P’s.” First, a marketing plan needs to discuss the basic attributes of the firm’s product. It needs to specify what good or service the firm is going to provide and it needs to discuss the market for that product. A marketing plan needs to account for the firm’s place. This means that it has to lay out how the firm is going to get its product to the people who are going to buy it. This involves things like locating stores and determining how distribution will work. The marketing plan needs to lay out the plans for the promotion of the product. This is what we usually think of when we think of marketing. It needs to specify how the firm will advertise its product or otherwise make people aware of it. Finally, a marketing plan needs to specify the price of the product. It needs to tell the firm what price it can charge for the product so as to maximize its profits.
In short, a marketing plan essentially sets out every important aspect of the selling of a firm’s product. It does not talk about the process of production, but everything else is covered in a marketing plan.