The focal point is to establish business objectives for the company. Perhaps already an intuitive idea of what objectives are feasible in the immediate future is already there. These can however, be arrived at or improved in a more systematic way by:
i. Doing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis.
ii. Defining the scope of the company’s business.
The next step is to decide the activities to achieve the stated objectives. This would mean preparing a capital plan, a raw material plan, a manpower plan, a financing plan.
These plans are related to each other and must be complementary. In other words, the policy should not be such that while the capital plan is being carried out, the raw materials plan goes out of control, or the financing plan becomes impractical, or the marketing plan becomes irrelevant.
It follows that an export-marketing plan is a sub-plan designed to achieve the marketing objectives of the business. The combination of this plan with the other sub plans will lead to a business plan.
As already stated the export marketing plan is a step by-step guide to stratify implementation, it specifies, targets dates and provides detailed budgets for each step, it should answer all the questions on how a strategy is to be implemented and directs the enterprise to the attainment of the strategic objective.
It is obvious therefore, that the export marketing plan and the export strategy are closely interrelated and that, as the various steps are put into action, there should be a continues interaction (modifications for instance, in the light of actual situations) between the two.
The development of export marketing plans requires decisions on the role that exporting is to play in the company’s growth, the scope and nature of product lines and markets abroad, precise export performance goals and level of management commitment to the export venture.
A plan is only as good as the quality of two basic data gathered and the analysis undertaken during the planning process it is important to obtain the participation of all levels of management in this process and to impress upon them that, to succeed company-wide commitment to export goals is essential.
The primary purpose of an export marketing plan is twofold first, it is a document that describes the basic components of the export venture second, it is an up-to-date plan resulting from much thought and painful reflection, research, and analysis concerning what is required to start, fine-tune and carry a successful venture.
The plan is not to be considered a final piece of work to be field away and forgotten it is a dynamic working document that should be constantly reviewed and revised as the company acquires more experience, data and feedback from the market, constant attention to planning is more important than the plan itself.
The formulation of export marketing plans is a creative process. No two plans should look alike as each plan should be customized for a particular company, particular products and a particular market; nevertheless, good marketing plans share some common features. A comprehensive plan should have the following principal components:
i. Company background: a basic analysis of the company’s mission, objectives, resources, product target markets and competition.
ii. SWOT analysis: an analysis of company’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats in the context of exporting.
iii. Action programme in regard to the product distribution pricing, promotion etc.
iv. Budget and timetable: justification and allocation of monetary and managerial resources within a time frame.
Atypical export marketing plan focuses on marketing objectives, market segmentation and positioning, characteristics of the product line, distribution channels, export pricing and promotional strategies the plan should outline the actions required in sufficient detail it should set out sales targets, budgets and activity schedules, as well assign responsibilities for its implementation.