Find out the exact steps you must take to develop a simple marketing plan; then, find promotional plans for various businesses, plans for internet marketers and direct sales professionals. Get access to over 20 specific trade show promotions plus advertising examples. This two book package walks you through creating your very own small business campaigns.
Marketing Plan Example This example of a marketing plan template is full of resources to help you create your own, including links to more details on each section. You’ll find information on goals, product or service types, customers, competition, strategies, and more.
Marketing Plan Definition
A marketing plan is a document that details how you’re going to execute your strategy. It’s written for a specific period of time and explains both your current situation and your future plans.
A good marketing plan includes several elements:
- Executive Summary
- Mission Statement
- Situation Analysis
- Target Market
- Buyer Personas
- Marketing Objectives and Performance
- Pricing Strategy
- Distribution Strategy
- Promotion Strategy
How to Write a Marketing Plan
The list of elements involved in a marketing plan may sound quite comprehensive, but writing a plan doesn’t need to be difficult. Of course, it comes with some effort, but doing it step-by-step will help you master this challenge. To get started, use our marketing plan template. This document will guide you through the process. But first, let’s dive into the different elements of a marketing plan, and figure out how to outline them.
Elements of a Marketing Plan
The executive summary is a small, summarized version of your marketing plan. The main objective is it to briefly list and describe all relevant components. Keep in mind that most executives who’ll read your marketing plan won’t have the time to read the full document. Therefore, you need to make sure that they’re immediately getting the full picture.
Your mission statement should describe your marketing activities on a meta level. Hence, you need to answer these basic business questions:
- What do you want to do?
- Why do you want to do it?
- Who do you do it for?
All of your business activities should be based on your mission statement. When you start wondering if you’re still heading in the right direction, use this statement to double-check your approach.
Here are some examples of great mission statements:
- “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” – Google
- “We believe in what people make possible. Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” – Microsoft
- “Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.” – Facebook
- “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”- Amazon
This analysis covers these elements:
- Product/Service: What are you selling?
- Unique Selling Proposition: What is your unique selling proposition? And what separates you from your competitors?
- Best Practices: What are best practices at your company? They could be well-performing marketing channels, buyer personas with a large amount of purchase intent, or campaigns that have generated a lot of leads.
- Marketing Objectives and Performance: What are your current marketing objectives? Did you manage to achieve them? If not, why?
- Challenges: What are the current challenges that your company (especially your marketing team) is facing?
- Competitor Analysis: Who are your competitors? How are your competitors performing?
- SWOT Analysis: What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that your company (especially your marketing team) is facing?
(Image Source: The UX Blog)
What market is your product or service trying to target? Is it a B2B market or a consumer market?
The target market includes the industries that you sell your product or service to. It should be as detailed as possible, and it’s the foundation for any marketing activities. Without properly targeting, you won’t be able to successfully run a marketing campaign.
So what do you need to know about your target market? Get started by answering these questions:
- Which companies are in your target market?
- How can you reach them?
- Why would companies in these industries buy your product/service?
- Why would companies from these industries refuse to buy your product or service
- What are these companies’ current needs?
You’ve defined your target market. That’s great, but now we need to dive deeper into this market, to find out who will actually buy your product or service. So now is the time to create your buyer personas. This process involves pinpointing which people work in your target markets, and which ones represent segments of your customer base.
You’ll need to define these customer archetypes in a very detailed way. That way, you’ll be able to make informed marketing decisions. But what attributes should you describe? You can easily use our buyer persona template to pinpoint your first personas.
In general, a buyer persona should cover these points:
- Name and Photo: Give your buyer persona a suitable name, and add a nice photo.
- Background Information: Define general information, such as age, gender, location, income, education, job, and family situation.
- Statement: Create one quote that contains the values, objectives, and challenges of your buyer persona.
- Goals: What does your buyer want to achieve?
- Challenges and Problems: List the most important challenges that your buyer persona faces.
- Values: What are your buyer persona’s most relevant values and beliefs?
- Buying Decisions: Why and when does your buyer persona buy?
- Solution: How can your product or service help your buyer persona overcome his or her challenges?
How do you make a good marketing plan?
A good marketing plan should have the following parts –
Create an executive summary
This might seem a little too formal for some marketers out there but it’s essential and I’ll explain why.
Marketing plans tend to get really long so it’s better to create a quick summary and highlight some of the key points of every aspect of your plan right at the beginning. This becomes the foundation of your marketing plan.
There is no set length for an executive summary but it should cover all of the main elements of your marketing plan. It should also quickly tell your story and highlight what you are trying to achieve. Add your KPIs, marketing channels, strategy, and budget.
A good executive summary should give a quick taste of the entire plan and entice the reader (investor, upper management, CEO, etc) to read the rest.
Create a mission statement
A good mission should have 3 key components –
- An overall mission or vision of the company
- The company’s core values
- The goals and objectives
The key is to keep it precise, short, and powerful. Don’t write a long essay, don’t just throw a bunch of jargon around, and do get some input from the employees at the company.
Employee feedback on this is critical because marketing and sales activities have to align with the mission of the company so all the various teams in the business have to be in agreement on the general mission.
Have you ever seen the TV show Shark Tank?
The first part of any pitch is a personal story and a quick description of the founders’ “why”. This is where you can find the vision and mission of the company.
Next, they almost always mention the size of the market and they quantify the opportunity that they are presenting to the sharks.
The next vital step is to understand your competition and what the competitive landscape looks like in your industry or niche.
The main questions your competitive analysis should answer are:
- Who are the competitors?
- What marketing strategies are they employing?
- And how are they going about achieving their goals?
Identify your target market and buyer personas
The best way to create buyer personas for any brand is by creating a customer journey map. A customer journey map is a visual representation of all the various touchpoints that your brand has with a prospective customer.
This is a critical part of creating your marketing strategy.
Google introduced the moment of truth concept and this really relates to our discussion of marketing channels but it’s important to mention here as well.
Shoppers can find and interact with your brand through hundreds of channels, both online and brick-and-mortar. The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) concepts represents that stage of the buyer’s journey that leads them to find your product or solution for their problem.
Example of a Marketing Plan that you can modify to meet your own business, marketing, and financial needs.