Marketing Plan Template



My Marketing Plan Template will allow you to create custom marketing plans based on your business needs. In this article I describe the various marketing plan components in conjunction with using this template. In constructing a successful marketing strategy, you simply need to choose the marketing plan elements that pertain to your business and build these into your marketing plan.

What aspects of the Marketing Plan Template you focus on and how far you delve into each is completely up to you. There is no standard format for what a successful Marketing Plan should look like. Suffice it to say that being cognizant of the various marketing plan elements will help you make sure you "cover you bases" in developing a plan specific to your business needs.

Pick and choose the pieces you need for your own Marketing Plan from my Marketing Plan Template!


Get help with a Marketing Plan Template for your business or share your expertise and experiences!

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Marketing Plan Template: General Guidance

In developing a successful Marketing Plan is is a good idea to apply the following basic principles which pertain to planning in general. Make sure your plan is:


(1) Be Clear And Concise

The goal, once again, is not to create an impressive-looking document but to use this Marketing Plan Template to build a blueprint for action. Every in your plan should focus on the two business imperatives of creating value and creating customers. Anything that does not pertain to how you will bring your product or service to the marketplace is irrelevant and should not be discussion amongst the various marketing plan elements


(2) Be Data Driven

Where and as possible provide numbers to back up your assumptions and assertions. Include your qualitative and quantitative market research as you discuss the marketing plan components that are most relevant to your business. Your Marketing Plan should contain your formula for success and how you will win in business should be demonstrated as methodically as possible. A data driven approach creates buy-in with investors and partners and provides specific criteria and demonstrable milestone for your success


(3) Be Achievable

As a rule be conservative when looking at ranges of estimates for your planned business activity. You may be tempted to shoot too high for success in creating your marketing plan but remember that the best rule is to promise less, deliver more. As well as basing your marketing strategy and general business plan on hard facts and data when and as possible, use realistic optimism in compiling the various marketing plan elements you bring together here


(4) Be Flexible

However confident you are in your analysis and plan of actions for business success, keep in mind that only time will tell what the outcome of your efforts will be. More likely than not, things will turn out differently to what you had expected in many different areas. As such, a primary imperative in using this Marketing Plan Template to create a viable plan is to understand that your Marketing Plan is subject to change. Building in as much flexibility as you can will help you adapt to different business conditions and challenges and alter your course as need be along the way



Marketing Plan Template: Nuts And Bolts

Your Marketing Plan will be comprised of the following components: Overview, Situational Analysis, Strategy, Tactics and Implementation. Your Marketing Plan should be dynamic, changing and growing with your business so that you continue to expand on each of these marketing plan elements as needed.


Bear in mind that there is no one "correct" Marketing Plan Template and further that your Marketing Plan will be as individual as you and your business are. The goal of providing this Marketing Plan Summary is to allow you to pick and choose which marketing plan components to use in creating you own custom marketing plan.



Marketing Plan Template: Overview


Title Page

Includes title, author, date, organization, plan version number and other related information


Table of Contents

Useful for longer plans for ease of navigation. You may include page numbers for diagrams and charts, appendices and additional reference material


Purpose

What are you writing this Marketing Plan for? Is it to introduce a new product or solution or simply penetrate a new market? Is it simply a planning document as part of ongoing business review?


Mission Statement

You may want to include a formal declaration of goals and values in your Marketing Plan. What do you stand for?


Executive Summary

Some formal Marketing Plans include a high-level objective summary that may incorporate your purpose and mission statement as well as key points, actions, return on investment and so on. This section should not be more than a page long and is useful for investors, partners and employees among others


Introduction

This section of the Marketing Plan Template may be interchangeable with the Purpose, Mission Statement and Executive Summary marketing plan components. The goal of your introduction is to provide whatever information is pertinent to "setting the stage" for the rest of your plan



Marketing Plan Template: Situational Analysis


Opportunity Analysis

This section contains information regarding the opportunity you are seeking to capitalize on. Whatever information furthers your understanding of the opportunity should be gathered here, including relevant product, company and market information.

The gist of Opportunity Analysis within Marketing Plan template is getting you thinking about every aspect of your fundamental business plan and documenting the key factors that will enable you succeed. A SWOT Analysis is sometimes used to analyze the overall opportunity. Strengths and Weaknesses pertain to internal conditions whereas Opportunities and Threats refer to external conditions:


Strengths

What are your strengths in taking this product to the market? What is your unique selling point(s)? Is your organization somehow suited to succeeding with your solution? Are there market or other factors - geography, timing, special knowledge - that will contribute to your success vis a vis your specific competencies? What are your competitive advantages?


Weaknesses

Where are you at a disadvantage with regards to marketing this solution? Are there financial, market or other obstacles that stand in your way to success with regards to your specific competencies? How do you measure against competing solution in the marketplace? If you are new to this market, will your lack of experience weigh against you?


Opportunities

Exactly how are you going to capitalize on your idea within the marketplace? Are you marketing several products and services or reaching out to several markets? Are there additional revenue streams you can consider through add-ons, partnerships or through other means? What benefits are you providing customers and how is your solution unique in the market?


Threats

What are some of the barriers to your success? Are you susceptible to changes in the market or consumer taste? Are you marketing a new product or idea that may or may not succeed? Have you done sufficient research to know that you have a strong chance of success? Are competitors likely to react to your presence in the market place?


Market Analysis

This section of Situational Analysis covers everything external to your organization. The "market" here is defined to include analysis of the following:


Target Market Analysis

How do you define your target market? What are the size and characteristics of your target market? What is the competitive landscape? Is the market stable or growing? What are some of the related solutions in the market place? What trends define your target market? Is your market local, regional, national or worldwide? This kind of analysis is also known as Market Segmentation


Macro Analysis

You must study the macroenvironment in which you do business as this will affect the success of your marketing plan. Factors to draw on from this Marketing Plan Template to include in your plan can be: social, economic, legal, government, technology, environment. Whatever aspects of the environment at large that have a bearing on your business should be included in your Marketing Plan


Customer Analysis

How do you define your ideal customer? Which of the following criteria is important in understanding your target audience: age, gender, income, education, lifestyle, family, occupation, location, attitudes, affiliations? What needs, wants and benefits define what customers seek in your product or solution? How do they buy? How are they influenced?


Organizational Analysis

The last part of Situational Analysis included in this Marketing Plan Template is the Internal Analysis of your organization. How do you stand with regards to the money, time, people and skills needed to succeed? What areas still need to be developed or improved upon within your organization? Are you currently in control of all the resources that you will need to fulfill your Marketing Plan?



Marketing Plan Template:
Strategy And Objectives

Now that you have covered your basic mission or purpose as well as analyzing the various factors that will contribute to your marketing plan success, you can formulate your high-level plan of attack. A lot of what strategy has to do about is choice and philosophy in deciding what your approach will be in capitalizing on your opportunity.

Objectives are included with Strategic analysis in this Marketing Plan Template because to a large extent they are the same. The specific objectives you define are in essence part of your overall strategy. You can separate the two out if your marketing plan summary shows this to be appropriate. The same business idea can lead to any number of different Marketing Plans and your custom marketing plan will be distinct.

Marketing Strategy And Objectives can be broken down as follows:


Overall Strategy And Objectives

How are you going to position your product, service or idea? Are you seeking to capture a certain market share or simply break even with a new product? Are targeting a specific market segment or appealing to as broad an audience as possible? Can you quantify your objectives with margins and volumes or are you simply seeking to be profitable? How you define your goals and strategy will in turn dictate your tactics and your sales and marketing programs


Marketing Mix Strategy

What is your strategy with regards to each of the Marketing "P"s: Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical Evidence? You can break each out into a separate section for analysis in your marketing plan summary as appropriate. Success rarely happens by accident and in today's competitive marketplace it is necessary to plan your efforts in great detail. Follow the maxim, "measure twice, cut once."


Marketing Communication Strategy

Your Marketing Communication Mix is comprised of the various tools you will use in reaching your target audience. Based on your product and your analysis of the market and pertinent factors you should decide on the best approach to creating your Marketing Communication Plan. Your marketing funds are limited and so you should focus short term efforts on less expensive, "tried and tested" methods of creating customers



Marketing Plan Template: Tactics

This is where the "rubber meets the road" and you flesh out your actual sales and marketing programs and activities. As always, you should include as much detail as possible and quantify targets, costs and other "hard numbers". What sales activities and marketing campaigns do you need to plan for? What supporting material such and documentation and collateral will you need?

Tactics are where you will devote much of your time and effort with regards to sales and marketing. As such, this section will likely comprise the "meat and bones" of your Marketing Plan. There are a number of ways to organize the information in this part of the marketing plan summary including a breakdown of tactics vis a vis each of the components of your Marketing Mix. Another approach is tactics for each market segment if appropriate.

There is really no end to the level of detail and analysis that can go into this section of the marketing plan. Your Marketing Tactics will evolve over the course of time and you may need to rewrite a plan for tactics on an ongoing basis. For the purposes of this Marketing Plan Template it should suffice to say that you should include in this planning every aspect of what it will take to create sales with your product on a day-to-day basis.



Marketing Plan Template: Implementation




Your Implementation Plan covers the "who", "how" and "when" aspects of putting your Marketing Plan into action. The Marketing Plan Summary laid out here covers a number of broad areas which you should drill down into based on your specific situation. Your marketing plan success depends on coming up with the right mix of components and sufficient level of detail.

The Implementation can cover any of the following aspects of your sales and marketing efforts:


Budgeting

In addition to the Financial Analysis that you will undertake as part of your Situational Analysis you must create a Marketing Budget in order to put your Marketing Plan into effect. You can categorize costs in various ways, for example per marketing program, per product or per marketing segment. Create a monthly timetable detailing exactly how your marketing funds are going to be spent


Scheduling

Who is going to do what and when? In order to successfully implement your Marketing Plan you must create a detailed timetable of tasks. For the purposes of this Marketing Plan Summary it is sufficient to say that every detail of "how" the marketing activities you outlined in the scheduling section are going to be carried out


Sales Forecast

In "crunching the numbers" in this Marketing Plan Template, it is a good idea to include a sales forecast of exactly how you see your business developing. The forecast numbers for your plan will likely be estimates but will nevertheless help you gauge your efforts against expected outcomes


Review

In order to ensure your marketing plan success you must undertake an ongoing review of your marketing plan and overall progress. An integral part of your review process will be Performance Analysis for which you should set specific criteria for meeting your forecasts and other predetermined milestones as your sales and marketing efforts take shape



Marketing Plan Template: Other

The study of the various elements in this Marketing Plan Summary are not complete and in fact can never be complete. The final shape and form of your customer marketing plan will contain most of the elements described here but will vary according to your sales and marketing focus, personality and specific requirements. Based on what you are trying to accomplish your Marketing Plan will be more or less formal, detailed and quantified.

In closing this discussion on the Marketing Plan Template, here are some other considerations for an overall Marketing Plan Summary. Whether you base your eventual plan on this or another template or use software to come up with a Marketing Plan, it is a good idea to have a broad understanding of the complete mix of all of the elements discussed on this page so that you can tailor your final Marketing Plan to your own needs.


Addendum

While you will not generally have a Conclusion or Summary section in your Marketing Plan as these are covered in your Introduction or Executive Summary, you may have an Addendum section for additional evidence or reference material


Scenarios

These may be included in the Implementation or other relevant section and can describe market changes, a typical sale or other specific situation you would like to plan around or use as a template


Contingency Plans

In addition to scenarios, you may want to draw up specific plans around "what ifs" that you want to build into your Marketing Plan. These include competitor reactions, a loss of funding or significant market reactions


Research

Generally speaking, Situation Analysis should include any relevant data with regards to the market in general. You may, however, include another section with other Market Research such as surveys and other findings


More Numbers

It goes without saying too that your Marketing Plan should contain whatever relevant data is applicable to your business situation. While it is generally a good idea to quantify and calculate where possible and appropriate, make sure you do not get mired down in pages of irrelevant data that no one will look at.


Graphs And Charts

Spreadsheets should be an integral part of your planning process and you should take advantage of other forms of data analysis in planning your efforts. Your Marketing Plan Summary can include graphs, charts and other models if these are useful in understanding market trends or add to your plan


Models

There is no end to various marketing models and business calculations you can incorporate into your plan. These are not listed here as the purpose of this Marketing Plan Template is to provide a simplified structure that you can follow with ease. You should nevertheless research and use whatever additional tools and methodologies you need to ensure marketing plan success


Get help with a Marketing Plan Template for your business!

GO TO:
Creating Marketing Plans (Video)Marketing Plan OutlineSample Marketing PlanMarketing Plan ExampleMarketing Communication PlanAdvertising Marketing PlansMarketing Plan Consultant




Do you have Marketing Plan expertise or experiences?

Do you have insights, strategies or a story about marketing plans to share with other readers? Perhaps you have successfully used a different marketing plan template or have insights into how to configure marketing plans for different kinds of businesses! Send in your thoughts in as much detail as you like to create a page in this section.

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