Looking for a template to use to create your marketing plan? Here’s a marketing plan template to download to use to create your marketing plan along with how-to guides to help you.
Marketing Plan Outline
Section 1: Your Target Market
Describe who your prospective customers are. The more detail, the better. You want to define your ideal customers who will be profitable and pleasant to serve. For most businesses, 80% of revenues come from just 20% of their customers. Instead of more customers/clients, you may want to focus more narrowly on who your most profitable customers/clients will be to grow your business. You want to clone the 20% of your customers that represent 80% of your revenues.
Section 2: Your Positioning Statement
Describe how you will differentiate your product/service/company from competitors.
Section 3: Your Product/Service Offering
Describe the benefits and features of what you are offering. Benefits should be both emotional and rational.
Section 4: Your Competition
Describe your competition. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis is a helpful chart to include in this section.
Remember that your competition includes:
- Someone doing nothing. They don’t want to buy or upgrade or change.
- Someone using the money they could spend on your products/services for something else. For example, a small business owner can choose to invest in a new manufacturing line or use that money to go on vacation. A family can choose to go out for dinner to a restaurant or use their “fun fund” to go to a theme park.
- Not-so-obvious competition. For example, competition for a Pepsi is bottled water and sports drinks, not just other sodas.
Section 5: Your Pricing
Describe how you will price (and discount) your offering.
Section 6: Your Distribution Plan
Describe where and how someone can buy your products/services.
Section 7: Your Sales Plan
Describe who and how you will sell your products/services.
Section 8: Your Marketing Objectives and Strategies
Describe what you want your marketing to achieve and what your winning marketing strategies will be. Goal of most businesses: More sales from more customers who spend more money and spread positive word-of-mouth. And doing all this for the lowest cost to both generate the sale and handle service/support. That’s very broad so you’ll need to be more specific. What job(s) do you want marketing to do for you?
Know this: Every company (large or small) has the same marketing goals…
- Get customers
- Keep customers
- Get existing customers to buy more
- Offload unprofitable customers
- Create customer advocates (people who refer others and spread positive word-of-mouth about you for free)
It’s how well you do all of this that determines your success.
Section 9: Your Marketing Communications Plan
Describe how you will reach your target audience(s); what your marketing mix will be; what your 12-month calendar of marketing activities and customer contact plan.
Section 10: Your customer retention plan
How do you keep your most profitable customers so happy they tell other people (for free) positive things about your products, services or company?
Section 11: Your Success Measures
How will you measure the success of your marketing?
Section 12: Your Staffing/People Plan
What will you do yourself? What will you hire others to do for you?
The 80/20 rule applies to marketing plans. Spend 80% of your time thinking and only 20% of your time writing the plan. Most people do the opposite. They spend 80% of their time figuring out the best marketing plan format and how to write the plan and not enough time thinking! We get you thinking by focusing on answering these 12 questions which then become the outline and foundation for your marketing plan. Your marketing plan can be as simple as just writing down the answers to these questions!
Marketing Plan Template
Marketing Plan Template to download
This is the outline of the key sections for your marketing plan for you to fill in
TIP: There are amazing software, tools and templates that you can buy that have pre-written marketing plans that get you 80% of the way there and then you just edit to customize for your situation.