A marketing plan is very important and yet many small businesses don't create one. A good marketing plan can become a roadmap for your success. A marketing plan identifies your target audience, goals, mission and creates your marketing strategy. Below we will describe how to write a marketing plan, along with some examples of how a good marketing plan should look.
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is used by businesses to introduce, organise, track and deliver their products and services to potential clients. A marketing plan outlines your marketing strategy for a specific financial year or quarter. It explains your plans and strategies in more detail.
Here are some tips to compile a marketing plan:
Know your niche
Have a unique selling proposition for your brand
Get an insight of your potential client
Have a strategic plan
Have clear objectives
Have clear goals
Look at a bigger picture
Types of Marketing Plans
There are various kinds of marketing plans and strategies. A typical marketing strategy is based around business marketing, the description of a business marketing position, a deadline when tasks should be completed, key performance indicators, as well as a description for your target market. A market plan can be subject to any of the four categories mentioned below:
Annual Marketing Plan
An annual marketing plan helps businesses keep track of goals and objectives for the business year. It helps you outline your business objectives and marketing strategies with specific goals set in place.
Content Marketing Plan
Content marketing is the strategic approach for creating valuable content to attract the correct customers for your business.
Paid Marketing Plan
Paid marketing if used wisely, can provide you with instant results. Paid marketing involves paying organisation to market your products.
Social Media Marketing Plan
Social Media Marketing Plans can take you a long way, but you need to invest time, money, energy and resources into social media.
How to Write a Marketing Plan?
After you understand the difference between marketing plans, you also need to be able to know how to write one. Marketing plans may vary depending on the type of business you are running or the type of product you are planning to sell, however there are certain important elements that make up a marketing plan. A good marketing plan includes several elements.
Below are some steps you need to take into consideration when creating a marketing plan:
Table of Contents
A table of content consists of a list of titles included in your marketing plan. It can be referred to as the content page of your document and it includes titles and subheadings of each chapter along with their page numbers.
An executive summary is the overview of a business plan. It summarizes the key points of your marketing plan.
Opportunity analysis emphasizes on discovering future opportunities, threats, and a detailed evaluation of the market. Many companies go for a SWOT analysis to summarize their strengths and weaknesses.
Goals and Objectives
This section of the marketing plan should describe what your plans and goals are. You need to define your goals, track them, be realistic and map out a plan on how to reach each goal.
Mission statement is important for you and your team. Your mission statement should explain your marketing activities. The mission statement should answer questions like what you plan to do, why do it, and who you are planning to do it for?
The target audience is the most basic, but most important aspect of marketing. You need to identify your clients. You need to narrow down your target audience and segment them into smaller groups to help more.
Marketing strategy is a long term approach which helps a business to sustain completion and achieve your marketing goals. An effective marketing strategy combines the four P's of marketing, namely: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
Now that your target audience has been identified you need to figure out your buyer persona. The buyer’s persona involves studying the people functioning in your target market and analyzing the ones that represent your customer base.
Budget indicates the resources allocated to a specific task in an organisation. You should plan what you are able to spend on your marketing. Calculating the budget for your marketing campaign can be intimidating at first, as it involves a lot of work and planning, but over time you'll be able to put together a smart budget to keep everything on track.
Distribution is how you plan to deliver your product or service to a client. You need to check product delivery through a website? You need to be sure that your distribution channel is aligned with your product or service.
After the distribution strategy, the promotional aspect is the next step to take. It's a detailed strategy that helps you expand your business. It helps to optimize your marketing tools and to generate demand.
Creating a timeline determines how much time you will need and when your task will be completed. The timeline is usually based on your goals and objectives. These days there are project management softwares available to help you with your timeline.
The best marketing plan examples
After learning how to write a marketing plan, let's look at an example marketing strategy from Forbes:
Unique Selling Propositions
Pricing and Positioning Strategy
No article or book can provide you with an exact blueprint for your marketing plan, but the steps discussed above should help give you a better insight on how to write a marketing plan for your business. A good marketing plan is the foundation of your business which will help your business grow over time.