Marketing Plan Outline
Marketing plans can get quite granular to reflect the industry you're in, whether you're selling to consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B), and how big your digital presence is. Nonetheless, here are the elements every effective marketing plan includes:
1. Business Summary
In a marketing plan, your Business Summary is exactly what it sounds like: a summary of the organization. This includes:
- The company name
- Where it's headquartered
- Its mission statement
2. Business Initiatives
The Business Initiatives element of a marketing plan helps you segment the various goals of your department. Be careful not to include big-picture company initiatives, which you'd normally find in a business plan. This section of your marketing plan should outline the projects that are specific to marketing. You'll also describe the goals of those projects and how those goals will be measured.
3. Customer Analysis
Here's where you'll conduct some basic market research. If your company has already done a thorough market research study, this section of your marketing plan might be easier to put together.
Ultimately, this element of your marketing plan will help you describe the industry you're selling to and your buyer persona. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional description of your ideal customer, focusing on traits like:
- Personal challenges
- Triggering events
4. Competitor Analysis
Your buyer persona has choices when it comes to solving their problems, choices in both the types of solutions they consider and the providers that can administer those solutions. In your market research, you should consider your competition, what they do well, and where the gaps are that you can potentially fill. This can include:
- Market share
5. SWOT Analysis
Your marketing plan's Business Summary also includes a SWOT analysis, which stands for the business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Be patient with your business's SWOT analysis; you'll write most of it based on your market research from the sections above and your strategy below.
6. Market Strategy
Your Market Strategy uses the information included in the above sections to describe how your company should approach the market. What will your business offer your buyer personas that your competitors aren't already offering them?
In a full-length marketing plan, this section can contain the "seven Ps of marketing":
- Physical Evidence
(You'll learn more about these seven sub-components inside our free marketing plan template, which you can download below.)
Don't mistake the Budget element of your marketing plan with your product's price or other company financials. Your budget describes how much money the business has allotted the marketing team to pursue the initiatives and goals outlined in the elements above.
Depending on how many individual expenses you have, you should consider itemizing this budget by what specifically you'll spend your budget on. Example marketing expenses include:
- Outsourcing costs to a marketing agency and/or other providers
- Marketing software
- Paid promotions
- Events (those you'll host and/or attend)