What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]

Clifford Chi

Published: December 27, 2023

For a while now, you've been spearheading your organization's content marketing efforts, and your team's performance has convinced management to adopt the content marketing strategies you’ve suggested.

marketing plan and how to write one

Now, your boss wants you to write and present a content marketing plan, but you‘ve never done something like that before. You don't even know where to start.

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template [Get Your Copy]

Fortunately, we've curated the best content marketing plans to help you write a concrete plan that's rooted in data and produces results. But first, we'll discuss what a marketing plan is and how some of the best marketing plans include strategies that serve their respective businesses.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a strategic roadmap that businesses use to organize, execute, and track their marketing strategy over a given period. Marketing plans can include different marketing strategies for various marketing teams across the company, all working toward the same business goals.

The purpose of a marketing plan is to write down strategies in an organized manner. This will help keep you on track and measure the success of your campaigns.

Writing a marketing plan will help you think of each campaign‘s mission, buyer personas, budget, tactics, and deliverables. With all this information in one place, you’ll have an easier time staying on track with a campaign. You'll also discover what works and what doesn't. Thus, measuring the success of your strategy.

Featured Resource: Free Marketing Plan Template

HubSpot Mktg plan cover

Looking to develop a marketing plan for your business? Click here to download HubSpot's free Marketing Plan Template to get started .

To learn more about how to create your marketing plan, keep reading or jump to the section you’re looking for:

How to Write a Marketing Plan

Types of marketing plans, marketing plan examples, marketing plan faqs, sample marketing plan.

Marketing plan definition graphic

If you're pressed for time or resources, you might not be thinking about a marketing plan. However, a marketing plan is an important part of your business plan.

Marketing Plan vs. Business Plan

A marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics.

A business plan is also a strategic document. But this plan covers all aspects of a company's operations, including finance, operations, and more. It can also help your business decide how to distribute resources and make decisions as your business grows.

I like to think of a marketing plan as a subset of a business plan; it shows how marketing strategies and objectives can support overall business goals.

Keep in mind that there's a difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy.

parts of marketing plan in business plan

Free Marketing Plan Template

Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

  • Pre-Sectioned Template
  • Completely Customizable
  • Example Prompts
  • Professionally Designed

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan

A marketing strategy describes how a business will accomplish a particular goal or mission. This includes which campaigns, content, channels, and marketing software they'll use to execute that mission and track its success.

For example, while a greater plan or department might handle social media marketing, you might consider your work on Facebook as an individual marketing strategy.

A marketing plan contains one or more marketing strategies. It's the framework from which all of your marketing strategies are created and helps you connect each strategy back to a larger marketing operation and business goal.

For example, suppose your company is launching a new software product, and it wants customers to sign up. The marketing department needs to develop a marketing plan that'll help introduce this product to the industry and drive the desired signups.

The department decides to launch a blog dedicated to this industry, a new YouTube video series to establish expertise, and an account on Twitter to join the conversation around this subject. All this serves to attract an audience and convert this audience into software users.

To summarize, the business's marketing plan is dedicated to introducing a new software product to the marketplace and driving signups for that product. The business will execute that plan with three marketing strategies : a new industry blog, a YouTube video series, and a Twitter account.

Of course, the business might consider these three things as one giant marketing strategy, each with its specific content strategies. How granular you want your marketing plan to get is up to you. Nonetheless, every marketing plan goes through a particular set of steps in its creation.

Learn what they are below.

  • State your business's mission.
  • Determine the KPIs for this mission.
  • Identify your buyer personas.
  • Describe your content initiatives and strategies.
  • Clearly define your plan's omissions.
  • Define your marketing budget.
  • Identify your competition.
  • Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

1. State your business's mission.

Your first step in writing a marketing plan is to state your mission. Although this mission is specific to your marketing department, it should serve your business‘s main mission statement.

From my experience, you want to be specific, but not too specific. You have plenty of space left in this marketing plan to elaborate on how you'll acquire new customers and accomplish this mission.

mission-statement-examples

Need help building your mission statement? Download this guide for examples and templates and write the ideal mission statement.

2. Determine the KPIs for this mission.

Every good marketing plan describes how the department will track its mission‘s progress. To do so, you need to decide on your key performance indicators (KPIs) .

KPIs are individual metrics that measure the various elements of a marketing campaign. These units help you establish short-term goals within your mission and communicate your progress to business leaders.

Let's take our example of a marketing mission from the above step. If part of our mission is “to attract an audience of travelers,” we might track website visits using organic page views. In this case, “organic page views” is one KPI, and we can see our number of page views grow over time.

These KPIs will come into the conversation again in step 4.

3. Identify your buyer personas.

A buyer persona is a description of who you want to attract. This can include age, sex, location, family size, and job title. Each buyer persona should directly reflect your business's current and potential customers. So, all business leaders must agree on your buyer personas.

buyer-persona-templates

Create your buyer personas with this free guide and set of buyer persona templates.

4. Describe your content initiatives and strategies.

Here's where you'll include the main points of your marketing and content strategy. Because there's a laundry list of content types and channels available to you today, you must choose wisely and explain how you'll use your content and channels in this section of your marketing plan.

When I write this section , I like to stipulate:

  • Which types of content I'll create. These might include blog posts, YouTube videos, infographics, and ebooks.
  • How much of it I'll create. I typically describe content volume in daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly intervals. It all depends on my workflow and the short-term goals for my content.
  • The goals (and KPIs) I'll use to track each type. KPIs can include organic traffic, social media traffic, email traffic, and referral traffic. Your goals should also include which pages you want to drive that traffic to, such as product pages, blog pages, or landing pages.
  • The channels on which I'll distribute my content. Popular channels include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
  • Any paid advertising that will take place on these channels.

Build out your marketing plan with this free template.

Fill out this form to access the template., 5. clearly define your plan's omissions..

A marketing plan explains the marketing team's focus. It also explains what the marketing team will not focus on.

If there are other aspects of your business that you aren't serving in this particular plan, include them in this section. These omissions help to justify your mission, buyer personas, KPIs, and content. You can’t please everyone in a single marketing campaign, and if your team isn't on the hook for something, you need to make it known.

In my experience, this section is particularly important for stakeholders to help them understand why certain decisions were made.

6. Define your marketing budget.

Whether it's freelance fees, sponsorships, or a new full-time marketing hire, use these costs to develop a marketing budget and outline each expense in this section of your marketing plan.

marketing-budget-templates

You can establish your marketing budget with this kit of 8 free marketing budget templates .

7. Identify your competition.

Part of marketing is knowing whom you're marketing against. Research the key players in your industry and consider profiling each one.

Keep in mind not every competitor will pose the same challenges to your business. For example, while one competitor might be ranking highly on search engines for keywords you want your website to rank for, another competitor might have a heavy footprint on a social network where you plan to launch an account.

competitive-analysis-templates

Easily track and analyze your competitors with t his collection of ten free competitive analysis templates .

8. Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

With your marketing plan fully fleshed out, it's time to explain who’s doing what. I don't like to delve too deeply into my employees’ day-to-day projects, but I know which teams and team leaders are in charge of specific content types, channels, KPIs, and more.

Now that you know why you need to build an effective marketing plan, it’s time to get to work. Starting a plan from scratch can be overwhelming if you haven't done it before. That’s why there are many helpful resources that can support your first steps. We’ll share some of the best guides and templates that can help you build effective results-driven plans for your marketing strategies.

Ready to make your own marketing plan? Get started using this free template.

Depending on the company you work with, you might want to create various marketing plans. We compiled different samples to suit your needs:

1. Quarterly or Annual Marketing Plans

These plans highlight the strategies or campaigns you'll take on in a certain period.

marketing plan examples: forbes

Forbes published a marketing plan template that has amassed almost 4 million views. To help you sculpt a marketing roadmap with true vision, their template will teach you how to fill out the 15 key sections of a marketing plan, which are:

  • Executive Summary
  • Target Customers
  • Unique Selling Proposition
  • Pricing & Positioning Strategy
  • Distribution Plan
  • Your Offers
  • Marketing Materials
  • Promotions Strategy
  • Online Marketing Strategy
  • Conversion Strategy
  • Joint Ventures & Partnerships
  • Referral Strategy
  • Strategy for Increasing Transaction Prices
  • Retention Strategy
  • Financial Projections

If you're truly lost on where to start with a marketing plan, I highly recommend using this guide to help you define your target audience, figure out how to reach them, and ensure that audience becomes loyal customers.

2. Social Media Marketing Plan

This type of plan highlights the channels, tactics, and campaigns you intend to accomplish specifically on social media. A specific subtype is a paid marketing plan, which highlights paid strategies, such as native advertising, PPC, or paid social media promotions.

Shane Snow's Marketing Plan for His Book Dream Team is a great example of a social media marketing plan:

Contently's content strategy waterfall.

When Shane Snow started promoting his new book, "Dream Team," he knew he had to leverage a data-driven content strategy framework. So, he chose his favorite one: the content strategy waterfall. The content strategy waterfall is defined by Economic Times as a model used to create a system with a linear and sequential approach.

Snow wrote a blog post about how the waterfall‘s content strategy helped him launch his new book successfully. After reading it, you can use his tactics to inform your own marketing plan. More specifically, you’ll learn how he:

  • Applied his business objectives to decide which marketing metrics to track.
  • Used his ultimate business goal of earning $200,000 in sales or 10,000 purchases to estimate the conversion rate of each stage of his funnel.
  • Created buyer personas to figure out which channels his audience would prefer to consume his content.
  • Used his average post view on each of his marketing channels to estimate how much content he had to create and how often he had to post on social media.
  • Calculated how much earned and paid media could cut down the amount of content he had to create and post.
  • Designed his process and workflow, built his team, and assigned members to tasks.
  • Analyzed content performance metrics to refine his overall content strategy.

I use Snow's marketing plan to think more creatively about my content promotion and distribution plan. I like that it's linear and builds on the step before it, creating an air-tight strategy that doesn't leave any details out.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

3. Content Marketing Plan

This plan could highlight different strategies, tactics, and campaigns in which you'll use content to promote your business or product.

HubSpot's Comprehensive Guide for Content Marketing Strategy is a strong example of a content marketing plan:

marketing plan examples: hubspot content marketing plan

At HubSpot, we‘ve built our marketing team from two business school graduates working from a coffee table to a powerhouse of hundreds of employees. Along the way, we’ve learned countless lessons that shaped our current content marketing strategy. So, we decided to illustrate our insights in a blog post to teach marketers how to develop a successful content marketing strategy, regardless of their team's size.

Download Now: Free Content Marketing Planning Templates

In this comprehensive guide for modern marketers, you'll learn:

  • What exactly content marketing is.
  • Why your business needs a content marketing strategy.
  • Who should lead your content marketing efforts?
  • How to structure your content marketing team based on your company's size.
  • How to hire the right people for each role on your team.
  • What marketing tools and technology you'll need to succeed.
  • What type of content your team should create, and which employees should be responsible for creating them.
  • The importance of distributing your content through search engines, social media, email, and paid ads.
  • And finally, the recommended metrics each of your teams should measure and report to optimize your content marketing program.

This is a fantastic resource for content teams of any size — whether you're a team of one or 100. It includes how to hire and structure a content marketing team, what marketing tools you'll need, what type of content you should create, and even recommends what metrics to track for analyzing campaigns. If you're aiming to establish or boost your online presence, leveraging tools like HubSpot's drag-and-drop website builder can be extremely beneficial. It helps you create a captivating digital footprint that sets the foundation for your content marketing endeavors.

4. New Product Launch Marketing Plan

This will be a roadmap for the strategies and tactics you‘ll implement to promote a new product. And if you’re searching for an example, look no further than Chief Outsiders' Go-To-Market Plan for a New Product :

marketing plan examples: chief outsiders

After reading this plan, you'll learn how to:

  • Validate a product
  • Write strategic objectives
  • Identify your market
  • Compile a competitive landscape
  • Create a value proposition for a new product
  • Consider sales and service in your marketing plan

If you're looking for a marketing plan for a new product, the Chief Outsiders template is a great place to start. Marketing plans for a new product will be more specific because they target one product versus its entire marketing strategy.

5. Growth Marketing Plan

Growth marketing plans use experimentation and data to drive results, like we see in Venture Harbour’s Growth Marketing Plan Template :

marketing plan examples: venture harbour

Venture Harbour's growth marketing plan is a data-driven and experiment-led alternative to the more traditional marketing plan. Their template has five steps intended for refinement with every test-measure-learn cycle. The five steps are:

  • Experiments

Download Now: Free Growth Strategy Template

I recommend this plan if you want to experiment with different platforms and campaigns. Experimentation always feels risky and unfamiliar, but this plan creates a framework for accountability and strategy.

  • Louisville Tourism
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Visit Oxnard
  • Safe Haven Family Shelter
  • Wright County Economic Development
  • The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County
  • Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Visit Billings

1. Louisville Tourism

Louisville Tourism Marketing Plan

It also divides its target market into growth and seed categories to allow for more focused strategies. For example, the plan recognizes Millennials in Chicago, Atlanta, and Nashville as the core of it's growth market, whereas people in Boston, Austin, and New York represent seed markets where potential growth opportunities exist. Then, the plan outlines objectives and tactics for reaching each market.

Why This Marketing Plan Works

  • The plan starts with a letter from the President & CEO of the company, who sets the stage for the plan by providing a high-level preview of the incoming developments for Louisville's tourism industry
  • The focus on Louisville as "Bourbon City" effectively leverages its unique cultural and culinary attributes to present a strong brand
  • Incorporates a variety of data points from Google Analytics, Arrivalist, and visitor profiles to to define their target audience with a data-informed approach

2. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

University Illinois

For example, students who become prospects as freshman and sophomore will receive emails that focus on getting the most out of high school and college prep classes. Once these students become juniors and seniors — thus entering the consideration stage — the emails will focus more on the college application process and other exploratory content.

  • The plan incorporates competitive analysis, evaluation surveys, and other research to determine the makeup of its target audience
  • The plan lists each marketing program (e.g., direct mail, social media, email etc.) and supplements it with examples on the next page
  • Each marketing program has its own objectives, tactics, and KPIs for measuring success

3. Visit Oxnard

This marketing plan by Visit Oxnard, a convention and visitors bureau, is packed with all the information one needs in a marketing plan: target markets, key performance indicators, selling points, personas, marketing tactics by channel, and much more.

It also articulates the organization’s strategic plans for the upcoming fiscal year, especially as it grapples with the aftereffects of the pandemic. Lastly, it has impeccable visual appeal, with color-coded sections and strong branding elements.

  • States clear and actionable goals for the coming year
  • Includes data and other research that shows how their team made their decisions
  • Outlines how the team will measure the success of their plan

4. Safe Haven Family Shelter

marketing plan examples: safe haven family shelter

This marketing plan by a nonprofit organization is an excellent example to follow if your plan will be presented to internal stakeholders at all levels of your organization. It includes SMART marketing goals , deadlines, action steps, long-term objectives, target audiences, core marketing messages , and metrics.

The plan is detailed, yet scannable. By the end of it, one can walk away with a strong understanding of the organization’s strategic direction for its upcoming marketing efforts.

  • Confirms ongoing marketing strategies and objectives while introducing new initiatives
  • Uses colors, fonts, and formatting to emphasize key parts of the plan
  • Closes with long-term goals, key themes, and other overarching topics to set the stage for the future

5. Wright County Economic Development

marketing plan examples: wright county

Wright County Economic Development’s plan drew our attention because of its simplicity, making it good inspiration for those who’d like to outline their plan in broad strokes without frills or filler.

It includes key information such as marketing partners, goals, initiatives, and costs. The sections are easy to scan and contain plenty of information for those who’d like to dig into the details. Most important, it includes a detailed breakdown of projected costs per marketing initiative — which is critical information to include for upper-level managers and other stakeholders.

  • Begins with a quick paragraph stating why the recommended changes are important
  • Uses clear graphics and bullet points to emphasize key points
  • Includes specific budget data to support decision-making

6. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

marketing plan examples: cultural council of palm beach county

This marketing plan presentation by a cultural council is a great example of how to effectively use data in your plan, address audiences who are new to the industry, and offer extensive detail into specific marketing strategies.

For instance, an entire slide is dedicated to the county’s cultural tourism trends, and at the beginning of the presentation, the organization explains what an arts and culture agency is in the first place.

That’s a critical piece of information to include for those who might not know. If you’re addressing audiences outside your industry, consider defining terms at the beginning, like this organization did.

  • Uses quality design and images to support the goals and priorities in the text
  • Separate pages for each big idea or new strategy
  • Includes sections for awards and accomplishments to show how the marketing plan supports wider business goals
  • Defines strategies and tactics for each channel for easy skimming

7. Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau

marketing plan examples: carrabus county

Cabarrus County’s convention and visitors bureau takes a slightly different approach with its marketing plan, formatting it like a magazine for stakeholders to flip through. It offers information on the county’s target audience, channels, goals, KPIs, and public relations strategies and initiatives.

We especially love that the plan includes contact information for the bureau’s staff members, so that it’s easy for stakeholders to contact the appropriate person for a specific query.

  • Uses infographics to expand on specific concepts, like how visitors benefit a community
  • Highlights the team members responsible for each initiative with a photo to emphasize accountability and community
  • Closes with an event calendar for transparency into key dates for events

8. Visit Billings

marketing plan examples: visit billings

Visit Billing’s comprehensive marketing plan is like Cabarrus County’s in that it follows a magazine format. With sections for each planned strategy, it offers a wealth of information and depth for internal stakeholders and potential investors.

We especially love its content strategy section, where it details the organization’s prior efforts and current objectives for each content platform.

At the end, it includes strategic goals and budgets — a good move to imitate if your primary audience would not need this information highlighted at the forefront.

  • Includes a section on the buyer journey, which offers clarity on the reasoning for marketing plan decisions
  • Design includes call-outs for special topics that could impact the marketing audience, such as safety concerns or "staycations"
  • Clear headings make it easy to scan this comprehensive report and make note of sections a reader may want to return to for more detail

What is a typical marketing plan?

In my experience, most marketing plans outline the following aspects of a business's marketing:

  • Target audience

Each marketing plan should include one or more goals, the path your team will take to meet those goals, and how you plan to measure success.

For example, if I were a tech startup that's launching a new mobile app, my marketing plan would include:

  • Target audience or buyer personas for the app
  • Outline of how app features meet audience needs
  • Competitive analysis
  • Goals for conversion funnel and user acquisition
  • Marketing strategies and tactics for user acquisition

Featured resource : Free Marketing Plan Template

What should a good marketing plan include?

A good marketing plan will create a clear roadmap for your unique marketing team. This means that the best marketing plan for your business will be distinct to your team and business needs.

That said, most marketing plans will include sections for one or more of the following:

  • Clear analysis of the target market
  • A detailed description of the product or service
  • Strategic marketing mix details (such as product, price, place, promotion)
  • Measurable goals with defined timelines

This can help you build the best marketing plan for your business.

A good marketing plan should also include a product or service's unique value proposition, a comprehensive marketing strategy including online and offline channels, and a defined budget.

Featured resource : Value Proposition Templates

What are the most important parts of a marketing plan?

When you‘re planning a road trip, you need a map to help define your route, step-by-step directions, and an estimate of the time it will take to get to your destination. It’s literally how you get there that matters.

Like a road map, a marketing plan is only useful if it helps you get to where you want to go. So, no one part is more than the other.

That said, you can use the list below to make sure that you've added or at least considered each of the following in your marketing plan:

  • Marketing goals
  • Executive summary
  • Target market analysis
  • Marketing strategies

What questions should I ask when making a marketing plan?

Questions are a useful tool for when you‘re stuck or want to make sure you’ve included important details.

Try using one or more of these questions as a starting point when you create your marketing plan:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What are their needs, motivations, and pain points?
  • How does our product or service solve their problems?
  • How will I reach and engage them?
  • Who are my competitors? Are they direct or indirect competitors?
  • What are the unique selling points of my product or service?
  • What marketing channels are best for the brand?
  • What is our budget and timeline?
  • How will I measure the success of marketing efforts?

How much does a marketing plan cost?

Creating a marketing plan is mostly free. But the cost of executing a marketing plan will depend on your specific plan.

Marketing plan costs vary by business, industry, and plan scope. Whether your team handles marketing in-house or hires external consultants can also make a difference. Total costs can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. This is why most marketing plans will include a budget.

Featured resource : Free Marketing Budget Templates

What is a marketing plan template?

A marketing plan template is a pre-designed structure or framework that helps you outline your marketing plan.

It offers a starting point that you can customize for your specific business needs and goals. For example, our template includes easy-to-edit sections for:

  • Business summary
  • Business initiatives
  • Target market
  • Market strategy
  • Marketing channels
  • Marketing technology

Let’s create a sample plan together, step by step.

Follow along with HubSpot's free Marketing Plan Template .

HubSpot Mktg plan cover

1. Create an overview or primary objective.

Our business mission is to provide [service, product, solution] to help [audience] reach their [financial, educational, business related] goals without compromising their [your audience’s valuable asset: free time, mental health, budget, etc.]. We want to improve our social media presence while nurturing our relationships with collaborators and clients.

For example, if I wanted to focus on social media growth, my KPIs might look like this:

We want to achieve a minimum of [followers] with an engagement rate of [X] on [social media platform].

The goal is to achieve an increase of [Y] on recurring clients and new meaningful connections outside the platform by the end of the year.

Use the following categories to create a target audience for your campaign.

  • Profession:
  • Background:
  • Pain points:
  • Social media platforms that they use:
  • Streaming platforms that they prefer:

For more useful strategies, consider creating a buyer persona in our Make My Persona tool .

Our content pillars will be: [X, Y, Z].

Content pillars should be based on topics your audience needs to know. If your ideal clients are female entrepreneurs, then your content pillars can be: marketing, being a woman in business, remote working, and productivity hacks for entrepreneurs.

Then, determine any omissions.

This marketing plan won’t be focusing on the following areas of improvement: [A, B, C].

5. Define your marketing budget.

Our marketing strategy will use a total of [Y] monthly. This will include anything from freelance collaborations to advertising.

6. Identify your competitors.

I like to work through the following questions to clearly indicate who my competitors are:

  • Which platforms do they use the most?
  • How does their branding differentiate?
  • How do they talk to their audiences?
  • What valuable assets do customers talk about? And if they are receiving any negative feedback, what is it about?

7. Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

Create responsible parties for each portion of the plan.

Marketing will manage the content plan, implementation, and community interaction to reach the KPIs.

  • Social media manager: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Content strategist: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Community manager: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]

Sales will follow the line of the marketing work while creating and implementing an outreach strategy.

  • Sales strategists: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Sales executives: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]

Customer Service will nurture clients’ relationships to ensure that they have what they want. [Hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations].

Project Managers will track the progress and team communication during the project. [Hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations].

Get started on your marketing plan.

These marketing plans serve as initial resources to get your content marketing plan started. But, to truly deliver what your audience wants and needs, you'll likely need to test some different ideas out, measure their success, and then refine your goals as you go.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2019, but was updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure t o learn more about how we use AI.

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The Marketing Plan Section of the Business Plan

Writing The Business Plan: Section 5

Susan Ward wrote about small businesses for The Balance for 18 years. She has run an IT consulting firm and designed and presented courses on how to promote small businesses.

parts of marketing plan in business plan

  • Products, Services, and Your USP

Pricing and Positioning Strategy

Sales and distribution plan, advertising and promotion plan.

The marketing plan section of the business plan explains how you're going to get your customers to buy your products or services. The marketing plan, then, will include sections detailing your:

  • Products and services and your unique selling proposition (USP)
  • Pricing strategy
  • Sales and distribution plan
  • Advertising and promotions plan

The easiest way to develop your marketing plan is to work through each of these sections, referring to the market research you completed when you were writing the previous sections of the business plan . (Note that if you are developing a marketing plan on its own, rather than as part of a business plan, you will also need to include a target market and a competitors' analysis section.)

Let's look at each of these four sections in detail.

Products, Services, and Your Unique Selling Proposition

Focus on the uniqueness of your product or service and how the customer will benefit from what you're offering. Use these questions to write a paragraph summarizing these aspects for your marketing plan:

  • What are the features of your product or service?
  • Describe the physical attributes of your product or service and any other relevant features such as what it does or how it differs from competitors' offerings.
  • How will your product or service benefit the customer?
  • Remember that benefits can be intangible as well as tangible; for instance, if you're selling a cleaning product, your customers will benefit by having a cleaner house, but they may also benefit by enjoying better health. Brainstorm as many benefits as possible to begin with, then choose to emphasize the benefits that your targeted customers will most appreciate in your marketing plan.
  • What is it that sets your product or service apart from all the rest? In other words, what is your USP, the message you want your customers to receive about your product or service? This will be at the heart of your marketing plan.

Examples of Unique Selling Propositions

Unique selling propositions should be short (no more than a sentence) and concise. Here are a few great examples:

  • Domino's Pizza : "We deliver hot, fresh pizza in 30 minutes or less, or it's free."
  • FedEx Corporation : "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight."
  • M&Ms : "The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand ."
  • Dollar Shave Club: “Everything you need in the bathroom—from razor blades to grooming products—automatically delivered to your door. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.”

The pricing strategy portion of the marketing plan involves determining how you will price your product or service. The price you charge has to be competitive but still allow you to make a reasonable profit.

Being reasonable is key—you can charge any price you want to, but for every product or service there's a limit to how much the consumer is willing to pay. Your pricing strategy needs to take this consumer threshold into account.

The most common question small business people have about the pricing strategy section of the marketing plan is, "How do you know what price to charge?" Basically, you set your pricing through a process of calculating your costs, estimating the benefits to consumers, and comparing your products, services, and prices to others that are similar.

Set your pricing by examining how much it cost you to produce the product or service and adding a fair price for the benefits that the customer will enjoy. You may find it useful to conduct a  breakeven analysis to determine your minimum threshold. Competitor pricing will also help guide you toward the fair market value and help you determine how high you can reasonably go.  

The pricing strategy you outline in your marketing plan will answer the following questions:

  • What is the cost of your product or service? Make sure you include all your fixed and variable costs when you're calculating this. The costs of labor and materials are obvious, but you may also need to include freight costs, administrative costs, and selling costs, for example.
  • How does the pricing of your product or service compare to the market price of similar products or services?
  • Explain how the pricing of your product or service is competitive. For instance, if the price you plan to charge is lower, why are you able to do this? If it's higher, why would your customers be willing to pay more? This is where the strategy aspect comes into play; will your business be more competitive if you charge more, less, or the same as your competitors, and why?
  • What kind of return on investment (ROI) are you expecting with this pricing strategy, and within what time frame?

Remember, the primary goal of the marketing plan is to get people to buy your products or services. Here's where you detail how this is going to happen.

There are usually three parts to the sales and distribution section, although all three parts may not apply to your business.

Distribution Methods

  • How is your product or service going to get to the customer? Will you distribute your product or service through a website, through the mail, through sales representatives, home delivery, or through retail?
  • What distribution channel is going to be used? In a direct distribution channel, the product or service goes directly from the manufacturer to the consumer. In a one-stage distribution channel, it goes from manufacturer to retailer to consumer. The traditional distribution channel is from manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer. Outline all the different companies, people and technologies that will be involved in the process of getting your product or service to your customer.
  • What are the costs associated with distribution?
  • What are the delivery terms?
  • How will the distribution methods affect production time frames or delivery? How long will it take to get your product or service to your customer?

If your business involves selling a product, you should also include information about inventory levels and packaging in this part of your marketing plan. For instance:

  • How are your products to be packaged for shipping and for display?
  • Does the packaging meet all regulatory requirements (such as labeling)?
  • Is the packaging appropriately coded, priced, and complementary to the product?
  • What minimum inventory levels must be maintained to ensure that there is no loss of sales due to problems such as late shipments and backorders?

Transaction Process

  • What system will be used for processing orders, shipping, and billing?
  • What methods of payment will customers be able to use?
  • What credit terms will customers be offered? If you will offer discounts for early payment or impose penalties for late payment, they should be mentioned in this part of your marketing plan.
  • What is your return policy?
  • What warranties will the customer be offered? Describe these or any other service guarantees.
  • What after-sale support will you offer customers and what will you charge (if anything) for this support?
  • Is there a system for customer feedback so customer satisfaction (or the lack of it) can be tracked and addressed?

Sales Strategy

  • What types of salespeople will be involved (commissioned salespeople, product demonstrators, telephone solicitors, etc.)?
  • Describe your expectations of these salespeople and how sales effectiveness will be measured.
  • Will a sales training program be offered? If so, describe it in this section of the marketing plan.
  • Describe the incentives salespeople will be offered to encourage their achievements (such as getting new accounts, the most orders, etc.).

Essentially the advertising and promotion section of the marketing plan describes how you're going to deliver your USP to your prospective customers. While there are literally thousands of different promotion avenues available to you, what distinguishes a successful plan from an unsuccessful one is the focus—and that's what your USP provides.

So think first of the message that you want to send to your target audience. Then look at these promotion possibilities and decide which to emphasize in your marketing plan:

Advertising

The best approach to advertising is to think of it in terms of media—specifically, which media will be most effective in reaching your target market. Then you can make decisions about how much of your annual advertising budget you're going to spend on each medium.

What percentage of your annual advertising budget will you invest in applicable methods of advertising, such as:

  • The internet (including business website, email, social media campaigns, etc.)
  • Direct mail
  • Door-to-door flyer delivery
  • Cooperative advertising with wholesalers, retailers, or other businesses
  • Directories
  • Bench/bus/subway ads

Include not only the cost of the advertising but your projections about how much business the advertising will bring in. 

Sales Promotion

If it's appropriate to your business, you may want to incorporate sales promotional activities into your advertising and promotion plan, such as:

  • Offering free samples
  • Point of purchase displays
  • Product demonstrations

Marketing Materials

Every business will include some of these in its promotion plans. The most common marketing material is the business card, but brochures, pamphlets, and service sheets are also popular.

This is another avenue of promotion that every business should use. Describe how you plan to generate publicity. While press releases spring to mind, that's only one way to get people spreading the word about your business. Consider:

  • Product launches
  • Social media
  • Special events, including community involvement
  • Writing articles
  • Getting and using testimonials

Your Business's Website

If your business has or will have a website and a business Facebook page, describe how these fit into your advertising and promotion plan.

Trade Shows

Trade shows can be incredibly effective promotion and sales opportunities if you pick the right ones and go equipped to put your promotion plan into action.

Other Promotion Activities

Your promotion activities are limited only by your imagination. But whether you plan to teach a course, sponsor a community event, or conduct an email campaign, you'll want to include it in your advertising and promotion plan. Sporadic, disconnected attempts to promote your product or service are bound to fail. Your goal is to plan and carry out a sequence of focused promotion activities that will communicate the message you want to send about your products or services.

No business is too small to have a marketing plan. After all, no business is too small for customers or clients. And if you have these, you need to communicate with them about what you have to offer.

Harvard Business Review. " How to Find Out What Customers Will Pay ." Accessed Jan. 16, 2020.

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What Is a Marketing Plan?

Understanding marketing plans, how to write a marketing plan, marketing plan vs. business plan.

  • Marketing Plan FAQs

The Bottom Line

  • Marketing Essentials

Investopedia / Zoe Hansen

What Is a Marketing Plan? Types and How to Write One

James Chen, CMT is an expert trader, investment adviser, and global market strategist.

parts of marketing plan in business plan

Pete Rathburn is a copy editor and fact-checker with expertise in economics and personal finance and over twenty years of experience in the classroom.

parts of marketing plan in business plan

A marketing plan is an operational document that outlines an advertising strategy that an organization will implement to generate leads and reach its target market . A marketing plan details the outreach and PR campaigns to be undertaken over a period, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives. The functions and components of a marketing plan include the following:

  • Market research to support pricing decisions and new market entries
  • Tailored messaging that targets certain demographics and geographic areas
  • Platform selection for product and service promotion: digital, radio, Internet, trade magazines, and the mix of those platforms for each campaign
  • Metrics that measure the results of marketing efforts and their reporting timelines

A marketing plan is based on a company’s overall marketing strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • The marketing plan details the strategy that a company will use to market its products to customers.
  • The plan identifies the target market, the value proposition of the brand or the product, the campaigns to be initiated, and the metrics to be used to assess the effectiveness of marketing initiatives.
  • The marketing plan should be adjusted on an ongoing basis based on the findings from the metrics that show which efforts are having an impact and which are not.
  • Digital marketing shows results in near real-time, whereas TV ads require rotation to realize any level of market penetration.
  • A marketing plan is part of a business plan, which describes all of the important aspects of a business, such as its goals, values, mission statement, budget, and strategies.

The terms marketing plan and marketing strategy are often used interchangeably because a marketing plan is developed based on an overarching strategic framework. In some cases, the strategy and the plan may be incorporated into one document, particularly for smaller companies that may only run one or two major campaigns in a year. The plan outlines marketing activities on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis while the marketing strategy outlines the overall value proposition.

Types of Marketing Plans

There are a variety of different marketing plans that suit different businesses and different business needs.

New Product Launch: This is a marketing plan that outlines how a new product will enter the market, who it will target, and in what way advertising will be done.

Social Media: A social media marketing plan focuses on the advertising strategies on different social media platforms and how to engage with the users on these platforms.

Time-Based: Time-based marketing plans, such as those that are executed quarterly or annually, focus on the time of the year, the current condition of the business, and the best strategies in that period.

Mission and Value Proposition

A marketing plan considers the value proposition of a business. The value proposition is the overall promise of value to be delivered to the customer and is a statement that appears front and center of the company website or any branding materials.

The value proposition should state how a product or brand solves the customer's problem, the benefits of the product or brand, and why the customer should buy from this company and not another. The marketing plan is based on this value proposition to the customer.

Establishing your key performance indicators (KPIs) will allow you to measure the success of your marketing plan in relation to your company's value proposition. For example, if your goal is to engage with a certain demographic in a certain region, you can track social media and website visits.

The most effective digital marketing techniques in 2020 according to marketers are content marketing and marketing automation.

Identify Your Target Market

The marketing plan identifies the target market for a product or brand. Market research is often the basis for a target market and marketing channel decisions. For example, whether the company will advertise on the radio, on social media, through online ads, or on regional TV. 

Knowing who you want to sell to and why is an extremely critical component of any business plan. It allows you to focus your business and measure its success. Different demographics have different tastes and needs, knowing what your target market is will help you market to them.

Strategy and Execution

The marketing plan includes the rationale for these decisions. The plan should focus on the creation, timing, scheduling, and placement of specific campaigns. The plan will include the metrics that will measure the outcomes of your marketing efforts. For example, will you advertise on the radio or on social media? What time will you air advertisements if they are on the radio or TV? The strategy may include flighting scheduling , which includes the times when you can make the most of your advertising dollars.

Set Your Budget

A marketing plan costs money. Knowing your budget for a marketing plan will allow you to create a suitable plan within that context, stick to it, and prevent runaway costs. It will also help you allocate to different areas of your marketing plan.

Adjust Your Plan

A marketing plan can be adjusted at any point based on the results from the metrics. If digital ads are performing better than expected, for example, the budget for a campaign can be adjusted to fund a higher-performing platform or the company can initiate a new budget. The challenge for marketing leaders is to ensure that every platform has sufficient time to show results.

Without the correct metrics to assess the impact of outreach and marketing efforts, an organization will not know which campaigns to repeat and which ones to drop; maintaining ineffective initiatives will unnecessarily increase marketing costs.

Digital marketing shows results in near real-time, whereas TV ads require rotation to realize any level of market penetration. In the traditional marketing mix model, a marketing plan would fall under the category of "promotion," which is one of the four Ps , a term coined by Neil Borden to describe the marketing mix of product, price, promotion, and place.

A business plan details how a business will operate and function in its entirety. A business plan is a roadmap for a business. It will cover the goals, missions , values, financials, and strategies that the business will use in day-to-day operations and in the achievement of its objectives.

A business plan will include an executive summary, the products and services sold, a marketing analysis, a marketing strategy, financial planning, and a budget , to name but a few items.

As mentioned, a business plan will include a marketing plan, which focuses on creating a marketing strategy on how to bring awareness to the public of the company's product or service, how to reach the target market, and generate sales.

Example of a Marketing Plan

John came up with a new business idea that he believes is a niche offering in the market. He decides to start a business and his first step is creating a business plan that outlines all of the objectives, goals, values, pitfalls, and finances of his company.

John is able to raise enough capital from friends and family to get started, hires a few employees, and eventually creates his product. He now has to start selling his product and generate sales to keep his business operating.

To achieve this, John, with the help of a marketing company, creates a marketing plan. The marketing plan consists of market research that details the target market for John's product, which is recently retired men.

The marketing plan then comes up with the best methods of reaching this target market. The marketing plan stresses radio and television as opposed to social media as older, retired men use social media less than traditional forms of media, according to the market research that was conducted.

The ads are tailored to the target market, showing how John's product will benefit their lives, particularly when compared to market alternatives. Once the marketing plan has been executed, the marketing team analyzes how the efforts translate into sales.

What Is a Marketing Plan Template?

A marketing plan template is a document that an individual can use to create a marketing plan. The marketing plan template will contain all the important elements and the various needed language with blank sections. A user can insert their own information related to their business in the blank sections to ultimately create their own marketing plan.

What Is an Executive Summary in a Marketing Plan?

The executive summary of a marketing plan provides a brief overview of the entire marketing plan. The executive summary will contain the key findings of the market research, the company's objectives, marketing goals, an overview of the marketing trends, the description of the product or service being marketed, information on the target market, and how to financially plan for the marketing plan.

What Is a Top-Down Marketing Strategy?

A top-down marketing strategy is a traditional marketing strategy. This is where a business determines who it should sell to and how, and the customer base is largely passive and spurred to take action once they hear the advertisement. For example, a top-down marketing strategy would include ads on radio or television. Top-down marketing strategies are usually determined by the executives of a firm. It usually consists of what a firm desires to do and then determining a way to do it.

What Is a Bottom-Up Marketing Strategy?

A bottom-up marketing strategy focuses on discovering a workable strategy and then building on that strategy to create an impactful advertising campaign. Today's consumer wants to relate to a product or service in a meaningful way and a bottom-up marketing strategy is better suited to this. A bottom-up marketing strategy should focus on the target market and how better to create value for them.

How Much Does a Marketing Plan Cost?

The cost of a marketing plan will vary based on the company, the complexity, and the length of the overall strategy. The cost can range anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000.

A marketing plan is the advertising strategy that a business will implement to sell its product or service. The marketing plan will help determine who the target market is, how best to reach them, at what price point the product or service should be sold, and how the company will measure its efforts.

Constantly monitoring and adjusting a market plan is an important part of running a business as it shows what are the best and worst ways to generate sales. Without a successful marketing plan, a business may not be able to continue operating for very long.

Statista. " Most Effective Digital Marketing Techniques According to Marketers Worldwide in 2020 ."

Laire. " How Much Does a Marketing Plan Cost? "

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Blog Marketing

What is a Marketing Plan & How to Create One [with Examples]

By Sara McGuire , Oct 26, 2023

Marketing Plan Venngage

A marketing plan is a blueprint that outlines your strategies to attract and convert your ideal customers. It’s a comprehensive document that details your:

  • Target audience:  Who you’re trying to reach
  • Marketing goals:  What you want to achieve
  • Strategies and tactics:  How you’ll reach your goals
  • Budget:  Resources you’ll allocate
  • Metrics:  How you’ll measure success

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about creating a marketing plan . If you need a little extra help, there are professionally designed marketing plan templates that’ll make the process much easier. So, let’s ditch the confusion and get started!

Click to jump ahead:

What is a marketing plan?

  • How to write a marketing plan 
  • Marketing plan v.s. business plan
  • Types of marketing plans

9 marketing plan examples to inspire your growth strategy

Marketing plan faqs.

A marketing plan is a report that outlines your marketing strategy for your products or services, which could be applicable for the coming year, quarter or month.  

Watch this quick, 13-minute video for more details on what a marketing plan is and how to make one yourself:

Typically, a marketing plan includes:

  • An overview of your business’s marketing and advertising goals
  • A description of your business’s current marketing position
  • A timeline of when tasks within your strategy will be completed
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) you will be tracking
  • A description of your business’s target market and customer needs
  • A description of how you will measure the performance of the strategy

For example, this marketing plan template provides a high-level overview of the business and competitors before diving deep into specific goals, KPIs and tactics:

Orange Content Marketing Plan Template

Learning how to write a marketing plan forces you to think through the important steps that lead to an effective marketing strategy . And a well-defined plan will help you stay focused on your high-level marketing goals.

With Venngage’s extensive catalog of marketing plan templates , creating your marketing plan isn’t going to be hard or tedious. In fact, Venngage has plenty of helpful communications and design resources for marketers. If you’re ready to get started, sign up for  Venngage for Marketers   now. It’s free to register and start designing.

Venngage for Marketers Page Header

Whether you’re a team trying to set smarter marketing goals, a consultant trying to set your client in the right direction, or a one-person team hustling it out, Venngage for Marketers helps you get things done.

How to write a marketing plan 

As mentioned above, the scope of your marketing plan varies depending on its purpose or the type of organization it’s for.

For example, you could create a marketing plan that provides an overview of a company’s entire marketing strategy or simply focus on a specific channel like SEO, social media marketing, content marketing and more, like in this example:

content marketing plan template

A typical outline of a marketing plan includes:

  • Executive summary
  • Goals and objectives
  • User personas
  • Competitor analysis/SWOT analysis
  • Baseline metrics
  • Marketing strategy
  • Tracking guidelines

Below you will see in details how to write each section as well as some examples of how you can design each section in a marketing plan.

Let’s look at how to create a successful marketing plan (click to jump ahead):

  • Write a simple executive summary
  • Set metric-driven marketing goals
  • Outline your user personas
  • Research all of your competitors
  • Set accurate key baselines & metrics
  • Create an actionable marketing strategy
  • Set tracking or reporting guidelines

1. Write a simple executive summary

Starting your marketing plan off on the right foot is important. You want to pull people into your amazing plan for marketing domination. Not bore them to tears.

Creative Marketing Plan Executive Summary

One of the best ways to get people excited to read your marketing plan is with a well-written executive summary. An executive summary introduces readers to your company goals, marketing triumphs, future plans, and other important contextual facts.

Standard Business Proposal Executive Summary

Basically, you can use the Executive Summary as a primer for the rest of your marketing plan.

Include things like:

  • Simple marketing goals
  • High-level metrics
  • Important company milestones
  • Facts about your brand
  • Employee anecdotes
  • Future goals & plans

Try to keep your executive summary rather brief and to the point. You aren’t writing a novel, so try to keep it under three to four paragraphs.

Take a look at the executive summary in the marketing plan example below:

Content Marketing Proposal Executive Summary

The executive summary is only two paragraphs long — short but effective.

The executive summary tells readers about the company’s growth, and how they are about to overtake one of their competitors. But there’s no mention of specific metrics or figures. That will be highlighted in the next section of the marketing plan.

An effective executive summary should have enough information to pique the reader’s interest, but not bog them down with specifics yet. That’s what the rest of your marketing plan is for!

The executive summary also sets the tone for your marketing plan. Think about what tone will fit your brand ? Friendly and humorous? Professional and reliable? Inspiring and visionary?

2. Set metric-driven marketing goals

After you perfect your executive summary, it’s time to outline your marketing goals.

(If you’ve never set data-driven goals like this before, it would be worth reading this growth strategy guide ).

This is one of the most important parts of the entire marketing plan, so be sure to take your time and be as clear as possible.

As a rule of thumb, be as specific as possible. The folks over at  VoyMedia  advise that you should set goals that impact website traffic, conversions, and customer success — and to use real numbers.

Avoid outlining vague goals like:

  • Get more Twitter followers
  • Write more articles
  • Create more YouTube videos (like educational or Explainer videos )
  • Increase retention rate
  • Decrease bounce rate

Instead, identify  key performance metrics  (KPI) you want to impact and the percentage you want to increase them by.

Take a look at the goals page in the marketing plan example below:

Creative Marketing Plan Goals

They not only identify a specific metric in each of their goals, but they also set a timeline for when they will be increased.

The same vague goals listed earlier become much clearer when specific numbers and timelines are applied to them:

  • Get 100 new Twitter followers per month
  • Write 5 more articles per week
  • Create 10 YouTube videos each year
  • Increase retention rate by 15% by 2020
  • Decrease bounce rate by 5% by Q1
  • Create an online course  and get 1,000 new leads

You can dive even deeper into your marketing goals if you want (generally, the more specific, the better). Here’s a marketing plan example that shows how to outline your growth goals:

Growth Goals Roadmap Template for a Marketing Plan

3. Outline your user personas

Now, this may not seem like the most important part of your marketing plan, but I think it holds a ton of value.

Outlining your user personas is an important part of a marketing plan that should not be overlooked.

You should be asking not just how you can get the most visitors to your business, but how you can get the right visitors.

Who are your ideal customers? What are their goals? What are their biggest problems? How does your business solve customer problems?

Answering these questions will take lots of research, but it’s essential information to get.

Some ways to conduct user research are:

  • Interviewing your users (either in person or on the phone)
  • Conducting focus groups
  • Researching other businesses in the same industry
  • Surveying your audience

Then, you will need to compile your user data into a user persona  guide.

Take a look at how detailed this user persona template is below:

Persona Marketing Report Template

Taking the time to identify specific demographic traits, habits and goals will make it easier for you to cater your marketing plan to them.

Here’s how you can create a user persona guide:

The first thing you should add is a profile picture or icon for each user persona. It can help to put a face to your personas, so they seem more real.

Marketing Persona

Next, list demographic information like:

  • Identifiers
  • Activities/Hobbies

The user persona example above uses sliding scales to identify personality traits like introversion vs. extroversion and thinking vs. feeling. Identifying what type of personality your target users tend to have an influence on the messaging you use in your marketing content.

Meanwhile, this user persona guide identifies specific challenges the user faces each day:

Content Marketing Proposal Audience Personas

But if you don’t want to go into such precise detail, you can stick to basic information, like in this marketing plan example:

Social Media Plan Proposal Template Ideal Customers

Most businesses will have a few different types of target users. That’s why it’s pertinent to identify and create several different user personas . That way, you can better segment your marketing campaigns and set separate goals, if necessary.

Here’s a marketing plan example with a segmented user persona guide:

Mobile App Market Report

The important thing is for your team or client to have a clear picture of who their target user is and how they can appeal to their specific problems.

Start creating robust user personas using Venngage’s user persona guide .

4. Conduct an extensive competitor analysis

Next, on the marketing plan checklist, we have the competitor research section. This section will help you identify who your competitors are, what they’re doing, and how you could carve yourself a place alongside them in your niche — and ideally, surpass them. It’s something you can learn to do with rank tracking software .

Competitor research is also incredibly important if you are starting a blog .

Typically, your competitor research should include:

  • Who their marketing team is
  • Who their leadership team is
  • What their marketing strategy is (this will probably revolve some reverse-engineering)
  • What their sales strategy is (same deal)
  • Social Media strategy (are they using discounting strategies such as coupon marketing to get conversions)
  • Their market cap/financials
  • Their yearly growth (you will probably need to use a marketing tool like Ahrefs to do this)
  • The number of customers they have & their user personas

Also, take as deep a dive as you can into the strategies they use across their:

  • Blog/Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO Marketing
  • Video marketing
  • And any other marketing tactics they use

Research their strengths and weaknesses in all parts of their company, and you will find some great opportunities. Bookmark has a great guide to different marketing strategies for small businesses  if you need some more information there.

You can use this simple SWOT analysis worksheet to quickly work through all parts of their strategy as well:

Competitive SWOT Analysis

Click the template above to create a SWOT chart . Customize the template to your liking — no design know-how needed.

Since you have already done all the research beforehand, adding this information to your marketing plan shouldn’t be that hard.

In this marketing plan example, some high-level research is outlined for 3 competing brands:

Content Marketing Proposal Competitive Research

But you could take a deeper dive into different facets of your competitors’ strategies. This marketing plan example analyses a competitor’s content marketing strategy:

Competitor-Analysis-Content-Marketing-Plan-Template

It can also be helpful to divide your competitors into Primary and Secondary groups. For example, Apple’s primary competitor may be Dell for computers, but its secondary competitor could be a company that makes tablets.

Your most dangerous competitors may not even be in the same industry as you. Like the CEO of Netflix said, “Sleep is our competition.”

5. Set accurate key baselines & metrics

It’s pretty hard to plan for the future if you don’t know where your business stands right now.

Before we do anything at Venngage, we find the baselines so we can compare future results to something. We do it so much it’s almost like second nature now!

Setting baselines will allow you to more accurately track your progress. You will also be able to better analyze what worked and what didn’t work, so you can build a stronger strategy. It will definitely help them clearly understand your goals and strategy as well.

Here’s a marketing plan example where the baselines are visualized:

Social Media Marketing Proposal Success Metrics

Another way to include baselines in your plan is with a simple chart, like in the marketing plan example below:

Simple-Blue-Social-Media-Marketing-Plan

Because data can be intimidating to a lot of people, visualizing your data using charts and infographics will help demystify the information.

6. Create an actionable marketing strategy

After pulling all the contextual information and relevant metrics into your marketing plan, it’s time to break down your marketing strategy.

Once again, it’s easier to communicate your information to your team or clients using visuals .

Mind maps are an effective way to show how a strategy with many moving parts ties together. For example, this mind map shows how the four main components of a marketing strategy interact together:

Marketing Plan Mind Map Template

You can also use a flow chart to map out your strategy by objectives:

Action Plan Mind Map

However you choose to visualize your strategy, your team should know exactly what they need to do. This is not the time to keep your cards close to your chest.

Your strategy section may need to take up a few pages to explain, like in the marketing plan example below:

Creative-Modern-Content-Marketing-Plan-Template

With all of this information, even someone from the development team will understand what the marketing team is working on.

This minimalistic marketing plan example uses color blocks to make the different parts of the strategy easy to scan:

Blue-Simple-Social-Media-Marketing-Plan-Template

Breaking your strategy down into tasks will make it easier to tackle.

Another important way to visualize your marketing strategy is to create a project roadmap. A project roadmap visualizes the timeline of your product with individual tasks. Our roadmap maker can help you with this.

For example, this project roadmap shows how tasks on both the marketing and web design side run parallel to each other:

Simple Product Roadmap Plan Template

A simple timeline can also be used in your marketing plan:

Strategy Timeline Infographic

Or a mind map, if you want to include a ton of information in a more organized way:

Business Strategy Mindmap Template

Even a simple “Next, Now, Later” chart can help visualize your strategy:

3 Step Product Roadmap Template

7. Set tracking or reporting guidelines

Close your marketing plan with a brief explanation of how you plan to track or measure your results. This will save you a lot of frustration down the line by standardizing how you track results across your team.

Like the other sections of your marketing plan, you can choose how in-depth you want to go. But there need to be some clear guidelines on how to measure the progress and results of your marketing plan.

At the bare minimum, your results tracking guidelines should specify:

  • What you plan to track
  • How you plan to track results
  • How often you plan to measure

But you can more add tracking guidelines to your marketing plan if you see the need to. You may also want to include a template that your team or client can follow,  for  client reporting ,  ensure that the right metrics are being tracked.

Marketing Checklist

The marketing plan example below dedicates a whole page to tracking criteria:

SEO Marketing Proposal Measuring Results

Use a task tracker to track tasks and marketing results, and a checklist maker to note down tasks, important life events, or tracking your daily life.

Similarly, the marketing plan example below talks about tracking content marketing instead:

Social Media Marketing Proposal

Marketing plan vs. marketing strategy

Although often used interchangeably, the terms “marketing plan” and “marketing strategy” do have some differences.

Simply speaking, a marketing strategy presents what the business will do in order to reach a certain goal. A marketing plan outlines the specific daily, weekly, monthly or yearly activities that the marketing strategy calls for. As a business, you can create a marketing proposal for the marketing strategies defined in your company’s marketing plan. There are various marketing proposal examples that you can look at to help with this.

A company’s extended marketing strategy can be like this:

marketing strategy mind map

Notice how it’s more general and doesn’t include the actual activities required to complete each strategy or the timeframe those marketing activities will take place. That kind of information is included in a marketing plan, like this marketing plan template which talks about the content strategy in detail:

Content Marketing Proposal

Marketing plan v.s business plan

While both marketing plans and business plans are crucial documents for businesses, they serve distinct purposes and have different scopes. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences:

Business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines all aspects of your business, including:

  • Mission and vision
  • Products or services
  • Target market
  • Competition
  • Management team
  • Financial projections
  • Marketing strategy (including a marketing plan)
  • Operations plan

Marketing plan on the other hand, dives deep into the specific strategies and tactics related to your marketing efforts. It expands on the marketing section of a business plan by detailing:

  • Specific marketing goals (e.g., brand awareness, lead generation, sales)
  • Target audience analysis (detailed understanding of their needs and behaviors)
  • Product:  Features, benefits, positioning
  • Price:  Pricing strategy, discounts
  • Place:  Distribution channels (online, offline)
  • Promotion:  Advertising, social media, content marketing, public relations
  • Budget allocation for different marketing activities
  • Metrics and measurement to track progress and success

In short, business plans paint the entire business picture, while marketing plans zoom in on the specific strategies used to reach your target audience and achieve marketing goals.

Types of marketing plans that can transform your business strategy

Let’s take a look at several types of marketing plans you can create, along with specific examples for each.

1. General marketing strategic plan / Annual marketing plan

This is a good example of a marketing plan that covers the overarching annual marketing strategy for a company:

marketing strategy template marketing plan

Another good example would be this Starbucks marketing plan:

Starbucks marketing plan example

This one-page marketing plan example from coffee chain Starbucks has everything at a glance. The bold headers and subheadings make it easier to segment the sections so readers can focus on the area most relevant to them.

What we like about this example is how much it covers. From the ideal buyer persona to actional activities, as well as positioning and metrics, this marketing plan has it all.

Another marketing plan example that caught our eye is this one from Cengage. Although a bit text-heavy and traditional, it explains the various sections well. The clean layout makes this plan easy to read and absorb.

Cengage marketing plan example

The last marketing plan example we would like to feature in this section is this one from Lush cosmetics.

It is a long one but it’s also very detailed. The plan outlines numerous areas, including the company mission, SWOT analysis , brand positioning, packaging, geographical criteria, and much more.

Lush marketing plan

2. Content marketing plan

A content marketing plan highlights different strategies , campaigns or tactics you can use for your content to help your business reach its goals.

This one-page marketing plan example from Contently outlines a content strategy and workflow using simple colors and blocks. The bullet points detail more information but this plan can easily be understood at a glance, which makes it so effective.

contently marketing plan

For a more detailed content marketing plan example, take a look at this template which features an editorial calendar you can share with the whole team:

nonprofit content marketing plan

3. SEO marketing plan

Your SEO marketing plan highlights what you plan to do for your SEO marketing strategy . This could include tactics for website on-page optimization , off-page optimization using AI SEO , and link building using an SEO PowerSuite backlink API for quick backlink profile checks.

This SEO marketing plan example discusses in detail the target audience of the business and the SEO plan laid out in different stages:

SEO marketing plan example

4. Social media marketing plan

Your social media marketing plan presents what you’ll do to reach your marketing goal through social media. This could include tactics specific to each social media channel that you own, recommendations on developing a new channel, specific campaigns you want to run, and so on, like how B2B channels use Linkedin to generate leads with automation tools and expand their customer base; or like making use of Twitter walls that could display live Twitter feeds from Twitter in real-time on digital screens.

Edit this social media marketing plan example easily with Venngage’s drag-and-drop editor:

social media marketing plan example

5. Demand generation marketing plan

This could cover your paid marketing strategy (which can include search ads, paid social media ads, traditional advertisements, etc.), email marketing strategy and more. Here’s an example:

promotional marketing plan

1. Free marketing plan template

Here’s a free nonprofit marketing plan example that is ideal for organizations with a comprehensive vision to share. It’s a simple plan that is incredibly effective. Not only does the plan outline the core values of the company, it also shares the ideal buyer persona.

parts of marketing plan in business plan

Note how the branding is consistent throughout this example so there is no doubt which company is presenting this plan. The content plan is an added incentive for anyone viewing the document to go ahead and give the team the green light.

2. Pastel social media marketing campaign template

Two-page marketing plan samples aren’t very common, but this free template proves how effective they are. There’s a dedicated section for business goals as well as for project planning .

Pastel Social Media Marketing Plan Template

The milestones for the marketing campaign are clearly laid out, which is a great way to show how organized this business strategy is.

3. Small business marketing strategy template

This marketing plan template is perfect for small businesses who set out to develop an overarching marketing strategy for the whole year:

Notice how this aligns pretty well with the marketing plan outline we discussed in previous sections.

In terms of specific tactics for the company’s marketing strategy, the template only discusses SEO strategy, but you can certainly expand on that section to discuss any other strategies — such as link building , that you would like to build out a complete marketing plan for.

4. Orange simple marketing proposal template

Marketing plans, like the sample below, are a great way to highlight what your business strategy and the proposal you wan to put forward to win potential customers.

Orange Simple Marketing Proposal Template

5. One-page marketing fact sheet template

This one-page marketing plan example is great for showcasing marketing efforts in a persuasive presentation or to print out for an in-person meeting.

Nonprofit Healthcare Company Fact Sheet Template

Note how the fact sheet breaks down the marketing budget as well as the key metrics for the organization. You can win over clients and partners with a plan like this.

6. Light company business fact sheet template

This one-page sample marketing plan clearly outlines the marketing objectives for the organization. It’s a simple but effective way to share a large amount of information in a short amount of time.

Light Company Business Fact Sheet Template

What really works with this example is that includes a mission statement, key contact information alongside all the key metrics.

7. Marketing media press kit template

This press kit marketing plan template is bright and unmistakable as belonging to the Cloud Nine marketing agency . The way the brand colors are used also helps diversify the layouts for each page, making the plan easier to read.

Marketing Media Press Kit Template

We like the way the marketing department has outlined the important facts about the organization. The bold and large numbers draw the eye and look impressive.

8. Professional marketing proposal template

Start your marketing campaign on a promising note with this marketing plan template. It’s short, sharp and to the point. The table of contents sets out the agenda, and there’s a page for the company overview and mission statement.

Professional Marketing Proposal Template

9. Social media marketing proposal template

A complete marketing plan example, like the one below, not only breaks down the business goals to be achieved but a whole lot more. Note how the terms and conditions and payment schedule are included, which makes this one of the most comprehensive marketing plans on our list.

Checkered Social Media Marketing Proposal Template

What should marketing plans include?

Marketing plans should include:

  • A detailed analysis of the target market and customer segments.
  • Clear and achievable marketing objectives and goals.
  • Strategies and tactics for product promotion and distribution.
  • Budget allocation for various marketing activities.
  • Timelines and milestones for the implementation of marketing strategies.
  • Evaluation metrics and methods for tracking the success of the marketing plan.

What is an executive summary in a marketing plan and what is its main goal?

An executive summary in a marketing plan is a brief overview of the entire document, summarizing the key points, goals, and strategies. Its main goal is to provide readers with a quick understanding of the plan’s purpose and to entice them to read further.

What are the results when a marketing plan is effective?

When a marketing plan is effective, businesses can experience increased brand visibility, higher customer engagement, improved sales and revenue, and strengthened customer loyalty.

What is the first section of a marketing plan?

The first section of a marketing plan is typically the “Executive Summary,” which provides a concise overview of the entire plan, including the business’s goals and the strategies to achieve them.

Now that you have the basics for designing your own marketing plan, it’s time to get started:

More marketing design guides and templates:

  • Marketing Infographics: The Definitive Guide [Includes Infographic Templates]
  • 20+ Business Pitch Deck Templates to Win New Clients and Investors
  • 20+ White Paper Examples [Design Guide + White Paper Templates]
  • The Evolution of Marketing [Timeline Infographic]
  • Marketing |
  • How to create a winning marketing plan, ...

How to create a winning marketing plan, with 3 examples from world-class teams

Caeleigh MacNeil contributor headshot

A marketing plan helps leaders clearly visualize marketing strategies across channels, so they can ensure every campaign drives pipeline and revenue. In this article you’ll learn eight steps to create a winning marketing plan that brings business-critical goals to life, with examples from word-class teams.

quotation mark

To be successful as a marketer, you have to deliver the pipeline and the revenue.”

In other words—they need a well-crafted marketing plan.

Level up your marketing plan to drive revenue in 2024

Learn how to create the right marketing plan to hit your revenue targets in 2024. Hear best practices from marketing experts, including how to confidently set and hit business goals, socialize marketing plans, and move faster with clearer resourcing.

level up your marketing plan to drive revenue in 2024

7 steps to build a comprehensive marketing plan

How do you build the right marketing plan to hit your revenue goals? Follow these eight steps for success:

1. Define your plan

First you need to define each specific component of your plan to ensure stakeholders are aligned on goals, deliverables, resources, and more. Ironing out these details early on ensures your plan supports the right business objectives, and that you have sufficient resources and time to get the job done. 

Get started by asking yourself the following questions: 

What resources do I need? 

What is the vision?

What is the value?

What is the goal?

Who is my audience?

What are my channels?

What is the timeline?

For example, imagine you’re creating an annual marketing plan to improve customer adoption and retention in the next fiscal year. Here’s how you could go through the questions above to ensure you’re ready to move forward with your plan: 

I will need support from the content team, web team, and email team to create targeted content for existing customers. One person on each team will need to be dedicated full-time to this initiative. To achieve this, the marketing team will need an additional $100K in budget and one new headcount. 

What is the vision?  

To create a positive experience for existing customers, address new customer needs, and encourage them to upgrade. We’ll do this by serving them how-to content, new feature updates, information about deals and pricing, and troubleshooting guides. 

According to the Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) , CEOs and go-to-market leaders report that more than 60% of their net-new revenue will come from existing customers in 2023. By retaining and building on the customers we have, we can maintain revenue growth over time. 

To decrease the customer churn rate from 30% to 10%, and increase upgrades from 20% to 30% in the next fiscal year. 

All existing customers. 

The main channel will be email. Supporting marketing channels include the website, blog, YouTube, and social media. 

The first half of the next fiscal year. 

One of the most important things to do as you create your marketing strategy is to identify your target audience . As with all marketing, you need to know who you’re marketing to. If you’re having a hard time determining who exactly your target audience is, try the bullseye targeting framework . The bullseye makes it easy for you to determine who your target audience is by industry, geography, company size, psychographics, demographics, and more.

2. Identify key metrics for success 

Now it’s time to define what key marketing metrics you’ll use to measure success. Your key metrics will help you measure and track the performance of your marketing activities. They’ll also help you understand how your efforts tie back to larger business goals. 

Once you establish key metrics, use a goal-setting framework—like objectives and key results (OKRs) or SMART goals —to fully flush out your marketing objectives. This ensures your targets are as specific as possible, with no ambiguity about what should be accomplished by when. 

Example: If a goal of your marketing plan is to increase email subscriptions and you follow the SMART goal framework (ensuring your objective is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) your goal might look like this: Increase email subscription rate from 10% to 20% in H1 . 

3. Research your competition 

It’s easy to get caught up in your company’s world, but there’s a lot of value in understanding your competitors . Knowing how they market themselves will help you find opportunities to make your company stand out and capture more market share.

Make sure you’re not duplicating your competitors’ efforts. If you discover a competitor has already executed your idea, then it might be time to go back to the drawing board and brainstorm new ways to differentiate yourself.  By looking at your competitors, you might be surprised at the type of inspiration and opportunities you’ll find.

To stay ahead of market trends, conduct a SWOT analysis for your marketing plan. A SWOT analysis helps you improve your plan by identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

Example: If your competitor launches a social media campaign identical to what you had planned, go back to the drawing board and see how you can build off their campaign. Ask yourself: How can we differentiate our campaign while still getting our message across? What are the weaknesses of their campaign that we can capitalize on? What angles did they not approach?

4. Integrate your marketing efforts

Here’s where the fun comes in. Let’s dive into the different components that go into building a successful marketing plan. You’ll want to make sure your marketing plan includes multiple supporting activities that all add up into a powerful marketing machine. Some marketing plan components include: 

Lead generation

Social media

Product marketing

Public relations

Analyst relations

Customer marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Conversational marketing

Knowing where your consumer base spends the most time is significant for nailing this step. You need to have a solid understanding of your target audience before integrating your marketing efforts. 

Example: If your target audience is executives that spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, focus your social media strategy around placing branded content on LinkedIn. 

5. Differentiate with creative content

Forty-nine percent of marketers say visual images are hugely important to their content strategy. In other words, a clear brand and creative strategy is an essential component to every marketing plan. As you craft your own creative strategy, here are some tips to keep in mind: 

Speak to your audience: When defining your creative strategy, think about your audience—what you want them to feel, think, and do when they see your marketing. Will your audience find your creative work relevant? If your audience can’t relate to your creative work, they won’t feel connected to the story you’re trying to tell. 

Think outside the box: Find innovative ways to engage your audience, whether through video, animations, or interactive graphics. Know what screens your creative work will live on, whether desktop, mobile, or tablet, and make sure they display beautifully and load quickly across every type of device. 

Tie everything back to CTAs: It’s easy to get caught up in the creative process, so it’s important to never lose sight of your ultimate goal: Get your audience to take action. Always find the best way to display strong Calls to Action (CTAs) in your creative work. We live in a visual world—make sure your creative content counts.

Streamline creative production:   Once you’ve established a strong creative strategy, the next step is to bring your strategy to life in the production stage. It’s vital to set up a strong framework for your creative production process to eliminate any unnecessary back and forth and potential bottlenecks. Consider establishing creative request forms , streamlining feedback and approval processes, and taking advantage of integrations that might make your designers’ lives easier.

Example: If your brand is fun and approachable, make sure that shows in your creative efforts. Create designs and CTAs that spark joy, offer entertainment, and alleviate the pressure in choosing a partner.

6. Operationalize your marketing plan

Turn your plan into action by making goals, deliverables, and timelines clear for every stakeholder—so teams stay accountable for getting work done. The best way to do this is by centralizing all the details of your marketing plan in one platform , so teams can access the information they need and connect campaign work back to company goals.  

With the right work management tool , you can: 

Set goals for every marketing activity, and connect campaign work to overarching marketing and business objectives so teams focus on revenue-driving projects. 

Centralize deliverables for your entire marketing plan in one project or portfolio .

Mark major milestones and visualize your plan as a timeline, Gantt chart, calendar, list, or Kanban board—without doing any extra work. 

Quickly loop in stakeholders with status updates so they’re always up to date on progress. This is extremely important if you have a global team to ensure efforts aren’t being duplicated. 

Use automations to seamlessly hand off work between teams, streamlining processes like content creation and reviews. 

Create dashboards to report on work and make sure projects are properly staffed , so campaigns stay on track. 

With everything housed in one spot, you can easily visualize the status of your entire marketing plan and keep work on track. Building an effective marketing plan is one thing, but how you operationalize it can be your secret to standout marketing.

Example: If your strategy focuses on increasing page views, connect all campaign work to an overarching OKR—like “we will double page views as measured by the amount of organic traffic on our blog.” By making that goal visible to all stakeholders, you help teams prioritize the right work. 

See marketing planning in action

With Asana, marketing teams can connect work, standardize processes, and automate workflows—all in one place.

See marketing planning in action

7. Measure performance

Nearly three in four CMOs use revenue growth to measure success, so it’s no surprise that measuring performance is necessary. You established your key metrics in step two, and now it’s time to track and report on them in step eight.

Periodically measure your marketing efforts to find areas of improvement so you can optimize in real-time. There are always lessons to be learned when looking at data. You can discover trends, detect which marketing initiatives performed well, and course-correct what isn’t performing well. And when your plan is complete, you can apply these learnings to your next initiative for improved results. 

Example: Say you discover that long-form content is consistently bringing in 400% more page views than short-form content. As a result, you’ll want to focus on producing more long-form content in your next marketing plan.

Marketing plan examples from world-class teams

The best brands in the world bring their marketing plans to life every day. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these examples from successful marketing teams.

Autodesk grows site traffic 30% three years in a row

When the Autodesk team launched Redshift, it was initially a small business blog. The editorial team executed a successful marketing plan to expand it into a premier owned-media site, making it a destination for stories and videos about the future of making. 

The team scaled content production to support seven additional languages. By standardizing their content production workflow and centralizing all content conversations in one place, the editorial team now publishes 2X more content monthly. Read the case study to learn more about how Autodesk runs a well-oiled content machine.

Sony Music boosts creative production capacity by 4X

In recent years the music industry has gone through a pivotal transition—shifting from album sales to a streaming business model. For marketing and creative teams at Sony Music, that meant adopting an “always on” campaign plan. 

The team successfully executed this campaign plan by centralizing creative production and approvals in one project. By standardizing processes, the team reduced campaign production time by 75%. Read the case study to learn more about how Sony Music successfully scaled their creative production process.

Trinny London perfects new customer acquisition 

In consumer industries, social media is crucial for building a community of people who feel an affinity with the brand—and Trinny London is no exception. As such, it was imperative that Trinny London’s ad spend was targeted to the correct audience. Using a work management tool, Trinny London was able to nail the process of creating, testing, and implementing ads on multiple social channels.

With the help of a centralized tool, Trinny London improved its ad spend and drove more likes and subscriptions on its YouTube page. Read the case study to learn more about how Trinny London capitalized on paid advertising and social media. 

Turn your marketing plan into marketing success 

A great marketing plan promotes clarity and accountability across teams—so every stakeholder knows what they’re responsible for, by when. Reading this article is the first step to achieving better team alignment, so you can ensure every marketing campaign contributes to your company’s bottom line. 

Use a free marketing plan template to get started

Once you’ve created your marketing strategy and are ready to operationalize your marketing plan, get started with one of our marketing templates . 

Our marketing templates can help you manage and track every aspect of your marketing plan, from creative requests to approval workflows. Centralize your entire marketing plan in one place, customize the roadmap, assign tasks, and build a timeline or calendar. 

Once you’ve operationalized your entire marketing plan with one of our templates, share it with your stakeholders so everyone can work together in the same tool. Your entire team will feel connected to the marketing plan, know what to prioritize, and see how their work contributes to your project objectives . Choose the best marketing template for your team:

Marketing project plan template

Marketing campaign plan template

Product marketing launch template

Editorial calendar template

Agency collaboration template

Creative requests template

Event planning template

GTM strategy template

Still have questions? We have answers. 

What is a marketing plan.

A marketing plan is a detailed roadmap that outlines the different strategies your team will use to achieve organizational objectives. Rather than focusing solely on the end goal, a marketing plan maps every step you need to reach your destination—whether that’s driving pipeline for sales, nurturing your existing customer base, or something in-between. 

As a marketing leader, you know there’s never a shortage of great campaign and project ideas. A marketing plan gives you a framework to effectively prioritize work that aligns to overarching business goals—and then get that work done. Some elements of marketing plans include:

Current business plan

Mission statement  

Business goals

Target customers  

Competitive analysis 

Current marketing mix

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Marketing budget  

What is the purpose of a marketing plan?

The purpose of a marketing plan is to grow your company’s consumer base and strengthen your brand, while aligning with your organization’s mission and vision . The plan should analyze the competitive landscape and industry trends, offer actionable insights to help you gain a competitive advantage, and document each step of your strategy—so you can see how your campaigns work together to drive overarching business goals. 

What is the difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy? 

A marketing plan contains many marketing strategies across different channels. In that way, marketing strategies contribute to your overall marketing plan, working together to reach your company’s overarching business goals.

For example, imagine you’re about to launch a new software product and the goal of your marketing plan is to drive downloads. Your marketing plan could include marketing strategies like creating top-of-funnel blog content and launching a social media campaign. 

What are different types of marketing plans? 

Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, what your timeline is, or which facet of marketing you’re driving, you’ll need to create a different type of marketing plan. Some different types of marketing plans include, but aren’t limited to:

General marketing plan: A general marketing plan is typically an annual or quarterly marketing plan that details the overarching marketing strategies for the period. This type of marketing plan outlines marketing goals, the company’s mission, buyer personas, unique selling propositions, and more. A general marketing plan lays the foundation for other, more specific marketing plans that an organization may employ. 

Product launch marketing plan: A product launch marketing plan is a step-by-step plan for marketing a new product or expanding into a new market. It helps you build awareness and interest by targeting the right audience, with the right messaging, in the right timeframe—so potential customers are ready to buy your new offering right away. Nailing your product launch marketing plan can reinforce your overall brand and fast-track sales. For a step-by-step framework to organize all the moving pieces of a launch, check out our product marketing launch template .

Paid marketing plan: This plan includes all the paid strategies in your marketing plan, like pay-per-click, paid social media advertising, native advertising, and display advertising. It’s especially important to do audience research prior to launching your paid marketing plan to ensure you’re maximizing ROI. Consult with content strategists to ensure your ads align with your buyer personas so you know you’re showing ads to the right people. 

Content marketing plan: A content marketing plan outlines the different content strategies and campaigns you’ll use to promote your product or service. When putting together a content marketing plan, start by identifying your audience. Then use market research tools to get the best insights into what topics your target audience is most interested in.

SEO marketing plan: Your SEO marketing plan should work directly alongside your content marketing plan as you chart content that’s designed to rank in search results. While your content marketing plan should include all types of content, your SEO marketing plan will cover the top-of-funnel content that drives new users to your site. Planning search engine-friendly content is only one step in your SEO marketing plan. You’ll also need to include link-building and technical aspects in order to ensure your site and content are as optimized as possible.

Social media marketing plan: This plan will highlight the marketing strategies you plan to accomplish on social media. Like in any general or digital marketing plan , your social media strategy should identify your ideal customer base and determine how they engage on different social media platforms. From there, you can cater your social media content to your target audience.  

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10 Marketing Plan Examples to Inspire Your Campaigns

What do hiking a trail, driving to a friend’s house, and executing marketing campaigns all have in common? Each requires you to closely follow directions.

Directions are a critical part of our daily life. Used correctly, they can guide decision-making processes, make labor more efficient, and get where you want to go as quickly as possible. 

But failing to keep track of directions could cost you — and not just gas money. When it comes to marketing strategies, not having a clear goal tanks web traffic, dissipates brand interest, and costs companies across the United States a whopping $400 billion a year.

Designing a marketing plan is certainly no easy task, but it can be made easier with best practices, strategic tips, and concrete examples from successful businesses all over the world.

parts of marketing plan in business plan

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parts of marketing plan in business plan

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a strategic document that acts as a guide for marketing campaigns and strategies. These critical road maps detail where you are, where you’re going, and how you plan to get there.

The average marketing plan consists of seven major sections:

  • Writing an executive summary
  • Discussing the mission statement
  • Listing marketing objectives
  • Performing a SWOT analysis
  • Completing market research
  • Designing a market strategy
  • Determining a budget

The more detailed a marketing plan is, the more efficient it will be at accomplishing its goals. 

As you might imagine, marketers who bother to write a concrete marketing plan enjoy several benefits :

  • Organized marketers have a 674% higher chance of reporting success
  • Marketers who set goals are 377% more successful than those who don’t

It’s clear that a successful marketing plan opens pathways to other forms of business success — although the process is underutilized at best. More than three out of four small business owners lack an overarching marketing plan if they don’t have a clear path of growth. Creating a holistic marketing plan is absolutely necessary to scale brands at any level of development.

10 marketing plan examples from every industry

It’s much simpler to design a plan of action when the groundwork already exists. Below are 10 marketing plans sourced from real companies and brands around the world, highlighting unique approaches to researching, crafting and implementing a marketing strategy . 

1. Contently

Popular SaaS Contently developed a visual marketing plan for developing future campaigns. The strategy depicts its plan in a “waterfall” format, with goals blending into methods of application that eventually lead to success metrics. Although far more casual than other examples on this list, the work provides an excellent overview of a marketing plan’s necessary components.

Contently marketing plan

2. Visit Baton Rouge

The Baton Rouge area of Louisiana generates millions of dollars every year from tourism alone. The Visit Baton Rouge marketing plan was born from a need to better position the area and create long-term strategies for generating interest. This 38-page document goes into detail describing different destinations, events, and calendars, including recommended measurements for success.

Top marketing plan examples: Baton Rouge

Created by SaaS company HubSpot , this template includes a business summary, SWOT matrix, market strategy, budget, and other important aspects of a marketing plan. By filling it out, you can make informed decisions about your company’s positioning and your marketing in general.

HubSpot marketing plan

4. Evernote

Evernote provides a comprehensive marketing plan template for businesses of any size. Create a plan that walks through overviews, timelines, research, personas, and all other elements of an airtight campaign. If desired, you can also implement this template into your Evernote account to start developing a marketing plan almost immediately.

great examples of marketing plan: Evernote

5. University of Illinois

Even educational institutes need marketing plans. The University of Illinois created a very straightforward document that encapsulates its market context, research efforts, and current campaigns. Objectives and success metrics are completed in the third section, with about 40 pages overall. 

6. Monday.com

Monday.com is a project management platform providing in-house templates to all active users. This marketing plan offers various categories and subcategories that track project progress with data visualizations. Detailed objectives and KPIs can be identified in-app, including columns for a projected cost range.

Popular health and hygiene brand Lush released a comprehensive marketing plan walking through some products, positioning, and a marketing calendar for upcoming product releases. One of the highlights includes a detailed SWOT analysis with easy to read graphics. This is particularly helpful for brands in the personal care industry, among others.

Lush marketing plan

8. Coca-Cola

Industry titan Coca-Cola released a strategy video that encompasses all seven elements of a holistic marketing plan. The proposal primarily explains the major content initiatives for the coming year, and focuses on how the brand’s initial ideas can be practically implemented into the existing strategy. 

parts of marketing plan in business plan

9. Naperville Park District

Publicly funded recreational parks often have limited access to resources, which is why the Naperville Park District created a strategic marketing plan right at the beginning. This extremely detailed document walks through the company’s mission, situational analysis, strategy, and budget, on a micro-level.

nashville park marketing plan

10. Starbucks

Unlike the longform documents we’ve seen already, Starbucks takes a more concise approach. This six-page release details a strategy to elevate CX and brand ambassadors around the world. The marketing plan touches on individual strategies and tactics, as well as the methods used to ensure success. It’s important to note the detailed customer journey profiles that fit into a five-year strategy.

beverge marketing plan: starbucks

How to approach a marketing plan

Now that you know what a marketing plan looks like, it’s time to explore the initial stages of drafting and publishing your very first plan. Once you establish some basic starting points, a little research is all you need to get started.

Determine your goals

Directions simply don’t matter without an endpoint in mind. Craft some meaningful goals for your marketing campaign that envelop your brand’s values, objectives, and year-end plans. It’s best to use the SMART goal framework:

The more specific your goals are, the more effective your marketing plan will be.

Check your competitors

Staying abreast of your competitors and market share is critical in the early stages of a marketing plan. Using competitive analysis tools or an internal process, take some time to evaluate the approach that others are using — and how you can do better.

You might want to:

  • Perform a competitive analysis
  • Keep a close eye on industry news
  • Browse competitor social media content

Keep in mind that it’s possible to hire freelancers to perform competitive analysis for you, depending on your needs and time constraints.

Identify your audience

Understanding your target market — including their goals, ages, values, and demographics — is the golden rule of marketing. This can be done several ways, either by using data, creating personas, or outlying features in a document.

It’s best to consider everything that may be relevant to your audience in the marketing plan, including how products can be positioned in a way that makes them relevant. For example, a customer with a degree in IT would be more interested in ads that speak to their experience and industry pain points.

If you don’t have a target audience in mind yet, consider using programs like Google Analytics or in-platform insights from Facebook to identify specific segments.

Craft final KPIs

The difference between a good marketing plan and a great marketing plan starts with key performance metrics (KPIs). These will be used to measure the effectiveness of your campaign and provide detailed information about what worked, what didn’t, and what you can change in the future.

Every marketing plan should rely on its own unique set of metrics, all fitted to individual needs. If you’re looking for specific examples, you might want to try:

  • Raising the number of followers on a social media account
  • Generating a certain amount of website leads 
  • Achieving higher email open rates 

Keep in mind that your final metrics should adhere to the SMART method for best results.

Perform your revisions

The marketing plan is a living document and must be updated regularly to remain current. The average plan only has a shelf life of one to five years , on average, and should receive regular revisions in the meantime.

Take a closer look at your past goals, competitors, audience, and KPIs. Are any of these outdated or ill-aligned? What has changed for the company since its initial publication date? Make these adjustments accordingly (and hopefully with members of a team or committee).

Create marketing plans that guide your business well

It’s not enough to just write a marketing plan. In an increasingly competitive world of iron-clad strategies, marketing pros should take their time developing a plan that lasts. The above examples are a great place to start, especially as you craft an approach that is catered to your industry. 

Keep an eye on the growth of your business once your marketing plan hits the shelves. Continue to find new ways to optimize, refine, and otherwise make what you have even better than before. With an airtight marketing plan by your side, the possibilities are virtually limitless.

Want to learn more?

  • How to Create a Killer Social Media Marketing Plan
  • The Complete Guide to Getting Started With Influencer Marketing
  • 7 of the Best Landing Page Examples to Learn From
  • Instagram Marketing Tips to Shoot Up Your Sales

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9 Elements of an Effective Marketing Plan

There is no short-cutting the most critical part of any marketing campaign — the plan. That’s why this article goes into detail about the nine ingredients every effective marketing plan should have. You’ll gain clarity about each component’s purpose, along with specific examples to crystallize your thinking.

What you’ll gain from this article:

  • How to develop the right marketing goals
  • How to identify your plan’s truest key performance indicators
  • The insights you may be lacking about your target audience(s)
  • The difference and relationship between marketing strategy and tactics
  • The greatest pitfall when it comes to the marketing budget

Estimated read time = 12 mins

It’s very easy to get distracted and jump right into the weeds. By “weeds,” we mean marketing tactics. Marketers have experienced this far too often. We get a group of colleagues together to develop an annual marketing plan or an upcoming campaign, and folks start blurting out specific ways to go to market. Email marketing. Facebook ads. Publicity. A TV spot. Google ads. Etc.

Please avoid this temptation with all your might. This type of planning is no longer sustainable, especially with today’s marketers being asked to do more than ever. Often with less budget and less staff. We need to be more thoughtful and more measurable with our actions, and a sound marketing plan should be that blueprint. So let’s cover each of these elements in detail:

  • Business goals
  • Marketing goals
  • Target audiences

BUSINESS / ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS

Every organization — for-profit or non-profit, large or small — has goals. Goals give businesses purpose and must have a direct impact on their existence. They come in many forms, including:

  • increases in sales revenue
  • increases in average order value
  • increases in customer lifetime value
  • increases in applications and enrollments (colleges and universities)
  • increases in fundraising revenue (non-profits)
  • increases in the total number of people helped or served (non-profits)

And the list could go on. There are many forms of business goals, and we as marketers have little to no control over how they get created. That said, there’s one key thing we need to remember when creating our marketing plan: Good marketing goals must concretely support business goals . So what should our marketing goals be and how must they support business goals?  Read on …

MARKETING GOALS

First, good marketing goals must consist of five key attributes. Many of us have heard about SMART goals , which are:

  • Time-related

We set ourselves up for failure if even one of these criterion is lacking. SMART goals give us a foundation for holding ourselves accountable, and knowing when we’ve succeeded (or failed). Here are some SMART examples (let’s assume they’re assignable and realistic, too):

  • To increase consumer phone calls (leads) by 10% year-over-year between now and June 30
  • To increase in-store foot traffic by 5% during Q4 for the NYC store location
  • To increase consumer unaided awareness of our brand by 10% within 1 year
  • To increase average donation amounts by 10% during November

Next, we fuse our SMART marketing goals with business goals through an activity called Performance Modeling. (Hubspot also refers to this as Smarketing , FYI for you inbound lovers.) A performance model essentially maps the entire consumer journey in a linear progression from the start of campaign promotion to the resulting consumer activity (i.e. leads), and then to actual sales and profitability. Think of the performance model as another way to express the traditional marketing funnel , but with two, key exceptions :

  • It gives volume and conversion details for each “micro” conversion of the journey, and
  • It reflects sales conversion rates and business goals

Here’s a performance model example for one of our clients offering a high-end kitchen design and installation service:

marketing-funnel-with-performance-model

Performance modeling also offers a framework for future marketing reports at the management/CMO level. It provides crystal clear understanding of which metrics need to be tracked and reported as a campaign progresses. These become our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The model essentially becomes a real-time barometer of the campaign’s health and likelihood of reaching its goals. More importantly, it “sounds the alarm” when things are under-performing and prompts much needed campaign adjustments with budget and time still remaining.

And finally, performance modeling gets everyone on board — leadership, marketing and sales . It provides a direct “line of sight” from promotions to profitability, and is easily understood by anyone (not just marketers).

TARGET AUDIENCE(S)

For this blog article, we’ll assume you already know the basics of your target audience. This is usually demographic information such as:

  • Male/female (or skew toward one of them)
  • Countries, regions, and cities and towns in which they live and work
  • Annual household income
  • Race or ethnicity

That’s a great start, but many marketers overlook the behavioral and psychographic attributes of their target audiences. Some of these are:

  • “Mindset” – How do they think about your product or service?
  • economic factors (recession that decreases household spending)
  • competitors (with better price points, benefits/features, etc.)
  • consumer trends (new ways of thinking that have permanently changed spending habits … think “gluten free”)
  • political landscape (new gov’t regulations or election year influences)
  • “Habits” – What do they do at each stage of the consumer decision-making process , and what can we do to get in front of them?

The answers to these questions may involve both qualitative (focus groups, interviews, etc.) and quantitative (polls/surveys) research, while some insights could be gained from secondary research (i.e., paying providers like GfK MRI or Nielsen-Scarborough for the data). Either way, the time and investment for these insights will produce a more effective strategy and tactics in the long run.

Surprisingly, this is an area we see far too many clients lacking in. This is especially painful for sales teams, which are responsible for closing. How can we expect them to convert customers if we don’t equip them with the necessary tools?

Key considerations:

  • Establishing the brand position
  • Developing a messaging platform to support the brand position (tagline/slogan, elevator pitch, support points/key benefits, competitive differentiation, etc.)
  • Understanding how the messaging translates into multiple marketing formats

Bottom line : If we can’t explain the value of what we’re promoting, how can we expect to meet our marketing goals?

It’s very easy to confuse marketing strategy and marketing tactics, so we’ll address these two elements together:

  • A strategy is the approach for achieving marketing (and business) goals,
  • Tactics are the specific things that execute on the strategy

It’s easiest to think of strategy as “what we need to do” and tactics as “how we’ll get it done”.

Example #1: Old Spice

Business goal: To increase U.S. sales of men’s deodorant by 10% in 12 months Marketing goal: To increase consumer unaided awareness (by 50%) and favorability (by 20%) of Old Spice deodorant over other brands Strategy: Target women (wives/girlfriends) because they do the household shopping One Tactic: Air national TV spots showing an attractive man talking directly to these women … like this …

Example #2: Fictional e-commerce business

Let’s say you sell products through your website. The goal is to increase sales revenue by 15% in 6 months with only a very modest budget.

After much research, you decide that the strategic elements of your marketing plan should be to:

  • Increase return visitors to the website
  • Increase repeat purchases with current/loyal customers
  • Increase the average order value of each checkout

Corresponding tactics for those strategic elements could be:

  • Show Google re-marketing ads to customers who viewed specific products, but left without making a purchase
  • Email free shipping offers to current customers
  • Optimize the checkout process by suggesting complementary products (“you may also like …”) with each item added to the online shopping cart

It is critically important to have a firm and realistic marketing budget. This is a decision that only management — not your marketing department and certainly not your consultant! — can make given how much the organization wishes to invest in future marketing efforts in order to meet its goals.

Businesses too often come to us and say, “Why don’t you tell us how much we should spend?” Or, “We have a zero-based budget … what would you recommend based on our business goals?” The truth is that no marketer or consultant knows how to objectively answer this question. The only way would be an unbelievably perfect scenario of a business knowing their conversion rates for every marketing tactic  and how they generated sales for every product or service . (That would be a performance modeling dream, but it is just that.)

The pitfall of this question is the internal marketing team and/or consultant(s) must then needlessly spin their wheels to develop multiple marketing plans for multiple budget scenarios. It’s valuable time and resources wasted. Urge management to give you a firm budget from which to plan. It doesn’t help anyone to develop elaborate marketing plans when there’s only enough money to pay for Google advertising at the end of the day.

The marketing plan or campaign’s timing should be influenced by the following:

  • The organization’s budget cycle (fiscal year or calendar year)
  • Seasonality (holiday shopping season, the Super Bowl, etc.)
  • Organizational events (date of a new product launch, store opening, sales promotion, etc.)

A good campaign reflects a timeline to accommodate these circumstances. But a great marketing plan takes it a step further, and projects how it will support sales revenue milestones each month in order to provide cash flow. Here’s an example going back to our kitchen design and installation client. A simple spreadsheet of the performance model is more than sufficient:

campaign-timing-with-revenue-goals

And finally, no marketing plan will ever meet its goals unless there’s a proper team in place, with each member having clearly defined roles and responsibilities.The best plan in the world is nothing more than ideas unless it can be executed. And it takes the right person or people to do that. There are also great (and cheap) project management tools, like Basecamp or Trello , to keep everyone organized and accountable.

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How to write marketing plan in business plan

How to Write the Marketing Plan in Business Plan?

A marketing plan in business plan is one of the very important sections of a business plan. Marketing is done to spread awareness about your business and its product/service. 

What is a marketing plan?

Marketing plan vs marketing strategy.

An effective marketing strategy helps you achieve early success. 

Use this article to write an effective marketing plan section in a business plan. 

A marketing section of a business plan gives you a roadmap to organize, execute and track the progress of your marketing efforts. 

Your marketing plan helps you align your marketing efforts with your business goals. It gives your marketing effort a direction and you can evaluate your efforts at any point.

Types of marketing plan 

A perfect type of marketing plan in business plan will depend on your business, your goals, and how soon you want to achieve them. 

We have outlined some marketing plans that most businesses need to use. Since this is the age of the internet, we have also included online marketing plans and digital marketing plans.

Want to write a business plan?

Hire our professional business plan writers to prepare your business plan!

Quarterly or Annual Marketing Plans 

These are your business marketing plans with a timeline. Every business has its quarterly, bi-yearly, and yearly goals. You will use these goals to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing efforts over time.

Paid Marketing Plans 

Paid marketing plans include online advertising, buying billboards, or marketing on vehicles. Pay Per Click marketing and social media marketing for your small business.

Social Media Marketing Plan 

Social media marketing plan for business plan can be done in two ways. You can hire a team and raise awareness about your business by sharing regular updates. 

You can also do paid marketing on social media. You will need to invest in buying ads on that social media platform and pay for a team of social media marketers.

You can also leverage these effective digital marketing channels for your business. 

Content Marketing Plan 

A content marketing plan is about attracting potential customers to your website with the help of SEO. You create value for your potential customer first and then by extension, market your business. It can be offline in the form of free workshops etc or online in the form of guides and resources.

Product Launch Marketing Plan 

A product lunch  sales and marketing plan in business plan  will help you decide on the marketing tools, tactics, and tracking you will do when launching a new product or service.

You can also hire WiseBusinessPlans Digital Marketing Services to run successful marketing campaigns for your business. 

The difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy is simple; a marketing plan is what methods, tools, and tactics you will use for marketing, and a market strategy in business plan is how you will implement your plan.

Learn how to develop an effective marketing strategy with this detailed guide. 

Access our free business plan examples now!

How to write a marketing plan for a business plan.

How to write a marketing plan for a business plan

Follow these simple steps to write a marketing plan in business plan.

Business Mission

Write your business mission statement and translate it into the efforts the marketing department will make. 

For example, your business mission is to help people with home gardening. Your marketing department version will be to attract people who want to do home gardening.

These are performance indicators. These metrics will help you evaluate performance and progress. An example of KPIs for marketing is customer visits to your website, social media page, or brick-and-mortar store.

Create Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is a short description of your average customer. When you have no data, a buyer persona will describe the customer you want to attract.

Decide on Marketing Strategies and Content

Go through the marketing strategies you can use and select the one that will produce the best return on investment for your business. 

Similarly, think about the content type that is attractive to your target audience . For example, video format may attract your audience or you may need to share more about your business on social media to grab their attention.

Define Marketing Plan Scope

Define the scope and limits of your marketing plan. Clearly mention what your marketing team will do and will not do. 

This will help you save time, cost, and effort in wasted resources.

Set Marketing Budget 

You can only spend a set amount on marketing. Set your marketing budget and be creative in that budget to produce the best return. 

Your budget is directly related to your marketing goals. Set your marketing budget in a way that does not hamper marketing efforts. 

Know your Competition 

Knowing and profiling your customer helps you market better. See what are strong spots of competitors’ marketing plans, are and how they are attracting audiences to make a plan to compete effectively. 

Appoint your Team & their Responsibilities

Decide on job roles for your team. Set their KPIs, marketing channels they will manage, what content they will create, etc.

Bonus Tip: Here is a step by step guide on how to write a marketing plan executive summary with example and template.

Example of Marketing Plan in Business Plan PDF

See this example of a marketing plan in a business plan to understand how it is done. You can create your marketing plan in the same way.

In the marketing plan section, include details about your target market, competition analysis, marketing strategies, pricing, promotion, and distribution channels. It should outline your approach to reaching and engaging your target audience.

Conduct market research by analyzing your target audience, understanding their needs and preferences, studying your competitors, and identifying market trends. Use surveys, interviews, and industry reports to gather relevant data for your marketing plan.

Consider including a mix of marketing strategies such as digital marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, advertising, public relations, and networking. Choose strategies that align with your target audience and business goals.

Determine pricing by considering factors such as production costs, competitor pricing, market demand, and perceived value. Conduct a pricing analysis to ensure your prices are competitive and profitable for your business.

It is recommended to review and update your marketing plan regularly, at least annually or whenever there are significant changes in your business or market conditions. This allows you to adapt your strategies, stay relevant, and capitalize on new opportunities.

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One comment.

It is a very useful guide. I was wondering If your site offers marketing plan writers for businesses. If any, kindly reply.

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The 5 parts of a marketing plan that every company needs to succeed

If you have a commercial aspiration, you need a marketing plan.

What should that plan look like?

It depends on your market, your brand, what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to, your business goals, etc.

But at a high level, these are the 5 parts of a marketing plan that every company – regardless of target market or industry – needs to succeed:

  • An honest look at your brand .
  • Short- and long-term marketing goals .
  • Content that supports your goals .
  • The right marketing channels for your content .

Let’s get into it.

1. An honest look at your brand

What’s going on in the world around your brand?

It’s a complicated question that you need to periodically revisit to continue justifying your brand’s existence and articulating its mission.

Think of this as checking in on the “why?” of your business so you can better inform the “what” and the “how” of your current marketing strategy.

Start with PEST analysis:

parts of marketing plan in business plan

  • P olitical: For instance, manufacturers in the north of England previously encountered headwinds because of Brexit .
  • E conomic: Tourism companies in the COVID-19 era are seeing slumps due to waning demand for travel experiences.
  • S ocial: Sustainable brands are really hot among millennials; 73% say they’ll pay more for an environmentally friendly product or service.
  • T echnological: Data is everywhere, and anyone with novel ideas for how to put it to use has a platform for business success.

Some of these are hindrances, others opportunities. All of them represent factors that will guide the identity of your business and direction of its marketing efforts.

Once you’re done with PEST, assess your brand’s readiness for those circumstances. Cue SWOT analysis:

parts of marketing plan in business plan

  • S trengths: You have solid intellectual property, or hold some other competitive advantage that can inform marketing activities.
  • W eaknesses: You’re beat on price, you need a bigger marketing budget or your competitors are doing a better job adopting new technologies.
  • O pportunities: Sustainability is all the rage among millennials, and they have a lot of money to spend on your brand if you get your messaging right.
  • T hreats: You’re running into a bit of a market slump due to seasonal or economic shifts beyond your control.

Clearly, a circumstance that’s a threat to one brand can be an opportunity for another.

And that’s the whole point of this exercise. It helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses in your target market.

From here, you can start forming the short- and long-term goals of your marketing strategy – whether that’s to play up your strengths or bolster your weaknesses.

2. A strategy built on short- and long-term marketing goals

At the top of your aspirational hierarchy, you have business objectives. For example:

  • Trying to lock down more venture capital to grow your B2B firm.
  • Increasing e-commerce sales for a B2C retailer.
  • Shifting to a subscription-based, pay-as-you-go model.

Beneath that are the long-term goals that serve those business goals.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an example.

Ranking on the first page of Google for all of your industry’s highly competitive keywords can:

  • Help you get investors’ attention.
  • Improve online sales.
  • Build awareness for your new business model.

But none of this happens overnight. It requires a series of strategies and tactics.

Enter your short-term goals. They serve a long-term goal that serves bigger business objectives.

Let’s make this a little more concrete by walking through an example of strategic marketing. We’ll use the long-term goal of boosting online visibility through SEO as our template.

Within that long-term goal, you have your more immediate short-term goals:

  • Increase raw traffic: You can do this by ranking for relevant long-tail keywords or earning the featured-snippet spot for said keywords; you can rank for relevant keywords with high-quality content that best answers the questions typed into a search engine.
  • Boost on-page engagement: Once you get people on the page, you want to keep them on your site. This tells Google your content is engaging the right audience.
  • Optimize technical SEO: Eliminate 404 errors, improve your linking structure, make sure you’re using the right metatags to help Google’s crawlers rank your site.
  • Influencer outreach: Promote your webpages on social media, and try reaching out to influencers who may be willing to promote them for you (you don’t necessarily have to pay them – you link to theirs if they link to yours, kind of thing). Backlinks from high-quality sources are good for your page authority, which is good for SEO.

As part of the marketing planning process, make sure you’ve benchmarked everything you might need in order to track your progress.

In this particular example, your key performance indicators might include:

  • Number of keywords you rank for.
  • Pageviews per Session.
  • Average time per Session.
  • Click-through rates.
  • Bounce rates (how many users leave after viewing just one page).

It’s possible that your marketing goals may have nothing to do with SEO, but this general hierarchy of objectives can serve as a planning template as you set out creating a marketing plan.

Draw a straight line between business objectives and the short-term goals that need to be achieved before you can lock down those bigger wins.

This will make it much easier to get buy-in, because every marketing plan needs a budget, right?

Make your case with a realistic and methodically detailed strategy.

3. Content that supports your goals

Content is the “how” for just about any imaginable form of marketing. It’s video, it’s graphics, it’s words, it’s interactive UX.

Even a multi-million-dollar ad on prime-time TV is content. But is it the right type of content?

Maybe, but probably not.

When you’re creating content, you need to do so with your long-term goal in mind.

Let’s go back to SEO. A business might want to improve online visibility for any number of reasons.

Maybe a B2B brand wants to create a steady flow of inbound leads with useful content that performs well on search. A B2C brand might want to drive up site traffic so that it can get more potential buyers in front of its product pages.

In the case of the B2B brand, you’ll need content at every stage of the sales funnel:

content ideas

Content ideas for every stage of the funnel.

You’re clearly dealing with a lot of short-term goals here, and much minutiae within those goals.

So where do you begin when planning what content to create?

With analysis to know what type of content you’re really hurting for. This requires the aforementioned benchmarking (see section, “A strategy built on short and long-term marketing goals”).

Let’s say, for instance, you have plenty of traffic coming into your blog but no one’s signing up for your newsletter. This is a tell-tale indicator of two possible problems:

  • You’re targeting the wrong audience in your content.
  • You’re not doing enough to convert your traffic into leads (with strategically positioned calls-to-action, opt-in fields and user-friendly UX).

For the purposes of this example, we’ll assume you have your visitor personas on lock, and that the problem is poor UX.

Now you have your short-term goal. The content you might use to address that goal would include CTA banners embedded in your blog posts, a website redesign and other strategic graphical elements to encourage more subscribers, like so:

parts of marketing plan in business plan

Other examples are less straightforward. Maybe you’re a burgeoning B2C e-commerce brand and you don’t have a lot of traffic to your product pages.

The same general marketing plan template still applies.

You have your long-term goal (brand awareness) and you can build your short-term goals around that (generating more traffic to your site with useful, high-quality blog posts, how-to videos and other top-of-funnel content).

This approach to a content marketing campaign is scientific, analytical and deliberate. Your business shouldn’t necessarily strive to do the coolest thing or the loudest thing. It needs to do the thing that works, and that means creating the right content for the occasion.

Yes, it can be a slow-going process, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is good marketing.

4. The right marketing channels for your content

If content is the atomic particle of marketing, so to speak, marketing channels make up the universe it inhabits.

For the purposes of your marketing plan, you need to know which channels are most important to your goals. Some of your options include:

parts of marketing plan in business plan

  • Word-of-mouth: Conferences and events.
  • Search: Google.
  • Web: Your website, content you contribute to other websites, paids ads, etc.
  • Mobile: Encompasses mobile web and search as well as apps and location.
  • Social: Your social media pages and paid ads that appear on others’ pages.
  • Email: Exactly what it sounds like.
  • YouTube: Your brand’s channel, or paid ads on other videos.
  • Print ads: In magazines, etc.
  • TV commercials: Local or national.

Choosing the right channels on which to create or pay for content depends partly on your short- and long-term goals and partly on what you can afford.

At the most basic level, you’ll need a website, and preferably one that ranks well on search.

What you do on your website (content created for SEO) will ultimately affect how you perform on search channels (Google, Bing).

But you can also promote your content on social media and through email marketing. For social media marketing, you need a strong grasp on the specific social networks your target audience uses.

We won’t get into the nitty-gritty about the fundamentals of email marketing or social media marketing since we’ve done that elsewhere on this blog.

For the sake of your marketing plan, just know this: Practically any long-term marketing goal you can name will require some combination of the channels listed above.

And deciding which channels to use for content creation, distribution and promotion (based on your goals) is a whole lot easier when you have a bit of help from a digital marketing expert.

We’re at the home stretch and this one is fairly self-explanatory, so we won’t belabor the point.

You need metrics from sources such as SEMrush, BuzzSumo, Google Analytics and Screaming Frog to:

  • Inform your short- and long-term goals.
  • Track the effectiveness of your efforts to achieve those goals.
  • Create new goals that will help you inch ever-nearer to accomplishing your business objectives.

The precise metrics you’ll need vary depending on your goals, and our eBook on the subject is a good place to get started in terms of knowing what’s worth measuring.

parts of marketing plan in business plan

The marketing X-factor: Dedication

Specifically, dedication to doing what works as opposed to what seems easy or convenient.

I’ll be brutally honest: There is no “easy way out” of marketing. It requires attention to detail, some trial and error and, of course, a well-thought-out plan.

And when you’re willing to produce all of that, the results speak for themselves .

parts of marketing plan in business plan

By Dominick Sorrentino

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parts of marketing plan in business plan

  • 2.3 Purpose and Structure of the Marketing Plan
  • 1 Unit Introduction
  • In the Spotlight
  • 1.1 Marketing and the Marketing Process
  • 1.2 The Marketing Mix and the 4Ps of Marketing
  • 1.3 Factors Comprising and Affecting the Marketing Environment
  • 1.4 Evolution of the Marketing Concept
  • 1.5 Determining Consumer Needs and Wants
  • 1.6 Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • 1.7 Ethical Marketing
  • Chapter Summary
  • Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
  • Critical Thinking Exercises
  • Building Your Personal Brand
  • What Do Marketers Do?
  • Marketing Plan Exercise
  • Closing Company Case
  • 2.1 Developing a Strategic Plan
  • 2.2 The Role of Marketing in the Strategic Planning Process
  • 2.4 Marketing Plan Progress Using Metrics
  • 2.5 Ethical Issues in Developing a Marketing Strategy
  • 2 Unit Introduction
  • 3.1 Understanding Consumer Markets and Buying Behavior
  • 3.2 Factors That Influence Consumer Buying Behavior
  • 3.3 The Consumer Purchasing Decision Process
  • 3.4 Ethical Issues in Consumer Buying Behavior
  • 4.1 The Business-to-Business (B2B) Market
  • 4.2 Buyers and Buying Situations in a B2B Market
  • 4.3 Major Influences on B2B Buyer Behavior
  • 4.4 Stages in the B2B Buying Process
  • 4.5 Ethical Issues in B2B Marketing
  • 5.1 Market Segmentation and Consumer Markets
  • 5.2 Segmentation of B2B Markets
  • 5.3 Segmentation of International Markets
  • 5.4 Essential Factors in Effective Market Segmentation
  • 5.5 Selecting Target Markets
  • 5.6 Product Positioning
  • 5.7 Ethical Concerns and Target Marketing
  • 6.1 Marketing Research and Big Data
  • 6.2 Sources of Marketing Information
  • 6.3 Steps in a Successful Marketing Research Plan
  • 6.4 Ethical Issues in Marketing Research
  • 7.1 The Global Market and Advantages of International Trade
  • 7.2 Assessment of Global Markets for Opportunities
  • 7.3 Entering the Global Arena
  • 7.4 Marketing in a Global Environment
  • 7.5 Ethical Issues in the Global Marketplace
  • 8.1 Strategic Marketing: Standardization versus Adaptation
  • 8.2 Diversity and Inclusion Marketing
  • 8.3 Multicultural Marketing
  • 8.4 Marketing to Hispanic, Black, and Asian Consumers
  • 8.5 Marketing to Sociodemographic Groups
  • 8.6 Ethical Issues in Diversity Marketing
  • 3 Unit Introduction
  • 9.1 Products, Services, and Experiences
  • 9.2 Product Items, Product Lines, and Product Mixes
  • 9.3 The Product Life Cycle
  • 9.4 Marketing Strategies at Each Stage of the Product Life Cycle
  • 9.5 Branding and Brand Development
  • 9.6 Forms of Brand Development, Brand Loyalty, and Brand Metrics
  • 9.7 Creating Value through Packaging and Labeling
  • 9.8 Environmental Concerns Regarding Packaging
  • 9.9 Ethical Issues in Packaging
  • 10.1 New Products from a Customer’s Perspective
  • 10.2 Stages of the New Product Development Process
  • 10.3 The Use of Metrics in Evaluating New Products
  • 10.4 Factors Contributing to the Success or Failure of New Products
  • 10.5 Stages in the Consumer Adoption Process for New Products
  • 10.6 Ethical Considerations in New Product Development
  • 11.1 Classification of Services
  • 11.2 The Service-Profit Chain Model and the Service Marketing Triangle
  • 11.3 The Gap Model of Service Quality
  • 11.4 Ethical Considerations in Providing Services
  • 12.1 Pricing and Its Role in the Marketing Mix
  • 12.2 The Five Critical Cs of Pricing
  • 12.3 The Five-Step Procedure for Establishing Pricing Policy
  • 12.4 Pricing Strategies for New Products
  • 12.5 Pricing Strategies and Tactics for Existing Products
  • 12.6 Ethical Considerations in Pricing
  • 13.1 The Promotion Mix and Its Elements
  • 13.2 The Communication Process
  • 13.3 Integrated Marketing Communications
  • 13.4 Steps in the IMC Planning Process
  • 13.5 Ethical Issues in Marketing Communication
  • 14.1 Advertising in the Promotion Mix
  • 14.2 Major Decisions in Developing an Advertising Plan
  • 14.3 The Use of Metrics to Measure Advertising Campaign Effectiveness
  • 14.4 Public Relations and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
  • 14.5 The Advantages and Disadvantages of Public Relations
  • 14.6 Ethical Concerns in Advertising and Public Relations
  • 15.1 Personal Selling and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
  • 15.2 Classifications of Salespeople Involved in Personal Selling
  • 15.3 Steps in the Personal Selling Process
  • 15.4 Management of the Sales Force
  • 15.5 Sales Promotion and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
  • 15.6 Main Types of Sales Promotion
  • 15.7 Ethical Issues in Personal Selling and Sales Promotion
  • 16.1 Traditional Direct Marketing
  • 16.2 Social Media and Mobile Marketing
  • 16.3 Metrics Used to Evaluate the Success of Online Marketing
  • 16.4 Ethical Issues in Digital Marketing and Social Media
  • 17.1 The Use and Value of Marketing Channels
  • 17.2 Types of Marketing Channels
  • 17.3 Factors Influencing Channel Choice
  • 17.4 Managing the Distribution Channel
  • 17.5 The Supply Chain and Its Functions
  • 17.6 Logistics and Its Functions
  • 17.7 Ethical Issues in Supply Chain Management
  • 18.1 Retailing and the Role of Retailers in the Distribution Channel
  • 18.2 Major Types of Retailers
  • 18.3 Retailing Strategy Decisions
  • 18.4 Recent Trends in Retailing
  • 18.5 Wholesaling
  • 18.6 Recent Trends in Wholesaling
  • 18.7 Ethical Issues in Retailing and Wholesaling
  • 19.1 Sustainable Marketing
  • 19.2 Traditional Marketing versus Sustainable Marketing
  • 19.3 The Benefits of Sustainable Marketing
  • 19.4 Sustainable Marketing Principles
  • 19.5 Purpose-Driven Marketing

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • 1 Explain the purpose of a marketing plan.
  • 2 List and discuss elements that should be included in a marketing plan.

Purpose and Structure of a Marketing Plan

A company’s marketing plan ( Figure 2.10 ) is without a doubt one of the most important planning tools in business. You might think that it’s an activity that generates an impressive, colorful document that sits in a desk drawer until the next time it gets revised, but you’d be wrong.

If you’re a new business seeking funding, the bank will want to see and understand your marketing plan before parting with funds. If you have an existing business that you want to grow, investors will likely go over your marketing plan with a fine-tooth comb to understand how additional funding will generate a positive return. Even if you’re not seeking external funding, you still need a marketing plan to help you establish and achieve your sales and marketing goals in the most effective manner. That’s because the marketing plan will set forth the specific actions that marketing team members need to take in order to reach target customers, build brand awareness, and of course, generate increased revenue.

If you like sports analogies, think about marketing plans as being akin to playbooks in football. A football playbook sets forth what needs to be done to win the game. The playbook breaks the team’s strategy into actionable plays and defines who is responsible for what in order to win the game. That’s exactly the purpose of a marketing plan as well!

Structure of a Marketing Plan

Do a quick Internet search on “structure of a marketing plan,” and you’ll get countless results. To make this even more confusing, there is little agreement within marketing about the precise structure of a marketing plan. Some marketing “experts” argue for 10 components, others for 5 or 6 components. For our purposes in this book, we’re going to use a 12-element marketing plan comprising the elements shown in Figure 2.11 , each of which will be discussed in detail.

If your professor has assigned the semester-long marketing plan template assignment, these next sections will provide you with excellent guidance for completing each of the sections. So let’s dive right in.

Executive Summary

As the name suggests, the executive summary of your marketing plan provides those who will be reviewing your plan with a brief overview (usually one to two pages). It’s going to give the reader a quick synopsis of the main parts of the plan—an overview of what your company has done, what it plans to do, and how it plans to do it.

Think of the executive summary as being an “elevator pitch” of the plan. If you’re not familiar with elevator pitches, they’re persuasive, concise introductions that provide the listener with the information they need to know within just a short period of time—usually the length of the average elevator ride.

The executive summary of your marketing plan should succinctly cover the main parts of the plan. It should contain information about the company, brand, products/services, the market itself, and the overall marketing direction of the company.

It’s important to keep in mind that a marketing plan is typically written in sections separated by headings or subheadings. That’s not the case with the executive summary. You’ll write the executive summary as a series of paragraphs, and each paragraph will focus on a different section of the marketing plan.

Instead of talking about the executive summary strictly in abstract terms, let’s see how this plays out in an example.

This marketing plan is presented for ABC Company, a manufacturer of electronic components for a variety of industries. We have developed a new product for the health care industry, and this marketing plan will demonstrate that ABC Company has a unique opportunity to expand into this dynamic, growing market.
ABC Company was founded in 2002 and is based in Park City, Utah. The company produces electronic components for a variety of industries. When the company was founded, it produced electronic apparatuses primarily for the automotive industry. Its product line has expanded over the past 20+ years to include electronic apparatuses for the appliance and heating, ventilating, and cooling (HVAC) industries. Key Team Members: Khadija Simone, founder and CEO—Khadija has over 30 years of experience in the electronic apparatus industry, having managed divisions of two Fortune 500 companies before founding ABC Company. Khadija has a BS in electrical engineering from Purdue University and a master of business administration from the University of Chicago. Tanasha Turner, vice president of marketing—Tanasha has 20 years of sales and business development experience from working with several start-up companies that she helped grow into large businesses. She joined ABC Company in 2016 and has spearheaded the entry of the company into the appliance industry. Tanasha has a BA in marketing from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in business marketing from California Coast University.
There are several large players in the electronic apparatus industry, including EAC Industries and Antwell Industries, as well as a few smaller companies that sell similar products to the automotive, appliance, and HVAC industries. The rapid pace of innovations in the industry is stimulating demand for newer and faster apparatuses. Digital technologies such as 5G mobile communication networks and 3D printing are expected to aid in the development of innovative electronic apparatuses.
As noted above, ABC Company has created a new electronic apparatus for the health care industry. The success of this product would provide the company with an inroad to a new industry that uses the sophisticated technology developed by the company. This new product would provide the health care industry with improved efficiencies and cost savings vis-à-vis those that are offered by existing products on the market. Although there are similar products designed for other industries, there are currently no competitors for this type of product designed specifically for the health care industry.
The target market for ABC Company’s new product is large health care providers, including hospitals, research laboratories, and clinics. This marketing plan will outline its campaign to reach this target market through a combination of direct sales and social media marketing.
ABC Company has experienced significant sales growth in the appliance and HVAC industries since the company’s inception in 2002. Its sales revenue from these industries last year exceeded $23.4 million. Our marketing budget for the coming year in connection with entry into the health care industry is estimated to be $150,000.
ABC Company has developed a marketing plan that will enable it to quickly make inroads into the health care industry and become the premier provider of electronic apparatuses to this growing market. We intend to use our experience and expertise in selling to the appliance and HVAC industries to showcase how this electronic apparatus can benefit the health care industry.

Mission Statement

The next section of your marketing plan will be the mission statement of your company. You’ll recall from Section 2.1 that a mission statement is an action statement that clearly and concisely declares the purpose of the organization and how it serves its customers. It defines the what, why, and who of the organization. Once again, a picture (or in this case, an example) is worth a thousand words. Earlier in this chapter, we examined the mission statements of a couple of well-known businesses, so let’s take a look at some mission statements for some other well-known companies:

  • Pinterest : “Help people discover the things they love, and inspire them to go do those things in their daily lives” 52
  • Spotify : “To unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it” 53
  • BBC : “To act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain” 54

Keep in mind that most mission statements are one to three sentences, almost never exceeding 150 words. You want to be succinct in letting people know what you do and who you do it for.

But how do you write a mission statement? You might start out by asking yourself four fundamental questions—what does the company do, how does it do it, who does it do it for, and why does it do what it does? The answers to these questions will likely give you enough information to synthesize and condense it into a meaningful mission statement. Remember that your mission statement should be more than just a meaningless string of “feel good” business jargon. It should be ambitious but realistic. It should be clear and concise. It should be focused on what the company does for its customers. Finally, it should keep employees focused on the organization’s objectives.

SWOT Analysis

The next section in your marketing plan will include a SWOT analysis. We’ve covered the concept of a SWOT analysis in some detail earlier in this chapter, so we won’t review it here. Suffice it to say that the SWOT analysis as part of your marketing plan is crucial in identifying key internal and external influences in your company’s current position so that you can take advantage of the strengths and opportunities, mitigate the threats, and address your internal weaknesses.

Objectives and Issues

As noted earlier in this chapter, marketing plan objectives should be SMART—specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. Within your marketing plan, these objectives should be written in such a manner that they communicate precisely what needs to be achieved and who is responsible for each activity. For example, if you were writing this section of the marketing plan for ABC Company, an objective statement such as “Increase revenue by introducing a new product in the health care industry” would be too generic and not actionable. How much do you want to increase market share and during what time period? A better objective may be “Generate $1.7 million in sales in the health care industry by the end of the next fiscal year.” Remember that writing specific goals and objectives can help you more clearly define and address the issues outlined in your marketing plan. You should also keep in mind that the marketing plan objectives aren’t limited to just revenue. You may have objectives like increasing leads, in-store foot traffic, conversion rates, etc. Just make certain that each of these objectives is SMART.

Market Segmentation and Target Market

Essentially, what you will define in this section of the marketing plan is your target audience and your most likely buyers. We will cover market segmentation and targeting in more detail later in this textbook, but we’ll give you a sneak peek into these concepts. Market segmentation is the process of dividing a target market into smaller, more defined categories of people or businesses with common needs and/or wants who are expected to respond similarly to a marketing action. Ultimately, the purpose of segmenting a market is to highlight the differences between groups of customers so that you can decide which group(s) upon which to focus your marketing efforts and resources—that’s your target market.

Your marketing plan should include a description of the market for the product or service, the segments in this market, and how the plan will address the target market strategy.

Buyer Personas

The intricacies of buyer personas will also be covered in more detail in a later chapter, but your takeaway here is that a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your “ideal customer” that helps you understand and relate to the audience to which you want to market your product and/or services. Buyer personas help marketers visualize the person to whom the company is selling so that marketing messages can be fine-tuned because brands that feel “human” to their target market usually succeed in building a rapport with them, improving the brand reputation for both existing and new customers.

This section of the marketing plan should address who your buyer personas are (and you can have several). These are one-page visual profiles outlining the demographics of your ideal customer, such as age, gender, motivations, and needs. For example, let’s assume that your company sells outdoor apparel and hiking equipment. One of your buyer personas may be “On-the-go-Evan,” a Gen Z male who enjoys being outside and participating in noncompetitive sports and relies on blog posts, influencers, and reviews to get unbiased information about the equipment he needs. 55

Buyer personas aid marketers in bringing the target customer to life in a way that both inspires marketing strategies and prepares sales teams for conversations with customers that connect them in a meaningful way. How many buyer personas should you create? According to LinkedIn, although there isn’t a “magic number,” in most cases three to eight buyer personas are adequate. 56

Link to Learning

Creating buyer personas.

Creating buyer personas is an integral part of marketing, and it can be fun. For more information on steps to creating buyer personas, check out this tool from HubSpot that describes buyer personas and provides an interactive tool for creating them.

  • Positioning

Similarly, positioning will be covered in more depth in a later chapter. Remember that you first will have segmented the market by dividing it into distinct groups of customers and determined which customer group(s) you want to target. Positioning now defines where your product or service fits into the marketplace and why it is better than your competitors’ products.

Product positioning is typically illustrated on a perceptual positioning map that uses two determinant attributes (those factors customers use in making their purchase decision) on the vertical and horizontal axes, and the marketer places his or her product offering on the map, along with those of the major competitors.

Once you’ve developed the map, you’ll have a clearer idea of where your product or service stands in relation to the competition. The questions to address in your marketing plan might include the following:

  • Do consumer attitudes toward your product or service match what you want them to think about it?
  • Do consumer attitudes toward your competitors’ products or services match what you perceive?
  • Who are the competitors that consumers perceive as offering products or services that are close to yours?
  • Are there holes or gaps in the map, indicating the potential for new offerings?

Creating a Perceptual Positioning Map

See an example of a perceptual positioning map as applied to the fast-food industry.

An important aspect of these maps is understanding how your products and your competition are perceived by customers, and this video shows you how to process and map this information.

Check out this example using chocolate. If you’re interested in using Excel data to create the map, watch this video example.

Current Marketing Situation

This section of your marketing plan should provide the reader with a clear description of the current state of the marketplace, including your target market and the competitive environment. It should include a synopsis of the research into and analysis of your target market, your competitors, challenges in the marketplace, and the company’s competitive differentiators. Some of the key items to address in the plan are as follows:

  • Market Description. This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list, but this section should address things like statistics about the size of your target market; whether it is growing, shrinking, or staying the same; if it is changing; and why. 57
  • Product Review. The product review section of your marketing plan summarizes the main features of your company’s products, including information about sales, price, and gross margins.
  • Competitive Analysis. This section should include a discussion of your top competitors and how they fare in the marketplace vis-à-vis your company’s products and/or services. This typically involves researching major competitors to glean insights into their products or services, sales, marketing tactics, product quality, pricing, market share, and distribution.

Marketing Strategy

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter. This section of the marketing plan essentially sets forth the broad marketing strategy or game plan for achieving the objectives previously set forth in the plan. It should consist of specific strategies for target markets, positioning, the marketing mix (i.e., product, price, place, and promotion), and anticipated marketing expenditure levels. 58

  • Product Strategy. This is the “road map” that you’ll use to develop your product(s) or features(s), including all tasks needed to achieve the objectives set forth in the marketing plan. The product strategy essentially outlines how the product(s) or service(s) will benefit the business, what problem it will solve, and the impact that it will make on customers and the business. It’s only when this strategy has been set forth in straightforward terms that it can act as a baseline upon which you can measure success before, during, and after production. 59
  • setting a price that sends the right message in terms of quality and value in the minds of your target market,
  • setting a price that supports your promotion strategy (to be covered below), and
  • setting a price that maximizes profit. 60
  • Promotion Strategy. Your promotion strategy sets forth the tactics you intend to implement in your marketing plan in order to increase demand for your product(s) or service(s). List the methods you will use to gain awareness and interest in your product from those in your target audience. Methods of reaching potential consumers abound—company websites, social media networks, trade shows, and radio/television/website advertising. You’ll want to list the advantages and disadvantages of each method and indicate why and how much it will cost to employ the method(s) you have selected.
  • Distribution Strategy. Your distribution strategy describes how customers in your target market will purchase from you. Will they buy directly from your website, from a storefront, or through distributors or retailers? What are the costs involved in this type of distribution, and why do you believe your distribution strategy will enable you to get the right product into the hands of the right consumer at the right time?

Action Programs

You’re getting to the end of the plan (finally). The marketing strategies outlined in the section above should now be translated into specific action programs that indicate what is to be done, when it is to be done, by whom it will be done, and the cost involved. The action program should list when activities will be started, reviewed, and completed.

Budgeting Concerns

The action plans outlined in the section above should enable you to make a supporting marketing budget that is essentially a projected profit-and-loss (P&L) statement. If you’ve previously taken an accounting course, you’ll know that a P&L statement summarizes the revenues, costs, and expenses incurred during a specified period.

On the revenue side, this statement should indicate that forecasted number of units to be sold during the period outlined in the marketing plan and the average net price for revenues. On the expense side, this statement should indicate the cost of production, physical distribution, and marketing expenditures. 61

Controls to Monitor Progress

Controls is the last section of the marketing plan. This section will outline the control methods that will be utilized to monitor the action programs outlined in the plan. The reason you’ll want to monitor these metrics during the time period of the marketing plan is to see where things may have fallen outside the desired range, at which time you’ll want to dig into the details, perform an analysis of the root cause of the problem(s), and make adjustments to get back on track.

Marketing Plans

There are numerous online examples of marketing plans. To be a great marketer, it would be wise to review and study marketing plans and how they tell a unique company story. Here are several to check out:

  • Shopify blog: “7 Inspiring Marketing Plan Examples (and How You Can Implement Them)”
  • University of Illinois
  • Visit Baton Rouge
  • Bizfluent example for a generic restaurant

There’s also a free marketing plan template available from HubSpot .

Knowledge Check

It’s time to check your knowledge on the concepts presented in this section. Refer to the Answer Key at the end of the book for feedback.

  • Description of products or services being marketed
  • Description of customer base and related marketing activities
  • Description of company and team
  • Description of market factors and trends
  • Strengths and opportunities
  • Weaknesses and threats
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Opportunities and threats
  • A perceptual map indicates the relative strength of competitors in the market segment.
  • A perceptual map indicates the relative market share and market growth of a product portfolio.
  • A perceptual map illustrates product positioning vis-à-vis the competitors.
  • A perceptual map displays the product, pricing, promotion, and distribution strategy of the product or service.
  • Objectives and issues
  • SWOT analysis
  • Buyer personas
  • Current marketing situation
  • Target market
  • Mission statement

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  • Authors: Dr. Maria Gomez Albrecht, Dr. Mark Green, Linda Hoffman
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What is a marketing plan and why is it important?

Before you spend a cent on marketing, you first have to understand the market and your customers.

parts of marketing plan in business plan

Companies of all sizes have one thing in common: They all began as small businesses.  Starting small  is the corner for those just getting off the ground. Learn about how to make that first hire, deal with all things administrative, and set yourself up for success.

A marketing plan is a blueprint for launching new products, understanding the intricacies of your market, growing your audience, and promoting your company to customers who want what you’re selling. 

With a well-designed marketing plan, you can design more effective promotions and impactful campaigns, reach your customers with targeted advertising, and track your business success with analytics. Without one, you might as well throw your marketing budget down a well and hope for the best. 

If you’ve been tasked with creating a marketing plan for your company, there are some basic elements to keep in mind. Though every marketing plan will reflect the specific business and industry it’s been created for, most share a few common features and can be boiled down to just one or two simple objectives. In this article, we’ll outline some of the basic elements of a marketing plan and how to write one.

When you’re ready to put the plan into action, WeWork All Access and WeWork On Demand are there to support you with hundreds of dedicated workspaces around the world, so you can seamlessly collaborate on marketing strategy in a professional and stylish office space.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a document outlining a company’s future marketing efforts and goals. It can be as short as a single page or made up of many smaller campaign plans from different marketing teams. 

However large and complex those plans are, the idea remains the same: A marketing plan is created to organize, execute, and eventually measure the success of a business’s marketing strategy .

Types of marketing plans

Marketing plans come in as many different shapes and sizes as there are different kinds of business, but they can be broadly placed into one (or more) of a few different categories. Here are some of the most common you’ll encounter.

  • Annual marketing plans. These types of marketing plans arrange campaigns according to when they’re expected to launch, rather than the content of the campaigns themselves. It’s a useful way to get an overview of a marketing strategy for the upcoming year, and to measure success continuously as time passes.
  • Content marketing plans. This is a more content-focused way of approaching a marketing strategy, and highlights the specific channels and audiences you want to reach. Content marketing plans can look very similar to annual marketing plans, but are less concerned with the “when” and more with the “what” and the “how.”
  • Product launch plans. Launching a new product or service requires a specific kind of marketing plan. The main goal is to successfully introduce the new product to the market. But these plans also include the strategies, tactics, and content needed in the buildup to the launch itself.
  • Social media marketing plans. Social media channels are such a vital part of a company’s marketing goals that it’s often wise to create a separate social media marketing plan dedicated to creating advertising and promotional content on these platforms.

What is the purpose of a marketing plan?

A marketing plan lays out your business strategy for acquiring new customers and selling more products and services. But it also serves as a way of analyzing exactly how successful your marketing efforts have been so far. Knowing this information helps steer ongoing campaigns in the right direction, aligns your marketing with your company’s values, and ensures that future campaigns are better targeted and more effective.

To understand why a marketing plan is important, just consider what would happen without one. Your advertising budget would be spent based entirely on guesswork about where your potential customers can be found and what they’re looking for. You’d have no idea which of your campaigns contributed to increased sales figures. And you’d have no baselines from which to build more effective campaigns in the future.

How to create a marketing plan

Elements of a marketing plan.

The basic building blocks of any good marketing plan are focused on objectives, research, competitors, and content. These objectives should be clearly defined and easily measurable goals —ideally no more than two or three—and informed by as much consumer research as you can reasonably gather.

Whether your goal is increasing your Instagram followers, driving traffic to your site, or attracting more cheese fans to your cheese store, set a specific target by which to monitor the performance of any campaign. As you develop your marketing plan and learn what’s effective and what’s not, you can set more accurate targets and begin to hone in on the strategies that really work for your company.

A marketing plan should also describe your brand’s biggest competitors and the campaigns they’re running, as well as identify any openings in the market that would allow your company to grab market share. This is where SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis comes into its own, enabling a company to shape its marketing plan around its own strengths and weaknesses.

Lastly, a marketing plan should outline the content of each campaign. Will your pre-roll video content use animation or live actors? Can you offer discounts and voucher codes to new customers? Will you leverage your mailing list to notify existing customers of a new product launch?

Define a marketing plan strategy

If your marketing plan is a roadmap, then your marketing strategy is the road. The strategy describes which tools you’ll use to hit the targets laid out by the main marketing plan document, and how they’ll be applied.

Here’s where you get down to the fundamentals of selling. Depending on who you ask, there are as many as seven P’s of marketing, though most agree on four core elements: price, product, place, and promotion.

What are you selling? How much are you charging? Where will your customers see it? And how will you promote it to them? Marketing gurus will promise you that if you can answer all of these questions correctly, you’ll be guaranteed boundless success.

Of course, in the real world it’s not quite so straightforward. But the four main P’s are an ideal starting point for anyone creating a market plan from scratch.

How to measure the success of a marketing plan

An enormous amount of effort and investment is poured into monitoring the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, but at some level, consumer behavior becomes what’s known as a black box. You can measure what goes into it and what comes out the other end, but what happens inside the mind of a consumer can ultimately only be guessed at based on outcomes. Even the shoppers themselves can’t reliably report on why they choose certain products over others.

That’s why tracking a marketing plan’s performance alongside more specific KPIs (key performance indicators) is crucial. Advertising spend and sales figures aren’t linked in a simple or obvious way, so measuring success on a more granular level—such as increasing conversions or returning customers—helps create a much clearer picture of how well your marketing plan is doing.

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parts of marketing plan in business plan

Final thoughts on creating a marketing plan

Marketing plans need to be squarely outlined and adhered to, but they shouldn’t be set in stone. You need to be able to course-correct when something isn’t landing, or lean more into campaigns when they’re working well. 

Quick aside: This is particularly true when it comes to the content of social media marketing plans, which are truly effective only when they’re timely and topical. Memes are a perfect example of this: How often have you seen a promoted tweet deploy some forgotten joke from months ago, presumably because it had been left in somebody’s annual marketing plan?

But while it’s useful to have a flexible approach , it’s important that your marketing plan is resilient and doesn’t flip-flop or bounce wildly between ideas. Move the goalposts too much and your plan will quickly fall apart, leaving your campaign in chaos. Allow your strategies some time to settle in, and even if you don’t reach success, you will gain invaluable performance data for future projects.

Steve Hogarty is a writer and journalist based in London. He is the travel editor of City AM newspaper and the deputy editor of City AM Magazine , where his work focuses on technology, travel, and entertainment.

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Marketing Strategy in a Business Plan

… we will get this market share by …
  • Product USP : Why buy our product? What characteristics does the product have to meet customer needs?
  • Promotion : What marketing activities will be undertaken? What means of communication will the business use to persuade customers of the benefits of the product? Will it use above the line promotion or below the line promotion?
  • Place : What are the distribution channels? How is the business going to reach customers with its product?
  • Price : What price will the business charge for the product, and what goal is it pursuing with the pricing strategy? Will the business use premium, penetration, economy or skimming pricing strategies.

Marketing Strategy Presentation

The marketing strategy section of the business plan can be presented in four sections relating to each of the four P’s product, promotion, place, and price as shown in the example layout below.

The marketing strategy is a key section of the business plan, at this stage you are not trying to present a complete marketing plan, but simply trying to show the investor that each major section of the marketing strategy has been thought about and that you have a good marketing mix.

All of the four sections should be consistent with and support each other, for example, if you are planning to adopt a high price strategy, then the product would be aimed at an upmarket target customer, distributed at high end stores, and make use of one to one personal selling.

This is part of the financial projections and Contents of a Business Plan Guide , a series of posts on what each section of a simple business plan should include. The next post in this series sets out the business model which the business intends to use to generate revenue.

About the Author

Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of Plan Projections. He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.

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What are the parts of a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is the written document that describes your advertising and marketing efforts for the coming year. It includes a statement of the current marketing situation, a discussion of target markets and company positioning and a description of the marketing mix you intend to use to reach your marketing goals.

The most important part a marketing plan are the KPIs (key performance indicators). You must be able to measure success to determine which marketing efforts are worth the investment of your time and money. Each industry will have different KPIs so it’s important to pin point which indicators will best suit your efforts and goals.

The Situation Analysis – Where are you now?

The Situation Analysis is the introductory section to your marketing plan. This section contains an overview of your company and brand’s situation as it exists in today’s terms. This is the benchmark data from which you can measure your future success. The Situation Analysis can cover a number of factors, including:

1. PRODUCT/SERVICE DESCRIPTION: This is where you will briefly define the various products and services offered by your business.

2. MISSION STATEMENT: Define your business’ key market contribution, and distinction. The distinction is important, often referred to as your USP – your unique selling proposition. What sets you apart from other businesses in your industry? Why is your brand or product ‘better’?

3. SWOT ANALYSIS: The SWOT Analysis contains two internal factors- Strengths and Weaknesses. It’s important to understand what your business does well and where it can improve. The SWOT also contains two external factors – Opportunities and Threats. This is where you outline what market opportunities exist and what potential threats exist in your industry.

4. MARKET RESEARCH: When completing market research, it’s important to identify current market and industry trends. Where is the market going and why? Will you be able to adapt your services or product line in the next 12 months to adjust to these new trends? What needs to be done to accomplish this? Will new technology in your industry affect your sales?

5. BRAND POSITION: Having a comprehensive understanding of how your brand is perceived in the marketplace is important. This sets the tone of your marketing and the voice of your brand. Are you the ‘Budget Brand’ or the ‘Luxury Model’ in your industry? Mapping out your brand against the competition on the grid will help you determine what tactics to employ to market yourself in the coming year.

6. TARGET MARKET/AUDIENCE: Carefully examine your target market- who is your ideal customer or client? First, define the key demographics – age, sex, and location. You should then segment your audience into easily targeted groups. Using key factors will help you target your ideal customer and spend your marketing budget with the best possible ROI. There are many factors to consider: spending habits, education level, family life, social media use, political and/or religious beliefs; home ownership, travel and vacation habits, social habits and more. The more you can segment your target market, the more precision you will have when implementing your marketing strategy.

B2B businesses will define their audience a little differently – listing categories such as lawyers, doctors, or logistics. From there, the categories should be segmented to become more specific and effective for your marketing tactics. For instance, you might segment your target audience of ‘lawyers’ to- ‘Criminal Defense Attorneys practicing in Boca Raton, FL with at least five paralegals and a caseload of 40.’

7. COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS: Just like defining your target market, you need to define your competition. Who are the direct competitors in your industry? What are their business model and USP? How do they spend their marketing dollars and has it been effective, what portions of their efforts have been ineffective and why?

Marketing Goals – Where do you want to be?

In less than one page, you should be able to summarize the company’s marketing goals for the next 12 months. The most important factor to consider when completion this portion of your marketing plan is to set realistic goals that are measurable. “Increase sales” or “increase conversions through our website” are both examples of ineffective goals because you cannot accurately measure them. You will be much better off measuring your marketing successes with goals such as, “Increase sales of Widget A by 5% per quarter throughout 2018, increasing year-over-year sales by 20% by year end.”

Be sure to choose a handful of specific goals to achieve – both short term and long term. Having short-term goals will allow you to measure success rate and ROI along the way so that you can adjust your strategies throughout the next 12 months with ease.

Marketing Strategy and Tactics – How will you get there?

1. MARKETING STRATEGY: Believe it or not, the marketing strategy is going to be the bulk of your marketing plan. Take as many pages as you need to provide an overview of each marketing strategy you plan to deploy in the coming year. Each strategy should include the marketing tactics and the marketing mix you will use to execute them. The marketing tactics should include actionable steps you plan to take for all categories – traditional advertising, digital advertising, social media, public relations, direct mail, trade shows or events, special promotions and any other categories that might apply to your tactics. What matters most is that you use this section as your guide during the next 12 months as a to-do list overview. This portion of your marketing plan should act as a guide to your execution team.

2. BUDGET: Each marketing tactic should have a budget associated with it. Break the budget down into three sections – Ideal Spend, Budgeted Spend, and Actual Spend. This allows the marketing team to set their ideal budget while the owners set the actual standards for what can be spent. In the end, keep track of the actual spend so that your marketing team can calculate their ROI as a KPI.

Marketing KPIs and Metrics – How will you measure your success?

Last but absolute not least, figure out how to measure the success of your plan. Defining your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will play a huge role in this section. Let’s revisit our previous goal example – “Increase sales of Widget A by 5% a quarter throughout 2018, increasing year-over-year sales by 20% by year end.” We could have the following tactic associated with the following KPI to monitor a portion of the marketing plan goal – Tactic: Increase in-person sales calls by 15% per sales person per quarter KPI: Review in-person sales call success rate (calls that lead to actual sales) year over year. Review in-person sales call numbers year over year.

In the end your marketing plan should not just end up sitting in a folder on DropBox. The plan needs to be actionable and measurable to be successful. Refer back to it often.

What Happens During Due Diligence

Choosing Which Key Performance Indicators Matter to your Business

Business News Daily

6 Tips for Creating a Great Business Marketing Plan

E very successful company needs a well-thought-out business plan to outline its course of action. A marketing strategy is one key part of that plan: It spells out critical information, including how a business will distinguish itself from competitors and what the team will aim to achieve.

While marketing plans don't always produce immediate results, they are still a crucial aspect of a business plan and should be given a considerate amount of attention. A complete and effective marketing strategy can reveal opportunities through new audience segments, changes in pricing strategy or by differentiating the brand from the competition.

Here's how to create an effective marketing plan for your business. 

How to develop a business marketing plan

A focused marketing plan sets two goals. The first is to maintain engagement and customer loyalty , and the second is to capture market share within a specific audience segment of your target audience.

Your marketing plan outlines the strategies you'll use to achieve both goals and the specific actions your marketing team will employ, such as the specific outreach campaigns, over which channels they will occur, the required marketing budget and data-driven projections of their success.

Marketing is a science-driven commitment that typically requires months of data to refine campaigns, and an interconnected marketing plan keeps your business committed to its long-term goals. 

All marketing guidelines will circle back to the four P's: product, price, place and promotion. The following tips are starting points that will ingrain the habit of continually returning to these four P's.

1. Create an executive summary.

Marketing campaigns should not be considered individual functions. Marketing is the story of your brand as told to customers; like any narrative, its tone and characters should remain consistent. An executive summary details your marketing goals for the next year and helps tie each campaign together. 

When establishing your marketing goals, they should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound – or SMART. These goals should work together to achieve both internal and external harmony, telling a consistent story that informs customers of your exact message while building on its previous chapters. 

For example, you may set a SMART goal to increase your company's social media traffic by 15% in a 90-day time frame, and plan to achieve this by creating four relevant, informative and high-quality posts per week on each platform, using your company's brand kit. 

2. Identify your target market.

Before you write a marketing plan, you need to find and understand your niche. Ask yourself who the specific demographic is that you're targeting. For example, if your business sells 30-minute meals, then those who work traditional 9-to-5 jobs are likely in your market. Study that group of individuals to understand their struggles and learn how your business can solve the problem.

FYI: Targeting your audience can drastically improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and help you avoid wasting resources on fruitless campaigns.

3. Differentiate your brand with inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing utilizes internal tools – such as content marketing, social media activity and search engine optimization (SEO) – to attract a customer's attention primarily through online communication. Content marketing can include informative blog posts, interviews, podcasts with relevant industry figures or supplementary guides on how to best use your product. For example, if you sell cooking supplies, consider posting several fun recipes around the holidays that your tools can help prepare.

Each of these strategies empowers the others in a loop to achieve greater customer attention. A strong content offering can improve your search engine ranking, which brings more people to your website and social pages. You can then share those developed content pieces to that wider audience, who will again improve your search engine rankings. All of this can be done without the expense of a famous endorser or commercial advertising campaign. 

4. Identify competitors that also target your customers.

No matter how original your product or service may be, there is always competition for your target customer's dollar. Small business personnel seldom take the time to study their competitors in-depth or pinpoint companies outside their industry that are just as capable of luring customers away. Knowing who your competitors are, their core competitive advantages, and how they might respond to your offerings – like price cuts or increased communication – helps you devise strategies to combat such losses. 

By seeking out these competitors, you can develop ways to differentiate your business by providing consumers with the things they may be lacking from your competition. Observe how your competitors operate to find ways in which you can stand out and steer your target audience toward your business. 

Did you know? According to SmallBizGenius, 19% of small businesses fail because of their competitors. 

5. State your brand position for your target customers.

Ultimately, your brand – and what it symbolizes for customers – is your strongest advantage. You should be able to write a simple declarative sentence of how you will meet customer needs and beat the competition. The best positioning statements focus on solving a problem for the customer in a way that promotes the best value.

6. Budget the plan. 

When implementing a strategy, consider the marketing budget you will allot. Marketing requires money for various reasons, including paid promotions, marketing software, events and outsourced costs. Consider your budget when creating the plan so that there is money available to spend on marketing tactics to achieve your goals. 

While drafting the plan and evaluating your course of action, note the estimated cost, assets, and time required to achieve the stated goals; this will help when it comes time to set the actual calculated budget. Any goals that you create should be realistically achievable within the budget you have set. 

Key takeaway: When developing your marketing plan, you should know why a customer would use your product, differentiate your brand from competitors, and audit your product offering and message to ensure consistency.

Channels to include in your marketing plan

Once you know the elements of your plan, the next step is to develop the blueprint of how you will reach your target customers. Aside from traditional print and broadcast media, here are three digital marketing channels that many business owners utilize.

Social media

Social media is an essential part of businesses' marketing plans, because every type of customer is on some type of platform – such as Facebook , Twitter or LinkedIn . You may feel overwhelmed at the possibilities, but focus on the sites that can benefit your business the most.

Brett Farmiloe, founder of internet marketing company Markitors, advised companies starting out in social media to get to know their customers and the platforms they use.

"Figure out where your customers are spending their time, and set up shop on those platforms," he told Business News Daily. "Develop a content strategy that can be executed internally, [and then] execute your strategy by posting branded content on your selected platforms."

Though email marketing is not as new as social media marketing, it is an effective and popular choice for small business owners. Companies can implement email marketing techniques in many ways, including newsletters, promotional campaigns and transactional emails. For instance, Mailchimp and Constant Contact help companies manage their email drip campaigns .

Farmiloe added to set your email marketing efforts apart from the others by segmenting your markets.

"Not all subscribers want to receive the same blast," he said. "Smart email marketers take the time to segment subscribers at the outset, and then continue to segment based on subscriber activity. Through segmentation, companies reduce the amount of unsubscribes, increase open rates and, most importantly, increase the amount of actions taken from an email send."

The popularity of smartphones and tablets has changed how companies target consumers. Since people have these devices with them nearly all the time, companies are looking to implement strategies that reach customers on their gadgets.   

"Mobile marketing is interruptive," Farmiloe said. "It's because of this power that a marketer has to let the consumer determine how and when to receive marketing material. That's why almost every app comes with the option to turn notifications on or off. The consumer has to hold the power with mobile marketing."

Key takeaway: Use digital marketing channels – such as social media, email and mobile – to reach customers, but only after researching each channel in depth and developing a strategy to capture consumers' interest. 

Monitoring results

Well-defined budgets, goals and action items – with appropriate personnel assigned to each – can make your marketing plan a reality. Think about how much you're willing to spend, the outcomes you expect and the necessary tasks to achieve those outcomes.

Analytical tools that track customer behavior and engagement rates can serve as a helpful guide for your marketing strategy . Unlike billboards or commercials, digital channels allow you to assess each step of the customer journey and gain insights on the individual patterns and intent of prospects. Intention can soon develop into prediction, empowering your marketing team to develop campaigns that consistently reach target audiences at the right time. 

You can find more tips for measuring your marketing ROI here.

Jordan Beier and Adryan Corcione contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Every successful company needs a well-thought-out business plan to outline its course of action. A marketing strategy is

More From Forbes

Moving beyond campaigns to marketing programs.

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Agency Principal | Owner at Simantel | Marketing Sweats Podcast Host | Advertising & Marketing Independent Network Worldwide Board Member.

There’s a standard cycle in the agency world: Clients bring us a sales goal and ask us to build a campaign that delivers an ROI. In the age of lead generation, this is our happy place—especially given the chance to be creative, strategic and even (sometimes) fun.

But more often than not, clients aren’t just looking for a campaign. They are seeking a partner who understands their business needs—and who has a track record for building long-term programs that work in a bigger way.

What’s the difference between a campaign and a program? Let’s take a look.

Campaigns (And When To Use Them)

Traditionally, campaigns hyper-focus on one area of business and involve specific timelines, budgets and performance goals.

For example, let’s take a new product launch. Within 12 months, marketing can build a creative message, look and feel and promote it via paid and social media. If the strategy works, the business might see substantial leads. And, if the organization is brought along—and the product itself is competitive—sales targets can be met fairly quickly.

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In this model, on-the-go optimization is required, but leadership stakeholders are only involved at a high level (or only when problems occur).

But typically, with a campaign of this sort, some questions remain. What’s happening in the customer’s world beyond this product? What’s happening in the business?

Often, taking a wider angle lens could turn this product campaign into a program—and impact the business outcomes much more drastically.

The Case For Marketing Programs

Where campaigns aim to solve sales goals, a program aims to solve an overarching business problem—ideally resulting in lasting and sustainable change.

Programs establish the infrastructure necessary to get to a future state…which can take years to build and see through. They start with a vision and lead to a desired outcome. The goals might be achieved through marketing campaigns in part. But, they also require hard conversations to align various stakeholders, organizational design changes and sometimes even complex process overhauls or communication cascades. Occasionally, a program’s goals might change as well as the world keeps moving forward. So, the marketing plans should too.

Here are a few use cases for a program.

• Unifying a highly-matrixed organization: A complex organization may have multiple business units—each with unique customer bases and communications needs. But “the vision” is a cohesive customer experience. A program could address each unique perspective by aligning and coordinating with teams that all operate a little differently. The program might include multiple marketing campaigns geared toward each audience to help get a unified approach. But the campaigns are just one part of the program.

• Building ambassadors: More than ever, brands are turning toward their current customers to help generate loyalty and a positive reputation. Establishing an ambassador “program” (not a campaign) means implementing systems and organizational design structures that facilitate community connection and offer rewards. Onboarding and workshops would need to be developed, along with a maintenance plan, and even an offboarding process could be useful.

• Driving growth over time: Brands are increasingly asking their agencies to help drive business growth, not just sales. It’s one of the more common outcomes that doesn’t change—even if goals shift. That means building a long-term, sustainable plan is required, including strong alignment conversations, a broad communication plan with smaller goals along the way—and recruiting, branding, networking and coordinating efforts throughout.

Most organizations are already managing programs, and it’s not uncommon to have a variety of “workstream leads” all coming together for a greater good. And, those who work in this way know—it often requires a vastly different operating model—but the return is higher exposure to both internal and external stakeholders…and exponentially greater opportunity for business (and career) growth and development.

Your Program Implementation Checklist

If you have a business need you believe falls into the land of “program” rather than “campaign,” leverage this five-step roadmap to ensure you’re set up for success.

1. Evaluate your team structure.

Do you have effective support to handle the added responsibilities? To protect existing relationships (and your reputation), having the right players is key. Even if you lack enough headcount, make sure the people know what they’re doing.

2. Ensure leadership buy-in.

Are the leaders involved with this work “in it” with you (and ready to take ownership)? When all stakeholders are confident in the approach, they’ll have your back if things go sideways. Scope together, identify roles and responsibilities upfront and plan frequent communication to keep everyone fully invested.

3. Revisit the budget regularly.

Because programs span years, they require better budget planning. Think like a consultant: A flat fee model might be better for project work, where a program should work more like a retainer (or “bucket of money”) that is exhausted and replenished over time as goals are met. This allows funds to shift from place to place as needs evolve.

4. Establish an offboarding plan.

Assume that eventually, the program will be handed off to a different team to manage. This means it was successful! And it requires planning ahead for training, maybe change management. It’s a unique value marketers can offer their organizations because it illustrates sustainable and efficient thinking. As a program moves from strategy into execution, costs should be lower. Build this into your roadmap (and use it as a talking point when selling the process to your leaders).

5. Sell, sell, sell.

Building effective programs is a unique service! Ensure your team understands this value. Position programs as the solution to business problems. That’s meaningful work, and this acknowledgment will go a long way. If leaders understand this impact, the value of marketing grows—and watch out—you may get even bigger, better work!

On Your Mark, Get Set…

Programs are where the magic happens. They allow us to connect more dots and help “bring it all together” for our organizations. If you can deliver, it will set you apart.

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Misty Dykema

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  5. What Is a Marketing Plan? And How to Create One

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    The easiest way to develop your marketing plan is to work through each of these sections, referring to the market research you completed when you were writing the previous sections of the business plan. (Note that if you are developing a marketing plan on its own, rather than as part of a business plan, you will also need to include a target ...

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    2. Content marketing plan. A content marketing plan highlights different strategies, campaigns or tactics you can use for your content to help your business reach its goals. This one-page marketing plan example from Contently outlines a content strategy and workflow using simple colors and blocks.

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    8. Coca-Cola. Industry titan Coca-Cola released a strategy video that encompasses all seven elements of a holistic marketing plan. The proposal primarily explains the major content initiatives for the coming year, and focuses on how the brand's initial ideas can be practically implemented into the existing strategy. 9.

  12. How to create a marketing plan in 2024

    Strategy: Segmentation, Targeting and Positoning (STP) and the tactics forming the 7Ps of the marketing mix. Action: Budget, resourcing including team and tools and marketing technology (Martech) and 90-day action plans. As a marketer, every activity will fall into either an opportunity, strategy, or action.

  13. Five Essential Elements Of A Marketing Plan For A Small Business

    5. Develop Your Timeline and Budget. Establish a timeline and budget for your marketing strategy that reaches your audience throughout the year. It should include all scheduled promotions for the ...

  14. 9 Elements of an Effective Marketing Plan

    The goal is to increase sales revenue by 15% in 6 months with only a very modest budget. After much research, you decide that the strategic elements of your marketing plan should be to: Increase return visitors to the website. Increase repeat purchases with current/loyal customers.

  15. 8.5 Marketing Strategy and the Marketing Plan

    A marketing plan is a formal business document that is used as a blueprint or guide for how a company will achieve its marketing goals. ... Keep in mind that the various parts of a plan do not need to be written in a certain order. Plans should also be seen as flexible guides rather than absolute rules. All good marketing plans are living ...

  16. Create a Marketing Plan [+20 Free Templates]

    Follow the steps below to create an effective marketing plan. 1. Start with an executive summary. The executive summary usually goes at the beginning of your marketing plan. It's basically a short summary or brief overview of your company and the key takeaways from the entire marketing plan.

  17. How to Write Marketing Plan in Business Plan with Examples

    Appoint your Team & their Responsibilities. Decide on job roles for your team. Set their KPIs, marketing channels they will manage, what content they will create, etc. Bonus Tip: Here is a step by step guide on how to write a marketing plan executive summary with example and template.

  18. The 5 parts of a marketing plan that every company needs to succeed

    But at a high level, these are the 5 parts of a marketing plan that every company - regardless of target market or industry - needs to succeed: An honest look at your brand. Short- and long-term marketing goals. Content that supports your goals. The right marketing channels for your content. Metrics.

  19. 2.3 Purpose and Structure of the Marketing Plan

    Learning Outcomes. By the end of this section, you will be able to: 1 Explain the purpose of a marketing plan.; 2 List and discuss elements that should be included in a marketing plan.; Purpose and Structure of a Marketing Plan. A company's marketing plan (Figure 2.10) is without a doubt one of the most important planning tools in business.You might think that it's an activity that ...

  20. What is a marketing plan and why is it important?

    A marketing plan is a document outlining a company's future marketing efforts and goals. It can be as short as a single page or made up of many smaller campaign plans from different marketing teams. However large and complex those plans are, the idea remains the same: A marketing plan is created to organize, execute, and eventually measure ...

  21. How to write a marketing plan for your small business

    Marketing plan template. Whether you run your business on your own or have a team of people helping, a marketing plan gets you thinking about growth objectives and helps you come up with the best ways to achieve them. Keep an eye out for our free, editable marketing plan template available soon.

  22. Marketing Strategy in a Business Plan

    The marketing strategy section of the business plan can be presented in four sections relating to each of the four P's product, promotion, place, and price as shown in the example layout below. The marketing strategy is a key section of the business plan, at this stage you are not trying to present a complete marketing plan, but simply trying ...

  23. What are the parts of a marketing plan?

    1. MARKETING STRATEGY: Believe it or not, the marketing strategy is going to be the bulk of your marketing plan. Take as many pages as you need to provide an overview of each marketing strategy you plan to deploy in the coming year. Each strategy should include the marketing tactics and the marketing mix you will use to execute them.

  24. 10 Important Components of an Effective Business Plan

    Effective business plans contain several key components that cover various aspects of a company's goals. The most important parts of a business plan include: 1. Executive summary. The executive summary is the first and one of the most critical parts of a business plan. This summary provides an overview of the business plan as a whole and ...

  25. 6 Tips for Creating a Great Business Marketing Plan

    A marketing strategy is one key part of that plan: It spells out critical information, including how a business will distinguish itself from competitors and what the team will aim to achieve.

  26. Moving Beyond Campaigns To Marketing Programs

    Within 12 months, marketing can build a creative message, look and feel and promote it via paid and social media. If the strategy works, the business might see substantial leads.

  27. Ecommerce Strategy Plan: How To Attract, Convert, and Retain ...

    Just like a business plan or a marketing strategy, having a roadmap for your ecommerce business can set you up for success. There are four key benefits to having an effective ecommerce strategy: 1. Long-term company health and stability ... Competitor research is a big part of an ecommerce business strategy. It allows you to develop your unique ...

  28. Marketing Essentials for Your Business

    Marketing is a solution-driven process that benefits both the customer and the business owner. While advertising is essential, it is only a single component of the entire marketing process. A marketing plan is the blueprint of strategies to help you win and retain customers. A marketing plan is considered the heart of your business and includes ...

  29. Crafts Chain Joann (JOAN) Is Planning a Bankruptcy Filing Giving

    Crafts retailer Joann Inc. is considering a bankruptcy filing as soon as next week as part of a deal that would hand control of the company to lenders while allowing it to shed expensive debt ...