How to Create a Marketing Plan (Template and Breakdown)
Here is a template that can help you create a marketing plan for your company or business. The process of creating a marketing plan is not as difficult as it may seem, and this template will walk you through the steps.
A marketing plan is a written document which details the company’s goals for the year. It outlines what type of marketing tactics are being used, what aspects are being marketed, who the target audience is, how to measure success, and more. A comprehensive marketing plan will help improve your business by setting clear goals and benchmarks that you can monitor.
General Marketing Plan Template
A marketing plan provides a framework for how to market your business. It has five major components: the strategy, the target audience, the marketing mix, budgeting and evaluation. It also includes a series of charts, tables, graphs and timelines. The marketing plan can be written in an online template.
How to Create a Marketing Plan (Step by Step)
-Create Goals: First, set your goals for the year. What do you want to accomplish?
-Identify the Audience: Who is your target market? What are their demographics and psychographics? What is their income and education level?
-Develop a Branding Strategy: Make sure you decide on a brand slogan and logo to identify with.
- Create an Advertising Budget: Figure out how much money you will spend during the year to advertise your product or service.
- Develop a Media Plan: Determine the best way to market your product or service. How will you do it? -Set up a
- Sales Strategy: Determine the best sales strategy. How will you sell it? –
- Set Up a Budget: Attempt to figure out how much each of these things will cost you.
Hopefully, you have a budget set up already. Now you have to build on it. Do not spend money needlessly – be creative and crafty in your advertising, try to use free resources when starting out.
In the beginning, you will have a good budget for promotion and advertising; however, if you are unable to make some sales, then your budget may dry up before the end of the year. How do you avoid that? Have some sales right off the bat.
Create pre-sales to help create sales. Make sure that you are promoting your business on a daily basis. Do not give up when you don’t get any sales in the beginning; you will eventually get a steady and recurring income after you create a name for yourself.
1. Establish strategic objectives
Although traditionally strategic objectives are set by top management, more democratic processes that involve key stakeholders, if not all staff, have become common in recent years.
When formulating the organization’s purpose, mission, and objectives, they must be kept firmly in mind and reflected in the final plans throughout the drafting process. To make it clear how the plan contributes to achieving these objectives, they should also be included in the written plan.
2. Conduct a marketing audit
A company can use this process to analyze and understand the environment in which it operates. A SWOT analysis is the next step in the planning process. Internal and external audits are conducted separately.
External audits should evaluate the business and economic environment, the market, and the competition; they should also examine any important trends that will influence the market and the industry in the future. Also, it should ask searching questions about competitors and customers, both now and in the future.
Internal audits should focus on the capabilities of the organisation itself – its operational efficiency, service effectiveness, key skills and competencies of employees, the resources it has access to, its products, and/or services, and the ‘core business’ it is involved with.
3. Conduct a SWOT analysis
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats summarizes the audit and should be included in the final written plan. Company strengths and weaknesses refer to the company and its internal environment, while opportunities and threats are external factors over which the company has no control, but which it must anticipate, evaluate, and try to exploit. Include only the most relevant information.
4. Outline assumptions
A marketing plan is driven by assumptions about economic, technological, or competitive factors. Taking into account past performance, assumptions should be based on accurate information and reasonable estimates of what can be achieved. In an era of rapid change, it can be difficult to determine which information is reliable, since the future is often discontinuous with the past. In order to come up with viable and challenging assumptions, we need to be creative, lateral thinkers and break with the past. The written plan should only contain a few major assumptions.
5. Establish marketing objectives
A marketing audit forms the basis for setting achievable and realistic objectives, and strategic decisions about how to achieve these objectives cannot be made without regard to the objectives themselves.
Market objectives determine which products are to be sold in which markets. It is important not to confuse marketing objectives (what you want to achieve) with the strategic approach (how you are going to achieve it). The objectives should be outlined in the written plan.
6. Develop marketing strategies
They describe the broad methods by which the marketing objectives will be achieved within the required time frame. The four Ps of marketing are Product – how the product benefits the customer; Price – how the price is set for the product to attract customers; Place – who the customers are and where they are located; Promotion – how the customer can be reached.
Booms and Bitner have expanded the 4 Ps of the marketing mix to include three more Ps: People – those involved in the delivery process, Process – the flow of service delivery activities, and Physical Evidence-the environment in which the product is delivered. As well as the 4 Ps, Crittenden has proposed the 4 Cs:
Customer centricity – who are the company’s customers? What do they want?
Competitive capability – how fast and efficiently can the company bring products to market?
Collaboration within a company – how effective and productive is it? How does the company identify and relate to external companies that can contribute to its success?
A cyclical connection – how does the success or failure of strategic programme implementation affect ongoing strategy formulation practices?
7. Calculate the resources needed
A plan must assess the resources that will be required for the proposed activities, emphasizing specifically those that are not currently available but will be required to achieve the market penetration objectives. Consider technology, systems, human expertise, procedures, training needs, and distribution channels.
It is important for each function or department (e.g. marketing, research and development, finance, IT, sales, customer service) to be clearly understood as well as the support required from external stakeholders (e.g. suppliers, distributors, consultants, regulators, advertising and PR agencies).
A written plan should outline all the strategies proposed.
8. Let others know about your plans
It is essential to communicate and consult with all the internal and external agencies involved in order to ensure the success of the plan.
They will most likely work on their own unique plans based on their own priorities. The consultation will expose any potential difficulties and obstacles and enable any necessary amendments to the plan according to the resources available.
The plan should be practical and feasible rather than inspirational; it should include a list of key initiatives and dependencies regarding the delivery of services by internal and external departments and agencies.
Rather than distributing written copies of the plan, it can be helpful to make a presentation to ensure that everyone understands what is involved. Ineffective communication is more likely to result in failure.
9. Monitor and review progress
As the plan progresses, milestones and metrics should be used to track its progress. Ensure that the measures you use are clearly related to the success of the planned activities.
A plan should be revised if circumstances change to take advantage of unexpected opportunities or to counter unforeseen threats.
In conclusion, I hope this post has been helpful in providing you with the basics of how to create a marketing plan. Remember that your plan needs to be tailored to your business and that there is no right or wrong way to do it; it’s about what works for you. If you’re still unsure about where to start, check out this template and breakdown. The best advice I can give is to pick an aspect of your business which you know will work. Remember that online marketing takes time but if done well, can really help grow your business.