Marketing Plans

There are more Marketing Plan self-help web sites than you can shake a stick at so I don’t plan on competing against them, but I do think it is important that I provide marketing background material to people interested in reading this blog.


Before I expound on marketing plans I think it is best we agree on what is a Marketing Plan?

“A marketing plan outlines the specific actions you intend to carry out to interest potential customers and clients in your product and/or service and persuade them to buy the product and/or services you offer.”


“The part of the business plan outlining the marketing strategy for a product or service.”

Or from Wikipeida

“A marketing plan is a written document that details the actions necessary to achieve one or more marketing objectives. It can be for a product or service, a brand, or a product line. “

or from BNET

“The overall marketing objectives and the strategies and programs of action designed to achieve those objectives. The marketing plan is a blueprint of action plan for undertaking the marketing activities in an organization.”

Take your pick from the above, but they generally say the same thing.

What does it include?

The marketing plan includes information such as the product or service offered, pricing, target market, competitors, marketing budget, promotional mix, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis, formulating marketing goals and objectives, designing marketing strategies, implementing the strategies, and controls.

What is not a Marketing Plan?

The following plan is a bit weak.

“I plan to contact everyone I know and tell them I am in the business of selling widgets and then wait for them to call me to order widgets”.

What goes into a good marketing plan?

You need to understand the four P’s and how they relate to your product or service:

  1. Product: Having the right product or service for your market.
  2. Price: Selling your product or service for an amount that makes your target customer feel it’s good value.
  3. Promotion: Creating appropriate perceptions through print advertising, direct mail flyers, brochures, postcards, TV or radio spots, newspaper or magazine ads, online and more.
  4. Place: Having product at locations where your customers can readily find it.

Then you need to ask yourself:

  1. Who am I selling to?
  2. What do those customers need?
  3. What distinguishes my product or service from the competition?
  4. Which marketing tactics will make my product or service stand out?
  5. When and how often should marketing efforts be used?

Follow that up with a SWOT analyisis:

  1. Strengths: What makes your business thrive?
  2. Weaknesses: What are your vulnerabilities?
  3. Opportunities: What market conditions or segments can lead to growth?
  4. Threats: How are competitors snapping at your heels?

Cards Piled
Then start putting some meat on your marketing plan.

  1. Summarize your market position, objectives and goals.
  2. Quantify what you expect to accomplish in a specific time period (eg. by dollar volume, units or market share)
  3. List your target markets. Further segment your target market into niches .
  4. Define an appropriate strategy for each segment or market.
  5. Draw up a marketing budget.
  6. Determine what resources you will require.
  7. Determine which marketing channels you will utilize and the types of marketing materials that you will use to attract target customers, including flyers, postcards, email marketing, newsletters and Web site.
  8. Develop strategies to respond to your competitors when they find out about you.

Will the plan work?

Only you can answer the following questions and determine the viability of your venture.

  1. Can you deliver on your promises?
  2. Are you committed to your marketing plan and are you capable of implementing it unfailingly?
  3. Does your plan build a sustainable business or is a get rich quick scheme that will churn through customers and not generate repeat and referral business? (Now that’s a loaded question)
  4. Are you I focused on “we” or on “you”.
  5. Do I have enough money to properly implement the plan?

I hope that this has been helpful, but deep down I hope you feel so totally confused you will contact me or another marketing professional to help develop your marketing plan.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Leslie Leite says:

    I hope your readers will take advantage of your expertise too — those are great guidelines for a marketing plan. For those who just can’t get to Vancouver, we’ve got some additional resources on BNET to:
    1. conduct a SWOT analysis,
    2. create a marketing plan
    3. calculate marketing ROI.

    Thanks for the BNET mention!

    Leslie Leite

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