7 Essentials of the Marketing Plan

Developing a marketing plan can be a part of business planning and development, but it’s easy to confuse it with the formal business plan or startup strategy.

A marketing plan can help you identify the key objectives and goals of increasing sales, and it’s not as intimidating as it seems. A one-page marketing plan is a great way to get started in organizing your next initiative, and all it takes is seven critical elements. Simply plugging in a few sentences or ideas for each question can help you develop a blueprint for your strategy, and these can always be built upon as the project moves forward:

  1. What’s the purpose?

    Identifying the goal of the marketing venture helps you filter out unnecessary information. Do you want to increase sales during a specific period? Attract new customers? Increase market share by converting your competition’s customers? The purpose statement is a miniature ‘mission’ statement that can help you create a cohesive and focused plan.

  2. Why do you need to do this?

    This will help you determine the benefits of the marketing initiative, and can be a simple bulleted list of reasons why this will help you achieve the items outline in #1.

  3. Who is the target market?

    Demographic data and statistics will help you create a more powerful message that resonates with your customers.

  4. Are you a niche leader?

    Making your niche business successful requires understanding what exactly you do that’s different from anything else out there. How do you plan to make your brand stand out?

  5. What marketing medium will be most effective?

    There are dozens of marketing tools available, but that doesn’t mean you need to use all of them! Consider 2-3 marketing tools for each initiative. A few choices include blogs, websites, podcasts, flyers, brochures, newsletters, billboards, radio, and/or print advertising.

  6. What’s the budget?

    Answer this question with some flexibility; you may need to get rates from each of the mediums selected in #5 and then establish a baseline budget. Once you’ve selected the rates and calculated costs, consider ways to cut back if needed.

  7. Is it consistent with your brand?

    Your brand and company name must be in line with the activities and initiatives you pursue, and this will help you build a steady group of customers much more easily. Brand identification is important for businesses of any size, and you can reach your target market much faster and more easily with a strong brand image.

What are some other ways to put together your marketing plan?

How long does it really take?



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5 Responses to 7 Essentials of the Marketing Plan

  1. Victor October 21, 2007 at 1:09 pm #

    Hey Sabah, good stuff. I would add two more things:

    8.

    Consistency

    Decide what the frequency of your campaign will be. Will your ad, or whatever you are doing, be put out everyday, once per week, per month? Make a plan and stick to it! Most people don’t react to brands in just one take. It takes consistency to build trust.

    9.

    Research

    As far as research goes, do some research, get what you need and go. Avoid trying to make everything 100% perfect from the get go. Most of the times it

  2. Jay Hamilton-Roth October 22, 2007 at 8:23 am #

    Don’t forget that you need a purpose for the venture in the eyes of your prospects. What is THEIR problem that you are solving. Focus on the benefits to them first, then you can educate them why your solutions are the answer to their problem.

  3. Chris M Johnson October 22, 2007 at 12:42 pm #

    When I put together a marketing plan I focus on answering five simple questions. Usually, if you answer them well you will cover all of the facts you mentioned.

    1. Where are we now? – Detail the current state of the company that the marketing plan is focusing on.

    2. Where do we want to be? – The company’s S.M.A.R.T. objectives to determine success.

    3. How do we get there? – Some options that the company can use to go from where they are now to where they want to be.

    4. Which way is best? – A choice criteria for which ways are better and more efficient to help the company reach their goal.

    5. How do we ensure safe arrival? – Some finitely defined criteria for determining that you have successfully reach the goal you set out to achieve.

  4. Sabah October 22, 2007 at 1:22 pm #

    Great ideas Chris! That gives you a nice step-by-step plan that can be the start of a marketing checklist.

    Victor, I like your additions, also; research and consistency are essential.

    A sense of purpose, as Jay stated, does need to be included in the mission statement or as an objective statement on every strategy. This makes it much easier to streamline all the projects so that they fit together at every step of the way.

  5. Jay Ehret October 24, 2007 at 6:42 am #

    These are all good points to getting your marketing plan on paper. I would add “engagment plans” to your marketing plan. How will you engage customers through your marketing? This includes important things like your brand promise, your customer experience, and word-of-mouth tactics.

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