Organized marketers have a 397% higher chance
of becoming successful. But where do you start? We know how intimidating it can be to make a marketing plan from scratch.
That’s why we’ve developed 40 marketing plan samples
to help you create a structure of your own. Plus, we’ll explain how to build on those resources to make a marketing plan.
Download Your Free Marketing Plan Template Bundle
Before you dig into our samples, download our free bundle of marketing plan templates. It includes:
- Social Media Strategy Template (PowerPoint)
- Audience Persona Template (Word)
- Marketing Budget Template (Excel)
- Marketing Plan Outline Template (Word)
- Marketing Strategy Template (Excel)
- Content Marketing Strategy Template (PowerPoint)
- Email Marketing Strategy Template (PowerPoint)
Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan: What’s the Difference?
First, let’s define the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.
- A marketing strategy covers the high-level what, why, and how to guide your marketing activities and drive your business objectives.
- A marketing plan goes deeper — it serves as the roadmap for executing your marketing strategy.
It helps to have this distinction in mind when you create a marketing plan. Your marketing plan needs to be actionable to help you execute your marketing strategy.
40 Sample Marketing Plans and Resources You Can Follow Right Now
Check out these marketing plan samples and guides to learn what to include in yours. You’ll discover templates, hypothetical marketing plans, and plans that real companies use.
- Sample Marketing Plan – Houghton Mifflin Company
- Sample Plan – Palo Alto Software
- The Marketing Plan – Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network
- Small Business Marketing Plan Template – ProfitWorks
- Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template – Nancy And Kivi
- Developing A Marketing Plan Example – Agricultural Extension Service at the University of Tennessee
- Marketing Plan Template – The Business Victoria (Word document download)
- Marketing Plan Outline – QuickMBA
- Marketing Strategy: How to Plan Yours in 12 Steps With a Template – CoSchedule
- Marketing Plan Template – Vital Design
- Great Marketing Plan Template – Marketing Donut (Word document download)
- How to Write a Content Marketing Strategy Step-by-Step – Buffer
- Your Marketing Plan Template – Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (Word document download)
- One-Page Marketing Plan – BisAmmo
- Marketing Plan Template – Forbes
- Your Guide to Creating a Small Business Marketing Plan – Business.com
- Digital Marketing Plan Example – Smart Insights
- Examples of Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses – ThriveHive
- Multi-channel Marketing on a $2,000 Budget: A Sample Plan – BusinessTown
- Forging a Solid Go-To Market Plan - Without the Assumptions – Chief Outsiders
- A Sample Internet Marketing Plan – NerdyMind
- Simplify Your Content Marketing Strategy With a One-Page Plan – Content Marketing Institute
- New Market Marketing Plan – Lush Cosmetics
- How to Build a Marketing Plan – Credo
- Nike Marketing Strategy: How to Build a Timeless Brand by Selling Benefits – CoSchedule
- Red Bull Marketing Strategy: What You Need to Know (And How to Copy It) – CoSchedule
- Starbucks Marketing Strategy: How to Create a Remarkable Brand – CoSchedule
- Adidas Marketing Strategy - Web Content Development
- Marketing Plan of Dell – Marketing Mixx
- The Lyft Formula: 5 Steps to Getting Noticed in a Dominated Market – Leadpages
- NBA National Basketball Association Marketing Strategy & Marketing Mix (4Ps) – MBA Skool
- Structuring Your SaaS Killer Marketing Plan – Serena Capital
- Marketing Plan Sample: A Guide to Scaling Your Business – Disruptive Advertising
- Free Marketing Plan Templates, Examples, and a Comprehensive Guide – Smartsheet
- Writing a Social Media Marketing Plan – Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network
- The Ultimate Marketing Plan Template (+ 7 Useful Examples) – AddThis
- Marketing Plan Template for Libraries – Wisconsin Public Library Systems Marketing Cohort
- Marketing Plan: How to Create One for Your Agency – Semrush
- 5 Steps to Create an Outstanding Marketing Plan [Free Templates] – HubSpot
- Marketing Plan Template Generator – HubSpot
How to Write a Marketing Plan in 14 Steps
As you read through the sample marketing plans we shared, you might notice they have many elements in common. These 14 steps will help you develop a comprehensive marketing plan that you can customize.
1. Map Out a Table of Contents
A table of contents is necessary to help you quickly find the plan sections. You can link each item to its corresponding section in-document with Google Docs
, Microsoft Word
and Adobe Acrobat
Write Your Marketing Plan’s Outline
Writing a table of contents first allows it to also work as an outline for your document. Our outline will include:
- Executive summary
- Mission statement
- Marketing goals
- Standards of performance
- Core competencies
- Situational analysis
- SWOT analysis
- Target audience description
- Audience personas
- Product, place, price and promotion
- Pricing strategy
Your table of contents can be as in-depth as you like. The Lush marketing plan
we shared keeps it pretty simple:
2. Write an Executive Summary
An executive summary is a high-level overview of the document. You should write your executive summary last, but keep it in mind as you work on the rest of your plan. Business.com
suggests keeping notes on each section to inspire your executive summary.
Some businesses use a paragraph or two for their executive summary, while others go more in-depth. HubSpot has a two-page example
with subheaders for each topic:
3. Craft a Mission Statement
Your mission statement will help you decide what to prioritize in your marketing. A mission statement explains what benefits your organization provides through your product or service.
Build the core components of your mission statement by asking yourself what you do, why you do it, and who you do it for. The Starbucks marketing plan
we shared earlier keeps theirs simple:
“Our Mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
4. Figure Out Your Goals
Companies should establish both financial and non-financial goals. Vital Marketing
recommends setting two main goals and three to five supporting goals.
Financial marketing goals may include generating a certain amount of money or breaking revenue into specific sales. Non-financial goals may include increasing traffic or boosting conversions.
For best results, you should make your goals SMART:
- Specific: Focus on one metric.
- Measurable: Establish a way to measure your goal performance.
- Aspirational: Ensure your goal pushes you beyond your current performance.
- Realistic: Make sure your goal is achievable.
- Time-bound: Set a deadline to achieve your goal.
An example of a SMART goal could be “Gaining 500 Twitter followers by December 31st, 2022.” It sets a specific number of followers to get on a single platform by a certain date.
5. Establish Your Content’s Standards of Performance
Your standards of performance
- or editorial guidelines - will keep your content specific and your writers on track. Look for quality standards that your competitors’ content doesn’t follow, and consider what makes your content unique.
For example, CoSchedule has these standards of performance:
- Strategic Keyword Targeting
Try performing a quick content audit
to see what makes your work stand out. Then, implement those traits into your standards of performance.
6. Determine Your Core Competencies
Your company’s core competencies are what it does better in marketing than anyone else. HRSG
provides these examples of marketing competencies:
Get Team Members Involved With a Survey
If you’re stumped on your company’s core competencies, create a quick survey using a tool like Google Forms
These surveys perform best with open-ended questions your team can elaborate on, such as:
- What are our strengths as a company?
- What value do we bring?
- What proof do we have that we’re the best in our industry?
7. Do Situational and SWOT Analyses
Situational and SWOT analyses let you scope out your current environment and your status in it.
Perform a Situational Analysis
Your situational analysis will help you understand your marketing situation at a glance. Include these elements:
- Company Outline - company statistics, brand awareness, tagline
- Competitor Outline - products, strengths, weaknesses
- Environmental Factors - financial trends, company culture, population growth
Complete a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis
examines these traits of your company to understand your place in the competition:
- Strengths: In what areas does your product or company excel?
- Weaknesses: What could your product or company improve on?
- Opportunities: What external opportunities do you see for market success?
- Threats: What external threats could present difficulties?
uses this SWOT layout in their template:
8. Connect Your Message to Your Target Market
To create a high-level overview of your average customer, dig into any survey or interview data you have from your customers. Google Analytics audience reports also provide key insights.
Discover Your Current Audience on Google Analytics
Log into Google Analytics
and take note of these data points under the Audience tab on the left:
- Demographics (Age and Gender)
- Geo (Languages and Location)
- Behavior (New vs. Returning, Frequency/Recency and Engagement)
These stats work as a fantastic starting point for deeper audience research.
How to Find Your Target Audience
Once you know who’s already engaging with your company, you can define who you want to become your target audience
creates a target audience description for a hypothetical landscaping company by also noting who they don’t want to target:
9. Create an Audience Persona
An audience persona presents audience data as an example customer. It helps you visualize who you’ll market to. An awesome persona answers questions like:
- Who are they?
- What is their personality?
- How about their family life?
- What are their values?
- What is their job title?
- What's their income level?
- What are their challenges?
- What are their needs?
Check out Indie Game Girl’s
example of a buyer persona:
Note how it has a picture to represent the type of customer it stands for. It also uses real-life customer quotes to link the persona back to real audience members.
10. Define Your Four Ps to Inform Your Go-to-Market Strategy
The four Ps — product, price, place, and promotion — will help you center your marketing around your product and its relevance to your audience.
Define your four Ps by asking the questions below. Keep your target audience and persona handy as you answer them.
- Product: What product are you marketing, and why should your audience care?
- Price: How much should you sell it for, and is it a good value for your customers?
- Place: Where and how should you sell your product?
- Promotion: How are you going to promote it? Will you use ads?
MBA Skoo created a four P’s breakdown for the National Basketball Association
11. Understand Your Pricing Strategy
In this step, you’ll learn how your pricing relates to your marketing. Some examples of pricing strategies include:
- Economy pricing: Charging low prices to bring in a large volume of customers
- Skimming pricing: Setting the highest possible price when the product is new and reducing it over time
- Competitive pricing: Pricing similarly to your competition’s prices
Match Your Pricing Strategy to Your Value Proposition
Your pricing strategy should line up with your organization's value proposition — the value promise you make. If your main value relates to luxury, premium products, then economy pricing will contradict it.
Analyze Your Competitors’ Prices
Take note of the prices your low-end, average, and high-end competitors charge for products, and decide where your product falls in the mix. If you bill your product as an economic option, you would consider pricing it closer to the lower range.
Determine Your Customers’ Price Sensitivity
Price sensitivity refers to the degree that pricing will affect a customer’s purchasing decisions. If a high price tag will make your audience less likely to buy, you’ll need to balance that sensitivity with the rest of your pricing factors.
12. Set Up a Marketing Tactics Checklist
A marketing tactics checklist outlines the steps you’ll need to take in the first few months of your marketing plan. NerdyMind’s sample marketing plan
breaks down its tactics into three one-month phases: discovery and onsite optimization, digital marketing channel building, and maintenance.
13. Make a Value Complexity Matrix
A value complexity matrix evaluates projects based on their value and complexity to help you prioritize them. Take the tactics you established in the previous step and organize them into four categories:
- High value, low complexity: “Easy wins” that should take top priority
- High value, high complexity: Initiatives that will take more time and strategy but will pay off in the long run
- Low value, low complexity: Might be worth your time, depending on the other tactics you need to manage
- Low value, high complexity: Lowest priority — consider deprioritizing or taking off your plan
14. Estimate Your Marketing Plan Budget
Finish off your marketing plan with an overview of your budget and spending priorities. We discuss some ways to calculate your marketing budget in the CoSchedule Marketing Strategy Guide
Once you have a total budget number, break it down into the costs for each proposed project. Organize your projects into needs and wants:
- Needs: Projects that your business needs to execute to have a successful marketing strategy.
- Wants: Projects that are nice to have, but don’t necessarily tie into your greater marketing strategy.
Write down how much your needs will cost. Then, delegate what you have left to your most important wants.
Bonus Challenge: Can You Fit Your Plan on One Page?
The marketing plan we created in this blog post works well as an in-depth reference. But, what about those times when you need to see your plan at a glance? Consider making a one-pager for your marketing plan that covers the essentials.
Try following this template to turn your marketing plan into a quick reference sheet:
Make Your Marketing Plan a Reality With a Clear Workflow
Now that you have a complete marketing plan, it’s time to establish a workflow to get it done. Build a clear workflow management process
for your team to tackle the tasks on your marketing tactics checklist.