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Maybe you have no idea where to start when it comes to creating your marketing plan. Of course, you don’t want to leave out something important. Maybe you’re refining one you’ve already created.
If you’ve done a simple Google search for marketing plan samples for inspiration, you’ve probably found it difficult. We thought you’d appreciate these 34 examples you can follow.
This post is split into two sections: one with a list of marketing plan samples, and another with 12 exercises to help you write an awesome marketing plan, step-by-step.
Let’s get started.
With your marketing plan template bundle, you’ll find everything you need to build a great marketing plan. It includes:
At their most basic, they’re straight-forward planning docs that are usually formatted in Word. Here’s an example for a quick look:
The following 12 exercises will show you how to build each piece of your marketing plan. They are based on just some of the examples linked above.
Documented marketing plans can end up being lengthy, so having a table of contents will help you and others find their way around your plan.
At a glance, these are the things that are typically included:
A few cool things that you might want to include in your marketing plan to spruce it up:
You can go into as much detail as you’d like with your table of contents. Here is a great example, of a detailed table of contents by the Palo Alto Software:
The executive summary provides a high-level overview of your marketing objectives.
Write the executive summary last.
Leave a spot at the beginning of your marketing plan for your executive summary. Make things easier by downloading the complementary marketing plan template in this post.
Ask yourself these questions as you work on your executive summary:
Here’s an executive summary template to get you started:
[OUR COMPANY] offers [PRODUCT] to [TARGET CUSTOMER BASE] to help them [ACHIEVE GOAL]. Some of our leading product lines include [PRODUCT], [PRODUCT], and [PRODUCT]. Thanks to our unique position in the marketplace, we’re able to easily leverage relationships with [PARTNER] and [PARTNER] to reach our customers.
This marketing plan differentiates our strategy in the marketplace by focusing on [ACTIONABLE TACTICS].
By following this plan, [OUR COMPANY] will stand out amongst our competition by better addressing our customer’s core concerns with more creativity and more targeted messaging. By clearly communicating how [PRODUCT] solves [PROBLEM] for [CUSTOMER], [OUR COMPANY] aims to achieve greater success for our organization and [CORE AUDIENCE] alike.
With the release of [NEW PRODUCT/FEATURE] and [DISRUPTIVE TREND FOR YOUR AUDIENCE], now is the time to pivot our strategy toward our best customers’ most pressing problems.
Having a mission statement will remind you and your team of what is important. In order to do any of these marketing plan exercises, you’ll have to ask yourself a ton of questions. You might have already noticed that.
It’s also super important that you state your company’s goals (financial and non-financial), so you know where you are headed and how much you can afford for certain things. Blue Sky also provided a great example of their goals.
Writing your goals is one of the first steps to reaching them. First off, you’ve probably seen blog posts on S.M.A.R.T. goals many times before, but they are really good to mention again.
How to make your S.M.A.R.T. goals:
Now, write your goals and add them to your marketing plan.
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When writing your marketing plan, it’s important to know what your standards of performance are, so you can continue bringing in bigger results or change up your current process to improve your content.
To figure out your standards of performance, make a list of your latest content.
Once you’ve entered your data into each field, ask yourself:
What are the characteristics of my top-performing content according to my company’s goals?
For example, there are four pillars that we make sure to implement in all CoSchedule content:
Grade each piece of content against your standards of performance with a scale from one to three. A score of three means it’s awesome, and one is not so good.
For more information on figuring out your standards of performance, check out our post on rocking your data-driven content calendar template.
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Remind your company about what they do well and show them how you plan to stand up against rivals.
If you don’t know what your company does well, find out by meeting with your team and discussing it.
Ask yourself unique questions to get yourself thinking about your core competencies in a different light, rather than just wondering what you and your company do well. David Meerman Scott has a great example of this.
Get out an Excel spreadsheet and type out the answers to these questions:
First off, go to Google Forms.
Pick out the kind of Google Form you’d like to send.
Once you click there, it will open to something like this — depending on which one you chose:
You will be asked to give the Google Form a title and a description. Add your first question and press on the gray bar — right of the question — to change up the questions you want to ask.
Pick Paragraph to let your team write as much as they’d like.
Ask these questions:
Click on the plus sign to add another question. You can also add pictures or videos here.
Once you are done, you can send an email to your team members with the Google Form link. Before sending the email, make sure you read and include the questions from Exercise #7.
In order to thrive in your environment, you first need to understand it. This is what your situational analysis will accomplish.
Provide a list of each competitor, their products, and how they directly compete with your company (i.e. where they are strong and weak in comparison to your company).
Determine the environmental factors (both internal and external), which can include economic or sociological factors that impact your business’s performance.
It’s important to have your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats at a glance. Then you can see what you need to improve.
When you meet, discuss these questions as a team:
Strength (internal): What are your company and/or product’s strengths?
Weaknesses (internal): How about your company and/or product’s weaknesses?
Opportunities (external): What opportunities do you/we have?
Threats (external): What are your/our threats? Who are you/we competing against?
On a few of the different marketing plans I’ve seen, they put their S.W.O.T. quadrant into their appendix section. To see an example, scroll to extra tip #1.
You’ll need to take a look at your Google Analytics to figure out your target market.
You’ll want to find the answers to these questions:
First off, it’s super important to know who is currently following you. Read on to find out who your current audience is.
Click into Google Analytics. On the left side, you’ll see Audience. Click on it and scroll down to click Demographics and Overview.
For more in-depth information on each of the demographics, you can click Age and Gender.
If you click on the Age tab underneath demographics, you’ll see a more in-depth graph.
Hover over one of the blue dots to see how many sessions you had and how old each of those people were.
If you click on the Interests tab on the left side, you’ll be brought to this page, which will show you their interests.
In that same audience section of Google Analytics, you can click on Overview, and then you’ll see a button underneath demographics that gives you a choice to look at which countries people are tuning in from. Then you’ll know their location.
After you know your current audience, it’s important to take a look at who you’d like your target audience to be.
Ask yourself these questions to figure out who your target audience is:
There’s so much more on finding your target audience that we haven’t covered yet. It would take a whole post to discuss that.
Take the information you found in the target audience exercise and ask yourself these questions to figure out your audience persona.
An awesome persona answers these questions:
It’s easy to forget to ask questions that will really open up the psyche of your persona, so you can really pull the emotion into your content and business. Emotion sells.
Go in deep when you are figuring out who your user persona is. Then go online to find a picture of them.
In order to do marketing efficiently, you need to keep the four P’s of marketing in mind: product, place, price, and promotion.
Recommended Reading: 3 Hidden Google Analytics Reports to Help You Understand Your Audience
Set your user persona and target audience next to you when you fill out these questions:
Here’s a helpful video that is thorough and simple.
To illustrate the whole idea a little better for you let’s imagine you’re selling some rad shoes with wings that you’ve created.
Even though I used a mythological product idea in this example, you get the point. But, man, I’d love to have a pair of those shoes.
Create your 4 Ps for your product and make it jump off the page at your audience.
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Before you define your price, it’s best to nail down your positioning, branding, and distribution channels. This ensures that your pricing doesn’t negatively affect brand strategy or the company’s values.
The pricing strategy you choose will greatly influence how the market perceives your brand, so it’s important to get it right.
Your price needs to be consistent with the perceived value of your product. If your product is too expensive to it’s perceived value, it won’t sell. Whereas, if your product is too affordable in relation to it’s perceived value you risk losing out on revenue and potentially damaging your brand. After all, a luxury usually comes with a price.
Look at a wide variety of competitors to see how you are priced in comparison. This ensures that you are still pricing your products according to your brand strategy.
Higher price tags usually mean that your company with sell at a lower volume.
Volume isn’t the only to consider, though. You may generate more total revenue and/or profit with fewer units at a higher price. This depends largely on if your customers are extremely price-sensitive.
Burberry’s customers are less price-sensitive, so the company can move less volume at a higher price tag, yet generate more total profit.
The Gap version, on the other hand, moves greater volume at a much lower price due to tighter margins.
What will be your ongoing marketing plan? What do you want to do? Where do you want to do it? In order to plan your future marketing, you have to know these things.
Set up an ongoing marketing plan for the year. What things will need to be done. I found this great sample example from the Agricultural Development Center at the University of Tennessee. It’s so easy to see it all at a glance. You’ll know exactly what goals you’ll need to hit monthly.
A values matrix helps you prioritize all the tactics that you have come up with. Essentially, it helps you choose the tactics that have the highest business value and take the least amount of resources to implement.
Business “value” depends on strategic objectives. This could include a campaign’s usefulness in increasing sales, increasing website visitors, generating leads, or increasing brand awareness. The most valuable marketing campaigns, initiatives, or activities are the ones that are tied closest to the business’s overall objective.
Implementation “complexity” encompasses the time it takes to implement, internal resources needed, and design costs.
High-value, low-complexity: “Easy wins” that should be considered for your plan.
High-value, high-complexity: Larger strategic initiatives that require effort and time but pay enormous dividends.
Low-value, low-complexity: Might or might not be worth your time. Revisit these features later or brainstorm ways to make them of higher value.
Low-value, high-complexity: Items that should be deprioritized.
You need to estimate how much your marketing projects are going to be. You’ll be able to put together a budget to keep everyone on track over the course of the year.
Marketing costs and needs vary quite a bit. There is no easy way to figure out what your marketing budget should be, but starting with your needs and wants is a great place to start.
What’s important is that you know what your needs and wants are. Answer these questions:
Next for the needs and wants, write down how much it’s going to cost. After doing that for all of your needs, you can start to see how much you can budget for your wants.
Scroll down for a great example of what you could include in your appendix that has to do with budgeting and your financial goals.
What if a full documented marketing plan feels excessive for your needs? If that’s the case for you, try paring it down to the bare essentials. You might even be able to squeeze it down to just one page with the most important information you need to guide your strategy.
In this example, we have a one-page sheet you can glance at to see the most important information from your marketing plan. You might consider following a similar template:
Since you have a ton of marketing plan samples — and the awesome marketing plan download — you’re set to be a rock star in the marketing realm.
Just make sure you wear your shoes with the wings.
This post was originally published on August 15, 2016. It was updated with new images and information on June 22, 2020.
June 22, 2020