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Blog Marketing What is a Marketing Plan & How to Create One [with Examples]

What is a Marketing Plan & How to Create One [with Examples]

Written by: Sara McGuire Oct 26, 2023

Marketing Plan Venngage

A marketing plan is a blueprint that outlines your strategies to attract and convert your ideal customers as a part of your customer acquisition strategy . It’s a comprehensive document that details your:

  • Target audience:  Who you’re trying to reach
  • Marketing goals:  What you want to achieve
  • Strategies and tactics:  How you’ll reach your goals
  • Budget:  Resources you’ll allocate
  • Metrics:  How you’ll measure success

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about creating a marketing plan . If you need a little extra help, there are professionally designed marketing plan templates that’ll make the process much easier. So, let’s ditch the confusion and get started!

Click to jump ahead:

What is a marketing plan?

How to write a marketing plan .

  • Marketing plan v.s. business plan
  • Types of marketing plans

9 marketing plan examples to inspire your growth strategy

Marketing plan faqs.

A marketing plan is a report that outlines your marketing strategy for your products or services, which could be applicable for the coming year, quarter or month.  

Watch this quick, 13-minute video for more details on what a marketing plan is and how to make one yourself:

Typically, a marketing plan includes:

  • An overview of your business’s marketing and advertising goals
  • A description of your business’s current marketing position
  • A timeline of when tasks within your strategy will be completed
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) you will be tracking
  • A description of your business’s target market and customer needs
  • A description of how you will measure the performance of the strategy

For example, this marketing plan template provides a high-level overview of the business and competitors before diving deep into specific goals, KPIs and tactics:

Orange Content Marketing Plan Template

Learning how to write a marketing plan forces you to think through the important steps that lead to an effective marketing strategy . And a well-defined plan will help you stay focused on your high-level marketing goals.

With Venngage’s extensive catalog of marketing plan templates , creating your marketing plan isn’t going to be hard or tedious. In fact, Venngage has plenty of helpful communications and design resources for marketers. If you’re ready to get started, sign up for  Venngage for Marketers   now. It’s free to register and start designing.

Venngage for Marketers Page Header

Whether you’re a team trying to set smarter marketing goals, a consultant trying to set your client in the right direction, or a one-person team hustling it out, Venngage for Marketers helps you get things done.

As mentioned above, the scope of your marketing plan varies depending on its purpose or the type of organization it’s for.

For example, you could create a marketing plan that provides an overview of a company’s entire marketing strategy or simply focus on a specific channel like SEO, social media marketing, content marketing and more, like in this example:

content marketing plan template

A typical outline of a marketing plan includes:

  • Executive summary
  • Goals and objectives
  • User personas
  • Competitor analysis/SWOT analysis
  • Baseline metrics
  • Marketing strategy
  • Tracking guidelines

Below you will see in details how to write each section as well as some examples of how you can design each section in a marketing plan.

Let’s look at how to create a successful marketing plan (click to jump ahead):

  • Write a simple executive summary
  • Set metric-driven marketing goals
  • Outline your user personas
  • Research all of your competitors
  • Set accurate key baselines & metrics
  • Create an actionable marketing strategy
  • Set tracking or reporting guidelines

1. Write a simple executive summary

Starting your marketing plan off on the right foot is important. You want to pull people into your amazing plan for marketing domination. Not bore them to tears.

Creative Marketing Plan Executive Summary

One of the best ways to get people excited to read your marketing plan is with a well-written executive summary. An executive summary introduces readers to your company goals, marketing triumphs, future plans, and other important contextual facts.

Standard Business Proposal Executive Summary

Basically, you can use the Executive Summary as a primer for the rest of your marketing plan.

Include things like:

  • Simple marketing goals
  • High-level metrics
  • Important company milestones
  • Facts about your brand
  • Employee anecdotes
  • Future goals & plans

Try to keep your executive summary rather brief and to the point. You aren’t writing a novel, so try to keep it under three to four paragraphs.

Take a look at the executive summary in the marketing plan example below:

Content Marketing Proposal Executive Summary

The executive summary is only two paragraphs long — short but effective.

The executive summary tells readers about the company’s growth, and how they are about to overtake one of their competitors. But there’s no mention of specific metrics or figures. That will be highlighted in the next section of the marketing plan.

An effective executive summary should have enough information to pique the reader’s interest, but not bog them down with specifics yet. That’s what the rest of your marketing plan is for!

The executive summary also sets the tone for your marketing plan. Think about what tone will fit your brand ? Friendly and humorous? Professional and reliable? Inspiring and visionary?

2. Set metric-driven marketing goals

After you perfect your executive summary, it’s time to outline your marketing goals.

(If you’ve never set data-driven goals like this before, it would be worth reading this growth strategy guide ).

This is one of the most important parts of the entire marketing plan, so be sure to take your time and be as clear as possible. Moreover, optimizing your marketing funnel is key. Employing effective funnel software can simplify operations and provide valuable customer insights. It facilitates lead tracking, conversion rate analysis, and efficient marketing optimization .

As a rule of thumb, be as specific as possible. The folks over at  VoyMedia  advise that you should set goals that impact website traffic, conversions, and customer success — and to use real numbers.

Avoid outlining vague goals like:

  • Get more Twitter followers
  • Write more articles
  • Create more YouTube videos (like educational or Explainer videos )
  • Increase retention rate
  • Decrease bounce rate

Instead, identify  key performance metrics  (KPI) you want to impact and the percentage you want to increase them by.

Take a look at the goals page in the marketing plan example below:

Creative Marketing Plan Goals

They not only identify a specific metric in each of their goals, but they also set a timeline for when they will be increased.

The same vague goals listed earlier become much clearer when specific numbers and timelines are applied to them:

  • Get 100 new Twitter followers per month
  • Write 5 more articles per week
  • Create 10 YouTube videos each year
  • Increase retention rate by 15% by 2020
  • Decrease bounce rate by 5% by Q1
  • Create an online course  and get 1,000 new leads
  • Focus more on local SEO strategies
  • Conduct a monthly social media report to track progress

You can dive even deeper into your marketing goals if you want (generally, the more specific, the better). Here’s a marketing plan example that shows how to outline your growth goals:

Growth Goals Roadmap Template for a Marketing Plan

3. Outline your user personas

Now, this may not seem like the most important part of your marketing plan, but I think it holds a ton of value.

Outlining your user personas is an important part of a marketing plan that should not be overlooked.

You should be asking not just how you can get the most visitors to your business, but how you can get the right visitors.

Who are your ideal customers? What are their goals? What are their biggest problems? How does your business solve customer problems?

Answering these questions will take lots of research, but it’s essential information to get.

Some ways to conduct user research are:

  • Interviewing your users (either in person or on the phone)
  • Conducting focus groups
  • Researching other businesses in the same industry
  • Surveying your audience

Then, you will need to compile your user data into a user persona  guide.

Take a look at how detailed this user persona template is below:

Persona Marketing Report Template

Taking the time to identify specific demographic traits, habits and goals will make it easier for you to cater your marketing plan to them.

Here’s how you can create a user persona guide:

The first thing you should add is a profile picture or icon for each user persona. It can help to put a face to your personas, so they seem more real.

Marketing Persona

Next, list demographic information like:

  • Identifiers
  • Activities/Hobbies

The user persona example above uses sliding scales to identify personality traits like introversion vs. extroversion and thinking vs. feeling. Identifying what type of personality your target users tend to have an influence on the messaging you use in your marketing content.

Meanwhile, this user persona guide identifies specific challenges the user faces each day:

Content Marketing Proposal Audience Personas

But if you don’t want to go into such precise detail, you can stick to basic information, like in this marketing plan example:

Social Media Plan Proposal Template Ideal Customers

Most businesses will have a few different types of target users. That’s why it’s pertinent to identify and create several different user personas . That way, you can better segment your marketing campaigns and set separate goals, if necessary.

Here’s a marketing plan example with a segmented user persona guide:

Mobile App Market Report

The important thing is for your team or client to have a clear picture of who their target user is and how they can appeal to their specific problems.

Start creating robust user personas using Venngage’s user persona guide .

4. Conduct an extensive competitor analysis

Next, on the marketing plan checklist, we have the competitor research section. This section will help you identify who your competitors are, what they’re doing, and how you could carve yourself a place alongside them in your niche — and ideally, surpass them. It’s something you can learn to do with rank tracking software .

Competitor research is also incredibly important if you are starting a blog .

Typically, your competitor research should include:

  • Who their marketing team is
  • Who their leadership team is
  • What their marketing strategy and strategic marketing plan are (this will probably revolve some reverse-engineering)
  • What their sales strategy is (same deal)
  • Social Media strategy (are they using discounting strategies such as coupon marketing to get conversions)
  • Their market cap/financials
  • Their yearly growth (you will probably need to use a marketing tool like Ahrefs to do this)
  • The number of customers they have & their user personas

Also, take as deep a dive as you can into the strategies they use across their:

  • Blog/Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO Marketing
  • Video marketing
  • And any other marketing tactics they use

Research their strengths and weaknesses in all parts of their company, and you will find some great opportunities. Bookmark has a great guide to different marketing strategies for small businesses  if you need some more information there.

You can use this simple SWOT analysis worksheet to quickly work through all parts of their strategy as well:

Competitive SWOT Analysis

Click the template above to create a SWOT chart . Customize the template to your liking — no design know-how needed.

Since you have already done all the research beforehand, adding this information to your marketing plan shouldn’t be that hard.

In this marketing plan example, some high-level research is outlined for 3 competing brands:

Content Marketing Proposal Competitive Research

But you could take a deeper dive into different facets of your competitors’ strategies. This marketing plan example analyses a competitor’s content marketing strategy:

Competitor-Analysis-Content-Marketing-Plan-Template

It can also be helpful to divide your competitors into Primary and Secondary groups. For example, Apple’s primary competitor may be Dell for computers, but its secondary competitor could be a company that makes tablets.

Your most dangerous competitors may not even be in the same industry as you. Like the CEO of Netflix said, “Sleep is our competition.”

5. Set accurate key baselines & metrics

It’s pretty hard to plan for the future if you don’t know where your business stands right now.

Before we do anything at Venngage, we find the baselines so we can compare future results to something. We do it so much it’s almost like second nature now!

Setting baselines will allow you to more accurately track your progress. You will also be able to better analyze what worked and what didn’t work, so you can build a stronger strategy. It will definitely help them clearly understand your goals and strategy as well.

Here’s a marketing plan example where the baselines are visualized:

Social Media Marketing Proposal Success Metrics

Another way to include baselines in your plan is with a simple chart, like in the marketing plan example below:

Simple-Blue-Social-Media-Marketing-Plan

Because data can be intimidating to a lot of people, visualizing your data using charts and infographics will help demystify the information.

6. Create an actionable marketing strategy

After pulling all the contextual information and relevant metrics into your marketing plan, it’s time to break down your marketing strategy.

Once again, it’s easier to communicate your information to your team or clients using visuals .

Mind maps are an effective way to show how a strategy with many moving parts ties together. For example, this mind map shows how the four main components of a marketing strategy interact together:

Marketing Plan Mind Map Template

You can also use a flow chart to map out your strategy by objectives:

Action Plan Mind Map

However you choose to visualize your strategy, your team should know exactly what they need to do. This is not the time to keep your cards close to your chest.

Your strategy section may need to take up a few pages to explain, like in the marketing plan example below:

Creative-Modern-Content-Marketing-Plan-Template

With all of this information, even someone from the development team will understand what the marketing team is working on.

This minimalistic marketing plan example uses color blocks to make the different parts of the strategy easy to scan:

Blue-Simple-Social-Media-Marketing-Plan-Template

Breaking your strategy down into tasks will make it easier to tackle.

Another important way to visualize your marketing strategy is to create a project roadmap. A project roadmap visualizes the timeline of your product with individual tasks. Our roadmap maker can help you with this.

For example, this project roadmap shows how tasks on both the marketing and web design side run parallel to each other:

Simple Product Roadmap Plan Template

A simple timeline can also be used in your marketing plan:

Strategy Timeline Infographic

Or a mind map, if you want to include a ton of information in a more organized way:

Business Strategy Mindmap Template

Even a simple “Next, Now, Later” chart can help visualize your strategy:

3 Step Product Roadmap Template

7. Set tracking or reporting guidelines

Close your marketing plan with a brief explanation of how you plan to track or measure your results. This will save you a lot of frustration down the line by standardizing how you track results across your team.

Like the other sections of your marketing plan, you can choose how in-depth you want to go. But there need to be some clear guidelines on how to measure the progress and results of your marketing plan.

At the bare minimum, your results tracking guidelines should specify:

  • What you plan to track
  • How you plan to track results
  • How often you plan to measure

But you can more add tracking guidelines to your marketing plan if you see the need to. You may also want to include a template that your team or client can follow,  for  client reporting ,  ensure that the right metrics are being tracked.

Marketing Checklist

The marketing plan example below dedicates a whole page to tracking criteria:

SEO Marketing Proposal Measuring Results

Use a task tracker to track tasks and marketing results, and a checklist maker to note down tasks, important life events, or tracking your daily life.

Similarly, the marketing plan example below talks about tracking content marketing instead:

Social Media Marketing Proposal

Marketing plan vs. marketing strategy

Although often used interchangeably, the terms “marketing plan” and “marketing strategy” do have some differences.

Simply speaking, a marketing strategy presents what the business will do in order to reach a certain goal. A marketing plan outlines the specific daily, weekly, monthly or yearly activities that the marketing strategy calls for. As a business, you can create a marketing proposal for the marketing strategies defined in your company’s marketing plan. There are various marketing proposal examples that you can look at to help with this.

A company’s extended marketing strategy can be like this:

marketing strategy mind map

Notice how it’s more general and doesn’t include the actual activities required to complete each strategy or the timeframe those marketing activities will take place. That kind of information is included in a marketing plan, like this marketing plan template which talks about the content strategy in detail:

Content Marketing Proposal

Marketing plan v.s business plan

While both marketing plans and business plans are crucial documents for businesses, they serve distinct purposes and have different scopes. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences:

Business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines all aspects of your business, including:

  • Mission and vision
  • Products or services
  • Target market
  • Competition
  • Management team
  • Financial projections
  • Marketing strategy (including a marketing plan)
  • Operations plan

Marketing plan on the other hand, dives deep into the specific strategies and tactics related to your marketing efforts. It expands on the marketing section of a business plan by detailing:

  • Specific marketing goals (e.g., brand awareness, lead generation, sales)
  • Target audience analysis (detailed understanding of their needs and behaviors)
  • Product:  Features, benefits, positioning
  • Price:  Pricing strategy, discounts
  • Place:  Distribution channels (online, offline)
  • Promotion:  Advertising, social media, content marketing, public relations
  • Budget allocation for different marketing activities
  • Metrics and measurement to track progress and success

In short, business plans paint the entire business picture, while marketing plans zoom in on the specific strategies used to reach your target audience and achieve marketing goals.

Types of marketing plans that can transform your business strategy

Let’s take a look at several types of marketing plans you can create, along with specific examples for each.

1. General marketing strategic plan / Annual marketing plan

This is a good example of a marketing plan that covers the overarching annual marketing strategy for a company:

marketing strategy template marketing plan

Another good example would be this Starbucks marketing plan:

Starbucks marketing plan example

This one-page marketing plan example from coffee chain Starbucks has everything at a glance. The bold headers and subheadings make it easier to segment the sections so readers can focus on the area most relevant to them.

What we like about this example is how much it covers. From the ideal buyer persona to actional activities, as well as positioning and metrics, this marketing plan has it all.

Another marketing plan example that caught our eye is this one from Cengage. Although a bit text-heavy and traditional, it explains the various sections well. The clean layout makes this plan easy to read and absorb.

Cengage marketing plan example

The last marketing plan example we would like to feature in this section is this one from Lush cosmetics.

It is a long one but it’s also very detailed. The plan outlines numerous areas, including the company mission, SWOT analysis , brand positioning, packaging, geographical criteria, and much more.

Lush marketing plan

2. Content marketing plan

A content marketing plan highlights different strategies , campaigns or tactics you can use for your content to help your business reach its goals.

This one-page marketing plan example from Contently outlines a content strategy and workflow using simple colors and blocks. The bullet points detail more information but this plan can easily be understood at a glance, which makes it so effective.

contently marketing plan

For a more detailed content marketing plan example, take a look at this template which features an editorial calendar you can share with the whole team:

nonprofit content marketing plan

3. SEO marketing plan

Your SEO marketing plan highlights what you plan to do for your SEO marketing strategy . This could include tactics for website on-page optimization , off-page optimization using AI SEO , and link building using an SEO PowerSuite backlink API for quick backlink profile checks.

This SEO marketing plan example discusses in detail the target audience of the business and the SEO plan laid out in different stages:

SEO marketing plan example

4. Social media marketing plan

Your social media marketing plan presents what you’ll do to reach your marketing goal through social media. This could include tactics specific to each social media channel that you own, recommendations on developing a new channel, specific campaigns you want to run, and so on, like how B2B channels use Linkedin to generate leads with automation tools and expand their customer base; or like making use of Twitter walls that could display live Twitter feeds from Twitter in real-time on digital screens.

For B2C brands, you can target Facebook and Instagram. Gain Instagram likes to build trust for your brand’s profile and post engaging content on both platforms

Edit this social media marketing plan example easily with Venngage’s drag-and-drop editor:

social media marketing plan example

5. Demand generation marketing plan

This could cover your paid marketing strategy (which can include search ads, paid social media ads, traditional advertisements, etc.), email marketing strategy and more. Here’s an example:

promotional marketing plan

1. Free marketing plan template

Here’s a free nonprofit marketing plan example that is ideal for organizations with a comprehensive vision to share. It’s a simple plan that is incredibly effective. Not only does the plan outline the core values of the company, it also shares the ideal buyer persona.

sample marketing plan in business plan

Note how the branding is consistent throughout this example so there is no doubt which company is presenting this plan. The content plan is an added incentive for anyone viewing the document to go ahead and give the team the green light.

2. Pastel social media marketing campaign template

Two-page marketing plan samples aren’t very common, but this free template proves how effective they are. There’s a dedicated section for business goals as well as for project planning .

Pastel Social Media Marketing Plan Template

The milestones for the marketing campaign are clearly laid out, which is a great way to show how organized this business strategy is.

3. Small business marketing strategy template

This marketing plan template is perfect for small businesses who set out to develop an overarching marketing strategy for the whole year:

Notice how this aligns pretty well with the marketing plan outline we discussed in previous sections.

In terms of specific tactics for the company’s marketing strategy, the template only discusses SEO strategy, but you can certainly expand on that section to discuss any other strategies — such as link building , that you would like to build out a complete marketing plan for.

4. Orange simple marketing proposal template

Marketing plans, like the sample below, are a great way to highlight what your business strategy and the proposal you wan to put forward to win potential customers.

Orange Simple Marketing Proposal Template

5. One-page marketing fact sheet template

This one-page marketing plan example is great for showcasing marketing efforts in a persuasive presentation or to print out for an in-person meeting.

Nonprofit Healthcare Company Fact Sheet Template

Note how the fact sheet breaks down the marketing budget as well as the key metrics for the organization. You can win over clients and partners with a plan like this.

6. Light company business fact sheet template

This one-page sample marketing plan clearly outlines the marketing objectives for the organization. It’s a simple but effective way to share a large amount of information in a short amount of time.

Light Company Business Fact Sheet Template

What really works with this example is that includes a mission statement, key contact information alongside all the key metrics.

7. Marketing media press kit template

This press kit marketing plan template is bright and unmistakable as belonging to the Cloud Nine marketing agency . The way the brand colors are used also helps diversify the layouts for each page, making the plan easier to read.

Marketing Media Press Kit Template

We like the way the marketing department has outlined the important facts about the organization. The bold and large numbers draw the eye and look impressive.

8. Professional marketing proposal template

Start your marketing campaign on a promising note with this marketing plan template. It’s short, sharp and to the point. The table of contents sets out the agenda, and there’s a page for the company overview and mission statement.

Professional Marketing Proposal Template

9. Social media marketing proposal template

A complete marketing plan example, like the one below, not only breaks down the business goals to be achieved but a whole lot more. Note how the terms and conditions and payment schedule are included, which makes this one of the most comprehensive marketing plans on our list.

Checkered Social Media Marketing Proposal Template

What should marketing plans include?

Marketing plans should include:

  • A detailed analysis of the target market and customer segments.
  • Clear and achievable marketing objectives and goals.
  • Strategies and tactics for product promotion and distribution.
  • Budget allocation for various marketing activities.
  • Timelines and milestones for the implementation of marketing strategies.
  • Evaluation metrics and methods for tracking the success of the marketing plan.

What is an executive summary in a marketing plan and what is its main goal?

An executive summary in a marketing plan is a brief overview of the entire document, summarizing the key points, goals, and strategies. Its main goal is to provide readers with a quick understanding of the plan’s purpose and to entice them to read further.

What are the results when a marketing plan is effective?

When a marketing plan is effective, businesses can experience increased brand visibility, higher customer engagement, improved sales and revenue, and strengthened customer loyalty.

What is the first section of a marketing plan?

The first section of a marketing plan is typically the “Executive Summary,” which provides a concise overview of the entire plan, including the business’s goals and the strategies to achieve them.

Now that you have the basics for designing your own marketing plan, it’s time to get started:

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  • Marketing |
  • How to create a winning marketing plan, ...

How to create a winning marketing plan, with 3 examples from world-class teams

Caeleigh MacNeil contributor headshot

A marketing plan helps leaders clearly visualize marketing strategies across channels, so they can ensure every campaign drives pipeline and revenue. In this article you’ll learn eight steps to create a winning marketing plan that brings business-critical goals to life, with examples from word-class teams.

quotation mark

To be successful as a marketer, you have to deliver the pipeline and the revenue.”

In other words—they need a well-crafted marketing plan.

Level up your marketing plan to drive revenue in 2024

Learn how to create the right marketing plan to hit your revenue targets in 2024. Hear best practices from marketing experts, including how to confidently set and hit business goals, socialize marketing plans, and move faster with clearer resourcing.

level up your marketing plan to drive revenue in 2024

7 steps to build a comprehensive marketing plan

How do you build the right marketing plan to hit your revenue goals? Follow these eight steps for success:

1. Define your plan

First you need to define each specific component of your plan to ensure stakeholders are aligned on goals, deliverables, resources, and more. Ironing out these details early on ensures your plan supports the right business objectives, and that you have sufficient resources and time to get the job done. 

Get started by asking yourself the following questions: 

What resources do I need? 

What is the vision?

What is the value?

What is the goal?

Who is my audience?

What are my channels?

What is the timeline?

For example, imagine you’re creating an annual marketing plan to improve customer adoption and retention in the next fiscal year. Here’s how you could go through the questions above to ensure you’re ready to move forward with your plan: 

I will need support from the content team, web team, and email team to create targeted content for existing customers. One person on each team will need to be dedicated full-time to this initiative. To achieve this, the marketing team will need an additional $100K in budget and one new headcount. 

What is the vision?  

To create a positive experience for existing customers, address new customer needs, and encourage them to upgrade. We’ll do this by serving them how-to content, new feature updates, information about deals and pricing, and troubleshooting guides. 

According to the Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) , CEOs and go-to-market leaders report that more than 60% of their net-new revenue will come from existing customers in 2023. By retaining and building on the customers we have, we can maintain revenue growth over time. 

To decrease the customer churn rate from 30% to 10%, and increase upgrades from 20% to 30% in the next fiscal year. 

All existing customers. 

The main channel will be email. Supporting marketing channels include the website, blog, YouTube, and social media. 

The first half of the next fiscal year. 

One of the most important things to do as you create your marketing strategy is to identify your target audience . As with all marketing, you need to know who you’re marketing to. If you’re having a hard time determining who exactly your target audience is, try the bullseye targeting framework . The bullseye makes it easy for you to determine who your target audience is by industry, geography, company size, psychographics, demographics, and more.

2. Identify key metrics for success 

Now it’s time to define what key marketing metrics you’ll use to measure success. Your key metrics will help you measure and track the performance of your marketing activities. They’ll also help you understand how your efforts tie back to larger business goals. 

Once you establish key metrics, use a goal-setting framework—like objectives and key results (OKRs) or SMART goals —to fully flush out your marketing objectives. This ensures your targets are as specific as possible, with no ambiguity about what should be accomplished by when. 

Example: If a goal of your marketing plan is to increase email subscriptions and you follow the SMART goal framework (ensuring your objective is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) your goal might look like this: Increase email subscription rate from 10% to 20% in H1 . 

3. Research your competition 

It’s easy to get caught up in your company’s world, but there’s a lot of value in understanding your competitors . Knowing how they market themselves will help you find opportunities to make your company stand out and capture more market share.

Make sure you’re not duplicating your competitors’ efforts. If you discover a competitor has already executed your idea, then it might be time to go back to the drawing board and brainstorm new ways to differentiate yourself.  By looking at your competitors, you might be surprised at the type of inspiration and opportunities you’ll find.

To stay ahead of market trends, conduct a SWOT analysis for your marketing plan. A SWOT analysis helps you improve your plan by identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

Example: If your competitor launches a social media campaign identical to what you had planned, go back to the drawing board and see how you can build off their campaign. Ask yourself: How can we differentiate our campaign while still getting our message across? What are the weaknesses of their campaign that we can capitalize on? What angles did they not approach?

4. Integrate your marketing efforts

Here’s where the fun comes in. Let’s dive into the different components that go into building a successful marketing plan. You’ll want to make sure your marketing plan includes multiple supporting activities that all add up into a powerful marketing machine. Some marketing plan components include: 

Lead generation

Social media

Product marketing

Public relations

Analyst relations

Customer marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Conversational marketing

Knowing where your consumer base spends the most time is significant for nailing this step. You need to have a solid understanding of your target audience before integrating your marketing efforts. 

Example: If your target audience is executives that spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, focus your social media strategy around placing branded content on LinkedIn. 

5. Differentiate with creative content

Forty-nine percent of marketers say visual images are hugely important to their content strategy. In other words, a clear brand and creative strategy is an essential component to every marketing plan. As you craft your own creative strategy, here are some tips to keep in mind: 

Speak to your audience: When defining your creative strategy, think about your audience—what you want them to feel, think, and do when they see your marketing. Will your audience find your creative work relevant? If your audience can’t relate to your creative work, they won’t feel connected to the story you’re trying to tell. 

Think outside the box: Find innovative ways to engage your audience, whether through video, animations, or interactive graphics. Know what screens your creative work will live on, whether desktop, mobile, or tablet, and make sure they display beautifully and load quickly across every type of device. 

Tie everything back to CTAs: It’s easy to get caught up in the creative process, so it’s important to never lose sight of your ultimate goal: Get your audience to take action. Always find the best way to display strong Calls to Action (CTAs) in your creative work. We live in a visual world—make sure your creative content counts.

Streamline creative production:   Once you’ve established a strong creative strategy, the next step is to bring your strategy to life in the production stage. It’s vital to set up a strong framework for your creative production process to eliminate any unnecessary back and forth and potential bottlenecks. Consider establishing creative request forms , streamlining feedback and approval processes, and taking advantage of integrations that might make your designers’ lives easier.

Example: If your brand is fun and approachable, make sure that shows in your creative efforts. Create designs and CTAs that spark joy, offer entertainment, and alleviate the pressure in choosing a partner.

6. Operationalize your marketing plan

Turn your plan into action by making goals, deliverables, and timelines clear for every stakeholder—so teams stay accountable for getting work done. The best way to do this is by centralizing all the details of your marketing plan in one platform , so teams can access the information they need and connect campaign work back to company goals.  

With the right work management tool , you can: 

Set goals for every marketing activity, and connect campaign work to overarching marketing and business objectives so teams focus on revenue-driving projects. 

Centralize deliverables for your entire marketing plan in one project or portfolio .

Mark major milestones and visualize your plan as a timeline, Gantt chart, calendar, list, or Kanban board—without doing any extra work. 

Quickly loop in stakeholders with status updates so they’re always up to date on progress. This is extremely important if you have a global team to ensure efforts aren’t being duplicated. 

Use automations to seamlessly hand off work between teams, streamlining processes like content creation and reviews. 

Create dashboards to report on work and make sure projects are properly staffed , so campaigns stay on track. 

With everything housed in one spot, you can easily visualize the status of your entire marketing plan and keep work on track. Building an effective marketing plan is one thing, but how you operationalize it can be your secret to standout marketing.

Example: If your strategy focuses on increasing page views, connect all campaign work to an overarching OKR—like “we will double page views as measured by the amount of organic traffic on our blog.” By making that goal visible to all stakeholders, you help teams prioritize the right work. 

See marketing planning in action

With Asana, marketing teams can connect work, standardize processes, and automate workflows—all in one place.

See marketing planning in action

7. Measure performance

Nearly three in four CMOs use revenue growth to measure success, so it’s no surprise that measuring performance is necessary. You established your key metrics in step two, and now it’s time to track and report on them in step eight.

Periodically measure your marketing efforts to find areas of improvement so you can optimize in real-time. There are always lessons to be learned when looking at data. You can discover trends, detect which marketing initiatives performed well, and course-correct what isn’t performing well. And when your plan is complete, you can apply these learnings to your next initiative for improved results. 

Example: Say you discover that long-form content is consistently bringing in 400% more page views than short-form content. As a result, you’ll want to focus on producing more long-form content in your next marketing plan.

Marketing plan examples from world-class teams

The best brands in the world bring their marketing plans to life every day. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these examples from successful marketing teams.

Autodesk grows site traffic 30% three years in a row

When the Autodesk team launched Redshift, it was initially a small business blog. The editorial team executed a successful marketing plan to expand it into a premier owned-media site, making it a destination for stories and videos about the future of making. 

The team scaled content production to support seven additional languages. By standardizing their content production workflow and centralizing all content conversations in one place, the editorial team now publishes 2X more content monthly. Read the case study to learn more about how Autodesk runs a well-oiled content machine.

Sony Music boosts creative production capacity by 4X

In recent years the music industry has gone through a pivotal transition—shifting from album sales to a streaming business model. For marketing and creative teams at Sony Music, that meant adopting an “always on” campaign plan. 

The team successfully executed this campaign plan by centralizing creative production and approvals in one project. By standardizing processes, the team reduced campaign production time by 75%. Read the case study to learn more about how Sony Music successfully scaled their creative production process.

Trinny London perfects new customer acquisition 

In consumer industries, social media is crucial for building a community of people who feel an affinity with the brand—and Trinny London is no exception. As such, it was imperative that Trinny London’s ad spend was targeted to the correct audience. Using a work management tool, Trinny London was able to nail the process of creating, testing, and implementing ads on multiple social channels.

With the help of a centralized tool, Trinny London improved its ad spend and drove more likes and subscriptions on its YouTube page. Read the case study to learn more about how Trinny London capitalized on paid advertising and social media. 

Turn your marketing plan into marketing success 

A great marketing plan promotes clarity and accountability across teams—so every stakeholder knows what they’re responsible for, by when. Reading this article is the first step to achieving better team alignment, so you can ensure every marketing campaign contributes to your company’s bottom line. 

Use a free marketing plan template to get started

Once you’ve created your marketing strategy and are ready to operationalize your marketing plan, get started with one of our marketing templates . 

Our marketing templates can help you manage and track every aspect of your marketing plan, from creative requests to approval workflows. Centralize your entire marketing plan in one place, customize the roadmap, assign tasks, and build a timeline or calendar. 

Once you’ve operationalized your entire marketing plan with one of our templates, share it with your stakeholders so everyone can work together in the same tool. Your entire team will feel connected to the marketing plan, know what to prioritize, and see how their work contributes to your project objectives . Choose the best marketing template for your team:

Marketing project plan template

Marketing campaign plan template

Product marketing launch template

Editorial calendar template

Agency collaboration template

Creative requests template

Event planning template

GTM strategy template

Still have questions? We have answers. 

What is a marketing plan.

A marketing plan is a detailed roadmap that outlines the different strategies your team will use to achieve organizational objectives. Rather than focusing solely on the end goal, a marketing plan maps every step you need to reach your destination—whether that’s driving pipeline for sales, nurturing your existing customer base, or something in-between. 

As a marketing leader, you know there’s never a shortage of great campaign and project ideas. A marketing plan gives you a framework to effectively prioritize work that aligns to overarching business goals—and then get that work done. Some elements of marketing plans include:

Current business plan

Mission statement  

Business goals

Target customers  

Competitive analysis 

Current marketing mix

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Marketing budget  

What is the purpose of a marketing plan?

The purpose of a marketing plan is to grow your company’s consumer base and strengthen your brand, while aligning with your organization’s mission and vision . The plan should analyze the competitive landscape and industry trends, offer actionable insights to help you gain a competitive advantage, and document each step of your strategy—so you can see how your campaigns work together to drive overarching business goals. 

What is the difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy? 

A marketing plan contains many marketing strategies across different channels. In that way, marketing strategies contribute to your overall marketing plan, working together to reach your company’s overarching business goals.

For example, imagine you’re about to launch a new software product and the goal of your marketing plan is to drive downloads. Your marketing plan could include marketing strategies like creating top-of-funnel blog content and launching a social media campaign. 

What are different types of marketing plans? 

Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, what your timeline is, or which facet of marketing you’re driving, you’ll need to create a different type of marketing plan. Some different types of marketing plans include, but aren’t limited to:

General marketing plan: A general marketing plan is typically an annual or quarterly marketing plan that details the overarching marketing strategies for the period. This type of marketing plan outlines marketing goals, the company’s mission, buyer personas, unique selling propositions, and more. A general marketing plan lays the foundation for other, more specific marketing plans that an organization may employ. 

Product launch marketing plan: A product launch marketing plan is a step-by-step plan for marketing a new product or expanding into a new market. It helps you build awareness and interest by targeting the right audience, with the right messaging, in the right timeframe—so potential customers are ready to buy your new offering right away. Nailing your product launch marketing plan can reinforce your overall brand and fast-track sales. For a step-by-step framework to organize all the moving pieces of a launch, check out our product marketing launch template .

Paid marketing plan: This plan includes all the paid strategies in your marketing plan, like pay-per-click, paid social media advertising, native advertising, and display advertising. It’s especially important to do audience research prior to launching your paid marketing plan to ensure you’re maximizing ROI. Consult with content strategists to ensure your ads align with your buyer personas so you know you’re showing ads to the right people. 

Content marketing plan: A content marketing plan outlines the different content strategies and campaigns you’ll use to promote your product or service. When putting together a content marketing plan, start by identifying your audience. Then use market research tools to get the best insights into what topics your target audience is most interested in.

SEO marketing plan: Your SEO marketing plan should work directly alongside your content marketing plan as you chart content that’s designed to rank in search results. While your content marketing plan should include all types of content, your SEO marketing plan will cover the top-of-funnel content that drives new users to your site. Planning search engine-friendly content is only one step in your SEO marketing plan. You’ll also need to include link-building and technical aspects in order to ensure your site and content are as optimized as possible.

Social media marketing plan: This plan will highlight the marketing strategies you plan to accomplish on social media. Like in any general or digital marketing plan , your social media strategy should identify your ideal customer base and determine how they engage on different social media platforms. From there, you can cater your social media content to your target audience.  

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10 Marketing Plan Examples to Inspire Your Campaigns

What do hiking a trail, driving to a friend’s house, and executing marketing campaigns all have in common? Each requires you to closely follow directions.

Directions are a critical part of our daily life. Used correctly, they can guide decision-making processes, make labor more efficient, and get where you want to go as quickly as possible. 

But failing to keep track of directions could cost you — and not just gas money. When it comes to marketing strategies, not having a clear goal tanks web traffic, dissipates brand interest, and costs companies across the United States a whopping $400 billion a year.

Designing a marketing plan is certainly no easy task, but it can be made easier with best practices, strategic tips, and concrete examples from successful businesses all over the world.

sample marketing plan in business plan

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sample marketing plan in business plan

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a strategic document that acts as a guide for marketing campaigns and strategies. These critical road maps detail where you are, where you’re going, and how you plan to get there.

The average marketing plan consists of seven major sections:

  • Writing an executive summary
  • Discussing the mission statement
  • Listing marketing objectives
  • Performing a SWOT analysis
  • Completing market research
  • Designing a market strategy
  • Determining a budget

The more detailed a marketing plan is, the more efficient it will be at accomplishing its goals. 

As you might imagine, marketers who bother to write a concrete marketing plan enjoy several benefits :

  • Organized marketers have a 674% higher chance of reporting success
  • Marketers who set goals are 377% more successful than those who don’t

It’s clear that a successful marketing plan opens pathways to other forms of business success — although the process is underutilized at best. More than three out of four small business owners lack an overarching marketing plan if they don’t have a clear path of growth. Creating a holistic marketing plan is absolutely necessary to scale brands at any level of development.

10 marketing plan examples from every industry

It’s much simpler to design a plan of action when the groundwork already exists. Below are 10 marketing plans sourced from real companies and brands around the world, highlighting unique approaches to researching, crafting and implementing a marketing strategy . 

1. Contently

Popular SaaS Contently developed a visual marketing plan for developing future campaigns. The strategy depicts its plan in a “waterfall” format, with goals blending into methods of application that eventually lead to success metrics. Although far more casual than other examples on this list, the work provides an excellent overview of a marketing plan’s necessary components.

Contently marketing plan

2. Visit Baton Rouge

The Baton Rouge area of Louisiana generates millions of dollars every year from tourism alone. The Visit Baton Rouge marketing plan was born from a need to better position the area and create long-term strategies for generating interest. This 38-page document goes into detail describing different destinations, events, and calendars, including recommended measurements for success.

Top marketing plan examples: Baton Rouge

Created by SaaS company HubSpot , this template includes a business summary, SWOT matrix, market strategy, budget, and other important aspects of a marketing plan. By filling it out, you can make informed decisions about your company’s positioning and your marketing in general.

HubSpot marketing plan

4. Evernote

Evernote provides a comprehensive marketing plan template for businesses of any size. Create a plan that walks through overviews, timelines, research, personas, and all other elements of an airtight campaign. If desired, you can also implement this template into your Evernote account to start developing a marketing plan almost immediately.

great examples of marketing plan: Evernote

5. University of Illinois

Even educational institutes need marketing plans. The University of Illinois created a very straightforward document that encapsulates its market context, research efforts, and current campaigns. Objectives and success metrics are completed in the third section, with about 40 pages overall. 

6. Monday.com

Monday.com is a project management platform providing in-house templates to all active users. This marketing plan offers various categories and subcategories that track project progress with data visualizations. Detailed objectives and KPIs can be identified in-app, including columns for a projected cost range.

Popular health and hygiene brand Lush released a comprehensive marketing plan walking through some products, positioning, and a marketing calendar for upcoming product releases. One of the highlights includes a detailed SWOT analysis with easy to read graphics. This is particularly helpful for brands in the personal care industry, among others.

Lush marketing plan

8. Coca-Cola

Industry titan Coca-Cola released a strategy video that encompasses all seven elements of a holistic marketing plan. The proposal primarily explains the major content initiatives for the coming year, and focuses on how the brand’s initial ideas can be practically implemented into the existing strategy. 

sample marketing plan in business plan

9. Naperville Park District

Publicly funded recreational parks often have limited access to resources, which is why the Naperville Park District created a strategic marketing plan right at the beginning. This extremely detailed document walks through the company’s mission, situational analysis, strategy, and budget, on a micro-level.

nashville park marketing plan

10. Starbucks

Unlike the longform documents we’ve seen already, Starbucks takes a more concise approach. This six-page release details a strategy to elevate CX and brand ambassadors around the world. The marketing plan touches on individual strategies and tactics, as well as the methods used to ensure success. It’s important to note the detailed customer journey profiles that fit into a five-year strategy.

beverge marketing plan: starbucks

How to approach a marketing plan

Now that you know what a marketing plan looks like, it’s time to explore the initial stages of drafting and publishing your very first plan. Once you establish some basic starting points, a little research is all you need to get started.

Determine your goals

Directions simply don’t matter without an endpoint in mind. Craft some meaningful goals for your marketing campaign that envelop your brand’s values, objectives, and year-end plans. It’s best to use the SMART goal framework:

The more specific your goals are, the more effective your marketing plan will be.

Check your competitors

Staying abreast of your competitors and market share is critical in the early stages of a marketing plan. Using competitive analysis tools or an internal process, take some time to evaluate the approach that others are using — and how you can do better.

You might want to:

  • Perform a competitive analysis
  • Keep a close eye on industry news
  • Browse competitor social media content

Keep in mind that it’s possible to hire freelancers to perform competitive analysis for you, depending on your needs and time constraints.

Identify your audience

Understanding your target market — including their goals, ages, values, and demographics — is the golden rule of marketing. This can be done several ways, either by using data, creating personas, or outlying features in a document.

It’s best to consider everything that may be relevant to your audience in the marketing plan, including how products can be positioned in a way that makes them relevant. For example, a customer with a degree in IT would be more interested in ads that speak to their experience and industry pain points.

If you don’t have a target audience in mind yet, consider using programs like Google Analytics or in-platform insights from Facebook to identify specific segments.

Craft final KPIs

The difference between a good marketing plan and a great marketing plan starts with key performance metrics (KPIs). These will be used to measure the effectiveness of your campaign and provide detailed information about what worked, what didn’t, and what you can change in the future.

Every marketing plan should rely on its own unique set of metrics, all fitted to individual needs. If you’re looking for specific examples, you might want to try:

  • Raising the number of followers on a social media account
  • Generating a certain amount of website leads 
  • Achieving higher email open rates 

Keep in mind that your final metrics should adhere to the SMART method for best results.

Perform your revisions

The marketing plan is a living document and must be updated regularly to remain current. The average plan only has a shelf life of one to five years , on average, and should receive regular revisions in the meantime.

Take a closer look at your past goals, competitors, audience, and KPIs. Are any of these outdated or ill-aligned? What has changed for the company since its initial publication date? Make these adjustments accordingly (and hopefully with members of a team or committee).

Create marketing plans that guide your business well

It’s not enough to just write a marketing plan. In an increasingly competitive world of iron-clad strategies, marketing pros should take their time developing a plan that lasts. The above examples are a great place to start, especially as you craft an approach that is catered to your industry. 

Keep an eye on the growth of your business once your marketing plan hits the shelves. Continue to find new ways to optimize, refine, and otherwise make what you have even better than before. With an airtight marketing plan by your side, the possibilities are virtually limitless.

Want to learn more?

  • How to Create a Killer Social Media Marketing Plan
  • The Complete Guide to Getting Started With Influencer Marketing
  • 7 of the Best Landing Page Examples to Learn From
  • Instagram Marketing Tips to Shoot Up Your Sales

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More From Forbes

How to write a marketing plan.

Forbes Agency Council

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President of the  Bradford Dalton Group , Jeff is a former journalist with 30+ years of experience as a public relations professional.

Ready to reinvigorate your marketing? First, you need a plan. In this article, I’ll outline how to create a marketing plan for your business.

It is important to know what other people besides you think about your company, so spend some time before writing your marketing plan talking to employees, customers, shareholders and community members — anyone who is touched by your company. Probe to find out what they truly think and how they feel about the company. This cache of valuable information will form the basis for the SWOT analysis portion of your marketing plan.

Competitive Analysis

During your research, be sure to ask people who they think your competitors are, and how your company stacks up against them. Then, to learn more, conduct secondary research by carefully reviewing competitors’ websites and reviewing any news coverage about them. Then, use a website like Semrush or Ahrefs to find out how well their websites perform: how many keywords they rank for, how many visitors they attract per month, what their authority score is, etc. Throughout this research, look for ways in which your company is similar to and different from competitors. Rank them from most to least competitive.

SWOT Analysis

You can’t get where you want to go if you don’t know where you are. That’s why you want to start writing your marketing plan with an analysis of your internal situation (your company’s strengths and weaknesses) and the external situation in which you operate (the opportunities and threats in the marketplace). Mine the research you conducted, as well as your own insights, for this information. Be brutally honest. This is the basis for your entire marketing plan, so if you lie to yourself here, your marketing plan will likely be ineffective.

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The goals section of your marketing plan clearly lays out how you want your business to be different after the marketing plan has been carried out. And make sure they are SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound — so you’ll be able to clearly know whether or not they were met. For example, a SMART goal would be: “Increase annual sales by 10% by the end of the year.”

Objectives are the milestones you must hit in order to achieve your goals. Unlike goals, which are strategic — meaning that they bear directly on the success of your company — objectives are more tactical and generally pertain to the implementation of marketing tactics. For example, an objective might be: “To reach 5,000 sales prospects with an email campaign that has an open rate of at least 30% and a click-through rate of 5%.”

Target Markets

In this section of the plan, specify whom you intend to reach through your marketing efforts. Generally, this is your customers and prospective customers, but it could also be employees and prospective employees, if the goal is to find qualified job candidates, or community and government leaders, if you are seeking to deal with burdensome regulations or disgruntled factions of the community.

The message is what you want members of the target markets to know about your company in order to cause the behavior you are seeking, such as buying your product or service. Generally, the message is some form of the company’s unique selling proposition, or USP, which states the unique benefits your company offers and thus the reason for doing business with you instead of your competitors.

Tactics are the heart of a marketing plan — these are what you will actually do and how you will do it. The key is selecting the tactics that are most appropriate for your business and the goals you want to achieve. Selecting the best tactics generally requires the assistance of an experienced marketing professional.

Here’s a fairly exhaustive list of marketing tactics: awards and professional recognition; blogging; case studies and white papers; collateral such as brochures, flyers, sales sheets, etc.; digital advertising such as pay per click, banner ads, affiliate marketing, websites and remarketing; direct mail; email marketing; events including parties, seminars and panel discussions, and product and service announcements; inbound marketing; infographics; your logo and branding; native advertising and advertorials; promotions and contests; publicity; search engine optimization; speaking engagements; specialty advertising and swag; strategic partnerships; surveys; telemarketing; trade shows; traditional television and print advertising; videos; webinars; and word-of-mouth marketing.

Generally a month-by-month schedule of what will happen, a timeline lays out when each tactic will be deployed and for how long, and which tactics will run simultaneously in order to enhance their overall effectiveness.

In the budget section of your marketing plan, delineate how much money you will allocate for each marketing tactic.

It is possible, of course, to market without a plan — your marketing is just not likely to be effective without one. Unfortunately, the marketing efforts of many small businesses seem to largely be the result of sales efforts by advertising salespeople — that is, many business owners buy whatever they think is the best deal proffered by the local newspaper, radio station, television station or digital advertising agency. These totally unplanned, uncoordinated efforts can produce sporadic results, but usually not sustained growth. To get the most out of your marketing dollars, create a plan and stick to it.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

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How to Write a Marketing Plan (with Templates and Example)

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Growthink.com marketing strategy template

What is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a roadmap that explains how your business will generate more leads and sales. It includes every key marketing strategy that will affect your marketing results from your brand positioning and pricing to your promotional efforts.

Download our Ultimate Marketing Plan Template here >

It’s important to remember that a marketing plan is not something you create in one sitting. This is an ongoing project that requires research, planning, and revision over time before it can truly be finalized.

Although creating a marketing plan can seem like a daunting task, it can actually be quite simple if you know what information should be included in your marketing plan template and where to find examples. Below you will learn everything you must include in your marketing plan so you can effectively grow your business.

What are the Key Components of a Traditional Marketing Plan?

For a comprehensive marketing plan, you should include the following 11 key components:

Executive Summary

Target market segments, unique selling proposition (usp), pricing and positioning strategy, distribution strategy, marketing materials, promotions strategy, digital marketing plan.

  • Conversion, Referral and Retention Strategy

Financial Projections

Each of these sections is explained in detail below along with examples.

How to Write a Marketing Plan + Examples

The executive summary is the first section to appear and the last to be written in a marketing plan. The contents include a condensed version of all the findings of the rest of the marketing plan.

The executive summary may include:

  • What does the marketing plan intend to accomplish? Why?
  • Who handles the daily operations and execution of the marketing plan?
  • How will you measure success to determine the effectiveness of the marketing plan?

Keep the executive summary brief and to the point so anyone who reads it immediately understands the salient points.

Marketing Plan Executive Summary Example

TechSmart is an electronics company that specializes in the production of quality products at reasonable prices. A unique selling point (USP) is that our quality products are competitively priced to allow our target market to be able to purchase the items they need without breaking their budget. After assessing my current distribution strategy, we will continue the development of more localized stores in order to cater to the high-earner segment of our market.

A more localized approach will also help support our business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy. We can work with various schools and universities to implement training measures that teach technicians the proper ways to use our products for a variety of applications. This is important because it will give us a larger market share by cementing ourselves as a go-to company for this segment, which in turn boosts sales overall.

After reviewing the insights from our research, we decided on some broad target markets based on income levels, age brackets, and other variables that might affect their spending power. To start, we want to focus primarily on B2C marketing strategies with these segments while sending out newsletters promoting upcoming products and discounts. In order to reach out to these new segments, we will need to promote our products and services based on the differentiation of their quality and affordability.

TechSmart plans to spend $10,000 a month on marketing activities in order to develop its business within the next six months. Currently, TechSmart has been operating on a small marketing budget while focusing more on its B2B marketing strategy, but it has achieved limited success with this approach. After assessing its current situation, TechSmart’s market research suggests the company needs to shift towards a more consumer-focused B2C marketing strategy in order to achieve growth and reach out to more potential clients that might be interested in purchasing its products or hiring its services.

In order to build awareness for our product line, we plan to launch large-scale online marketing campaigns as part of an integrated multimedia strategy as outlined in the Digital Marketing Plan section. This will allow us to target potential customers who might be interested in our products while promoting awareness of our brand through engaging social media outlets.

To determine success, the Marketing Team will measure whether or not our marketing plan is effective by tracking consumers who buy our products online through the company website; how much revenue was generated from each promotion; what percentage of users signed up for the mobile app, and any other relevant data that helps us track progress towards reaching our marketing goals. We will communicate our success to the C-suite at quarterly reports and work with them to track any changes in revenue from year to year.

To successfully market something you first need to analyze the market’s needs to figure out where the right opportunity exists. Unless you have this information, you will be shooting in the dark and your marketing ROI (return on investment) will suffer. So, start with a detailed analysis of your target customers and their wants and needs.

For example, if you are selling a teeth whitening product, you may identify your customers as single men aged 30 to 40, making between $50,000 and $60,000 per year, living in Manhattan, and own dogs.

What are their needs? In the above case, their primary need as related to your product could be to convey an attractive and professional appearance. Other needs for different products or services could include safety, convenience, ambiance, price, variety, and exclusivity. Finding out the key problems of your target audience will effectively direct all other marketing decisions.

For each customer segment, create a unique buyer persona that will help you develop the appropriate content marketing to speak to their unique needs. Buyer personas can help you sit in your customers’ shoes and understand their perspectives when it comes to buying products and services.

You also must note the 80/20 rule when creating your buyer persona. The 80/20 rule states that 20% of your customers will generate 80% of your revenue.

The point is this….clearly some people who buy from you will not fall neatly into the detailed description of your target customer. That’s ok. By focusing on marketing to and serving your core customer, you’ll get more of the 20% you want and thus much more “bang for your marketing buck.”

Marketing Plan Target Market Segments Example

TechSmart is an electronics company that specializes in the production of quality products at reasonable prices. The TechSmart target market consists of two segments: high-earners with children, and busy parents.

Our primary market is high-earners with children. These customers are parents who are either working or staying at home, and they have money to spend on their children. They are making roughly $150,000-250,000 annually and they want to provide the best for their kids. They also care about quality when it comes to electronics. When these parents shop, they will carefully analyze what needs to be purchased for their child in order to provide the best quality of life.

The high-earners will be the ones looking at the offer of complementary products like headphones, tablets, and games which can be used with our products. They also will be more likely to sign up for the warranty through the mobile app so they get access to freebie offers through holidays like Christmas and Independence Day.

The busy parents segment of TechSmart’s target market typically exhibit the following shopping behaviors:

  • They prioritize a good bargain over trendy styles.
  • They want to spend as little time as possible at the store.
  • They shop for children and themselves.
  • They use the internet for product comparison, but will still go to stores to buy items from brands they trust.

Your product and/or service’s USP helps put them ahead of similar offerings made by your competitors – think of it as your competitive advantage. Therefore, it is vital that you create a strong and memorable USP that will make your product and/or service more desirable. A USP could be physical in nature like a product’s form, quality, durability, design, or features. It could also be the additional services you provide when a customer buys your product like delivery, customer service, or installation. Your target market research will come in handy here as it will tell you exactly the kind of products and services your target group needs and desires the most.

Here are some more USP examples used by local businesses:

  • We are the only car repair shop that will buy your car if you are not 100 percent satisfied (USP of customer service)
  • Delivered in 30 minutes or less (USP of speed)
  • Our recipe is so secret, only three people in the world know it (USP of exclusivity)

If you are having trouble identifying your business’s USP, complete a SWOT Analysis to identify your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This will help you determine the best strategy to capitalize on your strengths and opportunities while you address the weaknesses and threats. Use the SWOT Analysis template below to help you.

SWOT Analysis Template

Continuing with our TechSmart example below, their USP focuses on the quality of their products.

Marketing Plan Unique Selling Proposition Example

The TechSmart unique selling point (USP) focuses on our quality products that are competitively priced to allow our target market to be able to purchase the items they need without breaking their budget.

Your pricing strategy attempts to fulfill one or more of the following marketing goals: improve sales, market share, or profits, get ahead of a competitor or create barriers for any new entrants. Focus on what your most pertinent business objectives are and formulate your prices accordingly.

Furthermore, the strength of your product’s USP also influences your pricing flexibility. More unique products can legitimately quote higher prices, while a product with a more generic USP will have a hard time doing so.

Pricing strategy can also influence the value of your business from a buyer or investor’s perspective. Companies that are able to secure ongoing revenue streams in the form of subscriptions or monthly recurring payments tend to generate higher valuations as there is greater revenue certainty in these models.

Positioning your product and/or service a certain way also will determine its perception among your customer base. For example: Even though both Hondas and Mercedes cars can safely and effectively transport you from point A to point B, Hondas are positioned as value purchases and therefore priced lower than more exclusive Mercedes vehicles.

Marketing Plan Pricing & Positioning Strategy Example

The main concern of my high-income earners is that they want to provide the best for their children and that means quality consumer products. But we know that it can be difficult to make high-quality products and still make them affordable. We want our customers to feel comfortable spending their money on our products, but we also care about providing quality.

Your distribution strategy details how customers will buy from you. It could include a brick-and-mortar store, an e-commerce site, wholesale distributors, retail stores, mail catalogs, or some combination of the above. Base your decision on customer research. That is, find the methods or places your customers find most convenient to buy from and offer your product through those marketing channels.

For example, consider the California cannabis brand Dosist. Dosist distributes through a highly curated network of partner boutique dispensaries as well as through two flagship brick-and-mortar stores. Through its flagship stores, it provides consumers an in-person way to experience the brand. Through its retail partnerships, it gleans wider distribution than it could in a single location.

Marketing Plan Distribution Strategy Example

TechSmart will continue identifying new target market opportunities within our region and build out additional localized stores in order to expand our distribution to our target audience in other high-income areas of the region.

To further distribute our products, we will partner with several retail stores. Location number one is close to a high-income area and is in the mall. Location number two is located near schools that house young parents who are also students at the university across the street.

Offers like buy-one-get-one-free, discounts, and guarantees are classic offers that when leveraged correctly attract new customers and maintain the loyalty of existing customers. Ideally, you can position offers in a way that makes them a win-win for your business and customers.

For example, Package Free Shop, an e-commerce store dedicated to providing reusable and earth-friendly everyday products, regularly offers discounts on products if you sign up for a subscription to those products. This offer is attractive to the consumer as they can get the same product for less and don’t have to remember to reorder. It’s attractive to Package Free Shop because it provides more certainty around cash flow on a monthly basis than one-off purchases.

You can use different marketing methods like the official website, mail catalogs, or brochures to help spread offers, identify what offers and materials might resonate most with your target audience, and spend your resources accordingly.

Marketing Plan Offers Example

TechSmart will run various offers that will allow customers to obtain a set of complementary products if they purchase the specific product mentioned in the offer. Offers will apply only in-store.

Each offer will vary in terms of the purchased product and the complementary set offered. The offer will be valid until it reaches the available quantity provided to each store or until a specific deadline is reached, whichever comes first. The details of each promotional offer will be detailed in the weekly e-newsletter, on our website, and through promotional print materials in-store.

Your marketing assets include the visual and tactical representation of your brand. These items include your logo and other visual identity elements; your website and social media accounts; signage, brochures, or other print collateral; and case studies and testimonials.

Having brand guidelines in place ensures that the look and feel of all assets are consistent between the materials themselves and with your overall brand. This consistency means customers will recognize and feel familiar with your brand, whether they are walking into your brick-and-mortar store, browsing your mobile app, or using your product.

Sample Brand Guidelines

sample brand guidelines width=

Marketing Plan Marketing Materials Example

All TechSmart marketing assets will utilize our Brand Guidelines. Methods of marketing may include TV commercials, a Social Media Marketing Strategy – organic and paid advertising, promotional flyers for in-store shoppers, also available digitally on our website, and billboards.

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Your promotions strategy will determine how you communicate with your customers about your product and/or service. Your strategy could include advertisements on TV, billboards, radio, catalogs, product placements in movies, and more. Your choice of promotional channels must be influenced by who your target market is and how it likes to consume information. For instance, if your target customer base is adolescents then taking out an ad in a newspaper would largely be ineffective.

When detailing your promotions strategy, be sure to include a description of each tactic, the estimated cost involved, and how / when you will evaluate ROI and determine whether to modify the tactic or switch course entirely.

Marketing Plan Promotions Example

TechSmart’s promotional strategy targets high-income earners who want quality products for their children, but at the same time not break the bank. TechSmart will offer various promotions so that people can get a sense of what they are buying before they buy it, and free events where consumers can play with the products before they buy them. These events will be promoted through social media, primarily Facebook and Instagram, and through banners and/or pop-ups on our website.

Online marketing should be a central component of most any business’ marketing plan today as customers of all types increasingly spend time online transacting or evaluating potential transactions. There are several components to a successful online marketing strategy: your website, social media accounts, and supporting paid and organic web traffic efforts.

Your website is an extension of your business and should be consistent with the spirit of your brand and easy to interact with. A clunky, cluttered website will quickly turn off customers, who seldom give second chances when it’s as easy as a click of a button to move onto a better option.

Maintaining an active social media presence or leveraging influencers in your space to promote your product enables you to reach broad swaths of prospective customers. Your accounts must be engaging and attractive to your target market as well as content-specific to the platform itself.

For example, your LinkedIn account might include postings on a recent fundraise or supplier partnership, whereas your Instagram account might include beautiful, high-quality photos of your product.

These core pieces of online real estate are then supported by your paid and organic online advertising efforts. By including content-rich blog posts, articles or videos that include your industry’s key terms or words, you will boost your organic visibility in customers’ search results. Similarly, by investing in paid advertising you ensure that you appear in those same searches, but as an advertised result.

Marketing Plan Digital Marketing Strategy Example

TechSmart will use digital marketing to increase its brand awareness in the competitive marketplace. Digital marketing is an inexpensive way to advertise to a large number of potential customers in many different regions with minimal resources.

Generally, TechSmart will use Facebook and Instagram for social media posts about new products or store events. We will also run retargeting campaigns for website visitors and other engaged consumers. We are also considering launching a YouTube channel for tutorials on how to use various types of computer accessories, electronic devices, gaming platforms, and/or popular games.

We will also use Google Adwords to promote shopping ads when people are searching for similar items in our targeted market.

TechSmart will also participate in Influencer Marketing by working with bloggers with large followings in the target market who would be willing to provide reviews or advertise our products on their channels.

Conversion, Referral, and Retention Strategy

In this section of your marketing plan, you should detail each of your customer pathways and the resulting conversion from each path. For certain pathways (like an e-commerce site) this data will be more readily trackable and easier to discern. For other more qualitative marketing efforts (such as the purchase of an ad in a magazine), it may be more difficult to quantify your conversion results.

Think through and identify how you might improve your conversions across various pathways. For example, would showcasing the glowing reviews and ratings of past customers increase your conversion rate on your e-commerce site? Would placing small, trial-size products right next to the cash register in your brick-and-mortar store tick up your average purchase size?

Also, think through in this section what you can do to increase the conversions of referrals from past customers. Can you incentivize your happiest customers to leave you a great online review, gift a sample of one of your products to a friend or recommend you reach out to a family member who might benefit from your services?

All of the efforts outlined above will ensure you retain your best existing customers and build loyalty with them.

Marketing Plan Conversion, Referral, and Retention Strategy Example

To increase our conversion of new customers, we will add a function to the website where people can sign up for emails about upcoming promotions and store events. We can also add links to shop in popular social media marketing channels like Facebook and Instagram. People who visit the site without buying anything will be able to chat with one of our associates if they have any questions or concerns about his/her purchase.

We will also promote samples of games and apps so kids can try out before they buy them, and free events where parents can play with the products their children want before they buy them at home. To encourage past customers to refer friends and family members, we will offer discounts and exclusive offers for repeat, as well as publish reviews from happy customers on our website and social media.

To increase conversions of people who visit the site but do not buy anything initially, we will highlight products that are currently on sale or offer special discounts for first-time customers. We will also create content that explains how to use common devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This will increase our conversion rates by ensuring people are familiar with the products they want to buy before arriving on site.

Our referral program can offer discounts or free samples of products if customers recommend us to friends and family who make a purchase within 24 hours. We can also advertise special deals like time-sensitive giveaways or contests for referrals through social media marketing on Instagram and Facebook. People who already shop with us frequently are likely to be more receptive in encouraging their friends and family members to do so as well.

We will contact past customers via email periodically asking them how they enjoyed their experience at the store, what they thought about specific items they purchased, or how they heard about our store in the past. If they mention that they found out about us through another customer, we will ask them who it was and thank them for their referral so we can send a small gift or coupon to the person they recommended.

This strategy ensures that we continue to offer competitive prices on our products while also increasing people’s trust in our company by implementing new policies and procedures across all pathways.

Every well-researched marketing plan must include projections that will estimate the overall cost of engaging in certain marketing strategies including the results of their implementation in terms of new sales, profits, and customers. Even though these will just be estimates they will still highlight which strategies have the potential to gross the highest ROI.

Your projections need to be revisited time and time again to assess how well the marketing plan has been implemented and what can be done better. Analyzing metrics like cost per sale, average ticket price and retention rates will help you understand which marketing tactics are working and which need to be revisited.

Marketing Plan Financial Projections Example

New Customers:

We project to acquire 160 new customers in Year 1 at a cost of $6,400. This means that the cost per customer acquisition is roughly $40.00.

Existing Customers:

We have 30 clients who are extremely valuable and spend more than once every two months on average. These loyal customers generate an average profit of $2,080 each time they purchase from TechSmart for an ROI of 5%. The total amount projected for existing customers is 120 transactions worth $24,000 or 4% of our revenue goal. With these calculations, it should be clear that investing resources into acquiring new users will result in better returns than capitalizing on people who have already purchased from us but don’t come back often. Furthermore, spending money to keep people returning for future buys is more effective than trying to convince the same person to purchase again after they have already done so once before.

Using these estimates, TechSmart will generate $138,000 in revenue in Year 1 with an average ticket price of $1,350. This equates to around 160 customers purchasing one item each or 320 transactions for a total of $138,000.

Marketing Plan Template

Below is a free strategic marketing plan template to use. Simply answer the key questions below to complete your plan:

  • Our target customers are:
  • Our unique selling proposition is:
  • Our pricing and positioning strategy is:
  • Our distribution strategy includes:
  • The key offers we will use to attract customers include:
  • The marketing materials we will use are:
  • The promotional methods we will use to attract customers include:
  • Our online marketing strategy includes:
  • The strategies we will use to increase our customer conversion rates, referrals and customer retention include:
  • Our key financial projections from implementing our marketing plan include:

Marketing Plan FAQs

What are the different formats used for a marketing plan.

Marketing plans can be made using one of four formats: the traditional marketing plan, the digital marketing plan template, the marketing mix, and the product launch.

When it comes to choosing a format, consider what factors are most important for your business. There is no right answer here as you'll have to choose what's best for you. If you want help, use the information below as a guide:

  • The traditional marketing plan provides a comprehensive marketing strategy based on your business goals. This type of marketing plan involves research and analysis of the target market segments, unique selling proposition, pricing and positioning strategy, distribution and promotions strategies, and more. If you are seeking to really grow your business, it is helpful to provide this type of plan to provide the details of how you will bring your target audience to your business to generate more revenue. 
  • The digital marketing plan focuses on planning steps and milestones to achieve success in your online marketing. Note that even if you are solely marketing online, there are many exercises, like improving your unique selling proposition, that are still critical. With a digital marketing plan template, you'll break your marketing plan down into these essential steps: objective, strategy, tactics, and measurement.
  • The marketing mix plan focuses on the 4Ps of marketing: product, price, promotion, and place. If your business sales are driven by physical products or services, this is likely the best format for you. However, if you depend more on media and informational products (like a blog or an eBook), then this type of plan won't be as helpful for you.
  • The product marketing plan focuses on launching and/or growing a single product. While the product will be unique, it generally will be branded under your company name so there are elements of the traditional marketing plan the are not required in developing it.

How Do You Develop a Marketing Plan?

First, choose a format for your marketing plan. Please refer to the 1st FAQ question for more information regarding marketing plan formats.

Now that you've chosen a format, it's time to start filling in the blanks. Keep in mind, though, that like any other type of writing (or planning for this matter), your document should be organized and easy to follow. 

To make sure your marketing plan is clear and concise:

  • Create an outline . Using your chosen format as a guide, start creating an outline of the sections and subsections you'll include in your marketing plan.
  • Fill out each section . Next, fill in the subsections composing each section of your plan. Keep them short and concise so you don't overwhelm yourself or your readers.
  • Include examples . Use any relevant data or case studies you've collected to provide examples of strategies and tactics that will work with your business. It can be helpful to include screenshots for social media posts, images of ads, or infographics in sections where they're most relevant.
  • Designate a timeframe . For each section, also decide on a timeframe for when you'll achieve the goals outlined for that particular section.
  • Revise and update . No document is ever truly complete so it's important to remember to update your marketing plan over time. The work involved in planning, developing, and revising your marketing plan can be daunting at times but it will pay off in the long run when you have a thorough, detailed marketing strategy.

What Should Be Included in the Different Marketing Plan Formats?

You'll need to include different content in your marketing plan depending on which format you choose. When it comes to the digital marketing plan template, for example, there are three main topics that should be covered:

  • Digital Marketing Strategy & Overview   - this section provides an overall view of how you're planning to use digital marketing in your campaigns. It includes information like how many channels (and which ones) you will use and why what budget has been set aside for marketing activities and your marketing objectives. This part will act as a roadmap for your digital campaign so make sure it's detailed enough - but not too long!
  • Business Market Analysis - this section will help potential investors understand your business and its context. Here you'll include information about your competition, market trends, and industry growth. You'll also mention the opportunities and threats that your company faces so that viewers can get a sense of how it will operate in the future.
  • Marketing Strategy - this section is where you explain your specific marketing strategy such as who's involved, what needs to be done and when, etc. Remember to break down each step into smaller chunks so that marketing activities are easier to follow throughout the year or quarter.

When writing content for any other format, simply remember: Keep it brief - no one likes reading long documents! Below we give examples of marketing plan templates for different types of marketing objectives, which should provide some guidance on the content.

Product Marketing Plan Template

  • Company introduction & summary of company history (include any key milestones)
  • Product description, including how it's different from other similar products offered by your competition
  • Product usage statistics and potential markets
  • Overview of the marketing strategy, including campaign timeline and key milestones. Also include information about product promotion strategy, pricing strategy, and distribution strategy.
  • Summary of expected outcomes for the proposed marketing plan. Include financial projections where possible.
  • References to product launch marketing plan template that the writer has used as reference

Marketing Mix Marketing Plan Template

  • Description of brands & products within market category (include which brands you're using as competitive references)
  • Description of marketing strategy, including marketing objectives and key action steps/tasks to achieve those objectives
  • References to marketing mix example that the writer has used as reference

Digital Marketing Plan Marketing Plan Template

  • The business overview, including a summary of your digital activities and achievements
  • Digital marketing overview, including a description of how you use digital technologies in your business and a time frame for future plans
  • References to a digital marketing plan that the writer has used as reference

What is the Difference Between a Marketing Plan and a Business Plan?

The main difference between a marketing plan and business plan is that a marketing plan is focused on customer satisfaction, while the business plan describes how the business will achieve its goals. Other differences include the marketing plan's focus on consumer demand, thorough market research and forecasting, while the business plan also includes financials and production details.

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

Growthink's Ultimate Marketing Plan Template

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Your Guide to Creating a Small Business Marketing Plan

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Table of Contents

To have a successful business, you need a well-thought-out marketing plan to promote your products or services. Although making a few social media posts or blasting a few promotional emails may seem simple enough, disjointed marketing efforts not only confuse your target audience, but can ultimately harm your business. 

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a strategic road map for how you communicate (online and offline) with your target audience to successfully promote your products or services. Depending on your goal, marketing plans can be extremely basic or highly detailed.

According to Molly Maple Bryant, vice president of marketing at Vibrent Health, a marketing plan is not simply a list of things you want to accomplish. Instead, it should list the outcomes you seek — measurable and contextual, like the pipeline you’re developing, or leads you’re generating — and it should explain the high-level strategies you will use to achieve those outcomes. Developing strategies can be complicated, but they make a major difference in keeping you on track and avoiding diversions, also called scope creep .

“Once you have an agreed-upon plan, you are able to compare any incoming requests against your strategies to determine ‘Yes, this adheres to my strategy so we can add it,’ or ‘No, this sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t adhere to our agreed-upon strategy, so we won’t adjust resources,'” Bryant told us.

Types of marketing plans

There are several different types of marketing plans you can use based on certain strategies that make sense for your organization. Your business will likely need a combination of the following marketing plans to create an effective, comprehensive marketing strategy:

  • Advertising plan
  • Branding plan
  • Content marketing plan
  • Customer acquisition plan
  • Direct marketing plan
  • Email marketing plan
  • Public relation plan
  • Print marketing plan
  • Reputation management plan
  • Retention plan
  • Search engine optimization plan
  • Social media marketing plan

Why is it important to have a marketing plan for your business?

A marketing plan is a crucial resource for any small business because it helps you identify the market needs your product or service meets, how your product is different from competitors, and who your product or service is for. Marketing plans also serve as a road map for your sales strategy, branding direction and building your overall business. This is important for successfully conveying your brand messaging to your target audience .

Another significant benefit of a marketing plan for your company is that rather than simply guessing metrics, it forces you to sit down and do the math about your business goals and how to realistically fulfill them. When you look at your growth outcomes, you can delve further to determine what it will take to get to those numbers.

Bryant offered the following example: “Need $100,000 in revenue? How many sales is that? If 10, what’s your close rate? Let’s say 10 percent from lead to closed deal. Now you have a metric to start with — to get to 10 sales, we need 100 leads. Where will they come from, and what strategies will you use? The plan helps you put it all on paper so you can map out resources and tactics later with a lot of preparation and realism,” said Bryant.

When analyzing outcomes and resources, you can save time and avoid scope creep by focusing only on strategies that are relevant to your marketing plan. A marketing plan helps you think realistically about your strategies, gets your stakeholders on the same page, and holds your marketing team accountable for their decisions.

“When everyone’s tasks and goals are laid out for the stakeholders and company partners to see, it is much easier for the entire team to feel at ease about reaching sales goals and allowing the marketing team the space and freedom needed to execute work without constant supervision,” said Cassady Dill, digital marketing consultant and owner of Ethos Agency.

Additionally, Dill said a marketing plan should be easily understood by your entire team, executives and outside departments. Your plan should also serve as an easy guide for future marketing managers and team members to understand and implement.

What are the key elements of an effective business marketing plan?

A marketing plan should be customized to fit your business; however, Dill said, all marketing plans contain five essential functions:

  • Your business goals
  • Key metrics (how you quantify and measure success)
  • Strategies (an overview of implementation and how that will achieve goals)
  • A plan (the details of execution and the human resources, departments and software that will be involved)
  • Reporting (what reports of progress will include and/or look like)

We broke down those five functions into 10 actionable categories to help you create a marketing plan that is unique and effective for your business.

1. Executive summary

The executive summary is a great place to give the reader of your plan an overview of your business’s mission or goals, as well as the marketing strategy you’re looking to employ. An executive summary is often written after you’ve completed the rest of the marketing plan, to ensure it covers all the important elements of your plan. If the executive summary is the only part of your marketing plan that someone reads (which is highly possible), you want to be sure they understand the most crucial details.

2. Mission statement

The mission statement , not to be confused with a vision statement, is a statement that encompasses your company’s values and how they relate to your overall goals as an organization. Here are some good questions to get you thinking:

  • What does your company do today?
  • What’s important to your company?
  • What would your company like to do in the future?
  • What is your brand identity?
  • What’s your culture like ?
  • How does your company benefit customers, employees and stakeholders?

3. Target markets

Identifying your target market is one of the most important parts of your marketing plan. Without a defined target audience, your marketing expenses will be wasted. Think of it like this: Some people need your service or product but don’t know it exists yet. Who are those people?

Here are some other questions to help you brainstorm your target market :

  • What is the demographic of your customers (gender, age, income, education, etc.)?
  • What are their needs and interests?
  • What’s their psychographic profile (attitudes, philosophies, values, lifestyle, etc.)?
  • How do they behave?
  • What are some existing products they use?

4. Products and services

In this section, don’t just list what your product or service is. Think critically about what you have to offer your customers and what that value proposition means to them.

  • What do you make or provide for customers?
  • What are your customers’ needs?
  • How does your product or service fulfill customers’ needs?
  • What value do you add to your customers’ lives?
  • What type of product or service are you offering?

5. Distribution channels

At this point in your report, you should transition your thinking into actual marketing theory and practices. Distribution channels are the avenues you’ll use to reach a prospective customer or business . Think of all current and potential sales channels on which your specific target audience is active. One distribution channel that works great for one organization may be useless to another. For example, one company may host their website for free on a site like HubSpot and solely rely on that as their sales channel, while another company may have a whole team of people using Pinterest to drive sales. [Learn how CRM systems can help track your marketing leads based on various distribution channels.]

Examples of sales channels include the following:

  • Mobile text message marketing
  • Social media
  • Print (newspapers, magazines, brochures, catalogs, direct mail)
  • Broadcast (TV, radio)
  • Press releases
  • Trade shows, product demonstrations, event marketing

6. Competitive profile

One of the major aspects of your marketing plan is developing your unique selling proposition (USP). A USP is a feature or stance that separates your product or service from competitors. Finding your USP is all about differentiation and distinguishing your company as a sole proprietor of one type of good or service. Conduct a competitive analysis to identify your competitive profile and how you stack up against the competition. It is important to remain unbiased when conducting this analysis.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • What’s your USP?
  • Who are your competitors? What do they offer?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competition?
  • What needs of the market (or customer) are not being served? What can you do to meet those needs?

7. A pricing strategy

Consider pricing when drafting your marketing plan. Developing the right pricing strategy helps you better market your product. Think about your current and projected finances when developing a long-term marketing strategy that is realistic and beneficial for your business. Here are some key questions to ask yourself about your pricing:

  • What are reasonable margins to make a profit and cover production costs?
  • Is there a market for products or services at your projected price point?
  • Are you willing to sacrifice profit margins in return for a greater market share?
  • What are your marketing and distribution costs?

8. Objectives

Consider your objectives when developing a marketing plan. This aspect of your plan should involve specific goals related to market penetration and revenue targets. Be sure to keep your marketing objectives on-brand with your business. Here are some things to consider:

  • Sales quotas
  • Number of new customers gained
  • Customer retention percentages
  • Revenue targets
  • Market penetration
  • Brand awareness
  • Website traffic

9. Action plans

With all of the above items outlined, determine what steps need to be taken to enact your marketing plan. This includes determining the proper steps, setting goals, breaking down responsibilities, and establishing an overall timeline.

It’s also important to brainstorm potential roadblocks your business could face and some solutions to overcome them. Your research is useless if you don’t have an actionable plan that can be realistically implemented to carry out your ideas.

10. Financial projections

This last step allows you to establish a realistic marketing budget and better understand your marketing plan from a cost perspective. In addition to setting a budget, consider the overall return on investment as well. Here are some other financial projections to consider:

  • Cost of implementation
  • Cost to produce product or service
  • Existing and projected cash flow
  • Projected sales
  • Desired profit margin on projected sales

What is a template for creating a successful marketing plan?

The internet is full of useful tools, including paid and free marketing plan templates, to help you build a successful marketing plan .

Whether you are looking for a free template generator to build a new marketing plan or a benchmarking tool to evaluate your current strategies, several great resources are available. Keep in mind that the best marketing plan for your business will be a customized one.

“Ultimately, you should design a marketing plan that best serves the needs of your team as you see fit,” said Dill. “Don’t force yourself into a plan that doesn’t fit your team. Use templates to shorten the workload time, but then adjust it for a more custom plan.”

Here are some tools and templates to get you started:

  • Free marketing plan template : business.com has developed a free template that is fully customizable based on the needs of your business. Each section provides in-depth explanations, examples and resources to help you create an impressive marketing plan.
  • Smart Insights: In addition to offering marketing plan templates, some companies, like Smart Insights, offer marketing benchmarking templates to help you evaluate your strategy performance. These are accessible with a free Smart Insights membership.
  • GERU: Similarly, GERU offers a funnel-planning, profit-prediction and simulation tool to help you assess mock business ideas and simulations. This can help you identify weak points in your marketing strategy that need improvement. Although GERU requires users to sign up for a paid account, you can access a free trial to test it out.

What mistakes should you avoid when creating your marketing plan?

When creating an effective marketing plan, you need to avoid falling for common missteps and mistakes. For starters, failing to identify any of the 10 actionable categories above is an obvious mistake.

Here are some other key mistakes to avoid:

  • Setting unrealistic budgets: Underestimating the costs of marketing activities or setting an unrealistic budget can limit your ability to execute your plan effectively. Marketing can be expensive, so it’s important to fully understand the estimated cost and budget before building a marketing strategy that you can’t afford.
  • Focusing on quantity over quality: “More” doesn’t always mean “better” if you are posting on irrelevant marketing channels or your efforts are bringing in unqualified leads. Prioritizing the quantity of marketing activities over their quality can lead to superficial engagement and a lack of meaningful results.
  • Not testing campaigns: Launching large campaigns without testing can lead to wasted resources if the messaging or tactics don’t resonate as expected. Test out your new campaigns to ensure they achieve your intended goal.
  • Ignoring customer feedback: You may be tempted to ignore negative feedback, but disregarding customer comments and failing to address their concerns can lead to negative perceptions of your brand. Instead, use customer feedback to your advantage to improve your product and marketing efforts.
  • Overpromising and underdelivering: Setting unrealistic expectations in your marketing messages that your products or services can’t fulfill can damage your brand’s reputation.
  • Ignoring seasonality and trends: Failing to account for seasonal trends and market changes can result in missed opportunities for timely marketing efforts.
  • Not reviewing and updating your plan: A rigid marketing plan that doesn’t allow for adjustments in response to market feedback and changing conditions can hinder your success. A marketing plan should be a living document that is regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the market and your business’s goals.

Avoiding these mistakes and missteps can help you create a more effective and successful marketing plan that drives results for your business.

How can you take action with your new marketing plan?

Before you dive into marketing plan templates, it’s important to understand how to think about a marketing plan.

A good marketing plan targets who your buyers are, establishes the service or product you are offering, and determines your unique selling proposition. From here, you will tackle the marketing planning process and develop the best way to get your product in front of buyers who want your product or service.

Dill created a simple four-step process for how small businesses can take action with creating a marketing plan.

  • The first step is to hold a marketing meeting with all the marketing team and executives or stakeholders. This gives them time to offer questions, concerns and criticisms you haven’t thought of so you can go back to the board room and revise your strategy or plan.
  • Next, add a timeline to all your tasks and assign team members and all the help you’ll need to execute that plan.
  • Once your plan is in action, hold weekly check-ins in person or by email to keep everyone on track.
  • Share a weekly progress report with all parties involved and execs to ensure you are moving in the right direction.

In addition to drafting your own plan, you can work with a digital marketing agency or use internet marketing and pay-per-click management services to leverage your online presence.

Once you’ve established a general road map, update it annually. Developing an evolving marketing plan sets your business up for continued success because it allows you to prepare for the unexpected and establish a connection between your brand and your audience.

Matt D’Angelo contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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Written by Jesse Sumrak | December 12, 2022

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Marketing is an often misunderstood profession. Peers often stereotype marketing with massive budgets, loosey-goosey timelines, haphazard tactics, high-profile influencers, and Snapchat filters. In reality, modern marketing plans are more complex and orchestrated than a Premier League-winning football team.

Businesses have big goals to hit and fine margins to walk—and they need realistic, yet imaginative, marketing plans to make it happen. Sure, bigger companies can spend all willy-nilly hiring Taylor Swift for a commercial op and dropping a quarter million on Facebook advertising, but small businesses and startups have to get downright strategic with every dollar they spend.

If your business is trying to stretch every penny, you’ve come to the right place. This article will show you how to create a marketing plan in 2023 that actually works with a down-to-earth budget. We’ve included step-by-step actions, outlines, examples, and more to give you everything you need to take an idea to the market with laser precision.

Table of Contents

What is a marketing plan?

How to create a marketing plan

Marketing plan template

Marketing plan example

Marketing Plan FAQs

What is a marketing plan.

A marketing plan is a documented roadmap for how you plan to drive awareness, sales, signups, attendance, or other marketing initiatives. It outlines your KPIs, budget, and timeline, dictating everything from the critical milestones to the nitty-gritty to-do items.

Marketing plans come in all shapes and sizes. You could build an overarching marketing plan to document and guide your entire department’s annual goals and strategies for the upcoming year. Or you might create a marketing plan detailing the launch strategy for the brand-new product release coming out next quarter. Big plans can even include small plans, just like an adorable collection of Russian nesting dolls.

Plans can be short, long, fat, or thin—just remember what your plan is trying to accomplish. If you’re trying to pitch an idea to a team of venture capitalists or a local bank, you might need a chunky document with accompanying spreadsheets and financial figures. However, if you’re trying to communicate the plan to your marketing team leads, you’ll want to skip straight to the point with tactics, deadlines, and deliverables.

Regardless of your use case, the next section will give you the building blocks you need to create a marketing plan that works.

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How to Create a Marketing Plan

This section will show you the 7-step process to creating a marketing plan. Plans are fluid and versatile, so we don’t recommend filling out one of these with pen and paper—get your eraser ready because a marketing plan is never perfect from the get-go.

Here’s an overview of the 7-step process:

  • Establish Your Marketing Goal
  • Identify Your Audience and Competitors
  • Set Your Marketing Budget
  • Determine Your Deadline(s)
  • Pick Your Marketing Channels and Tactics
  • Outline the To-Do List and Make Assignments
  • Track Performance and Review Analytics

Don’t worry too much about making it all nice and pretty right now. Later, you can use our provided marketing outline to copy, paste, and format a more articulated version for widespread distribution. For now, just focus on hashing out each section and answering the thought-provoking questions.

1. Establish Your Marketing Goal

Define exactly what you’re trying to achieve. Do you want to drive more sales? How much? What about recurring customers? How many? Do you need to increase brand awareness? To whom and by how much?

Work out the details of what you want to accomplish, why, and how you’re going to measure it. Establish your KPIs early on to measure the success of your marketing campaign. You’ll refer to these numbers throughout the rest of your marketing plan, so get specific.

For example, how many website visitors you’re trying to drive will affect your marketing budget, deadlines, and tactics. And if you’re targeting a specific demographic, you may need to engage different marketing teams to use the appropriate channels and messaging.

Fine-tune your marketing goal so that you can communicate it simply in a single sentence. For example: “The goal is to drive 25,000 key decision-makers to the new product page by the end of October with a limited marketing budget of $75,000.”

Content marketing frameworks button

2. Identify Your Audience and Competitors

Explain who this campaign is targeting. If you’ve already built out your buyer personas, you’ll just plug in the persona appropriate to this campaign. However, if this is your first time thinking long and hard about your target audience, really get to know the person you’re marketing to.

Depending on your product, industry, and market, you’ll want to know demographics like:

  • Marital status

These details help you identify a broad audience, but you’ll want to narrow it down with psychographics.

Psychographics dig deeper . They cover your audience’s:

  • Influencers
  • Shopping behaviors

Demographics explain the “who,” while psychographics explain the “why.”

Think about if you were trying to sell a baseball glove. How you market that glove is going to be very different depending on the buyer. Are your messaging and channels targeting a college athlete, recreational youngster, mom, dad, or low-income family? It’s hard to know what to say and how to say it unless you know who you’re talking to.

Don’t just gloss over this section. Without a target audience, you’ll be blindly throwing darts at a board—sure, some plans might work out, but it’ll come down less to strategy and more to sheer luck. A target audience and replicable formula make your success a science and not a game of Russian roulette.

Once you’ve identified your audience, you need to figure out who’s also targeted the same people. Competition research is a way to understand who you are up against for eyeballs, SEO rankings, and influence, but it also can serve as an opportunity to fill gaps in our needs that your competitors are missing.

One easy way to do this is to look at comment sections or reviews of similar companies in your industry. Look for:

  • Frequent complaints about product design.
  • Consistent issues with customer service.
  • Ads or branding language that falls flat.
  • If the competitor hasn’t made a product their customers are asking for.

By identifying your competitor’s weaknesses or gaps their missing with their customers, you’ll have a treasure trove of marketing copy to use in order to differentiate your business from the pack.

3. Set Your Marketing Budget

Marketing plans need budget constraints. Without a cap, plans could hypothetically include:

  • 60-second Super Bowl commercial
  • Cristiano Ronaldo as a celebrity endorser
  • Billboard advertisements along the entirety of Route 66

For most startups, that’s just not a possibility.

And it’s not where the magic happens. Powerful marketing plans turn tiny marketing budgets into impressive ROI. They prioritize the right channels, messaging, and tactics to stretch every dollar to the max.

Decide beforehand how much budget you’ll need to allocate to meet the goals you set in Step 1. When push comes to shove, you may need to throw additional money at the campaign later to get it across the finish line, but stay strong and do your best to create a marketing plan that works with the budget constraints.

Tight on budget but full on creativity? Check out our Small Business Marketing Guide: From Scratch to Success .

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4. Determine Your Deadline(s)

Deadlines create the boundaries to your marketing campaign—you can’t have a plan without them. No deadlines mean there’s a never-ending period to achieve your objective, and it’s probably not a good idea to have a 20-year free pass to accomplish that sales goal you set.

Set your deadline. Be realistic, but also be ambitious. The faster you achieve this goal, the faster you can move on to the next one—and each progressive goal should be moving your business forward.

Establish the final deadline for achieving your primary KPI. Then, set the necessary milestones along the journey. For example, you might set milestones for launching different aspects of your campaign, such as hosting 4 webinars, publishing 10 supporting blog posts, or earning a callout in 2 prime news outlets.

Finally, set the start date for when you’ll need to get the ball rolling to meet your deadlines. Don’t assume it’s ASAP—you might have a few weeks to get your ducks in a row instead of immediately heading off into a chaotic marketing battle.

5. Pick Your Marketing Channels and Tactics

This is arguably the funnest part of creating a marketing plan. This is the step where you get to choose the channels, tactics, and deliverables. The right channels and tactics will vary depending on your audience and product or service, but here are the most popular ones to consider:

  • Email Marketing: Email marketing is one of the tried-and-true tactics of the digital marketing world. It generates an average ROI of $40 for every $1 invested —you can’t get much more bang for your buck than that. (Check out our complete email masterclass to learn how to conquer this lucrative channel.)
  • Social Media Marketing: Whether you’re running organic strategies or targeted paid campaigns , social media marketing is an excellent modern-day tactic for reaching consumers where they’re most comfortable: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, or TikTok.
  • PPC Marketing: Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing lets you run advertising campaigns on search engine pages and other websites across the internet. It’s a competitive way to get your content in front of the right eyeballs.
  • Content Marketing: Content marketing paired with a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is a long-term tactic that can drive organic traffic (read: free) to your website for years to come.

And do you know what all these channels have in common? They each give you the ability to monitor your results and track your progress to prove if a channel is worth your time and money. Unlike traditional outbound advertising and its estimated impressions and influence, you know exactly what you’re getting with these digital marketing strategies.

sample marketing plan in business plan

6. Outline the To-Do List and Make Assignments

Here’s where you get into the nitty-gritty of your marketing plan. Step 6 is where you’ll outline everything that needs to get done:

  • Launch meeting
  • Recurring meetings and syncs
  • Creative assets
  • Promotional channels
  • Post-mortems

And that’s just the start. Outline everything that needs to happen to make your plan a reality. Once you know what needs to happen, it’s time to start making assignments. Someone needs to be responsible for every deliverable.

Here’s where you may run into roadblocks. You may discover that your creative team is overwhelmed and won’t be able to handle the creative requests until later, or you may find that other email campaigns or social media advertisements are the top priority.

If that’s the case, go back to Step 4 to revisit your timeline. Make adjustments to ensure there’s bandwidth available to make your marketing plan a reality.

7. Track Performance and Review Analytics

No marketing plan will go off without a hitch. That’s why you need your ear to the ground to understand what’s working. Through analytic tools, you can understand if your marketing plan’s target audience, messaging, or creative needs adjusting. Thankfully, most digital tactics allow you to do this on the fly.

Make sure you familiarize yourself with these basic marketing analytics tools:

  • Facebook Ads Manager
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Semrush or Ahrefs for SEO

For more on analytics, read our marketing metrics guide .

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Marketing Plan Template (Copy/Paste)

Marketing Plan Template: [Name of Project]

Marketing Plan Example (Filled Out)

Here’s a fake content marketing plan example for a fictitious shoe company.

Marketing Plan Template: [Project Zeus Running Collection]

Marketing Goal Drive $200,000 in sales for the new Zeus running collection within the first 4 months of launch day.

Target Audience The primary audience is 35 to 50-year-old male recreational runners who tend to run 30-40 miles a week at an average page of 8:00-10:00 minutes per mile. They’re not overly competitive, but they like to race 5K and 10K races occasionally throughout the year and are always trying to beat their personal best. Many have experienced mild injuries over the last few years that the Zeus Running Collection can help alleviate.

Marketing Budget We have a budget of $40,000 for the initial launch period. If we can prove out the Zeus Running Collection, we’ll allocate additional budget after the first 4 months.

  • Launch Day: June 1
  • Marketing Assets Ready to Go: May 28
  • Pre-Launch Teaser: May 24
  • Creative Assets Finished: May 21
  • Product Beta Tester Reviews Submitted: May 10
  • Written Content Creation Period: April 12 – May 7
  • Enlist Beta Testers: April 12
  • Project Kickoff Meeting: April 5

Marketing Tactics

  • Social Media Marketing: Target runners on Instagram and Facebook with paid ads featuring our endorsed runner racing in the shoe.
  • Email Marketing: Email existing customers with a 15% off discount code on the new Zeus Running Collection. Email prospects with a link to the product breakdown page with a code for free shipping.

Responsibilities and Assignments

  • Lizzy K: Creative assets
  • Mark B: Blog post announcement + product page
  • Spencer S: Beta tester outreach
  • Larry G: Email and social media marketing campaigns
  • Carly M: Project manager

Do I need to write a marketing plan for everything?

As stated earlier, marketing plans can come in all shapes and sizes. But that doesn't mean you need one for every single Facebook ad or whitepaper your team creates. The best marketing plans serve as a source of truth for your team to reach a goal. Within the marketing plan, you should have enough wiggle room to adjust your strategy and tactics. Marketing is an art and science, so there are bound to be surprises once you start executing your plan.

How do I know if my marketing plan is a success?

One of the most common mistakes marketers make is creating a seemingly perfect marketing plan and then going off script as soon as there's a sign of trouble or distraction. Using the SMART goal method (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound) is a simple way to ensure your marketing plan is applicable. Every marketing plan should be a success, whether you hit your goal or not, because you'll learn something new about your customer, tactics, and business throughout the process.

Who should make a marketing plan?

If you're reading this article, ideally you. A marketing manager or marketing team member typically writes marketing plans, but marketing strategy should start at an enterprise level. The more people understand the marketing plan for your business, the more you can work together (not in silos) to achieve a common goal. You'll see this happen in larger organizations where the marketing team works plan that the product or sales team have no idea about.

Plan It Out—Make It Happen

Every great campaign starts with an even better plan. Don’t leave your startup’s success up to chance—give it all the thought and attention you can.

With the right plan in place, you won’t be crossing your fingers on launch day or during the quarterly review. You’ll be sitting confidently, knowing that everything is running according to plan.

Need a high-level plan for your startup? We got you covered with our free content marketing training .

sample marketing plan in business plan

About Jesse Sumrak

Jesse Sumrak is a writing zealot focused on creating killer content. He’s spent almost a decade writing about startup, marketing, and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped business. A writer by day and a peak bagger by night (and early early morning), you can usually find Jesse preparing for the apocalypse on a precipitous peak somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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sample marketing plan in business plan

15 marketing plan examples to inspire your work

Marketing plan examples

Whether you’re a marketer or managing a team of marketers, a marketing plan is essential to keep your department on track. Following a marketing plan ensures your team executes the correct strategy and achieves its goals.

But every business is different, which means every marketing plan is unique. It’s helpful to see marketing plan examples to understand all the different formats and types of marketing plans.

In this guide, we’ll share 15 examples of successful marketing plans to inspire your team to create its next great strategy. We’ll also share best practices and tools to set direction and provide structure for your marketing efforts. At the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to create the right marketing plan for your organization.

This post will cover:

How to create a marketing plan

  • Visit Baton Rouge
  • University of Illinois
  • Lush Cosmetics
  • The Wisconsin Public Library
  • Botanical Bounty
  • The Palm Beaches, Florida
  • The City of West Chicago
  • Safe Haven Family Shelter
  • Austin, Texas
  • Visit Oxnard

Create a strong marketing plan for your business

Adobe can help, marketing plan faq.

Before we look at marketing plan examples, it’s important to understand the foundational concepts of how companies structure their marketing plans.

Every organization is unique, but you can create a marketing plan by first identifying your business goals and establishing the metrics you’ll use to measure results. From there, learn about the customers you’re targeting and conduct competitor research. Then you can organize a team and set a budget before creating the marketing plan.

When it’s time to write the marketing plan, make sure your document includes these seven sections at a minimum:

  • Executive summary. This is a high-level overview of your business and the marketing approach you’ll follow.
  • Mission statement. Describe your company’s unique selling proposition (USP) and your brand’s purpose.
  • Marketing objectives. This section of the plan should focus on marketing-specific goals that will help you achieve your broader business objectives.
  • SWOT analysis. Through a SWOT analysis, your team will identify internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats.
  • Market research. This section of the marketing plan addresses your market, competitors, existing solutions, and target audience.
  • Marketing strategy. The marketing strategy part of your plan should detail exactly how you’re going to achieve your marketing goals. Be as specific as possible to make this document valuable to your marketing team.
  • Budget. Finally, break down your marketing tactics and assign a budget for each area of your strategy. If your budget changes frequently, set aside a certain percentage of your total budget for each tactic, instead of dollar amounts.

Once you create a marketing plan, you might wonder whether it’s effective or if there’s a better way to structure the plan for your situation. For example, a SaaS business has very different needs than an ecommerce company, so your marketing plan likely needs some level of customization.

If you need more direction, check out marketing plan examples from businesses within your industry or with a similar business model. Learn from these 15 successful marketing plan examples to create an effective plan for your own business.

1. Visit Baton Rouge

Visit Baton Rouge as an example for a marketing plan

Baton Rouge, Louisiana might not be as well-known as New Orleans, but the vibrant city wanted to change that through an ambitious new marketing plan . Not only is the plan organized and easy to follow, but it does a great job of highlighting the needs of its multiple audiences.

For example, its separate personas for “Leisure Travelers” and “Sales/Meetings Travelers” help Baton Rouge create custom marketing journeys based on each persona’s unique expectations. The marketing plan has a fully fleshed-out strategy that includes an event calendar, which gives the marketing team actionable next steps after creating its plan.

2. University of Illinois

In 2021, the University of Illinois set out to boost enrollment. Its Office of Undergraduate Admissions created an in-depth marketing plan with three major sections:

  • Section I provides context on the admissions process and knowledge of its target students.
  • Section II dives into market research on the current state of admissions and student demographics.
  • Section III details the university’s strategic action plan, including success metrics.

The University of Illinois marketing plan is effective because it breaks down the high-level components of its strategy, as well as specific marketing tactics. Instead of aiming for generic goals like “interact with high school students,” the plan indicates specific tactics to make that happen, such as direct mail campaigns, swag, and events.

As this marketing plan example for Sony shows, it’s possible to compose a simple but actionable plan for your team. The plan keeps its introduction, vision, and marketing objectives clean, to-the-point, and easy to read.

This marketing plan does a great job of focusing on pricing as a marketing differentiator. Although you might consider pricing to be a sales or product issue, it can have a direct impact on how customers perceive your business. Specify what your prices will be, how the pricing model works, and why your pricing is a differentiator.

4. Coca-Cola

Marketing plans are usually documented in text, but this isn’t the only way you can share your marketing plan with the team. For example, Coca-Cola created its own video marketing plan in 2020. The video follows the typical format of a written marketing plan, but distills big concepts into easily digestible visuals through the power of video.

This approach is ideal if you need to communicate the contents of your marketing plan to a large group or to marketing-adjacent teams, like sales or product development. It doesn’t hurt that the whiteboard-style cartoon animation draws viewers in to ensure everyone truly understands your marketing strategy.

5. Lush Cosmetics

Lush Cosmetics is a renowned international beauty brand. In anticipation of its expansion into Portugal, Lush created a new marketing plan for customers in this new market.

The Lush in-depth marketing plan touches on several elements, including:

  • Specific geographical areas of Lush’s two stores in Portugal, and the unique considerations for shoppers in these areas.
  • Physical marketing within Lush stores, including the store and staff direction, as an extension of the marketing team.
  • The brand’s unique approach to sensory marketing, which describes precisely how Lush products appeal to all of its shoppers’ senses.

When crafting your own marketing plan, consider adding new sections that are unique to your brand, such as Lush’s section on sensory marketing. This will make the plan more relevant to your business and simplify execution.

6. The Wisconsin Public Library

The Wisconsin Public Library created this no-frills marketing plan example specifically for other organizations to copy and use. Although it’s intended for use by libraries, anyone can access and use the components in this free marketing plan template.

The Wisconsin Public Library marketing plan includes several helpful resources. For example, the “Research Your Audience” section links to resources for conducting audience research, including the United States Census and focus groups.

As with any template, be sure to replace the library’s content with information about your business and market. This marketing plan example doesn’t include a list of marketing tools or media. If that’s important to your company, be sure to create a new section detailing the tools your marketing team will use to execute the strategy.

7. Patagonia

Sometimes it’s difficult for companies to articulate their mission statement. However, every business has a greater purpose. Outdoor brand Patagonia is a great example of how large companies should lead marketing initiatives with a mission statement.

On the Patagonia website , the brand makes its mission statement clear: “We're in business to save our home planet.” This isn’t lip service — Patagonia donates a percentage of its profits to protecting the environment.

Your marketing plan needs to marry your corporate mission statement with direct action. For example, if you’re a B2B brand and your mission is to support small businesses with affordable accounting software, your marketing plan could include interviews with small business owners. Or maybe you could host local get-togethers for small business owners while promoting your brand.

The goal is to blend your mission statement with your marketing tactics in a way that makes it clear your business is truly living out its mission statement.

8. Cyberclick

Cyberclick is a marketing agency based in Barcelona, Spain. As a marketing agency, it knows the importance of understanding its target audience.

In this marketing plan example, Cyberclick creates multiple buyer personas to help it understand customer pain points. For example, it has personas like Bilingual Brandon, Millennial Molly, and Donor Dana to understand the unique traits of its target buyers.

When composing your own marketing strategy, follow Cyberclick’s example by creating in-depth personas that your marketing team will find useful. Your personas should include:

  • Demographic information
  • Geographic information
  • Social media preferences
  • Personality
  • Personal and professional goals
  • Pain points
  • Software and tools used

9. Starbucks

Starbucks as an example of a marketing plan

Coffee giant Starbucks is famous for its distinctive brand elements. Consumers immediately recognize the hunter-green mermaid logo, but the Starbucks marketing plan doesn’t just revolve around clever branding. If anything, the company’s success comes down to the buyer experience.

In fact, experience is part of the Starbucks marketing plan . The company targets higher-earning professionals who are willing to pay a premium for drinks. Instead of simply serving coffee, its marketing team works with interior designers and architects to create posh spaces that encourage buyers to spend time in the store as a “third place,” which also increases brand engagement and retention.

Your marketing plan should address the experience buyers can expect from your brand. In an age when many businesses compete over customer service and experience, the quality of service you provide can also give you a competitive marketing advantage.

10. Botanical Bounty

Botanical Bounty is an herbal tea and supplement company based out of New York City. In this marketing plan example , the Botanical Bounty executive summary quickly spells out the problem, solution, market overview, competition, and unique selling proposition (USP) for the company. Formatted like a case study, the executive summary is easy to read and does a great job of summarizing the entire report.

Botanical Bounty also highlights specific due dates for its marketing milestones, as well as target metrics for those milestones. Many marketing plans fail to set specific due dates for milestones, but Botanical Bounty holds itself accountable for executing the plan by assigning due dates for each goal.

11. The Palm Beaches, Florida

The Palm Beaches is known for upscale homes and beaches, but the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County wanted to turn the Florida town into more than a beach destination. In its marketing plan , the council lays out its plan to transform The Palm Beaches into a hub for culture and art in a post-COVID environment.

The marketing plan first describes the council’s past successes in 2020 and 2021, which lays the groundwork for the 2022 marketing plan. This is a great way to show a continuation between different marketing plans, especially if your company’s past initiatives feed into this year’s strategies.

12. The City of West Chicago

The City of West Chicago has a rich history, but it’s largely misunderstood by people in the surrounding areas. In an effort to revitalize tourism, the city created a new marketing plan to rebrand itself and promote the area as a travel destination.

If you’re considering a new image or brand for your company, the West Chicago marketing plan is a great example to follow. The plan creates new market segments for the city’s ideal audience, a plan to drive awareness, and a list of strategic partnerships to aid in the rebrand.

13. Safe Haven Family Shelter

Safe Haven Family Shelter is a nonprofit that aids families experiencing homelessness. Its 2022 marketing plan tells the story of Safe Haven while promoting itself as an industry authority.

In this marketing plan example , Safe Haven takes an action-focused approach. Its template aligns objectives and action steps side by side, assigning staff members to each action step. The marketing plan also includes items like an editorial calendar and social media calendar, which its staff use for planning precise messaging that fits the organization’s larger goals.

14. Austin, Texas

Austin Texas Marketing

Austin, Texas isn’t just the state capital — it’s also considered the live music capital of the world. However, tourism dipped substantially during the pandemic, and the city’s Visit Austin nonprofit responded with an updated marketing plan to attract tourists to the Texas capital.

The Visit Austin marketing plan includes a visual representation of its wins from 2021, which measured the impact of the organization’s work in past years. But this marketing plan truly shines in terms of its market research. Visit Austin not only conducted in-depth research about travelers’ plans to visit Austin, but also visualized this data in an engaging format to boost understanding.

15. Visit Oxnard

Oxnard, California, faced similar challenges with pandemic recovery. Visit Oxnard created a marketing plan to position the city as a destination for both leisure and business.

What’s unique about the Visit Oxnard plan is that it leans heavily into the business side of travel. Its marketing plan includes considerations for business events and meetings, as well as a strategy for attracting film productions as a less expensive alternative to Los Angeles. This is a great example of how marketing plans can introduce new, out-of-the-box positioning and segmentation to take advantage of a gap in the market.

Marketing plans clarify your focus and give marketing teams a solid vision of what they need to do. But not all plans are effective. It’s important to develop a strong marketing plan to give your audience exactly what it needs, as well as make a name for yourself in an increasingly competitive market.

While these 15 marketing plan examples are a great jumping-off point, you might need more guidance on how to create a marketing plan. Check out Adobe’s guide to building a marketing plan to get the most results from your marketing plan. You can also use our marketing plan templates to save time organizing and formatting your marketing plan.

You need a marketing plan to move forward. But then you need to execute your plan, and that’s where things can get complicated.

After investing in a marketing plan, opt for an automation platform to save time and deliver a better user experience. Adobe Marketo Engage helps businesses make sense of complex buying journeys. Build engaging, personalized experiences at scale and prove your impact every step of the way with this all-in-one marketing platform.

Watch the Marketo Engage overview video or take the interactive tour to learn more.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a documented strategy for how a business plans to promote itself over a period of time. Organizations use this marketing plan to set goals, learn about their audience, and create marketing campaigns to help the business stand out.

What are some marketing plan examples?

Coca-Cola created a unique marketing plan formatted not as a written document, but as a video. This marketing plan example is a great illustration of how businesses should make their marketing plans as digestible as possible to increase internal adoption and understanding.

What are the elements of a good marketing plan?

Every good marketing plan should include an executive summary, a mission statement, marketing objectives, a SWOT analysis, market research, a marketing strategy, and a budget. Many marketing plans include additional sections as needed, depending on an organization’s goals and strategy.

https://business.adobe.com/blog/basics/digital-marketing-strategy-definition

https://business.adobe.com/blog/basics/strategic-planning

https://business.adobe.com/blog/basics/learn-about-marketing-campaign-management

Marketing plan examples card image

Create a Detailed Marketing Plan With 6 Effective Templates

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Want to make costly marketing errors and waste time and resources? Start without a marketing plan.

A marketing plan is not only an essential part of your business plan, but it is the roadmap that will provide your team focus and direction in all their marketing efforts.

A good marketing plan is backed by research and facts. Below, we’ve covered the steps you need to follow when creating a marketing plan that will help you attract potential customers to your product and services and convince them to buy.

Understand Your Current Market and Market Position

Set your smart marketing goals, outline your marketing processes, set a budget for your marketing activities.

  • Marketing Strategies and Tactics

Advanced Strategies for Experienced Marketers

Ready to create your own marketing plan.

Pricing, promoting and creating brand messages , all depend on your current market and your position in it.

When understanding your current market position, there are a few things that you need to look into;

Understand Your Product

This is where you look into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with your product.

With your team and a SWOT analysis , this will take only a few hours. Once you understand your product in terms of these four areas, it’ll be easier to understand your market position.

SWOT Analysis Template - Creating a marketing plan

To create a SWOT analysis template for Marketing Plan:

  • Define your objective.
  • Gather relevant information.
  • Use a SWOT analysis template.
  • Analyze strengths (internal factors).
  • Evaluate weaknesses (internal factors).
  • Identify opportunities (external factors).
  • Assess threats (external factors).
  • Analyze results and look for insights.
  • Develop strategies based on findings.

Understand Your Customer

Everything – from what words you use to communicate your message to what marketing channels you use to promote your product – depends on who your customer is.

How old are they? Are they employed? What are their interests? While you need both quantitative and qualitative data on your customers, you can collect them via email surveys, direct interviews, questionnaires, and research.

Using the data you collect, create several user personas based on user segments. You can refer to these whenever you are developing a marketing strategy.

Buyer Persona Template - Creating a marketing plan

To create a buyer persona template for Marketing Plan:

  • Research your target audience.
  • Define key characteristics.
  • Give the persona a name and image.
  • Describe background and demographics.
  • Detail goals and motivations.
  • Outline challenges and pain points.
  • Document preferred channels and information sources.
  • Capture buying behavior and decision-making process.
  • Add additional relevant details.
  • Create a visual template for easy reference.
  • Validate and update regularly.

Understand Your Competitors

This is where you identify your top competition, assess their strengths and weaknesses and analyze their marketing strategies in the market. The information you collect can be used to build effective strategies to improve your competitive advantage.

Once you conduct research, gather and analyze data on your competitors, you’d be able to understand whether you are a leader or a follower in the market.

Competitor Analysis Template - Creating a marketing plan

To create a competitor analysis template for Marketing Plan:

  • Identify key competitors.
  • Determine evaluation criteria.
  • Gather information.
  • Create a table or spreadsheet.
  • Analyze each competitor.
  • Compare and contrast.
  • Identify competitive advantages.
  • Make strategic decisions.
  • Update regularly.

Understand Your Brand Positioning

Your brand position is how you want your customers to perceive your brand. In order to determine this, you need to

  • Know what your customer wants. The target market research you did earlier will help you with this.
  • Understand what your brand’s capabilities are. Again refer to the SWOT analysis you did of your product.
  • Understand how your competitors are positioning their brands in the market. You can figure this out with the help of the competitor analysis you did earlier.

Hence, your brand positioning should resonate with your consumers, can be delivered by you and should be different from that of your competitors. Keep these in mind when you are setting your marketing goals.

The Brand Asset Scorecard

Compare your brand with the average brands in the market by scoring each of the following five brand asset categories using a 20-point scale with a maximum possible score of 100. This way you can derive a score that indicates the relative strength of your brand against your competitors.

The Brand Asset Scorecard - Creating a marketing plan

To create a brand asset scorecard template for Marketing Plan:

  • Identify brand assets.
  • Define evaluation criteria.
  • Determine rating scales.
  • Evaluate brand assets.
  • Calculate scores and summarize.
  • Identify improvement areas.
  • Set action plans.
  • Regularly review and update.

Now that you know where you stand in the market, it’s time to define your marketing goals. They are the only way to measure the success of the effort your marketing team is putting in.

Based on your current performance and your marketing objectives, your goals might change, but make sure that they align with the SMART goal criteria .

SMART Goals Template - Creating a marketing plan

To create a SMART marketing goal template for Marketing Plan:

  • Start with a specific objective.
  • Make it measurable with clear metrics.
  • Ensure it’s achievable with the allocated resources.
  • Check if it’s relevant to business goals.
  • Set a time-bound deadline.
  • Document in a template.
  • Review and track progress regularly

Once you know the goals you want to achieve, you can easily outline the steps that you need to take to accomplish them.

With a process map or flowchart , you can map the tasks you need to complete in order to achieve each of your goals. Once you’ve diagrammed your strategy, you can share it with your team and analyze whether the process needs to be improved or not.

Product Marketing Planning Process - Creating a marketing plan

Whether it is to run a social media campaign or to get an ad published in a newspaper, you need to spend money.

Now that you have identified the tasks/ steps you need to take, figure out how much money you’ll have to spend on each activity and where you’d take the money from. Having planned how you spend money earlier will help you keep track of your finances.

Before winding up, let’s also take a look at popular marketing strategies and tactics you can use and implement along with a marketing plan.

Different marketing strategies and tactics may be more effective depending on your industry, target market, and business goals. It’s important to regularly assess the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives, make any necessary adjustments, and monitor results. Here are some examples of marketing strategies and tactics commonly used by businesses.

  • Target Market Segmentation

Based on demographics, psychographics, or other relevant factors, divide your overall market into smaller, more manageable categories. Customize your marketing messaging and strategies to engage and effectively reach each category.

Content Marketing

To attract and engage your target audience, produce and distribute relevant material, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, or whitepapers. Focus on delivering helpful information, resolving issues, and building your reputation as an industry expert.

Social Media Marketing

Use well-known social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn to promote your goods or services, build brand awareness, and interact with your audience. To achieve your marketing objectives, combine organic posts with sponsored adverts, influencer partnerships, and community engagement.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Increase the visibility of your website and online content by optimizing it. To increase your website’s visibility and organic traffic, conduct keyword research, provide high-quality content, optimize meta tags and descriptions, and develop quality backlinks.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

Run targeted internet advertising where you only pay when someone clicks on them on search engines (like Google advertising) or social media platforms (like Facebook Ads). For your campaigns to be as effective as possible, set specified budgets, target keywords, demographics, or interests, and keep an eye on them.

Email Marketing

Create an email list of prospective or current clients and send them targeted, customized emails. To cultivate leads, promote conversions, and increase customer loyalty, use email newsletters, promotional offers, product updates, or automated drip campaigns.

Influencer Marketing

To promote your business or products, collaborate with influential individuals or popular social media personalities in your industry. These influencers can create content, share reviews, or endorse your offerings, helping you reach their dedicated audience and increase brand awareness.

Referral Programs

You can encourage your current clients to recommend your company to their friends, relatives, or coworkers by providing rewards or incentives. Create referral programs that give discounts, exclusive access, or loyalty points to both the referrer and the new consumer.

Event Marketing

Participate in or organize trade exhibitions, conferences, events, or webinars that are relevant to your field. These events provide opportunities to network, showcase your products, share knowledge, and generate leads.

Personalization and Customer Segmentation

Tailor your marketing messages and offers to individual customers or specific customer segments based on their preferences, behavior, or purchase history. Deliver personalized experiences across numerous channels by utilizing customer data, analytics, and marketing automation tools.

Advanced strategies require a deep understanding of your target audience, extensive data analysis, and ongoing experimentation. To ensure optimal performance and maintain an edge over the competition, it’s critical to regularly assess the outcomes, iterate, and change your methods.

  • Account-Based Marketing (ABM): Tailor personalized marketing campaigns to specific high-value accounts, using personalized content, targeted advertising, and outreach to engage and convert them.
  • Marketing Automation: Streamline marketing processes with automation tools, automating tasks, nurturing leads through personalized workflows, and leveraging data and analytics to deliver targeted content and offers.
  • Predictive Analytics: Use large datasets and machine learning to gain insights into future customer behavior, enabling data-driven decisions, anticipating needs, and personalizing marketing efforts effectively.
  • Retention Marketing: Focus on retaining existing customers through personalized communication, loyalty programs, exclusive offers, proactive customer support, and targeted upselling or cross-selling campaigns.
  • Omnichannel Marketing: Create a seamless customer experience across multiple channels, integrating online and offline marketing efforts for consistent messaging and customer interactions.
  • Data-driven Personalization: Utilize customer data and advanced segmentation to deliver highly personalized experiences, tailoring marketing messages, recommendations, and offers based on individual behavior and demographics.
  • Influencer Relationship Management: Build long-term relationships with influencers and thought leaders, collaborating beyond one-off campaigns for continuous brand exposure and audience engagement.
  • Customer Advocacy Programs: Encourage satisfied customers to become brand advocates through incentives for sharing positive reviews, referrals, or user-generated content, leveraging their influence and social proof.
  • Account-Based Retargeting: Combine ABM principles with retargeting strategies, using personalized ads and email campaigns to engage key accounts that have shown interest but have not converted.
  • Experimental Marketing: Take calculated risks and experiment with innovative tactics, channels, or technologies to discover unique growth opportunities, such as virtual reality experiences, chatbots, voice search optimization, or emerging social media platforms.

A marketing plan doesn’t necessarily need to contain hundreds of pages. What is important is that it provides your marketing team the roadmap to get started.

Make use of the visualization techniques we looked at when discussing each step to make things clearer to your team.

And don’t forget to share your ideas on how to create a marketing plan with us.

Join over thousands of organizations that use Creately to brainstorm, plan, analyze, and execute their projects successfully.

FAQs About Marketing Plans

  • Provides direction: It helps align marketing activities with business goals, ensuring all efforts work cohesively towards achieving desired outcomes.
  • Increases efficiency: By defining objectives, strategies, and tactics in advance, it helps prioritize tasks, allocate resources effectively, and minimize wasted efforts.
  • Facilitates decision-making: A marketing plan provides a framework for evaluating different marketing opportunities, making informed decisions, and adjusting strategies based on market conditions.
  • Enhances focus and accountability: It sets clear targets, timelines, and responsibilities, allowing team members to stay focused and accountable for executing the marketing plan.

While the components of a marketing plan can vary, here are some common key elements:

  • Executive Summary
  • Market Research and Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Marketing Objectives
  • Implementation Timeline
  • Budget Allocation
  • Measurement and Tracking Metrics
  • Risk Assessment and Contingency Plans

To measure and track the effectiveness of a marketing plan, consider the following approaches,

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Define relevant KPIs such as sales revenue, website traffic, conversion rates, customer acquisition cost, customer lifetime value, social media engagement, or email open rates.
  • Analytics and Tracking Tools: Utilize web analytics tools, CRM systems, social media analytics, or email marketing software to gather data and insights on customer behavior, campaign performance, and ROI.
  • Regular Reporting and Analysis: Review and analyze the collected data regularly to evaluate the success of marketing activities, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions for adjustments or optimizations.
  • Limited Resources: Insufficient budgets, time, or manpower can hinder the execution of planned marketing activities.
  • Competitive Landscape: Competitors' actions or market dynamics may require adjustments to the planned strategies.
  • Changing Consumer Behavior: Shifts in consumer preferences, trends, or technologies may demand adaptability and flexibility in marketing approaches.
  • Measurement and Analysis: Difficulties in accurately measuring and attributing the impact of marketing activities to business outcomes.
  • Internal Alignment: Ensuring that the marketing plan is well-communicated and aligned with other departments within the organization.

Addressing these challenges requires flexibility, ongoing monitoring, agility, and effective communication within the marketing team and across the organization.

More Related Articles

20 Industry Analysis Templates to Know Your Competitive Landscape

Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

MARKETING INSIGHTS

Marketing plan template: step-by-step guide plus examples

  • Merav Kanat
  • Feb 21, 2021
  • 12 min read

Marketing plan template

If you have a business you want to promote, there are so many directions you can go with your marketing efforts - build your own website , post on social media, send out email blasts and more. With a plethora of both free and paid options for promoting your business online, marketing has become easy and accessible for everyone.

Still, it’s no secret that marketing requires time and money. You’ll need to use your resources wisely if you want to scale efficiently and have a high return on investment. For that reason, it’s wise to avoid haphazard promotional efforts, and come up with a marketing plan: a cohesive operation that aligns all your marketing efforts and directly ties back to your business’s goals.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to create a marketing plan - including a template you can use to write your own. By outlining your objectives as a company, defining your KPIs , and then unifying your marketing strategies accordingly, this type of plan streamlines your promotional efforts and yields results.

Start building your online presence with Wix .

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a roadmap that helps you manage, implement and track your various marketing efforts. In other words, it’s a structured framework that links together all your marketing activities into a single, cohesive operation.

Typically, a marketing plan takes the form of a report that gives an overview of your marketing strategy for the upcoming year, quarter or month. The report defines your company’s goals over a given period of time, and clearly outlines the steps you’ll need to take to achieve them. It's an essential part of any SMBs marketing efforts.

Here’s just a taste of what a marketing plan includes:

An analysis of your competitors and your stance in the market

A description of your target audience and their needs

Your company’s unique selling proposition

An overview of your marketing and advertising goals

A timeline of the various tasks that need to be completed

The key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll be tracking to measure success

Creating a marketing plan is the most efficient way to generate demand for your product. Whether you’re running an online T-shirt store, working as a business consultant, or launching a blog for moms, mapping out your strategy in advance will help you drive people through the marketing funnel and get customers.

Types of marketing plans

Before we dive into the specific elements of a marketing plan template, let’s briefly touch on the different types of marketing plans, which can vary depending on your company. They include:

Annual, quarterly or monthly marketing plan: Marketing plans are typically annual, but they can be quarterly or monthly depending on your business’s goals. This type of plan will highlight all your promotional activities within the specified period of time.

New product launch marketing plan: This is a specific type of marketing plan that focuses on the strategies and tactics you’ll use to promote a particular product.

Social media marketing plan: This kind of marketing plan provides a comprehensive outline of your goals, channels, and tactics for promoting your business on social media.

Content marketing plan: Similarly, this type of plan provides a comprehensive outline of your various content marketing strategies and goals.

Media marketing plan: This focuses on building a strategy using all media types: owned media (your own website, app or email marketing tools), paid media (advertising campaigns), and earned media ( word of mouth marketing , organic traffic, viral content) to support an integrated marketing approach.

In this article, we’ll talk about the broadest type of marketing plan. This will outline all of your small business marketing efforts and help you map out a clear strategy.

Using this marketing plan as a guide, you can then create more specific plans - such as a content marketing or social media marketing plan - based on the areas you want to focus on.

How to create a marketing plan in 7 steps

Analyze your market and competition

Research your target audience

Set goals and KPIs

Write a unique selling proposition

Choose strategic marketing channels

Brief your team

Monitor your analytics

01. Analyze your market and competition

The first step in writing a marketing plan is to identify your competitors. This is important so that you know who you’ll be marketing against, and how you can outshine them with your promotional strategy.

Take into account that different competitors will be stronger in different areas. Your biggest competitor on social media, for instance, might be different from your competitor with the best SEO.

With that in mind, do a SWOT analysis of your competition. Using this acronym - which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats - gives you a systematic way to identify your competitors’ performance in your field:

Strengths: What are the competitors’ advantages in the industry? What are they excelling in?

Weaknesses: What could this company be doing better? What processes of theirs could be improved?

Opportunities: Are there any new trends or upcoming events that are relevant to your industry? Identify them, and seize the marketing opportunity before your competition does.

Threats: Are there external factors such as new government regulations, declining customer interest, or industry shifts that are threats to your competitors’ success? If so, find a way to navigate these threats and avoid making the same mistakes as your competition.

Even if you’ve already done a SWOT analysis in the past, it’s important to reassess the playing field as you write your marketing plan. In particular, anticipate whether anything new is about to happen in the coming year or quarter, such as a change in government policy or the emergence of a new competitor in your market.

And, of course, keep an eye out for niches your competitors haven’t gotten to yet. For instance, if you’re selling products to new moms, a SWOT analysis might reveal that none of your competitors are creating products for new dads. In this case, that would be an opportunity for you to expand your audience, attract new customers, and grow your revenue.

As you create your SWOT analysis, use this free SWOT analysis template to guide you, and make it a part of your marketing plan:

SWOT analysis downloadable template

02. Research your target audience

Just as you research your competitors, you’ll need to look into your target audience . This is the specific group of people at which your product or service is aimed - and, as such, they’re the primary audience of your marketing strategy.

If you’re unsure of who your target audience is, there are a few different ways to gather this information. First, think about which needs your product fulfills and which types of people it caters to. You can also use your SWOT analysis to point you in the right direction. Look at competitors’ websites, blogs and social media channels to determine the types of people they’re marketing to.

To hone in on your audience even further, analyze your existing customers to understand which kinds of people you’ve attracted in the past. Talk to your current and potential customers as much as you can. Get their feedback, use focus groups, and analyze the data to figure out their shared behaviors and characteristics:

Age: Does your product seek to address the needs of people of a certain age - for example, older adults or millennials?

Location: Are your target customers within a specific country or region? Where are they, and what languages do they speak?

Spending power: How much money are your target customers able to spend? Are they seeking out luxury, or could money be an issue when deciding whether to purchase?

Stage of life: Can you identify your target customers based on their stage of life, such as new parents, college students or retirees?

Hobbies and career: Can you group them based on certain hobbies, career paths, or other lifestyle interests?

Track this information in an orderly way by creating buyer personas , or detailed descriptions of specific types of customers. Each buyer persona should reflect both existing or potential customers, based on the factors above: demographics, location, job title and more.

Be sure to include this information at the beginning of your marketing plan, side-by-side your SWOT analysis, to provide a thorough assessment of the market in which your company is operating. Ultimately, these various audience types will represent customer segments - groups of people you can target with different marketing materials depending on their interests.

03. Set your goals and KPIs

Next, set your business’s goals. What do you want to achieve next quarter? How about by the end of this year? 5 years from now?

The more ambitious the goal, the more time, effort and money you should dedicate to it. Determine each goal, and break it down into small steps, either by month, quarter or year, depending on your time frame. Not only will this help you build a clear timeline, but it will also help you allocate your budget.

Once you divide up your big goals into small goals, consider how to measure them. In other words, how will you know whether you’re meeting your goals, or falling short?

This is where KPIs - key performance indicators - come into play. Essentially, KPIs are the specific metrics used to monitor your progress in achieving your goals.

For instance, if you want to create an active online forum for pop music creators, then your KPIs should be site visits, your number of active visitors, and your number of returning visitors. Your position in Google search results for niche keywords, such as “pop music creator” or “music production software,” would also be a relevant KPI.

Whichever KPIs you choose, include them in your marketing plan alongside your goals and write down the metrics you’ll use to measure your success. For example, if your KPI is to make more sales, you might want to track metrics like lead generation and conversion rate .

By checking your achievements every quarter compared to your KPIs, you’ll learn about the pace and abilities of your businesses. If you achieve your KPIs relatively easily, you can set more ambitious goals. On the other hand, if you’re falling short of your KPIs, you might consider recruiting more people to help you get there.

04. Write a unique selling proposition

If you were to give a 30-second marketing spiel to a potential customer, what would you say? Come up with a statement that would appeal to your target audience’s interests and increase demand for your business.

If you’re already a market leader that offers high-quality products, you can claim that you’re “the best solution for” a particular need. On the other hand, if you’re still a relatively small player in the market, you can position yourself as being innovative and groundbreaking - the brand that offers fresh, modern solutions. Many smaller businesses tend to find that creative, funny, or even unorthodox branding gives them the attention boost they need from their audience.

When targeting multiple audiences, you may find it challenging to create a single message that resonates with everyone. One tip for attracting many types of customers at the same time is to create slightly different messages for each buyer persona. Going back to the product lines for new moms and dads, you may find that you need to split your messaging between a few different customer types:

New moms: Target them with the message that they need high-quality products for their babies.

New moms who want their spouse to be involved in childcare: Target them with a new message that they’d have more time to relax if their spouse also used the product.

New dads: Target them with a different message that these products can help them become good fathers and supportive partners.

Be sure to record this messaging in your marketing plan so that you can use it throughout your various promotional efforts.

05. Choose strategic marketing channels

Once you come up with your core messages, decide which marketing strategies you’ll use to spread the word. There’s an abundance of options here, both paid and free. Some popular paid channels include:

Social media ads (Facebook, Instagram and more)

Online ads on other sites

Press releases

Partnerships with other companies

Outreach marketing

Guerilla marketing

Email campaigns

Offline media such as magazine, billboard and radio ads

Facebook ads are a particularly effective option because they reach almost every type of audience and can be targeted based on demographics and interests. They’re fairly simple to make, especially if you already have a Facebook business page. And, depending on your website platform, you can even create Facebook ads directly through your site .

Paid channels are a reliable choice, but it’s also worthwhile to couple these efforts with free promotional options as well. These take a little more time to develop, but they’re also a valuable way to get more exposure and build a loyal audience. They include popular inbound marketing tactics such as:

Website SEO

Creating company social media pages

Being active in online forums and Facebook groups

When choosing what channels to use, it’s important to think about which ones will actually reach your target audience. If you’re marketing to elderly folks, for instance, then Instagram ads may not be the way to go.

Similarly, build a strategy for the timeline of your campaigns. Take into account any holidays and other special events, such as elections or the Super Bowl, that you can use to your advantage when crafting marketing content.

And remember - not all your campaigns will be planned in advance. You’ll need to set aside budget for on-the-fly campaigns, also known as real-time marketing (RTM). This involves taking advantage of precious opportunities like global events and new internet trends. For instance, the January 2021 Bernie Sanders meme was a great chance for companies to get easy attention, earn free media coverage, and go viral. Ikea even used the meme to promote its folding chair and oven mitts.

Pro tip: Once you’ve established the right channels and timeline, you may be eager to launch your campaigns right away - especially if unexpected marketing opportunities arise. Resist the temptation until you’re absolutely sure your product is ready, with at least 85% positive feedback from users. Asking for a second chance will cost you much more than nailing a great impression the first time around.

06. Brief your team

One of the main reasons to create a marketing plan is to develop a unified operation that your whole marketing department can participate in. For this reason, it’s critical that you keep everyone in the loop.

Update your marketing team, as well as the suppliers that create the marketing materials for you. The best way to ensure everyone is aligned is to create a marketing brief - a one-page document that summarizes the market research, company goals, messaging, and action items established in your plan.

You can use the marketing brief template below to create a quick, efficient overview of your plan. It includes guiding questions to help you analyze your competitors, determine your target audience, identify your KPIs, and craft a compelling company message. Fill out this document, and share it with anyone who works with you so that they’re on the same page about your strategy and goals:

Marketing plan downloadable template

07. Monitor your analytics

Once you start implementing your marketing campaigns, you’ll need to closely monitor the results. To ensure your strategy is effective, continuously track your KPIs and see how the numbers stack up against your goals. That will allow you to adapt the marketing plan based on the goals you’re achieving and those you aren’t. Customer analytics can help you in this process.

Marketing plan: Customer analytics

There are two places to monitor analytics: Google Analytics and your website.

Google Analytics can easily be connected to your company website, and it’s a helpful way to track your site visitors and evaluate the performance of marketing campaigns.

Wix Analytics is another useful tool that provides a comprehensive analysis of your performance, and it’s conveniently located within the Wix website dashboard. This tool allows you to create custom audiences based on their demographics, geographic location, or other defining features, and you can access it directly from your website.

Using these two tools, look at the data. If the numbers indicate that you aren’t meeting your objectives, brainstorm action items for how to improve. If, for instance, you notice that some of your website visitors are located in Europe, try creating a multilingual website; it may just help convert them into customers. Likewise, if you’re getting traffic to your website or blog but are lacking in conversions, try creating content campaigns around specific products.

Don’t be discouraged if, after two quarters, you aren’t reaching your goals. This happens to the best of us, and it’s simply an indicator that you’ll need to refine your marketing plan and go back to Step 1.

Marketing plan template

Now that you know how to create a marketing plan, use this marketing plan template to walk you through the process. It’s free for download and use, and can easily be adapted for any business.

Marketing plan examples

While the marketing plan template above provides you with everything you need, it may also be helpful to look at other examples for inspiration. If you’re seeking additional resources, use these marketing plan examples to guide you:

01. Marketing Plan Template from SBA

The Small Business Administration provides a highly detailed marketing plan template that can be downloaded as a PDF and easily adapted to suit your company. The plan covers all the must-haves, like an explanation of your products and an analysis of your target market, but it supplements those with finer details like location analysis and product packaging.

02. Marketing Plan Template Generator from HubSpot

Unlike most marketing plan examples, this isn’t a file that you print out and fill in. Instead, it’s an online generator - a fill-in-the-blank template that walks you through the creation process page-by-page. The generator feels almost like an AI bot, asking you to fill in your name and then replying “Awesome! It’s great to meet you, [Name]!” This is a great way to make the marketing plan process more dynamic and fun.

Marketing plan example

03. Marketing Plan Microsoft Word Template from More Business

The advantage of More Business’s marketing plan template is that it’s downloadable for Microsoft Word, allowing you to fill in each section directly on the document. The document not only contains different strategies that you can use to inspire your own marketing efforts, but it also comes with examples of tables and charts for your marketing plan.

04. One-Page Marketing Plan Template from SmartSheet

This template is available for download on Microsoft Word, Google Docs and SmartSheet, but we particularly like that it’s available as an Excel version. As a one-pager, it’s short and sweet - ideal for getting your marketing plan started without getting lost in too much detail from the beginning. It’s a helpful sheet for brainstorming, or for summarizing your marketing plan once it’s complete.

05. Marketing Plan Slide Deck Template from Slidesgo

This marketing plan template comes in yet another format - an attractive slide deck that’s downloadable for both PowerPoint and Google Slides. This includes all the essentials, but in a more visual format, making it a useful asset for turning your marketing plan into a presentation.

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How to Write a Sales and Marketing Plan

Bag of money and a megaphone. Represents creating a sales and marketing plan.

2 min. read

Updated January 3, 2024

You’ve addressed what you’re selling and why in the products and services section. You now have an understanding of the market and an ideal customer in mind thanks to your market analysis. Now, you need to explain how you will actually reach and sell to them.

The marketing and sales section of your business plan dives into how you’re going to accomplish your goals. You’ll be answering questions like:

  • Based on your audience, how will you position your product or service in the current market?
  • What marketing channels, messaging, and sales tactics will you implement?
  • What’s your business model and how will your business operate day-to-day?

By the end of this section, you should have an outline of what growth looks like, what milestones you intend to hit, and how you’ll measure success. Basically, you’re backing up the opportunity you’ve identified with a solid go-to-market plan.

What to include in the sales and marketing section

The sections you should include act as a useful framework for exploring and defining your marketing and sales tactics.

Create a positioning statement

How does your business differ? What do you do that others don’t? If you’re unsure, work through a handful of strategic exercises to create a simple but convincing positioning statement.

Outline your marketing strategy

A marketing plan brings together strategic goals with tangible marketing activities designed to reach and engage your target market—ultimately convincing them to purchase your product.

Craft your sales plan

A good sales strategy provides actionable steps to reach your goals. Estimate how much you intend to sell and outline a process that anyone else in your business can execute.

Optional sales and marketing information to include

The basics of a marketing and sales plan are fairly straightforward. However, it’s also the perfect place to flesh out any details that you think will make your outreach efforts successful.

Create a unique value proposition

What makes your business unique? How does the solution you provide stand out? This is your chance to point to what you believe potential customers will find more valuable about your business over the competition.

Don't forget digital marketing

While we don’t recommend creating separate traditional and digital marketing plans, it may be wise to explore and address them separately within your plan.

Build your promotional plan

How will you convince your customers to buy your products or services? While actual ads and promotions may be months away, it’s best to think through and even mock up designs now.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

With this simple analysis, you’ll better understand your strengths and weaknesses, along with the opportunities and threats you should account for.

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Table of Contents

  • What to include
  • Optional information

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How to Write the Marketing Plan in Business Plan?

A marketing plan in business plan is one of the very important sections of a business plan. Marketing is done to spread awareness about your business and its product/service. 

What is a marketing plan?

Marketing plan vs marketing strategy, how to write a marketing plan for a business plan.

An effective marketing strategy helps you achieve early success. 

Use this article to write an effective marketing plan section in a business plan. 

A marketing section of a business plan gives you a roadmap to organize, execute and track the progress of your marketing efforts. 

Your marketing plan helps you align your marketing efforts with your business goals. It gives your marketing effort a direction and you can evaluate your efforts at any point.

Types of marketing plan 

A perfect type of marketing plan in business plan will depend on your business, your goals, and how soon you want to achieve them. 

We have outlined some marketing plans that most businesses need to use. Since this is the age of the internet, we have also included online marketing plans and digital marketing plans.

Want to write a business plan?

Hire our professional business plan writers to prepare your business plan!

Quarterly or Annual Marketing Plans 

These are your business marketing plans with a timeline. Every business has its quarterly, bi-yearly, and yearly goals. You will use these goals to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing efforts over time.

Paid Marketing Plans 

Paid marketing plans include online advertising, buying billboards, or marketing on vehicles. Pay Per Click marketing and social media marketing for your small business.

Social Media Marketing Plan 

Social media marketing plan for business plan can be done in two ways. You can hire a team and raise awareness about your business by sharing regular updates. 

You can also do paid marketing on social media. You will need to invest in buying ads on that social media platform and pay for a team of social media marketers.

You can also leverage these effective digital marketing channels for your business. 

Content Marketing Plan 

A content marketing plan is about attracting potential customers to your website with the help of SEO. You create value for your potential customer first and then by extension, market your business. It can be offline in the form of free workshops etc or online in the form of guides and resources.

Product Launch Marketing Plan 

A product lunch  sales and marketing plan in business plan  will help you decide on the marketing tools, tactics, and tracking you will do when launching a new product or service.

You can also hire WiseBusinessPlans Digital Marketing Services to run successful marketing campaigns for your business. 

The difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy is simple; a marketing plan is what methods, tools, and tactics you will use for marketing, and a market strategy in business plan is how you will implement your plan.

Learn how to develop an effective marketing strategy with this detailed guide. 

Access our free business plan examples now!

How to write a marketing plan for a business plan

Follow these simple steps to write a marketing plan in business plan.

Business Mission

Write your business mission statement and translate it into the efforts the marketing department will make. 

For example, your business mission is to help people with home gardening. Your marketing department version will be to attract people who want to do home gardening.

These are performance indicators. These metrics will help you evaluate performance and progress. An example of KPIs for marketing is customer visits to your website, social media page, or brick-and-mortar store.

Create Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is a short description of your average customer. When you have no data, a buyer persona will describe the customer you want to attract.

Decide on Marketing Strategies and Content

Go through the marketing strategies you can use and select the one that will produce the best return on investment for your business. 

Similarly, think about the content type that is attractive to your target audience . For example, video format may attract your audience or you may need to share more about your business on social media to grab their attention.

Define Marketing Plan Scope

Define the scope and limits of your marketing plan. Clearly mention what your marketing team will do and will not do. 

This will help you save time, cost, and effort in wasted resources.

Set Marketing Budget 

You can only spend a set amount on marketing. Set your marketing budget and be creative in that budget to produce the best return. 

Your budget is directly related to your marketing goals. Set your marketing budget in a way that does not hamper marketing efforts. 

Know your Competition 

Knowing and profiling your customer helps you market better. See what are strong spots of competitors’ marketing plans, are and how they are attracting audiences to make a plan to compete effectively. 

Appoint your Team & their Responsibilities

Decide on job roles for your team. Set their KPIs, marketing channels they will manage, what content they will create, etc.

Bonus Tip: Here is a step by step guide on how to write a marketing plan executive summary with example and template.

Example of Marketing Plan in Business Plan PDF

See this example of a marketing plan in a business plan to understand how it is done. You can create your marketing plan in the same way.

In the marketing plan section, include details about your target market, competition analysis, marketing strategies, pricing, promotion, and distribution channels. It should outline your approach to reaching and engaging your target audience.

Conduct market research by analyzing your target audience, understanding their needs and preferences, studying your competitors, and identifying market trends. Use surveys, interviews, and industry reports to gather relevant data for your marketing plan.

Consider including a mix of marketing strategies such as digital marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, advertising, public relations, and networking. Choose strategies that align with your target audience and business goals.

Determine pricing by considering factors such as production costs, competitor pricing, market demand, and perceived value. Conduct a pricing analysis to ensure your prices are competitive and profitable for your business.

It is recommended to review and update your marketing plan regularly, at least annually or whenever there are significant changes in your business or market conditions. This allows you to adapt your strategies, stay relevant, and capitalize on new opportunities.

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24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

Clifford Chi

Published: February 06, 2024

I believe that reading sample business plans is essential when writing your own.

sample business plans and examples

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As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, it’s easier for you to learn how to write a good one.

But what does a good business plan look like? And how do you write one that’s both viable and convincing. I’ll walk you through the ideal business plan format along with some examples to help you get started.

Table of Contents

Business Plan Format

Business plan types, sample business plan templates, top business plan examples.

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. To me, the same logic applies to business.

If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, I’m sure you’re wondering where to begin.

sample marketing plan in business plan

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First, you’ll want to nail down your formatting. Most business plans include the following sections.

1. Executive Summary

I’d say the executive summary is the most important section of the entire business plan. 

Why? Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan. This is important, because a business plan can be dozens or hundreds of pages long.

There are two main elements I’d recommend including in your executive summary:

Company Description

This is the perfect space to highlight your company’s mission statement and goals, a brief overview of your history and leadership, and your top accomplishments as a business.

Tell potential investors who you are and why what you do matters. Naturally, they’re going to want to know who they’re getting into business with up front, and this is a great opportunity to showcase your impact.

Need some extra help firming up those business goals? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free course to help you set goals that matter — I’d highly recommend it

Products and Services

To piggyback off of the company description, be sure to incorporate an overview of your offerings. This doesn’t have to be extensive — just another chance to introduce your industry and overall purpose as a business.

In addition to the items above, I recommend including some information about your financial projections and competitive advantage here too.:

Keep in mind you'll cover many of these topics in more detail later on in the business plan. So, keep the executive summary clear and brief, and only include the most important takeaways.

Executive Summary Business Plan Examples

This example was created with HubSpot’s business plan template:

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example

This executive summary is so good to me because it tells potential investors a short story while still covering all of the most important details.

Business plans examples: Executive Summary

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Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary

  • Start with a strong introduction of your company, showcase your mission and impact, and outline the products and services you provide.
  • Clearly define a problem, and explain how your product solves that problem, and show why the market needs your business.
  • Be sure to highlight your value proposition, market opportunity, and growth potential.
  • Keep it concise and support ideas with data.
  • Customize your summary to your audience. For example, emphasize finances and return on investment for venture capitalists.

Check out our tips for writing an effective executive summary for more guidance.

2. Market Opportunity

This is where you'll detail the opportunity in the market.

The main question I’d ask myself here is this: Where is the gap in the current industry, and how will my product fill that gap?

More specifically, here’s what I’d include in this section:

  • The size of the market
  • Current or potential market share
  • Trends in the industry and consumer behavior
  • Where the gap is
  • What caused the gap
  • How you intend to fill it

To get a thorough understanding of the market opportunity, you'll want to conduct a TAM, SAM, and SOM analysis and perform market research on your industry.

You may also benefit from creating a SWOT analysis to get some of the insights for this section.

Market Opportunity Business Plan Example

I like this example because it uses critical data to underline the size of the potential market and what part of that market this service hopes to capture.

Business plans examples: Market Opportunity

Tips for Writing Your Market Opportunity Section

  • Focus on demand and potential for growth.
  • Use market research, surveys, and industry trend data to support your market forecast and projections.
  • Add a review of regulation shifts, tech advances, and consumer behavior changes.
  • Refer to reliable sources.
  • Showcase how your business can make the most of this opportunity.

3. Competitive Landscape

Since we’re already speaking of market share, you'll also need to create a section that shares details on who the top competitors are.

After all, your customers likely have more than one brand to choose from, and you'll want to understand exactly why they might choose one over another.

My favorite part of performing a competitive analysis is that it can help you uncover:

  • Industry trends that other brands may not be utilizing
  • Strengths in your competition that may be obstacles to handle
  • Weaknesses in your competition that may help you develop selling points
  • The unique proposition you bring to the market that may resonate with customers

Competitive Landscape Business Plan Example

I like how the competitive landscape section of this business plan below shows a clear outline of who the top competitors are.

Business plans examples: Competitive Landscape

It also highlights specific industry knowledge and the importance of location, which shows useful experience in this specific industry. 

This can help build trust in your ability to execute your business plan.

Tips for Writing Your Competitive Landscape

  • Complete in-depth research, then emphasize your most important findings.
  • Compare your unique selling proposition (USP) to your direct and indirect competitors.
  • Show a clear and realistic plan for product and brand differentiation.
  • Look for specific advantages and barriers in the competitive landscape. Then, highlight how that information could impact your business.
  • Outline growth opportunities from a competitive perspective.
  • Add customer feedback and insights to support your competitive analysis.

4. Target Audience

Use this section to describe who your customer segments are in detail. What is the demographic and psychographic information of your audience?

If your immediate answer is "everyone," you'll need to dig deeper. Here are some questions I’d ask myself here:

  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

I’d also recommend building a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be clear on why you're targeting them.

Target Audience Business Plan Example

I like the example below because it uses in-depth research to draw conclusions about audience priorities. It also analyzes how to create the right content for this audience.

Business plans examples: Target Audience

Tips for Writing Your Target Audience Section

  • Include details on the size and growth potential of your target audience.
  • Figure out and refine the pain points for your target audience , then show why your product is a useful solution.
  • Describe your targeted customer acquisition strategy in detail.
  • Share anticipated challenges your business may face in acquiring customers and how you plan to address them.
  • Add case studies, testimonials, and other data to support your target audience ideas.
  • Remember to consider niche audiences and segments of your target audience in your business plan.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. I’d suggest including information:

  • Your brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

I think it’s helpful to have a marketing plan built out in advance to make this part of your business plan easier.

Marketing Strategy Business Plan Example

This business plan example includes the marketing strategy for the town of Gawler.

In my opinion, it really works because it offers a comprehensive picture of how they plan to use digital marketing to promote the community.

Business plans examples: Marketing Strategy

Tips for Writing Your Marketing Strategy

  • Include a section about how you believe your brand vision will appeal to customers.
  • Add the budget and resources you'll need to put your plan in place.
  • Outline strategies for specific marketing segments.
  • Connect strategies to earlier sections like target audience and competitive analysis.
  • Review how your marketing strategy will scale with the growth of your business.
  • Cover a range of channels and tactics to highlight your ability to adapt your plan in the face of change.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll need to review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services.

Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use. It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

Key Features and Benefits Business Plan Example

In my opinion, the example below does a great job outlining products and services for this business, along with why these qualities will attract the audience.

Business plans examples: Key Features and Benefits

Tips for Writing Your Key Features and Benefits

  • Emphasize why and how your product or service offers value to customers.
  • Use metrics and testimonials to support the ideas in this section.
  • Talk about how your products and services have the potential to scale.
  • Think about including a product roadmap.
  • Focus on customer needs, and how the features and benefits you are sharing meet those needs.
  • Offer proof of concept for your ideas, like case studies or pilot program feedback.
  • Proofread this section carefully, and remove any jargon or complex language.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. 

For this reason, here’s what I’d might outline in this section:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

Pricing and Revenue Business Plan Example

I like how this business plan example begins with an overview of the business revenue model, then shows proposed pricing for key products.

Business plans examples: Pricing and Revenue

Tips for Writing Your Pricing and Revenue Section

  • Get specific about your pricing strategy. Specifically, how you connect that strategy to customer needs and product value.
  • If you are asking a premium price, share unique features or innovations that justify that price point.
  • Show how you plan to communicate pricing to customers.
  • Create an overview of every revenue stream for your business and how each stream adds to your business model as a whole.
  • Share plans to develop new revenue streams in the future.
  • Show how and whether pricing will vary by customer segment and how pricing aligns with marketing strategies.
  • Restate your value proposition and explain how it aligns with your revenue model.

8. Financials

To me, this section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to figure out funding strategies, investment opportunities, and more.

 According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to give insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details I’d include in this section.

Financials Business Plan Example

This balance sheet is a great example of level of detail you’ll need to include in the financials section of your business plan.

Business plans examples: Financials

Tips for Writing Your Financials Section

  • Growth potential is important in this section too. Using your data, create a forecast of financial performance in the next three to five years.
  • Include any data that supports your projections to assure investors of the credibility of your proposal.
  • Add a break-even analysis to show that your business plan is financially practical. This information can also help you pivot quickly as your business grows.
  • Consider adding a section that reviews potential risks and how sensitive your plan is to changes in the market.
  • Triple-check all financial information in your plan for accuracy.
  • Show how any proposed funding needs align with your plans for growth.

As you create your business plan, keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others could be charts or graphs.

The formats above apply to most types of business plans. That said, the format and structure of your plan will vary by your goals for that plan. 

So, I’ve added a quick review of different business plan types. For a more detailed overview, check out this post .

1. Startups

Startup business plans are for proposing new business ideas.

If you’re planning to start a small business, preparing a business plan is crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business.

You can check out this guide for more detailed business plan inspiration .

2. Feasibility Studies

Feasibility business plans focus on that business's product or service. Feasibility plans are sometimes added to startup business plans. They can also be a new business plan for an already thriving organization.

3. Internal Use

You can use internal business plans to share goals, strategies, or performance updates with stakeholders. In my opinion, internal business plans are useful for alignment and building support for ambitious goals.

4. Strategic Initiatives

Another business plan that's often for sharing internally is a strategic business plan. This plan covers long-term business objectives that might not have been included in the startup business plan.

5. Business Acquisition or Repositioning

When a business is moving forward with an acquisition or repositioning, it may need extra structure and support. These types of business plans expand on a company's acquisition or repositioning strategy.

Growth sometimes just happens as a business continues operations. But more often, a business needs to create a structure with specific targets to meet set goals for expansion. This business plan type can help a business focus on short-term growth goals and align resources with those goals.

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some of my favorite templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline give this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow.

Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why I Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

We also created a business plan template for entrepreneurs.

The template is designed as a guide and checklist for starting your own business. You’ll learn what to include in each section of your business plan and how to do it.

There’s also a list for you to check off when you finish each section of your business plan.

Strong game plans help coaches win games and help businesses rocket to the top of their industries. So if you dedicate the time and effort required to write a workable and convincing business plan, you’ll boost your chances of success and even dominance in your market.

This business plan kit is essential for the budding entrepreneur who needs a more extensive document to share with investors and other stakeholders.

It not only includes sections for your executive summary, product line, market analysis, marketing plan, and sales plan, but it also offers hands-on guidance for filling out those sections.

3. LiveFlow’s Financial Planning Template with built-in automation

Sample Business Plan: LiveFLow

This free template from LiveFlow aims to make it easy for businesses to create a financial plan and track their progress on a monthly basis.

The P&L Budget versus Actual format allows users to track their revenue, cost of sales, operating expenses, operating profit margin, net profit, and more.

The summary dashboard aggregates all of the data put into the financial plan sheet and will automatically update when changes are made.

Instead of wasting hours manually importing your data to your spreadsheet, LiveFlow can also help you to automatically connect your accounting and banking data directly to your spreadsheet, so your numbers are always up-to-date.

With the dashboard, you can view your runway, cash balance, burn rate, gross margins, and other metrics. Having a simple way to track everything in one place will make it easier to complete the financials section of your business plan.

This is a fantastic template to track performance and alignment internally and to create a dependable process for documenting financial information across the business. It’s highly versatile and beginner-friendly.

It’s especially useful if you don’t have an accountant on the team. (I always recommend you do, but for new businesses, having one might not be possible.)

4. ThoughtCo’s Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: ThoughtCo.

One of the more financially oriented sample business plans in this list, BPlan’s free business plan template dedicates many of its pages to your business’s financial plan and financial statements.

After filling this business plan out, your company will truly understand its financial health and the steps you need to take to maintain or improve it.

I absolutely love this business plan template because of its ease-of-use and hands-on instructions (in addition to its finance-centric components). If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing an entire business plan, consider using this template to help you with the process.

6. Harvard Business Review’s "How to Write a Winning Business Plan"

Most sample business plans teach you what to include in your business plan, but this Harvard Business Review article will take your business plan to the next level — it teaches you the why and how behind writing a business plan.

With the guidance of Stanley Rich and Richard Gumpert, co-authors of " Business Plans That Win: Lessons From the MIT Enterprise Forum ", you'll learn how to write a convincing business plan that emphasizes the market demand for your product or service.

You’ll also learn the financial benefits investors can reap from putting money into your venture rather than trying to sell them on how great your product or service is.

This business plan guide focuses less on the individual parts of a business plan, and more on the overarching goal of writing one. For that reason, it’s one of my favorites to supplement any template you choose to use. Harvard Business Review’s guide is instrumental for both new and seasoned business owners.

7. HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Starting a Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know writing a business plan is one of the most challenging first steps to starting a business.

Fortunately, with HubSpot's comprehensive guide to starting a business, you'll learn how to map out all the details by understanding what to include in your business plan and why it’s important to include them. The guide also fleshes out an entire sample business plan for you.

If you need further guidance on starting a business, HubSpot's guide can teach you how to make your business legal, choose and register your business name, and fund your business. It will also give small business tax information and includes marketing, sales, and service tips.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of starting a business, in addition to writing your business plan, with a high level of exactitude and detail. So if you’re in the midst of starting your business, this is an excellent guide for you.

It also offers other resources you might need, such as market analysis templates.

8. Panda Doc’s Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Panda Doc

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed-out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each section, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

Once you fill it out, you’ll fully understand your business’ nitty-gritty details and how all of its moving parts should work together to contribute to its success.

This template has two things I love: comprehensiveness and in-depth instructions. Plus, it’s synced with PandaDoc’s e-signature software so that you and other stakeholders can sign it with ease. For that reason, I especially love it for those starting a business with a partner or with a board of directors.

9. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several free business plan templates that can be used to inspire your own plan.

Before you get started, you can decide what type of business plan you need — a traditional or lean start-up plan.

Then, you can review the format for both of those plans and view examples of what they might look like.

We love both of the SBA’s templates because of their versatility. You can choose between two options and use the existing content in the templates to flesh out your own plan. Plus, if needed, you can get a free business counselor to help you along the way.

I’ve compiled some completed business plan samples to help you get an idea of how to customize a plan for your business.

I chose different types of business plan ideas to expand your imagination. Some are extensive, while others are fairly simple.

Let’s take a look.

1. LiveFlow

business plan example: liveflow

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue.

I included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

"Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration," explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

When it came to including marketing strategy in its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives.

This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact. Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

Sometimes all you need is a solid mission statement and core values to guide you on how to go about everything. You do this by creating a business plan revolving around how to fulfill your statement best.

For example, Patagonia is an eco-friendly company, so their plan discusses how to make the best environmentally friendly products without causing harm.

A good mission statement  should not only resonate with consumers but should also serve as a core value compass for employees as well.

Patagonia has one of the most compelling mission statements I’ve seen:

"Together, let’s prioritise purpose over profit and protect this wondrous planet, our only home."

It reels you in from the start, and the environmentally friendly theme continues throughout the rest of the statement.

This mission goes on to explain that they are out to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to protect nature."

Their mission statement is compelling and detailed, with each section outlining how they will accomplish their goal.

4. Vesta Home Automation

business plan example: Vesta executive summary

This executive summary for a smart home device startup is part of a business plan created by students at Mount Royal University .

While it lacks some of the sleek visuals of the templates above, its executive summary does a great job of demonstrating how invested they are in the business.

Right away, they mention they’ve invested $200,000 into the company already, which shows investors they have skin in the game and aren’t just looking for someone else to foot the bill.

This is the kind of business plan you need when applying for business funds. It clearly illustrates the expected future of the company and how the business has been coming along over the years.

5. NALB Creative Center

business plan examples: nalb creative center

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more.

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. 

This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. 

Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission.

The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your "Why?" and this example does just that. In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

Culina's sample business plan is an excellent example of how to lay out your business plan so that it flows naturally, engages readers, and provides the critical information investors and stakeholders need. 

You can use this template as a guide while you're gathering important information for your own business plan. You'll have a better understanding of the data and research you need to do since Culina’s plan outlines these details so flawlessly for inspiration.

8. Plum Sample Business Plan

Sample business plan: Plum

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Marketing software that helps you drive revenue, save time and resources, and measure and optimize your investments — all on one easy-to-use platform

Marketing Plan for Private Practice

Carepatron's free PDF download can help you develop a comprehensive marketing plan for your private practice. Learn from real-life examples and boost your business today!

sample marketing plan in business plan

By Wynona Jugueta on May 19, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

sample marketing plan in business plan

Marketing in the healthcare industry

Marketing in the healthcare industry plays a pivotal role in promoting practices and refer clients. Essentially, it involves promoting and advertising healthcare services to attract patients and build a robust clientele base. Effective marketing is essential for private practices to stand out in a competitive landscape and connect with individuals seeking mental health services and other specialized care.

In today's digital age, leveraging online platforms such as social media has become a cornerstone of private practice marketing. Social media provides a dynamic avenue to engage with potential clients, start blogging and share valuable insights, and showcase expertise. Creating informative blog posts tailored to address common concerns or questions within the niche is a great way to establish authority and attract organic traffic to your website.

Marketing your private practice requires a nuanced approach that considers the unique needs of your target demographic and the competitive landscape. Collaborating with other mental health professionals or healthcare organizations can also be beneficial in expanding your reach and attracting referrals. Ultimately, effective marketing strategies not only increase visibility but also foster trust and credibility among potential clients, driving the growth and success of your private practice.

Printable Marketing Plan for Private Practice

Download this Marketing Plan for Private Practice to effectively grow your patient base and enhance your practice's visibility.

How can you market your private practice to potential clients?

In today's competitive landscape, effectively marketing your private practice is essential for attracting potential clients and growing your business profile. Here are some proven strategies to help you reach and connect with your target market:

Establish a professional website

A professional website serves as the virtual storefront for your practice. Ensure that it is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and provides essential information about your services, expertise, and contact details. Incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) techniques can also help improve your website's visibility on search engines, making it easier for potential clients to find you online.

Engage in social media marketing

Utilize social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to connect with your audience and share valuable content. Regularly posting updates, educational website content, and testimonials can help build credibility and attract more clients. Engaging with your audience through comments, direct messages, and live sessions can foster deeper connections and trust.

Create informative blog posts

Blogging is a powerful way to establish yourself as an authority in your field and attract organic traffic to your website. Write blog posts that address common concerns or questions your ideal clients may have, providing valuable insights and solutions. Sharing personal experiences or case studies can also help prospective clients relate to your expertise and services.

Collaborate with other professionals

Forming mutually beneficial partnerships with other professionals in related fields can expand your reach and attract more clients. Consider partnering with therapists, physicians, or wellness practitioners to cross-promote services or offer joint workshops or events. Networking within your community or professional associations can also lead to valuable referrals.

How to write a marketing plan for your therapy practice

Crafting a marketing plan is essential for effectively promoting your therapy practice and attracting prospective clients. Here are the key steps to consider when writing a comprehensive marketing plan tailored to your practice:

Step 1: Define your target audience

Identify your ideal client demographic, including age, gender, location, and specific mental health concerns. Understanding your target market will allow you to tailor your marketing steps to reach and resonate with prospective clients effectively.

Step 2: Set clear marketing goals

Establish measurable marketing goals that align with your practice's growth objectives. Whether it's increasing website traffic, growing your social media following, or attracting a certain number of new clients, having clear goals will guide you on how you market your private practice.

Step 3: Identify your unique selling proposition (USP)

Determine what sets your therapy practice apart from others in the market. This could be your specialized expertise, unique approach to therapy, or specific services offered. Highlighting your USP in your marketing materials will help attract possible clients who resonate with your unique offerings.

Step 4: Choose effective marketing channels

Select the most relevant online marketing channels to reach your target audience effectively. This may include social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, as well as your practice website, email newsletters, and posting a blog post. Tailor your messaging and content to each platform to maximize engagement and attract possible clients.

Step 5: Develop content marketing strategy

Create valuable and informative, helpful content that resonates with your target audience's needs and interests. This could include blog posts, articles, videos, or podcasts addressing common mental health concerns, therapeutic techniques, or self-care tips. Consistently sharing high quality content will position you as a trusted authority in your field and attract prospective clients to your own practice.

Step 6: Implement tracking and analytics

Monitor and analyze the performance of your marketing ways using tracking tools and analytics. Measure key metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, and ideal client inquiries to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing steps. Use this data to make informed adjustments and optimizations to continuously improve your marketing plan and attract more clients to your practice.

Marketing Plan for Private Practice example (sample)

As a visual aid to assist healthcare practitioners and individuals in crafting their own marketing plans for private practice, we've developed a sample marketing plan template at Carepatron. This sample provides a comprehensive overview of the key elements and strategies for effectively marketing a private practice.

Our marketing plan example covers essential aspects such as defining target demographics, setting measurable goals, selecting appropriate marketing channels, and creating engaging content. It is a practical guide for structuring your marketing ways and maximizing your practice's visibility and reach.

With a clear and actionable marketing plan, healthcare practitioners can effectively promote their private practice, increase client inquiries, and drive business growth and success. Explore our sample marketing plan template to kickstart your journey towards marketing success in private practice.

Download this free Marketing Plan for Private Practice example here

Marketing Plan for Private Practice example (sample)

Tips for using social media in your marketing strategy

Incorporating social media into your marketing strategy can significantly enhance your visibility and reach within your target market. Here are seven tips to help you effectively leverage social media for promoting your therapy services or counseling practice:

Define your social media goals

Before diving into social media marketing, establish clear objectives aligned with your overall marketing goals. Whether your goals are increasing brand awareness, driving traffic, or attracting new clients, defining them will guide your social media strategy and measure its success.

Choose the right platforms

Identify which social media apps your target market frequents and focus your efforts there. For instance, LinkedIn may be more suitable if you primarily serve professionals, while Facebook and Instagram are ideal for reaching a broader demographic.

Optimize your profiles

Ensure that your social media profiles are complete, accurate, and reflect your brand identity. Use high-quality images, concise descriptions, and relevant keywords to optimize your profiles for visibility in search results and online directories such as Google Maps.

Share valuable content regularly

Keep your wider audience engaged by sharing informative and engaging content regularly. This could include tips for mental well-being, inspirational quotes, success stories, or relevant industry news. Aim to provide value to your followers and establish yourself as a reputable source of information.

Encourage client testimonials

Happy clients can be powerful advocates for your practice. Encourage them to share their positive experiences on social media apps or review sites. Client testimonials can build trust and credibility with prospective clients and enhance your reputation within the community.

Network with professional organizations

Joining and actively participating in professional groups and online communities related to mental health can expand your network and visibility. Engage in discussions, share your expertise, and connect with colleagues to establish valuable professional relationships.

Attend networking events and community organizations

Attend local networking events, workshops, or seminars hosted by community organizations to connect with prospective clients and referral sources. Building relationships in-person can complement your online efforts and strengthen your presence within the community.

Enhance your private practice marketing efforts with Carepatron

Effective marketing is crucial for private practitioners to attract and retain clients. Carepatron offers comprehensive tools and solutions to streamline and enhance your private practice marketing ways.

Practice management software

Carepatron's practice management software empowers medical practitioners to efficiently manage every aspect of their practice, from scheduling appointments to billing and invoicing. With intuitive features and customizable workflows, practitioners can optimize their operations and focus more on delivering quality care to their patients.

Electronic patient records

Carepatron's electronic patient records system allows medical practitioners to store and access patient information securely anytime, anywhere. This system streamlines administrative tasks, improves accuracy, and enhances patient care by making all relevant medical data readily available at your fingertips.

Telehealth platform

In today's digital age, telehealth has become essential to healthcare delivery. Carepatron's telehealth platform enables medical practitioners to conduct virtual consultations with patients, providing convenient access to care while expanding their reach beyond geographical boundaries.

practice management software

Commonly asked questions

Marketing a private practice involves defining your target market, leveraging online and offline channels such as social media, networking events, and referral partnerships, and consistently promoting your services to attract clients.

To include a marketing plan in your business plan, outline your target market, competitive analysis, marketing strategies, tactics, budget, and metrics for measuring success.

Lay out a marketing plan by defining your objectives, identifying your target market, outlining strategies and tactics, setting a budget, establishing timelines, and assigning responsibilities.

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Access our collection of user-friendly templates for business planning, finance, sales, marketing, and management, designed to assist you in developing strategies for either launching a new business venture or expanding an existing one.

You can use the templates below as a starting point to create your startup business plan or map out how you will expand your existing business. Then meet with a  SCORE mentor to get expert business planning advice and feedback on your business plan.

If writing a full business plan seems overwhelming, start with a one-page Business Model Canvas. Developed by Founder and CEO of Strategyzer, Alexander Osterwalder, it can be used to easily document your business concept.

Download this template to fill out the nine squares focusing on the different building blocks of any business:

  • Value Proposition
  • Customer Segments
  • Customer Relationships
  • Key Activities
  • Key Resources
  • Key Partners
  • Cost Structure
  • Revenue Streams

For help completing the Business Model Canvas Template, contact a SCORE business mentor for guidance

From creating a startup budget to managing cash flow for a growing business, keeping tabs on your business’s finances is essential to success. The templates below will help you monitor and manage your business’s financial situation, create financial projections and seek financing to start or grow your business.

This interactive calculator allows you to provide inputs and see a full estimated repayment schedule to plan your capital needs and cash flow.

A 12-month profit and loss projection, also known as an income statement or statement of earnings, provides a detailed overview of your financial performance over a one-year period. This projection helps you anticipate future financial outcomes by estimating monthly income and expenses, which facilitates informed decision-making and strategic planning. 

If you’re trying to get a loan from a bank, they may ask you for a personal financial statement. You can use this free, downloadable template to document your assets, liabilities and net worth. 

A Personal Financial Statement is a

Marketing helps your business build brand awareness, attract customers and create customer loyalty. Use these templates to forecast sales, develop your marketing strategy and map out your marketing budget and plan.

How healthy is your business? Are you missing out on potential growth opportunities or ignoring areas of weakness? Do you need to hire employees to reach your goals? The following templates will help you assess the state of your business and accomplish important management tasks.

Whether you are starting your business or established and looking to grow, our Business Healthcheck Tool will provide practical information and guidance.

Learn how having a SCORE mentor can be a valuable asset for your business. A SCORE mentor can provide guidance and support in various areas of business, including finance, marketing, and strategy. They can help you navigate challenges and make important decisions based on their expertise and experience. By seeking out a SCORE mentor, you can gain the guidance and support you need to help grow your business and achieve success.

SCORE offers free business mentoring to anyone that wants to start, currently owns, or is planning to close or sell a small business. To initiate the process, input your zip code in the designated area below. Then, complete the mentoring request form on the following page, including as much information as possible about your business. This information is used to match you with a mentor in your area. After submitting the request, you will receive an email from your mentor to arrange your first mentoring session.

Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association, SCORE.org

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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Free MS Word Strategic Planning Templates

By Courtney Patterson | May 11, 2024

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Below is a collection of the best strategic planning templates in Microsoft Word to help you create a comprehensive roadmap for future growth and success.

Included in this article, you'll find: 

  • A one-page business strategy template
  • A Microsoft Word IT Strategic Plan Template
  • A 5-year strategic business plan template
  • A nonprofit strategic plan template
  • A list of related strategic planning templates

Microsoft Word Basic Strategic Plan Template

Basic Strategic Plan Template for Microsoft Word Example

Download the Sample Basic Strategic Plan Template for Microsoft Word   Download the Blank Basic Strategic Plan Template for Microsoft Word  

When to Use This Template : Use this template with or without sample data when you are starting your business and need to outline a clear direction and foundational strategies. This tool is crucial for transitioning from an informal approach to a more structured strategic planning process. 

Notable Template Features : This basic strategic plan template simplifies the planning process with a clear, easy-to-follow structure that covers essential strategic elements. It includes sections for mission and vision statements, a SWOT analysis, goals, and action plans, making it accessible for first-time strategists.

Check out these  free strategic planning templates that offer robust resources, including ready-to-use frameworks and expert advice, so you can meticulously craft and execute your strategic vision.

Microsoft Word One-Page Business Strategic Plan Template

One Page Business Strategic Plan Template for Microsoft Word Example

Download Sample One-Page Business Strategic Plan Template for Microsoft Word Download Blank One-Page Business Strategic Plan Template for Microsoft Word

When to Use This Template : Consider this template when you’re on a deadline and need a swift, comprehensive snapshot of your strategy. Available with or without sample data, the template is ideal for pre-meeting preparations, allowing you to quickly and thoroughly review your strategic position.

Notable Template Features : This one-page business strategic plan template boils down intricate strategies to a single, accessible page. Featuring streamlined sections for goals, actions, and metrics, it delivers a clear and concise strategic outline that's easy to share and discuss. Download the sample version for a pre-filled template, or try the blank version to fill in the sections with your own data.

Check out this  strategic planning guide , complete with free templates that offer you all the tools and insights you need to expertly develop and implement your strategic plans.

Microsoft Word IT Strategic Plan Template

Information Technology Strategic Plan Template for Microsoft Word Example

Download Microsoft Word IT Strategic Plan Template Download Sample IT Strategic Plan Template  

When to Use This Template : Dive into this template when your IT department is gearing up for a major overhaul or aligning with new business strategies. Available with or without example text, the template is a must-have for plotting out the technological roadmap that supports your organization's long-term vision.

Notable Template Features : This IT strategic plan template features IT-specific sections, such as technology assessments and future roadmaps, making it a powerhouse for managing and planning IT investments. The template includes detailed prompts, so you can thoroughly address and align each aspect of your IT strategy, from cybersecurity to cloud computing, with overarching business objectives.

Explore this  article on crafting strategic plans . It offers a treasure trove of free templates to guide your team through the strategic planning process, ensuring a seamless and effective strategy formulation.

Microsoft Word Advanced Strategic Planning Template

Advanced Strategic Planning Template for Microsoft Word Example

Download the Sample Advanced Strategic Planning Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Advanced Strategic Planning Template for Microsoft Word

When to Use This Template : Turn to this dynamic template with or without sample data when you’re ready to plan an all-inclusive strategy. Perfect for times of significant growth or change, it's especially useful for teams looking to blend comprehensive market insights with long-term planning.

Notable Template Features : This advanced strategic planning template is designed to guide you through every facet of strategic development, from SWOT analysis to detailed financial planning. Offering structured sections for an all-encompassing view of your business landscape, it ensures that you have a robust foundation for decision-making and future growth. Download the sample version for a pre-filled template, or try the blank version to fill in your own data.

Dive into this comprehensive  guide on strategic planning model templates to access a diverse array of free resources and streamline the path to your strategic goals.

Microsoft Word One-Year Strategic Business Plan Template

One Year Strategic Business Plan Template for Microsoft Word Example

Download Sample One-Year Strategic Business Plan Template for Microsoft Word Download Blank One-Year Strategic Business Plan Template for Microsoft Word

When to Use This Template : Use this one-year template with or without sample data to reach your key goals within the next year. It's a must for companies looking to translate annual objectives into clear, actionable steps.

Notable Template Features : This one-year strategic business plan template is designed with simplicity in mind, featuring sections that help break down goals into achievable actions and timelines. The template’s streamlined approach ensures that you can focus on what matters most, making it easier to track progress and adjust strategies as needed.

Microsoft Word 5-Year Strategic Business Plan Template

5 Year Strategic Business Plan Template for Microsoft Word Example

Download the Sample 5-Year Strategic Business Plan Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank 5-Year Strategic Business Plan Template for Microsoft Word

When to Use This Template : Use this template to lay the strategic groundwork for the medium-term achievements your organization aims to reach in the next five years. Available with or without sample text, it's perfect for transitioning from startup to established entity, allowing you to focus on expansion and scalability.

Notable Template Features : This 5-year strategic business plan template empowers you to set ambitious yet attainable goals and create strategies for market expansion. It also includes tools for financial forecasting and resource allocation, making it easier to manage growth and measure success over a longer period.

Microsoft Word Long-Term Strategic Business Plan Template

Long Term Strategic Business Plan Template for Microsoft Word

Download the Long-Term Strategic Business Plan Template for Microsoft Word

When to Use This Template : Use this template when you’re aiming for a plan of 10 years or longer and envisioning your business's journey toward long-term innovation and industry leadership.

Notable Template Features : Featuring a decade-spanning outlook, this long-term strategic plan template empowers you to set visionary goals and detailed strategies for sustainable growth and innovation. It’s designed to help you align your long-range plans with actionable steps, ensuring every department is moving toward a common, ambitious future.

Microsoft Word University Strategic Plan Outline Template

University Strategic Plan Outline Template for Microsoft Word Example

Download Sample University Strategic Plan Outline Template for Microsoft Word Download Blank University Strategic Plan Outline Template for Microsoft Word

When to Use This Template : This template helps university leaders chart a future course that enriches academic excellence and campus life. Use it during periods of strategic reflection or in advance of accreditation reviews to ensure all goals align with the institution's mission and vision.

Notable Template Features : Tailored to the academic sector, this strategic plan outline includes sections for setting educational priorities, creating a strategy for program development, and planning campus enhancements. Available with or without example text, it facilitates a comprehensive approach to institutional growth, encouraging stakeholder engagement and long-term planning for academic and infrastructural improvements.

Microsoft Word Marketing Strategic Planning Template

Marketing Strategic Planning Template for Microsoft Word Example

Download the Sample Marketing Strategic Planning Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Marketing Strategic Planning Template for Microsoft Word

When to Use This Template : Turn to this template when you're preparing to put a new product on the market or revamping your brand's presence. It's ideal for synchronizing your marketing initiatives with your overarching business goals.

Notable Template Features : This template with or without sample data stands out with its clear sections for defining marketing objectives, pinpointing your audience, and crafting detailed campaign strategies. It supports marketers by laying out a comprehensive plan that not only attracts but also retains customers, ensuring all marketing activities are in lockstep with the business's vision and objectives. Try the pre-filled template to see sample text, or use the blank template to fill in your own data.

Microsoft Word Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template

Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template for Microsoft Word

Download the Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template for Microsoft Word

When to Use This Template : Reach for this template when your nonprofit is gearing up for a period of strategic renewal or aiming to better align its efforts with its core mission. Helping you clearly articulate your organization's direction and impact, this tool is crucial for running annual planning sessions or preparing funding and grant applications.

Notable Template Features : This template is designed specifically for nonprofit organizations, featuring sections dedicated to mission statement clarification, stakeholder engagement strategies, and impact assessment methods. It offers a comprehensive framework for nonprofits to navigate the complexities of sustainability and mission-driven planning, ensuring every activity contributes to long-term success.

Related Strategic Planning Templates

Discover this list of free templates that perfectly complement your strategic planning needs. From business model canvases to detailed market analyses and customer journeys, these tools ensure a solid value proposition and guide your business toward success.

Free Microsoft Word Action Plan Templates

Check out these  free Microsoft Word action plan templates for tools to streamline your project planning, enhance your task management, and achieve your goals more efficiently.

Simple Action Plan Template

Free Gap Analysis Templates

Explore this  collection of free gap analysis templates to help you identify the discrepancies between your business's current state and its desired future state, offering a clear pathway for strategic improvement and goal achievement.

General Gap Analysis Template

Free Scenario Analysis Templates

Use these  free scenario analysis templates to get frameworks that prepare you for various future possibilities, enabling strategic decision-making and risk management.

Simple Scenario Analysis Spreadsheet Template EXAMPLE

Secure Your Organization’s Future Success with Strategic Planning Templates from Smartsheet

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  • Accountancy
  • Business Studies
  • Organisational Behaviour
  • Human Resource Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Corporate Entrepreneurship: Meaning, Importance, Types and Models
  • Marketing Strategy: Meaning, Steps to Create and Components
  • Top AI Marketing Tools for Entrepreneurs in 2024
  • Marketing Logistics | Meaning, Functions, and Components
  • Difference between Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan
  • Components of Entrepreneurial Leadership
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  • Types of Entrepreneurs: Innovating , Imitative , Fabian and Drone Entrepreneurs
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  • Entrepreneurship and its Characteristics
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  • Marketing Plan : Meaning, Types, Steps and Examples
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Marketing Plan in Entrepreneurship: Components and Steps

What is the marketing plan.

A marketing plan is a crucial document for a new business that outlines its goals, strategies, and actions for marketing. It will be similar to a roadmap for how the business will compete and operate in the market. A marketing plan answers three important questions: Where has the business been? Where will the business go? and How does the business get there? This part discusses the specific marketing strategy; when it will be carried out, and who will be responsible for monitoring it. It’s important to update the marketing plan annually to adapt to changes in the business environment.

Key Takeaways: A marketing plan serves as a roadmap for new firms, outlining its goals, strategies, and actions for marketing . Key components of the marketing plan include analyzing the marketplace history, detecting strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, setting clear objectives and goals, defining specific marketing strategies , and implementing an annual planning process. The marketing plan includes components such as products and services offered, pricing policies , promotional strategies, logistics for distribution, and channels of distribution. Preparing the marketing plan involves conducting a business situation analysis, identifying the target market, performing a SWOT analysis, establishing goals, defining marketing strategies, and implementing and monitoring the plan for effectiveness and adaptability.

Table of Content

Basic Questions that a Marketing Plan Answers

1. where have we been, 2. where do we want to go, 3. how do we get there, components of marketing plan, steps in preparing the marketing plan.

Understanding the journey of the venture so far is pivotal for predicting its future course. This segment delves into various aspects:

  • Marketplace History: Examining the historical context of the marketplace provides valuable insights into trends, challenges, and opportunities. By understanding past dynamics, the venture can better navigate future strategies.
  • Marketing Strengths and Weaknesses: Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the venture’s marketing efforts offers a candid view of its competitive position. Detecting areas of excellence and areas needing improvement will result in strategic decisions.
  • Market Opportunities and Threats: Recognizing opportunities and threats within the market landscape is crucial for proactive planning. By anticipating potential challenges and capitalizing on emerging trends, the venture can stay ahead of the curve.

Setting clear objectives and goals is mandatory for directing the venture’s efforts in the short term. This section primarily focuses on defining marketing objectives and goals for the enterprise over the next 12 months:

  • Marketing Objectives: Establishing specific and measurable marketing objectives provides a roadmap for success. Whether it’s increasing market share, launching new products, or expanding into new territories, these objectives guide strategic initiatives.
  • Goals: Defining tangible goals aligns the team’s efforts and ensures accountability. Whether it’s achieving revenue targets, boosting brand awareness, or enhancing customer engagement, clear goals provide direction and motivation.

Implementing effective strategies is key to realizing the venture’s objectives and goals. This question explores the practical steps needed to attain success:

  • Specific Marketing Strategy: Outlining a detailed marketing strategy will clarify the actions required to reach the desired outcomes. From product positioning to promotional campaigns, each element of the strategy contributes to overall success.
  • Timeline: Establishing a timeline for strategy implementation ensures timely execution. By setting milestones and deadlines, the venture can track progress and make necessary adjustments along the way.
  • Responsibilities: Assigning roles and responsibilities ensures accountability and teamwork. Clearly defining who is responsible for each aspect of the marketing plan streamlines execution and minimizes confusion.
Annual Marketing Planning Adapting to the ever-changing business environment requires annual marketing planning. By revisiting and refining the marketing plan each year, the venture can stay agile and responsive to market dynamics. This iterative approach ensures alignment with evolving business goals and market trends, fostering sustained growth and success.

1. Products and Services Offered: The firm’s products and services will remain to be the foundation for its success. This component will focus on what exactly the business offers, highlights their special features and benefits, and why customers should choose them. This section also identifies who the target customers are and what specific needs the products and services aim to fulfill. It will cover how the business plans to keep its offerings fresh and attractive, including strategies for development, innovation, and standing out from competitors. Additionally, it will explore how the business plans to manage its products throughout their lifecycle, from introduction to potential expansion or diversification.

2. Pricing Policies: Pricing is a crucial aspect of any business, and here, a business should break down how it plans to set its prices. It should explain the strategies behind pricing decisions, whether they’re based on costs, perceived value, or competition. This section also touches on key factors considered when determining prices, like production costs, market demand , and profit margins. Furthermore, it also include any tactics the business plans to use to sweeten the deal for customers, such as discounts or bundling, and the flexibility of pricing strategy to adapt to market changes.

3. Promotional Strategies: Getting the word out about the business is pivotal for attracting customers; and promotional strategies play a big role in that. In this section, a business can outline the various ways it plans to promote itself, from advertising to sales promotions . The business can explore different advertising channels it intends to use, such as digital or traditional media, and how it plans to incentivize purchases through promotions like discounts or loyalty programs. Additionally, it can discuss efforts to build brand reputation through public relations and content marketing , as well as engagement strategies on social media platforms.

4. Logistics for Distribution: Once the products are ready to go, it’s pivotal to have a solid plan for getting them into customers’ hands efficiently. This section will identify the most effective distribution channels for the business, whether it’s through direct sales, retail partnerships, or e-commerce platforms. A business can also outline strategies for managing inventory, fulfilling orders, and ensuring timely delivery. Additionally, it should address considerations for transportation, warehousing, and handling returns or exchanges, all while ensuring the distribution network remains flexible and adaptable to changing market conditions.

5. Channels of Distribution: Lastly, this component will explore the various channels the business plans to use to distribute its products. This includes direct channels, where the business sells directly to customers through its website or physical stores, as well as indirect channels involving intermediaries like retailers or distributors. A business can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each distribution channel and how it plans to integrate them into an omnichannel approach for a seamless customer experience. This evaluation will consider factors such as the business’s goals, target market, and available resources.

1. Business Situation Analysis: Before diving into the future, it is pivotal to understand where the business stands currently. For new ventures, this involves profiling the entrepreneur, emphasizing product development, identifying the target market, and any previous entrepreneurial experiences. Market segmentation is also considered at this stage.

2. Identify the Target Market: Defining the target market is a pivotal step for a new venture. It entails thorough market research to understand consumer characteristics, buying behaviors , and preferences. Segmentation based on demographics, geography, and psychographics helps in selecting the most viable target segments.

3. Conduct a SWOT Analysis: Analyzing the venture’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is vital for devising a robust marketing plan. Understanding these factors helps in capitalizing on strengths, mitigating weaknesses, leveraging opportunities, and mitigating potential threats.

4. Establish Goals: Setting clear and measurable goals will be essential to steering the venture in the right direction. These goals should be realistic, quantifiable, and aligned with the venture’s overall objectives. Defining qualitative standards will ensure clarity and facilitate effective monitoring and control.

5. Define Marketing Strategy: The heart of the marketing plan lies in its strategy. Answering the question, “How do we get there?” will involve outlining specific activities related to the 4 P’s of marketing , which include Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. This section will include details on how the venture will position its offerings, set pricing strategies, devise promotional tactics, and manage distribution channels.

6. Implementation and Monitoring of the Plan: Creating a marketing plan is more than a mere formality; it’s a commitment to a strategic roadmap. Flexibility is crucial, and the entrepreneur must be prepared to make adjustments as needed. Regular monitoring of key performance indicators will permit timely interventions and ensure the plan remains aligned with the venture’s goals and market dynamics.

The marketing plan will serve as a comprehensive roadmap for a new business, detailing its objectives, strategies, and actions for marketing success. It addresses critical questions about the business’s journey so far, its future direction, and the practical steps needed to achieve its goals. It outlines components like product offerings, pricing, promotion, distribution, and target markets. Through annual updates and monitoring, it ensures adaptability to market changes, fostering sustained growth and success.

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  27. Free MS Word Strategic Planning Templates with Sample Data

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