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A solid marketing plan can take your business to new heights. It can help turn your business goals into reality by providing your team with direction, deadlines, actionable tactics and more.
If you've never done this before, it's completely understandable that you're confused about where to start and which sections to definitely include in your marketing plan.
In this article, you'll find a step-by-step guide on creating a marketing plan that will work for almost every kind of business. We've also included 20+ marketing plan templates throughout the post to help you get started on the right foot.
A marketing plan is a roadmap that helps you set goals, understand your target audience and optimize the impact of your marketing campaigns.
In simple words, it helps you get a clearer view of the what, why and how of all your marketing activities.
A good marketing plan also helps you communicate the “big” strategy and the different tactics involved to your marketing team. Last but not least, it lets you track the success of your campaigns.
A marketing plan should ideally include:
Take a look at this one-page marketing plan template as an example.
If your plan is more detailed, you can also consider including:
A marketing plan is usually presented as a PDF document, but you can also whip up a more creative version of it. For example, you can create an infographic, presentation and even an interactive web page to share your plan.
Or you can create a single-page marketing plan similar to the one above.
Scroll down to the end of this post to access seven full marketing plan templates.
I’ve already mentioned how a marketing plan can help you better understand your company’s marketing goals and how to achieve them, but that’s not where the benefits end.
A well-researched marketing plan can help you:
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There’s no one way of creating a marketing plan, but there are some key components that should go inside a winning one. Follow the steps below to create an effective marketing plan.
The executive summary usually goes at the beginning of your marketing plan. It’s basically a short summary or brief overview of your company and the key takeaways from the entire marketing plan.
Here’s an executive summary template you can edit and use for your own business.
The template above is a great example of an executive summary that highlights the key function of a business and the purpose of its marketing plan.
You can also include company achievements and future plans of your business in your summary.
Remember, your executive summary should be concise and to-the-point. Instead of boring your readers to sleep, it should grab attention and get them excited about the rest of the plan.
Before you dive into all the marketing stuff, it’s a good idea to revisit your company’s values, vision and mission. This helps put all the information inside your marketing plan into perspective.
It answers the question of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Here’s a neat mission, vision and values template to edit and use.
For anyone who reads your marketing plan, this section is important to educate them about the ultimate aim of your business so they can make better sense of your marketing goals, activities and future plans.
The next step is to back up your marketing plan with solid research.
This is often achieved by analyzing your current market situation, studying your competition and most importantly, looking into your own company’s strengths and weaknesses.
Here’s a market share template that can help you visualize that information and share it with your colleagues and stakeholders.
You can customize this template according to your own brand colors, input your own information and use it as part of a marketing plan, on its own, or in a report or presentation.
Here’s another cool design to help you present your market research. Use this SWOT analysis template to highlight your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Instead of adding a boring table that no one wants to read, use a well-designed SWOT like the one above to draw attention to your research.
Here's another worksheet-style SWOT analysis template that you can print out and fill, or edit using Visme before adding to your marketing plan document or presentation.
You can also conduct a SWOT analysis of your competitors, which takes us to another key component of your market research — the competitor analysis.
Studying your competition is crucial to the success of your business. You need to know what they’re doing, what’s working for them and how you can do it better.
Here are a few things to research about your competitors:
Here's a competitive analysis template you can use and add to your marketing plan.
A template like the one above can help you organize and visualize important information about your competitors, which in turn can help you identify opportunities, set goals and more.
It’s important to identify who your buyer or ideal customer is so you can create more informed and tailored marketing strategies.
Naturally, the target customer for every business is different.
You may also have more than one kind of customer. For example, a clothing store could be making products for both teens and older women at the same time.
Check out this target audience template to visualize your various customer segments.
You can edit this template and use it as part of your marketing plan or presentation. It’s a great way to present the different types of your audience in a way that’s easy to understand.
The pie chart helps identify which chunk makes the bigger part of your customer base so you can focus most of your efforts in that area.
If you’re looking for a more creative approach, take a look at the buyer persona template below.
This infographic template is a fun way to visualize your buyer’s demographic details, habits and goals, i.e., whether they're interested in online learning options like digital marketing courses or if they prefer in-person.
Another cool way to create a customer persona is to design it like a resume. This is useful for adding more information in one page without cluttering up the design.
Here’s a resume-style customer persona template you can edit.
This type of buyer persona design makes use of icons and data widgets, like progress bars.
In the end, the goal of creating a buyer persona is to better organize and understand key information about your customer. Use the template that works best for your business.
In this part of the marketing plan, you need to specify what you aim to achieve.
Outline your marketing goals and objectives, and make sure you use actual numbers instead of writing vague statements.
For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic, mention the exact target so you can track to see if you achieved it or not.
Here’s a marketing goals template you can use as part of your marketing plan.
Remember to create SMART goals for your marketing plan and strategy. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
In the template above, notice how the target is defined as a percentage. You can also add a deadline to your marketing goal to make it time-bound.
If you want to share your marketing goals in an infographic format, here’s another template you can edit and use for your own company.
The template above is a more detailed goals infographic with three different phases, which makes it ideal for SaaS companies and mobile apps.
Now comes the good stuff. In this step, write down one or more marketing strategies and the tactics to execute for each one. Make sure you include:
This is best presented visually so the entire team can understand each step. You can divide your activities into stages, and present them using a marketing strategy template like the one below.
Another way to present your marketing strategy is with the help of a roadmap. A roadmap outlines the tactics involved in your overall marketing strategy, and can be designed to look similar to a Gantt chart.
Here's a marketing roadmap template you can use for your own business.
If you want to do things differently, you can also use an infographic to visualize your marketing strategy.
An infographic is eye-catching and can be added to any of your presentations and reports. You can even share it on its own with your marketing team or other colleagues.
Here’s a marketing infographic template that divides your execution strategy into four phases.
Another way to visualize your marketing strategy is with the help of a mind map. Mind maps are great for providing your team with an overview of the different elements that are involved in your marketing strategy.
Here's a mind map template that shows how this can be done for a Twitter marketing strategy.
You can easily build mind maps using our mind map maker.
Keep in mind that your marketing strategy should be actionable and detailed. Explain each step clearly and don’t leave out any information just for the sake of design.
Last but not least, detail your marketing budget considerations in your marketing plan.
This is important so you don’t lose sight of the financial aspect of things during execution and implementation. After all, marketing is costly and there are tons of hidden expenses involved.
Here’s an editable marketing budget template you can use.
Including a detailed marketing budget also helps in hiring the right staff and choosing between paid resources so you don’t exceed a certain amount.
Need help putting together a full marketing plan?
Here is our handpicked collection of 10 marketing plan templates for various types of businesses.
Pick the one that best fits your industry and start customizing it in the Visme editor right away. Replace the colors, fonts, text, images, icons and more with a few clicks.
You can also tap into a free library of stock photos and add animated characters, illustrations and gestures for advanced customization.
Create a comprehensive marketing plan for your food business, whether it’s a small cafe, a big fancy restaurant or a fast food joint.
This marketing plan features stock photos of food that you can replace with your own. It also has a versatile design that can be tailored to your own brand style and even an entirely different industry.
This tailored marketing plan template is perfect for all kinds of real estate and property businesses, complete with a professional “About” section and SWOT analysis.
It has a modern feel to it with a clean layout and corporate color scheme. You can easily switch it out for your own brand colors if you want.
This content marketing plan template is carefully designed to match the needs of SaaS and other businesses who want to focus on taking their content strategy to the next level.
If your marketing goals are to drive traffic, generate leads and grow sales through publishing insightful content, this marketing plan will help you organize your editorial calendar.
A good social media strategy needs a marketing plan of its own, which is why this template is a must-have for any business trying to win at this game.
Customize this social media marketing plan template to lay out your goals for the next year or quarter, and outline the key points of your strategy for each social channel.
Create an actionable marketing plan covering your digital channels with this detailed template.
This digital marketing plan has a classy design and layout, and features key headings like an executive summary, a SWOT analysis, key performance indicators and even a nice table of contents.
Creating an effective product marketing plan requires in-depth research of your target market, as well as company strengths and weaknesses.
This product marketing plan template covers all those basics, along with a detailed marketing budget that you can edit with your own financial data.
Hiring someone to help build a powerful personal brand?
This personal marketing plan is perfect for that purpose. It’s a simple, three-page document with a professional resume detailing skills and experience, followed by a goals page.
This marketing plan presentation template is a great way to share your marketing goals, SWOT, strategy, timeline, deliverables and more with your team and the management.
You can easily get the slides printed later and share the copies with your team. Edit this marketing plan presentation online in Visme and create a slideshow that's powerful and effective.
Here is another marketing plan presentation template you can use. This presentation template is especially relevant and useful if you're in the retail business.
Customize this marketing plan template online and download it in PDF or PowerPoint format, or save the slides separately in image format. You can also present this presentation online using a link — no downloads needed!
If you're not looking to create a detailed or formal document with several pages, this to-the-point marketing plan infographic template is a great pick.
It's a quick way to share the marketing plan for a one-off project and contains all the necessary details.
For most businesses, operating without a solid marketing plan results in ineffective campaigns, reduced ROI and unexpected costs. And nobody wants that.
A marketing plan helps you align your marketing objectives and activities with your overall business goals, and brings entire teams together on the same page.
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