Marketing plans are an essential part of every marketing initiative. Whether you’re constructing a plan for a multimillion dollar company or a small start-up, a marketing plan is crucial in that it ensures your marketing objectives are aligned with your business goals and strategy, and helps keep you focused through assigning tasks and establishing timelines. It also needs to be individually tailored around the product or service being offered.

This individualisation can make it particularly difficult to decide how to create a marketing plan. It can take hours to develop a good plan of action and do the research necessary for successful execution. The problem with many marketing plans is that once the plan has been crafted, there is often more talk than action, and key objectives seem to be overlooked or poorly prioritised.

Your marketing plan needs to adhere to key guidelines in order to create accountability around deadlines and give you and your team a clear, concise image of where you stand in your market and who you are targeting. If you are wondering how to create a marketing plan, here are some helpful tips to get you started.

1.       Your Executive Summary describes the entire marketing plan. This is usually the last section that is written, even though it is the first thing included in the plan. Even though you will need to finalise this component at the end of writing your plan, it is a good idea to dot point some ideas and key information for this section as you go to help you gain focus on the project. The executive summary should be detailed enough to include the key components of the plan, but still short and concise, as if it could be pitched to someone during an elevator ride (an idea commonly referred to as an “elevator pitch”). The executive summary section can help you to have an ongoing understanding of the campaign as your plan progresses.

2.       Start listing key tasks step-by-step so that you can begin to flesh out the details of each major component of the plan. This will help you create individual goals for product or service lines and find more specialised ways to promote them. In this section, you want to include a detailed description of the product/service line, sales figures, statistics and goals. Try not to make more than three goals per product, that way they are more measurable and achievable.

3.       When deciding how to create a marketing plan, you will need to perform a situation analysis, that is; an analysis on your company, competitors, collaborators involved with the product line, customers and climate. You will also need to perform a SWOT analysis. This is to ensure you fully understand your market and how/where your product fits into that market.

4.       You will also need to get a better understanding of each market segment that relates to your product/service and how they buy. Segments tend to be measurable, allowing you to scale your campaign and decide the best ways to interact with your buyers at each point in their journey. When writing your marketing plan, be sure to include each segment with a description of what problem you are looking to solve within your segment and why, and what percentage of sales that segment is responsible for in the market. Then include the best ways to engage with that segment and market your solution.

It is worth enlisting the help of a professional to help create some alternative marketing strategies that can help you gain more insights and get extra exposure. A professional marketing company frequently creates and executes marketing plans and can include different selective marketing strategies to gain a better focus on your promotions and ensure nothing is overlooked.

The version of a marketing plan is a little different. We have created our own software – Funnel Plan, which allows us to create a one-page, go to market plan for companies of any size, and continually tweak and update data in order to view plans in their most current form. You can view Funnel Plan here, or alternatively, subscribe to the Funnel Vision blog for regular tips on how to implement your marketing plan on paper and within Funnel Plan, and engage with your target market.