Hi, this week we’re having a look at marketing plan template. I’ll show you five marketing plan template sources we’ve found.  I’ll analyse them, synthesize them, draw a few conclusions, offer our own conclusions, and then give you a couple of free sources of marketing plan template.

Let me start with the conclusions. You can obviously get this from the end, but let me give the conclusions right now, and then I’ll build up a case for these. A great B2B marketing plan template includes: objectives, the market problem, your target market, solution, channel, your velocity, competition, tactics, measurement and review process.

The problem with that list, is that it looks kind of obvious. I’m going to show you five different takes that I actually fundamentally disagree with, that also look quite obvious. That’s the order. That’s the list. Let me explain why.

I’m going to show you what we came up with, why we think those elements are what you need, and then I’m going to offer you a free marketing plan template, and the source for a couple more. Let’s have a look at the first of those.

Our first one is from Business Victoria. This is a section on the Victorian government’s website. They run through the basic process of building a marketing plan. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s been written by someone who’s never built a marketing plan in their life, to be frank. Lots of details about why you need good background information, marketing objectives, and why your marketing objectives should be SMART. With respect, SMART is an acronym that refers to goals, not to objectives. They’re very similar, but they’re fundamentally different. Goals are the big things you’re trying to achieve, and objectives are the granular measures you’re going to use to reach towards those bigger goals. The marketing mix description here is pretty basic. Frankly, I would say, don’t bother.

The next one is published on Forbes, and is entitled, “Marketing Plan Template: Exactly What to Include,” by Dave Lavinsky. He’s the author of “Start of the End: How Companies Can Grow Bigger and Faster by Reversing Their Business Plan.” You’d think he has a bit of knowledge about business planning. He does, and I actually quite like this. He lists in this, 15 sections you need to contemplate. Executive summary, always makes good sense in a big document to start with a summary, target customers, USP, pricing … I won’t keep going but the essence is quite good. Now, what I would say about this is it is a much better 101 approach to business planning, and I would recommend you read it. I’d say, Dave Lavinsky, you’ve done an excellent job, and thank you for this as a resource.

Next one is “Your Marketing Plan.” This is from Marketing Donut. I’m going to save you some time. Don’t bother. This is so 101 and basic, and really, frankly, unhelpful.

Now, blog four is “A One Page Marketing Plan Anyone Can Use” by Ivana Taylor. She’s a book editor for Small Business Trends. It’s good if you want sources to templates but there’s actually not a huge amount in the article itself. There is a little collection of templates that you can download and use. Also, I like that both of these are one page. Again, the article itself has very little, but the links to the templates, and the offer of the templates are helpful.

The fifth one I’m including, because it didn’t come up so much on Google, but it was the most shared, with 321 shares on Facebook, 438 on LinkedIn, 1,136 on Twitter, loads on Pinterest, and actually quite a few on Google. You’ve probably heard me say a few times, “Google, who would bother?” Well, actually, Google did pretty well on this one. “Essential Templates to Help with Content Marketing, Social Media, and Influencer Marketing,” by Michelle Lynn, Vice President of content at the Content Marketing Institute. Now, if you know the Content Marketing Institute, they are a credible source no doubt, and this is no exception, so I understand why it’s being shared. My only criticism, if I can be allowed to have one, is that it’s narrowly about content marketing – of course it is, it’s from the Content Marketing Institute. Great organization about content marketing. In regard to marketing plan template, it’s clearly not complete enough, because it’s only talking about content marketing.

I’m going to give you my own thoughts on what you actually need in a marketing plan template, but let me first respect those five sources. These are what they synthesize to: objectives, the target market that you’re going to identify, your unique selling proposition, the price, your distribution method, the tactics you’re going to use, and your review process. That’s essentially what those five contributors are suggesting.

The first point I want to make is that if you can’t say it on one page, then you probably don’t understand it yourself. Whatever format of B2B marketing template you adopt, make sure it gets down to a single page. Here are the things you most need on it, your objectives, most certainly. Make the strategy all about the buyer, not you, the seller. What problem are you trying to solve? Who has that problem? How can you solve it? Who else can solve it? Let me play that back in English.

Market problem. Target market, well of course, but the target market now becomes who has that problem the most.

Solution – your offer to solve that problem, and why it’s the best. I’ve replaced the USP with that straight solution conversation because essentially, it needs to become why do you solve the problem better, not why is your product good. Up the latter, just totally encourages you to think about your own product way too much.

Channel, but the channel becomes, who can get you to those particular buyers to surface that chosen problem and then earn the right to solve it. That’s the channel you need to be using.

Competition, but who else can solve the problem is now your competition, not who else does what you do. There’s lots of ways to solve the problem, and you might find yourself competing with indirect competitors more than direct competitors. Do it yourself, and do nothing, are often the biggest competitors. They still need to have a strategy, or you still need to have a strategy to win against them.

Velocity, because the tactics to trouble 100 buyers are not the same as the tactics you would use to trouble 10,000 buyers.

Tactics, but now the tactics become, how are we going to move each buyer through their individual journey at the required rate? What’s the required rate? Whatever came out of the velocity.

Then your measurement and review process.

We have got a free web application for building plans, called Funnel Plan. At the time of recording, we’re building a pre-launch list, by the time you listen to this, we might already be well into public launch, or even post-launch. In any of those cases, go to funnelplan.com, and check out our free marketing plan template. Really, it’s much more than just a template. There’s loads of analysis and reporting, but you get the idea.

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Now, if you have already done that, you’re bound to have a colleague who hasn’t even if you’ve already asked them – please do so again. The reason I’m asking you to do so is because our ability to keep funding the investment in this show takes quite a bit of time to put together, research, production, et cetera. Hence, our ability to do that is dependent on growing our market and therefore we need your help. I’d be extremely grateful if you would reach out to people that you know, and tell them there’s a show you really enjoy watching. Give them either the link to this particular show, or either of the links mentioned before.

If you’ve done all of that, let us know what you’d like us to research. I’m getting tons of e-mails on good suggestions, but I haven’t had yours. What would you like us to cover in the show? Shoot us an e-mail to [email protected], tell us what topic you’d like us to research and produce, and we’d be extremely happy to do so.

I hope you got a lot out of today’s show, I had a lot of fun producing it. Thank you for listening through to the end, and may your funnel be full, and always flowing.

Our thanks this week to: