Tag Archives: marketing tools

Marketing Plan – Make Your Outline

OK, so you are ready to put pen to paper and begin writing your formal marketing plan. Now is not the time to get “wishy-washy” and skip a step.  They are all important.  After you finish writing your plan you will have a better understanding of your products, you company and where it fits within your industry.  This understanding will help you to plan and execute successful marketing strategies and campaigns.

On August 3 I talked about approaches to writing a marketing plan.  When I was first writing them I preferred a more structured approach created by someone else.  I was afraid I would leave out an important section of my plan. Today, I definitely use the freestyle approach when writing my own plans or plans for someone else.  However, this statement could be a little misleading because I still have a structure.  I have a base outline that I usually start with and then customize it to fit the situation.

The key elements I use when writing a formal marketing plan are listed below.  Many of us have a natural inclination to move right into planning the marketing strategies or campaigns. However, skipping other sections of the plan can lead to poorly planned strategies because you are not looking at the whole picture.

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Situation Analysis  
    1. Company Analysis
    2. Customer Analysis
    3. Competitor Analysis
    4. Collaborators
    5. SWOT
    6. PEST
  3. Product Mix
    1. Description of your products
  4. Target Market / Market Segmentation
    1. Detailed description of target market and market segmenttion for each product
  5. Marketing Strategy / Marketing Mix
    1. Marketing Mix (Product, Price, Placement, Promotion)
    2. Campaign Strategy (Promotion)
      1. Here is where I detail advertsing, PR, promotions, etc.
  6. Success Metrics
    1. How will you measure success of this plan? Review and revise, review and revise!
  7. Forecasts / Financial Analysis
    1. Sales Forecast
    2. Budget Forecast
    3. Breakeven Analysis
    4. Etc.
  8. Conclusion

There are many different resources, both offline and online, that can provide you with a marketing plan outline (two are listed below). I encourage to you to look at several and take the best elements from each. 

Don’t forget, even if you are writing the plan yourself investing a couple hours in a coach who can review the plan and point out key elements that may be missing could be an invaluable investment.

Happy Planning!


Sources: QuickMBA  WebSite Marketing Plan

Marketing Plans – Phase it In

Excited about your new marketing plan? Don’t bite off more than you can chew…

Typically I will build a plan with a phased timeline. For me this is a key element of a successful plan. This way I can get early results without getting overwhelmed with the magnitude of the plan or expenses needed to execute the entire plan all at once.

The current plan I am working on has some mission critical elements already in process.  My client and I have identified a couple of additional mission critical elements and I have also identified a piece of “low hanging fruit” we can execute quickly. Once I finish writing her plan I will already have identified the first items on the timeline.

Mission Critical Elements – if you are a new company and just establishing your brand this will include the basics like company logo, business cards, letterhead and a basic web site. If your brand is established this may be the one campaign, project or strategy that sparked the need for a new plan in the first place.

Low Hanging Fruit – Identify a couple strategies and tactics that will give a high return, are low in cost or both.  This is a good way to jump start your marketing efforts.

A phased approach is also necessary unless you have an unlimited marketing staff or too much time on your hands.  Typically the small business owner does not have time or staff to execute their entire marketing strategy at the same time.

It is easy to get excited about your marketing efforts once you begin planning.  If you work to scale the mountain step-by-step you are setting yourself up for success with a manageable plan. More on marketing plans tomorrow.

Moving forward, one step at a time!


Uh…I don’t have a Marketing Plan

So you have a small business built on your hard work, expertise and contacts you have made through the years. But… you have a reached a plateau – your company is not growing and you have no idea how to market yourself. A realistic marketing plan is a key element.

There is a multitude of ways to approach a marketing strategy. If you are a beginner it can get very overwhelming. I am a planner so I always start with a plan. For some, the thought of writing a marketing plan is intimidating or cumbersome. It does not have to be.

I came across an article titled 3 Approaches to Marketing Planning by Bobette Kyle. It is a good read for someone with no experience in writing a marketing plan. It explains three approaches and then provides the pros and cons to each. I would, however, add a fourth approach to her list (see below).


  1. The Freestyle Approach
    1. a broad view approach which involved internet research and then writing a plan based on what you have learned
  2. The “I Need a Structured Starting Place” Approach
    1. a more structured approach using purchased packet of planning tools
  3. The “Take Me Through It Step By Step” Approach
    1. purchase a software package that guides you through a start-to-finish process
  4. The Hire a Marketing Coach/Consultant Approach (my addition) 
    1. engage a marketing professional who know you and your business. The can write the plan for you or assist in writing it. This way you can spend your time doing what you do best – running your business.

Over the next few days I will share some of the strategies I have learned in writing marketing plans. Please join the conversation if there is something you want to read about. Post a comment!

Scale the mountain one step at a time.


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