What to Include in Your Marketing Plan

In my last post, I covered business plans and four of the most important elements to include in an abbreviated version. The same shorter process can be applied to another powerful type of planning — marketing. Here are some of the most important parts of a marketing plan that can be used for a new business or any business.

Target Market

You can’t target everyone and expect to be successful; it’s impossible. You need to have an idea of your ideal clients or customers, then you need to do some market research to find out everything you can about them. This section should answer: Who are you targeting, specifically? What will they do, where will they live, what challenges will they have, where will you find them?

Positioning Statement

Your unique positioning statement is what will set you apart from the competition and provide clarity about how you want to present your products and services throughout your marketing copy. Answer the question: What does your business do better than anyone else can?

Value

Now that you know what makes you unique, consider what will make your target clients decide to pick you over your competition. What value will you offer your target clients that they can’t get anywhere else? What will make them think the value they’re receiving surpasses the financial investment required?

Goals

Going back to the goals you outlined in your business planning, create marketing goals that match up. What will you need to achieve through your marketing activities that will help you reach your overall business goals?

Pricing Strategy

This section could fit into your abbreviated business plan, but I personally like it kept in the marketing plan since the strategy you select will play a very significant role in how you create your marketing messages. Answer: What you will charge for your products/services? Why did you select that price point? What variations will you have on your standard pricing (coupons, discounts, etc.)?

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis in an opportunity for you to identify not only your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, but also that of your competition. The data you uncover can help you identify an untapped niche, formulate ideas for improving your marketing message and open your eyes to what your competition is doing.

Budget and Planning

Your marketing budget plays a big role in how you will execute your marketing plan. In this section, outline what you intend to spend on marketing each month, then break down the actual actions you will take. This can be expanded into a dedicated marketing action list that you refer to on an ongoing basis.

The good news is, you can create an effective marketing campaign, even with a small marketing budget. It all starts with the plan which you’ve already started here; add a little creativity and you may come up with some very effective ways to put your marketing plan into action.

Image credit: kikashi

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

  • PamAlvord

    Great outline. Another helpful tip in developing marketing strategy is to focus on 7 key words — who, what, why, when, how, where, plus “and.” See more at this related post http://bit.ly/auLIBw

    • jeff

      great!

  • stevenog

    I think that the importance of market research can not be underplayed.
    In my experience this is the one thing that a start-up or established company is remiss in doing. You need to understand which social demographic you are aiming for and try to ascertain if there is sufficient demand or gap in the current market to allow your business to establish and/or grow.
    Effective market research = effectively knowing what your customers want from you and how to give it to them
    Steve Ogden
    http://www.ct-web.co.uk

  • http://www.apcooper.co.uk AndrewCooper

    Another fantastic post from you Alyssa, I think what I love most about the business entries you post is that if the reader actually understands what you are saying and is able to channel that information through their mind to apply it to their own business they can actually make more money immediately – As in 2 or 3 hours after reading the blog post! I’m so damn happy to read your business posts for free Alyssa :P But I’d still be happy to pay! Why not start a business related course on SitePoint Courses or Learnable?

    Marketing is my favourite aspect of business (aside from making loads of money of course!) and if I was working in a business for another company it would be in a marketing role for sure. But there is something that everyone needs to realise – EFFECTIVE and MEASURED marketing campaigns are very very time consuming and expensive to carry out. I personally think marketing is the part of your business that is the most expensive, but also the part that you can reap most of the benefits from.

    You have to have a business and creative mind to come up with marketing campaign to begin with. Then you need to spend money and time to bring that marketing campaign to fruition. After all of that is done you then need to measure the effectiveness of the marketing campaign and that will take up more time and money.

    Wow…I just had a thought. Alyssa, how about you create a business-focussed (as opposed to Web / Online focussed) marketing course? Just a thought! If not then post more marketing entries please! :D

    Andrew Cooper