Marketing Plan Outline

This marketing plan outline will help small business owners put together a strategy to launch a new product or service or will help those who are starting a small business or working their business.

Marketing Plan Outline:

1. Executive Summary:

The executive summary is really a spotlight page of the contents of the marketing plan outline. Typically it needs to reference the key points of your strategy and answer the who, what, why, when, where, and how questions. This summary is always done at the end – after the other parts of the strategy are completed.

2. Company Review:

* Background information on the company (date incorporated, operation purpose, history, number of workers, primary product/service.
* Include the company’s vision statement, which is a view of the company’s long-term and future route, and the company’s value policy. Both will keep your strategy focused and aligned on your business.

3.Environmental Scan:

* Industry examination
* Competitive Analysis; including an outlook of competitive advantage
* Suppliers to your business
* Regulatory
* clients

4. Market:

There are two types of markets: mass markets (you’re marketing to the world – much like an online operation) or target markets (you’re selling to a specific targeted section of the market) – also referred to as target marketing or marketing segmentation.

As a small business owner, typically you will want to direct your market and you will therefore need to do market segmentation.

* Market segmentation is about segmenting the target market so that you can better target them with your offer. This could be done at a fairly basic or at a very detailed level.

5. Identify Your Target market with your marketing plan outline:

* Select your main, secondary, and perhaps even your tertiary markets based on your marketplace segmentation.

6. Build Your marketplace Strategy:

Your marketplace strategy needs to contain a main goal or mission statement (that connects to the Company’s mission statement). It also needs to contain your marketing objectives and how you plan to accomplish them (the action plan next steps).

* Why does what you sell benefit your (potential) customer?
* Describe your market’s needs and wants.
* Describe how your operation will meet them.
* Define your product’s place from the perspective of your target customer and relative to your competitors.
* Define the general techniques you will use (keeping in mind your target market’s need and wants and your operation product or service benefits.
* Define marketing mix:
* Product or Service: Features, advantages, benefits, specifications, improvements, problems/challenges.

7. Measure Your outcomes:

Your marketing plan outline must contain a strategy to measure operation performance and specific selling outcomes.

* How many sales did you get through your affiliate or referral programs?
* How many sales through the web; through walk-in?
* Did buyers inundate your phone lines after they read about you in the local paper?

Keep track of your marketing strategies, programs and tactics and measure results against these activities. Focus on those activities that give you the best results and spend less time, energy and money on those activities that don’t increase sales.

8. Marketing Plan Outline – Additional Elements To Include:

Your marketing plan outline needs to also include the orders plan, the operation operations system and business financial strategy.

Internet Marketing Plan Development

To be successful, the first step is to create a plan. Knowing where and how to reach a goal seems like common sense but an overwhelming number of businesses fail to do this step.

There are four steps in developing a good internet marketing plan:
1. Be clear on what you want to accomplish
2. Know what vehicles for internet promotion are available
3. Understand the competition
4. Understand the Prospects

Be Clear on Goals

The first step is to decide the aim of the online marketing plan. The tasks that you want to achieve, do you want to give information, provide services or sell products, etc have to be made clear. It may also include decisions regarding creation of online community, the budget planning for online marketing, clear goals and budget makes the end result more practical and profitable. There are two methods for developing a good plan. The first approach is to decide which tactics can work the best for the business in terms of manpower available, money, budget etc. These considerations can have a huge impact on implementation of any marketing plan. The second and more classical approach to marketing planning is to establish your goals and develop a plan for the best chance of success to reach those goals. Tactics that cannot be implemented are discarded in the plan, either intentionally or unintentionally. The first method is known as “bottom up” planning and the second is “top down” planning. Both methods work but it is up to the business owner to discover which method works best in their situation.

Know the Choices

Again it seems like common sense, but many business owners only have a limited knowledge of the many promotional opportunities available on the Internet. Marketing plans aren’t made overnight. They require a great deal of research and planning to get results.

Understand the Competition

This step is out of order from the method taught by many marketing courses but the truth is that competitors may have been working on implementing their marketing plans far longer and have likely worked out some of the “kinks” in their marketing plan. Determining what has been successful for them is likely to produce similar or better results by only slightly improving upon their plan.

Understand Potential Customers Decision Making Process

Knowing how your target market makes decisions online is the backbone of any Internet Marketing Plan. Assuming that the market follows the same decision process online as off is a mistake. They don’t. Any good internet marketing plan must begin with this understanding of the process. This process should not affect the goals but should certainly affect the implementation of the plan.

A Marketing Plan Template That Works For Any Business

This article will give you the six parts of a basic marketing plan template that will work for any business. Those parts, or sections of the template, are: Situation Analysis, Target Audience, Goals, Strategies, Tactics, and Budget.

The first section of the marketing plan is the SITUATION ANALYSIS.

In this section you look at your challenges, your competition, and how you are unique in the marketplace. The situation analysis lays the foundation for your goals, strategies and tactics. This is accomplished through a thorough analysis of your self and your specific situation or market. In this section you create your Unique Selling Proposition (U.S.P.).

The second section of the plan defines your TARGET AUDIENCE. Here is where you uncover who has a NEED for your product or service. This involves profiling you existing customers and finding common attributes. The purpose of the exercise is to ultimately create an “ideal customer profile”

In the Target Audience section of the document you decide which customers you are going to approach with your marketing efforts.

The third section of the marketing plan is GOALS.

This is where you lay out exactly what you want to accomplish with your marketing efforts. Without goals you will never have a benchmark to compare to. If your marketing plan is a one year plan, how will you know if you were successful or not at the end of the year of marketing activities?

Another critical element of the Goals section is to schedule evaluation points throughout the duration of your plan. Having these points predetermined will allow you to continually assess the effectiveness of your efforts.

The fourth section of the plan is where you develop your STRATEGIES.

This is where you choose which tools (media) you will use to reach your target audience. With many marketing tools available for businesses, choosing the right ones can make a big difference in your bottom line.

Using the information gathered in the first three sections of the marketing plan template will make the step of deciding which media tools to use easier.

The fifth section of the marketing plan is TACTICS.

Here you lay out the logistics of how you are going to use your marketing tools. When will your marketing tools be implemented? What happens when? In this section you will create a Media Rationale and a Marketing Calendar.

The media rationale justifies the use of a particular tool by outlining specific reasons why that tool is a good choice and the specific way it will be implemented within your plan.

The marketing calendar is simply a week-by-week calendar of your marketing activities.

The sixth section of the marketing plan is BUDGET.

In this part of your plan you look at whether or not you can afford certain marketing efforts and devise a way to keep track and monitor the responses to your marketing activities. You can also determine what kind of funds it will take to accomplish certain marketing priorities.

If you use these six sections when creating your marketing plan template; Situation Analysis, Target Audience, Goals, Strategies, Tactics, and Budget, you will have everything included to launch your new marketing initiatives to the marketplace.