Home Page | Blog | Managing | Marketing | Planning | Strategy | Sales | Service | Networking | Voice Marketing Inc.

Marketing Plan Outline:
An 8 Step Process

Use Marketing Plan Example

This marketing plan outline and checklist will help you build your own plan. Define marketing mix from your business' perspective and use a sample marketing plan to provide you with a structure that will help you build an effective plan.

Search This Site
Custom Search

This 8-step marketing plan outline will help you put together a plan to launch a new product or service or will help you if you are starting a small business or running your own business.

Examples used in this sample marketing plan below are to illustrate the content only; for example, in some industries the marketing plan example for an opportunity might be a threat; etc.

I've included examples just to show you what SOME of the subjects might be. Thoroughly understand your own environment before you start to write the marketing plan.

A thorough business plan outline (which includes the marketing plan outline) is also necessary for the many other business planning components.

Marketing Plan Outline: An 8 Step Approach

  1. Executive Summary:
  2. The executive summary is really a highlight page (or two) of the contents of the marketing plan. Typically it needs to address the key points of your plan and answer the who, what, why, when, where, and how questions; and finishes with the 'next step'. This summary is always done last; after the other parts of the plan are completed. Follow this 8-step marketing plan outline to build a strong and measurable plan. Make sure that you clearly understand what you need to accomplish in your marketing plan.

  3. Company Review:
    • Introduce the management team: A Who's Who

    • Background information on the Company (date incorporated, business purpose, history, number of employees, primary product/service, etc.)

    • Include the company's vision statement (a view of the company's long-term and future direction) and the company's value statement. Both will keep your plan focused and aligned on your business.

  4. Environmental Scan:
  5. (also known as a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (or SWOT) analysis)

    • SWOT Analysis: Company (internal) and Environment it operates in (external)
    • Industry Analysis
      • Competitive Analysis; including an analysis of competitive advantage (Michael Porter's 5 Competitive Forces)
      • Suppliers to industry
      • Regulatory
      • Customers
      • Company's position in the industry (or in the case of a new business startup, the desired position in the industry)
  6. Market:
  7. Generally, there are two types of markets: mass markets (you're selling to the world; much like an online business) or target markets (you're selling to a specific targeted segment of the market) - also referred to as target marketing or marketing segmentation.

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

    • Market segmentation (which is about segmenting the target market (so that you can better target them with your offer) think about this as 'niche-ing' your customers).

      This could be done at a fairly high level or at a very detailed level.

      • At the high level, if you are focused on business to business selling you might want to segment by size of the business or the location of the business.
      • At the detailed level you might want to segment by psychographics (lifestyle, values, needs, wants) or by demographics (characteristics of age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) or both or more.

    You are trying to determine and separate the characteristics of your market segments and find a viable market for your products or services.

  8. Identify Your Target market:
    • Select your primary, secondary, and perhaps even your tertiary markets based on your market segmentation.

  9. Build Your Marketing Strategy:
  10. Your marketing strategy needs to include an overarching goal or mission statement (that connects to the Company's mission statement). It also needs to include 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 business will meet them.
    • Define your product's position from the perspective of your target customer and relative to your competitors.
    • Define the general strategies you will use (keeping in mind your target market's need and wants and your business' product or service benefits.
    • Define marketing mix:
      • Product or Service: Features, advantages, benefits, specifications, improvements, problems/challenges.
      • Pricing for each product or service: make sure you define each product's competitive pricing strategies.
      • How you will distribute or place the product or service? (For example: Is it a physical storefront, or an online storefront? Will you have multiple branches or one location?)
      • Marketing Mix Promotion (also known as marketing communications): define how you plan to promote the product or service. This effort helps to build your brand or identity. Tactics can include internet marketing, postcard marketing, advertising, direct mail, print programs, public relations, and lots more.

  11. Measure Your Results:
  12. Your marketing plan must contain a plan to measure business performance and specific marketing results.

    • How many sales did you get through your affiliate or referral programs?
    • How many sales through the web; through walk-in?
    • Did buyers flood 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.

  13. Marketing Plan Outline - Additional Elements To Include:
  14. Your marketing plan needs to also include the sales plan, the business operations plan and business financial plan.

    • It is in your sales plan that you need to address the size of the market, your market share or your target market share, your growth plans (typically by dollars and by month/year).
    • The operations plan needs to be linked to sales projections: can operations manufacture or inventory the products needed to fulfill the sales projections? Do you have enough staff to achieve your targets? Do you have enough supplies and materials to achieve your targets?
    • The financial plans need to include pro-forma profit and loss statements; include marketing budget projections, cash flow projections, a break-even analysis, and a risk analysis (also known as 'what-if' or sensitivity analysis) to assess risks and impacts on the company if sales, production and/or costs do not happen as per the plan.

This marketing plan outline is a framework for you. You can expand it and contract it (slightly) to meet your specific needs. But do the work (or outsource your planning efforts): aligning your marketing, with your sales, operations, financial and human resources efforts will help you grow your business.

More-For-Small-Business Newsletter:

For more timely and regular monthly information on managing your small business,
please subscribe here.




Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you More Business Resources.

Additional Reading:

Or return from Marketing Plan Outline to Definition of Marketing.

Return from Competition in Business to More for Small Business Home Page.

Subscribe to

More Business Resources E-zine




Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you More Business Resources.

Marketing and Life–Cycle

Marketing is a requirement for all businesses: without marketing strategies and tactics your business will struggle to survive.

Not all marketing activities are planned: you might be building your brand recognition through a social media campaign (that's marketing); you might be conducting market research to analyze your competitors and/or segment and target your potential market or to develop the most desirable features, advantages and benefits of your products or services (that's all marketing).

Marketing is pretty all–encompassing; and a challenge for many business owners. The additional challenge is recognizing that the different stages of your business life–cycle: start–up, mid–cycle, mature or late–in–life.

During start–up you need to develop your marketing strategies to grow sales; for example, you might want to use a market penetration pricing strategy to build sales quickly.

During mid–cycle, you need to grow your customer base (often through lead generation) and that need requires different marketing strategies, such as cold calling on prospective clients, email marketing, newsletter and blog sign ups and distribution (all to grow your list of prospects).

During the mature cycle, you need to build your marketing efforts around your brand; your competitive advantage can be in your reputation, history, and identity and on what differentiates your business from your competitors.

Marketing your products and services is not something that you do once (such as a marketing plan) and then never change or do again. You need to be continually researching and building your strategies and tactics to be ahead of the market, and ahead of your competition.

The market is constantly evolving; ever more rapidly with the impacts of globalization and technology. You need to invest resources into marketing to ensure that you build and sustain your business.

marketing logo

[?]Subscribe To
This Site
  • Add to Google
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

Outsource Your Marketing

If you need support in your marketing efforts, or if you'd like a review of your marketing plan, contact us for more information on our marketing services.

If marketing is not your core strength, or if you don't have enough staff to commit to developing your marketing efforts (and acting on the plan), outsourcing your marketing strategy and implementation will allow you to concentrate on developing your business.

Start with a marketing plan that includes the necessary research, strategy development and implementation action plan. We provide you with the plan tactics, budget, schedule and key performance measurements.

Execute the plan yourself or have us at Voice Marketing Inc. manage the execution for you.

Once the plan is implemented, we report on the actions we've taken, the performance of the tactics employed, and on the results.

You'll feel confident that your business marketing is being effectively managed and continually evolving.

We specialize in providing services to small business owners and understand that marketing efforts must be customized for each business' unique needs.