Here is an example of a complete marketing plan outline that includes all the sections needed to prepare a professional marketing plan.
Depending on your business, it may not be necessary to write up each section listed however. This type of marketing plan would most likely be included within a complete business plan that one would be submitting to a bank for funding, for example.
Nevertheless, every marketing plan should have an outline of the structure before you start. This is important so that the information is presented in a logical way, and that nothing important is left out.
Clicking on each subheading will bring you to a more detailed article.
- State the reason for the marketing plan.
- Explain why you are in business, both personal and business goals.
- Review business goals and objectives as well as specific strategies to reach them.
Identify each service and product that will be sold. Describe it in detail and explain how it fits into the market.
- For products, identify in terms of name, trademark, color, shape, and other characteristic, including packaging and labeling.
- Differentiate the products/services in terms of how it fits into the market.
- Describe the product/service weaknesses.
- Describe the product lines, and new products/services that will be introduced.
- List the cost of each product/service.
- List the intended prices for each product/service.
- Identify percent of annual sales and dollar amount each product/service represents.
Describe your target market in detail by using demographics, geography, lifestyle, age, population, etc.
- Identify your customers - include all demographic and lifestyle information.
- Identify location of customers (local, regional, national or international).
- Identify factors in customer selection of the products/services and brands, including remittances.
- Identify the size of each market.
- Identify market trends, including information about market studies and test marketing.
- List factors that affect purchasing such as: 1) seasons, 2) obsolescence, 3) tax considerations, 4) price, availability, service, 5) emotional considerations, and 6) all other factors.
- Will promotional activities be concentrated in specific markets?
Competition (Direct and Indirect)
Describe your main competitors, their products, resources and suppliers.
- Identify competitors by divisions, product lines and markets.
- Identify and compare your company's and your competitors' strengths and weaknesses.
- Compare your marketing techniques with those of your competitors.
- Review product/service costs for accuracy including all variable and fixed expenses.
- Be sure all products/services carry their share of expenses plus provide for profit.
- Compare prices for your products/services with similar products/services in the industry.
- If your prices will be higher, they need to provide the necessary "added value" to justify.
- If your prices are lower, explain why in terms of your marketing strategy.
- Identify the most effective methods for getting products/services to customers in the target market.
- Identify need for warehousing of products and for distribution channels if not sold direct to buyer.
Describe potential advertising program - discuss the following:
- Possible use of ad agency and/or in-house ad department
- Project expenditures for each medium and product/service
- Review sales history of competitors through secondary research.
- Show recent sales trends in industry.
- Make any seasonal adjustments.
- Project sales and income for next four quarters. (See business plan cash flow projections.)
Describe your planned marketing tactics and how you will implement those strategies in terms of product, price, promotion, and other variables.
- List all marketing strategies/activities.
- Prioritize all strategies by levels of importance.
- Describe how your competitors are likely to respond to your actions.
- Determine level of production/service necessary to meet demand generated by your marketing.
Summarize the advantages of your plan and why your plan will help you succeed over your competitiors.
Include all supporting information that you have used to back up your data.
It might seem like a huge undertaking just to complete a full marketing plan. However, the success of your business depends greatly on the quality of this plan. The research conducted enables you to narrow down your target markets, and enables you to set a price point for your product or service that will be acceptable to your market.
Starting or running a business without following a good detailed, well researched marketing plan is a sure way to waste money on advertising.
Lastly, your marketing plan is meant to be followed, and updated regularly. As you get to know your customers better, you will be better suited to make decisions on how better to reach them in order ti increase sales.