SAMPLE MARKETING PLANS -
How to understand them
and write your own plan simply.
Also See These Articles Related to "Sample Marketing Plans":
1. Marketing Mix
2. Effective Advertising
3. Small Business Advertising
There are many sample marketing plans available on the internet and in marketing books. Unfortunately, many of the sample plans you will come across make the process of writing such a plan seem difficult.
I’ve written this article to simplify the process for you.
The plans you find in your research may appear different from each other. That’s because, as with a business plan, there is some flexibility in style (see related article:
Writing a Business Plan Strategically).
Some sample marketing plans are simple, brief, and easily understood. Others are lengthy, in-depth reports broken down into categories, and sub-categories, and sub-sub-categories. The depth and detail of your own plan will depend on the audience for whom it is written; the product or service it is about; the complexity of your marketing strategies; and the budgets involved in their implementation. However, it is fair to say that most plans break down into a general structure like the one listed below.
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Although in most sample marketing plans this part appears first, it is actually the last part you will write. Your executive summary is just that, a brief (usually 1-2 page) summary of the most important items in your plan.
Often written in bullet point form, the summary can be broken into the same categories that are used to organize the rest of your plan, thereby allowing for easy cross-referencing.
II. INDUSTRY ANALYSIS
This part of your plan is an overview of the industry, providing insights about competitors; suppliers; government regulations; customers; and of course, how your product or service fits into the context of it all.
Though you won't find one in most sample marketing plans, the use of a SWOT Analysis can be used to develop this part of your plan (see the related article:
How a SWOT Analysis Can Help You
III. YOUR PRODUCT AND TARGET MARKET
Here you will narrow the focus of your plan to the relationship between your product and the specific market you are targeting.
Markets can be broken down in a number of ways including demographics, psychographics, location, and others (see related article:
Marketing Strategies - Target Marketing, Niche Marketing and More
What’s more, here you will explain how your product or service fulfills a particular need, or provides a particular benefit to your target market.
IV. MARKETING STRATEGY
Having established who your target market is and why they’ll want your product or service, you can now explain how you will communicate your marketing message to them.
I advise my clients that there are two levels to any marketing strategy:
1.) Brand Strategy and 2.) Tactics.
1.Brand Strategy primarily addresses your product’s positioning (image) in the market relative to your competition.
2.Tactics refers to the specific media and methods you use to raise awareness about your product, and to communicate its image and benefits to your target market.
This section is critical not only for your own ability to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, but also so possible investors can see that you’ve built measurement methods into your planning (so they can measure your marketing’s effectiveness).
Tracking and measuring the results of any marketing campaign is essential for the purpose of nurturing, adjusting and eliminating strategies and tactics as necessary.
VI. FINANCIAL FORECASTS
This is where the rubber meets the road. After all is said and done; after all your analysis and planning; this section explains how you plan to monetize your product or service, and how much revenue it will generate over how long a period of time.
In addition, this section should include marketing budgets and expenditures, including projections regarding the need for additional marketing capital as the business grows.
In truth, investors look at all financial projections with a large grain of salt. They understand that optimism and variables will greatly distort the accuracy of the numbers. However, including these numbers is an important starting point for your own understanding of the cash needs of your marketing strategy. It also shows investors that you’ve done the due diligence necessary for this essential part of your planning.
As you can see, the basic format of your plan is fairly straight forward. Hopefully, now when you look at sample marketing plans, the general structure outlined above will help you understand them, and help you write your own plan more easily and effectively.
-by Andrew Sokol
Andrew Sokol is a Business and Marketing Strategist.
He is also the publisher of this website.
Andrew is available for private consulting and public speaking.
He can be reached by clicking
1. Small Business Advertising
2. Effective Advertising
3. Marketing Mix
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