Developing a Marketing Plan Outline by Bobette Kyle

Your Marketing Plan Getting Started

When developing or updating plans, knowing where to start is often a challenge. To better develop effective strategies to use in your market

Do you have a written marketing plan to help guide your decisions throughout the year? If not, it is time to write one. The traditional time for plan development is at year-end, when budgets are being set. If you have formal budgeting in place, this makes sense. A marketing plan, however, can be developed or updated at any time because it helps with day-to-day, as well as long-term decisions.

Planning need not be scary or difficult. By taking the process a step at a time ? first creating the marketing plan outline, then writing the plan from the outline ? it becomes manageable. You will need to set aside quality time for creating your plan, whether a single day or several sessions. There are different ways to write a marketing plan, ranging from simple, one-day plans to book length documents. One way is to develop a marketing plan outline using a five-step process, then writing the plan at a level of detail applicable to your situation.

Marketing Plan Outline

There is no single “correct” way to develop the outline. There are, however, some generally accepted topics to be covered in a plan. I’ve included some common sections in a printable marketing plan outline PDF here.

Your list of outline topics might include:

  • Executive summary
  • Industry analyses
    – SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
    – Porter 5 forces analysis: customers; your own company; current and future competitors; suppliers; and the regulatory environment.
  • The target market
    – Target market demographics: income levels; interests; activities; living environment; other geographic descriptions; psychological mindsets; political affiliations; family situations; age ranges; tastes; etc.
    – Industry or societal trends that affect your customers.
    – Your target customers’ needs and wants, and corresponding product benefits.
  • Marketing strategy
    – Overall objectives and mission statement
    – Positioning relative to competitors and in eyes of customers
    – General strategies to reach objectives and fulfill mission
    – Marketing mix, including specific marketing programs
    – Products
    – Pricing strategies
    – Distribution channels
    – Promotions, advertising and other marketing programs
  • Forecasts
    – Size of target market and growth projections.
    – Sales growth projections.
  • Financial analysis
    – Pro forma profit and loss (P&L) for each product and in total: sales forecasts, cost of goods, marketing budgets, fixed overhead and variable expense projections, profit margins
    – Breakeven analysis
    – “What-if” scenarios (sensitivity analysis)
  • Measurements
    – Measurable goals and success metrics for each program
    – Intermediate measurements for monitoring progress
  • For more on creating the outline and writing a marketing plan, click here.