Review: Marketing Plan Pro Software by Bobette Kyle

You are probably visiting to learn more about marketing planning, but may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at the volume of information. If this is the case, you may find marketing plan software more useful. Working through a finite process and set of materials can be a more efficient use of your time.

Software – such as Marketing Plan Pro software, version 11.0 Powered by Duct Tape Marketing (which I love so much, I’ve decided to mention no other marketing planning software) is helpful in ways different from freestyle marketing plan research.

The Marketing Plan Pro Purchase Experience

As serendipity would have it, I purchased version 9.0 two days before this new version was released. As it turns out, 11.0 is very different from 9.0, so I could not import marketing plans started in the prior version. Consequently, I chose to take advantage of the 60-day money back guarantee instead of upgrading for $39.95.

I had the option of purchasing the download only or to pay shipping and also receive the software CD and John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing book. I chose the latter. (The next day I received notice, with a UPS tracking number, that the books had been shipped.) After paying for the software I downloaded the file ? as well a free copy of Plan as You Go Business Plan by Tim Berry ? without incident. The software activation code serial number for activation was provided immediately both online and in the emailed receipt. The 60Mb+ file took about four minutes to download on my cable modem connection. Installation proceeded in typical software fashion without a hitch.

Getting Started with Marketing Plan Pro

Upon beginning a new plan in Marketing Plan Pro I was given three plan set-up options. In increasing level of detail: 30-minute (just to get your thoughts down on paper), Basic (scaled down version of a detailed plan), and Standard (detailed marketing plan). I was then asked a series of questions related to the business and plan setup. Next, step-by-step tasks helped me through the process of creating the plan I’d described during set up.

The software helped me through the analyses necessary for an effective marketing plan. Every aspect of a strong strategic plan was included, but the approach was a bit different from Marketing Plan Pro 9.0 (which began with understanding the company, competition, and customers and then helped transform those analyses into logical marketing strategies). Marketing Plan Pro 11.0 started with asking me to describe my ideal customer and why ? through their eyes ? my company/products/services are different from others. From there, the software stepped me through a variety of topics:

  • Core Strategy
  • My product or service innovation
  • Lead generation plan
  • Lead conversion plan
  • Marketing materials
  • Web plan
  • Service experience
  • Marketing training
  • Marketing calendar
  • Critical numbers
  • Marketing vision to bring the plan to life

The level of detail I was asked to describe varied depending on the plan option I chose, with the 30-minute plan omitting some sections.

After completing the plan, I could publish it in a variety of ways: (a) send the entire plan or parts of the plan straight to the printer, (b) export it to Word or Acrobat, or (3) make it available to others through a secure, password-protected Website.

Extra Goodies

There is also a resource section, where I found these additional tools:

  • Extensive online information and seminars for both software operation and marketing support
  • Market and data research resources
  • PowerPoint presentation templates
  • Design your own logo service for free Website use ($49 to purchase copyright)
  • Other miscellaneous offers

My Conclusions

I have to say I came into this biased. I do, after all, have my own approach to marketing planning for the small business owner (and who, after all doesn’t think their own way is best 😉 ). After working through the Duct Tape Marketing approach within the Marketing Plan Pro structure, I have to admit it’s a better system than mine. I believe they have figured out how to better help the average small businessperson more easily grasp basic strategic marketing principals, better understand how to use them in a plan, and how to make ongoing marketing adjustments. (That was not easy for me to say!)

Marketing Plan Pro is the most comprehensive, easy to understand marketing plan method / software combination I have come across. Topic-specific help is always one click away through audio or written help and specific examples. I found it similar in operation to TaxCut. Like the tax return software, this software makes the process painless, allowing you to focus on specifics of the tasks at hand:

  • User Friendliness: A+ (Very intuitive to use.)
  • Usefulness: A+ (The flexibility to plan at three levels of detail, one-click help at each step, and numerous resources make this an easy-to-use software for those at all levels.)
  • Timeliness: A (The software is up-to-date as of September, 2008 on social media and other Web marketing methods, which change often. Other resources within the program will help users stay current as marketing methods evolve.)
  • Value: A (This software will return the $180 investment many times.)
  • Overall Score: A

If you are looking for guidance through the marketing plan process ? including directions, explanations, specific examples, and a collection of powerful resources ? you will find Marketing Plan Pro 11.0 Powered by Duct Tape Marketing invaluable.