How to Create a Marketing Plan in 2023

  • Marketing

Every business, regardless of the industry it belongs to, needs  a solid  marketing plan to achieve its marketing goals.

What often happens, however, is that brands try several different marketing tactics in hopes of getting the maximum possible results. And this is exactly why they failed!

Creating a marketing plan is not an easy process as there are several strategies that need to be combined; From social media marketing  to content marketing and paid advertising.

So, let’s start the chase and see how you can create your own marketing plan that works for almost every type of business. You’ll also find marketing plan templates that will help you get started right away!

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a roadmap that outlines how companies set their marketing goals, how they plan and execute them, as well as how they track their marketing strategies. Marketing plans can range from reporting one-year actions to one-month actions.

Simply put, a marketing plan provides a clear view of all your marketing activities.

A marketing plan usually includes:

  • Overview of your goals (marketing and advertising)
  • Description of your target audience and potential customers
  • Marketing strategies and tactics you want to leverage
  • Possible budgetary and financial considerations
  • Key performance metrics or indicators (KPIs) you’ll track to measure results

Marketing plans are most often presented as PDF documents, they can also have a more creative version.

Now let’s explore the difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy.

Marketing Plan Vs. Marketing Strategy

Sometimes these two terms are used interchangeably. However, they have differences.

A marketing strategy describes how a company will strive to achieve a specific goal or mission. A company’s marketing strategy may include channels, campaigns, content, or software/tools that will be used to achieve those goals and measure their success.

Here is a nice picture that shows the possibilities of a marketing strategy:

Fountain

As you can see, this is quite common and does not describe the actual steps required to complete each strategy.

On the other hand, a marketing plan involves specific activities (daily, weekly, etc.) that a marketing strategy requires. Therefore, a marketing plan may contain one or more marketing strategies. Basically, it’s a framework that determines which marketing strategy to use and helps connect each strategy to your digital marketing operations and  overall business goals.

Types of marketing plans

Depending on how detailed your marketing plan is, you can choose to put together a marketing plan for a year-round strategy or a separate marketing plan for each individual channel you want to target.

Now let’s look at the most common types of marketing plans you can create.

  • Annual Marketing Plan (General Marketing Plan): This marketing plan allows you to see everything at a glance. From corporate missions and USPs to SWOT analysis and marketing channels, it contains everything you need.
  • Content Marketing Plan : A content marketing plan describes various tactics, strategies, and campaigns that you can use to help your business achieve its content goals. It can also present an editorial calendar and be arranged in bullet points so that it can be read and easier to understand.
  • Social Media Marketing Plan: A social media marketing plan contains specific tactics that will be used on every social media channel you have, campaigns you plan to run, ways to gain a presence on other social media platforms. In short, how to achieve your business goals through social networks.
  • Paid marketing plan (demand generation): This type of marketing plan involves your paid marketing strategy, such as search advertising, paid social media advertising, email marketing strategy, and more.
  • Product Launch Marketing Plan: Launching a new product requires your own planning. This plan serves as a roadmap  for  strategies you’ll leverage to promote your new products.

How to Write a Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan will vary depending on your goals or the type of organization you are designing. And while there is no single way to create a marketing plan, these are some of the key components of a superior marketing plan.

So let’s go ahead and explore them one by one! (click to move forward)

Marketing plan outline

  1. Demonstrate your company’s mission and values
  2. Create an executive summary
  3. Set your KPIs
  4. Describe your buyer persona
  5. Identify your competitors
  6. Describe your content strategy and initiatives
  7. Clearly define the omissions in your plans
  8. Define your marketing budget
  9. Describe the taxpayer and the responsibilities of your plan
  10. Show your mission and business values

The first step in crafting an effective marketing plan is to establish your company’s mission and values. Then, you immediately answer the question of why you did what you did.

While your mission is specific to your marketing department, it should be aligned with your core mission statement as a brand. Try to be as specific and clear as possible without overdoing it. What we mean by that is that you’ll have plenty of room later on to explain how you’re going to acquire customers and succeed in your mission.

For example, if your business mission is to “provide affordable sporting goods,” then your marketing mission might be to attract users from a certain income, educate them on how they can achieve the same results as products at competitive prices, and convince them to invest in it.

Note: This part of your marketing plan is very important for anyone reading this, as it can educate them about the main goals of your business. In this way, they will be able to better understand their marketing goals and future plans.

  1. Create an executive summary

An executive summary is a brief description of your company. Introduce readers to your company’s goals, marketing wins, and future plans.

The purpose of an executive summary is to get people excited to read your marketing plan. For this reason, your summary should be concise and straightforward. Otherwise, you risk boring people.

Basically, your executive summary could include the following:

  • Simple marketing goals
  • Company milestones/milestones
  • Future plans
  • Data relevant to your brand

… and so on!

You do not need to delve into the details, because you just want to interest people.

Finally, your summary helps set the tone for your marketing plan. So think carefully about which color best suits your brand!

  1. Set your KPIs

A successful marketing plan clearly defines how the marketing department tracks the progress of its mission. As a result, you need to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure and track the different elements of your marketing campaign.

These indicators will help you better communicate your progress to business leaders, as well as understand whether your marketing efforts are producing the desired results or not.

Typically, these KPIs have specific numbers and timelines attached. Potential KPIs you can set include:

  • Get X new leads
  • Decrease in bounce rate by X%
  • Write X more articles per week/month
  • Scope X organic pageviews
  • Increase retention rate by X% annually
  • Get 100 new followers every month on Facebook/Twitter, etc.
  1. Describe your buyer persona

A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. The kind of customers you want to attract to your business.

And while it may seem more important to establish how you can get the most visitors, it’s equally important to describe how you can get the “right” visitors.

Your buyer persona can include demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data of your customers. Below you can see the different types of details that can be included.

It also helps to incorporate your customers’ goals, needs, and pain points, as well as how your company can help solve them.

Most businesses have several different types of target customers. Therefore, you may need to identify and create more than one buyer persona.

By outlining the different buyer personas for your business, you can correctly group your marketing campaigns and customize your marketing materials accordingly so that they resonate with them. In addition, your people can influence the messages you implement in your marketing content.

  1. Identify your competitors

A solid marketing plan cannot fail to include thorough research on your business competitors.

In this section, you can analyze your current market situation, identify and study your competitors, and finally learn the strengths and weaknesses of your company.

Doing competitor research is essential if you have or want to start a blog.

Analysis of your competitors can include:

  • Who your leadership team is made up of
  • Who is your marketing team
  • What is your marketing strategy
  • Your social media strategy
  • What kind of ads do they run
  • Your SEO Marketing Strategy
  • Your best performing content
  • Your annual growth (using too much marketinglike Ahrefs)
  • The number of customers they have
  • Your market share

Do your research thoroughly and you will be able to identify some great opportunities. Moreover, you can find marketing strategies that can also do wonders for your brand.

To be more efficient and able to present your market research, you can use a SWOT analysis template. Using it, you can highlight your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Note: As for opportunities, they can be anything that allows you to move forward and penetrate your target market and stay there.

Overall, analyzing your competitors will allow you to form a strategy that “exploits their weaknesses and positions your brand in a better way for the target audience. Given that many small businesses fail because of their competitors, you can understand how important this section is.

  1. Describe your content strategy and initiatives

In this section of your marketing plan, you will put the key points of your marketing strategy and content. Basically, you have to explain how you will use your content and channel.

Your content strategy should clearly state:

  • The type of content you’ll create: blog posts, webinars, educational videos on Youtube, infographics, and ebooks.
  • Number of pieces of content you’ll create: Set the volume of your content at daily, weekly, and monthly intervals. It is based on your workflow and the potential goals you have.
  • Distribution channels: Popular distribution channels include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest. Will you focus on one or more channels?
  • Paid ads that you plan to place on this channel/platform
  • KPIs you’ll use to measure your success: These indicators can be organic traffic, email traffic, social media traffic, and referral traffic. You might even want to include traffic on specific product pages, blog pages, or landing pages.
  1. Clearly define the omissions in your plans

The goal of any marketing plan is to explain your marketing team’s approach. But you also need to figure out what the marketing team won’t focus on.

For example, if there are aspects of your business that this plan doesn’t address, include them in this section.

Putting these omissions into your plan will help you justify your mission, buyer persona, KPIs, and content strategy.

Each marketing campaign is designed for a specific reason, and as a result, it cannot please everyone.

  1. Determine your marketing budget

Among the last things to include in your marketing plan is the definition of your marketing budget.

While your team may take advantage of many free channels and platforms, there will be “hidden” expenses that the marketing team will have to take into account.

You can use enterprise budgeting software  to track expenses, create budgets, and monitor progress.

In addition, reducing your marketing budget will prevent you from forgetting the financial side, both during execution and during implementation.

Let me give you a few examples of what can be included in this section:

  • Freelance fees
  • Sponsor
  • New marketing employee (full-time or part-time)
  • Collaboration costs
  1. Describe the taxpayer and the responsibilities of your plan

The last part of your marketing plan is to explain who is doing what.

There is no need to describe the everyday projects of your employees. However, you should make it clear which team and team leader is responsible for the KPIs, content, channels, and more.

And that’s it! Your marketing plan is now complete.

Conclusion

For most businesses, operating without a marketing plan can result in decreased ROI, campaigns failing to reach goals, and wasted marketing budgets and resources.

By formulating a solid marketing plan, you can align your marketing goals with your overall business goals.

However, to really deliver what your target audience wants, you need to test different ideas and strategies, measure their success, and optimize your strategy accordingly.

To get started, check out our free marketing plan template in the box on its right side.