Marketing Plan Outline

This marketing plan outline shows a high level overview of what goes into a typical marketing plan.

I. Executive Summary

This section is used to provide a brief overview of what is contained inside the marketing plan. It is always written last, after the rest of the marketing plan is complete. If you have a one-person small business and you aren't trying to get a loan, you don't need this section.

Words of Wisdom
The processes used to arrive at the total strategy are typically fragmented, evolutionary, and largely intuitive.
- James Quinn

II. Vision and Goals

This section lists your company vision, along with personal and business goals.

III. Ideal Customer(s)

In this section, you provide rich detail about your ideal customers. If you offer products and services that appeal to different kinds of customers, develop an ideal customer for each of your products or services. This is what is meant by "market segment" - a group of customers that have certain things in common.

You include information about customer demographics, psychographics and customer behaviors here. If possible, use statistics to show the "market potential", which means how big the total market is for your product or service.

IV. Core Offering and Brand

Once you know who your ideal customers are, it's time to figure out how you will serve them. What products and services will you offer? What colors and images will you use in your brand? How will you position your company and offerings relative to your competitors? What pricing strategy will you use?

V. SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This is a key section of the marketing plan outline.

Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to your company. Strengths are what your company does well, and what assets or resources you have available. Weaknesses are things your company is not good at, or limitations your company faces.

Opportunities and Threats are external to your company. Opportunities are new markets, new services, new technologies or innovations. Threats come from a variety of sources, including the changing legal and political landscape, direct competitors, and alternative choices available to the customer.

VI. Marketing Materials

What physical marketing materials will you need? Business cards? Sales brochures? Glossy folders with your company image printed on the outside? A DVD with a sales presentation?

VII. Internet Marketing

It's hard to imagine a business that isn't on the Internet these days. How will you use the Internet for your business?

Examples include having a content-rich website, using email to stay in touch with your customers, building a community with social media, and offering a newsletter.

VIII. Lead Generation

How will you find prospects? In this section you explain how you will reach your potential customers. Examples include advertising, referrals, and direct mail.

This section also should contain information about how you will track where your leads come from, and costs to produce the leads.

IX. Lead Conversion

Once leads have been generated, what process will you use to convert them into customers? How will you qualify leads efficiently, so you're not wasting your time?

Tracking is continued here, so you know which lead generation sources are converting into customers. Knowing this information enables you to calculate your ROMI, or Return on Marketing Investment, for each source of leads. This is critical to cost-effective marketing.

X. Key Marketing Metrics

Here you define which metrics you will track to judge the success of your marketing plan. Examples include number of new customers, sales growth percentages for revenue or margin, and customer satisfaction.

As you can see from this marketing plan outline, a complete marketing plan requires a lot of work and a lot of thinking. If you need some help, let us guide you through the marketing planning process.

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