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what is a marketing plan

What Is a Marketing Plan and How Do You Create One?

What is a marketing plan: A marketing plan is a roadmap that businesses use to organize, implement, and monitor marketing strategies over a certain period.

Do you use a navigation app whenever you go on a road trip? A marketing plan is like your navigation app of choice.

Your app gives directions and an idea of your estimated arrival time at your destination. Your marketing plan, on the other hand, is an organized list of your marketing strategies (direction) to get to your goals (destination).

If you want to further understand what a marketing plan is, why it’s important, and how to craft one, you’re in the right place! This blog post will cover these topics:

Feel free to jump into the topic that you want to learn more about. You can also sign up for our free newsletter, Revenue Weekly, so you can be one of the 200,000 marketers who receive their dose of marketing and advertising advice in their inbox!

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a roadmap you can use to organize, implement, and monitor your marketing strategies over a certain period. It comprises marketing strategies that work together to meet your business goals.

By having a marketing plan that guides your team, you can keep track of your strategies and measure the important metrics of your campaigns.

What is the importance of a marketing plan?

Creating a marketing plan can help you:

  • Identify your campaigns’ objectives: Your marketing plan documents your objectives, so everyone in your marketing team is on the same page with what you have to accomplish.
  • Define your buyer personas: Your marketing plan can help you identify your ideal customers and understand their needs.
  • Identify your budget: Writing a marketing plan enables you to have a predetermined budget that everyone on your team is aware of and lets your business allocate your resources wisely, stick to a working budget, and prevent you from overspending.
  • Track your campaigns’ progress: Your marketing plan lists your campaigns’ objectives and the metrics you have to monitor. As a result, you get to track your campaigns’ performance, so you’ll know if you’re making progress or if you need to re-assess your strategies.

How to create a marketing plan

Now that you know the answer to the question “what is a marketing plan” and the importance of a marketing plan, let’s go through how to create a marketing plan:

  1. Write your overall mission
  2. Identify your buyer personas
  3. Determine your key performance indicators (KPIs)
  4. Identify your marketing plan’s scope and limitations
  5. Specify your budget
  6. Identify your competitors and perform a SWOT analysis
  7. List down your marketing strategies and campaigns
  8. Itemize your marketing plan’s contributors and their responsibilities

Let’s discuss the marketing plan steps in detail:

1. Write your overall mission

The first step on how to make a marketing plan is by stating the overall mission that reflects your business’s goals. Be specific with what you want to achieve, but explain the details in the other sections of your marketing plan.

For example, let’s say you own a dance studio that offers ballet dance classes for children and modern, hip hop classes for dancers of all ages. After receiving a lot of inquiries about ballet for adults, you developed a program to address this need.

To launch your adult ballet class program, you created a marketing plan for this new service. Your overall mission is to increase awareness about this new dance class among interested adults and to increase sign-ups for your classes.

2. Identify your buyer personas

Now that you have your mission down pat, the next step on how to build a marketing plan is to identify your audience by determining your buyer personas. Buyer personas are representations of customers and prospects that you want to attract to your business.

By taking the time to create accurate buyer personas, you’ll be able to address the needs and solve the pain points of your target audience.

In our earlier example of the dance studio and its new adult ballet class, you can create buyer personas based on the prospects and customers who had inquired about your adult ballet classes.

3. Determine your KPIs

To measure the progress and success of your marketing plan, you need to determine your KPIs. KPIs are metrics that tell you whether your marketing strategy is inching you forward to your business goals.

Still using our earlier example of the dance studio with the mission to increase awareness about your new service, a good KPI to track is the number of unique users who visited your adult ballet class page.

4. Identify your marketing plan’s scope and limitations

For this step on how to develop a marketing plan, it’s crucial to clearly state your focus and your campaigns’ scope. In addition, it should also clarify what your marketing team won’t focus on and the limitations of your campaigns.

For example, the earlier marketing plan for the new adult ballet class should indicate that the strategies, campaigns, budget, and KPIs only apply to the new class. It’s not applicable to the ballet class for children.

5. Specify your budget

Your strategies and campaigns may use some of your existing channels that have been factored into your overall marketing budget. Some of your strategies may incur some expenses, though.

List all these expenses — from freelance fees, advertising budget, and sponsorships — in your marketing plan, so your team can easily measure the return on investment (ROI) of your campaigns.

6. Identify your competitors and perform a SWOT analysis

Knowing who your competitors are and what they’re doing is crucial in marketing. Doing so can help you see how you stack up against them and what other strategies you need to implement to get ahead of them.

On this step on how to do a marketing plan, conduct a competitive analysis by researching the key players in your industry. Analyze their website, content, and social media presence. You can even visit their physical location.

Conduct a SWOT analysis of your competitors by identifying the following:

  • Strengths: Write down what your competitors are good at. Do their pages rank in SERPs when searching for related keywords? Are their social media posts engaging?
  • Weaknesses: Note down the areas where your competition needs some improvement. Does your competitor’s website take more than 12 seconds to load? You can add site speed as one of its weaknesses.
  • Opportunities: Opportunities are trends or industry changes that can benefit your business or your competition and help you potentially grow. For example, you’re in the business of solar energy. When demand for renewable and solar energy increases, your company and your competitors can potentially grow.
  • Threats: Threats are activities or trends that negatively impact your competitors’ growth. For example, a pandemic can pose a threat to tourism and hospitality

Performing a SWOT analysis of your competitors will help you identify your advantages and disadvantages relative to your competitors. It also helps you plan on how to outperform them.

7. List down your marketing strategies and campaigns

While your marketing plan is your navigation app that helps you reach your objectives, your marketing strategies are your driver and vehicle that will bring you to your destination.

List down the marketing strategies and campaigns that will help you accomplish your overall mission. Identify the duration of each campaign, too.

In our earlier example of the dance studio introducing a new adult ballet class, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) in tandem with PPC to increase awareness about your new service.

An organic social media strategy during the pre-launch phase can also pique the interest of your audience. A paid social media strategy can target users according to age, interest, and location, and invite them to read more about the new service on your website.

8. Itemize your marketing plan’s contributors and their responsibilities

Now that you’ve clearly set your mission, strategies, budget, and scope, it’s time to list the team members involved and their main responsibilities. Make sure to also itemize the KPIs assigned to each one on this final step on how to write a marketing plan!

5 types of marketing plans

Different business needs call for different types of marketing plans. Here are five types of marketing plans that you can use:

  1. General marketing plan
  2. New product or service launch marketing plan
  3. Social media marketing plan
  4. Content marketing plan
  5. Paid marketing plan

Let’s go through each one:

1. General marketing plan

Marketing plan objective: Create an overview of marketing strategies for a quarter or a year

You can use this marketing plan for overall strategies and campaigns that your business can take on for a given period.

Here’s an example of a marketing plan of this type: Let’s say you run a coffee shop. You have an annual general marketing plan that outlines your strategies for different months or seasons.

You kick off your pumpkin spice campaign when fall comes around, and you go all out on your peppermint mocha campaign when it’s winter season!

2. New product or service launch marketing plan

Marketing plan objective: Create a new product or service promotion campaign

This marketing plan is your strategic roadmap when introducing a new product or service to the market.

Here’s an example of a marketing plan for a new product. Suppose you offer home cleaning services. To retain customers for a longer term, you’re considering introducing a recurring cleaning services package.

Your new service marketing plan will be your roadmap from your new service’s pre-launch, launch, and post-launch strategies.

3. Social media marketing plan

Marketing plan objective: Social media brand awareness and consideration

Your roadmap when navigating social media marketing, this type of marketing plan covers the platforms you’ll use. It details your audience, strategies, and specific campaigns for each platform.

For example, let’s say you’re in the hospitality industry. Your social media marketing plan identifies Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn as your platforms. You outline the details of your different audience personas in your marketing plan.

In addition, you also have the details of your tactics for each platform. Will you be communicating with customers and prospects on Facebook?

On TikTok, you’ll probably be speaking with a younger demographic of your audience. On LinkedIn, you can center your marketing messages around your company culture and employees.

4. Content marketing plan

Marketing plan objective: Brand awareness and consideration through content marketing

Your content marketing plan details your different content marketing strategies for your brand. This marketing plan lists down the different personas you’ll be communicating with. In addition, it also specifies the content topics relevant to each persona and the types of content you’ll produce.

Here’s an example of a marketing plan involving content. Suppose you own a jewelry store. Your content marketing plan lists down your different audience personas. Then, it identifies the content topics for each persona. These topics should address the personas’ pain points and needs.

Did you segment your audience according to how long they’ve been passionate about jewelry? New jewelry enthusiasts may like to see content about how to properly care for different types of jewelry.

Jewelry collectors who’ve been in the hobby for years may be interested in content about the latest trends in customization.

5. Paid marketing plan

Marketing plan objective: Brand awareness, consideration, lead generation, and conversion through paid ad strategies

Your paid marketing plan is your roadmap for paid ad strategies, such as pay-per-click advertising (PPC), paid social media campaigns, native advertising, and possibly even traditional advertising like out-of-home and print ads.

Clearly define your objectives and budget in your paid marketing plan.

For example, you’re in the business of interior design. You want to increase awareness about your services and portfolio, direct new audiences to your website, and invite prospects to fill out a lead form for an initial call.

Segment your personas according to where they are in the funnel. Make sure you identify the suitable channels for each segment. Then, create paid campaigns for each one of them.

Are you directing new audiences to a landing page about your coastal décor portfolio? Make sure they don’t have to scroll or click further to find what they’re expected to see!


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Create your marketing plan with WebFX

Your marketing plan can help you implement your strategies and make sure your marketing campaigns are delivering results. If you need help to get started with crafting a marketing plan and executing your strategies, WebFX can help.

We’re a full-service digital marketing agency that has helped our clients generate over $6 billion in revenue. Our team is excited to help you achieve your marketing goals and deliver ROI.

Contact us online or call us at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our digital marketing services!

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