15 marketing plan examples to inspire your work
Whether you’re a marketer or managing a team of marketers, a marketing plan is essential to keep your department on track. Following a marketing plan ensures your team executes the correct strategy and achieves its goals.
But every business is different, which means every marketing plan is unique. It’s helpful to see marketing plan examples to understand all the different formats and types of marketing plans.
In this guide, we’ll share 15 examples of successful marketing plans to inspire your team to create its next great strategy. We’ll also share best practices and tools to set direction and provide structure for your marketing efforts. At the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to create the right marketing plan for your organization.
This post will cover:
- How to create a marketing plan
- 15 marketing plan examples to inspire your work
- Visit Baton Rouge
- University of Illinois
- Lush Cosmetics
- The Wisconsin Public Library
- Botanical Bounty
- The Palm Beaches, Florida
- The City of West Chicago
- Safe Haven Family Shelter
- Austin, Texas
- Visit Oxnard
- Create a strong marketing plan for your business
- Adobe can help
- Marketing plan FAQ
How to create a marketing plan
Before we look at marketing plan examples, it’s important to understand the foundational concepts of how companies structure their marketing plans.
Every organization is unique, but you can create a marketing plan by first identifying your business goals and establishing the metrics you’ll use to measure results. From there, learn about the customers you’re targeting and conduct competitor research. Then you can organize a team and set a budget before creating the marketing plan.
When it’s time to write the marketing plan, make sure your document includes these seven sections at a minimum:
- Executive summary. This is a high-level overview of your business and the marketing approach you’ll follow.
- Mission statement. Describe your company’s unique selling proposition (USP) and your brand’s purpose.
- Marketing objectives. This section of the plan should focus on marketing-specific goals that will help you achieve your broader business objectives.
- SWOT analysis. Through a SWOT analysis, your team will identify internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats.
- Market research. This section of the marketing plan addresses your market, competitors, existing solutions, and target audience.
- Marketing strategy. The marketing strategy part of your plan should detail exactly how you’re going to achieve your marketing goals. Be as specific as possible to make this document valuable to your marketing team.
- Budget. Finally, break down your marketing tactics and assign a budget for each area of your strategy. If your budget changes frequently, set aside a certain percentage of your total budget for each tactic, instead of dollar amounts.
15 marketing plan examples to inspire your work
Once you create a marketing plan, you might wonder whether it’s effective or if there’s a better way to structure the plan for your situation. For example, a SaaS business has very different needs than an ecommerce company, so your marketing plan likely needs some level of customization.
If you need more direction, check out marketing plan examples from businesses within your industry or with a similar business model. Learn from these 15 successful marketing plan examples to create an effective plan for your own business.
1. Visit Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, Louisiana might not be as well-known as New Orleans, but the vibrant city wanted to change that through an ambitious new marketing plan. Not only is the plan organized and easy to follow, but it does a great job of highlighting the needs of its multiple audiences.
For example, its separate personas for “Leisure Travelers” and “Sales/Meetings Travelers” help Baton Rouge create custom marketing journeys based on each persona’s unique expectations. The marketing plan has a fully fleshed-out strategy that includes an event calendar, which gives the marketing team actionable next steps after creating its plan.
2. University of Illinois
In 2021, the University of Illinois set out to boost enrollment. Its Office of Undergraduate Admissions created an in-depth marketing plan with three major sections:
- Section I provides context on the admissions process and knowledge of its target students.
- Section II dives into market research on the current state of admissions and student demographics.
- Section III details the university’s strategic action plan, including success metrics.
The University of Illinois marketing plan is effective because it breaks down the high-level components of its strategy, as well as specific marketing tactics. Instead of aiming for generic goals like “interact with high school students,” the plan indicates specific tactics to make that happen, such as direct mail campaigns, swag, and events.
As this marketing plan example for Sony shows, it’s possible to compose a simple but actionable plan for your team. The plan keeps its introduction, vision, and marketing objectives clean, to-the-point, and easy to read.
This marketing plan does a great job of focusing on pricing as a marketing differentiator. Although you might consider pricing to be a sales or product issue, it can have a direct impact on how customers perceive your business. Specify what your prices will be, how the pricing model works, and why your pricing is a differentiator.
Marketing plans are usually documented in text, but this isn’t the only way you can share your marketing plan with the team. For example, Coca-Cola created its own video marketing plan in 2020. The video follows the typical format of a written marketing plan, but distills big concepts into easily digestible visuals through the power of video.
This approach is ideal if you need to communicate the contents of your marketing plan to a large group or to marketing-adjacent teams, like sales or product development. It doesn’t hurt that the whiteboard-style cartoon animation draws viewers in to ensure everyone truly understands your marketing strategy.
5. Lush Cosmetics
Lush Cosmetics is a renowned international beauty brand. In anticipation of its expansion into Portugal, Lush created a new marketing plan for customers in this new market.
The Lush in-depth marketing plan touches on several elements, including:
- Specific geographical areas of Lush’s two stores in Portugal, and the unique considerations for shoppers in these areas.
- Physical marketing within Lush stores, including the store and staff direction, as an extension of the marketing team.
- The brand’s unique approach to sensory marketing, which describes precisely how Lush products appeal to all of its shoppers’ senses.
When crafting your own marketing plan, consider adding new sections that are unique to your brand, such as Lush’s section on sensory marketing. This will make the plan more relevant to your business and simplify execution.
6. The Wisconsin Public Library
The Wisconsin Public Library created this no-frills marketing plan example specifically for other organizations to copy and use. Although it’s intended for use by libraries, anyone can access and use the components in this free marketing plan template.
The Wisconsin Public Library marketing plan includes several helpful resources. For example, the “Research Your Audience” section links to resources for conducting audience research, including the United States Census and focus groups.
As with any template, be sure to replace the library’s content with information about your business and market. This marketing plan example doesn’t include a list of marketing tools or media. If that’s important to your company, be sure to create a new section detailing the tools your marketing team will use to execute the strategy.
Sometimes it’s difficult for companies to articulate their mission statement. However, every business has a greater purpose. Outdoor brand Patagonia is a great example of how large companies should lead marketing initiatives with a mission statement.
On the Patagonia website, the brand makes its mission statement clear: “We're in business to save our home planet.” This isn’t lip service — Patagonia donates a percentage of its profits to protecting the environment.
Your marketing plan needs to marry your corporate mission statement with direct action. For example, if you’re a B2B brand and your mission is to support small businesses with affordable accounting software, your marketing plan could include interviews with small business owners. Or maybe you could host local get-togethers for small business owners while promoting your brand.
The goal is to blend your mission statement with your marketing tactics in a way that makes it clear your business is truly living out its mission statement.
Cyberclick is a marketing agency based in Barcelona, Spain. As a marketing agency, it knows the importance of understanding its target audience.
In this marketing plan example, Cyberclick creates multiple buyer personas to help it understand customer pain points. For example, it has personas like Bilingual Brandon, Millennial Molly, and Donor Dana to understand the unique traits of its target buyers.
When composing your own marketing strategy, follow Cyberclick’s example by creating in-depth personas that your marketing team will find useful. Your personas should include:
- Demographic information
- Geographic information
- Social media preferences
- Personal and professional goals
- Pain points
- Software and tools used
Coffee giant Starbucks is famous for its distinctive brand elements. Consumers immediately recognize the hunter-green mermaid logo, but the Starbucks marketing plan doesn’t just revolve around clever branding. If anything, the company’s success comes down to the buyer experience.
In fact, experience is part of the Starbucks marketing plan. The company targets higher-earning professionals who are willing to pay a premium for drinks. Instead of simply serving coffee, its marketing team works with interior designers and architects to create posh spaces that encourage buyers to spend time in the store as a “third place,” which also increases brand engagement and retention.
Your marketing plan should address the experience buyers can expect from your brand. In an age when many businesses compete over customer service and experience, the quality of service you provide can also give you a competitive marketing advantage.
10. Botanical Bounty
Botanical Bounty is an herbal tea and supplement company based out of New York City. In this marketing plan example, the Botanical Bounty executive summary quickly spells out the problem, solution, market overview, competition, and unique selling proposition (USP) for the company. Formatted like a case study, the executive summary is easy to read and does a great job of summarizing the entire report.
Botanical Bounty also highlights specific due dates for its marketing milestones, as well as target metrics for those milestones. Many marketing plans fail to set specific due dates for milestones, but Botanical Bounty holds itself accountable for executing the plan by assigning due dates for each goal.
11. The Palm Beaches, Florida
The Palm Beaches is known for upscale homes and beaches, but the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County wanted to turn the Florida town into more than a beach destination. In its marketing plan, the council lays out its plan to transform The Palm Beaches into a hub for culture and art in a post-COVID environment.
The marketing plan first describes the council’s past successes in 2020 and 2021, which lays the groundwork for the 2022 marketing plan. This is a great way to show a continuation between different marketing plans, especially if your company’s past initiatives feed into this year’s strategies.
12. The City of West Chicago
The City of West Chicago has a rich history, but it’s largely misunderstood by people in the surrounding areas. In an effort to revitalize tourism, the city created a new marketing plan to rebrand itself and promote the area as a travel destination.
If you’re considering a new image or brand for your company, the West Chicago marketing plan is a great example to follow. The plan creates new market segments for the city’s ideal audience, a plan to drive awareness, and a list of strategic partnerships to aid in the rebrand.
13. Safe Haven Family Shelter
Safe Haven Family Shelter is a nonprofit that aids families experiencing homelessness. Its 2022 marketing plan tells the story of Safe Haven while promoting itself as an industry authority.
In this marketing plan example, Safe Haven takes an action-focused approach. Its template aligns objectives and action steps side by side, assigning staff members to each action step. The marketing plan also includes items like an editorial calendar and social media calendar, which its staff use for planning precise messaging that fits the organization’s larger goals.
14. Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas isn’t just the state capital — it’s also considered the live music capital of the world. However, tourism dipped substantially during the pandemic, and the city’s Visit Austin nonprofit responded with an updated marketing plan to attract tourists to the Texas capital.
The Visit Austin marketing plan includes a visual representation of its wins from 2021, which measured the impact of the organization’s work in past years. But this marketing plan truly shines in terms of its market research. Visit Austin not only conducted in-depth research about travelers’ plans to visit Austin, but also visualized this data in an engaging format to boost understanding.
15. Visit Oxnard
Oxnard, California, faced similar challenges with pandemic recovery. Visit Oxnard created a marketing plan to position the city as a destination for both leisure and business.
What’s unique about the Visit Oxnard plan is that it leans heavily into the business side of travel. Its marketing plan includes considerations for business events and meetings, as well as a strategy for attracting film productions as a less expensive alternative to Los Angeles. This is a great example of how marketing plans can introduce new, out-of-the-box positioning and segmentation to take advantage of a gap in the market.
Create a strong marketing plan for your business
Marketing plans clarify your focus and give marketing teams a solid vision of what they need to do. But not all plans are effective. It’s important to develop a strong marketing plan to give your audience exactly what it needs, as well as make a name for yourself in an increasingly competitive market.
While these 15 marketing plan examples are a great jumping-off point, you might need more guidance on how to create a marketing plan. Check out Adobe’s guide to building a marketing plan to get the most results from your marketing plan. You can also use our marketing plan templates to save time organizing and formatting your marketing plan.
Adobe can help
You need a marketing plan to move forward. But then you need to execute your plan, and that’s where things can get complicated.
After investing in a marketing plan, opt for an automation platform to save time and deliver a better user experience. Adobe Marketo Engage helps businesses make sense of complex buying journeys. Build engaging, personalized experiences at scale and prove your impact every step of the way with this all-in-one marketing platform.
Marketing plan FAQ
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a documented strategy for how a business plans to promote itself over a period of time. Organizations use this marketing plan to set goals, learn about their audience, and create marketing campaigns to help the business stand out.
What are some marketing plan examples?
Coca-Cola created a unique marketing plan formatted not as a written document, but as a video. This marketing plan example is a great illustration of how businesses should make their marketing plans as digestible as possible to increase internal adoption and understanding.
What are the elements of a good marketing plan?
Every good marketing plan should include an executive summary, a mission statement, marketing objectives, a SWOT analysis, market research, a marketing strategy, and a budget. Many marketing plans include additional sections as needed, depending on an organization’s goals and strategy.