Find the marketing plan template to take your business to the next level
The ever-expanding scope of digital marketing leaves many modern executives feeling overstretched and under-resourced. Marketing decision-makers face a multitude of questions.
How can I improve engagement within the target market? How can I pivot to keep up with emerging trends and technologies? How can I meet deadlines more effectively and overcome bottlenecks?
Every executive knows that a solid marketing plan helps to solve each of these issues — and more. Marketing plans are vital to the success of your programs and campaigns, but creating one is a huge project in itself. Indeed, if your marketing plan needs to be refreshed — or overhauled completely — that can feel like an insurmountable task.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a headache. We’ve collected just a few of the very best marketing plan templates, so you can get what you need and get back to work. We’ve also compiled some key points to help you use these templates to tweak or create an effective marketing plan quickly.
In this guide to marketing plan templates, you’ll learn:
- What a marketing plan is
- Simple marketing plan templates
- Elements of a good marketing plan
- Marketing plan examples
- How to get started with an effective marketing plan today
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a powerful, dynamic document that details an organization’s strategy for achieving key marketing objectives over a certain time period. It includes background analysis, a practical outline, tactics, and projections. Continuous analysis is required to assess the plan and revise it when necessary.
Marketing plans are customized for general use by any organization, including startups, small businesses, and large-scale corporations. They can even be created for one-time use, as for a specific product launch.
The term “marketing plan” is sometimes confused with a business plan or marketing strategy. But there are important differences to keep in mind.
- Business plan — details your company’s overall objectives and strategy. Marketing plans are a key component of the business plan but focus solely on products and services.
- Marketing strategy — the conceptual approach you take toward generating leads and customers. Marketing plans detail the practical steps you’ll take to put that strategy into action.
Four simple marketing plan templates
A marketing plan must be comprehensive to maximize impact. That takes time, effort, and money. Using a pre-built template not only means you get started faster, but it also saves on cost. And it lets your design team stay focused on creating great customer-facing content.
Here are four marketing plan templates to help you get started:
- Simple and straightforward. This template is a simple, easy-to-use document. It’s perfect for those who are making a marketing plan for the first time, or for those who simply need to get the job done. It includes all the essential elements of a robust marketing plan and leads you through them easily and succinctly. Use this template as a starting point and incorporate design elements further down the road. Or make this template your starting and stopping point and produce a completely comprehensive plan — efficiently and effectively.
- Process orientation and spectacular design. This template features expert design that is ready and waiting for your expert content. Structured in a presentation format, this template incorporates the best of Adobe design capabilities with Microsoft PowerPoint’s user-friendly functionality. It features 80 unique slide designs already formatted for the essential elements outlined. Seamlessly add your executive summary, mission statement, objectives, KPIs, and more. And you’ll be ready to present to stakeholders and decision-makers immediately.
- Versatile and professional. This template is advertised for a business plan but includes many important components of a marketing plan and is easily customizable to input the rest. It offers a printed or digital booklet format. Eye-catching visuals allow you to showcase important information quickly and memorably. Break down each phase of your timeline so you can project and track success across them all.
- Smartsheet solutions. In this article, Smartsheet offers several user-friendly templates catered to various styles of marketing plans. Choose anything from their simple, single-page plan offering to a comprehensive 11-section template. This option even includes an appendix for recording data findings upon plan implementation. Each template can be downloaded for use in Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, or within the Smartsheet online platform.
Elements of a good marketing plan
A quality marketing plan isn’t determined by length — it’s determined by accuracy and comprehensiveness. How you structure your marketing plan is subjective. But the following elements are essential inclusions for success.
An executive summary is a short, summarized version of your marketing plan. It lists and describes briefly all the plan’s major components. Place it at the beginning of your plan so that readers can immediately grasp the whole picture even before getting into the details. Remember to write your executive summary for a specific intended audience. Pinpoint your goals and what the marketing plan will accomplish.
A mission statement answers what you want to do, why you want to do it, and who you are doing it for. A clear mission statement is a helpful anchor for key decisions down the road. It facilitates unity of purpose and thought for stakeholders and decision-makers. Make sure your mission statement is centered around the data-supported services you provide your customers. It should also go hand-in-hand with the goals expressed in your executive summary.
This section should describe your customers’ precise needs and how your offered solutions align with your brand values. Address the type of experience you want customers to have. Also, describe what your brand uniquely brings to the market. Maintaining a consistent brand identity throughout your marketing plan is essential. A well-written brand identity section helps ensure that.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Including a SWOT analysis in your marketing plan requires deeper, progressive thinking, but it yields more profitable, differentiated results. Address SWOT using data analytics as well as direct employee and customer feedback. Think creatively about how to leverage opportunities. And make sure not to overlook influences outside your industry that might still lead to internal threats.
In this section, go beyond simply addressing which companies and customer groups comprise your target market. Identify their unique needs, desires, and pain points. How can you solve those issues and communicate the solutions to your target market audience? What’s currently keeping users in your target market from utilizing your services?
Answering these questions will help you increase specialization within your target market. It will also help you identify more diverse methods of reaching potential users in that market who were previously unaccounted for. From there, you can develop tailored marketing strategies to serve your customers’ needs.
A buyer persona is a fictional, generalized representation of a specific type of customer. It is meant to conceptualize individual stakeholders, not companies. Creating a buyer persona lets you develop personalized solutions for customers — if you’ve done it well. You can interact with a thorough buyer persona as a one-stop representative sample of a larger customer base.
Conduct research to determine customer traits, tendencies, needs, and engagement. It’s best to do this using varied resources. These might include customer surveys and interviews, online reviews, social media accounts, and data analytics.
Your persona should include details like name, background, goals, challenges, values, and brand interaction. Make sure that the persona you generate is comprehensive enough to answer any relevant question you might put to it — whether peripheral or fundamental. Use these buyer persona templates to help you get started.
Objectives, goals, and KPIs
Although sometimes used synonymously, there are key differences between marketing objectives and goals. Marketing objectives are specific, measurable actions taken to achieve desired results. Marketing goals are broader aims that direct your strategy. Key performance indicators (KPIs) assign numerical values to how well you are reaching these targets.
Measuring results using KPIs is the best way to accomplish marketing objectives. KPIs should be tailored to your specific organization and marketing strategies. KPIs can reflect a wide range of metrics — engagement, conversions, or sales, to name a few. Make sure you select ones that are tied directly to your marketing objectives.
Establish goals and objectives based on the SMART framework. This stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented. Set SMART goals using this template, then identify which KPIs are best suited for analyzing results.
Pricing strategy is the process of determining the optimal price for your product. Utilizing your buyer persona is valuable here in identifying customers’ unmet needs and how much they will pay to assuage them. Including this willingness-to-pay calculation in your strategy is key to profitability. And developing a thoughtful overall pricing strategy is crucial to your marketing plan’s success.
Determine what type of strategy you will use — price skimming, bundle pricing, penetration pricing, or another one entirely. What are the reasons behind your strategy selection? What do your tactics convey to customers about your brand values and identity? In order to develop an effective pricing strategy, you must ask yourself these questions. Actually pricing your products or services is the very last step.
A distribution plan is where you will determine the process for giving customers access to your products and services. Analyze your organization’s distribution capabilities honestly. Develop a plan that is financially feasible while maximizing output. Ask how your distribution methods will support your overall marketing goals and objectives. A proper distribution plan will sync with them seamlessly — and prioritize efficiency and cost-effectiveness while doing so.
Your distribution plan should identify your preferred distribution channel and why you’ve selected it over others. It should also explain any costs related to distributing your products and services and consider the appropriate distribution channels for those items.
A promotional plan gives a detailed description of the communication channels you will use to advertise your product. Drive traffic and sales by promoting your organization across a wide variety of platforms. Develop a plan that aims to build lasting customer relationships. Use it to establish a base of loyal, returning customers.
Promotional strategy is a smaller subset of your overall marketing strategy, meant to increase product or service demand. But remember that the most effective plan will look beyond that and connect to your larger marketing goals. A fully functional promotional plan will encompass message, target market, plan of action, budget, and strategy.
Be sure to consider online and offline strategies. Should you utilize social media? If so, which platforms are best suited to each product? Prioritize content value over quantity or frequency. For best results, select your top traction channels and schedule testing before rolling out the full promotion schedule.
Establish a marketing budget to account for all your marketing plan’s projected costs. And don’t be misled by the fact that it comes last on this list. Developing a sensible budget should be one of the first steps in forming your marketing plan. All key decisions must be made in consideration of it.
A comprehensive budget will inform your pricing, objectives, distribution and promotional plans, and even your SWOT analysis. Calculate cost projections for every category — including software, personnel, content creation, promotion, and distribution. Even if every other element in your marketing plan is executed perfectly, an inaccurate budget will hinder it all.
To ensure accuracy, make sure you’re accounting for external and operational spending. Identify costs and marketing channels across each phase of your sales funnel. Look at competitors’ marketing campaigns and calculate a cost estimate. Then compare that to your drafted budget. How can you save comparatively while still driving sales?
Examples of successful marketing plans
It can be valuable to see examples of other organizations’ marketing plans as you work to develop your own. Here are a few samples to help you get started:
- This Shopify blog features several of the marketing plan elements, including an executive summary, mission statement, marketing objectives, SWOT analysis, market research, market strategy, and budget. The examples come from well-established companies like Patagonia and Warby Parker. They are comprehensive while remaining easily readable. You also get a sense of how style and tone can differ across each element and across organizations.
- This article from MoreBusiness.com takes one company, Mobile News Games, and leads you through their entire marketing plan from start to finish. You get a sense of overall length, as well as which sections might need more content than others. And you can see firsthand how each element builds upon the others to facilitate a full-scale document solution.
- This sample marketing plan from Houghton Mifflin — for a fictional company — is simple and straightforward. It links KPIs to specific objectives, and its SWOT section demonstrates a multi-dimensional analysis. The plan also links unique marketing strategies to specific target market groups.
Get started with an effective marketing plan today
Initially, the thought of creating a marketing plan may seem overwhelming. But the final document provides such multifaceted solutions that delaying comes at a significant cost.
Marketing plans establish a united purpose among principal decision-makers. They tie together what are otherwise often-disconnected departments — like finance, design, sales, and marketing. And they increase internal awareness of the target audience and customer groups.
Using Adobe Marketo Engage as you develop your marketing plan enhances these benefits even further. Marketo Engage specializes in customer engagement for complex B2B buying journeys. As a complete solution for lead management, it brings marketing and sales together to nurture leads, orchestrate personalized experiences, optimize content, and measure business impact across every channel.
Marketo Engage natively supports both demand- and account-based marketing strategies, providing a single, integrated lead management platform from acquisition to advocacy. You can build engaging, personalized experiences at scale and prove impact with Adobe Marketo Engage.
Take the Marketo Engage product tourto learn more.
With these templates, tips, and tools, you are ready for the next step. Choose a marketing plan template to download and get started today.