Sample Marketing Plan – 6 Steps For Creating a Marketing Plan

Sometimes finding a sample marketing plan to use as a guide for writing yours can be a challenge. The problem is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” plan that you can specifically use for your business without some kind of modification.

In this article I will outline the 6 necessary elements you need in your marketing plan and some applications that will help illustrate each element. The six things you must include: an evaluation of your marketplace, the profile of your ideal customer, what you want to accomplish as a result of your marketing, the big picture view of media tools, an accountability structure that will aid in implementation, and strong financial proof that your plan will work.

Evaluate your marketplace

No matter what format you use the concept of evaluating your market is always the first step. In this part of the plan you research your top 5-10 competitors and come up with a list of strengths and weaknesses for each. You do the same exercise on your own company. This will help you create a clear picture of how you are different from everyone else.

It is on this foundation that your marketing efforts should be built. In the car rental business Hertz has always been the number one company. This made Avis come up a slogan that could help set it apart… “We’re #2 but we try harder.” This helped position Avis as a company that would work harder for you by giving you that extra level of service.

Profile of your ideal customer

The worst thing you can say about your product or service is that, “everyone has a need for it.” Segmenting your market and defining a specific profile of your best customers will help build your marketing plan in strong and healthy ways. The benefit of clearly defining your target market will not only make your job of creating and choosing marketing materials easier, but it will also save you money because you can focus your efforts on a very specific market segment.

What do you want to accomplish as a result of your marketing?

You can’t measure the success of your plan unless you have clearly defined benchmarks for comparison. Every marketing effort needs goals. They can be long-term or short-term but need to be measurable. Also, part of your plan should include evaluation points to gauge progress of your efforts.

Getting the big picture view of media tools

Before choosing what media tools you are going to use in your campaign it is essential to evaluate each tool based on the information you gathered in the first three sections of your plan. Can you effectively deliver the message of how you are unique through a particular tool? Does the tool clearly reach the ideal target market? Can it help you achieve your goals without making you go broke.

If you have done the appropriate research these questions are typically easy to answer. It is only when you decide on your desired media tool first before evaluating it’s attributes on a big picture level that you can get yourself into trouble.

Creating an accountability structure that will aid in implementation

All of the best laid plans are for nothing if you don’t have a proper implementation system. In most sample marketing plans you can see how a typical marketing calendar is laid out. It really doesn’t have to be that difficult or pretty. You simply need a week-by-week list of the specific marketing activities you want to accomplish in order to complete your overall plan. This involves taking each marketing strategy and tactically dividing it into weekly chunks. The marketing calendar should also contain the evaluation points we discussed before to help measure the progress of your goals.

Having strong financial proof that your plan will work

The final element of any plan should include a budget that gives strong financial proof that your plan will work. This is accomplished by projecting sales as a result of your marketing efforts, accurately costing out the various pieces of your marketing mix and then doing an ROI analysis (Return On Investment). Your ROI analysis should clearly show that your marketing efforts will produce a return. If your company has a long sales cycle then sometimes this will involve simply a break-even on the marketing costs up-front with the promise of larger future sales.

These six necessary elements should be included in any sample marketing plan format you are evaluating: an evaluation of your marketplace, the profile of your ideal customer, what you want to accomplish as a result of your marketing, the big picture view of media tools, an accountability structure that will aid in implementation, and strong financial proof that your plan will work.

Your Ticket to Greater Sales and Profitability – A Well-Written and Executed Marketing Plan

The net result of the marketing plan effort is to use your resources, time and money, most effectively and efficiently. By being more responsive to the market, assuring consistency of marketing materials and timing, and communicating better internally, your company becomes a well-oiled machine exceeding customer expectations. You market the right products, to well-suited market segments, with effective marketing materials and support from all corners of your organization. A marketing plan is your ticket to attaining your sales and profitability goals.

Sales Flow More Easily When You Respond to the Market
Of course, you should always have your eyes open for market changes. The marketing plan advantage, however, is that it requires you to take stock periodically of market place opportunities and threats along with your company’s strengths and weaknesses. This enables you to play to your strengths and market opportunities while minimizing your weaknesses and market threats.

For example, The Simple Phone Company offers mobile telephones with a limited feature set. As Mary, the Marketing Manager, creates her marketing plan, she notices that her competitors are introducing phones with an increased number of advanced applications. She realizes that due to their products’ lack of features, they cannot compete head on. However, her review of trends reveals an older population, ages 65+, is starting to purchase cell phones in growing numbers. This group tends not to be as techno savvy the younger generation. Mary has uncovered an opportunity to target older people by promoting simple, easy-to-use phones with large, friendly keys. She is able to transform a possible weakness into product benefit by targeting a well-matched market segment. This shows how upfront planning can better focus your marketing efforts and help spur your sales.

Marketing Messages Create Greater Impact When They are Consistent

Your marketing plan specifies your marketing initiatives’ timing and message, assuring consistency.

• Planning assures consistent timing
If you plan to send a monthly e-newsletter, you can choose topics at the beginning of the year and start working on them immediately to assure a consistent schedule that doesn’t get backed up during the busiest periods. Those who receive the e-newsletter start to anticipate it and develop a relationship with your organization.

• Consistent messages result from planning
The marketing plan spells out your positioning and message for use on all materials. Mary uses the message: “Easy-to-Use Mobile Phones for Mature Adults.” By staying consistent in message, you are more likely to increase your brand awareness, a necessary precursor to sales.

Communication assures Smooth Operations
In well-run companies marketing is often the central hub. The marketing plan is created in the marketing department in consultation with other departments. This maximizes its effectiveness. For example, sales people have valuable input on how to gain product placement in the distribution channels. Engineering may have ideas about how to build the trade show booth. Fully using internal resources is important because it produces the best plan and fosters buy-in.

Once the plan is completed, marketing managers communicate it to all departments that play a role in supporting the plan. For example, Mary communicated her plan with customer service, sales, manufacturing, accounting and more to assure they were ready to support the trade show launch of the new mobile phone. The sales and customer service managers were able to schedule training and plan sales calls in advance. Accounting was able to anticipate cash flow issues related to the load-in promotions. The manufacturing manager was able to scale up production. As this example shows, using the marketing plan as a communication tool enables the smooth operation of a company.

Plan for Success–Create a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan that assures market responsiveness, consistent messaging and internal communication can be the difference between a company that simply survives and one that thrives. Create one, execute it well and move onto the path to success and profitability.

Marketing Plan: Importance to Small Business Enterprises

Are you planning to open a small business? Are you aware of the significance of marketing plan to your business?

Despite the small size of the company that you intend to establish, you need to formulate your own marketing plan to guide you in your operation and to become competitive. Apart from capital, equipment and manpower, marketing strategy is needed especially if your business is engage in selling products and services. To become successful in your marketing endeavor, you need to have an effective marketing strategy. Remember that large companies devote hours of planning, researching, convening and discussing just to have an effective plan. If these big companies know the importance of these proposals, why not follow their steps and formulate your own marketing strategies. Bear in mind that if you do not have any plans, you are doomed to failure.

What is Marketing Plan?

It is a structured selection of advertising and marketing opportunities built to utilize your small business marketing spending budget to its greatest edge. It includes itemized charges for production and media buys for your chosen advertising venues. Additionally, it includes a work schedules for the launch of promotions, advertisements and in-house logistics needed for the execution, monitoring and follow-up of marketing and advertising campaigns. The most effective plans are those that incorporate breakdown of its target markets, products and services to be promoted.

Reasons why small business enterprises need marketing plans:

  • To maximize your advertising budget

By preparing in advance for the right marketing and advertising opportunities, you can make the most of your budget, no matter how little it is. It helps you satisfy your key services and products with appropriate marketing venues and you can evaluate the return on your investment. Moreover, when you arranged your marketing calendar in advance, you can benefit from discounts and special programs given to repeat advertisers and expanded benefits may not be available to firms that book advertisements at the last minute. Planning ahead enables you build positive interactions with associates of mass media outlets which could mean free marketing opportunities such as article features and preferred placement.

  • To get the benefits of cross-promotional possibilities

When creating your advertising plan, you have the chance to schedule advertising promotions in multiple sites as well as overlap messages to create repeated impressions with consumers. When your plan is set, you not have to wait when advertising representatives might contact you because you have the time to put cross-promotional support paraphernalia like flyers or coupon charge cards. You can also mobilize your employees to take part in marketing and track response.

  • To maintain a consistent message with consumers

By planning in advance, your marketing plan will assist you in tweaking your message for each targeted promotion. Marketing elements like logos, slogans, placing statements and phone calls will remain continual throughout the promotional venues you have chosen. Because you know your own schedules and your specific marketing venues, you have enough time to work with design professionals or the publication art employees to generate consistency in the layout and wording of the advertising or promotional parts. This uniformity will make your ads and marketing materials much more memorable to potential customers and will increase your rate of reaction.

Fitness Marketing Plan Profit Power

Most personal trainers fail because they simply fail to have a fitness marketing plan. If you are a fitness professional, and do not have a written marketing roadmap to profits, then you are making a big mistake!

The fact is most fitness pros are lost when it comes to the marketing, and sales of their services. Most professionals are never taught about marketing, let alone the importance of creating a well thought out fitness marketing plan. The failure of acquiring this mandatory roadmap leads many personal trainers to mediocre, or below average income. It doesn’t have to be this way! It shouldn’t be this way.

Marketing for fitness is the missing link for most passionate education based personal trainers. If a fitness pro wants to make more money, they should not run out, and get another certification, but, instead, invest time in understanding how to market a fitness business.

After the understanding is gained then it is important to create a well thought out, focused personal trainer sales and marketing roadmap.

The ability to attract new clients from marketing equals greater personal trainer income. However, why create a marketing plan for fitness? Isn’t knowing how to market all you need?

Reasons Why You Must Have A Personal Training Marketing Plan

1. To possess a well thought out action roadmap for acquiring new paying clients.

Instead of just flying by the seat of your pants it is always best to have a winning profit plan to increase your personal training income. Being prepared is much better than not! We write exercise plans (programs) for our clients. Right? Then why wouldn’t we write fitness marketing plans to help us generate more income?

Following a clearly focused roadmap to training riches is the best way to go! Just as in an exercise program you will have a clear, focused direction to follow.

2. You take a close look at how you stack up in relation to your competition.

By planning you will be aware of what is clearly going on in your market. What services do your competitors offer? How are yours better? What can you do that your competitor doesn’t in order to gain market share?

These are just a few of the many questions you will have the opportunity to answer. Without a marketing plan for fitness you probably wouldn’t be thinking about these important questions.

3. Having a written training roadmap makes it real.

If it is written down on paper, and you can see it, then it is real. You are preparing for your success, not just wishing, or hoping. Having a fitness marketing plan will give you extreme focus on what you need to accomplish.

4. Planning keeps you organized, and helps get things done.

Once you have your personal trainer marketing plan you will have action items placed on your calendar. Success is all about a roadmap powered by action. Without action your fitness profit plan will never succeed.

5. Increased risk of personal training business failure by not having a roadmap to riches.

There are many stats showing a marketing plan increases a businesses odds of success. Why not do whatever you can to increase your chance of success?

I can not stress enough how important it is for a personal trainer of any level to have a well thought out, focused fitness marketing plan. Your overall success, and profitability will depend upon it. Do not make the same silly mistake that other trainers make. Plan for your personal trainer success today!