What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]
Published: July 27, 2023
For a while now, you‘ve been spearheading your organization’s content marketing efforts. Your team's performance has convinced management to adopt the content marketing strategies you’ve suggested.
Now, your boss wants you to write and present a content marketing plan, but you‘ve never done something like that before. You don’t even know where to start.
Fortunately, we‘ve curated the best content marketing plans to help you write a concrete plan that’s rooted in data and produces results. But first, we'll discuss what a marketing plan is and how some of the best marketing plans include strategies that serve their respective businesses.
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a strategic roadmap that businesses use to organize, execute, and track their marketing strategy over a given period. Marketing plans can include different marketing strategies for various marketing teams across the company, all working toward the same business goals.
The purpose of a marketing plan is to write down strategies in an organized manner. This will help keep you on track and measure the success of your campaigns.
Writing a marketing plan will help you think of each campaign‘s mission, buyer personas, budget, tactics, and deliverables. With all this information in one place, you’ll have an easier time staying on track with a campaign. You’ll also discover what works and what doesn't. Thus, measuring the success of your strategy.
Featured Resource: Free Marketing Plan Template
Looking to develop a marketing plan for your business? Click here to download HubSpot's free Marketing Plan Template to get started .
To learn more about how to create your marketing plan, keep reading or jump to the section you’re looking for:
How to Write a Marketing Plan
Types of marketing plans, marketing plan examples, marketing plan faqs, sample marketing plan.
If you're pressed for time or resources, you might not be thinking about a marketing plan. But a marketing plan is an important part of your business plan.
Marketing Plan vs. Business Plan
A marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics.
A business plan is also a strategic document. But this plan covers all aspects of a company's operations, including finance, operations, and more. It can also help your business decide how to distribute resources and make decisions as your business grows.
A marketing plan is an important subset of a business plan that shows how marketing strategies and objectives can support overall business goals.
Keep in mind that there's a difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy.
Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan
A marketing strategy describes how a business will accomplish a particular goal or mission. This includes which campaigns, content, channels, and marketing software they'll use to execute that mission and track its success.
For example, while a greater plan or department might handle social media marketing, you might consider your work on Facebook as an individual marketing strategy.
A marketing plan contains one or more marketing strategies. It’s the framework from which all of your marketing strategies are created and helps you connect each strategy back to a larger marketing operation and business goal.
For example, your company is launching a new software product, and it wants customers to sign up. This calls for the marketing department to develop a marketing plan that'll help introduce this product to the industry and drive the desired signups.
The department decides to launch a blog dedicated to this industry, a new YouTube video series to establish expertise, and an account on Twitter to join the conversation around this subject. All this serves to attract an audience and convert this audience into software users.
To summarize, the business's marketing plan is dedicated to introducing a new software product to the marketplace and driving signups for that product. The business will execute that plan with three marketing strategies : a new industry blog, a YouTube video series, and a Twitter account.
Of course, the business might consider these three things one giant marketing strategy, each with its specific content strategies. How granular you want your marketing plan to get is up to you. Nonetheless, every marketing plan goes through a particular set of steps in its creation.
Learn what they are below.
- State your business's mission.
- Determine the KPIs for this mission.
- Identify your buyer personas.
- Describe your content initiatives and strategies.
- Clearly define your plan's omissions.
- Define your marketing budget.
- Identify your competition.
- Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.
1. State your business's mission.
Your first step in writing a marketing plan is to state your mission. Although this mission is specific to your marketing department, it should serve your business‘s main mission statement. Be specific, but not too specific. You have plenty of space left in this marketing plan to elaborate on how you’ll acquire new customers and accomplish this mission.
Need help building your mission statement? Download this guide for examples and templates and write the ideal mission statement.
2. Determine the KPIs for this mission.
Every good marketing plan describes how the department will track its mission‘s progress. To do so, you’ll need to decide on your key performance indicators (KPIs) . KPIs are individual metrics that measure the various elements of a marketing campaign. These units help you establish short-term goals within your mission and communicate your progress to business leaders.
Let's take our example of a marketing mission from the above step. If part of our mission is “to attract an audience of travelers,” we might track website visits using organic page views. In this case, “organic page views” is one KPI, and we can see our number of page views grow over time.
These KPIs will come into the conversation again in step 4.
3. Identify your buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a description of who you want to attract. This can include age, sex, location, family size, and job title. Each buyer persona should directly reflect your business's current and potential customers. So, all business leaders must agree on your buyer personas.
Create your buyer personas with this free guide and set of buyer persona templates.
4. Describe your content initiatives and strategies.
Here‘s where you’ll include the main points of your marketing and content strategy. Because there is a laundry list of content types and channels available to you today, you must choose wisely and explain how you'll use your content and channels in this section of your marketing plan.
A content strategy should stipulate:
- Which types of content you'll create. These can include blog posts, YouTube videos, infographics, and ebooks.
- How much of it you'll create. You can describe content volume in daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly intervals. It all depends on your workflow and the short-term goals you set for your content.
- The goals (and KPIs) you'll use to track each type. KPIs can include organic traffic, social media traffic, email traffic, and referral traffic. Your goals should also include which pages you want to drive that traffic to, such as product pages, blog pages, or landing pages.
- The channels on which you'll distribute this content. Popular channels at your disposal include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
- Any paid advertising that will take place on these channels.
Free Marketing Plan Template
Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.
- Pre-Sectioned Template
- Completely Customizable
- Example Prompts
- Professionally Designed
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
Build out your marketing plan with this free template.
Fill out this form to access the template., 5. clearly define your plan's omissions..
A marketing plan explains the marketing team’s focus. It also explains what the marketing team will not focus on.
If there are other aspects of your business that you aren‘t serving in this particular plan, include them in this section. These omissions help to justify your mission, buyer personas, KPIs, and content. You can’t please everyone in a single marketing campaign, and if your team isn't on the hook for something, you need to make it known.
6. Define your marketing budget.
Your content strategy might use many free channels and platforms, but there are several hidden expenses a marketing team needs to account for.
Whether it's freelance fees, sponsorships, or a new full-time marketing hire, use these costs to develop a marketing budget and outline each expense in this section of your marketing plan.
You can establish your marketing budget with this kit of 8 free marketing budget templates .
7. Identify your competition.
Part of marketing is knowing whom you're marketing against. Research the key players in your industry and consider profiling each one.
Keep in mind not every competitor will pose the same challenges to your business. For example, while one competitor might be ranking highly on search engines for keywords you want your website to rank for, another competitor might have a heavy footprint on a social network where you plan to launch an account.
Easily track and analyze your competitors with t his collection of ten free competitive analysis templates .
8. Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.
With your marketing plan fully fleshed out, it‘s time to explain who’s doing what. You don‘t have to delve too deeply into your employees’ day-to-day projects, but it should be known which teams and team leaders are in charge of specific content types, channels, KPIs, and more.
Now that you know why you need to build an effective marketing plan, it’s time to get to work. Starting a plan from scratch can be overwhelming if you haven’t done it before. That’s why there are many helpful resources that can support your first steps. We’ll share some of the best guides and templates that can help you build effective results-driven plans for your marketing strategies.
Ready to make your own marketing plan? Get started using this free template.
Depending on the company you work with, you might want to create various marketing plans. We compiled different samples to suit your needs:
1. Quarterly or Annual Marketing Plans
These plans highlight the strategies or campaigns you'll take on in a certain period.
Forbes published a marketing plan template that has amassed almost 4 million views. To help you sculpt a marketing roadmap with true vision, their template will teach you how to fill out the 15 key sections of a marketing plan, which are:
- Executive Summary
- Target Customers
- Unique Selling Proposition
- Pricing & Positioning Strategy
- Distribution Plan
- Your Offers
- Marketing Materials
- Promotions Strategy
- Online Marketing Strategy
- Conversion Strategy
- Joint Ventures & Partnerships
- Referral Strategy
- Strategy for Increasing Transaction Prices
- Retention Strategy
- Financial Projections
If you're truly lost on where to start with a marketing plan, this guide can help you define your target audience, figure out how to reach them, and ensure that audience becomes loyal customers.
2. Social Media Marketing Plan
This type of plan highlights the channels, tactics, and campaigns you intend to accomplish specifically on social media. A specific subtype is a paid marketing plan, which highlights paid strategies, such as native advertising, PPC, or paid social media promotions.
Shane Snow's Marketing Plan for His Book Dream Team is a great example of a social media marketing plan
A successful book launch is a prime example of data-driven content and social marketing. Using data to optimize your social strategy spreads more awareness for your book, gets more people to subscribe to your content, converts more subscribers into buyers, and encourages more buyers to recommend your book to their friends.
When Shane Snow started promoting his new book, "Dream Team," he knew he had to leverage a data-driven content strategy framework. So, he chose his favorite one: the content strategy waterfall. The content strategy waterfall is defined by Economic Times as a model used to create a system with a linear and sequential approach. To get a better idea of what this means, take a look at the diagram below:
Snow wrote a blog post about how the waterfall‘s content strategy helped him launch his new book successfully. After reading it, you can use his tactics to inform your own marketing plan. More specifically, you’ll learn how he:
- Applied his business objectives to decide which marketing metrics to track.
- Used his ultimate business goal of earning $200,000 in sales or 10,000 purchases to estimate the conversion rate of each stage of his funnel.
- Created buyer personas to figure out which channels his audience would prefer to consume his content.
- Used his average post view on each of his marketing channels to estimate how much content he had to create and how often he had to post on social media.
- Calculated how much earned and paid media could cut down the amount of content he had to create and post.
- Designed his process and workflow, built his team, and assigned members to tasks.
- Analyzed content performance metrics to refine his overall content strategy.
You can use Snow's marketing plan to cultivate a better content strategy plan, know your audience better, and think creatively about content promotion and distribution.
3. Content Marketing Plan
This plan could highlight different strategies, tactics, and campaigns in which you'll use content to promote your business or product.
HubSpot's Comprehensive Guide for Content Marketing Strategy is a strong example of a content marketing plan:
At HubSpot, we‘ve built our marketing team from two business school graduates working from a coffee table to a powerhouse of hundreds of employees. Along the way, we’ve learned countless lessons that shaped our current content marketing strategy. So, we decided to illustrate our insights in a blog post to teach marketers how to develop a successful content marketing strategy, regardless of their team's size.
In this comprehensive guide for modern marketers, you'll learn:
- What exactly content marketing is.
- Why your business needs a content marketing strategy.
- Who should lead your content marketing efforts?
- How to structure your content marketing team based on your company's size.
- How to hire the right people for each role on your team.
- What marketing tools and technology you'll need to succeed.
- What type of content your team should create, and which employees should be responsible for creating them.
- The importance of distributing your content through search engines, social media, email, and paid ads.
- And finally, the recommended metrics each of your teams should measure and report to optimize your content marketing program.
4. New Product Launch Marketing Plan
This will be a roadmap for the strategies and tactics you‘ll implement to promote a new product. And if you’re searching for an example, look no further than Chief Outsiders' Go-To-Market Plan for a New Product :
When you're looking for a marketing plan for a new product, the Chief Outsiders template is a great place to start. Marketing plans for a new product will be more specific because they target one product versus its entire marketing strategy.
After reading this plan, you'll learn how to:
- Validate a product
- Write strategic objectives
- Identify your market
- Compile a competitive landscape
- Create a value proposition for a new product
- Consider sales and service in your marketing plan
5. Growth Marketing Plan
Growth marketing plans use experimentation and data to drive results, like we see in Venture Harbour’s Growth Marketing Plan Template :
Venture Harbour's growth marketing plan is a data-driven and experiment-led alternative to the more traditional marketing plan. Their template has five steps intended for refinement with every test-measure-learn cycle. The five steps are:
This is a great option if you want to experiment with different platforms and campaigns.
- Visit Oxnard
- Safe Haven Family Shelter
- Wright County Economic Development
- The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County
- Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Visit Billings
1. Visit Oxnard
This marketing plan by Visit Oxnard, a convention and visitors bureau, is packed with all the information one needs in a marketing plan: target markets, key performance indicators, selling points, personas, marketing tactics by channel, and much more.
It also articulates the organization’s strategic plans for the upcoming fiscal year, especially as it grapples with the aftereffects of the pandemic. Lastly, it has impeccable visual appeal, with color-coded sections and strong branding elements.
Why This Marketing Plan Works
- States clear and actionable goals for the coming year
- Includes data and other research that shows how their team made their decisions
- Outlines how the team will measure the success of their plan
2. Safe Haven Family Shelter
This marketing plan by a nonprofit organization is an excellent example to follow if your plan will be presented to internal stakeholders at all levels of your organization. It includes SMART marketing goals , deadlines, action steps, long-term objectives, target audiences, core marketing messages , and metrics.
The plan is detailed, yet scannable. By the end of it, one can walk away with a strong understanding of the organization’s strategic direction for its upcoming marketing efforts.
- Confirms ongoing marketing strategies and objectives while introducing new initiatives
- Uses colors, fonts, and formatting to emphasize key parts of the plan
- Closes with long-term goals, key themes, and other overarching topics to set the stage for the future
3. Wright County Economic Development
Wright County Economic Development’s plan drew our attention because of its simplicity, making it good inspiration for those who’d like to outline their plan in broad strokes without frills or filler.
It includes key information such as marketing partners, goals, initiatives, and costs. The sections are easy to scan and contain plenty of information for those who’d like to dig into the details. Most important, it includes a detailed breakdown of projected costs per marketing initiative — which is critical information to include for upper-level managers and other stakeholders.
- Begins with a quick paragraph stating why the recommended changes are important
- Uses clear graphics and bullet points to emphasize key points
- Includes specific budget data to support decision-making
4. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County
This marketing plan presentation by a cultural council is a great example of how to effectively use data in your plan, address audiences who are new to the industry, and offer extensive detail into specific marketing strategies.
For instance, an entire slide is dedicated to the county’s cultural tourism trends, and at the beginning of the presentation, the organization explains what an arts and culture agency is in the first place.
That’s a critical piece of information to include for those who might not know. If you’re addressing audiences outside your industry, consider defining terms at the beginning, like this organization did.
- Uses quality design and images to support the goals and priorities in the text
- Separate pages for each big idea or new strategy
- Includes sections for awards and accomplishments to show how the marketing plan supports wider business goals
- Defines strategies and tactics for each channel for easy skimming
5. Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Cabarrus County’s convention and visitors bureau takes a slightly different approach with its marketing plan, formatting it like a magazine for stakeholders to flip through. It offers information on the county’s target audience, channels, goals, KPIs, and public relations strategies and initiatives.
We especially love that the plan includes contact information for the bureau’s staff members, so that it’s easy for stakeholders to contact the appropriate person for a specific query.
- Uses infographics to expand on specific concepts, like how visitors benefit a community
- Highlights the team members responsible for each initiative with a photo to emphasize accountability and community
- Closes with an event calendar for transparency into key dates for events
6. Visit Billings
Visit Billing’s comprehensive marketing plan is like Cabarrus County’s in that it follows a magazine format. With sections for each planned strategy, it offers a wealth of information and depth for internal stakeholders and potential investors.
We especially love its content strategy section, where it details the organization’s prior efforts and current objectives for each content platform.
At the end, it includes strategic goals and budgets — a good move to imitate if your primary audience would not need this information highlighted at the forefront.
- Includes a section on the buyer journey, which offers clarity on the reasoning for marketing plan decisions
- Design includes call-outs for special topics that could impact the marketing audience, such as safety concerns or "staycations"
- Clear headings make it easy to scan this comprehensive report and make note of sections a reader may want to return to for more detail
What is a typical marketing plan?
Most marketing plans are documents that outline the following aspects of a business's marketing:
- Target audience
Each marketing plan should include one or more goals, the path your team will take to meet those goals, and how you plan to measure success.
For example, say a tech startup is launching a new mobile app. Its marketing plan would usually include:
- Target audience or buyer personas for the app
- Outline of how app features meet audience needs
- Competitive analysis
- Goals for conversion funnel and user acquisition
- Marketing strategies and tactics for user acquisition
Featured resource : Free Marketing Plan Template
What should a good marketing plan include?
A good marketing plan will create a clear roadmap for your unique marketing team. This means that the best marketing plan for your business will be distinct to your team and business needs.
That said, most marketing plans will include sections for one or more of the following:
- Clear analysis of the target market
- A detailed description of the product or service
- Strategic marketing mix details (such as product, price, place, promotion)
- Measurable goals with defined timelines
This can help you build the best marketing plan for your business.
A good marketing plan should also include a product or service's unique value proposition, a comprehensive marketing strategy including online and offline channels, and a defined budget.
Featured resource : Value Proposition Templates
What are the most important parts of a marketing plan?
When you‘re planning a road trip, you need a map to help define your route, step-by-step directions, and an estimate of the time it will take to get to your destination. It’s literally how you get there that matters.
Like a road map, a marketing plan is only useful if it helps you get to where you want to go. So, no one part is more than the other.
That said, you can use the list below to make sure that you've added or at least considered each of the following in your marketing plan:
- Marketing goals
- Executive summary
- Target market analysis
- Marketing strategies
What questions should I ask when making a marketing plan?
Questions are a useful tool for when you‘re stuck or want to make sure you’ve included important details.
Try using one or more of these questions as a starting point when you create your marketing plan:
- Who is my target audience?
- What are their needs, motivations, and pain points?
- How does our product or service solve their problems?
- How will I reach and engage them?
- Who are my competitors? Are they direct or indirect competitors?
- What are the unique selling points of my product or service?
- What marketing channels are best for the brand?
- What is our budget and timeline?
- How will I measure the success of marketing efforts?
How much does a marketing plan cost?
Creating a marketing plan is mostly free. But the cost of executing a marketing plan will depend on your specific plan.
Marketing plan costs vary by business, industry, and plan scope. Whether your team handles marketing in-house or hires external consultants can also make a difference. Total costs can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. This is why most marketing plans will include a budget.
Featured resource : Free Marketing Budget Templates
What is a marketing plan template?
A marketing plan template is a pre-designed structure or framework that helps you outline your marketing plan.
It offers a starting point that you can customize for your specific business needs and goals. For example, our template includes easy-to-edit sections for:
- Business summary
- Business initiatives
- Target market
- Market strategy
- Marketing channels
- Marketing technology
Let’s create a sample plan together, step by step.
Follow along with HubSpot's free Marketing Plan Template .
1. Create an overview or primary objective.
Our business mission is to provide [service, product, solution] to help [audience] reach their [financial, educational, business related] goals without compromising their [your audience’s valuable asset: free time, mental health, budget, etc.]. We want to improve our social media presence while nurturing our relationships with collaborators and clients.
For example, if you wanted to focus on social media growth, your KPIs might look like this.
We want to achieve a minimum of [followers] with an engagement rate of [X] on [social media platform].
The goal is to achieve an increase of [Y] on recurring clients and new meaningful connections outside the platform by the end of the year.
Use the following categories to create a target audience for your campaign.
- Pain points:
- Social media platforms that they use:
- Streaming platforms that they prefer:
For more useful strategies, consider creating a buyer persona in our Make My Persona tool .
Our content pillars will be: [X, Y, Z].
Content pillars should be based on topics your audience needs to know. If your ideal clients are female entrepreneurs, then your content pillars can be: marketing, being a woman in business, remote working, and productivity hacks for entrepreneurs.
Then, determine your omissions.
This marketing plan won’t be focusing on the following areas of improvement: [A, B, C].
5. Define your marketing budget.
Our marketing strategy will use a total of [Y] monthly. This will include anything from freelance collaborations to advertising.
6. Identify your competitors.
Use the following questions to clearly indicate who your competitors are:
- Which platforms do they use the most?
- How does their branding differentiate?
- How do they talk to their audiences?
- What valuable assets do customers talk about? And if they are receiving any negative feedback, what is it about?
7. Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.
Create responsible parties for each portion of the plan.
Marketing will manage the content plan, implementation, and community interaction to reach the KPIs.
- Social media manager: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
- Content strategist: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
- Community manager: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
Sales will follow the line of the marketing work while creating and implementing an outreach strategy.
- Sales strategists: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
- Sales executives: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
Customer Service will nurture clients’ relationships to ensure that they have what they want. [Hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations].
Project Managers will track the progress and team communication during the project. [Hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations].
Get started on your marketing plan.
These marketing plans serve as initial resources to get your content marketing plan started. But, to truly deliver what your audience wants and needs, you'll likely need to test some different ideas out, measure their success, and then refine your goals as you go.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2019, but was updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure t o learn more about how we use AI.
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How To Write a Marketing Strategy for Your Business Plan
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Alyssa Gregory is an entrepreneur, writer, and marketer with 20 years of experience in the business world. She is the founder of the Small Business Bonfire, a community for entrepreneurs, and has authored more than 2,500 articles for The Balance and other popular small business websites.
How Marketing Strategy Fits Into Your Business Plan
The 4 ps: product, promotion, price, and place, 7 tips for writing a marketing strategy, the bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).
Bulent Ince / E+ Collection / Getty Images
A marketing strategy is important for all businesses because it clearly outlines how they'll find new customers and promote their products and services to ultimately achieve more sales. You can use the marketing strategy as a stand-alone tool, as part of a marketing plan, or as part of a business plan, all with slightly different components.
Let's focus on some marketing strategy examples for your business plan.
- A solid marketing strategy addresses the four Ps: product, promotion, price, and place.
- Your success can depend on understanding your clients’ needs and being flexible enough to find a way to meet them.
- Keep your budget in mind. You can only do what you can afford to do, and you should plan for accommodating periodic shortfalls.
The marketing strategy section of your business plan builds upon the market analysis section . The marketing strategy outlines where your business fits into the market and how you'll price, promote, and sell your product or service. It can also act as a source of important information for potential investors who are analyzing your business.
You can break down the key information in the marketing strategy section using the 4 Ps of marketing concept: product, promotion, price, and place.
Product can refer to either a physical product or a service that you plan on offering. Some of the product areas that fall into this section include:
- Related products or services
Promotion covers the various aspects of how you plan on marketing your product or service. The areas you should address include:
- Marketing budget
- Promotional strategy
- Publicity and public relations
- Sales force
- Sales promotion
This addresses the way you plan on pricing your product or service. The aspects of pricing you should address are:
- Bundling (if you have related products/services)
- Pricing flexibility
- Pricing strategy
- Retail price
- Seasonal price (if applicable)
- Wholesale (volume) price
Also known as distribution, this part is all about the delivery of your product or service to your customers. Some areas you should cover include:
- Distribution centers
- Distribution channels
- Inventory management
- Order processing
Keep seven things in mind as you write the marketing strategy section of your business plan to make it as effective and relevant as possible.
Show How Unique You Are
The foundation of your marketing strategy should be your unique selling proposition (USP). This is the statement that outlines what differentiates you from everyone else in the market. Create your USP first, then build upon it by relating it to each of the 4 Ps.
The common thread through each part of your marketing strategy should be how your business solves a problem or meets a need better than anyone else.
Know Your Customers/Clients
The information you include in your marketing strategy should incorporate all the research you conducted in your market analysis . Make sure you have a clear idea of who your ideal customers or clients are, what they like, what they need, and what they expect. This will make your marketing strategy more accurate and applicable to your target audience.
The 4 Ps of marketing work well for physical products, but you may have to tweak them a bit for services. For example, you might use your website instead of a physical location for the place section. Your website should also be a part of your promotion section, as should any social media platforms that you participate in.
Do Your Research
When you’re determining your pricing, you should have plenty of data to back up your decision when you're determining your pricing. Include industry reports, competitor ads, and comparisons that demonstrate the research you conducted and how you came to the conclusion that you're pricing your product or service correctly.
As in other sections of your business plan, using charts, graphs, and images to illustrate your facts can make them easier for your audience to absorb and understand. Is your pricing right at the median of the industry? Are you planning to use a four-step distribution process?
Use visual aids to drive your point home.
Remember Your Budget
You'll outline the financial analysis of your company in another section of your business plan but keep those numbers in mind as you write your marketing strategy. Your marketing process may look good by itself, but you'll have a difficult time meeting your goals unless you tie it directly to your financial status.
Include Your Collateral
You should include samples as exhibits if you're going to talk about your marketing collateral in your marketing section. These might include brochures, fact sheets, videos, and photos.
Your marketing strategy is your overall plan for how you're going to make your business profitable. Larger enterprises might have different strategies for various arms of their operations. Sole proprietors carry the weight of a single plan on their own. But addressing all these components will increase your odds of success in any case.
What are the four types of marketing strategies?
Many consider the four Ps to be the basic types of marketing strategies, but others focus on four possible ways you can reach clients and consumers: search engine optimization, paid advertising, content marketing, and sales.
What are the seven Cs of marketing?
The seven Cs organize your marketing strategy. They can vary depending on who you talk to and the nature of your business, but you can tailor yours to best meet your goals and needs. Most include customer, consistency, creativity, and communication. Some include other factors, such as convenience, competition, credibility, culture, and change.
American Marketing Association. " The Four Ps of Marketing ."
Notes Learning. " 7 Cs of Marketing ."
OBC. " The 7 Cs of Marketing: How to Apply Them ."
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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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Watch the Marketo Engage overview video or take the interactive tour to learn more.
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.
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Writing a marketing strategy and plan
Marketing strategy and planning set the foundation for everything you do. Doing it right enables you to focus your time and budget on the right marketing programs to reach your goals.
Video: Writing a marketing strategy and plan
Watch our video to help you understand why a marketing strategy is the key to what your business stands for.
- why it's important to write or update your marketing strategy
- why strategy must come before tactics
- the 7Ps of marketing and the marketing mix
- a step-by-step model to create a marketing strategy.
Effective marketing should be:
- based on your business plan and goals and shaped by your business strategy
- guided by a clear process and practical know-how.
Marketing strategy and planning set the foundation for everything you do. Start with your marketing strategy, then develop a marketing plan to make it real.
Your marketing strategy outlines the why and the what:
- why you're in business
- what you want to achieve.
It sets out your long-term marketing approach.
Your marketing plan describes the how and the when. It:
- is the tactical roadmap to make your strategy happen
- describes your short-term initiatives in the current year.
Having a clear marketing strategy and plan delivers significant benefits for your business. It will help to:
- keep your marketing efforts focused
- connect with the right customers
- make the most of your investment
- measure and improve your results.
Templates for developing your marketing strategy and plan
Choose one of these downloadable templates to customise and complete:
- a one-page marketing strategy template (a concise option, pictured)
- the Marketing Strategy and Plan section in the business plan template (a more comprehensive option).
Develop your marketing strategy in 6 steps
Your marketing approach influences the way you run your business, so it's important to consult your internal team and external partners.
As you work your way through the steps, capture your insights and findings in the relevant templates.
Know your market
Start by capturing insights about your industry and customers.
Market research is an essential part of your marketing strategy. It:
- involves gathering and analysing information about your customers and industry, such as size, growth and trends
- helps you to know more about your customers and the current and future demand for your products and services.
There are 3 main ways to do research:
- desktop research—accessing existing information that is readily available online from credible sources
- quantitative research—using questionnaires to get responses from a specific audience and interpreting the data
- qualitative research—using interviews, discussions or focus groups to explore themes in more detail.
You can do the research yourself or hire an external agency to carry out the research. Find out more about researching your market .
Know your business
Next, you need an honest appraisal of your business from an internal perspective.
A SWOT analysis can be a useful way to assess where you stand in your market relative to competitors. It highlights the major obstacles and business drivers and provides the direction necessary to:
- build on s trengths (S)
- minimise w eaknesses (W)
- seize o pportunities (O)
- counteract t hreats (T).
This diagnostic tool can help you uncover foundational insights to guide your marketing strategy.
Learn more about SWOT analysis and complete the template .
Based on your business plan and goals, the next step will be to define marketing objectives that are:
These objectives will typically have a financial or communication focus and may cover different areas, such as:
- building brand awareness
- shifting customer perception
- generating business leads
- increasing sales volume
- improving customer retention
- boosting customer satisfaction.
It's important to be as clear as possible so you can effectively measure the outcomes. Make sure that each of your marketing objectives meet the SMART criteria:
- Specific—state clearly what you want to achieve.
- Measurable—you must be able to measure and monitor your results and progress.
- Achievable—take your skills and resources into account.
- Relevant—focus on areas that will improve your business.
- Time-bound—set a timeframe to achieve the outcomes.
To measure and report your progress towards your marketing objectives, you should identify and define key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs are quantifiable metrics (indicators that can be measured) that are meaningful for your business, such as:
- cost per acquisition
- customer lifetime value
- unique website visitors
- social media engagement.
Read more about tracking your digital performance .
You'll know when your marketing objectives are right when they:
- motivate you and your team
- enable you to track your business performance.
Review and adjust your marketing objectives based on your progress.
A classic and effective marketing framework is commonly known as STP:
To become a customer-focused business , you need to find ways to get and use insights into your market.
As a starting point, summarise the findings from any customer research you've done. This will reveal:
- customer attitudes and behaviours in your industry
- current and future needs for products and services.
Based on this analysis, follow these steps to define your target segments:
- Choose the most appropriate way for you to segment the market (e.g. demographic, geographic, psychographic, behavioural).
- Prioritise target segments based on relevant criteria for your business (e.g. potential value, brand differentiation, ability to serve).
- Document a profile for each of your preferred target segments and then create personas to bring these to life in a meaningful way.
Action item: segment your market
- Discover more about market segmentation .
- Download and complete the customer profile chart .
Your business most likely operates in a competitive market. Customers are typically spoilt for choice. That's why it's essential to establish your brand positioning in a way that achieves sustainable competitive advantage.
As part of your marketing strategy, you should maintain a profile of your key competitors. You can:
- talk to people who might have relevant information, for example, your sales teams and business partners
- review their digital presence, for example, website, social media
- collect readily available marketing material and price lists
- read online ratings and reviews from their customers
- purchase products and services at their premises or online.
If you don't know where to start, find out how to do market research .
Find information about each of your key competitors':
- products and services
- pricing model
- customer service
- supply chains
- brand difference
- marketing approach.
Use this information to help identify what sets your business apart.
- How do you meet the current needs of your customers better than the competition?
- How can you better meet the future needs of your customers?
Competitor profile chart
An easy way to better understand your competitors is to complete a competitor profile chart.
- download the print-optimised version of the competitor profile chart to fill out and save for future reference
- use the online template to profile your competitors .
Make sure your business complies with competition laws .
Brand positioning is much more than just your name or logo. This is your business purpose. It's why you exist. It’s about making sure that your communications, culture and customer experience are all working together in harmony.
The ambition is to build a distinctive brand. This is about what you want to:
- be known for
- want to own in the hearts and minds of your customers.
It will guide everything you do and don't do.
Work through the guidelines to help build your business brand .
It's also beneficial to define your value proposition. In simple terms, it's a statement of the benefits you provide in exchange for payment. Think of this like a win-win for your business and your customers. It explains:
- the promise of value you will consistently deliver to customers
- how your business model meets the needs and wants of customers.
Your value proposition will look closely at the problems you are solving for customers.
Remember to look at your value proposition in terms of the current situation and the ideal future. This will help you to prioritise future improvements.
Discover more about how you can bring your value proposition to life.
You can identify your high-priority marketing programs based on your:
- marketing objectives
- target segments
- brand positioning
- competitive analysis.
Think about these as your strategic themes.
For example, imagine you're running an innovative online store. Based on your analysis of the current situation and assessment of future opportunities, you might identify 4 marketing programs you need to drive growth:
- review and relaunch the brand
- increase new customer acquisition
- grow value though cross selling or upselling
- boost customer loyalty and advocacy.
These work packages will then direct your marketing actions and determine where you'll focus your marketing efforts. Be focused and consistent. If you're doing something outside of these themes, ask yourself why.
Checklist: from strategy to planning
Make sure you've completed the 6 steps discussed above before moving on to your marketing plan:
- I know my business and the current market.
- I've set clear, realistic, and measurable marketing objectives.
- I've defined meaningful target segments.
- I've defined my business's distinctive brand.
- I've completed an analysis of my competitors.
- I've identified the marketing programs I need to focus on.
Translate your strategy into your marketing plan
Once you have a marketing strategy, you can extend it into a marketing plan. The marketing plan reflects and builds on your thinking. It's your roadmap to get where you want to be.
A marketing plan:
- is a practical and detailed document
- sets realistic and measurable activities.
It's about the execution of:
- tactics (methods)
A structured and documented marketing plan has many benefits. It:
- takes the guesswork out of your marketing
- keeps your marketing activities targeted
- ensures that you can monitor your success.
Don't try to do everything at once. Adopt a phased approach based on the skills, time and staff you have available.
Your marketing plan will be implemented repeatedly and change over time. There are different stages to this process:
- Write your marketing plan.
- Implement marketing tactics.
- Measure against key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Refine your marketing plan.
To successfully achieve your marketing strategy, you'll need to:
- identify the tactics (methods) you want to use
- be able to describe these tactics
- be clear on why they're appropriate.
Remember: your tactics should address the needs and wants of your customers.
If you need inspiration, you can:
- read about the right combination of the 7 Ps of marketing
- look at the results of your SWOT analysis to identify opportunities.
Follow this 3-step process to guide your thinking:
- Select a marketing program (work package) from the ones you previously identified.
- Refer to the needs of your relevant target segment to make sure you will be addressing these needs.
- Document specific projects you will deliver.
Repeat this process for each of your high-priority marketing programs.
For example, you may have identified the need to increase awareness of 1 of your products amongst young adults aged 18 to 25 who live within 10km of your business. An appropriate tactic could be to implement a geo-targeted marketing campaign:
- across social media, online advertising and local publications
- with a dedicated website landing page to promote the offer.
Don't be scared to test and learn. Test some ideas on friendly customers, partners and employees. Using the right tactics over time will connect with your target segments and ultimately improve your sales results.
Once you've worked through your tactics for each marketing program, you need to turn this into an action plan . The action plan must capture all the actions you need to perform.
For each marketing tactic, list the specific steps required in as much detail as possible. (You can download and use the action plan template below to guide you through the process.) This can include the following fields:
Regularly refer to, and update, your action plan. This will help you to:
- keep track of your work in progress
- manage the implementation of projects.
Great marketing requires great people. The people in your business will determine how successful your marketing is. They need to be involved throughout the process and believe in what they are doing.
Your marketing approach will also inform your sales techniques . Marketing and sales need to work together. Link your marketing KPIs and sales targets.
Make sure you have assigned responsibility for each of the actions in your action plan.
This is the process that allows you to track and report on your marketing performance and make the necessary changes if needed.
Based on your business plan, you have developed a set of SMART marketing objectives. These will most likely be based on the following outcomes:
- financial (e.g. sales numbers)
- communication (e.g. brand awareness).
Within each of your high-priority marketing programs, you have assigned specific KPIs for each tactic. For example, these KPIs could be:
- responses to a targeted direct mail
- number of leads generated from an event.
Before you run your marketing programs, you need to know how you'll measure and evaluate the results. A review of each activity will then help to:
- identify how well your marketing has worked
- show what areas need to improve
- check if the activity gave a positive return on your investment (ROI)
- establish benchmarks that you can strive to outperform in the future.
Continue to review and revise your marketing. For example, on a quarterly basis, you should ask:
- How are we tracking with budget and timing?
- What tactics are working and not working?
- What has changed in the external market?
- What adjustments do we need to make?
Marketing action plan template
Download and complete the marketing action plan template .
This plan also forms part of your larger marketing strategy and plan.
Implement the marketing plan
To implement your marketing plan successfully, you need to confirm you have everything you need to implement it.
Resources and expertise
Ask yourself these questions about your skills and capacity:
- Have you allocated the right budget?
- Do you have the right knowledge and skills in-house?
- Will you need to upskill your current staff or employ new staff ?
- Should you consider engaging an external marketing partner based on your internal gaps?
Depending on the type of business and your marketing strategy, you may need to prioritise training and development. For example, with an online business, this could include website and social media management.
Communication and collaboration
Your staff need to be engaged and committed to make your marketing efforts to work.
- Make sure your staff understand how marketing fits in with your business plan and goals .
- Involve your staff throughout the marketing strategy and planning process.
- Mentor employees who are enthusiastic about marketing and provide opportunities to increase their skills.
- Keep communicating—your business marketing will always be changing and growing.
- View our marketing strategy and planning webinar for information, tips and resources from our Mentoring for Growth mentors.
- Read about how you can expand and retain your customer base by becoming a customer-focused business .
- Find advice on advertising your business .
- Learn more about branding your business .
- Read more about managing public relations and the media .
- Find tips and advice on using direct marketing .
- Learn more about strategy planning with free, online courses .
- Last reviewed: 29 Aug 2022
- Last updated: 22 Mar 2023
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What Is a Marketing Strategy?
- How It Works
- Strategies vs. Plans
How to Create a Marketing Strategy
- Marketing Strategy FAQs
- Marketing Essentials
Marketing Strategy: What It Is, How It Works, How To Create One
Investopedia / Daniel Fishel
A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition , key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements.
A thorough marketing strategy covers the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.
- A marketing strategy is a business’s game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services.
- Marketing strategies should revolve around a company’s value proposition.
- The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies.
Understanding Marketing Strategies
A clear marketing strategy should revolve around the company’s value proposition, which communicates to consumers what the company stands for, how it operates, and why it deserves their business.
This provides marketing teams with a template that should inform their initiatives across all of the company’s products and services. For example, Walmart ( WMT ) is widely known as a discount retailer with “everyday low prices,” whose business operations and marketing efforts are rooted in that idea.
Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans
The marketing strategy is outlined in the marketing plan —a document that details the specific types of marketing activities that a company conducts and contains timetables for rolling out various marketing initiatives.
Marketing strategies should ideally have longer life spans than individual marketing plans because they contain value propositions and other key elements of a company’s brand, which generally hold constant over the long haul. In other words, marketing strategies cover big-picture messaging, while marketing plans delineate the logistical details of specific campaigns.
For example, a marketing strategy might say that a company aims to increase authority in niche circles where their clients visit. The marketing plan puts that in action by commissioning thought leadership pieces on LinkedIn.
Benefits of a Marketing Strategy
The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to achieve and communicate a sustainable competitive advantage over rival companies by understanding the needs and wants of its consumers. Whether it’s a print ad design, mass customization , or a social media campaign, a marketing asset can be judged based on how effectively it communicates a company’s core value proposition.
Market research can help chart the efficacy of a given campaign and can help identify untapped audiences to achieve bottom-line goals and increase sales.
Creating a marketing strategy requires a few steps. HubSpot, a digital marketing resource, offers insight into how to create your strategy.
- Identify your goals: While sales are the ultimate goal for every company, you should have more short-term goals such as establishing authority, increasing customer engagement, or generating leads. These smaller goals offer measurable benchmarks for the progress of your marketing plan. Think of strategy as the high-level ideology and planning as how you accomplish your goals.
- Know your clients: Every product or service has an ideal customer, and you should know who they are and where they hang out. If you sell power tools, you’ll choose marketing channels where general contractors may see your messaging. Establish who your client is and how your product will improve their lives.
- Create your message: Now that you know your goals and who you’re pitching to, it’s time to create your messaging. This is your opportunity to show your potential clients how your product or service will benefit them and why you’re the only company that can provide it.
- Define your budget: How you disperse your messaging may depend on how much you can afford. Will you be purchasing advertising? Hoping for a viral moment on social media organically? Sending out press releases to the media to try to gain coverage? Your budget will dictate what you can afford to do.
- Determine your channels: Even the best message needs the appropriate venue. Some companies may find more value in creating blog posts for their website. Others may find success with paid ads on social media channels. Find the most appropriate venue for your content.
- Measure your success: To target your marketing, you need to know whether it is reaching its audience. Determine your metrics and how you’ll judge the success of your marketing efforts.
Why does my company need a marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy helps a company direct its advertising dollars to where it will have the most impact. Compared with the data from 2018, the correlation between organization and success in marketers jumped from being almost four times more likely to almost seven times more likely in 2022.
What do the four Ps mean in a marketing strategy?
The four Ps are product, price, promotion, and place. These are the key factors that are involved in the marketing of a good or service. The four Ps can be used when planning a new business venture, evaluating an existing offer, or trying to optimize sales with a target audience. It also can be used to test a current marketing strategy on a new audience.
What does a marketing strategy look like?
A marketing strategy will detail the advertising, outreach, and public relations campaigns to be carried out by a firm, including how the company will measure the effect of these initiatives. They will typically follow the four Ps. The functions and components of a marketing plan include market research to support pricing decisions and new market entries, tailored messaging that targets certain demographics and geographic areas, and platform selection for product and service promotion—digital, radio, internet, trade magazines, and the mix of those platforms for each campaign, and metrics that measure the results of marketing efforts and their reporting timelines.
Is a marketing strategy the same as a marketing plan?
The terms “marketing plan” and “marketing strategy” are often used interchangeably because a marketing plan is developed based on an overarching strategic framework. In some cases, the strategy and the plan may be incorporated into one document, particularly for smaller companies that may only run one or two major campaigns in a year. The plan outlines marketing activities on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, while the marketing strategy outlines the overall value proposition.
Walmart Corporate. “ About .”
HubSpot Blog. “ 7 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2022 .”
i7 Marketing. “ 6 Steps to Develop a Winning Marketing Campaign .”
CoSchedule. “ Trend Report: Marketing Strategy 2022 .”
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