Marketing Plan Template Free Download
One of the most common questions related to marketing plan development is “What exactly do I need to create a good marketing plan?”
This quick guide focuses on the 4 most critical components of a successful marketing plan and gives you a free marketing plan template for developing the 4 elements for your plan.
Unlike financial plans, financial analysis, operational plans…. creating a marketing plan is a totally different experience even for experienced marketers.
The reason is simple: Because other types of planning and strategy development are well established within a given constraints and boundaries. Users, consultants, managers…. use well-defined tools, models and applications to analyze and improve their current situation.
Fill-in-the blank Excel KPI templates, dashboards, scorecards:
On the other side, developing marketing plan is a unique experience for every business. Boundaries and limitations are mainly set by the marketers and managers and every company defines marketing in its own unique way so the process of preparing the plan is always different.
There are still other important factors which make the planning process even more confused for inexperienced managers – all the daily buzz, trends and fads create distraction in managers’ minds and make them focus on one or two latest ideas and tools. As a result businesses jump in into the execution part without even having a real marketing strategy and plan for success. This gives a very limited perspective of the marketing capabilities of the business.
Fact is that media and tools change over time however the marketing principles are always the same. For example, social media channels are just new channels or new media but the principles of customer relations, selling and building a good will with your target market are no different than the principles in other media such as direct selling or local networking.
The real marketing challenge is focusing on the key principles, so for instance the question one should ask is “how I can improve my lead generation and selling process to accomplish my goals” (assumption made that there are defined marketing goals in place).
So the logic of creating your plan should go from well-defined goals to marketing processes to the media channels – this requires the following 3-step planning process:
1. Setting business and marketing goals and objectives
2. Developing marketing system and processes
3. Media selection for profitable execution of your plan
In addition to the 3-step process there are 4 key components in developing successful marketing plan and by focusing on them you’ll be able to create a plan which will be actionable and effective.
1. Who is the ideal customer?
This is the starting point of every plan because all your marketing processes, systems, activities, promotions…. will focus on your target customer or your ideal customer. When defining your ideal customers think of the following:
A. They should be willing and able to purchase your products and services
B. Their needs and wants should be satisfied with your products and services in a unique way which is hard for competitors to copy
C. They should be excited with your solutions and become loyal customers
The good news is that selling and servicing your ideal customers is simple, affordable and easy. When you talk about issues directly related to their needs they listen and follow you. Now compare this to companies that try to market and sell to everybody – they quickly run out of business because nobody can afford such an expensive and unorganized marketing approach.
2. Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
You should develop your unique value proposition based on your ideal customer. Think about what they really need and want and what would be the perfect way to satisfy those needs. Keep in mind that your value proposition must be unique – not just another angle or alternative to sell to your target market but something which creates a unique experience. It must be hard for everyone to step in and do the same and use your concept. Your UVP should give a specific reason why your prospects should do business with you instead of anyone else.
3. Effective and Profitable Lead Generation System
It’s a system – which means it should incorporate more than one process, media and tactic to leverage your business and overall profitability. Every media and process is different in terms of cost, ROI and reach but when you have a winning UVP you should be able to generate leads effectively through more than one channel.
Testing is a must – there is no shortcut for this – the most precious marketing research for any business is testing various channels and measuring the results and ROI. Measuring your marketing performance allows you to focus on the right channels (what works for one business or product may not work for another….). In addition measuring and monitoring your marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics allows you to continuously improve your existing processes and generate higher ROI year after year.
4. Effective Price-Value Strategy and Positioning
Every person and every business is different in terms of needs, desires, preferences and wants. Some people – customers / consumers / business clients – need more of what you offer and some need less. In addition some of them are willing and able to pay more while others just need a quick / affordable solution.
Still others (and this is a substantial part of your target market) are simply not aware how your products and services can help them. Because of this your marketing plan should focus on marketing to all of these segments within your target market.
Download and print the marketing plan tools PDF document here and use the template to go over these 4 components in detail. By working with the template write down the most important issues for your business – this is the foundation of your marketing plan. By having developed this you can start working on writing your plan.
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