Sample Marketing Plan

Sections of this topic

    Lay the Groundwork

    In the last post, we discussed the importance of updating your marketing strategy and marketing plan. Today, we’ll walk through an excellent example of a typical plan.

    Each and every business is unique, so this is not a one-size-fits-all. But is a terrific place to start if you’re on a shoestring and you want to do as much of the groundwork as possible before taking it to an agency for refinement.

    Outline As Much As Possible

    I. Executive Summary:

    Write this last. Briefly include the most salient points from each section.

    II. Intro:

    Clarify your vision and mission statement. Condense your company history.

    III. Product/Service Description:

    Summarize your company’s offerings, both current and future.

    IV. Problem/Solution:

    Describe the Opportunity. How does what you offer to solve a problem or fill a need? How do you know? Include:

    • market and customer demographics
    • market size/share
    • growth rates
    • market projections – growth and share

    V. Competitive Summary:

    ‘Inventory’ your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses as well as their target audience(s). A visual mapping is often helpful.

    VI. Competitive Advantage:

    What is your company’s unique value proposition? That is, what sets you apart from your competitors, considering their target customers and their strengths and weaknesses? What makes you unique? Why is this valuable? Are you sure?

    VII. The Challenge

    Write a brief description of the product to be marketed and associated goals, such as sales figures and strategic goals.

    VIII. Situation Analysis

    Briefly, cover these points, concentrating on your ideal customers’ viewpoint:

    • Customer Analysis – Number, Type, Profile
    • Value drivers
    • Decision process
    • The concentration of customer base for particular products

    IX. Selected Marketing Strategy

    Discuss why the strategy was selected, then the marketing mix decisions (4 P’s) of product, price, place (distribution), and promotion.


    The product decisions should consider the product’s advantages and how they will be leveraged. Product decisions should include:

    · Brand name

    · Quality

    · Scope of product line

    · Warranty

    · Packaging


    Discuss pricing strategy, expected volume, and decisions for the following pricing variables:

    · List price

    · Discounts

    · Bundling

    · Payment terms and financing options

    · Leasing options

    Distribution (Place)

    Decision variables include:

    · Distribution channels, such as direct, retail, distributors & intermediates

    · Motivating the channel – for example, distributor margins

    · Criteria for evaluating distributors


    · Advertising, including how much and which media.

    · Public relations

    · Promotional programs

    · Budget; determine the break-even point for any additional spending

    · Projected results of the promotional programs

    If you can’t fill in all these blanks, then you know it’s time to start discussions with professionals. But you’ll be much more prepared and the outsourcing will ultimately cost less.

    What would you add to this that’s helped your business?


    For more resources, see our Library topics Marketing and Social Networking.

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    ABOUT Lisa M. Chapman:

    Ms. Chapman’s new book, The WebPowered Entrepreneur – A Step-by-Step Guide will be available on July 12, 2012, at and Barnes & Noble: Lisa M. Chapman serves her clients as a business and marketing coach, business planning consultant, and social media consultant. She helps clients to establish and enhance their online brand, attract their target market, engage them in meaningful social media conversations, and convert online traffic into revenues. Email: Lisa @