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How to Write a Marketing Plan & Use a Marketing Plan Template

A marketing plan is essential for outlining and tracking your marketing strategy. Use this guide and our free marketing plan template to get started.

A marketing plan is essential for outlining and tracking your marketing strategy. Use this guide and our free marketing plan template to get started.

Marketing is a way to promote a business and sell its products or services. This can include social media marketing, email marketing, offline marketing, event marketing, and so forth. But before you can actually implement a marketing strategy for your business, you need to write a marketing plan.

Marketing plans essentially outline the marketing strategy that your business is going to use to sell its products or services. A marketing strategy plan is necessary to implement your marketing objectives effectively and track success.

A marketing plan will look different for every business and its unique marketing strategy. However, a marketing plan template can be a good starting point for helping you understand what to include and how to write one.

In this guide, we'll cover why having a marketing plan is important, how to write one, an example of a marketing plan, and a marketing plan template to help you get started. Continue reading to learn more about how to use a marketing plan template to facilitate your business's marketing strategy.

A marketing plan is a document that outlines how a business will execute a marketing strategy or various marketing strategies. You can use a marketing plan to organize and track the success of a marketing campaign during a certain period of time.

A marketing plan will typically include a description of your business's target audience, a summary of your business goals, a timeline of when you want these goals to be accomplished, and key performance indicators that you'll track to measure the success of your marketing efforts.

While there are general components that a marketing plan should typically include, this document will look different for every business. The specifics of your plan may differ depending on the products or services that you're promoting, your target audience, your budget, and other key factors.

Marketing plan vs. marketing strategy

Before we can get into the step-by-step process of writing a marketing plan, let's discuss the differences between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy.

Your marketing plan comes before the marketing strategy—outlining your business goals and what that strategy will entail.

A marketing plan also helps you figure out how you're going to:

  • Execute your marketing strategy
  • Allocate your budget
  • Keep track of the results

Your marketing strategy is how you're going to achieve your business's goals. It's the action aspect of your marketing plan. This includes how you'll get your products or services in front of prospective customers and how you'll convert those efforts into sales. The marketing strategy will detail the marketing channels you'll use and how you'll use them.

Having a marketing plan is essential for several reasons, such as:

Marketing plans help create clear goals

When you make a plan for your marketing strategy, it can help you hone in on your business's focus. You can clearly define what you want to achieve and how to do that most effectively.

By defining specific goals, such as increasing sales, expanding market share, improving retention, or launching a new product, you provide your team with a clear direction and purpose, aligning everyone toward common objectives.

Marketing plans provide new insight

Having a marketing plan is a great way to look at things from a new angle. If you've been using the same marketing strategies for a while and your sales have reached a standstill, maybe that means it's time to try something new. A marketing plan can provide new insight into how you can improve your business.

Marketing plans help track your success

No matter your marketing channels, you always need to track your success. A marketing plan can help you monitor performance to see what strategies are and aren't working and pivot as needed.

With a marketing plan in place, you can establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure the success of your marketing efforts. Tracking metrics like website traffic, conversion rates, and return on investment allows you to assess the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives and make data-driven adjustments to optimize performance.

Marketing plans stick to your budget

When you're trying to accomplish a goal, it can be easy to overspend. But when you have a marketing plan with your spending clearly defined, it'll be a lot easier to stay within your budget.

A well-defined marketing plan helps you allocate budget and resources strategically, ensuring that you invest in channels and tactics that deliver the most significant impact and align with your business objectives.

Marketing plans help identify threats and opportunities

There are always opportunities to improve your business, but there are also always threats that your business can face due to market changes and emerging competitors. This information can be used to plan how you'll take advantage of opportunities and counteract challenges.

Writing a comprehensive marketing plan involves several essential steps to ensure clarity, alignment with business objectives, and effectiveness in reaching target audiences.

1. Executive summary

The executive summary of your actionable marketing plan is a concise overview of your entire marketing plan, summarizing key components such as marketing goals, milestones, and strategies. It should provide a snapshot of your business's current state, competitive landscape, and overarching marketing objectives you aim to achieve.

2. Mission statement

Your mission statement articulates the core purpose and values of your business succinctly. It's essentially the “why” behind your business. A mission statement should be short and to the point while clearly conveying why your business does what it does.

A compelling mission statement guides your marketing efforts, telling your marketing team what your company stands for and resonates with your target audience, fostering brand loyalty and engagement.

3. Marketing objectives

Your marketing objectives should describe how you're going to achieve your business's goals. You should have S.M.A.R.T. objectives, which means they should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Here is an example of a S.M.A.R.T. objective: Generate X% of sales from X campaign by X date.

Each objective should align with broader business objectives and provide a roadmap for measuring marketing performance and success. For instance, objectives could include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or driving sales within a specified timeframe.

4. Situational & SWOT analysis

Having a situational and SWOT analysis is crucial in a marketing plan. A SWOT analysis will analyze your business's:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

Strengths and weaknesses are typically internal factors that come from within your business. Opportunities and threats are external factors that your business will face.

For example, a strength of your business could be that you have an experienced team passionate about the company. However, a weakness of your business could be that none of the team has experience with social media.

An opportunity for your business could be that your industry is growing, but a threat could be that competitors sell the same product as you at a lower price.

Being aware of these factors is important so that you can make fully informed decisions about what to do with your marketing strategy.

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5. Market research

The market research section of a marketing plan should provide an overview of your target audience and the market that you're selling to. This is a necessary step because it will help you obtain important information about your business landscape.

You need to figure out your buyer persona, which is who you want to buy your product or service. Understanding your buyer persona is key so you can make sure your products or services appeal to your target audience.

You'll also need to create a competitive analysis, which includes researching competitors to gain insight into their products, sales, and marketing strategies so you can see how yours compares.

6. Budget

One of the last steps in creating a marketing plan is to figure out your marketing budget. Without a clearly defined marketing budget, it can be all too easy to overspend, which can put your business at risk of financial instability. You must be spending wisely when it comes to your marketing strategy so you get the best return on investment.

Your budget should include all aspects of your marketing campaign, such as digital ads, social media, events, content, and any other aspects that make up your marketing strategy.

Consider all aspects of your marketing campaign, including advertising costs, content creation, website maintenance, and promotional events. Prioritize spending based on the channels and tactics more likely to yield a positive return on investment (ROI). Regularly review and adjust your marketing budget to optimize performance and adapt to changing market conditions.

7. Marketing strategy

With a solid foundation, develop a comprehensive marketing strategy outlining the specific marketing tactics and activities you'll employ to achieve your objectives.

Your overall marketing strategy might include multiple strategies for each type of marketing you plan to do. For instance, you might have a content marketing strategy, social media marketing strategy, search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, traditional marketing strategy, and so forth as part of your overarching company marketing strategy.

Your strategy should integrate insights from market research, SWOT analysis, and budget considerations to create a cohesive action plan.

To enhance marketing initiatives, define key messaging themes, communication channels, and promotional campaigns tailored to resonate with your target market. Implement tracking mechanisms to monitor performance metrics and evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

By continuously refining your strategy based on insights and feedback, you can drive sustainable growth and success for your business.

Marketing plan template

A marketing plan template can be a useful tool when creating your first marketing plan. You can use it as a traditional or digital marketing plan template or for both. This template is a great starting point that you can then add on to and adjust as needed.

Essential for outlining and tracking your marketing strategy, download our free marketing plan template

Achieving your goals is much easier when you have some direction. Using Mailchimp's marketing plan template is one way to save time and help ensure you're on the right track as you get started.

business owner writing a business plan

Create your own marketing plan

A marketing plan can be highly valuable to your business. You might be apprehensive about devoting time and resources to put one together; however, investing the time now can pay off significantly in the long run.

After all, achieving your goals is much easier when you have some direction. Using Mailchimp's marketing plan template is one way to save time and ensure you're on the right track as you get started. Mailchimp can also be an asset with other digital marketing templates as you move forward with your marketing plan.

Mailchimp is a marketing platform that gives you access to various marketing resources—like marketing CRM software and marketing automation tools—that can help you grow and build your business.

Use these tools to create successful marketing campaigns, connect with your customers, and ultimately increase revenue for your brand. So whether you need help with email campaigns, social media marketing, or all of it, Mailchimp has you covered.

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