How to Write a Marketing Plan

The Marketing Plan is a highly detailed, heavily researched and, hopefully, well written report that many inside and possibly outside the organization will evaluate. In many respects, the Marketing Plan is the most important document produced by marketers as it not only helps to justify what has occurred in the past, but is critical for explaining where a company intends to go in the future.
The Marketing Plan is widely used by both large large corporate marketing departments and also by small startup companies.  It is particularly important for marketers who seek funding for new projects or to expand existing products or services.
Essentially the Marketing Plan:

  • forces the marketing personnel to look internally in order to fully understand the results of past marketing decisions.
  • forces the marketing personnel to look externally in order to fully understand the market in which they operate.
  • sets future goals and provides direction for future marketing efforts that everyone within the organization should understand and support.
  • is a key component in obtaining funding to pursue new initiatives.

The Marketing Plan is generally undertaken for one of the following reasons:

  1. Needed as part of the yearly planning process within the marketing functional area.
  2. Needed for a specialized strategy to introduce something new, such as new product planning, entering new markets, or trying a new strategy to fix an existing problem.
  3. Is a component within an overall business plan, such as a new business proposal to the financial community.

There are many ways to develop and format a marketing plan. The approach taken here is to present a 6-Part plan that includes:

  1. Purpose and Mission
  2. Situational Analysis
  3. Marketing Strategy and Objectives
  4. Tactical Programs
  5. Budgets, Performance Analysis and Implementation
  6. Additional Consideration

This plan is aimed at individual products and product lines, however, it can be adapted fairly easily for use in planning one or more strategic business units (SBU). The page length suggested for each section represents a single-spaced typed format for a plan focused on a single product. Obviously for multi-product plans lengths will be somewhat longer.
It is assumed that anyone developing a Marketing Plan possesses a working understanding of marketing principles. If you do not, it is suggested you spend considerable time learning about basic marketing through the previous sections of the Principles of Marketing Tutorials.

Note, throughout the plan the word “product” is used. However, the information presented in the Marketing Plan tutorials applies to both products and services.

Part 1: Purpose and Mission