Here’s what we typically include in a marketing plan. Every organization is different, so your plan might not need to address all these areas.
Situation Analysis. In this important introductory section we will define the environment into which we will launch your new product or reposition your existing product. The purpose of this section will be to “ground us” as we move toward product and image positioning and development of key messages.
Product Description. In this section we will describe your product. We’ll talk about its differentiating features and benefits. We’ll examine its competitive advantages.
Competitor or SWOT Analysis. Some plans will include a section about competitors or a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to further ground the marketing strategy.
Marketing Campaign Objectives. In this section of the plan we will ensure we all have the same vision for the marketing campaign. What do we expect the campaign to accomplish? How will we evaluate and measure the success of the campaign? What are the short-term objectives? What are the long-term objectives?
Target Audiences and Markets. This section will highlight the target audiences and target markets for the marketing campaign. Audiences will be categories of people; markets are geographic or demographic segments.
Market Position. Given your product, your competition and your target audiences, how will we “position” your product in the marketplace to achieve “mindshare?” This section will define the way we want your publics to perceive and think of you. This is a pivotal section of the plan – the way you want to be perceived will drive the entire marketing campaign.
Campaign Focus, Theme and Timing. The market position is an internal statement. It describes from your vantage point through an evaluation of factors (e.g., competition, target audiences, situation analysis, etc.) how you want to be perceived. The campaign focus and theme are the outward expression of the market position. Based on your market position, what theme will we use to tie together your campaign? This theme will be depicted in words and graphics. It will be on all your marketing materials – from web site to advertising, direct mail, trade show signs and brochures.
Key Messages. Once we’ve identified your markets, your market position, and your campaign focus it’s time to hone the messages to each of these audiences. The development of the messages at this point will save time in copy development later. Agreeing on the messages up front facilitates copy writing and results in fewer revisions and rewrites.
Marketing Strategy. With the groundwork laid for a successful campaign, we now begin to define overall strategy and specific tactics.
Marketing Tactics. Finally, the marketing plan will include a detailed tactical plan, with specific activities and the timeframes for their completion. This section also will include the estimated costs for each tactic so priorities can be established if the budget can’t accommodate all tactics.