How to Create a Marketing Plan

July 29, 2020| Marketing Plan


By Marilyn Heywood Paige

Tactics are the first thing that comes to mind when people think of creating a marketing plan for their business. Tactics are efforts like building a website, creating newsletters, and producing social media campaigns. They’re fun and action-oriented, so tactics are often where people start when marketing their business.

Before You Create A Marketing Plan


We recommend starting any marketing plan with a thorough situation analysis, then creating a marketing strategy and then delving into creating a marketing plan. Let’s assume you’ve done these things and now you’re ready to create a tactical marketing plan. Tactics can be costly, so having a marketing plan in place can help to optimize your spend. Here are the most critical items to consider before you begin your tactical plan. I organize them into two sections, internal considerations that relate to what’s happening inside your business and external considerations that have to do with your audience.

Internal Considerations of Your Marketing Plan

These are five internal factors to examine when you put together your tactical plan. They are your short and long-term needs, goals, budget, and time. I’ll briefly explain each.

Short-Term NeedsYour immediate communication needs are the tools you need to close business. It may include things like a website, a brochure, and business cards. Example: Our short-term needs are a new website, team business cards, and brochures. This will allow our sales team to have more conversations. Long-Term NeedsLonger-term marketing needs are more sales process-oriented. They include things like staying top of mind and remarketing to current and past customers. Example: Our long-term needs are selling more to current customers and reselling them within one year of their initial purchase. This will raise our margins and increase revenue.
GoalsWhat do you want to achieve with your marketing? Capture new leads? Create more sales within your current customer base? Record all your marketing goals. And be specific. How many new leads? From where? By when? Example: Our goals are:

● Increase individual customer spend by 5% by March 2021.● Stay top of mind and resell to 25% of our current customers, increasing overall revenue by 7% by January 2022.

BudgetHow much are you going to spend every month? Some tactics are money siphons and require loads of cash. Others require less. Realistically, how much can you consistently invest in marketing every month? Write it down.
Example:The monthly budget is $25,000 per month, with a 20% increase during the holiday season for $310,000 in spend. 
TimeMarketing requires rigorous attention. How much time does your team have to spend on executing your marketing plan? Just as you budget money for marketing, set aside time every day to execute your marketing plan.
Example:The agency will do the heavy lifting and Maria will spend 50% of her weekly hours on marketing tasks. Ed will spend an hour every day overseeing the marketing.


External Considerations of Your Marketing Plan

AudienceWho do you want to reach? How old are they? Where do they live? Are they married? What’s their cultural background? What do they need in relation to your product or service? Create your list of target markets with each’s specific demographic and psychographic characteristics. 

Target Markets1. Male and female Baby Boomers who have over $100K in annual income, are empty nesters but don’t want to retire, live in the northwest region, have two cars, and a need to be more adventurous.
2. Married male and female Millennials who have children, over $75K in annual income, live in the northwest region, have two cars, and prioritize having family adventures.

Target Market LocationsGetting your message to Millennials will probably dictate using different tactics than you would for reaching an audience of Baby Boomers. Similarly, consumers look for purchase information in different places than someone buying for their business. Who you want to reach will dictate many of your tactical decisions.
Make a list of where your audience are online and in person. Which social media platforms do they frequent? What events and conferences do they go to? What blogs and publications do they read?

Baby Boomers Visit/Read
● Facebook● LinkedIn● Starbucks● The Wall Street Journal● Next Avenue Blog● Wine Connoisseur
Millennials Visit/Read
● Instagram● LinkedIn● Local Coffee Shop● New York Times● Bustle● Wired

Keywords & HashtagsIf your audience was to search for your product or service how might they do that? What words and phrases would they type into a search engine? Which hashtags might they search for in social media? Make a list of all these keywords, phrases, and hashtags.

Baby Boomers Search for:
● Adventures over 50● Luxury Trips● #adventure● #babyboomerstyle● #funover50
Millennials Search for:
● Adventures on a budget● Fun Family Trips● Best Family Road Trips● #familytrips● #familyfun● #budgetfriendlyvacation

Message CharacteristicsWhat are you communicating to your audience? Is it highly technical? (Industries such as manufacturing, software, and energy come to mind.) Is it very visual? (Clothing, personal products, home, and lifestyle typically require great photos and video.) Is it sensitive information? (Erectile dysfunction, bladder control, death, and dying are examples of sensitive topics as they require more sensibility and nuance.) Thinking through the characteristics of your messaging will help you determine which tactics to use. 
Message Characteristics are visual with some technical information conveyed.
Messaging BlueprintWrite the exact messages and phrases you want to use to communicate with your audience. Include things like your brand tone, business value propositions, differentiators, and key messages.

Brand Tone
Fun, friendly, always up for a dare, but never rude or disrespectful.
Value Propositions● Every detail of your trip is taken care of from start to finish.● The most comprehensive trip planners on the planet.
Differentiators● Customer service rated #1 by TripAdvisor and Expedia● More repeat customers than any other trip agency.
Key Messages● This is the fun you’ve been dreaming of.● We plan. You relax.● Your dedicated trip host ensures every detail is taken care of.● Five-star ratings from Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Expedia make us the #1 place for singles, couples, and family fun.

Build A Plan

Now that you’ve outlined these critical areas, it’s time to build your marketing plan. Start with your budget. Divide funds equally between short and long-term needs. (Or 60/40 or 70/30, however you want to prioritize it.)

Calculate Costs

Now, look at your audience list and where to find them. Your Baby Boomer audience is on LinkedIn and reading Wine Connoisseur. Find out how much advertising costs on those platforms. Relate these costs to your short and long term allocations. Determine just how much advertising you can afford on those platforms. 

Create A Spreadsheet

Take all the pieces you have created and put them into a spreadsheet like this:

Marketing Plan Outline


This outlines the big picture of a yearly plan. From here you would then drill down into the monthly budget, messages, and goals. Ideally, you would also come up with a list of key performance indicators (KPI) to measure how well each of your campaigns is going and the return on your investment. 

Need More Help?

Still not sure how to proceed? Or maybe this is more than you want to do yourself. We’re happy to make a marketing plan for you that reaches your goals. Contact us.

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