How to write a marketing plan

If a business plan acts as a guide for keeping your business on track to achieve its goals, then a marketing plan is the step-by-step guide that helps you, as a founder, answer important questions about your business to help people understand exactly what it is you are selling. We'll take you through exactly how to write a marketing plan. 

The Planning Process

Part of the process of forming your marketing plan is discovering who you will be competing with in the market. One of the core reasons a marketing plan plays such as vital role in any company is because it helps you come up with a strategy that should help you understand why your company is unique and what you can do to win against competitors.

What sets you apart? What makes your brand different or more exciting? Are you cheaper than the others? Are you better quality than the others? Are you selling Australian-made products in an industry where none of the others in the market are?

Marketing plans, at the core, provide you with the answers to all the questions a customer will ask when making their purchasing decision - these answers can and should be used in things such as sales copy and website copy, as be represented in company imagery. Your marketing plan should always be about bringing in revenue to the business.

It’s important to understand the similarities and differences between Marketing and Public relations when crafting your marketing plan. Marketing is about creating a return on investment for a company. Public relations, on the other hand, is about creating awareness of your product and brand, and is therefore a different strategy altogether.

How Long Should it be?

A well written marketing plan can be as simple as a one-page long document. You should think of it as a process in clear decision making, helping you choose which marketing channels you are going to test, such as social media or traditional advertising, and how much you are going to budget on testing each environment before you take things to the next level and do a larger campaign.

It should also allow you as a founder to stay in control of the day-to-day activities in the business, especially if you have been accurate with the conversion forecasts within your marketing plan. For example, it can help you determine the amount of staff you need, the IT infrastructure you need in place, and ways to scale these things quickly if the best case scenario happens and your conversions are higher than estimated.

A marketing plan is also an important tool that can assist in obtaining loans from a bank or venture capital funding. A good marketing plan should align with your sales forecasts, and explain the activity that is behind achieving the numbers.

Like a business plan, reviewing your marketing plan should be an ongoing process, done at least quarterly, if not monthly. It has also never been easier to create one; if you want a hand in knowing how to lay one out, use this handy Government-endorsed template.