19 Feb

How To Write a Marketing Plan: How to make a marketing plan for your business

Having a marketing plan for your business is an often overlooked component to many small businesses.  Why do I need a marketing plan? Is a common question asked by new entrepreneurs and those running small 2 or 3 person companies. 

how to write a marketing plan: effective marketing plan for small businessHaving a plan that outlines your marketing efforts will help you reach the sales goals you have in mind for the future.  Putting it down on paper is not as hard as you may think. Writing a marketing plan is just another part of your steps to being successful.  Learn to write marketing and sales plans for your small business.  

Example of a marketing plan outline For Small Business

Executive Summary

A high-level summary of the marketing plan.  This is where you include information about how you plan on Marketing your company, such as building a new website, monthly email newsletters, newspaper advertising etc…

The Challenge Laid Out In Your Marketing Plan

Brief description of the products or services that you want to market and associated goals, such as sales figures and strategic goals. Take a step back when writing this section and see things at least 1 year out.  You will be surprised how quickly time moves.


Situational Analysis

Company Analysis

Understand your business goals for both today and in the future.  Is your marketing plan addressing your growth goals and is it specific enough to measure against?

  • Goals
  • Focus
  • Culture
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Market share

Customer Analysis (Persona)

  • Number
  • Type
  • Value drivers
  • Decision process
  • Customer base by product by region (even if your region is your local town where are the customers located)

Competitor Analysis

  • Market position
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Market shares


  • Subsidiaries, joint ventures, and distributors, etc.


Analyse those elements within your geographic region, again even your own town.  Also take in to consideration large global indicators when reviewing the climate of your market.  The price of gas at your local pump is impacted by global activites which in turn will impact your marketing plan.

  • Political and legal environment
  • Economic environment
  • Social and cultural environment
  • Technological environment


SWOT Analysis 

A SWOT analysis of the business environment can be performed by organizing the environmental factors as follows: Read more about SWOT and your marketing plan here.

  • The firm’s internal attributes can be classed as strengths and weaknesses.
  • The external environment presents opportunities and threats.

Market Segmentation

Description of the market segmentation as follows:

Marketing Plan: Section 1

  • Description
  • Percent of sales
  • What they want
  • How they use product
  • Support requirements
  • How to reach them
  • Price sensitivity

Marketing Plan: Section 2

Alternative Marketing Strategies

List all alternatives that were considered before you arrived at the recommended strategy. Alternatives might include discontinuing a product, re-branding, positioning as a premium or value product, etc.

  • Should we enter a market/industry?
  • Should we increase funding for our product(s)?
  • Should we maintain funding for our product(s)?
  • Should we divest or cease production of our product(s)?

Having this and reviewing it in the future will help keep you on track.

Selected Marketing Strategy

Discuss why the strategy was selected, then the marketing mix decisions (4 P’s) of product, price, place (distribution), and promotion.  As your business grows and your markets become more satisfied learn about the 7 P’s and incorporate them in to your marketing plan. The new P’s are People, Process and Physical evidence.


Your product decisions should consider the product’s advantages and how they will be leveraged. Remember perception plays a large role in the branding of any product. Product decisions should include:

  • Brand name
  • Quality
  • Scope of product line
  • Warranty
  • Packaging


Discuss pricing strategy, expected volume, and decisions for the following pricing variables:

  • List price
  • Discounts
  • Bundling
  • Payment terms and financing options
  • Leasing options

Distribution (Place)

Decision variables include:

  • Distribution channels, such as direct, retail, distributors & intermediates
  • Motivating the channel – for example, distributor margins
  • Criteria for evaluating distributors
  • Locations
  • Logistics, including transportation, warehousing, and order fulfilment


  • Advertising, including how much and which media.
  • Public relations
  • Promotional programs
  • Budget; determine break-even point for any additional spending
  • Projected results of the promotional programs

Short & Long-Term Projections

In your marketing plan include the selected strategy’s immediate effects, expected long-term results, and any special actions required to achieve them. This section may include forecasts of revenues and expenses as well as the results of a break-even analysis.


Summarize all of the above and give insight in to the future, plan for a sequel to your marketing plan.  After all your marketing plan grows with your business and should be reviewed yearly and updated to reflect your business and the changes in your market.


Include relevant information on how you came to the conclusion you have.  Exhibits Calculations of market size, commissions, profit margins, break-even analyses, etc.


About the Author

David is a digital marketing expert with over 15 years experience in B2B and B2C marketing. David has developed a proven approach to building strong digital foundations for multi-national companies. He is well versed in website development, social media strategies, content marketing, and search engine optimization.

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