Writing a Simple Marketing Plan

Although it may seem very complicated at first glance, writing a marketing plan doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. Nor do you need to have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration to read one. You can create a marketing plan with five sections, and it can be just as useful a tool for your business as a much more complicated marketing plan.

Situation Analysis
The first section of your marketing plan focuses on situation analysis. It is a basic explanation of your business’s situation as it stands today. The situation analysis section of the marketing plan can be a very valuable benchmark as you reevaluate your marketing plan as your business grows. Begin your situation analysis by writing a short description of the products you currently offer, the challenges you are facing, and possible threats posed by your competition. You should also mention any other outside circumstances that might affect your business in the next year. Some examples of these circumstances could include smaller amounts of traffic coming into your store due to road construction, or changes in certain laws that prohibit your product from being sold to a specific group of people.

Target Audience
This section’s focus is on your target audiences, or potential customers. It is not necessary to write several paragraphs explaining each group in your audience. Instead, a bulleted list with short descriptions is sufficient. If you are marketing to consumers, you may write a profile of your target customer demographic. This includes age range, gender, and other important factors. If you are marketing to other businesses, you should write a profile of your target customers according to business type, and indicate any criteria that a business needs to meet to qualify for your services.

Goals
The third section of your marketing plan should not take up more than one page. It should be a list of your marketing goals for the coming year. It is very important that your goals are measurable and realistic. You need to be able to easily measure the business’s performance.

Strategies and Tactics
The fourth section of your marketing plan will be the longest. In this section you will provide an overview of the marketing strategies you plan on using in the coming year. You also need to include what tactics you plan to use in order to implement each strategy. This section should highlight all of the steps you will take for public relations, advertising, trade shows, direct mail, and special promotions. You should make a schedule for all of these tactics, and stick to it.

Budget Breakdown
The last section of your marketing plan is a breakdown of what each one of your tactics will cost your company. For example, if you are planning to attend five trade shows per year, you’ll need to include the costs to participate in the shows (including the costs of marketing materials and your booth) in your budget. If you realize the tactics you’ve selected are too expensive, you can make changes to your tactics before you finalize your marketing budget