Ten Step Marketing Plan Template

Created by Sequent Learning Networks New York, NY www.sequentlearning.com (800) 606-2777 or (212) 647-9100

This Marketing Plan Template is provided by Sequent Learning Networks in the interest of marketing education. Building the skills of those responsible for creating, managing and marketing products & services can contribute to improvements in team communication, business decision making, product profitability, and marketplace success. For further information and guidance, or if your company needs assistance in product planning, product strategy, training or consulting services, please call Sequent Learning Networks at 212-647-9100.

Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks, Inc. Page 1

all businesses have some kind of strategy. strategies are not fully understood or are misinterpreted. Page 2 . However. In some firms. if you are in a big company. Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. cross-functional process. Successful companies are expert at identifying customer needs in a variety of ways. In an ideal world. In today’s competitive marketplace. is critical in the formulation of marketing plans. therefore. For example. Interpretation of these strategies can then result in realistic. It should not be a hastily assembled set of programs that are easy or convenient for the organization to carry out. it is very easy to have a marketing communications group design and conduct a series of advertising activities to drive lead generation because the sales teams don’t have enough prospects. to product line strategies (‘to use the new abc platform and designs to acquire new customers in market segment A and to target replacement purchases to market segment B). strategies at all levels of the organization should be well articulated and understood. Marketing planning is a complex. It is made up of a series of interlocking activities and tasks. if this lead generation activity is not considered within a broader context of marketing strategies. welldefined marketing plans and programs which can be created and acted upon. Deciding who to pursue runs as an undercurrent to all plans and programs. and draw inferences from those observations. consumers and businesses have many choices available to them to solve personal or business problems. It should be understood that in marketing planning should be conceived and executed within a broad corporate or organizational strategic context. Market focus. These successful companies are acutely aware of their competitors and try to figure out. there are typically higher level strategies (‘to grow our revenue by 25% in Europe within three years’).Introduction The purpose of this document is to provide you with the basic framework for creating a marketing plan by describing the intent of the marketing plan and describing the general steps you’ll need to take to create a marketing plan. probe. To that end. not just how to beat them but how to better satisfy the needs of those customers whose needs they believe are paramount. They just don’t ask customers about their problems – they observe. Whether you’re running a small business or you work in a big company. leading to ill conceived marketing plans and programs. to business unit strategies (‘to create two new product lines to sell to consumers in France and one new line in the UK’). the outcomes may not yield results of any significance to the firm. Organizations can have a greater chance of being successful if they develop deep understanding of markets and the customers within those markets. Inc.

and other influences. 10) Identifying risks. which includes: i. Also included are measurements to determine the success of your marketing activities. coupled with analysis of customer types. analysis of the industry and competitors. is a dynamic document which focuses on bringing marketing strategies to life. Each of these sections are covered in the pages that follow: 1) Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. which considers a combination of activities which come together harmoniously. Additionally. and overall demand. in bringing the product to market and sustaining it while in the market. Creating channels to effectively distribute your products to your target audience. Defining promotional programs to reach those targets. including sales teams (to make sure that volumes can be attained). 8) Budgeting of marketing programs so that the appropriate sales goals and corporate strategies can be attained. enables the creation of demand possibilities and the resulting forecasts. Inc. competitive value is recognized by the market targets. target customer types. the industry. which can include communications and advertising programs. Pricing those products so that the true. Page 3 . 9) Executing on the plan . It also allows you to formulate appropriate value propositions. why a customer would choose your solution versus the competition. and to position the product’s key benefits to the target audience. competitors. and expressing key values and benefits to the target audience 4) The marketing mix.The marketing plan then. and understanding dependencies on other organizations. iv. and finally. Deciding on which products meet the need of identified market targets ii. It is a multi-step process. which considers the following: Formulating a strategy of your company or your division and making sure that appropriate linkages are made between company strategy and marketing activity planning.creating marketing project plans. 6) Launching new products or product line extensions as needed. enabling you to identify market segment. 5) Determining who you’ll need to work with in successfully bringing the product to market. iii. 7) Training the sales force to competitively position the product or service. 2) Analyzing the environment within which you do business to make sure you consider the marketplace. 3) Carrying out market profiling. serving as a roadmap for carrying out marketing activities and implementing marketing strategies.

Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. and where it needs to be in the future. weaknesses. SWOT stands for strengths. By harnessing this data. defined as: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Assessing the current situation (where you are) Identifying the desired end state or goal (where you want to be) Mapping a path to achieve the goal (the strategy) Creating measurements to determine success factors Re-assessing the situation and revise the strategy Each is described below: SWOT analysis.Step 1 – Define the Strategy Strategy is carried out as a multi-step process. Inc. opportunities. Conducting this analysis helps you to figure out where it is today. Weaknesses reveal your vulnerabilities. Use this table to organize the elements Strengths (what you’re really good at) Opportunities (how to leverage your strengths) Weaknesses (where you’re falling short) Threats (your vulnerabilities due to your weaknesses or competitor strengths) An outcome of the SWOT analysis is to help you define what you’re good at and to leverage those strengths to determine the opportunities you might be able to take advantage of. or product lines fit within the context of the internal and the external environments. The ultimate goal is to uncover opportunities on which your company can capitalize. From this exercise. you’ll have a way to validate and guide your marketing investments. Page 4 . and threats. you can also derive some key marketing objectives which carry through to the next exercise. services. The overarching goal of SWOT is to determine where the company’s products.

The reason for this is that the business environment influences your strategies. The reason is that these are surveying techniques that allow you to put the information into perspective. it is an on-going effort. an competitive threat influences how you identify or prioritize new opportunities. Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks.’ Business environmental analysis is not a one-time event. Marketing professionals often refer to environmental analysis as ‘scanning. your awareness helps you to understand business drivers and evolving customer needs. List each key business issue and each possible marketing strategy which could be considered in relation to each business issue – and then list any resource requirements. Inc. Page 5 . Since the marketplace is always changing. and the industry in general. competitors. alert you to potential problems with customers. formulating strategy and business environment analysis can actually go hand in hand. It is incumbent on team members to adopt a focus on scanning the horizon and be constantly on the look out for shifts and changes. Steps 1 and 2. For example. Summarize these in the table below: Business Issues Summary Matrix Business Issue Possible Marketing strategy Resource requirements when the marketing programs are assembled Finally. which leads to the identification of market opportunities. Business environment analysis actually can help feed SWOT analyses. write your business environment analysis based on the data you collect and make sure it’s aligned with the opportunities identified in your SWOT.Step 2 – Business Environment Analysis Analyzing the business environment is situated as Step 2 in this template to emphasize its importance in data gathering. Another area on which you may with to focus when deriving strategies for products or markets has to do with understanding of Key Business Issues – what are the compelling issues impacting current marketing strategies and programs? Are there overwhelming issues relating to unmet demand or business need which has been uncovered? To help understand or visualizing business issues is to organize them in a table like the one shown below.

f. e. Find out who their suppliers are. you can determine the ultimate demand for your product or service with respect to market share.Step 3 – Market Profiling Market profiling involves the market research that needs to be carried out. and… ii. revenue potential. Inc. and why. i. and ultimately. Identify if there are any political issues in the geographic area of interest. Consider the state of the technologies used in this market space e. Secure actual growth rates of the industry using visuals to show the trend lines. Understand any of the societal trends or issues which may be prevalent in your area of interest. and whether they are hiring more people or cutting back. Use the following table to create a profile for each competitor: Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. g. g. adjust their prices. For example. From this. here are some suggestions: a. embark on advertising campaigns. Determine the number of employees on staff. d. Here are some approaches to identifying the characteristics of the industry: a. Market profiling is made up of the following activities: 1) Analyzing the industry in which your company compete. etc. f. b. Find out if there are any trends you can discern being used within this industry space. In order to carry this out. Determine how products and services are actually delivered from supplier to customer. Make a list of the kinds of activities they engaged in over the past year or two. The ultimate goal is to identify the attractiveness of the marketplace and the competitive posture you wish to assume. 2) Understanding the competitors with whom you compete. b. Take this list and figure out what you think they might do next. Make a list of competitors. did they introduce new products. Determine the brand images of each of the competitors. d. Identify how each of the products are positioned in the market and with respect to other competitors. Page 6 . Make a list of the kinds of things you might want to compete. c. Can you determine the total revenue of all competitors combined? This could give you a rough estimate of the size of the overall marketplace. c. the profitability of your products and services. Determine the general state of the economy. along with the products they offer.

the decision maker may be different than the actual user of the product. Name the segment or segments i. durable necessity (cars. you need to be able to define how people make purchasing decisions. depending on whether the product is a daily staple. Consumers. Inc. the more focused your marketing programs will be. Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. and the targeted groups will help you with more finely tuned marketing programs. appliances. Market segmentation helps the product manager or marketing manager to tailor a specific marketing mix to satisfy the needs of a group of customers (a segment). For each of the following exercise. Since customers are driven by needs (problems that need to be solved). Depending on the kind of product and the market (business to consumer products versus business to business products). Market segments represent groupings of customer types who have similar needs. Define the buying process. etc. that is. you may be broadly defining market segments. In businesses. Define the target i.000 c. or other means • Example – People living in the northeast states b. Page 7 .). or defining market targets within those segments. Use more detailed categorizations • Example – Employed males aged 50-60 living in New York State with incomes over $75. Use this questioning technique to help you: a. The more finely focused your efforts. your complete understanding of these segments. Use age. or impulse item.Name of Competitor Name of Product or Products Estimated Market Share (and supporting assumptions) What is the strategy of this competitor with respect to this product? What are the weaknesses of the product? Is the competitor vulnerable? Why should a customer choose our product over the competition? 3) Identifying market segments and ultimate customers to pursue. on your target markets. Market targets are sub-groups with similar needs. the buying process is different. geography.

one can then determine what investment should be made in marketing activities to access that market. key decisions are made based on forecasts. Page 8 . Inc. The number of customers whose needs create an interest in specific products and services c. The value and benefits of the products being offered If you were running an airport and wanted to find out the probability of success for a retail store selling travel supplies and impulse items. Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. Further. their capacity and schedules in order to figure out how many people would actually be passing through a given area. Your market share forecasts may be driven by some of the following (although these will vary by industry and market): a. it can be seen that the research involved in market profiling is critical. marketing programs may require periodic investments or product groups may be considering the launch of a new or improved product. However. It is a difficult task at best especially in industries where market conditions can change rapidly. For example. Therefore. the competitors and potential customers to understanding the size of the market for the opportunities in which you are interested. or businesses may be considering expansion into new markets. The affordability of products being offered e. you would want to figure out how much an average purchase might be in that store and multiply that amount by the number of people who you believe might go into that store. where that market is and how much of it can be captured over what period of time? Once the market is understood and believed to be attractive. The maximum number of customers in a market area b. This is just the beginning… Without further elaboration. You would need to understand the number of planes. we can try to minimize the errors of forecasting by trying to understand as much about the market environment as possible so that we can determine if there is a market for a product or service. The reason becomes clear when considering that all businesses try to create forecasts so they can put business and marketing programs into perspective.4) Forecasting sales volumes and market share. you might need to find out how many passengers go through the airport every day. and then make assumptions about the number of people who would have an interest in shopping in that store. Most people equate forecasting to short-term estimates of sales or unit volumes. Forecasting to evaluate market opportunities and potential profitability is a long-range planning activity and is more complex. That’s because they are forecasts. Unfortunately. The rate at which customers actually use products d. You need to understand the industry. most forecasts are inaccurate.

g.. For example. Inc.’ As the product moves through the market. one expression has become predominant – the 4Ps. and email advertising. Key practices to consider in the marketing mix are the creation of value propositions and in positioning the product. To describe the marketing mix. pricing actions. holistic manner in response to a variety of observed conditions or data about market conditions. The proof should be expressed clearly (e. Your pricing programs may include promotional tie-ins and discounts. improves operating efficiencies by…. etc. revenue growth. Metrics may focus on things like customer satisfaction.. Place (distribution channels) – the manner in which businesses deliver products to customers. and your promotional campaigns may focus only on select channels.. events. the product team and/or marketing managers will be making adjustments to those ‘levers’ of the marketing mix. it is important to understand that no one lever is pulled on its own. enables more rapid decision making with…ensures higher levels of quality or integrity Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. your promotional mix may be made up of a series of print advertising campaigns. Promotion – how customers are informed about the product or how businesses communicate benefits. In managing the Marketing Mix. The goal for this section of the marketing plan is to define each of the elements of the marketing mix and how those elements will come together in a cogent plan. The marketing plan should contain a description of all of the elements of the marketing mix. Additionally. market share. your marketing mix activities should be accompanied by market driven metrics. Price – A translation of the value or willingness of a customer to pay for the product. actionable elements of the marketing plan can be uncovered. Your company may establish many metrics which may need to be modeled or analyzed using simulations or sensitivity studies to show how one specific marketing mix model and the variables which may influence market outcomes. its attributes. It must be expressed in the customer’s terms. value. which include: • • • • Product – a complete description of the product. improves revenue. Imagine that each P is a lever in a ‘marketing machine. The Marketing Mix is a commonly used term appearing in many marketing publications and is used widely by marketing managers and product managers to describe the framework for actual marketing plans and programs for a company. saves time by…. and how its benefits and value are positioned in the marketplace.Step 4 – Marketing Mix Once the market segments and the market targets are determined. or product attributes. These levers are adjusted in a synchronized. Page 9 . customer retention rates. The Value Proposition is used to define and prove the economic or strategic benefit of the product or service for a given target market.

Here is a template to use with an example Name/Department John Doe Deliverable Brochure Date June 30 Dependency • Product description from product management • Legal review • Quality dept. business unit?) – as an optional contextual opening statement. Inc. Depending on the size of the company and degree of specialization. To prepare your positioning statement you need: 1) The name of the product 2) The target market 3) An understanding of the needs of that market and how those needs are to be satisfied with your product or service 4) How your product or service is better than that of the competition. review Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. Step 5 – Resources Identification None of the elements of a marketing plan can be carried out unless the contributions of all resources are known and understood. Page 10 . the known work items should be defined.The Product Positioning Statement is a tool to describe how you wish your company and your product to be perceived by your target audience. You may wish to start with a statement describing your company or your division: Who are you? (your company. and the timelines and schedules should be clear to all stakeholders. This is particularly useful if you combine company positioning (as advocated by Ries & Trout) with product positioning. the resources should be identified.

a formal launch plan should be established. are the dependencies of one team on another. Page 11 .Staffing . The product launch should be treated as a complex project with a variety of dates and deliverables.Product testing . and is best achieved through efficient cross-functional team interactions.Metrics . the launch plan activities (deliverables) are shown by function. There are complex dependencies between cross-functional team members. and is a representation of the confluence of development and marketing activities. . or derivative.Staffing Product Devel. The synchronization of tasks. The product launch is an intense series of activities and tasks that actually begins in the early product development phase.Quality Start date End date Resp org. with the appropriate start and end dates. You will want to create a plan similar to this for your products.Training .Step 6 – Launching Products and/or Services If the marketing plan includes the introduction of a new product.Collateral . Inc. activities. Product Launch Deliverables Marketing .Events .Systems Sales .Promotions . In the table below.PR Customer Service . or person Dependency on other functions or needed information Risks Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. and deliverables is critical to achieve an on-time launch. a line-extension.Call Center Set up .Training Finance . Of utmost importance is the understanding by all functional launch team members.

A marketplace summary. and should include: • • • • • • • The markets on which you’re focusing Overviews about the products. service or solution d. or decision makers. including segments. The availability dates. c. This section is devoted to defining the work needed to help the sales force to sell. they need to be equipped with the right tools to drive the revenue objectives of the firm. or solutions overviews they’ll be selling Methods to qualify opportunities and to understand customer needs Methods to capture the customer’s attention by providing compelling value propositions Positioning for the product against the competition Customer references Resources where more information is available for sales teams 1) Selling Strategy – Provide a paragraph or some bullets that can be used to help the sales teams to be successful 2) Describe the product. Compelling information which serves to surprise customers and prospects because of your knowledge and understanding of their specific issues and challenges will be highly beneficial to establishing rapport. An analysis of the competition Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. The value proposition (see earlier sections on this topic) which can be used to describe the benefits of the product. which correspond to the established market windows. targets.’ c. These were identified during the market segmentation and targeting. Inc. A description of the market segment and the target groups in this segment b. List price and possible discounts b. 3) Teach the Sales force to get the customer’s attention and get them excited about what’s being offered. Listing of observed customer issues and challenges. Each target group has a specific set of needs. users. which may be articulated as ‘needs. The positioning statement.Step 7 – Training the Sales force As products and services evolve. a. e. The following sub-sections establish this framework for you. Also. . service or solution. influencers. Pay particular attention to your advantages versus the competition. if the situation warrants this. services. If there are simple diagrams or product architectures. It should be written simply and concisely and in an objective style. help them to identify key buyers. Furthermore. Whether or not the sales force is direct or indirect. Page 12 . they should be included here. and ideal customer profiles. provide the following: a. the sales force should have updated information and training so they are prepared to qualify customers and represent the value and benefits provided by the products and services they represent. and were described in other parts of this marketing plan.

Step 8 – Budgeting No marketing or business plan is complete without a financial plan.Price/Unit .065 Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. Furthermore.000 60% 350 500 750 50 $1.650 $1.Marketing . to show how these marketing budgets are integrated with the financial plan.00 $ 5.Depreciation Total Expenses Earnings Before Interest & Taxes Interest Expense Earnings Before Taxes Income Taxes Net Income (Profit) PLAN 1.Total Sales COST OF GOODS SOLD (COGS) .00 $ 2. Page 13 .000 $3. SALES .R&D .000 Marketing Budget: Print Advertising: Direct Mail: Printing: eMail Newsletters: PR Team: Marketing Strategy: Events: Premiums: Promo Discounts Radio Training 50 30 15 20 25 85 40 15 20 30 20 1000 $2. Here is a sample profit and loss statement with a more detailed view of the marketing plans and programs magnified.Sales .Number of Units . the financial plan establishes some of the metrics against which actual performance will be evaluated as the plan is executed.Total Costs of Goods Sold Gross Margin GM % DIRECT EXPENSES . The budgets established for this marketing plan should be prepared within the context of the financial targets for the firm. Inc. The numbers are fictitious and are used for demonstration purposes only.350 $35 $1.315 $250 $1.Number of Units Sold .000 $ 5.Cost per unit .

this table is provided. affordability. email tools) Premiums (spell out details for each) Events (provide details) Ad agency fees/creatives (define each program) Promotional discounts Sales training Radio/TV Travel Staffing Q2 Q3 Q4 Total .As a direct input to the P&L for the product or business. Indicate any assumptions that you can to support each item. I will help you in the creation of a budget for each intended marketing activity. Inc. Q1 Print (trade periodicals.Totals - Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks. require detailed budgets. the marketing activities that are intended to be carried out. Page 14 . etc.) Direct Mail (letter shop/postage/printing) E-mail (list rental. depending on the state of the business. These may need to be evaluated on a case by case basis. It doesn’t mean that each and every program will be carried out. etc. Provide as much detail as you can. Therefore.

All activities are planned to drive business. Marketing Plan Element Magazine Advertisement Date Due Responsible Functional Department Media Planning and Advertising Issues and Risks Resolution plan or escalation path Will check by May 25 to make sure on target – if not. for example. the deliverables and metrics should be fully understood so that program status and issues can be communicated. responsible department. or with the cross-functional product team. their work plans need to be coordinated and the associated dependencies identified.Did the marketing program generate the number of sales leads? .Were the number of sales leads sufficient to create proposals which led to new business? . If. Inc.Step 9 – Executing Just like the Launch plan. Therefore. will miss deadline for submission to magazine and will miss August issue Add more rows as needed to cover your specific marketing activities Measurements (or metrics) Every dimension of the marketing plan requires an investment. measurements need to be put into place to determine whether the investment yielded the intended results. the committed time frames. if not. etc. the frequency with which they are evaluated. there is a pricing team. or other groups within the marketing department. Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks.Did the advertisement generate more visits to the website? . and the follow on action plans which clarify or redirect the business in deriving new marketing initiatives. or organization to determine which metrics to use. Whether it’s carrying out a research project or investing in a big advertisement. so that programs can be tracked. CMO will contact head of agency. This can be used to both summarize all deliverables in one place. The table below can be used to define each marketing plan element. the marketing plan is usually carried out by a number of individuals from other business functions.Did the new product generate higher levels of customer satisfaction? It is up to the person. team. As the marketing teams meet together. Typical measurements might consider: . and their programs are dependent on the advertising and promotion team’s work with outside agencies. Page 15 . June 30 for August Issue Agency and Creative must be done by June 10.

This section should be used to articulate the risks and issues that may emerge if deadlines aren’t met or results aren’t achieved. and some creativity.sequentlearning. The real challenge is to define the alternative action plans should a specific condition be encountered Conclusion A marketing plan. this isn’t always the case. all operational elements and project plans need to come together seamlessly. and corrective actions taken. Carrying out this process requires a degree of discipline. you could lose your competitive advantage.Step 10 – Risk Analysis As described. like other plans. is a roadmap. It cannot be emphasized enough that market profiling and research be carried out on an ongoing basis. that by not paying attention. The mere mention of these items is only the first step. Inc. www. structure. results tracked against performance metrics. your trusted source for marketing and product management training and advisory services. its goals (where do we want to go?) and the path to get there (the marketing strategy and the tactical plans. For additional information.com Suggested reading list: Selling the Invisible (Beckwith) Positioning. as represented by the marketing mix). The marketplace is filled with so many dynamics. Unfortunately. enabling a business to define its current situation (where are we?). Page 16 . contact Sequent Learning Networks. the Battle for Your Mind (Ries and Trout) Crossing the Chasm (Moore) Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries & Competitors (Porter) Competitor Intelligence (Fuld) Ten Step Marketing Plan Template © 2006 Sequent Learning Networks.