What is a Marketing Plan and How to Create One?

Marketing Plan

Marketing activities are one of the biggest expenses for any business. However, doing it right is sure to reap the best ROI for your brand.

In other words, a marketing plan with clear goals and objectives makes it easier for businesses to connect with the target audience with ease.

So, if you want to leave an ever-lasting impression on the target customers and convert leads into sales, having a robust brand promotion plan will help you get there.

But, before we move ahead, let us focus a bit on the basics.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan helps a business organize, execute, and track its marketing strategy over a specific period of time. This plan can include different marketing strategies for various marketing teams across the company.

It is an operational document that describes the advertising strategy of a business to connect with the target market and convert leads into sales. This contains detailed information on outreach and various PR campaigns to be executed over a period of time.

Many businesses often downplay the importance of having a clearly defined plan. But, doing this often causes more loss than profit for a company.

Why is having a marketing plan important?

The answer is simple. Any business looking to promote its products or services has to have the plan to make that happen. It is here that a robust brand promotion plan comes into action.

Undoubtedly, there are some major benefits to having one. These include;

  • Alignment

It helps align the business team with the business goals and objectives.

  • Impact

Helps make the right impact by including performance targets in the plan to show the impact of your work.

  • Focus

Offers a framework for prioritizing the necessary marketing activities and requests.

  • Coordination

Helps create a timeline with the key milestones. This helps keep everyone in sync and on schedule.

  • Visibility

Helps communicate the progress and direction of promotional campaigns to the higher management and internal teams.

You should revise and evaluate the plan’s progress depending daily on what works and what doesn’t. It will help you evolve the plan to achieve the said business objective. You can also try out efficient marketing project management software to help you achieve the intended business goals.

Make use of the ProofHub marketing project management tools; your clients, colleagues, and you will be grateful you did. Book a demo today!

A strategic marketing plan comprises several different components. Do you know what these are/ Let’s find out.

What are the different types of marketing plans?

As a marketer, you need to devise plans for different campaigns and promotional activities.

Before you launch a marketing plan, knowing about its different types will help you a lot.

1. Communication plan

It covers every aspect of your business’s marketing strategy and increases the brand’s visibility in the market. Communication plans should take into consideration the target customers, partners, investors, analysts, and media channels.

2. Content marketing plan

It offers a strategic approach for creating and distributing valuable content not only to attract the target market but also to connect with it. This plan sets the right tone for delivering content that is of value to the target customers and your business. It also contains information on what channels you would use to distribute the content.

3. Advertising plan

Having an advertising plan requires a specifically designed message to encourage the target audience to take the desired action. It includes all the promotional and marketing activities you organize for the business and defines the duration of each campaign. You need a specific and detailed timeline along with the activities you will undertake.

4. Digital marketing plan

It consists of online paid marketing activities including social media and email. It helps you identify relevant online channels for connecting with the target customer, and schedule for implementing various marketing activities depending on customer acquisition, retention, and growth.

5. Product launch plan

This plan helps you navigate the target market with a new product or service. From a marketing perspective, it requires deciding how you announce a product launch, create new content, and the channels you would use to promote it.

6. Social media plan

The social media marketing plan helps grow your brand’s online following. It helps you acquire market share, and generate brand awareness, leads and thought leadership. For this plan to work, you have to choose social networks which the target audience uses. You have to consider the strategies for boosting your brand’s social media following.

However, before going ahead and designing any of these plans, you should be aware of the different steps of a marketing plan.

How to write a highly effective marketing plan?

First things first! The type of plan you come up with for promoting a product or service depends on the purpose and the type of organization it is for.

Come! Let us go a bit in-depth to understand how to create a marketing plan;

  • Executive summary

How well you start with a marketing plan decides whether it would strike a chord with the target audience or not. You want to pull the target audience towards what is on offer and not repel them.

To make that happen, you need to present them with a well-written executive summary. This helps introduce your company goals, marketing victories, future plans, and other vital facts. The executive summary gives this plan a boost for a great start.

Make sure you include marketing goals, high-level metrics, company milestones, facts related to your brand, future goals & plans, and employee anecdotes. An important thing to keep in mind is to make sure the summary is brief and to the point.

In other words, the executive summary is one of the first steps of the marketing plan. It must have sufficient information to pique the reader’s interest and not share the specifics.

  • Metric-driven marketing goals

After completing the executive summary, it is time to outline the marketing goals. It is one of the most crucial elements of the entire marketing campaign. You should make sure to set goals that impact website traffic, conversation, and customer success. Clear goals are important when you want to understand how to develop a marketing plan.

Do not include vague goals like getting more social media followers, writing more content, creating YouTube videos, increasing retention rate, or decreasing bounce rate.

However, these vague goals when combined with a specific number and time limit do become valuable. For example, instead of simply mentioning more social media following you can mention getting 100 Twitter followers per month.

  • Outline user persona

Although this might not seem an important aspect, it still holds a ton of value. Do not focus on how you can get the maximum visitors to your brand, but on how you can get the right ones.

For this, you have to answer questions like;

  • Who are your ideal customers?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their biggest problems?
  • How will your business solve those problems?

Answering these questions requires a lot of research, but the end result will be worth the wait.

So, here’s a little guide to how you can create an impressive user persona.

Firstly, add a profile picture or icon for each user persona. It will help you put a face to each persona so that it seems real.

Now, mention information like age, job, income, goals, challenges, identifiers, and activities. Doing this has an impact on the type of message you design to connect with the target market.

However, if you don’t want to go into too much detail then stick to the information given below.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a plan with a segmented user persona, check out this in-depth information on customer segmentation.

  • Extensive competitor analysis

In-depth competitor research helps you find out who the competitor is, what they are doing, and how you can surpass them in the same niche.

Make sure your competitor research includes information like;

  • Who is their marketing team is
  • Who is their leadership team is
  • What is their marketing strategy is
  • What is their sales strategy is
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Their market cap/financials
  • Their yearly growth
  • The number of customers they have & their user personas
  • This SWOT analysis sample will help you understand what you need to work on to outrun the competitor.
  • Set key baselines & metrics

Predicting the future success of your business is a bit hard if you are unclear of where it stands in the present moment.

Setting baselines helps you track the plan’s progress accurately. It helps you analyze what worked and what did not. It gives you the necessary information for designing a successful future marketing strategy.

Having clear baselines and key metrics also gives a clear understanding of the marketing goals and strategy.

  • Actionable marketing strategy

Once you are clear about what metrics and baselines to include, it is time to break down the marketing strategy.

Marketing experts recommend that you utilize mind maps to share the strategy with all the essential parts tied together.

Make sure the marketing strategy contains all the information your team can use to design the best campaigns. Remember, this is not the time to keep vital facts hidden from others.

  • Tracking/ reporting guidelines

Finally! It is time to finish the plan. Do this with a brief explanation of how you plan to track or measure the results of different campaigns.

Doing this saves you a lot of time by standardizing how you track campaign results across your marketing team.

There have to be specific guidelines on how you measure the progress and results of all the marketing activities. These should include the following:

  • What you plan to track
  • How do you plan to track the results
  • How often would you track

However, you can add more tracking guidelines to the plan should you feel the need. Including this information will help you create a marketing plan that promises good results. Using the right marketing management tool can help your business create the right buzz in the market.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion between marketing strategy and plan. The information below will dispel this confusion once and for all.

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Marketing plan vs Marketing strategy

Many marketing teams struggle to connect with the target audience due to a poor marketing strategy. Some do not even have a promotional plan in place.

However, there is a considerable difference between the two. Come! Let’s find out.

Marketing strategy

The marketing strategy plan defines how an organization can achieve its business goal or objective. It includes the online campaigns, content, communication channels, and marketing software the business would use to achieve the said objective.

For example, one of the departments in your company might decide to take up social media marketing. You can consider your work on their Facebook page as an individual marketing strategy.

Marketing plan

It consists of one or more marketing strategies you create and connect together for a more extensive marketing campaign or business objective.

For example, a company launching a new product or service wants customers to sign up for the same. For this, their marketing department will have to come up with a plan to promote the new product and drive customers to take the required action.

Let us now take a look at some of the best examples that show how using the right plan can reap the best results.

Marketing plan examples

Given below are some of the best examples that will help you understand how you can design one.

1. Shane snow’s marketing plan for his book dream team

Data-driven content marketing can help you with a book launch event. Data helps you optimize the content strategy and spread more awareness about the book. It also helps get more subscriptions, convert leads into sales, and encourage the purchase of the book.

When Shane Snow started promoting his book titled “Dream Team”, he had to use a data-driven content strategy framework. He chose the content strategy waterfall method.

The content strategy waterfall method is a perfect marketing plan example that comes in handy when you want to create a system with a linear and sequential approach.

The waterfall content strategy will help you understand;

  • How Shane Snow applied his business objectives to decide which marketing metric to track.
  • Used his business goal to earn $200,000 in sales / 10,000 purchases to estimate the conversion rate of each stage of his funnel.
  • Created buyer persona to determine which channel the target audience would prefer to consume his content.
  • Calculated how paid media helped cut down the amount of content he had to create and post.
  • Used an average post view on every marketing channel to know how much content he would have to create and how often he would have to post.
  • Designed his process and workflow, built his team, and assigned members to tasks.
  • Analyzed content performance metrics to refine his overall content strategy

2. Chief outsider’s go-to-market plan for a new product

When you want to devise a plan for promoting a new product or service, you can use the Chief Outsiders template to kickstart. This is a great example to help you understand;

  • Validate a product
  • Write strategic objectives
  • Identify your market
  • Compile a competitive landscape
  • Create a value proposition for a new product

3. Contently’s content plan

Instead of applying a new content marketing strategy, Contently’s leverage the strategy used in previous marketing campaigns to drive the next one. The content plan they have helps push this strategy towards its intended target.

Contently releases the entire content plan via blog post. It helps marketers develop an independent marketing process. Following this methodology gives you the following benefits;

  • Align content objectives and KPIs with the business goals
  • Create detailed user personas using psychographics rather than traditional demographics
  • Design content for every stage of the marketing funnel depending on the prospect’s pain points
  • Identify the most effective marketing channels
  • Discover content topics the target audience prefers
  • Assess organizational needs for additional resources

Using this strategy for your business’s marketing campaigns would remove the need to come up with new marketing strategies for every marketing campaign.

Do you want to create an efficient and result-oriented marketing plan? If the answer is YES then you need to include a bit of the secret sauce – The marketing plan template.

What is a marketing plan template?

It refers to a standardized roadmap of an organization’s content goals, tasks, and deadlines. It outlines recurring steps, tasks, and documentation you would need for a successful marketing campaign.

Let us now check out a few plan templates that will come in handy for you when designing a marketing campaign for your brand.

  • Free marketing plan template

The template below is best suited for organizations with a vision to share. It is a simple plan that outlines the core value of the company and the ideal buyer persona.

  • Small business marketing strategy template

An excellent marketing template for small businesses working to develop a marketing strategy for the entire year.

  • Professional marketing proposal template

This is the perfect marketing template to kickstart your brand’s marketing campaign on a good note. The best thing about using this template is that it is short, sharp, and to the point. You get a table of content to set the agenda and space for company overview and mission statement.

Marketing plan sample

  • Create a primary objective

State your organization’s business mission. It can be anything, from providing the best products and services, to helping the target audience achieve a specific goal without compromising their valuable time, health, and budget on the line. 

Keep in mind, you also have to work on improving social media presence while nurturing a strong relationship with the client and stakeholders.

  • Determine the KPIs

Determining the KPIs is an important aspect to consider when designing a small business marketing plan. KPIs are what give a specific direction to your business’s promotional plans. For example, if you want to focus on social media growth, the KPIs should be something like;

“We want to achieve a minimum of (Number of followers) with an engagement rate on (social media platform name).

The goal here is to increase the number of recurring customers and form new connections outside the social media platform. 

  • Know the buyer’s persona

You have to take into consideration the age, gender, profession, background, interests, values, goals, pain points, streaming platforms and social media platforms the target audience prefers while creating a target audience for your marketing campaign.

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  • Describe content initiatives & strategies

Your content has to be based on topics that the audience is searching for online.  For example, if the target audience is entrepreneurs, the content should be based on marketing, remote working, and productivity hacks.

  • Define your marketing budget

You have to define how much your marketing strategy will cost the organization. Start on the lines of – Our marketing strategy will use a total of (Amount of money) per month. It should include everything, from freelance collaborations to advertising.

  • Identify the competitors

To identify the competitor, you should have clear answers to the following questions;

  • What platforms do they use?
  • How does their branding differ from yours?
  • How do they talk to their audience?
  • What valuable assets do customers talk about?
  • Is the competitor receiving any negative feedback from the customers?
  • Outline the plan’s contributors & responsibilities

Establish responsible parties for every portion of the plan. Let the marketing department manage the content plan, execution, and community interaction to achieve the set KPIs. Similarly, assign a social media manager, content strategist, and community manager.

The sales department will follow in the footsteps of the marketing department. They will also work towards creating and executing a customer outreach strategy. At the same time, it is necessary to look for a sales strategist and sales executives.

Let customer service departments nurture client relationships to ensure they have all the necessary information at hand. Lastly, a project manager would track the progress and team communication for the entire marketing project.

Using the right tool can make it easier to develop a business promotion plan that reaps positive results for your business.

How to launch a successful marketing plan with ProofHub?

The majority of marketing teams require visual timelines to keep track of all the marketing activities they need to pursue. There are some that rely on Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint to enter and capture plan data.

Every marketing team has a different set of skills, personalities, and elements. All three have to work together to complete any marketing project. Having an efficient project management tool like ProofHub makes it easy to focus on the vital components of a marketing campaign.

Here’s how ProofHub helps streamline your entire marketing campaign planning:

  • Gantt Charts help your marketing teams plan and visualize marketing campaign outcomes. These also help you deal with any task dependencies and deal with any new changes in the plan.
  • The Table view offers you a centralized space to assign tasks, prioritize tasks, share important details and access vital information-all in place.
  • ProofHub helps marketing teams kickstart new marketing campaigns, streamline the workflow, define marketing goals, analyze KPIs, coordinate with external clients, and execute the said plan.
  • Creating multi-channel marketing campaigns is way easy with ProofHub. It lets marketing teams assess potential leads, focus on outbound marketing, and ensure smooth internal and external communication.

Put simply, ProofHub lets marketing teams devise marketing strategies, collaborate with team members and external stakeholders, and execute the best marketing plan on time.

Give your marketing campaigns a boost with ProofHub! Start your free trial now!


Designing a marketing plan that helps brands connect with the target audience requires a lot. With ProofHub, teams of all shapes and sizes can complete marketing initiatives more successfully, pushing productivity to new heights!


How much does a marketing plan cost?

The cost depends on the size of the business, the goal behind promotional activities, and the product or services you are offering to the target market.

Why is a marketing plan important?

It offers direction to all your promotional and marketing efforts. It helps an organization connect with the target market and send the right message.

How to develop a good marketing plan?

You need to have a primary objective, determine the KPIs, know the buyer persona, a content strategy, marketing budget, know the competitor, and outline responsibilities.

What are the main components of a marketing plan?

The main components include marketing research, target market, the product, competition, mission statement, market strategy, budget, marketing goals, positioning, branding, and monitoring results.

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