For many new or uninitiated entrepreneurs, business may start organically and they fly by the seat of their pants. This can work for a while, but for sustainable and profitable growth, solid marketing plans are essential.
Whether you’re writing a marketing plan for the purposes of yearly planning, the need for a specialised strategy or simply gaining a better understanding of the business, fortunately there is very little that’s new under the sun and there are plenty of sample marketing plans at your fingertips to help you formulate your own.
List of sample marketing plans
To get started, here is a list of resources for sample marketing plans:
- Entrepreneur’s Sample Marketing Plan Template
- Marketing & Sales Plan Pro: Sample Marketing Plans List
- How to Write a Marketing Plan
Sample marketing plans: The Fundamental elements
Across the board, well-written marketing plans are basically a comprehensive blueprint of a business’s marketing efforts.
This means they demonstrate solid understanding of all aspects of the business’s functions, from its target market, its competition, and its solutions and offerings, to expected customers and financials.
Sample marketing plans: 5 Must-haves
1. An executive summary
Also known as the ‘company description’, this is the who, what, when, where, why and how of the company. This is the opening opportunity to begin selling to the reader.
2. A situational analysis
This section outlines the marketing environment in which you operate. A SWOT analysis clearly demonstrates the business’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
The situational analysis also includes marketing demographics, needs, trends, growth, competition, marketing offering, keys to success and critical issues. This exercise alone will give you much greater clarity about your business and its place in the market.
3. The marketing strategy
Here you describe your business’s mission, marketing and financial objectives, target market and positioning, your marketing mix of products/services offered, price, promotions and distribution strategy, and of course market research to substantiate.
4. The all-important financials
Ideas are great, but does the money reflect the same? Here you will describe a financial overview of how the business in relation to market activity.
Required elements are a break-even analysis, sales forecasts, expense forecasts, and how these link to the market activities. Always be conservative when forecasting as it’s best to be conservative and happily surprised than unprepared and in hot water.
Here consider who makes up your marketing team, their roles in it and their ability to implement the described marketing plan. Also include contingency plans and any other issues to take into consideration such as difficulties and risks (whether software or immature markets – think of it all).