Develop a marketing plan

A good marketing plan is driven by your marketing strategy and is the execution, the roadmap of tactical marketing actions that will help you grow your business. Taking the time to develop a well-informed, thoughtful marketing plan will take the guesswork out of your marketing, keep your activities targeted to the right markets in the right way and help you measure success. This will form part of your business plan.

A marketing plan consists of 2 parts:

  • a summary of your marketing goals and objectives, your marketplace and the tactics required to achieve your marketing strategy
  • the action plan you'll use to implement each marketing tactic.

Your marketing plan should reflect the work you and your team have done to develop your marketing strategy. You can use your marketing strategies as headings to organise your marketing plan, and then list the specific tactics and actions that support each of your strategies.

Describe your marketplace and customers

The market research you undertook when developing your marketing strategy will help you understand and improve your business's competitive advantage in your target market. Summarise the results of the market and customer research you undertook when developing your marketing strategy.

The market research section of your marketing plan includes:

  • an overview of your customer's demographics including age, gender, occupation, lifestyle and buying trends
  • assumptions you have made about your market that influence your planning and implementation (e.g. your market's growing preference for online buying, competition you anticipate in your market from a new shopping and business precinct nearby)
  • a brief description of the impact you anticipate from current or future market conditions (e.g. a growing mature-age population looking for health and wellness products, an increasing business presence in the region looking for IT services etc)
  • a SWOT analysis of your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to help you understand any obstacles and advantages in delivering your marketing.

Define target audiences

This is a detailed version of your preferred market segments, their demographics, psychographics, need for you product, service or experience, their buying pattern and how your unique selling proposition (USP) can reach their needs.

Explore competitive advantage

Know who your competitors are and how you can better service the needs of your customers.

Use SWOT analysis to develop strategies

You may also wish to identify strategies to capitalise on your strengths, address your weaknesses, increase your opportunities and minimise your threats. For example, you could write a skills plan for training your employees or develop a sales plan to focus on new product sales in an emerging market.

Outline sales targets

Outline the sales targets and forecasts for your products and services. Also take the time to identify the unique selling proposition that supports your products or services. Your sales targets (expressed in numbers), and the forecasted sales you anticipate as a result of your marketing, will be invaluable when you need to measure the success of your marketing efforts.

Consider implementation

Ensure you include a timeline for delivery, resources and budgets allocated to your activities and assign responsibility to a key staff member to deliver them.

Also consider...