Marketing Plan Template

Marketing is fundamental to any business. It's how you let people know about the product or service that you're trying to sell, and then convince them that it will be of enough value that they'll part with their hard earned cash. Effective marketing though takes consideration and planning. You need to really understand who it is that you're talking to; be able to define strategies so you can engage with them in a meaningful way; and then develop tactics and activities to stimulate their interest, desire and action. In all, there are many different aspects that need to be included in your marketing planning. The One Page Marketing Plan template below gives you an easy to use framework that outlines the building blocks for constructing an effective marketing plan. It also offers a simple presentation of your plan so you can quickly and concisely articulate it to team members, partners and stakeholders to gain their buy-in and support. It's designed to help build your thinking in a structured and progressive fashion to ensure your plan is aligned to your customer and focused on driving results.

What Is A Marketing Plan?

From my previous post on What Is A Marketing Plan?, in essence, a marketing plan is a document that outlines the strategies, tactics and activities that a business will employ to promote its products or services to its defined target audience. It is a key document for any business or marketing team; from early start-ups looking to create awareness and penetrate a market, to establish brands who are wanting to consolidate their position, launch new offerings, or fend off emerging competitors.

An effective marketing plan provides guidance and direction for how a team or business will develop its marketing activities, but it shouldn't be a rigid doctrine. Today's consumers and markets are changing so fast that there's always a danger that any plan will be out-of-date before it's even activated. That's one of the key benefits of using the One Page Marketing Plan template approach; the tool itself is intended to be quick to create and easy to adapt as you move forward so you can keep updating with new information, perspectives, and ideas on an ongoing basis.

As you put things to market - whether your actual product offering or marketing campaigns - you'll be constantly gathering feedback and learnings. It's critical to be pulling these back into your marketing planning so you can improve and hone your activities. The One Page Marketing Plan is an agile framework that's constantly reviewed and progressed, not set in stone.

A Marketing Plan On A Page

The One Page Marketing Plan template is exactly that...a plan on a single page. This is very much intentional as it delivers simplicity, focus, and clarity to your plan.

Constraining you to get everything to fit onto a single page forces you to be very disciplined in what you include and, crucially, what you don't. Every word counts, so you have to be very precise and succinct in how you're expressing your thoughts and ideas. It's absolutely not an exercise in cramming as much as possible into each cell. Rather, it's about stripping your words back to the core of what it is that you're wanting to say and do. It makes you consider every input and be strict in deciding what's adding value. In this respect, you're plan becomes tighter and more focused.

It also means that your marketing plan is clearer and easier to communicate to others. This breeds understanding and buy-in so that you can secure the support and resources necessary to make your plan a success.

The One Page Marketing Plan Template

The marketing plan template below offers a framework for you to consider the key building blocks of your marketing, and then integrate them into a cohesive and action-oriented plan.

Download your PDF, PPT (Microsoft PowerPoint), Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel template by simply clicking on one of the buttons below. You'll receive a blank template for you to use, together with a prompt sheet with the questions for each section as a reference when crafting marketing plan.

One Page Marketing Plan

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The One Page Marketing Plan template is divided into three interrelated and progressive pillars: Audience, Strategies, and Activities. Each subsequent pillar builds on the previous, using the information and insights to guide and direct the following inputs.

Taking each pillar in turn: 

1. Audience

The starting point for any Marketing Plan is to identify and understand who the audience is that you're looking to serve with your product or service, and who therefore you're targeting with your marketing activities. To do this we create a Target Persona - a fictional character who we devise to represent our typical customer. Thinking of your target audience as an actual person helps you to describe their various aspects with more clarity and substance. This includes considerations such as: what they're like; what they're interested in; what they want and need; what motivates them; and how they think and behave. In this way you're able to build a very rich and actionable profile of your target audience that you can then use as the basis for the rest of your plan.

Once you've crafted your Target Persona, you need to outline their Customer Journey. This looks at the processes that your persona usually goes through as they make their purchasing decision. Before we can inject into and influence this journey, we have to understand how they first become aware that they need what it is you're offering; how they gather information; what criteria they use to evaluate solutions; how they decide on a particular brand or vendor; and which methods they use to finally make a purchase. All of these insights will enable us to develop subsequent strategies and tactics to engage with and move our audience through their journeys to purchase our product.

We also need to understand how our offering delivers value to our audience so we can articulate this to them in a meaningful way. We do this through our Value Proposition. This is a statement that encapsulates how our product or service meets the needs of our audience in a way that's motivating and differentiating. The Value Proposition Storyboard is a tool that you can use to craft your Value Proposition so that it's impactful and resonant for your target audience. 

2. Strategies

Now that we've identified, defined, and understood our Target Audience, we can start to outline the Strategies that we're going to use to engage with and persuade them to adopt our brand, product, or service. To create effective strategies though, we first need to define where we're headed and what we want to achieve - these are our Marketing Goals. Our goals indicate what we're looking to accomplish with our marketing. They should reflect and be consistent with our overarching business goals, whilst specifically identifying the marketing priorities and needs that we're looking to address.

Having clearly defined marketing goals then enables us to determine the approaches that we'll take to achieve them, in other words our Key Strategies. Creating marketing strategies that deliver results requires careful consideration of the methods that we'll employ. What are the broad initiatives that will deliver us success? It's important that these are grounded in our target audience - how will we convince them to trust us that we'll be able to deliver the value that we say we will? 

One of the key ways that we express that value is through the Pricing strategy we adopt. This is crucial for our audience to decide whether or not to take up our offer. It's not just a question of the price itself, but also how we justify it. This largely comes down to our Positioning - how we intend to convince our audience that we're different from our competitors, and therefore worthy of their business.

3. Activities

Developing from our Strategies are then the Activities that we're going to execute in order to make our plan real and achieve our goals.

Firstly, we have to decide where those activities should take place, i.e. what Marketing Channels we'll use to deliver our messages to our target audience. Our audience profiling from the first pillar should give us the necessary insights to understand where our audience go to get the information they use to make their purchasing decisions. We can thereby decide which channels will give us the best chance to get in front of our audience and influence their buying choices. Marketing channels is a broad term that refers to the different options for presenting our message; they could be live events; traditional media such as TV or radio; online or digital channels; different devices such as mobile or e-readers; or even our in-store environments. Go back to your Audience Persona and Customer Journey to decide the best fits for your plan.

Then it comes down the the actual Tactics and Activities that you'll employ in order to deliver your key strategies. What is it that you're actually going to do to make your strategies real?

When you've identified all of this, it's finally a question of how will you know that it's working? What are your Measures of Success? These are quantifiable key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell you that you're making positive progress in the right direction towards your goals. When defining your Measures of Success ensure that they directly relate to your plan and what you're looking to achieve. Often we get caught up in "vanity metrics", measures that we think are important and look good to people on the outside, but ultimately have little bearing on our success. It's also important to understand where you are today and how that then relates to your destination. We can state a notional target for a metric, but unless we can say how it relates to the present state, again, it can often be misleading or meaningless. The quality of our measures reflect the quality of our plan and underpin its successful delivery.

How To Use The One Page Marketing Plan Template

As I stressed above, the One Page Marketing Plan is not a static exercise that's done once or twice a year as many traditional marketing plans may have been. This is a living tool that should be reviewed, updated, and modified on an ongoing basis. Using the various formats above, you can easily make changes as and when required, even saving previous versions as archives if needed.   

A great way to start is to print out the template as large as possible (you can chunk it up onto separate pieces of paper if you don't have access to a larger scale printer), stick it up on a wall, and then use sticky notes to start adding your inputs and ideas into each section. In this way you can be really fluid and flexible, adding and removing thoughts as they come up. When you get it to a point that you're ready to start implementing, testing, and gathering feedback, you can transpose your plan into an electronic version to make things easier to manage as you progress.

The plan is also meant to be collaborative, a tool that your marketing team works on together by sharing ideas and suggestions as you develop and move forward. The format is easy to share and understand, so you're able to quickly gain other people's perspectives which you can add into the mix. 

If you want to see how the One Plan Marketing Plan template works in practice, check out the example here using Starbucks as a case study.

Good luck, and please do let me know how you get on with the template, or if you have any feedback.