The One Page Marketing Plan
Creating, and using, a Marketing Plan is a critical aspect of any successful business or marketing operation. It provides clarity and direction on where to focus resources; what strategies to apply; what actions and activities are to be undertaken; and how these will be measured to understand success. An effective Marketing Plan is essential for any business so they can attract customers, build relationships, and create advocates and superfans. Yet, this doesn’t mean spending hours grafting to generate slide after slide of PowerPoint, or pages and pages of Word documents. The planning process should be informed, considered, and swift; moving onto action quickly so you can test, optimise and gain traction. The One Page Marketing Plan is an approach and tool intended for marketers, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who are looking to move to a more agile, flexible and ‘always-on’ way of marketing. It's a plan that's easily consumed and understood, so that it can be put into action quickly, gain results and then adapted and iterated to improve performance. It's also one that you can share across the business and externally with partners to get buy-in, support and mobilisation.
Why one page?
The tools currently available to marketers and entrepreneurs that allow for efficient and focussed marketing planning are limited. If you do a search you'll find tonnes of marketing plan outlines out there that are nothing more than mere lists with open section headings. They're ambiguous and unhelpful; leaving the planner to their own devices when it comes to what and how much to include.
The One Page Marketing Plan is based on simplicity and specificity. It is designed to only include the core components that make up an effective Marketing Plan and, crucially, to restrict the amount of space available for inputs. Why so? A Marketing Plan needs focus, and the exercise of distilling thinking onto one page provides the necessary discipline to ensure that its contents are filtered, relevant, and clear.
Steve Jobs famously said, "I'm as proud of many of the things we haven't done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things." In any plan, what it DOESN'T include is as important as what it does...if not more.
Being only one page means that:
a) you have to REALLY think about what you SHOULD be doing, and clear on what you're not;
b) you move fast - you don't keep creating slide after slide for the sake of it;
c) you can revise and re-write at will - testing and iterating to hone and improve over time.
How the One Page Marketing Plan works
The One Page Marketing Plan takes the fundamental building blocks that constitute an effective marketing plan and aligns them on a single page in a storyboard or canvas fashion, much like the Business Model Canvas. The One Page Marketing Plan template divides the plan into 3 primary pillars:
1. Outlining the Audience that you're looking to target;
2. Outlining the Strategies you'll adopt to engage with that Audience;
3. Outlining the Activities that you'll use to deliver those Strategies.
Each pillar builds on the previous, using the prior pillar's inputs as the basis to define the next. You must have a comprehensive picture of your Audience BEFORE you start defining you Strategies; and you need to have Strategies in place to identify your Activities.
The pillars are then divided into three sub-sections or cells where you enter your inputs, thinking and ideas. The intention here is not to fill boxes, but to put only the required, considered information in each cell.
The One Page Marketing Plan therefore breaks down as follows:
Everything starts from and is built upon the audience that you're looking to target. Without an audience you have no-one to sell to and therefore don't have a product or business. The first pillar focusses on defining who your ideal target audience should be, profiling them, and then understanding their motivations and behaviours to give you the basis and ammunition to target, engage, convince and ultimately sell your product or service to them. The Audience pillar breaks into three cells as follows:
a. Target Persona
b. Customer Journey
c. Value Proposition
One you've defined, profiled and started to understand your Audience, you then need to devise the Strategies that you're going to apply to engage, educate and convince them. These strategies need to be grounded in your goals, so it's important to have a comprehension of what it is you're looking to achieve from both a business and marketing perspective. The Strategies pillar is comprised of three cells as follows:
a. Marketing Goals
b. Key Strategies
c. Pricing & Positioning
Fundamentally, your Marketing Plan needs to lead to actions. In the third pillar we outline what the Activities that we're going to implement in order to execute our Strategies. These Activities need to qualified in terms of what it's going to take to achieve them and how we're going to know if they've been successful. The Activities pillar is therefore made up as follows:
a. Marketing Channels
b. Tactics & Activities
c. Measures of Success
Presenting the One Page Marketing Plan
The One Page Marketing Plan comes together as the following template that you can download as either a PDF or PowerPoint file.
How to use the One Page Marketing Plan
The template is intended to be a visual aid not only to display the content of your Marketing Plan, but also to brainstorm and capture it.
Start by printing it out in as large a scale as possible, and then begin putting thoughts and ideas into each cell. A great way to do this is with post-it notes which can be added, discarded and moved to build your overall picture quickly.
Think about the plan as a progression - move sequentially down each column before jumping to the next. In this way, you’re building on what you’ve defined previously; taking into consideration your earlier inputs to provide the basis for subsequent sections.
Move fast and involve others to bounce your thinking off or stress test your ideas; you can always go back and tweak as necessary. Your Marketing Plan is not a one-off exercise and should be seen as a live document that you test and refine over time. It will never be perfect - no plan ever is - what’s important is to get something that provides direction that you can test and optimise in order to gain traction quickly.
Let me know how you get on and feel free to send me any examples of how you’re using the One Page Marketing Plan template in your business. Good luck.