Free Marketing Plan Template / Outline / Example

When you undertake a marketing project it is a very good idea to create an marketing plan (IMC) for your project. Marketing plans are usually called Integrated Marketing Communications Plans or IMC. Whatever you want to call your marketing plan is up to you, but marketing plans are an important aspect of marketing that shouldn't be ignored. Marketing plans provide a foundation for all the marketing tactics that you undertake. It is a good idea to use a marketing plan whether you are doing the marketing for yourself or for a client. Below is a free marketing plan template / outline that should give you a good idea of what to include in it.

View a completed sample marketing plan.

Marketing Plan: 1.Executive Summary

a.This section is an introduction to the marketing plan. It should also serve as a summary of the marketing plan in its entirety.
See sample marketing plan.

2.Marketing Plan: Introduction to your agency

(If you are doing the marketing for someone)
a.Provide the following in your marketing plan: agency’s name, what your agency does, what kind of agency are you, what is your mission statement, what do you intend to do for your client. You can even indicate your specialty in working with a certain industry or target market (for example: if you worked with a crop-science firm, you could indicate your specialty of enhancing marketing strategy for agriculturally based firms). See sample marketing plan.

3.Marketing Plan: Client background

(Assuming, again that you are doing the marketing for someone, if you are not do a little background of your company, it helps to have things written down) – Give a background (brief history – NO timelines, major brands, major successes/failures, company image) of who your client is and a description of the product. This way we will be sure what the product is all about, its features/ components/ makeup/ structure as well as your client. It helps to have this information all in one place and including it in your marketing plan is a good idea. See sample marketing plan.

4.Marketing Plan: Internal Situation Analysis

a.Marketing Plan: Current Target Market
. Discuss your current target market thoroughly in your marketing plan. Demographics is not everything. Consider the product’s features, potential intangible benefits, as well as company image. Be sure to truly understand the target market; otherwise, nothing else in the report is valid. See sample marketing plan.

b.Marketing Plan: Positioning In the Market

Key features, benefits, attributes, or image against competition. Identify what your positioning strategy is based on and include it in your marketing plan:

1. Attribute positioning – product or non-product. 2. Benefit positioning – fulfilling functional, symbolic, or experiential needs 3.Some combination of the above. Remember the word “competitive advantage”, discuss in detail what your client’s brand offers that is unique or special. Be sure that your positioning strategy makes sense for your target market and versus competition. (see the sample marketing plan that is linked to at the top of this page). See sample marketing plan.

c. Marketing Plan: SWOT Analysis for brand

strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (make sure to look at your competitive situation analysis to help the SWOT analysis be as complete as possible). One or two elements per SWOT variable are not sufficient. You must describe why these elements are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats. (Go to the top of the page and follow the link to the sample marketing plan to get a better idea about what this section should be about). See sample marketing plan.

5. Marketing Plan: External Situational Analysis

a. Competition – Get a thorough understanding of your competition so that you can make effective positioning, messaging, and media decisions. Include everything you learn in your marketing plan. Analyze competitive brands in the product category in which the marcom planner’s brand competes (pricing, positioning, promotional tools used, communication messages, packaging, market share of brands in the market, don’t forget the potential of international competition. Discuss competition in general and also individually. Show a price listings of similar products in the marketing plan. Why are they competitors? Where are they located? Tell your reader about their promotional tools. Include an explanation of their marcom messages in your marketing plan. If they’re a competitor, they’re targeting the same or nearly the same market as your client. So what makes them different? How are they positioned (what is their competitive advantage)? Is your client facing international threats? See sample marketing plan.

b.Marketing Plan: Customers
- the customers that purchase brands within the category (size of customer base, customer characteristics & motivations, anticipated changes in behavior?) What size market can you pull from? What are the characteristics of this market? This can include aspects of your competitors’ target market that may differ from your own. In the internal analysis, you discussed your specific client’s target market. The “customers” section of your marketing plan should analyze the market as a whole. See sample marketing plan.

c. Marketing Plan: Environmental factors
- the economy, social-cultural developments, pressing regulatory issues, and so forth relevant to the category and to the brand’s growth prospects within the category. Some of these factors will be more pressing for your client than others. Include these factors in your marketing plan. See sample marketing plan.

6. Marketing Plan: Need for an IMC plan -

Discuss why this company is in need of your services to develop a new marketing plan (IMC). You could justify a new plan if there is currently not an marketing plan (IMC), if the target market or positioning in the market should be adjusted, if the communications have not been effective, if a new message needs to be created, etc. Do not begin to make recommendations in this section! See sample marketing plan.

7. Marketing Plan: IMC Objective Setting

a. What will the new marketing plan (IMC) accomplish? (goals should be measurable, specific, realistic, & based on your SWOT analysis) See sample marketing plan.

b. For this section of your marketing plan you should be identifying goals, not your implementation strategy. In the evaluating success section, you will discuss how your client will test to see if the goals you set have been reached. See sample marketing plan.

8. Marketing Plan: IMC tools and strategies

What do you propose the company implement for the brand? You MUST be very thorough in this section of your marketing plan. What messages & media should be used? WHY? What promotional tools should your client use? WHY? Making suggestions without justification does not justify the client’s cost of hiring a marketing firm. See sample marketing plan.

Marketing Plan: BE CREATIVE!

a. Include (within budgetary reason):

Marketing Plan: Marcom message

what is the theme/ tag line/ wording of your marcom or marketing plan? Earlier you defined your client’s current marcom messaging and positioning. Based on what you know now about current and potential target markets, your client’s brand’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities as well as competitors’ actions, and the market’s potential, choose an appropriate positioning strategy and accompanying marcom message that will separate the brand from all other brands and encourage sales. Remember to be truthful in what the brand can deliver. Consider the different functional, symbolic, and/or experiential needs the brand fulfills. See sample marketing plan.

Marketing Plan: Promotional Tools

Consider your promotional tool options and include the ones you've chosen in your marketing plan. Which is most appropriate for your target market? For your client company? For the brand? For your budget? Examples may include: Sales promotions, Sponsorships, Advertising
, Personal selling, Public relations, Collateral ( brochures, flyers, inserts), POP displays, Outdoor advertising, etc. See sample marketing plan.

Marketing Plan: Media selection

In what media will your ads, promotional tools, and/or advertising
appear? The media selected must be budgeted for and MUST be appropriate for your client, the brand, the target market, and the overall strategy. Consider: newspapers, magazines, television, radio, Internet, yellowpages, catalog, direct mail, tv/movie brand placements, etc. Do not restrict your creativity!!! Go to the link at the top of this page for an example of how this would look when included in a marketing plan. See sample marketing plan.

Marketing Plan: Packaging/ labeling

Consider visuals, information included, necessity or not of emotional appeal, workability. Show an example in the marketing plan. See sample marketing plan.

9. Marketing Plan: Budgeting

what budget will be required to implement your IMC tools & strategy suggestions? This should be determined based on the form of media and marcom tools selected. You must use secondary resources to determine costs of media and promotional tools selected. There isn't a sample of this included in the sample marketing plan that I've linked to at the top of this page, but the idea is to be as detailed as possible. See sample marketing plan.

10. Marketing Plan: Evaluation and Measurement of Success

How will your client know that your marketing plan worked? What will they use to determine success? This should be determined based on the objectives as well as form of media and marcom tools selected. Formal efforts are needed to track a brand’s performance against the objectives and determine whether the objectives are being accomplished, and, if not, what changes in the marcom program are needed in order to accomplish the specified objectives within budget constraint. Consider sales records, media ratings, market research, awareness (determine how awareness will be evaluated), traffic, etc. See sample marketing plan.

11. Marketing Plan: Conclusion – wrap up your marketing plan.

Hope you liked the Free Marketing Plan Example / Outline!

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