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MARKETING PLAN TEMPLATES
A marketing plan template is the Holy Grail for a firm’s advertising and marketing strategies for the year. It lays down the foundation for a practical plan to achieve marketing goals and objectives and defines the marketing strategy template the firm will follow throughout the year. A sample marketing plan is not necessarily a formal document; it can be used flexibly, leaving room for updates, alterations, and adjustments. It should ideally include sections for past data, future predictions based on analysis and methods to achieve marketing goals in short and long term. A good marketing plan template keeps a sharp eye on the needs of the customers and attends to them using the resources of the firm while making sure there is a reasonable margin of returns as well. It focuses on both, the strengths and weaknesses of a firm and making the most out of both.
Three of the most successful, effective and well thought-out global marketing plan examples are of Red Bull, McDonalds and Nike. Red Bull is an Austrian company but has managed to appear as a local brand in almost all the countries of the world, especially America. The packaging is very relatable and does not hint any nationalism or belonging, all the while keeping the drink a step up from other beverages. They also sponsor many sports events in various countries which effectively markets the product. McDonalds has also achieved the status of a ‘glocal’ brand, having a global appearance while blending in the local culture by introducing culturally familiar food in different regions. Nike’s marketing mantra has been selective sports sponsorships. The long standing associations like that with Manchester United gave it significant global recognition.
Purpose of Marketing Plan Template
A marketing plan template lays down the foundation for an objective document. It clearly divides the sections and develops understanding of what exactly needs to be achieved through a marketing plan.
Ease in Documenting
Once a business has a predesigned objective document like a marketing strategy document, it becomes easy to document marketing plans every time. With very slight adjustments in the structure and more focus on the body of the plan, a new one can be created every year. This saves time and energy used in re-creating a marketing plan every time.
Taking a look at these sample marketing plans, here is what should guide your marketing plan template:
- The nature of your product or service
- The market that you are catering to
- The baseline message your marketing techniques should convey about your product o service
- Which medium of marketing will best suit your marketing techniques; that is, Electronic media, print sources or online tools.
Having these factors guide your marketing strategy template, you can start working on developing an effective and impactful marketing plan template.
The Executive Summary, as the name suggests, will give a brief overview of the company and what guides the marketing strategies of the company; all this can be either rewritten from a fresh perspective or taken directly from the original Business Plan of the company. This section can be followed with the sub-categories listed below:
Description of the Company
This section does not require much detailing and briefly talks about the company; its foundation, the basic objectives and goals, etc. A ten lined description would suffice.
Mission Statement is already a part of the Business Plan of all companies. It needs to remain the same on all the marketing plans as well.
Products and Services
This will be a detailed and focused section of the marketing plan template. The products and services of companies vary from one to another. Hence, if the company is primarily concerned with a single product or provides one service only, then the details will be discussed at length in this section. As for companies that provide multiple products and services, they can discuss each briefly under this section. The details provided in this section will help keep the marketing strategies in check with the motto of the company.
This section should be focused on the financial outlook, not financial plan, of the company when concerned with the marketing strategies. In case the marketing strategies are unsuccessful, how the results may affect the financial standing of the company shall be mentioned under this section. It can be directly take from the Business Plan instead of being written again.
Strategic Focus and Plan
The vision/mission a company has for their products and services are to be discussed under this section. The end results expected to be achieved by the marketing of products and services of a firm are the main focus here and, simultaneously, the techniques to be employed to achieve those final results should be stated as well. This section should be brief and not branch out into an action plan.
This section of marketing plan template would be the prime focus of outlines related to what needs to be achieved through the marketing plan for the products and services. If the objective is related to increasing the sales by 70%, then it will need to be stated in this section. Similarly if the objective is to create the audience for an upcoming service, then it should be specifically mentioned in this section.
The competitive nature of market must be addressed and included in the marketing plan template. If there are any direct or indirect competitors, that must be added under this section. The acknowledgement of the competitive nature of the market helps to be prepared for challenges and prepare marketing strategies accordingly.
Depending on the nature of the analysis marketing plan template essentially has two approaches for the purpose of Situational Analysis; BCG Dot Matrix and SWOT Analysis. For an in depth analysis, a combined approach of both the tools is taken. It helps to create a technical and illustrative analysis using diagrams for better understanding and comparison with the rivals in the marketing.
This section focuses on the weak links of the competitors and how they can be best used to the advantage of the firm through a dynamic marketing plan. This section of the marketing strategies template is not concerned with the nature of the competition, rather the weakness of the ones in competition with so that they can be taken advantage over.
Market Product Focus
This is like a detailed discussion of the marketing plan and what you intend to achieve through it. The marketing objectives to be discussed would focus on what would be the achievement at the end of the day upon successful marketing of your products and services and how will you go about it. It is better to discuss this section in numerical structure to lay out the objectives one by one. In case of a single product/service, a detailed account will need to be provided. However, in case the firm provides multiple products and services, not much time and word space needs to be put in giving the description of each. A brief description of each product and service will suffice.
The previous research done to identify the market of customers you will be catering to will help in the discussions in this section of the marketing plan template. This section of the template focuses on providing space identify the target markets for your products and services and to justify why in your opinion, these markets will be the best targets for them. A detailed argument will need to be built supported by relevant and strong research and data. Make a broad discussion on how your products and services will attract the market, what possibly will be the most well received factor of your products and how will they benefit the target market. This section of the marketing strategy template should essentially be focused on the audience that is most likely to be attracted by your products and services.
The basic Marketing Plan template for all your marketing plans must have a portion focused on the products and services of your business. This is where you talk about how your products and services will be of benefit to the company and what possible profit or advantage could their marketing add to the business. If you have multiple products and services to offer, you will have to identify which ones will be the best in terms of benefiting the company, and in the case of sole product or service, a detailed account of the product and its competency to the rivals should be given. You can also talk about why having that product in the range will be beneficial to the company in the current marketing plan and what factors about the particular product or service are its main attractions.
One of the most important sections to be added in the marketing strategy template is the price strategy as pricing plays a crucial role in the marketing of any product or service. The main issues related to pricing will be brought under discussion here. What approach you are taking, whether it’s high price and low turn-around strategy or vice versa, and how it will benefit the company to take that approach for pricing; it should be specifically mentioned. In case the company is to make low profits due to this strategy, your argument about why this strategy should be taken despite the low turnaround must be very strong. This section in the marketing plan template is also used to identify if the price of the product or services is the key selling point.
Lastly, the marketing plan template must include a section on ‘promotion strategy’ to discuss the promotional methods that would be employed in each marketing plan to achieve the objectives discussed above. Here is where you build up the argument how your promotional strategies will effectively market the products and how exactly will you use the modes of communication available to you (or selected by you) to get the best response from the target market. For example, if your promotional strategy is similar to Red Bull and you plan to sponsor various events, then
- Which events would you sponsor?
- How will those event sponsorships help you in the promotion of your products?
- What message will you convey from that medium?
- So on and so forth.
Marketing plan template various from business to business, depending upon their size, nature, and need for marketing. Many companies also include the internal situation of the company, its resources; consumer analysis and the role of geography in the marketing strategy as well. Your company’s marketing plan template may be six pages long or cover several pages, it all depends upon the nature of the company and the products and services. Following this template, you can make your marketing plans by adjusting the body matter every time and keeping room for alterations, updates and adjustments.
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