How to Create a Marketing Plan in 5 Simple Steps


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A well-crafted marketing plan is essential for any business looking to succeed. But what exactly should a marketing plan include? And how can you go about creating one?

In this blog post, we’ll give you a crash course in marketing plans 101.

We’ll outline 5 key components of a successful marketing plan and show you how to create one step-by-step.

So if you’re feeling lost when it comes to marketing planning, this post is for you!

What a Successful Marketing Plan Includes: 

Any successful marketing plan will include certain essential elements. Without these key components, your marketing efforts are likely to be less effective and may even fail entirely.

So, what should you include in your marketing plan? 

1) Objectives: Without objectives, your marketing plan is nothing more than a wish list.

Your objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

For example, an objective for a small business might be “To increase website traffic by 50% within 6 months.” 

2) Strategies: Once you have your objectives in place, it’s time to start thinking about strategies.

What are the specific actions that you are going to take in order to achieve your objectives?

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Are you going to run online ads?

Sponsor a local event?

Send out direct mailers?

There are endless possibilities when it comes to marketing strategies – so choose the ones that make the most sense for your business and your budget. 

3) Tactics: Tactics are the methods or techniques that you will use to implement your chosen strategies.

For example, if one of your strategies is “run online ads,” your tactics might include Google AdWords or Facebook advertising

4) Budgets: Every good marketing plan has a budget attached to it. This ensures that you are staying on track financially and allows you to track your ROI (return on investment).

When creating your budget, make sure to allocate enough money to each of your chosen strategies and tactics so that you can execute them properly. 

5) Action Plan: Last but not least, your marketing plan should include an action plan detailing who is responsible for each task and when it needs to be completed.

This ensures that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities and holds them accountable for meeting deadlines. 

How to Create a Marketing Plan

Step One: Define Your Objectives and Goals

The first step in creating a marketing plan is to define your objectives and goals.

What are you hoping to achieve with your marketing efforts?

Do you want to increase brand awareness?

Drive more traffic to your website?

Generate more leads?

Convert more sales?

Once you have a good understanding of what you hope to achieve, you can start developing your strategy.


Step Two: Research Your Target Audience

Who are you trying to reach with your marketing efforts?

Defining your target audience is essential to developing an effective marketing strategy.

After all, you can’t market to everyone.

By taking the time to research your target audience, you will be able to develop messaging and content that resonates with them.

This will help you attract more of your ideal customers and convert more sales.

Resource: Customer Avatar Workbook

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Step Three: Choose Your Marketing Channels

Now that you know who you’re targeting and what you hope to achieve, it’s time to choose your marketing opportunities.

There are many different ways to market your business, so it’s important to choose the channels that will work best for your business, budget, and customers.

Some popular channels include social media, email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, and search engine optimization. 

Step Four: Develop Your Messaging and Content

Now that you know which channels you’ll be using to reach your target audience, it’s time to develop your messaging and content.

What kind of message do you want to communicate?

What kind of content will resonate with your target audience?

Answers to these questions will help you develop effective messaging and content that gets results. 

Step Five: Set a Budget and Measure Your Results

Step five is setting a budget for this part of your marketing plan.

How much can you realistically afford to spend on marketing each month or each quarter?

Once you have a budget in mind, it’s time to start measuring your spending and results so that you can adjust your strategy as needed.

Marketing takes time, so don’t expect overnight results.  

Resource: 6 Steps To Developing A Small Business Marketing Budget

Marketing Plan Outline

We now understand that a sound marketing plan is the foundation of any good business, regardless of size, industry, or target market.

To get the best results from a marketing plan is for it to be well-researched, thoughtful, and comprehensive, taking into account all aspects of the business.

They should also be fluid, adapting to changes in the market and the needs of the business.

At a minimum, every marketing plan should include the following elements:

A Clear Summary of the Business:

This would include simple but necessary things like the name, location, and mission of the company overall.

It is separate from the executive summary you would have created for the overall business.

Analysis of the Business Initiatives in the Marketing Team

The marketing department is responsible for developing and executing marketing initiatives.

These initiatives are designed to achieve specific business objectives.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common business objectives of marketing initiatives.

Generate Leads

One of the most common objectives of marketing initiatives is to generate leads.

A lead is a potential customer who has expressed interest in your product or service.

Leads can be generated through various marketing channels, such as online advertisements, trade shows, and email campaigns.

The goal is to generate enough leads so that your sales team can close new business deals. 

Increase Sales 

Another common objective of marketing initiatives is to increase sales.

This can be done by targeting new markets, launching new products or services, or increasing the frequency and/or intensity of your marketing campaigns.

Whatever the approach, the marketing goal is to increase revenue for your company. 

Build Brand Awareness 

The third objective of many marketing initiatives is to build brand awareness.

Brand awareness is the extent to which customers are able to recognize and recall your brand.

It is important because it helps customers connect with your company and its values.

Brand awareness can be increased through various channels, such as television advertising, social media marketing, and public relations. 

These are just a few of the most common objectives of marketing initiatives.

There are many others, such as building brand loyalty, improving customer satisfaction, and increasing market share.

The key is to align your marketing initiatives with your overall business strategy.

Why You Need to Know Your Target Market

If you want your business to be successful, you need to know who your target market is.

A target market is a group of people who share similar characteristics, which make them more likely to buy from you.

Knowing your target market is essential because it helps you determine where to promote your product or service, what price point to set, and what type of messaging will resonate with them.

  • Who is the business’s ideal customer? 
  • What are their needs and wants? 
  • How can the business reach them? 

  • The ideal customer for our business is busy professionals who are health-conscious and have disposable income.
  • They want convenient, healthy meals that they don’t have to cook themselves.
  • We can reach them through print ads in health magazines as well as online ads targeting people who search for healthy recipe ideas.

  • Another key characteristic of our target market is that they have families.
  • They are looking for meal ideas that their kids will actually eat and that are easy to make.
  • We can reach them through parenting bloggers and online forums where parents swap tips and advice.

  • Our target market also loves to travel. They are always on the lookout for new experiences and places to explore.
  • We can reach them through travel bloggers and social media influencers who specialize in luxury travel.
  • Finally, our target market is highly educated and values quality over quantity.
  • They are willing to pay more for a product that is ethically sourced and sustainably produced.
  • We can reach them through green lifestyle blogs and sustainable fashion websites.” 

As you can see, there are many different ways to segment your target market.

The most important thing is that you take the time to do your research so that you can identify the characteristics of your ideal customer.

Once you know who your target market is, you’ll be able to create and segment your marketing campaigns so that are tailored specifically to them, which will help you boost your sales and achieve long-term success for your business.”

A Competitor Analysis: Why You Need One and How to Do It

Knowing who your competition is and what they’re up to is essential for any business. After all, if you don’t know what your competitors are doing, how can you stay one step ahead?

That’s where competitor analysis comes in. 

What Is a Competitor Analysis?

Competitor analysis is a key part of your market research.

It involves identifying your competitors, evaluating their strategies, and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses in relation to your own business.

This process will help you develop strategies to stay ahead of the competition and make your business more successful. 

Why You Need a Competitor Analysis 

There are several reasons why you need to do a competitor analysis before entering a market.

First, it will give you an understanding of the competitive landscape.

Second, it will help you identify any gaps in the market that you can exploit with your new product or service.

Third, it will help you develop strategies to differentiate your offering from your competitors.

Finally, it will help you assess the risks and opportunities associated with entering the market. 

How to Do a Competitor Analysis 

There are four steps involved in doing a competitor analysis: research, identification, evaluation, and selection. 

Step 1 – Research: The first step is to research your industry and market. This will help you understand the competitive landscape and identify the major players in the market. 

Step 2 – Identification: The next step is to identify your competitors.

You can do this by searching for businesses that offer similar products or services to yours. You can also ask your friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations.

Once you’ve identified your competitors, it’s time to evaluate their strategies. 

Step 3 – Evaluation: The third step is to evaluate your competitors’ strategies. This involves looking at their pricing, marketing, and distribution channels.

You should also consider their strengths and weaknesses in relation to yours.

This step will help you develop strategies to stay ahead of the competition and make your business more successful. 

Step 4 – Selection: The final step is to select the best course of action based on your research and evaluation.

This may involve choosing to enter the market with a differentiated offering or partnering with another business to gain access to its customer base.

It’s important that you select a strategy that meets your goals and objectives while minimizing risk. 

A well-executed competitor analysis will help you understand the competitive landscape so that you can make informed decisions about how best to position your business for success.

Analysis for Your Business

A SWOT analysis is a simple but powerful tool that can help you understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your business.

The SWOT acronym stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

By taking the time to do a SWOT analysis of your business, you can develop a better understanding of where your business currently is and where it could be in the future. 

There are four steps to doing a SWOT analysis for your business: 

1. Brainstorm a list of your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Be sure to ask your employees, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders for their input.

This is best done as a team so that you can get a variety of perspectives.

2. Create a 2×2 matrix with strengths and weaknesses on one axis and opportunities and threats on the other axis.

This will help you organize your thoughts and see how each SWOT element relates to the others. 

3. Evaluate each item on your list and decide whether it is internal or external to your business.

Internal factors are things that you have control over, such as your marketing budget or your company culture.

External factors are things that you cannot control, such as the political climate or the level of competition in your industry. 

4. Analyze each item on your list and decide whether it is positive or negative.

Positive factors are things that will help you achieve your goals, such as a growing market for your product or an experienced sales team.

Negative factors are things that could hinder your ability to achieve your goals, such as declining revenue or high employee turnover. 

Use the information from steps 1-4 to develop strategies for capitalizing on your strengths, overcoming your weaknesses, taking advantage of opportunities, and addressing threats.

Be sure to involve all stakeholders in this process so that everyone is on the same page moving forward. 

Your Marketing Mix: 4P’s of Marketing for Startups

So you have a new product or service that you are excited to introduce to the market. But before you launch, it is important to have a plan in place for how you will market your new offering.

This plan should include the four key elements of the marketing mix: product, price, place, and promotion. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Product: What are you selling? 

Before you can market your product or service, you need to make sure that it is well-defined.

What problem does it solve?

Who is your target customer?

Once you have answers to these questions, you can start to develop your go-to-market strategy. 

Price: How much will it cost? 

Pricing your product or service is both an art and a science.

You need to find a balance between what the market will bear and what it will take for your business to be profitable.

In addition, your pricing strategy should take into account any promotions or discounts that you plan to offer. 

Place: Where will it be sold? 

Will your product or service be available online, in brick-and-mortar stores, or both?

Once you have determined where your target customers like to shop, you can start planning your distribution strategy. 

Promotion: How will customers learn about your product or service? 

There are many different ways to promote a new product or service.

Some common promotion channels include advertising, public relations, social media marketing, and email marketing.

It is important to consider which channels will work best for reaching your target customers.

How to Create a Budget for Your Marketing Mix

Marketing can also be expensive.

That’s why it’s important to create a budget for your marketing opportunities.

This will ensure that you allocate enough money to each element of the marketing and that you measure your return on investment (ROI). 

There are four main elements of marketing activities: advertising, public relations, digital marketing, and personal selling.

Each of these elements requires a different level of investment, so it’s important to create a budget that reflects your needs.

For example, if you’re just starting out, you may want to allocate a larger percentage of your budget to advertising than to personal selling. 

Once you’ve determined how much money you’re willing to spend on each element of the marketing plan, you need to set some goals.

What do you hope to achieve with your marketing campaigns?

Do you want to increase brand awareness?

Drive more traffic to your website?

Boost sales?

Once you know your goals, you can determine how to measure your ROI. 

The Different Types of Marketing Channels And Which One Is Right For Your Business 

You know that no marketing plan would be complete without promoting your product or service. But with so many different opportunities out there, it can be difficult to know which one (or ones) is right for your business.

Let’s break down the four most common types of channels so you can decide which one is the best fit for you. 

1. Online Advertising 

One of the most popular—and effective—types of channels is online advertising.

You’ve probably seen online ads while scrolling through your social media feeds or browsing the internet.

Online advertising allows you to specifically target your audience with laser precision, ensuring that your ad reaches only those who are most likely to be interested in what you’re selling. 

2. Content Marketing 

If you want to build thought leadership and brand awareness, content marketing is the way to go.

Content marketing is all about creating and distributing high-quality content that educates your target audience and positions you as an expert in your industry.

Once you’ve created this content, you can promote it across your social media channels, email list, and other channels. 

3. Social Media Marketing 

Social media marketing is one of the most efficient—and affordable—types of channels available today.

By creating social media accounts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can reach a large number of people with minimal effort.

Plus, social media provides an excellent way to build relationships with potential and current customers alike. 

4. Email Marketing 

Email marketing is another great way to connect with your target audience and promote your product or service.

Unlike some of the other types of channels on this list, email marketing allows you to directly reach individuals who have already expressed an interest in what you’re selling.

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via Giphy

By sending out regular newsletters or promotional emails, you can stay top-of-mind with your audience and encourage them to purchase from you when they’re ready. 

As you can see, there are a variety of different types of channels available to businesses of all sizes.

The key is to figure out which type (or types) of channels will work best for promoting your unique product or service. Once you’ve done that, double down and get to work!

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A Timeline for Implementing Your Marketing Plan

You might not know that implementing your comprehensive marketing plan is just as important as creating it.

A well-executed marketing plan is a roadmap that can help you achieve your business goals and grow your bottom line.

But how do you get started?

And when should you implement each element of your marketing plan?

Developing Your Timeline

The first step in developing your timeline is to understand the different elements of a marketing plan.

Here are the most common elements of a marketing plan and when they should be implemented: 

1. Creating Your Brand Identity 

Your brand identity is what sets you apart from your competitors and tells your customers who you are, what you stand for, and what they can expect from your products or services.

This is one of the first things you should think about when starting to develop your marketing plan.

You need to have a strong understanding of your brand before you can start any other element of your marketing plan. 

2. Researching Your Target Market 

Once you have a strong understanding of your brand, it’s time to start thinking about who your target market is.

What are their demographics?

What are their likes and dislikes?

What do they need or want?

Answering these questions will help you better understand how to market to them. And the best way to answer these questions is by doing market research. 

3. Creating Your Messaging 

Your message is the heart of your marketing communications. It’s how you talk about your brand and what you say to your target market.

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Creating strong messaging will help ensure that all of your marketing materials are on-brand and on-message. 

4. Designing Your Marketing Materials 

Now that you have a strong understanding of your brand and who you’re talking to, it’s time to start designing your marketing materials.

This includes everything from your website and social media graphics to print collateral like business cards, flyers, and brochures. 

5. Planning Your Marketing Strategy 

Once you have all of the above elements in place, it’s time to start planning to track their marketing strategy—that is, how you’re going to communicate with your target market and promote your brand.

Will you use paid advertising? Social media? Public relations? A combination of all three?

It’s up to you to decide what makes the most sense for your business goals. 

Developing a timeline for implementing each element of your entire marketing plan is an important part of ensuring that your marketing objectives are successful.

Now is the time to start thinking about the purpose of a marketing plan for the upcoming year.

What goals do you want to achieve?

What strategies will you use to reach your target audience?

And what budget will you need to make it all happen?


These are just a few of the important questions that you need to answer as you start the planning process.

One of the best ways to set up your digital marketing plan is to start with quick wins first. That way, you can ramp up fast and set yourself (and your team) up to hit more challenging goals and take on more sophisticated projects by Q4.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to give it a spin? If so, then let’s get started!

Audra Carpenter
Audra Carpenter
Audra Carpenter has managed and launched multiple businesses across several different industries, in several different states.Since 2009, she has found her unmistakable place in the world of launching and scaling businesses online. After years of self-teaching, taking risks, and building new things, she launched zindo+co, which a virtual marketplace for launching, growing, and scaling a business online.

Every new adventure starts with the first step—and so does every new business. You’ve already taken the first step of your adventure by launching your business, now let’s take the next step together.

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