'Think outside the square when marketing and advertising your product. A lot of people fall into the trap of putting a good product out there and then not marketing it properly.'
Adam Ferrante - Rose Street Artists Market
Why do you need a marketing plan?One of the most important, yet often overlooked areas for the small business owner is the development of a marketing plan. An effective marketing plan will act as a reference document to help you to execute your marketing strategy. It will also help you to develop a methodical approach to creating services and products that satisfy your customers’ needs.
When writing a marketing plan you need to be clear about your marketing objectives and how you’re going to achieve them. A good marketing plan sets realistic and measurable objectives, includes budgets and action plans, and allocates responsibilities.
Marketing plan template
Use our interactive Marketing Plan Template (DOC 409.5 KB) to write a marketing plan which caters specifically to your business' needs.
Your marketing plan will include the following elements:
|Marketing Plan Summary||Your marketing plan summary should summarise the key components of your marketing plan. Think of it as a quick reference tool that you can refer to at any time to keep your goals on track.|
|Background Analysis||The background analysis section should detail the opportunities and challenges that your business has encountered along the way. This will help you to define your business's capabilities and opportunities within the market. It will also play a key role in helping you to meet your customers’ needs. Read more about your market research option.
|Marketing Objectives||Be specific about what it is that you want your marketing plan to accomplish. Your objectives may be financial, with a goal to increase sales, or marketing focused to build awareness of your product or service. The most effective (and accountable) way to define your marketing objectives is to follow the ‘SMART’ acronym (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely)
|Marketing Strategy||An effective marketing strategy will help you to define the overall direction for your marketing program. It will also detail how you are going to bring your products and services to market in ways that will satisfy your customers.
|Marketing Mix||The elements that make up your marketing strategy are often referred to as the marketing mix. In this case your mix will include the 8 P’s of marketing - product (or service), pricing, position, promotion, people, process, physical environment and productivity.
|Actions Plans and Budgets||Strategies and marketing goals are theoretical objectives. It’s your action plans and budgets that will bring them to life. Your action plans and budgets are your key tools for implementation. To ensure that they are successful they should be detailed, definitive and revisited regularly.|
|Organisational implications||Organisational implications are often overlooked when business owners tackle a marketing plan. For example, if your goal is to increase your customer base by 15% and therefore your staff by 10% - will you be able to house them in your current offices? Could you outsource some tasks? It’s important to consider and document these decisions in your plan.
|Contingencies||All business plans should remain flexible and adjustable as you are often working with assumptions. The more planning you do, the better you will become at predicting.
|Evaluation and monitoring strategies||To ensure ongoing improvement it’s critical to test and measure the results of your marketing activities. Whatever method or technology you choose to use - formal methods of evaluation and monitoring will help you to understand the effectiveness of your marketing and return on investment.|
|Supporting documentation||Use this section of the marketing plan to reference and attach documents supporting the claims or assumptions made within the marketing plan.|
- Talk with other business owners about what they included in their Marketing Plan, by joining our online networking group on Facebook, 'I am a business owner in Victoria'.
- include a calendar of key tasks to help move your ‘business plan’ into ‘action’
- refer to your marketing strategy and objectives when creating action plans and budgets
- Ask us any questions on Twitter @businessvic