A marketing plan is built of many pieces, or building blocks. You can start writing your marketing plan at any of the pieces, or building block you want. The important thing is that you start writing, not where you start. If you want to write the marketing plan in a specific order, this is a good one.

The building blocks of a marketing plan are: the mission statement, the company profile, the customer profile, company strengths, company weaknesses, potential opportunities, potential threats, goals and objectives, a budget, and an implementation plan.

If one step is too hard, or causes you a block and you stop working on the marketing plan, move on to the next step. Come back to the missing piece when you're ready.

The building blocks of the marketing plan

1. Write a mission statement. A mission statement is a brief, philosophical goal your company has.

2. Write a company description. This is sort of like a resume' for your company. What's your company's history? Who are the key employees? What major accomplishments has your company achieved? What awards has it won? This is the story of your company.

3. Research and write a customer profile. Who uses your company's products and services? Is there a typical client? Is there an ideal client?

4. Identify your company's strengths and weaknesses. What areas does your company excel in? Which areas need improvement? It's important to be objective with this. Consider asking some of your clients for feedback in this area.

5. Identify potential opportunities and threats. Read your customer profile again. Read your company's strengths and weaknesses again. Where are the gaps? What services could you be providing that you are not? Are new technologies or competitors threatening any of your products or services?

6. Select your marketing tools. There are tons of marketing tools out there, and telemarketing and direct mail are only a subset of the available tools. Look through the different kinds of marketing. Review cost. Make an ordered list of marketing tools you might use and order them by which have the best "bang per buck" for your type of business.

7. Create a goal list. Look at your list of marketing tools and create a goal list. If your list has "Write more articles on it," put on your goal list "Write two articles per month." This is an objective goal that you can figure out if you've met easily. If your tool list has "submit an ad to the local newspaper," then put "Submit an ad to the local newspaper by Month, X, 20xx" on it.

8. Make a budget. This will cost some money. How much money can you afford? Once you create your budget, you might need to revise your marketing tools and goal list.

9. Make an implementation plan. Write out exactly what you are going to do, and by when. Who is going to do what.

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