How to Create a Strategic Marketing Plan. Free templates included.

A Man Lecturing about Marketing Strategy
Table of Contents

Effective marketing requires quality data analytics, solid collaboration between teams and vendors, intuition and a willingness to experiment. But none of those things matter if you don’t have a solid plan for how they will all come together to benefit your organization. A comprehensive marketing plan provides strategic direction for your department and helps organize marketing activities to boost campaign performance and operational efficiency. Let’s look at what goes into a marketing plan, best practices for strategy development, as well as some examples of free downloadable marketing plan templates to help you get started.

What is the goal of a marketing plan?

The goal of a marketing plan is to give your organization a roadmap for the future and document the strategies and tactics you will use to achieve your goals. It is a summary document that ties all the different components of your marketing operation together, giving a holistic view of where you are now and where you want to go. Marketing plans can help you identify opportunities for improvement in your operation and help all stakeholders understand how marketing is helping the company achieve its strategic aims.

What are the parts of a marketing plan?

Marketing Plan Brainstorming

The main components of typical marketing plans include:

  • An executive summary or overview of your business and marketing operation
  • Your marketing objectives, which are clearly defined, attainable and measurable
  • The key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use to measure campaign performance
  • A market analysis that identifies current trends and key competitors
  • The specific marketing channels you will use to promote and deliver content to your target audience
  • An outline of your target market, including your ideal customer profile (ICP)
  • Summary of your marketing budget and current spend
  • Summary of your current marketing positioning and tactics
Who should be included in strategy building?

When creating a marketing plan, you need to make sure you are bringing the right people to the table to get a complete picture of your operation. Assembling a diverse group that works in multiple areas of your operation will help ensure important perspectives aren’t lost and you are thinking holistically about your needs. Those involved in marketing plan development often include:

  • Marketing manager
  • Sales personnel
  • Strategists
  • Account managers
  • Creatives (designers, copywriters, etc.)
  • Other key stakeholders
 
This is not to say that you should get the entire department involved. But having the right mix of voices can help ensure your marketing plan is as complete and actionable as it can be.
Marketing plan best practices

Here are some more tips on how to create an effective marketing plan:

  • Conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT) analysis to identify areas where your team can improve.
  • Your marketing plan should offer some context on how you will segment your target market to reach ideal prospects.
  • Define your performance goals (CTR, Lead Conversion, Avg. Social Reach) and check how they align with industry averages in your market sector. Hubspot offers great comparative marketing statistics.
  • Build buyer personas to add more detail to your ideal customer profile.
  • You should consider building out a separate social media marketing plan if that tactic is central to your marketing efforts.
  • Marketing plans should be updated annually or on a regular basis to ensure they are relevant and useful.
  • Your plan should make it clear who has ownership of which tasks so there is no confusion about next steps.
Free marketing plan templates

To make creating a marketing plan more efficient, we wanted to provide a few samples of downloadable marketing plan templates you can use to guide your efforts. All of these vendors have free options for template downloads, making them a great fit for starting your marketing plan activities.

Business.com Marketing Plan Template
Business.com offers a free marketing plan that is not gated, so if you are hesitate about adding in your contact info this template is for you. The Business.com free marketing plan template is a user-friendly, ready-to-go template that you can download to your Google Drive, or as a Word document.

HubSpot Marketing Plan Template
HubSpot is an excellent resource for many marketing tools and insights. The HubSpot free marketing plan template is a user-friendly, ready-to-go template that you can download to your Google Drive, or as a Word document.

Canva Marketing Plan Templates
Canva is an uber easy graphic design tool for creating content and offers an array of free and paid marketing templates. Canva’s free marketing plan templates focus on aesthetics and offer sleek, professionally designed presentations. This option is perfect for marketing agencies that are presenting strategic marketing plans to new and existing clients.

Vital Marketing Plan Template
Vital is a marketing agency with roots in design that offers complete digital marketing and web design services. Their downloadable marketing template features a simple, sleek look that can be easily customized to fit your brand elements.

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