by Bobette Kyle
For those new to marketing planning, the thought of
completing a plan from start to finish may feel daunting. It
need not. The level of detail you choose to include in your
marketing plan will depend on your resources and situation.
If you have extremely limited manpower or other resources,
you may be constrained to a "broad brush" approach. If your
plan must support your Web site’s validity to others in the
company, a lot of back-up detail may be appropriate.
Basic Marketing Plan Content
* Include a summary at the beginning. Like any business
report, your plan write-up should begin with a summary. The
traditional executive summary is one option. I prefer to
include - either in addition to or instead of the executive
summary - a one-page table. The table makes everyday use of
your plan easier. In one glance you can be reminded of your
main challenge, objective, strategies, and tactics as well
as budgets and deadlines. Also, as your plan evolves
throughout the year, the table makes it easier to
strategically modify the plan.
* Explain your reasoning. Make some reference to why you
chose the specific objective(s) and strategies in your plan.
This will make it easier to justify the plan to others (if
necessary). It will also help you make smarter, strategic
* Identify your target customers. By doing so, you will be
better able to develop effective advertising messages.
* Write one or more positioning statements. In the
statement(s), specify the customer needs you are fulfilling,
benefits your products/services offer, and features that
deliver those benefits.
* Explain key issues and opportunities. These can best be
identified through industry and/or competitive analyses.
* Include preliminary budgets and timelines for your action
Expanded Content for Your Marketing Plan
You can also expand your marketing plan write-up to include
detailed analysis and arguments to substantiate your plan:
* Describe the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and
threats your business and/or Web site face (SWOT analysis).
* Explain the online business environment. What are your
competitors’ Web strategies? How do your customers use your
site, competing sites, and the Internet in general? What
potential substitutes are available?
* Include the trends in your industry and how they affect
both online and offline activity. Show growth projections.
* Detail the financial aspects. Include break even analysis
for your site as well as for the tactics included in your
plan. Discuss assumptions made when completing your
financial analysis. Show how implementation of your plan
will be profitable to your business.
* Include a calendar of events that shows milestones in the
coming weeks or months.
You can be as detailed or top-line as needed with the final
marketing plan write-up. In any case remember that your
marketing plan is always a work in progress. It may be
current, but it is never "done".