The Sections of a Marketing Plan

There are five primary sections to a well-written marketing plan. First, is the introduction. In this section, an overview of all the different marketing strategies that will be used to create visibility for a brand or its products and services should be briefly outlined. This includes discussing specific online marketing strategies, print advertising strategies, and any type of public relations campaign that will be undertaken from the onset of operations. This section of the marketing plan should be about one page in length given that it will provide a top-level view of the overall operations of the marketing department while providing a guide for the rest of the marketing plan. Including graphics and charts, most marketing plans run anywhere from 18 to 24 pages. Approximately half of the work of the marketing plan is specific for the costs associated with each type of advertising, marketing, or public relations campaign that will be carried out.

Specific parts of the introduction can be done in a bullet point fashion to provide a brief overview of the rest of the document. Examples of this include briefly discussing local print advertisements, sponsorship of local sports teams, any type of regional advertising will be completed, and what online marketing campaigns will be engaged.

The next chapter of your marketing plan deals specifically with online marketing strategies. There are many different ways that you can expand and create visibility through usage of the Internet as well as social media. Of all the different sections within the marketing plan, this has become the most important. Nearly everyone has a mobile phone that can be used to find local businesses, read reviews about businesses, and receive contact information for any specific organization. As such, a bulk of the text of your marketing plan should be specific for online marketing strategies.

An example of this would be discussing things such as use of social media in order to create a greater degree of brand awareness. This includes maintaining profiles on popular social platforms including FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Special important should be made as a release discussing how much money is going to be spent on a monthly basis for online marketing activities. This includes carefully crafting a budget that showcases what percentage of overall marketing expenditures will be geared towards paid social media promotion, search engine optimization, as well as pay per click marketing.

Generally, the online marketing strategy chapter is broken down into two sections – social media and search engine marketing. Again, as it relates to social media – this should focus substantially on usage of FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube as these are the most popular social media platforms in the world.

By developing videos as well as well-crafted social media posts, a business can receive a substantial amount of traffic to their website via viral marketing messages. If you are unfamiliar with this type of marketing than it may be in your best interest to hire a social media consultant that can aggressively handle this aspect of your marketing operations. Although social media consulting firms are expensive, a substantial amount of time can be saved by outsourcing this work to a company note knows exactly what they’re doing.

The same applies for search engine optimization strategies given that this is a complex method of marketing that requires time, effort, and patience. Many search engine optimization firms estimate that it takes anywhere from three months to six months for this type of marketing campaign to become effective. As it relates to the cost of these expenditures, most SCO firms charge anywhere from $500 all the way up to $10,000 per month to carry out a moderate to large scale search engine marketing campaign. A substantial amount of this work is done through content marketing.

The third chapter of the marketing plan deals with your demographics. This should include discussing the types of customers that your targeting, their age, annual household income, and specific aspects of their life that will make your product or service stand out to them. A thorough demographic analysis should be developed as almost all marketing campaigns center around targeting this very specific type of customer. Many marketing firms on a regional level can assist you with developing appropriate demographic analysis given the product or service that you offered to the general public.

The fourth chapter of your marketing plan to deal with your print advertising strategies. It should be noted that many companies have decided to either eliminate or heavily scale back their print related marketing given that most businesses are now found online. However, for some businesses – like restaurants – it is still important to distribute flyers and coupons to these customers so that they will come to the location. Most print advertising that is distributed is specific for retailers as well as food /beverage businesses there trying to drive traffic specifically to their locations.

The fifth chapter of the marketing plan is specific for the differentiating factors that are taken into account regarding products and services offered. This analysis should focus heavily on the benefits of using your products or services, and how the business is differentiated from other competitors in the target market. Usually, this chapter runs about one to two pages.

The final section of the marketing plan deal specifically with the anticipated return on investment for all of the different types of marketing and advertising that will be undertaken by the business. This includes having a number of tables that showcase the anticipated revenues of the company as a function of how much money you spent on marketing activities. Below are images of how these charts look and how these calculations are made:

Marketing Plan Revenue Overview
Marketing Plan Revenue Overview
Marketing Plan - Localized Target Market Analysis
Marketing Plan – Localized Target Market Analysis
Marketing Plan -Demographic Analysis
Marketing Plan -Demographic Analysis
Marketing Plan - ROI Analysis
Marketing Plan – ROI Analysis

Writing a Marketing Plan

Writing a marketing plan is usually the most fun portion of developing a new business and writing a complete business plan. One of the nice things about writing a marketing plan is that it is not overly technical in nature given that you’re discussing the ways in which will target your potential customers. Foremost, it is imperative that the entrepreneur develop a expansive demographic profile that showcases the exact customers – whether business or individuals – it will be targeted via the company’s marketing campaigns. As it relates to individuals that are targeted, common characteristics including median household income, median family income, age range, gender, profession, and psychographics are included in this analysis. It is very important that the marketing plan provide a laser focus on the individuals that will be targeted given that marketing is a very expensive proposition and it is imperative that a new business has a clear sight of who they want as their initial customer base. Of course, if individuals are targeted outside of that demographic base that is great however it is very important that the marketing budget is properly allocated towards specific demographic profiles. If the company is a business to business provider then expensive demographics need to be provided regarding the types of companies will be targeted for the company’s products and services. This includes an overview of the anticipated annual revenues, annual profits, industries operate within, and how much these businesses will spend with the company any given year. These demographics at times can be extremely broad, but it is again important to focus specifically on the customers that are most likely to enroll or purchase the company’s products and services.

Given the number of channels in which marketing and advertising can be carried out these days – it is important to develop a number of different sections of the marketing plan to focus not only in traditional marketing, print marketing, as well as online marketing. Online marketing is of the special importance these days as most people now find product and service providers via the Internet on their desktops and mobile devices. One of the ways that many new businesses will often develop a customer base is by establishing a large social media presence. This includes maintaining profiles on networks such as FaceBook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and third-party platforms such as and

Given that these are low-cost ways to reach an audience, many new entrepreneurs have found that this can provide a expansive return on investment as it relates to each marketing dollar spent. Of course, these platforms are highly competitive for an individual’s attention. As such, many firms will make the decision to hire a social media consultant or similar marketing firm that can assist in guiding them with how to properly carry out a social media marketing campaign. It should be noted that the cost of advertising on social media is increasing given the ability to highly target companies and individuals on these platforms. As such, a cohesive marketing plan that focuses specifically on social marketing should be one of the major components of the overall marketing plan.

Other ways that businesses advertise via the Internet is through the use of pay per click (“PPC”) marketing. This allows individuals to have their websites showcased immediately on the first page of search results given that they are sponsor advertisements. This can be an extremely expensive form of marketing given that a fee anywhere from ten cents all the way to $20 can be charged each time a person goes to a website. Given this high expense, a very specific focus needs to be implemented so that only the most proper demographics are targeted when engaging in a PPC advertising campaign. It should be noted that there are a number of different firms out there that can assist with developing the keywords and target audience specific to the company. These companies typically charge a monthly fee ranging anywhere from $200 all the way to $2,000 depending on the scope and scale of the pay per click marketing campaign. However, usage of this type of marketing on Google, Bing, and Yahoo is generally pretty straightforward. As such, the few hours work – most entrepreneurs are able to develop their initial paper click marketing campaigns on her own. These search engines also have a number of experts on staff that can work closely with the entrepreneur in order to get this operation up and running.

Beyond pay-per-click marketing, many firms will seek to use search engine optimization so that the pages can be found in natural search results over time. This is an expensive proposition and the results can take upwards of eight months to a year before the business sees a return on this type of marketing investment. Search engine optimization is generally considered to be a long-term marketing strategy for most new businesses. There are a number of companies out there that can render the service to a company, but they are expensive and again they do take a significant amount of time for the results to take hold. Generally, a search engine optimization firm will charge a fee ranging anywhere from $100 all the way to $20,000 a month depending on what needs to be done in order to have a website found organically through search engine results. This is usually one of the last types of marketing that a new business carries out given that they want to generate him immediately through the use of pay-per-click advertising and social media campaigns.

Print advertising and television advertising is also extremely popular still. Although the rates of these types of advertisements have declined, they can still be an outstanding source of marketing for any new business. Print advertising and television advertising usually carries more weight for consumers as people put a greater level of trust in a televised advertisement rather than an online advertisement. One of the nice things about developing a television advertisement is that it can be concurrently run on other platforms such as YouTube,, and other platforms that allow for the sharing of online videos. As such, many television commercials that can be run cost-effectively on cable TV networks can concurrently produce a significant amount of interest the online channels as well. The cost of developing a small commercial advertisement that is appropriate for cable television or online marketing typically is about $2000 to $5000 depending on the videography company used. Extremely high quality videos typically run anywhere from $10,000 all the way to $50,000 depending on the production value of the commercial.

Print advertising is usually one of the ways that most local businesses promote their companies to the general public. The use of flyers, advertisements in local newspapers, advertisements in local circulars, and related print advertising activities typically are low-cost form of marketing that can potentially rates reach tens of thousand households on a monthly basis. However, the return on investment for print advertising is typically in the lower end of things given that the very large amount of mail is sent out to a broad base of demographics. These types of advertisements remain popular with service-based businesses including contractors, restaurants, and highly local retailers. Print advertising is going by the way when someone as more and more newspapers go online and as less mailers are sent out on a yearly basis.

In closing, having a well-defined marketing plan can be a make or break for most businesses given that there can be no customers if people are unaware of the business and what it provides. As such, it is important that the entrepreneur take a significant amount of time when developing the marketing campaign so that they have a complete understanding of who their customers, how they will reach them, and the cost of acquiring each new customer.