Importance of marketing plan is ignored by many entrepreneurs today and it is one of the main reasons why many startups don’t show a decent growth they need at the beginning of their venture.

A marketing plan is a business document which outlines the company’s advertising and marketing strategies for the coming year. It focuses on business activities during a specific period of time, which are vital for attaining various goals and objectives.

The marking plan document needs to be a 100 percent accurate without any spelling or grammatical errors. You tend to find most of these mistakes when the document in converted into a PDF file, so always keep a PDF editor for Mac handy to make changes.

In order to make a practical marketing plan document, ask yourself these questions as you progress through with it:

1. What is the purpose of the marketing campaign?

The summary of the company’s purpose for hosting the marketing campaign should be written at the very beginning of the document. Stating the business purpose can give your team members a clear direction to go ahead with the marketing plan. Today, many businesses fail in this very first step because their vision is unclear. Let’s look at an example of how a business purpose statement looks like:

Example – To prove water 10 villages in Opuwo province of Namibia

2. What is the market situation?

In this step give information about what is the current situation of the market as well as details about your product/market fit(a product that can satisfy the needs of the market). Knowing your competitors and how your product stand out from theirs is also a key point at this stage.

Example – It is the six consecutive drought year for Namibia. The government was hopeful that the good rains that 2018 brought would end the consecutive run but that didn’t work out. In March 2018, Mwilima Mushokobanji, executive director, Namibia National Farmers Union announced that Namibia will suffer from drought for another year.

3. What are your goals and objectives?

Do not confuse this step with the first question – What is the purpose of the marketing campaign? It talks about the marketing campaign, while in this point you set your goals and objectives which will help you achieve your vision.

Example – To provide free electricity and water to rural areas of Africa

4. What is your market and customer profile?

Over the years, target audience has become extremely segmented. Whether the quality of your product or service is excellent for not won’t matter if you don’t consider your market and customer profile. In the next section, you have to mention the geographic location your customers belong to, how much is the median annual salary, and psychographic factors including values and beliefs.

Example – For collecting funds for the Namibia project, you have to target an affluent neighborhood. Some cities with rich neighborhoods to target include Beverly Hills, Connecticut, Miami, New York City, and San Jose.

5. What will your creative strategy be?

Your creative strategy is all that markets and is the second important part of your marketing plan after customer profile. Mention it in a crisp and simple manner in the document, so that your team members understand it thoroughly. Keep the sentences short and write in active voice. Write in points wherever possible, so that the reader understands it well.

After you give a summary of the creative strategy, write down in detail how you will execute it and tactics you’ll use to approach the customers. Have a separate strategy for cold prospects because they need more work.

Example – You can sell a bottle at your local supermarket and mention that 20 percent of the profit will go towards providing water to xyz village in Namibia. Shoppers will definitely buy the bottle because it supports a good cause.

6. What is your marketing budget?

Developing a marketing budget and sticking to it is one of the most difficult aspects of making a marketing plan. In this section, write down the total marketing budget and break-up for stationary, tactics, raw materials, transportation, and so on. If you are planning to hire a brand ambassador, you’ll have to pay him as well. Mention every single thing in the budget.

Divide the available funds practically and check with the department heads if they can work out in the money they are given, so that there are no fights in the end.

Example – When you have a budget of $12,000, give at least $1,000 to the online marketing department. This cost will cover internet charges, social influencer fees, and hosting giveaways on social media.

7. What is your action plan?

In a list format, write down your action plan. Don’t miss out a single step because that would lead to confusion and that’s the last thing that you want. At the end of the action plan mention a goal. You also have to mention the tasks that need to be carried, resources that will be used, and time required to reach the end goal.

Delegate duties to your team members and ask them to come up with an action plan for their task. You can choose to attach duty specific action plans to the main marketing plan but the decision is completely yours.

Edit the document at least twice to rule out any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.