Write a marketing plan

Writing a marketing plan helps you map out your upcoming marketing activity so all your campaigns have clear objectives, effective targeting, and sufficient resources.


5 min read

1. Marketing plan overview

A marketing plan is an actionable outline of the marketing activity you will undertake in the short to medium term - in other words - how you will put your marketing strategy into practice. Before you get stuck-in to running some marketing campaigns, take time to plan out what exactly you will be doing, what you need to achieve, and how you are going to measure success.

A marketing plan is a good way of ensuring all of your marketing activity is focused on achieving your marketing objectives and will be targeting the right people, on the right channels with the right messaging. It is also essential to help you plan what resources and budget you will need to run your campaigns.

If you have staff or freelancers who will be running some or all of your marketing, it's a great way to keep everyone on the same page.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of what information you should include in your marketing plan.

2. Business overview

The first section of your marketing plan should be an overview of your business. It needs to clearly explain what your business does, what your business wants to achieve, and your current position.

Mission statement

Start with your mission statement and proposition. Your mission statement is an easy to understand sentence explaining what your business does, and its overarching purpose or ‘mission’.

For example if you have launched a new catering business, your mission statement could be:

  • “We are the sustainable catering company making progressive vegan food everyone’s first choice”

Your proposition gives a little more details and should read like:

To [target audience], our product/service is the [category] that provides [key benefits] because [reasons to believe].

For example:

  • “To event venues and party planners in the south of Scotland, our service is the premier vegan catering service that provides fine-dining, seasonal, vegan food made by our award-winning chef from produce grown in our regenerative farm”.

Overarching business objectives

Make a note of your overarching business goals to ensure all marketing objectives align with this.

For example, for the catering company above, the business goals could be:

  • To be the preferred vegan catering choice for all luxury venues in Southern Scotland, serving 25 venues by the end of next year.

Where are we now?

Next, add a summary of your SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis allows you to carry out a structured assessment of your business to identify what your business does well, what you need to improve, how to maximise coming opportunities, and defend against the challenges that your business faces.

In a SWOT analysis, look at all of the internal and external factors that are impacting or could impact your business, such as your own products and practices, your competitors’ activity, customer trends, your marketplace, legislative changes, supply chain, etc.

Internal factors:

  • Strengths - What is your business best at? What do you do better than competitors? What works well just now? What do you get good feedback on? etc.

  • Weaknesses - What is holding your business back? What do you need to do better? What do your competitors do better than you? Are there any inefficiencies?

External factors

  • Opportunities - Are there any gaps in the market you could fill? Are there any upcoming changes that will benefit you? Do your competitors have any shortcomings that you could maximise on?

  • Threats - Are there any new products or competitors entering the market? Are consumer trends changing? What is stopping us from growing? Are there any legislative changes coming up? Are costs in the supply chain changing? etc.

Brand overview

Also add a summary of your brand strategy. Your brand is the unique identity of your business that sets it apart from your competitors and makes you recognisable to your customers. It’s important that your brand is consistently represented across all of your marketing activity, from your website and social activity, ads and marketing materials and all customer contact.

Include a descriptor of your brand position, list your brand values, and define your tone of voice.

3. Your marketing objectives

Your marketing plan should start with an executive summary, which gives an overview of the main points of the plan.

Although the executive summary appears at the beginning of the plan, you should write it last. Writing the summary is a good opportunity to check that your plan makes sense and that you haven't missed any important points.

You should introduce the main body of the plan with a reminder of your overall business strategy, including:

  • what your business is about (your business mission)
  • your key business objectives
  • your broad strategy for achieving those objectives

This helps to ensure that your marketing plan, your marketing strategy and your overall business strategy all work together.

4. Audience overview & key messaging

Understanding your business environment is a key part of planning, and will allow you to identify the threats and opportunities.

A PEST analysis helps you to identify the main opportunities and threats in your market:

  • Political and legal changes such as new regulations
  • Economic factors such as interest rates, exchange rates and consumer confidence
  • Social factors such as changing attitudes and lifestyles, and the ageing population
  • Technological factors such as new materials and growing use of the internet

A SWOT analysis combines external and internal analysis to summarise your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. You need to look for opportunities that play to your strengths. You also need to decide what to do about threats to your business and how you can overcome important weaknesses.

Your marketing objectives should be based on understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and the business environment you operate in.

Objectives should always be SMART:

  • Specific - for example, you might set an objective of getting ten new customers.
  • Measurable - whatever your objective is, you need to be able to check whether you have reached it or not when you review your plan.
  • Achievable - you must have the resources you need to achieve the objective. The key resources are usually people and money.
  • Realistic - targets should stretch you, not demotivate you because they are unreasonable and seem to be out of reach.
  • Time-bound - you should set a deadline for achieving the objective. For example, you might aim to get ten new customers within the next 12 months.

5. Measurement and evaluation

Once you have decided what your marketing objectives are, and your strategy for meeting them, you need to plan how you will make the strategy a reality.

Many businesses find it helpful to think in terms of the four Ps:

  • Product - what your product offers that your customers value, and whether/how you should change your product to meet customer needs.
  • Pricing - for example, you might aim to match the competition, undercut them, or charge a premium price for a quality product and service.
  • Place - how and where you sell. This may include using different distribution channels.
  • Promotion - how you reach your customers and potential customers. For example, you might use advertising, PR, direct mail and personal selling

For a more comprehensive approach, you can extend this to seven Ps:

  • People - for example, you need to ensure that your employees have the right training.
  • Processes - the right processes will ensure that you offer a consistent service that suits your customers.
  • Physical evidence - the appearance of your employees and premises can affect how customers see your business. Even the quality of paperwork, such as invoices, makes a difference.

6. Competitor activity

There are always learnings from analysing your competitors’ offering and marketing activity. Consider your competitors through the eyes of the personas you have created.

Look at all of their key platforms and advertising, such as:

  • Website and social media platforms

  • Search engine activity, Google Business Profile listing, etc

  • Review sites and customer reviews

  • Email marketing

  • Press coverage or ads

  • Local/tv/radio or any other forms of advertising

Think about:

  • What are they doing well? (e.g. they have great listings on Google as they have a lot of onsite content)

  • What isn’t working so well? (e.g. their Facebook and Instagram pages are un-engaging)

  • What channels are they using to promote their business? (e.g. SEO, PPC, Social, Press ads, event stands)

  • How could this insight help you? (Create a strong social media presence, create informative onsite content, etc)

And then look at how you compare, whether that’s your website, your social platforms, any marketing activity you’ve run in the past, etc. Is there anything you can take inspiration from? Do you need to update your website? Are they using any channels you didn’t expect?

Assessing your competitors’ activity can give you some great learnings and ideas to take forward, but remember it’s for insight only - don’t obsess over what they do differently, and never just copy a competitor’s approach or content.

7. Plan implementation

Once you plan out exactly what you need, and who is doing what, you can get started with your marketing campaigns!

Task list

In this section you need to list all of the tasks that need to be done to set up and manage each channel in order, detailing who will be involved and when it should be completed by.


You also need to plan out what resources you need across your whole marketing activity. For example, you might need freelancers such as designers or ad agencies, or additional staff to support your marketing, you might need to print materials such as brochures or flyers, etc).


Also include any tech you will need to support your marketing, such as website hosting, fees for third party selling platforms, CRM tools, email marketing platforms, etc.


Keep a detailed spreadsheet of your total marketing budget, then break it down by the different channels and activities you will be running, including your advertising spend, costs associated with each activity, fees, etc. Also include a breakdown of costs for the additional resources and tech you need. Keep this spreadsheet updated regularly.

8. Your marketing mix

Make a note of your marketing mix - also known as your 7 P’s: Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Processes and Physical Evidence. For more information see our marketing guide.

  • Product - What products will you be promoting to your segments? What does your product offer that your customers value? What are the features and benefits? Do you need to change your product to meet customer needs?

  • Pricing - How will you be pricing your product or service? Will you be coming in higher or lower than your competitors, and why? Will you have different strategies for different groups, i.e. for B2B vs B2C?

  • Place - How and where do you sell? Do you use different sales channels? Where can people buy your product or service? How will it be delivered to them?

  • Promotion - What channels and messaging will you use to target your audience? (More on this below.)

  • People - Who do you have working in key positions? (i.e. customer facing, sales, distribution.) Who will be working on your marketing? Do they have the correct skills? Do they know the details of your plan?

  • Processes - What formal procedures do you have in place to ensure consistent service? Do you have business resilience and contingency plans?

  • Physical evidence - Is the physical appearance of your products and/or premises on brand? Are all physical customer touch-points on brand?

Create a large table and make note of each, with any associated actions highlighted and assigned.

9. Marketing activity and channels

This section is the nuts and bolts of your marketing plan. It’s where you’ll collate all of your previous work and plot the exact marketing activity you will be carrying out. You will need to determine which channels you will be active on and what messaging you will be using.


For more information on which channels best suit your business needs, read the following articles:

Channel plan

Next, plan out which channels you’re going to use to attract each segment - detailing the messaging you will use and any budget or resourcing requirements.

Create a table with the titles:

  • Segment: Goal: Channel: Plan: Messaging: Budget: Resources: KPI: Owner.

You will use this table to plan all of the marketing channels and activity you’ll be carrying out.

  • Segment - Which audience segment will we be targeting with this activity?

  • Goal - What do we want to achieve with this segment? What do you want them to do? How does this support the marketing objectives?

  • Channel - Which channels will we be using to target this segment? (Create a row for each).

  • Outline channel strategy - What exactly will we be doing on this channel? How will we be using it? Give details.

  • Messaging - What key persuasive messaging will we be sharing on this channel? Will we be running any promotions or offers?

  • Budget - What is the budget available for this channel?

  • Resources - What resources do we need for this channel? Any additional tools to run or track the marketing activity? Any marketing materials, staff training, freelancer support, specific tech, etc?

  • KPI - What exactly do we need to achieve? Which specific metrics will we use to measure success in this channel? How does it map to our marketing objectives? (E.g. for PPC you may track clicks, online form completion, online purchases, etc, whereas for press ads you may track readership, calls, voucher use, footfall, etc).

  • Owner - Who is responsible for this channel? Who will be carrying out the activity?

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