Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to Build a Marketing Plan

I've scoured the internet for a nice, simple, method for how to build a Marketing Plan, and all I find is very short, confusing, unorganized stuff (and very little of that).  So, without further ado, my 10 steps for building an "AWARD WINNING" Marketing Plan.


  1. Learn what the heck Marketing is in the first place.  (See my blog on my topic here.... my 5 year old son could figure it out... so can you).
  2. Research your 5-Cs. Customer, Company, Competition, Collaboration, Context
    1. This can be done fairly easily with some Google searching or industry related press reading.
    2. I find doing it in order is the best..
    3. Just jot down as many notes as you can for each section.
    4. Below is the goal you are trying to reach for each C
  3. Customer - Write down WHO is your ZEBRA (Ideal) customer.. then expand that view just enough to encompass a market that is of a "small, but big enough" size.  The goal here is to choose a FOCUSED group of people who you can clearly identify... NOT make it the biggest set of people possible (that's for Business Plans, not Marketing Plans).
  4. Company - Write down what are your companies strengths, weaknesses, vision, and values.  (This will help in the rest of the plan).
  5. Competition - Write down a list of competitors and note their "pricing" and their "differentiation" claims.  SPEND LOTS OF TIME HERE.  It's worth it later.
  6. Context - Write down trends in society, business, culture, and geography that MAY (or may not) cause you PROBLEMS or create OPPORTUNITIES.
  7. Now, write down your 4 Ps - Product, Place, Price, Promotion.  First up: Product.
    1. To get Product right (for Marketing purposes), it must fit in the following Sentences:
    2. ACME (YOUR COMPANY/PRODUCT/BRAND) is a _______  that does ____________ for ________.
    3. UNLIKE OTHER _______ we do _________________________.
    4. Now list 3 Benefits. ( NO MORE )
    5. Now list 3 Features. ( NO MORE )
    6. If you can get this focused with your product, you're ready for the next step.
    7. NOTE: If you have engineers/tech people, don't invite them to help with this section... do it yourself (or have someone do it for you)... then correct as needed.
  8. Place - Where do you plan to sell?  What is your selling motion?
  9. Price - How much will you charge?  What is the upsell path (or options)?  What is the average lifetime value of a customer?  How does all this compare to the competition?
  10. Promotion - NOTICE, I am last here... many people think a "Marketing Plan" is just this section... (the Advertising, PR, etc.)... but it is not.  This is important, but not the MOST important.  To me, the first C is most important (Customer) Followed by the first P (Product).  Anyways, here's promotion:
    1. How much can you spend to acquire a customer? (see average lifetime value for hints)
    2. How many customers do you want to acquire in a period? (therefor, that is your budget)
    3. What "Free-ish" marketing can you do? (PR, Social Media, SEO, other)?  How can you measure its effectiveness?
    4. What "Cheap-ish" marketing can you do? (SEM, Google Adwords, Google Adsense, CMP, CPC, CPA)?  How can you measure its effectiveness?
    5. What "Expensive, but hopefully measurable" marketing can you do? (Partner/Reseller Marketing, Paid Banners, Trade Shows, Events, etc.)? How can you measure its effectiveness?
    6. What "Brand building" MUST you do? (non-measurable stuff like TV, Print, Billboards, etc.).?
    7. Now, allocate budget from 2-6... where you don't spend 1c on the next item, till you've spent all you can (reasonably & scalable) spend on the prior number.  MOST COMPANIES SHOULD NEVER GET PAST 4.  (at least not in the early days).
Hope this was helpful!  


Comments and Arguments and Links are always MORE than welcome.

5 comments:

  1. heh, yah picked that term up at a Sales seminar at U.T. it stuck. Now I make "Zebra" charts of customer prospects and compare them to the "Zebra".

    For those that don't know, the idea of a Zebra is "with those 'stripes', they are easy to see and KILL in the wild".

    A customer Zebra is a customer who is CLEARLY defined and targeted and thus easy to see (identify) based on its various specific characteristics.

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  2. The 'World's Shortest Marketing Plan' was republished by Guy Kawasaki a few years back. It still works. http://www.guykawasaki.com/downloads/marketingplan.doc

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  3. Thanks P Marketect, and quite a different approach than my own, so well worth the read!

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