How to write your marketing plan outline

The 4Ps, the 8Ps, the 7Cs. This easy “How To” article look at two different types of marketing plan outlines to be added to your startup business plan or investor pitch.

New companies tend to focus on what they sell. They assume all they need to do is announce it, and people will  knock on their door wanting to buy. Investors and funders are more cynical. They want to see a solid marketing plan. A marketing plan defines your profit potential, and is a good way to refine your business strategy.

Product based Businesses – All the Ps

The 80’s business boom gave us the 4Ps of product marketing.  At a minimum your marketing plan will need to answer these questions:

  1. product (what you sell. What can you do to make customers “sticky”?)
  2. price (at what price will you be profitable)
  3. place (where and how)
  4. promotion (how do you tell your niche audience about your benefits: in-person events, online, 3rd party media.)

If you want to make a great impression, consider expanding your marketing plan to include all 8 P’s of marketing 

  1. positioning (the needs, problems and burning desires of your niche audience)
  2. partners (who do you need to deliver the goods, including suppliers and out-sourced specialists)
  3. processes (your sales journey from first purchase to final payment)
  4. performance (optimizing the flow of production from raw materials to “cash in the bank”.)

Service and professional consulting – the 7Cs

1. Clients

Who exactly do you want to attract? Who do they listen to when looking for your service? What are their needs and what will they like most about your company? What are you offering that will be new, unusual, save them money or time.

Tip: ask your target clients to help you with market research. It’s one way to introduce yourself.

2. Contacts

Referrals are everything. Find partners to refer you – offer them something that helps them grow THEIR business. It might be a commission, or reciprocal services, or your service might compliment theirs and you offer it as a easy package deal.

Tip: Find someone in your field who is turning away work (yes, they exist) and ask for the jobs they don’t want.

3. Competition

Who are your competitors in this sector, large and small, new and old? Where do you fit in? What do you offer that they don’t? How good are they really? How do they sell and promote? Are there game-changers like automation? Are their any new technologies. If yours is an online service, will freelancers, India or China step in and offer cheap alternatives.

Tip: Convert competitors to Contacts by focusing on your own niche and referring each other.

4. Convenience

Reduce the friction in your sales journey.  If you sell products, a complete stranger can walk into your store, or visit your website and buy a product. Professional service firms don’t work like that.

Tip: It takes up to 2 years to develop a “clientele”, so start marketing yourself RIGHT NOW!

5. Communication

Speak at network events and conferences. This is a face-to-face way to get noticed by clients. Online webinars have made international presenting easier.

Remind clients of your successes and build your profile in email newsletters, handouts, webinars, social media posts, and blogs. They keep you front of mind when the client is looking for your kind of services.  Plus they keep YOU focused on new business, not just the delivery of a current project.

Tip: Keep in touch even when you don’t need the work. Especially when you don’t need the work.

6. Consistency

Put processes in place for consistent marketing.

  • A proposal template will save you hours, and get quotes out easily.
  • For promotion: one Google Business or social media post a week.
  • Keep growing your mailing list – it’s gold! One blog newsletter a month.

Tip:  I love checklists. When referrals are everything, so you don’t want anything to go wrong!

7. Credibility

  • Free handouts, checklists and guides educate your future clients (and steer them away from competitors)
  • Keep your website up to date with your latest projects and successes. You don’t know who is looking.
  • If you do projects, keep track of all the key stats and take photos. You will have a case study fact sheet to email them or add to a proposal.

Tip: Set up a template presentation slide deck with one project per slide. Then it’s easy to slot them into your pitch deck.

Presenting your marketing plan

Once you have written all these paragraphs and words you will be very proud of them. Unless you want to bore your stakeholders and investors to death, you need to take that complex, technical information and make it exciting!  They want to see that YOU have done your homework, they aren’t checking it.

  • Lots of subheads
  • Keypoints in bullet format
  • Graphs
  • Infographics
  • Use colour to draw attention to pie slices that matter
  • Use photos of your experience and track record
  • Put backup facts and figures in annexures and handouts
  • Start and finish with a summary that includes what you want from your reader
  • ALWAYS leave a professional handout behind. It might just end up in the hands of the right person.

Come to InTouch24-7 with your plan, and we’ll help you make it visual, readable and memorable!

More in this category
More on this topic