There is no right or wrong level of detail in a marketing plan. If you’ve got it all worked out in your head and just need to document it, one page might be all you need to provide a clear focus and a solid strategy.
If the marketing plan is for your own internal use, all you really need to include is a list of the characteristics that make your product unique. Your marketing plan should serve as a reference of how you are going to produce something that customers love and cherish as well as how your customers are going to hear about it.
On the other hand, if you haven’t given marketing much thought or if you have banks and investors to impress, a well thought out marketing plan is essential.
At the very least, your marketing plan should include the following absolute essentials:
- Executive summary: Your executive summary should be quite extensive, outlining your product or service, the customer, the market, the marketing strategy that you will use and the objectives that the marketing strategy strives to achieve.
- Market analysis: Your market analysis should give the reader a complete understanding of the market. That is, who operates in it, how it has been performing in recent years, how it is expected to perform in the future, what influences impact on those operating in it and what niches exist.
- Customer profiles: Do a thorough analysis of both your typical customers and your ideal customer. Your ideal customer might be the one that spends the most amount of money, the one that keeps coming back or the one that spends an average amount, but is so delighted with your business that they tell a bunch of their friends and they turn into customers. Work towards targeting your ideal customer most effectively and think about how to turn more of your customers into ideal customers.
- Unique value proposition (USP): Your unique selling proposition is what you market as a feature or benefit that you can give your customers that no other competitor can offer.
- Marketing mix: How are you going to get your first customers and where will you spend your time and money as the business grows?
If your simplified marketing plan isn’t giving you the confidence to dominate the market that you had hoped for, spend whatever time necessary to bring your marketing plan to where you need it to be. Whatever level of detail you require, a powerful marketing plan can be the difference between an average product and a success story.