Most businesses that are successful have a business plan, which can include marketing plan templates. These documents provide company members with the necessary guidelines for carrying out a company’s marketing goals. Creating one can take quite a bit of time, but the end results are usually worth it. Having a plan helps everyone on a company’s team stay on track or more importantly to get back on track if they’ve lost their way.
Here’s the scoop on the best approaches to drawing marketing inspiration from.
What Is a Marketing Template?
A template in general is a guide, the bones if you will, of something. It is 1) something that you can follow that if you do it 2) will give you some expected results.
A recipe can be a template by this definition as can a document with specific sections to follow, according to Tech Target. It is the latter example on which a marketing plan template is based.
Good marketing templates have almost a one, two, three format, which provide their users with company goals and their expected workflow. According to Forbes, the best marketing templates do the following:
- Identify your target customers;
- Explain how you’ll reach them;
- And give you ideas on how to keep them once you have them.
Who Uses a Marketing Plan Template?
Several people within the organization will use the marketing plan template, depending upon the size of the organization.
For example, the businessperson who owns a sole proprietorship will use a marketing plan template to help him identify who his customers are as well as help him position his product or service in the marketplace.
In larger organizations, the marketing director or the marketing department will use a marketing plan template. In this case, the document not only explains the reasoning behind why certain marketing techniques are chosen, it does so in a way that communicates across the organization.
The marketing plan template for “The Hunger Games” movies was particularly detailed. According to Wired, it laid out exactly who the market for the movies was and how to reach these people. Having this plan allowed the movie marketing team to create a movie empire on less than half the budget that other movie studios have for a film series of the same size.
Finally, a marketing professional looking for new business might also use a marketing plan template. The format gives the marketing pro a recipe to show to a potential client. This in turn gives the client some idea about how his/ her product will fit within the marketplace and how hiring the marketing professional can help him/ her to achieve their business goals.
Ways That Marketing Plan Templates Can Help Your Business
It is helpful to look at a basic marketing plan template first to explain why this is a useful document. Forbes offers a useful template that has all the most of the elements commonly found in marketing plan templates.
Here are a few:
- Executive summary;
- Target customers;
- Unique Selling Proposition (USP);
- Market position and pricing;
- Plans for distribution;
- What you offer;
- Your marketing materials;
- Strategies for promotion;
- Online marketing strategy.
Now, look at the list above and think how helpful it would be for members of a big marketing team to have a document that spells all that out. Each team member can track their activities against the master template. Very quickly a team member will learn if they are off track or not by comparing their activities with the template.
In the case of the independent marketing professional, the marketing plan template allows this professional to communicate her business ideas to a potential new client or partner. The template can be tailored to the new client’s business, and the marketing professional can talk with this client in such a way that communicates how the services of the marketing pro can help this client.
Business.com also suggests that a marketing plan template helps you solidify your brand identity and your company culture. It’s a document that can be useful when it comes to training team members.
And Vital Design says that having a marketing plan template helps you see your company’s goals in black and white. It can identify the holes that you have in your plan, the potential opportunities, and even the threats that may come at your business.
Incidentally, by creating the template, a company or a business owner learns fairly quickly if the company needs to call in outside help like a marketing professional. This may especially be the case for the one-stop-shop, which has limited resources. In this case, calling in a marketing consultant to help develop a marketing plan template can be money well spent.
As you can see, marketing plan templates serve a number of functions.
- They help a businessperson to solidify her business goals for the year by identifying her business’s USP and also by helping her overcome any weaknesses in her plan.
- They allow a marketing director to communicate with his team members about the company’s marketing plan. Additionally, this same document can be shown to the company’s board or president for feedback and engagement.
- The independent marketing professional can use this document to win new clients. It becomes a communication and solutions tool for that potential new client.
Final Thoughts on Marketing Plan Templates
Although developing a marketing plan can be time-consuming, the act of doing it helps the marketing professional in the long run. It prevents a business owner or a marketing professional from deviating from that business’s brand.
It also identifies a company’s competition. These elements can be based on the cost of the product or service; the market segment that the company wants to serve; or a previously unidentified problem in the marketplace that needs to be solved.
Finally, as Small Biz Trends points out, your marketing plan doesn’t have to be long and complicated. Sometimes just having one page to document your goals and your USP can set you on the right track. How has following a marketing plan template helped you clarify your business’s purpose? Leave comments in the section below.
Images from depositphotos.com.