5 Steps to Create an Outstanding Marketing Plan [Free Templates]

Rebecca Riserbato

Published: March 16, 2023

Free Marketing Plan Template

marketing plan template for service business

Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

Thank you for downloading the offer.

Do you take a good, hard look at your team's marketing strategy every year?

marketer using a free marketing plan

You should. Without an annual marketing plan, things can get messy — and it's nearly impossible to put a number on the budget you'll need to secure for the projects, hiring, and outsourcing you'll encounter over the course of a year if you don't have a plan.

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template [Get Your Copy]

To make your plan's creation easier, we've put together a list of what to include in your plan and a few different planning templates where you can easily fill in the blanks.

To start, let's dive into how to create a marketing plan and then take a look at what a high-level marketing plan has inside.

In this article, we're going to discuss:

  • What a High-Level Marketing Plan Includes

How to Create a Marketing Plan

  • Marketing Plan Templates You Can Use
  • Simplified Marketing Plan Template
  • Plus — Social Media Plan Templates

marketing plan template for service business

  • Pre-Sectioned Template
  • Completely Customizable
  • Example Prompts
  • Professionally Designed

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Fill out this form to access a free marketing plan template.

Marketing plan outline.

free marketing plan outline

Download This Marketing Plan Outline for Free

The below marketing plan outline will help you create an effective plan that easily generates buy-in from stakeholders and effectively guides your marketing efforts.

Marketing plans can get quite granular to reflect the industry you're in, whether you're selling to consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B), and how big your digital presence is. Nonetheless, here are the elements every effective marketing plan includes:

1. Business Summary

In a marketing plan, your business summary is exactly what it sounds like: a summary of the organization. It’s essential to include this information so that all stakeholders, including your direct reports, learn about your company in detail before delving into the more strategic components of your plan. Even if you’re presenting this plan to people who’ve been in the company for a while, it doesn’t hurt to get everyone on the same page.

Most business summaries include:

The company name

Where it's headquartered

Its mission statement

Our marketing plan outline also includes information on marketing leadership, which is especially helpful for companies with large marketing teams.

2. SWOT Analysis

Your marketing plan's business summary also includes a SWOT analysis , which stands for the business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It’s essential to include this information so you can create targeted strategies that help you capitalize on your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses.

However, be patient with your business' SWOT analysis; you'll write most of it as you conduct your market research and create your strategy. Feel free to come back to this section periodically, adjusting it as you discover more information about your own business and your competition.

3. Business Initiatives

marketing plan template for hubspot

The business initiatives element of a marketing plan helps you segment the various goals of your department. Be careful not to include big-picture company initiatives, which you'd normally find in a business plan. This section of your marketing plan should outline the projects that are specific to marketing. You'll also describe the goals of those projects and how those goals will be measured.

Every initiative should follow the SMART method for goal-making . They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

4. Customer Analysis

marketing plan customer analysis template

In this part of the marketing plan outline, you get plenty of space to share all the data you collected during your market research . If your company has already done a thorough market research study, this section of your marketing plan might be easier to put together. Either way, try to do your research before synthesizing it in a shareable document like this one.

Ultimately, this element of your marketing plan will help you describe the industry you're selling to and your buyer persona . A buyer persona is a semi-fictional description of your ideal customer, focusing on traits like:

Personal challenges

Triggering event

5. Competitor Analysis

marketing plan competitive analysis template


Market share

Our marketing plan template includes space to list out the specific products you compete with, as well as other facets of the other company’s strategy, such as their blogging efforts or customer service reputation. Keep this part of your plan simple — your full competitive analysis should be done separately. Here are a few competitive analysis templates to get started.

6. Market Strategy

marketing strategy for business lan

Your market strategy uses the information included in the above sections to describe how your company should approach the market. What will your business offer your buyer

personas that your competitors aren't already offering them?

As you fill out the section, use the insights from your SWOT analysis, your competitive analysis, and your market research to create targeted, effective descriptions that will help you secure buy-in for your later tactics and strategies. For instance, if you found that one of your competitors employs stronger social media marketing strategies , you might add “We’ll post 3 times per week on our social media profiles” under “Promotion.”

In our full-length marketing plan outline, the market strategy section contains the "seven Ps of marketing" (or the “ extended marketing mix ”):

Physical Evidence

(You'll learn more about these seven sub-components inside our free marketing plan template, which you can download below.)

marketing plan Budget template

Don't mistake the marketing budget element of your plan with your product's price or other company financials. Your budget describes how much money the business has allotted the marketing team to pursue the initiatives and goals outlined in the elements above.

Depending on how many individual expenses you have, you should consider itemizing this budget by what specifically you'll spend your budget on. Example marketing expenses include:

Outsourcing costs to a marketing agency and/or other providers

Marketing software

Paid promotions

Events (those you'll host and/or attend)

Knowing the budget and doing analysis on the marketing channels you want to invest in, you should be able to come up with a plan for how much budget to invest in which tactics based on expected ROI. From there, you'll be able to come up with financial projections for the year. These won't be 100% accurate but can help with executive planning.

Remember: Your marketing plan only includes a summary of the costs. We recommend keeping a separate document or Excel sheet to help you calculate your budget much more effectively. Here’s a marketing budget template to get started .

8. Marketing Channels

marketing plan marketing channels template

Your marketing plan should also include a list of your marketing channels. While your company might promote the product itself using certain ad space, your marketing channels are where you'll publish the content that educates your buyers, generates leads, and spreads awareness of your brand.

If you publish (or intend to publish) on social media, this is the place to talk about it. Use the Marketing Channels section of your marketing plan to map out which social networks you want to launch a business page on, what you'll use this social network for, and how you'll measure your success on this network. Part of this section's purpose is to prove to your superiors, both inside and outside the marketing department, that these channels will serve to grow the business.

Businesses with extensive social media presences might even consider elaborating on their social strategy in a separate social media plan template.

9. Marketing Technology

marketing plan outline: marketing technology

Last, but certainly not least, your marketing plan should include an overview of the tools you’ll include in your marketing technology (MarTech) stack . These are the tools that will help you achieve the goals you outlined in the previous sections. Since all types of marketing software usually need a generous investment from your company’s leadership, it’s essential to connect them to a potential ROI for your business.

For each tool, describe what exactly you’ll use it for, and be sure that it’s a strategy that you’ve mentioned elsewhere. For instance, we wouldn't recommend listing an advertising management tool if you didn’t list “ PPC Advertising ” under “Marketing Channels.”

  • Conduct a situation analysis.
  • Define your target audience.
  • Write SMART goals.
  • Analyze your tactics.
  • Set your budget.

1. Conduct a situation analysis.

Before you can get started with your marketing plan, you have to know your current situation.

What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Conducting a basic SWOT analysis is the first step to creating a marketing plan.

Additionally, you should also have an understanding of the current market. How do you compare to your competitors? Doing a competitor analysis should help you with this step.

Think about how other products are better than yours. Plus, consider the gaps in a competitor's approach. What are they missing? What can you offer that'll give you a competitive advantage? Think about what sets you apart.

Answering questions like this should help you figure out what your customer wants, which brings us to step number two.

2. Define your target audience.

Once you better understand the market and your company's situation, make sure you know who your target audience is.

If your company already has buyer personas , this step might just mean you have to refine your current personas.

If you don't have a buyer persona, you should create one. To do this, you might have to conduct market research.

Your buyer persona should include demographic information such as age, gender, and income. However, it will also include psychographic information such as pain points and goals. What drives your audience? What problems do they have that your product or service can fix?

Once you have this information written out, it'll help you define your goals, which brings us to step number three.

3. Write SMART goals.

My mother always used to tell me, "You can't go somewhere unless you have a road map." Now, for me, someone who's geographically challenged, that was literal advice.

However, it can also be applied metaphorically to marketing. You can't improve your ROI unless you know what your goals are.

After you've figured out your current situation and know your audience, you can begin to define your SMART goals .

SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This means that all your goals should be specific and include a time frame for which you want to complete them.

For example, your goal could be to increase your Instagram followers by 15% in three months. Depending on your overall marketing goals, this should be relevant and attainable. Additionally, this goal is specific, measurable, and time-bound.

Before you start any tactic, you should write out your goals. Then, you can begin to analyze which tactics will help you achieve that goal. That brings us to step number four.

4. Analyze your tactics.

At this point, you've written down your goals based on your target audience and current situation.

Now, you have to figure out what tactics will help you achieve your goals. Plus, what are the right channels and action items to focus on?

For example, if your goal is to increase your Instagram followers by 15% in three months, your tactics might include hosting a giveaway, responding to every comment, and posting three times on Instagram per week.

Once you know your goals, brainstorming several tactics to achieve those goals should be easy.

However, while writing your tactics, you have to keep your budget in mind, which brings us to step number five.

5. Set your budget.

Before you can begin implementing any of the ideas that you've come up with in the steps above, you have to know your budget.

For example, your tactics might include social media advertising. However, if you don't have the budget for that, then you might not be able to achieve your goals.

While you're writing out your tactics, be sure to note an estimated budget. You can include the time it'll take to complete each tactic in addition to the assets you might need to purchase, such as ad space.

Now that you know how to create your marketing plan, let's dive into creating a marketing campaign outline that will help you reach the goals outlined plan.

Marketing Plan Timeline

Rolling out a new marketing plan is a big lift. To make sure things are running smoothly with all of your projects, you’ll want to create a timeline that maps out when each project is happening.

A marketing plan timeline allows your team to view all projects, campaigns, events, and other related tasks in one place — along with their deadlines. This ensures everyone on your team knows what’s due, when it’s due, and what’s up next in the pipeline. Typically these plans cover marketing efforts for the entire year, but some companies may operate on a bi-annual or quarterly basis.

Once you’ve completed your analysis, research, and set goals, it’s time to set deadlines for your assignments. From new blog posts and content initiatives to product launches, everything will need a deadline. Take into account any holidays or events taking place over the course of the year.

While setting deadlines for the entire year may seem daunting, start by estimating how long you think each task will take and set a deadline accordingly. Track the time it actually takes for you to complete similar types of projects. Once you’ve completed a few of them, you’ll have a better idea of how long each takes and will be able to set more accurate deadlines.

For each project, you’ll want to build in time for:

  • Brainstorming : This is the first phase where your idea comes to life in a project outline. Decide what you want to achieve and which stakeholders need to be involved to meet your goal. Set a due date and set up any necessary meetings.
  • Planning : This can include determining the project’s scope, figuring out how much budget will be allocated for it, finalizing deadlines and who is working on each task. Map out any campaigns needed for each project (social media, PR, sales promotions, landing pages, events, etc.).
  • Execution : This third phase is all about your project launch. Decide on a date to launch and monitor the progress of the project. Set up a system for tracking metrics and KPIs.
  • Analysis : In this final phase you will analyze all of your performance data to see whether or not your marketing efforts paid off. Did you meet your goals? Did you complete your projects on time and within budget?

HubSpot marketing plan calendar tool

All projects and their deadlines should be in a central location where your team can access them whether that’s a calendar like HubSpot's tool , shared document, or project management tool.

One-Page Marketing Plan Template

As demonstrated above, a marketing plan can be a long document. When you want to share information with stakeholders or simply want an overview of your plan for quick reference, having a shorter version on hand can be helpful. A one-page marketing plan can be the solution, and we’ll discuss its elements below.

HubSpot one-page marketing plan template

Include your company name, list the names of individuals responsible for enacting the different stages of your plan, and a brief mission statement.

business summary example

2. Business Initiatives

Business Initiatives example

3. Target Market

Outline your target audience(s) that your efforts will reach. You can include a brief overview of your industry and buyer personas.

Target Market example

This is an overview of the money you’ll spend to help you meet your marketing goals. Create a good estimate of how much you'll spend on each facet of your marketing program.

marketing plan budget example

5. Marketing Channels

List the channels you’ll use to achieve your marketing goals. Describe why you're using each channel and what you want to accomplish so everyone is on the same page.

marketing plan marketing channel example

Free Marketing Plan Template [Word]

Now that you know what to include in your marketing plan, it's time to grab your marketing plan template and see how best to organize the six elements explained above. The following marketing plan template opens directly in Microsoft Word, so you can edit each section as you see fit:

free marketing plan template

Download your marketing plan template here .

Marketing campaign template.

Your marketing plan is a high-level view of the different marketing strategies you’ll use to meet your business objectives. A marketing campaign template is a focused plan that will help achieve those marketing goals.

A marketing campaign template should include the following key components:

  • Goals and KPIs: Identify the end goal for each of the individual campaigns you’ll run and the metrics you will use to measure the results of your campaign when it ends. For example, conversion rates, sales, sign-ups, etc.
  • Channels: Identify the different channels you’ll use to enact your marketing campaign to reach your audience. Maybe you run a social media campaign on Twitter to raise brand awareness or a direct mail campaign to notify your audience of upcoming sales.
  • Budget : Identify the budget you’ll need to run your campaign and how it will be distributed, like the amount you’ll spend on creating content or ad placements in different areas. Having these numbers also helps you later on when you quantify the success of your campaign, like ROI.
  • Content: Identify the type of content you’ll create and distribute during your campaigns—for example, blog posts, video ads, email newsletters, etc.
  • Teams and DRIs: Identify the teams and people that will be part of enacting your marketing plan from start to finish, like those responsible for creating your marketing assets, budgets, or analyzing metrics once campaigns are complete.
  • Design: Identify what your marketing campaigns will look like and how you’ll use design elements to attract your audience. It’s important to note that your design should directly relate to the purpose of your campaign.

Digital Marketing Plan Template

A digital marketing plan is similar to a marketing campaign plan, but, as the name suggests, it’s tailored to the campaigns that you run online. Let’s go over the key components of a digital marketing plan template to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

  • Objectives: The goals for your digital marketing and what you’re hoping to accomplish, like driving more traffic to your website. Maybe you want to drive more traffic to your website, or
  • Budget : Identify how much it will cost to run your digital marketing campaign and how the money will be distributed. For example, ad placement on different social media sites costs money, and so does creating your assets.
  • Target audience: Which segments of your audience are you hoping to reach with this campaign? It’s essential to identify the audiences you want to reach with your digital marketing, as different channels house different audience segments.
  • Channels: Identifies the channels that are central to your digital marketing campaign.
  • Timeline: Explains the length of time your digital campaigns will run, from how long it should take to create your assets to the final day of the campaign.

Many people use social media in their digital campaigns, and below we’ll discuss some ideas you can use for inspiration.

Social Media Marketing Plan Templates

As marketing departments grow, so will their presence on social media. And as their social media presence grows, so will their need to measure, plan, and re-plan what types of content they want to publish across each network.

If you're looking for a way to deepen your social media marketing strategy — even further than the marketing plan template above — the following collection of social media marketing plan templates is perfect for you:

Download 10 social media reporting templates here .

In the above collection of marketing plan templates, you'll get to fill in the following contents (and more) to suit your company:

  • Annual social media budget tracking
  • Weekly social media themes
  • Required social media image dimension key
  • Pie chart on social media traffic sorted by platform
  • Social media post calendar and publish time

Below, let's review the social media reporting templates, and what you'll find in each one.

1. Social Media Questions

Social media publishing analysis and questions

This template lists out questions to help you decide which social media management platform you should use.

Once you know what social media tactics you're going to implement in your marketing plan, it's time to figure out what channels are right for you. This template will help you do that.

2. Facebook Live Schedule

facebook live schedule for marketing

If Facebook Live is one of the marketing tactics in your plan, this template will help you design an editorial calendar. With this template, you can organize what Facebook live's you want to do and when.

Once you've decided on dates, you can color code your FB calendar and coordinate with your editorial calendar so everyone can see what lives are running in relation to other campaigns.

3. Instagram Post Log

Instagram post log for social media publishing management

Are you going to begin using Instagram regularly? Do you want to increase your following? With this template, you can organize your Instagram posts, so everyone on your team knows what posts are going live and when.

Additionally, you can organize your assets and campaigns on this doc. Use this doc to collaborate with your team on messaging, landing pages linked in your bio, and campaign rollout.

4. Paid Social Media Template

paid social media template for annual budgeting

With this template, you can organize your annual and monthly budget for your paid social media calendar.

You'll want to use this in conjunction with your marketing plan budget to make sure you are not overspending and funds are allocated appropriately.

5. Social Media Audit

Social media audit template

Conducting a social media audit? You can use this template to help you gather the right analytics. Tracking the results of your marketing efforts is key to determining ROI.

Use this template to track each of your campaigns to determine what worked and what didn't. From there, you can allocate funds for the strategies that deliver the results you want.

6. Social Media Editorial Calendar

Social media editorial calendar template

With this template, you can organize your social media editorial calendar. For example, you can include social media posts for each platform, so your team knows what's going live on any given day.

7. Social Media Image Sizes

Social media image size template

With this template, your team can have the latest social media image sizes handy. This template includes image sizes for all major social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Having a resource like this readily available for your team ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding image sizes and prevents delays.

8. Social Media Marketing Proposal

Social media marketing proposal template

With this template, you can create an entire social media marketing proposal. This will outline the social media goals, the scope of the work, and the tactics that you plan to implement.

Think of this proposal as more of a deep dive into the marketing channel section of your marketing plan.

9. Social Media Reporting Template

Social media report template

With this template, you'll gain access to a slide deck that includes templates for social media reporting. If you plan to implement social media in your marketing plan, these reporting templates can help you track your progress.

If using the social media audit above, you can add all of your data here once it's been collected.

10. Hashtag Holidays

Social media hashtag holidays

If you're going to lean into social media in your marketing plan, you can use hashtag holidays to generate ideas.

These holidays are a great way to fill out your social media publishing schedule. With this template, you'll get a list of all the hashtag holidays for the year.

Once you've come up with content ideas, you can add them to your social media calendar.

Simple Marketing Plan Template

Of course, this type of planning takes a lot of time and effort. So if you're strapped for time before the holidays, give our new Marketing Plan Generator a try.

This tool simplifies yearly planning by asking prompted questions to help guide your process. You’ll be asked to input information about:

Try our free Marketing Plan Generator here .

  • Your annual marketing mission statement, which is what your marketing is focused on for the year.
  • The strategy that you’ll take with your marketing throughout the year to accomplish your marketing goals.
  • Three main marketing initiatives that you’ll focus on during the year (i.e., brand awareness or building a high-quality pipeline) metrics you’ll use to measure your success.
  • Your target goals for those marketing initiatives like generating 100 leads per week.
  • Marketing initiatives that are not aligned with your current strategy to stay focused on your goals and activities that will help you be successful.

Once you input all information, the tool will spit out a table (as shown in the image below) that you can use to guide your processes.

simple marketing plan template

Pro Tip: If the tool doesn't work, clear your browser's cache or access it in incognito mode.

Start the Marketing Planning Process Today

The best way to set up your marketing plan for the year is to start with quick wins first, that way you can ramp up fast and set yourself (and your team) up to hit more challenging goals and take on more sophisticated projects by Q4. So, what do you say? Are you ready to give it a spin?

Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

New Call-to-action

Don't forget to share this post!

Related articles.

The Top 5 Marketing Challenges Expected Globally in 2024, And How to Overcome Them [Data + Expert Tips]

The Top 5 Marketing Challenges Expected Globally in 2024, And How to Overcome Them [Data + Expert Tips]

The Top Goals of Marketing Leaders in 2023 [New Data + Expert Insights from Uber, Dropbox, and ClickUp]

The Top Goals of Marketing Leaders in 2023 [New Data + Expert Insights from Uber, Dropbox, and ClickUp]

41 Types of Marketing Your Brand Should Invest In

41 Types of Marketing Your Brand Should Invest In

8 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2023

8 Steps to Create a Complete Marketing Strategy in 2023

Marketing Techniques: What to Try in 2023

Marketing Techniques: What to Try in 2023

Lifecycle Marketing: The Complete Guide

Lifecycle Marketing: The Complete Guide

What Are the 4 Ps of Marketing? The Marketing Mix Explained [Example]

What Are the 4 Ps of Marketing? The Marketing Mix Explained [Example]

The Scarcity Principle: How 7 Brands Created High Demand

The Scarcity Principle: How 7 Brands Created High Demand

How to Use Google Calendar: 21 Features That'll Make You More Productive

How to Use Google Calendar: 21 Features That'll Make You More Productive

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Strategies & How to Improve Your Digital Presence

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Strategies & How to Improve Your Digital Presence

  • Content Strategy & Copywriting Services
  • Conversion Rate Optimization ( CRO )
  • eCommerce Website Development
  • Mobile Application Development
  • Responsive Web Design
  • User Experience Design and Analysis
  • User Interface Design
  • Web Design and Website Development
  • WordPress Blog Design
  • WordPress Website Design & Development
  • Magento Website Design & Development
  • Graphic Design
  • Corporate Identity
  • Logo Design & Development
  • Packaging Design Services
  • Sales Collateral
  • Tradeshow Booth Design
  • Digital Marketing Strategy
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Email Marketing
  • SEO Strategy (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Webinar Production
  • Inbound Marketing Strategy
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Management Services
  • Photography Services
  • Video Production Services
  • Web Strategy
  • Brand Development

Digital Marketing

  • Let’s Talk

Website Design

  • Magento Website Design & Development

Brand Strategy

an illustration of a desktop computer monitor with 2 books and a graduation cap stacked beside it. overlaid copy says "you've got mail"

Complete Guide to Email Marketing for Higher Education: 8 Strategies & Best Practices

Written by: Chris Getman

Spend Wisely.

Guide to Higher Education Paid Advertising Budgeting & Strategy

Written by: Max DesMarais

illustration of mechanical arm over an envelope with a purple document coming out. Overlay text says "email tips for manufacturers"

Email Marketing for Manufacturers: Why It’s Important & How to Get Started

  • Blog Design / WordPress
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Copywriting
  • eCommerce Development
  • Responsive Design
  • User Experience Design
  • Graphic Design Tutorials
  • Logo Design
  • Corporate Identity Design
  • Print Design Services
  • Trade Show Booth Design
  • Content Marketing Strategy
  • Pay-Per-Click Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Tutorials
  • Video Production
  • Job Opportunities
  • News & Culture
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on LinkedIn
  • Share via Email

How to Write a Marketing Plan: A Comprehensive Guide [w/ Templates]

Chris Getman

Trying to market your business without a plan is a little like going on a road trip without GPS. You’ll end up somewhere, but it’s anyone’s guess where — and you might find yourself worse off than when you started.

Let’s not let that happen.

In this article, newly updated for 2023, we’ll give you all the information you need to write a marketing plan — plus a free template and planning worksheet you can use to help ensure that your business gets where it needs to go. We’ll be focusing on digital marketing, but the strategies and concepts can be expanded to encompass your entire marketing department.

9 Reasons You Need a Marketing Plan

For today’s marketers, creating an integrated marketing plan that includes paid digital marketing (PPC) , social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, and SEO — all tenets of a strong inbound marketing strategy — is necessary in order to attract and convert new customers online.

Here are nine important benefits of creating a marketing plan:

  • Goal Setting: A marketing plan will help your business define its marketing objectives and set measurable goals. It provides a clear roadmap of what you aim to achieve in terms of lead generation, sales, market share, brand awareness, customer acquisition, or other specific targets.
  • Strategic Direction: A good marketing plan outlines the overall strategy and approach that your business will take to promote its products or services. It will help you identify your target audience, understand their needs and preferences, and develop strategies to effectively reach and engage them.
  • Budgeting and Resource Allocation: A marketing plan assists in effectively allocating resources such as budget, personnel, and time. It will help your team prioritize marketing activities and distribute resources based on their importance and potential return on investment (ROI).
  • Market Analysis: A marketing plan requires you to conduct thorough market research and analysis. This process will help you gain insights into the state of the market you’re in, including customer demographics, behavior, competitors, and industry trends.
  • Competitive Advantage: When you create a marketing plan, you’ll define and leverage your unique selling proposition (USP) or competitive advantage. This will empower you to position your products or services effectively in the market and differentiate yourself from competitors, leading to a stronger market presence.
  • Consistency and Integration: A marketing plan ensures consistency in branding, messaging, and customer experience across various marketing channels and touchpoints.
  • Risk Mitigation: Developing a marketing plan will help your business anticipate potential risks and challenges in the market. By analyzing market conditions, competitive threats, and changing customer needs, you will be able to proactively develop strategies to mitigate risks and adapt to market dynamics.
  • Measurement and Evaluation: A marketing plan establishes key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure the effectiveness of marketing initiatives. It provides a framework for tracking and evaluating marketing performance, enabling you to identify successful strategies, make data-driven decisions, and continuously improve your marketing efforts.
  • Long-term Sustainability: A well-structured marketing plan paves the way to long-term growth and sustainability. It promotes a strategic mindset, encourages proactive marketing initiatives, and ensures that your business stays responsive to changing market conditions, customer demands, and emerging trends.

The steps you take today to create a functional and straight-forward marketing plan will lay the foundation for your year ahead, helping you to achieve measurable, quantifiable results.

Let’s take a look at how your marketing plan should be structured.

Marketing Plan Outline

Here are the 11 sections that should be in every digital marketing plan.

  • Business Summary: Provide an overview of your business, including your headquarters, mission statement, and members of your marketing team.
  • Executive Summary: Highlight key points of your marketing plan for easy reference.
  • Business Goals: State what overarching business goals your marketing activities will support.
  • Market Analysis : Provide information about the current state of the market as it pertains to your business. Include a SWOT analysis identifying your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Competitive Analysis : List your main competitors, along with relevant information about their brands and positions in the marketplace.
  • Target Market: Include detailed buyer’s personas that cover the types of buyers you will be marketing to.
  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Explain what sets you apart from the competition in a way that leads your audience to choose you over the others.
  • Marketing Initiatives: Identify the major marketing initiatives or projects you will focus on in order to support your business’ overarching goals.
  • Marketing Channels: Explain what channels you will use to launch your marketing initiatives.
  • Measurements and KPIs: Detail how you’ll be tracking the progression of your marketing plan.
  • Budget: How much money will the business allocate to the year’s marketing activities?

How to Create a Marketing Plan

Now that you know what to include in your marketing plan, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating one.

1. Write your business summary

In theory, this should be the easiest step in creating your marketing plan. That’s because everything this section contains pulls from information many companies already have documented, including creative marketing ideas . However, it’s not uncommon to discover some gaps when the time comes to sit down and start writing. Here is what you should include in your business summary:

  • Company name
  • Headquarters
  • Brief overview of what market category your company is in and what products or services you provide
  • Mission statement
  • Marketing team members

Pretty straightforward — unless your company lacks a mission statement. If that’s you, now is the time to create one. Start with your business overview. That might look something like this example for a fictional company:

“Eco Eats manufactures 100% biodegradable, compostable disposable plates, cutlery, cups, and straws.”

Next, ask “why?” What is the purpose of your business? What problem are you trying to solve? What’s your vision for the future?

Once you have your “why,” move on to your “how.” What concrete actions is your company taking to achieve your purpose?

Put the two together, and you have a mission statement. Here’s an example mission statement for Eco Eats:

“At Eco Eats, our mission is to empower food service organizations to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to the stewardship of our environment by providing a cost-effective alternative to single-use plastics.”

Your mission statement might be a little longer or a little shorter, but you should strive to make it as simple and easy-to-understand as possible.

2. Do your market research

In order to write an effective marketing plan, you need to understand the climate of the market you’re operating in. This includes the size of the market — dollars spent, quantity of products sold, and overall number of customers or consumers — as well as any trends and conditions that are affecting the market, for better or for worse. Even if you’ve done this sort of research before, you’ll need to refresh it yearly for your marketing plan.

Along with this general information, the Market Analysis section of your plan should include an analysis of your company’s current status in the market. To get there, you’ll include what’s known as a SWOT analysis, detailing your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

marketing plan

A SWOT analysis is a standard component of any business or marketing plan. The SWOT analysis will help you understand what differentiates you from your competition and how you should position yourself in the market. It will also help you develop your messaging and your unique selling proposition. Brutal honesty is imperative for a truly insightful SWOT. Use bullets and aim for 4-5 in each section. Limiting your lists will help you to focus on the most critical points and help retain focus.

In addition to completing a SWOT for your overall marketing plan, it’s helpful to do a SWOT analysis for the different segments within your marketing plan.

For example, as we will discuss further down in this piece, content marketing, social media, and SEO will all be important parts of your overall inbound marketing plan and would benefit from SWOTs of their own.

3. Research the competition

In order to determine the likelihood of success and define your marketing strategy, you need to understand the competition. In the world of digital marketing , there are a handful of strategies that can be useful when researching competitors. Using email and social media while surveying the content landscape will give you an immense amount of knowledge about your industry.

Here are some quick tips to help you understand who you’re up against:

  • Subscribe to receive your competitors’ emails.
  • Follow your competitors on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and any other social media site where you can find them.
  • Examine what content your competitors are creating — who it is aimed at, how often it’s produced, who is writing it, what the content topics are, etc.
  • Use a tool like SpyFu to identify what keywords your competitors are ranking for organically and targeting with paid search advertising (PPC).

A screenshot from SpyFu showing the top paid search ads for Vegware, a producer of plant-based food and drink packaging.

Here’s an example of some competitive research for our fictional company Eco Eats, showing the top performing paid search ads for a (real) company that produces plant-based food and beverage packaging. You can use research like this to inform your own paid search strategy.

It’s important to note that many companies have two different kinds of competitors: those you compete against for actual customers and digital marketing competitors. Digital marketing competitors are companies that target the same keywords and/or audience segments online. While you might not directly lose customers to these competitors, they can make it harder for you to meet your goals for website traffic, conversions, and online leads. Both types of competitors should be accounted for in the Competitive Analysis section of your marketing plan.

For more on digital marketing competitors, read up on Competitive Research in SEO from Moz .

4. Create buyer personas

When it comes to writing your digital marketing plan, creating buyer personas will help you understand:

  • Who you are marketing to
  • What their pain points are
  • Where they spend time online
  • And a number of other demographic traits

This information will help you personalize your marketing materials so they are targeted and highly relevant to your audience segments.

Remember: You aren’t trying to catch every fish in the sea. You’re only trying to catch the ones you want, the ones you are targeting because they have the strongest potential to turn into leads. Your net doesn’t need to be wide — it needs to be precise.

For more guidance on this step of creating your marketing plan, check out our guide to creating buyer personas .

5. Write your unique selling proposition (USP)

Now that you know all about the market, your competitors, and your buyers, it’s time to turn inward and create a USP. This section of your marketing plan defines what makes you different and better than your competition, and why your target audience should choose to buy from you. Knowing and communicating your USP is critical if you want to beat your competition and solidify your company’s value in the marketplace.

Like the rest of your marketing plan up to this point, your USP should be revisited at least once a year. What made you stand out when your business was founded may not hold the same value in today’s market.

For tips on formulating your USP, check out The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Unique Selling Proposition .

6. Define your goals

If you’ve been following along since our marketing plan outline, you may have noticed that we skipped a few of the items on the list: the executive summary and the goals. That’s because, while the executive summary is the second section of your marketing plan, you can’t actually write it until you’ve created the rest of the plan. And it’s important to do the research steps we’ve already covered before you move on to setting goals.

Your goals should start with the high-level outcomes your business needs to achieve in order to support sustainable growth. In digital marketing terms, that usually means increasing online leads and/or sales by a certain percentage. You can then break those high-level goals down into sub-goals that will help ensure your overall success. For example, if you want to increase your leads, sub-goals might be:

  • Increase website traffic by 50%
  • Increase online conversion rate by 25%

Be sure not to confuse goals with tactics. If your goals are what you want to achieve (e.g. to increase traffic by 50%), your tactics are the steps you’ll take to reach your goals. Creating a content marketing calendar to rank organically for more high-value keywords is an example of a tactic that will help increase site traffic. Your tactical plan is the next step in writing your marketing plan.

7. Describe the initiatives and projects you’ll undertake to achieve your goals

We just gave one example of a tactical project you might include in your marketing plan — creating a content marketing calendar. To complete this step in writing your plan, you’ll examine each of your strategic goals and create your roadmap for how to get there. Other examples of digital marketing initiatives and projects that might be included in a marketing plan include:

  • A website redesign to improve user experience (UX) and increase conversion rates
  • A paid advertising (PPC) initiative to drive traffic, promote your content, and increase conversions
  • An email lead nurture campaign to increase calls to your sales team

In your marketing plan, you should name each initiative or project along with a description of the steps you’ll take to complete it. Make sure to define what success looks like so your team has a clear destination in mind.

8. List your marketing channels

For each of your tactical projects or initiatives, provide information about where and how you’ll launch them. Some projects might have only one marketing channel associated with them — for example, email marketing. Others might have multiple channels. Examples of digital marketing channels include:

  • Pages on your website
  • Your website’s resource center
  • Guest blogging
  • Paid search advertising on Google, Bing, or other search engines
  • Paid display advertising on Google’s display network
  • YouTube videos and/or advertising
  • Organic and/or paid social media

9. Create your plan for tracking, measuring, and reporting on success

Each of your marketing initiatives should be associated with measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll track and report on in order to determine what’s working and what’s not. This is a critical component of your marketing plan. Here are some examples of KPIs you might want to report on:

  • Email open rate, click rate, click-through rate, and response rate
  • PPC cost per click, conversion rate, and leads and/or revenue generated
  • Organic keyword rankings
  • Website traffic by page
  • Video engagement

When at all possible, set up full-funnel attribution for your initiatives so that you can track which interactions actually lead to increases in sales and revenue. In fact, even before you have implemented your strategy, you should be measuring to establish your baseline. What have you done in the past and what were the results? How can those strategies shift to improve ROI?

It’s important to note that you should plan on reporting on your KPIs at least monthly — and as often as weekly for rapidly changing metrics like PPC and email results. (It typically takes much longer for organic rankings to show results.) And don’t be afraid to change course based on what your reports tell you.

10. Set your budget

Beginning with your overall marketing budget, the next step in writing your marketing plan is to determine how much money to allocate to each marketing initiative and platform. Be sure you have enough available to achieve the results you want in each area. If you’re not sure what your marketing budget should be, you can benchmark against other businesses in your industry, or start from the very rough “rule of thumb” of spending 10% of your expected revenue on marketing — and then adjust for the realities of your business.

In general, your budget will depend on factors such as:

  • Stage of development (start-ups may need to spend a higher percentage of their projected revenue on marketing than long-established businesses)
  • Company revenue
  • Overall expenses
  • Brand awareness (the less people are aware, the more you’ll need to spend on marketing)
  • Marketing goals and initiatives

Like your marketing plan as a whole, your budget should have some flexibility built into it in order to respond to what’s working throughout the year. For example, if your paid advertising campaigns are demonstrating strong, measurable increases in revenue, you’ll want to double down and increase your PPC budget accordingly. Or, on the other hand, you may realize that your budget for content marketing isn’t sufficient to get the results you want. You’ll either need to increase the budget or revise your content marketing strategy.

For more guidance, read our post on planning a marketing budget (with a handy template) .

11. Write your executive summary

Now that you’ve done all the hard work of researching and planning your marketing goals, initiatives, platforms, and budget, it’s time to sum it all up for easy reference. The executive summary is the second section of your marketing plan, and it is arguably one of the most important components.

That’s because the plan itself is a pretty lengthy document, and it’s going to be read by different people in different roles, from your CEO to your marketing agency partners to your investors, and so on. It’s important to give everyone an easy-to-understand overview to increase the chances that they’ll actually read the whole thing, and that they’ll understand the big picture when they do.

Your executive summary should be one or two pages long. Here’s what to include:

  • Overview : Write a compelling introduction setting the stage for your marketing plan. Treat this section as a short, engaging narrative that tells the story of where your company stands, where it’s going in the next year, and what role marketing will play in that journey.
  • Market Summary: Explain the main findings from your market analysis and competitive research.
  • Customer Summary: List your different buyer persona types along with a summary of their buyer’s journey with respect to your company’s products and services. How do they become aware of the problems or pain points you solve? How do they go about researching solutions? How will you reach them, and why will they choose your brand over the competition?
  • Budget Breakdown: Provide your overall marketing budget and a line-by-line breakdown by initiative.
  • Goals and Strategies: Briefly summarize your marketing goals and the high-level strategies for achieving them.
  • Conclusion: Wrap it up with a few sentences to encourage your audience to read the entire plan.

There is a lot that goes into creating a marketing plan. But when it’s done right, it will be the most valuable asset your marketing department has.

Download Our Free Marketing Plan Templates

As we like to say at Vital, “Plan the work; work the plan.” To help get you started, we have included a marketing plan template with accompanying Excel calendars so you can plan and track throughout the year.

At Vital we believe in digital marketing because we’ve seen the results first hand. It is how we market our business and how we market our clients’ businesses. If you would like help in developing your digital marketing plan, give us a shout .

marketing plan template for service business

  • First Name *
  • Last Name *
  • Website (Optional)
  • Number of employees * Please Select 1 2-5 6-10 11-25 26-50 51-200 201-1,000 1,001-10,000 10,000+
  • What is your role? * Please Select Agency Professional (PR/COMM/Web) Business Owner/Partner CEO/Executive Management Dean/Administrator IT/CTO VP of Marketing / Marketing Director Marketing Coordinator Sales Student/Professor (for classwork) Other
  • What is your biggest marketing challenge? * Please Select Getting More Leads Increasing My Website’s Keyword Rankings on Google Increasing My Website's Overall Traffic Aligning Sales and Marketing Content Creation (Writing Blogs, Ebooks, Whitepapers) Using Social Media Effectively Using Marketing Automation Effectively Targeting Buyers Effectively Educating Prospects/Buyers Converting Leads to Buyers Increasing, Reporting and Proving Marketing's ROI Planning a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy Staying Organized and Productive Keeping Up With Latest Trends Generating Brand Awareness
  • Industry * Please Select Please Select Automotive Communications Education Education Technology Energy Financial Services Financial Technology Government Healthcare Healthcare Technology High Tech Higher Education Hospitality Legal Life Sciences Logistics & Supply Chain Manufacturing Media Non-Profit Real Estate Retail & Consumer Goods Technology Other
  • Please specify *
  • Yes, I’d Like to Receive Updates and Tips on Digital Marketing for My Business
  • Comments (Optional) This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared. We'll treat your information with the utmost respect; we won't sell it, rent it or let it eat junk food.

Get The Website Design RFP Template

Save yourself countless hours trying to write a website RFP from scratch and download this template instead. This template was created after studying 30+ different RFPs and combining all the important parts into one comprehensive document.

You’re welcome.

You might also like...


A Complete Guide to Inbound Marketing for Fintech

marketing plan template for service business

8 Strategies for Fintech SEO Success

an illustration of a desktop computer monitor with 2 books and a graduation cap stacked beside it. overlaid copy says "you've got mail"

Get your marketing fix. Get Leads.

Sign up for news & updates, a guide to branding for manufacturers (+5 tips for getting started).

Manufacture your brand

Voted one of the best places to work in the USA.

© Copyright 2023

marketing plan template for service business

About the marketing plan template

When writing a marketing plan you need to be clear about your marketing objectives and how you’re going to achieve them.

An effective marketing plan will:

  • set realistic and measurable objectives
  • include budgets and action plans
  • allocate responsibility of tasks.

Find the marketing plan template to take your business to the next level

Illustration of marketing plan templates

The ever-expanding scope of digital marketing leaves many modern executives feeling overstretched and under-resourced. Marketing decision-makers face a multitude of questions.

How can I improve engagement within the target market? How can I pivot to keep up with emerging trends and technologies? How can I meet deadlines more effectively and overcome bottlenecks?

Every executive knows that a solid marketing plan helps to solve each of these issues — and more. Marketing plans are vital to the success of your programs and campaigns, but creating one is a huge project in itself. Indeed, if your marketing plan needs to be refreshed — or overhauled completely — that can feel like an insurmountable task.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a headache. We’ve collected just a few of the very best marketing plan templates, so you can get what you need and get back to work. We’ve also compiled some key points to help you use these templates to tweak or create an effective marketing plan quickly.

In this guide to marketing plan templates, you’ll learn:

  • What a marketing plan is
  • Simple marketing plan templates

Elements of a good marketing plan

  • Marketing plan examples
  • How to get started with an effective marketing plan today

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a powerful, dynamic document that details an organization’s strategy for achieving key marketing objectives over a certain time period. It includes background analysis, a practical outline, tactics, and projections. Continuous analysis is required to assess the plan and revise it when necessary.

Marketing plans are customized for general use by any organization, including startups, small businesses, and large-scale corporations. They can even be created for one-time use, as for a specific product launch.

The term “marketing plan” is sometimes confused with a business plan or marketing strategy. But there are important differences to keep in mind.

  • Business plan — details your company’s overall objectives and strategy. Marketing plans are a key component of the business plan but focus solely on products and services.
  • Marketing strategy — the conceptual approach you take toward generating leads and customers. Marketing plans detail the practical steps you’ll take to put that strategy into action.

Four simple marketing plan templates

A marketing plan must be comprehensive to maximize impact. That takes time, effort, and money. Using a pre-built template not only means you get started faster, but it also saves on cost. And it lets your design team stay focused on creating great customer-facing content.

Marketing plan template examples

Here are four marketing plan templates to help you get started:

  • Simple and straightforward. This template is a simple, easy-to-use document. It’s perfect for those who are making a marketing plan for the first time, or for those who simply need to get the job done. It includes all the essential elements of a robust marketing plan and leads you through them easily and succinctly. Use this template as a starting point and incorporate design elements further down the road. Or make this template your starting and stopping point and produce a completely comprehensive plan — efficiently and effectively.
  • Process orientation and spectacular design. This template features expert design that is ready and waiting for your expert content. Structured in a presentation format, this template incorporates the best of Adobe design capabilities with Microsoft PowerPoint’s user-friendly functionality. It features 80 unique slide designs already formatted for the essential elements outlined. Seamlessly add your executive summary, mission statement, objectives, KPIs, and more. And you’ll be ready to present to stakeholders and decision-makers immediately.
  • Versatile and professional. This template is advertised for a business plan but includes many important components of a marketing plan and is easily customizable to input the rest. It offers a printed or digital booklet format. Eye-catching visuals allow you to showcase important information quickly and memorably. Break down each phase of your timeline so you can project and track success across them all.
  • Smartsheet solutions. In this article , Smartsheet offers several user-friendly templates catered to various styles of marketing plans. Choose anything from their simple, single-page plan offering to a comprehensive 11-section template. This option even includes an appendix for recording data findings upon plan implementation. Each template can be downloaded for use in Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, or within the Smartsheet online platform.

A quality marketing plan isn’t determined by length — it’s determined by accuracy and comprehensiveness. How you structure your marketing plan is subjective. But the following elements are essential inclusions for success.

Executive summary

An executive summary is a short, summarized version of your marketing plan. It lists and describes briefly all the plan’s major components. Place it at the beginning of your plan so that readers can immediately grasp the whole picture even before getting into the details. Remember to write your executive summary for a specific intended audience. Pinpoint your goals and what the marketing plan will accomplish.

Mission statement

A mission statement answers what you want to do , why you want to do it , and who you are doing it for . A clear mission statement is a helpful anchor for key decisions down the road. It facilitates unity of purpose and thought for stakeholders and decision-makers. Make sure your mission statement is centered around the data-supported services you provide your customers. It should also go hand-in-hand with the goals expressed in your executive summary.

Brand identity

This section should describe your customers’ precise needs and how your offered solutions align with your brand values. Address the type of experience you want customers to have. Also, describe what your brand uniquely brings to the market. Maintaining a consistent brand identity throughout your marketing plan is essential. A well-written brand identity section helps ensure that.

SWOT analysis

Marketing plan SWOT analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Including a SWOT analysis in your marketing plan requires deeper, progressive thinking, but it yields more profitable, differentiated results. Address SWOT using data analytics as well as direct employee and customer feedback. Think creatively about how to leverage opportunities. And make sure not to overlook influences outside your industry that might still lead to internal threats.

Target market

In this section, go beyond simply addressing which companies and customer groups comprise your target market. Identify their unique needs, desires, and pain points. How can you solve those issues and communicate the solutions to your target market audience? What’s currently keeping users in your target market from utilizing your services?

Answering these questions will help you increase specialization within your target market. It will also help you identify more diverse methods of reaching potential users in that market who were previously unaccounted for. From there, you can develop tailored marketing strategies to serve your customers’ needs.

Buyer personas

A buyer persona is a fictional, generalized representation of a specific type of customer. It is meant to conceptualize individual stakeholders, not companies. Creating a buyer persona lets you develop personalized solutions for customers — if you’ve done it well. You can interact with a thorough buyer persona as a one-stop representative sample of a larger customer base.

Conduct research to determine customer traits, tendencies, needs, and engagement. It’s best to do this using varied resources. These might include customer surveys and interviews, online reviews, social media accounts, and data analytics.

Your persona should include details like name, background, goals, challenges, values, and brand interaction. Make sure that the persona you generate is comprehensive enough to answer any relevant question you might put to it — whether peripheral or fundamental. Use these buyer persona templates to help you get started.

Objectives, goals, and KPIs

Although sometimes used synonymously, there are key differences between marketing objectives and goals. Marketing objectives are specific, measurable actions taken to achieve desired results. Marketing goals are broader aims that direct your strategy. Key performance indicators (KPIs) assign numerical values to how well you are reaching these targets.

Measuring results using KPIs is the best way to accomplish marketing objectives. KPIs should be tailored to your specific organization and marketing strategies. KPIs can reflect a wide range of metrics — engagement, conversions, or sales, to name a few. Make sure you select ones that are tied directly to your marketing objectives.

SMART goals worksheet

Establish goals and objectives based on the SMART framework. This stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented. Set SMART goals using this template , then identify which KPIs are best suited for analyzing results.

Pricing strategy

Pricing strategy is the process of determining the optimal price for your product. Utilizing your buyer persona is valuable here in identifying customers’ unmet needs and how much they will pay to assuage them. Including this willingness-to-pay calculation in your strategy is key to profitability. And developing a thoughtful overall pricing strategy is crucial to your marketing plan’s success.

Determine what type of strategy you will use — price skimming, bundle pricing, penetration pricing, or another one entirely. What are the reasons behind your strategy selection? What do your tactics convey to customers about your brand values and identity? In order to develop an effective pricing strategy, you must ask yourself these questions. Actually pricing your products or services is the very last step.

Distribution plan

A distribution plan is where you will determine the process for giving customers access to your products and services. Analyze your organization’s distribution capabilities honestly. Develop a plan that is financially feasible while maximizing output. Ask how your distribution methods will support your overall marketing goals and objectives. A proper distribution plan will sync with them seamlessly — and prioritize efficiency and cost-effectiveness while doing so.

Your distribution plan should identify your preferred distribution channel and why you’ve selected it over others. It should also explain any costs related to distributing your products and services and consider the appropriate distribution channels for those items.

Promotional plan

A promotional plan gives a detailed description of the communication channels you will use to advertise your product. Drive traffic and sales by promoting your organization across a wide variety of platforms. Develop a plan that aims to build lasting customer relationships. Use it to establish a base of loyal, returning customers.

Promotional strategy is a smaller subset of your overall marketing strategy, meant to increase product or service demand. But remember that the most effective plan will look beyond that and connect to your larger marketing goals. A fully functional promotional plan will encompass message, target market, plan of action, budget, and strategy.

Be sure to consider online and offline strategies. Should you utilize social media? If so, which platforms are best suited to each product? Prioritize content value over quantity or frequency. For best results, select your top traction channels and schedule testing before rolling out the full promotion schedule.

Establish a marketing budget to account for all your marketing plan’s projected costs. And don’t be misled by the fact that it comes last on this list. Developing a sensible budget should be one of the first steps in forming your marketing plan. All key decisions must be made in consideration of it.

A comprehensive budget will inform your pricing, objectives, distribution and promotional plans, and even your SWOT analysis. Calculate cost projections for every category — including software, personnel, content creation, promotion, and distribution. Even if every other element in your marketing plan is executed perfectly, an inaccurate budget will hinder it all.

To ensure accuracy, make sure you’re accounting for external and operational spending. Identify costs and marketing channels across each phase of your sales funnel. Look at competitors’ marketing campaigns and calculate a cost estimate. Then compare that to your drafted budget. How can you save comparatively while still driving sales?

Examples of successful marketing plans

It can be valuable to see examples of other organizations’ marketing plans as you work to develop your own. Here are a few samples to help you get started:

  • This Shopify blog features several of the marketing plan elements, including an executive summary, mission statement, marketing objectives, SWOT analysis, market research, market strategy, and budget. The examples come from well-established companies like Patagonia and Warby Parker. They are comprehensive while remaining easily readable. You also get a sense of how style and tone can differ across each element and across organizations.
  • This article from MoreBusiness.com takes one company, Mobile News Games, and leads you through their entire marketing plan from start to finish. You get a sense of overall length, as well as which sections might need more content than others. And you can see firsthand how each element builds upon the others to facilitate a full-scale document solution.
  • This sample marketing plan from Houghton Mifflin — for a fictional company — is simple and straightforward. It links KPIs to specific objectives, and its SWOT section demonstrates a multi-dimensional analysis. The plan also links unique marketing strategies to specific target market groups.

Get started with an effective marketing plan today

Initially, the thought of creating a marketing plan may seem overwhelming. But the final document provides such multifaceted solutions that delaying comes at a significant cost.

Marketing plans establish a united purpose among principal decision-makers. They tie together what are otherwise often-disconnected departments — like finance, design, sales, and marketing. And they increase internal awareness of the target audience and customer groups.

Using Adobe Marketo Engage as you develop your marketing plan enhances these benefits even further. Marketo Engage specializes in customer engagement for complex B2B buying journeys. As a complete solution for lead management, it brings marketing and sales together to nurture leads, orchestrate personalized experiences, optimize content, and measure business impact across every channel.

Marketo Engage natively supports both demand- and account-based marketing strategies, providing a single, integrated lead management platform from acquisition to advocacy. You can build engaging, personalized experiences at scale and prove impact with Adobe Marketo Engage.

Take the Marketo Engage product tour to learn more.

With these templates, tips, and tools, you are ready for the next step. Choose a marketing plan template to download and get started today.

  • Contact sales

Start free trial

Get your free

Marketing Plan Template

Get your Marketing Plan Template for Word or open it in ProjectManager, the best way to manage your projects online.

marketing plan template for service business

Marketing plans involve a lot of work. Get a headstart by using our free marketing plan templates for Word. It takes you through all the phases, activities and scheduling necessary to carry a campaign from idea to successful execution.

Then, once you’ve got everything worked out at a high level, open the marketing plan template in ProjectManager. It lets you build a living, breathing marketing plan and schedule that your whole team work on together, in real time. Choose from five different work views: task list, kanban board, Gantt chart, calendar and spreadsheet. There’s even dashboards and reports for campaign insights. Get started for free and build a better marketing plan.

Free marketing plan template in ProjectManager

What Is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a document that outlines your marketing strategy and how to implement it. It usually looks forward over a year, though it can be tuned for monthly or quarterly campaigns.

The marketing plan will include the following items:

  • Marketing and advertising goals over the period
  • Current marketing position
  • Scheduled tasks charted over a timeline, with start and end dates
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be tracked
  • Target market and audience

Therefore, the marketing plan offers a high-level view of the who, what, where, why and how of the marketing campaign. This gives a business the opportunity to think through what is necessary to effectively market their brand, product, service, etc.

The more thorough your marketing plan, the more likely it will achieve the goals and objectives of your marketing strategy. That’s why this marketing plan template is so important.

ProjectManager's free marketing plan template

Why You Need a Marketing Plan Template

ProjectManager’s marketing plan template saves you time by providing an outline, so you need only fill in the blanks. It can also be reused each time you need to create a new marketing plan, whether that’s monthly, quarterly or annually.

More generally, a marketing plan gives you a framework by which to promote your product, service or brand. It allows you to understand the market and potential audience through research and then develops messaging that speaks to their needs.

Advertising might seem like magic, and in many ways, it remains a mystery, but by using a marketing plan template you can reduce the risk and raise your chance of success. That’s because the marketing plan template allows for a great deal of research, so your campaign isn’t a random or unintuitive message but rather a campaign that is fine-tuned to the needs and wants of an audience.

As your marketing plan unfolds, use marketing project management software to further fine-tune your marketing campaigns. ProjectManager lets marketing teams plan, execute, track and report on their campaigns in a single, online location. Collaboration is easy and all the data updates are in real time. Whether you want to build your campaigns with Gantt charts, sheets, task lists, kanban boards or calendars, ProjectManager has you covered. There’s no better tool for planning and executing your marketing campaigns. Try ProjectManager for free today.

ProjectManager's sheet view with marketing plan

When to Use a Marketing Plan Template

A marketing plan template should be used after the strategy has been decided on, but before the campaign starts. That’s the basic contours of this marketing plan template. More accurately, making a marketing plan is a process, one that starts early and doesn’t end until the campaign it defines has been completed.

In truth, the marketing plan begins with a discussion of the business strategy. Since that strategy is the lodestar that the marketing plan will follow, it needs to be part of the brainstorming that creates a marketing strategy. That will include important aspects of the marketing plan template, such as defining the niche to be exploited and the target audience.

The marketing plan template remains a live document and is never complete until the marketing push has run its course. As you execute your advertising, the marketing plan template will have to be constantly reviewed and revised as things change. The versatility of the marketing plan template is one of the reasons it’s such an important arrow in your marketing quiver.

Who Should Use the Marketing Plan Template?

The marketing plan is used by the entire marketing department of a company, but the chief marketing officer is responsible for leading the creation of the marketing plan. They will usually delegate sections of the marketing plan to various team leaders in the marketing department. But everyone is usually involved to some extent.

Research is an important component of the marketing plan template and can be completed by a third party or done in-house, depending on the structure and size of the company. Other aspects of the plan, such as activities and scheduling, will be led by the marketing leadership team after a strategy, market segment and target audience have been determined.

Once the marketing push is executed, the whole team will be employed. The marketing plan template will then be a vital roadmap that keeps the team focused on the tasks at hand and allows managers to track progress, ensuring that the project is on schedule and within the agreed-upon budget.

How to Use ProjectManager’s Marketing Plan Template

ProjectManager’s free marketing plan template for Word in a multi-page document that is customizable to fit your needs.

This is where you can add your company logo and the name of the marketing plan.

Document Control

This is where you track the marketing plan. There’s an information chart that captures the ID of the plan, the owner, the date it was issued and when it was last saved, with the file name. There’s another chart to capture all the versions, as the marketing plan is likely going to be revised many times throughout its life cycle. The chart allows you to note the version, the date that revision was made and then a space to note all the changes that were made.

The document control is complete with a chart that lists all the people involved in the approval process. That includes the client, CMO, creative director and potentially many others. There are extra rows to add those people to your list. Each person has a place to add their name, sign the document and add the date of their approval.

Table of Contents

Because this is going to be a long document, there is a table of contents to make it easier to jump to a section.


Following the table of contents is an instructional page that can be deleted but can prove helpful, especially if this is your first attempt to create a marketing plan. The template guide has a brief description of what a marketing plan is, including what’s included.

The next paragraph explains when to use a marketing plan, which is followed by a brief explanation of how to use this template. Again, these pieces are all informational and can be removed.

Planning Basis

The next page is about the planning basis. This is broken into subsections.

  • Business Information: The first item is the business information, which is a high-level description of the strategy employed to market the project. The details will follow.
  • Marketing Goals: Then you’ll want to list your marketing goals, which are the specifics in your marketing plan, such as tasks, quotes, etc. There’s an enclosed chart to help you collect these. You can also put KPIs (key performance indicators) in there, but you’ll have a section to go into more detail later in the plan.
  • Competitive Analysis: A competitive analysis is where you list your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Using a technique called SWOT , which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, allows you to capture all this important data. Again, we’ve included a chart to help you with the list.
  • Target Audience: It’s important to know who your audience is, which is why defining a target audience is part of your marketing plan. These are the customers to whom you’ll be selling your product or service. The better defined the target audience, the better your marketing will be.
  • Buyer Cycle: Once you know the target audience, you’ll want to figure out the buyer cycle. This is the process that customers go through as they move towards making a purchase. The five major stages of this process include awareness, consideration, intent, purchase and repurchase.
  • Selling Proposition: It helps to have a unique selling proposition. In other words, how does your company differentiate itself from the competition? Knowing this is crucial to targeting your marketing materials and exploiting the weaknesses in your competition.
  • Strategy and Tactics: The next part is your marketing strategy and tactics. The strategy is more general and the tactics are the specific steps you’ll take to enact it. You want to have this list ready for when you move on to scheduling the marketing plan.

Marketing Plan

As you develop your plan, don’t forget your company brand. That’s how you interact with customers and the public at large. It must align with whatever plan you want to execute and should be directing all your marketing materials.

  • Website: This includes your website, which should reflect the marketing campaign or at least have a component dedicated to it. In fact, many will want to create a dedicated website for the marketing initiative, which will be part of your larger plan.
  • Marketing Channels: Another way to reach your target audience is through marketing channels. These are the routes you can take to market directly to your audience. Figure out the best ones and incorporate them into your marketing plan.
  • SEO: SEO means search engine optimization and is another crucial step in your marketing plan. Using the right keywords and other online tools can help drive traffic to your product or whatever web presence you have created to sell it.
  • KPIs: Measurements and KPIs, which we touched on earlier, are how you chart the success of your marketing plan and make sure you’re keeping to the schedule you created. There are many you can use, such as sales revenue, site traffic, etc.
  • Project Timeline: The next step is to take all those activities, tasks and resources and schedule them on a timeline that starts at the beginning of your campaign and ends with its conclusion. This can be done any number of ways, from using a simple calendar to adding complexity with a spreadsheet or Gantt chart .

How ProjectManager Improves Your Marketing Plan

Our marketing plan template is a fantastic start, but if you’re looking to take your marketing management to the next level, you should sign up for ProjectManager.

Plot Entire Marketing Plans on the Gantt Chart

ProjectManager has an interactive Gantt chart that can organize all that work, link dependencies and set milestones. The Gantt allows you to describe each task, set the deadline, add priority and create customized tags to help you further organize the work. Teams can comment at the task level and there are email and in-app notifications to alert them when a comment has been added, responded to or the task has been updated in any way.

A screenshot of the Gantt chart in ProjectManager, which displays your project on a timeline chart

View Your Marketing Plan Status in Real Time

As teams update their status, it’s reflected on the Gantt. But the live data is also fed and automatically calculated on a real-time dashboard. Now you have an instant high-level status report whenever you want it, monitoring time, costs and much more.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a project

Easily Generate Reports for Your Stakeholders

For more detailed reports or to update your clients, use one-click reporting tools. There are reports on workload, timesheets and more that are easy to generate and share with clients to keep them in the loop. The reports can also be filtered to show just the information requested.

A screenshot of the report screen in ProjectManager, which offers different filters to generate customizable reports

ProjectManager Has All That and More

Unlike other project management software, ProjectManager has tools to help you manage several marketing plans with one tool, using a roadmap to see how you can more efficiently manage resources. Manage numerous advertising pushes at once and get a portfolio dashboard to help you monitor progress and performance. No other tool is as easy to use and effective at organizing your work.

What Other Templates Can Help Your Marketing Plan?

If you need time to make a decision about subscribing to project management software, there are dozens of free project management templates on our site that address planning. Here are just a few.

Work Breakdown Structure Template

As stated above, an essential part of any marketing plan is detailing the tasks you have to complete. If you miss any, it can negatively impact your budget, schedule and derail the entire campaign. That’s where a work breakdown structure template comes in. It’s a tool that thoroughly captures every step of your project, making sure there are no costly surprises.

Work Schedule Template

Once you have those tasks lined up, you need to assign them to people in the marketing team and maybe contractors as well. To organize all those various jobs and keep your team working and organized, you need our free work schedule template. It has space for your to note what days your team is working on a project, a task and even collects pay rates and hours spent on their assignments.

Production Schedule Template

If your campaign includes you producing ad materials, you’ll want to use our free production schedule template. It allows you to organize getting your promotions to the target audience by coordinating deadlines and the raw materials you need to procure to create those marketing assets.

Related Content

If you’re looking for more information on marketing plans or planning in general, take a moment to visit ProjectManager’s website. It’s a hub for all things project management, including weekly blogs, tutorial videos and guidebooks for an in-depth look at the various aspects of planning, monitoring and reporting on one or more projects. Here are a few to get you started.

  • 10 Free Marketing Templates for Excel, Word and More
  • How to Make a Marketing Plan Like a Project Manager
  • Why Marketing Teams Absolutely Need a Project Manager
  • 3 Project Management Tool Tips for Marketing Teams

Marketing is just a project, which means it’s made up of work with a beginning and end that results in some deliverables. Marketers would then obviously benefit from using project management tools. ProjectManager allows them to better organize their work efficiently. Join the tens of thousands of teams who are using our tool in organizations as varied as NASA, Ralph Lauren and Volvo. Sign up for your free trial today.

Start your free 30-day trial

Deliver faster, collaborate better, innovate more effectively — without the high prices and months-long implementation and extensive training required by other products.


  1. Marketing Strategy Template Check more at https://cleverhippo.org/marketing-strategy-te

    marketing plan template for service business

  2. Brand Strategy Proposal Template

    marketing plan template for service business

  3. Free Printable Business Plan Template Form (GENERIC)

    marketing plan template for service business

  4. What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]

    marketing plan template for service business

  5. Digital Marketing Plan: 7 Unspoken Things You Should Know

    marketing plan template for service business

  6. Free One-Page Business Plan Templates

    marketing plan template for service business


  1. Marketing Plan

  2. How To Make a Marketing Plan For Business


  4. Template TV

  5. Digital marketing Plan

  6. Hotel Marketing Plan


  1. Streamline Your Content Planning with a Monthly Content Calendar Template

    In today’s fast-paced digital world, content planning has become an essential part of any successful marketing strategy. One effective tool that can help businesses stay organized and on track is a monthly content calendar template.

  2. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Daycare Business Plan Template

    Starting a daycare business can be an exciting and rewarding venture. However, like any other business, it requires careful planning and preparation. One valuable tool that can assist you in this process is a daycare business plan template.

  3. Why Every Business Needs an Employee Training Plan Template

    In today’s fast-paced business environment, having a well-structured and comprehensive employee training plan is crucial for the success of any organization. One of the main reasons why businesses need an employee training plan template is ...

  4. 5 Steps to Create an Outstanding Marketing Plan [Free Templates]

    marketing plan business summary template. In a marketing ... company's strategy, such as their blogging efforts or customer service reputation.

  5. Marketing Plan Templates with Guide

    ... services, and details the promotional strategy used to connect customers to their business. Marketing Plan Sample (provided by Houghton Mifflin Company).

  6. How to Write a Marketing Plan (with Sample Templates)

    Strategic Direction: A good marketing plan outlines the overall strategy and approach that your business will take to promote its products or services. It

  7. 20+ Marketing Plan Templates + How to Write

    These strategies focus on business objectives like developing distribution channels and increasing brand awareness. Product/Service Development

  8. 11 Free Marketing Plan Templates to Build a Marketing Strategy

    A marketing plan template is an essential tool for any business to have when creating and executing a successful marketing strategy. It provides

  9. Marketing plan template

    Use our template to set realistic and measurable goals for your marketing, create a marketing strategy and budget and assign tasks that will help you

  10. Find the marketing plan template to take your business to the next

    Four simple marketing plan templates · Simple and straightforward. This template is a simple, easy-to-use document. · Process orientation and

  11. The Ultimate Marketing Plan Template For 2024 [FREE]

    The company simply takes the cost it takes to produce the product or service and adds a markup. 2. Value-based pricing. This strategy is based on the perceived

  12. 38 Marketing Plan Examples, Samples, & Templates

    Agricultural Extension Service Marketing Plan Example ... Small Business Marketing Plan Template (direct Word document download) – Business.com.

  13. Marketing Plan Template for Word (Free Download)

    Planning Basis · Business Information: The first item is the business information, which is a high-level description of the strategy employed to market the

  14. Marketing plan template for entrepreneurs

    A marketing plan is a road map to help you build your marketing strategy step by step. It will give your company the best chance of success in today's