What Does a Marketing Plan Include? Here’s an Overview for Your Business

Sydney | May 16, 2024 | Content Marketing

Have you ever wondered, "What does my marketing team do?" or "What results are my marketing efforts delivering?" If you don't have a solid answer, a marketing plan is for you. Too many businesses are spending money on outbound and inbound marketing tactics without a solid plan behind why they're investing in those efforts, or what they want to get out of them.

Taking the time to develop a marketing plan helps ensure that you're investing time, money, and effort into the marketing strategies that are moving the needle toward your company's growth goals. If you're new to the idea of a marketing plan, this is right where you need to be!


What is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan is a comprehensive document that outlines your business's marketing strategy for the upcoming year. It's designed to bring all elements of your marketing strategy into one document that not only gives an overview of your company's goals, but it outlines specifically which tactics you'll implement to achieve those goals during a specified timeframe. Some businesses develop yearly, quarterly, or monthly marketing plans.

Why Develop a Marketing Plan?

Too many companies put all kinds of budget into disparate and disconnected marketing efforts throughout the year. In their yearly planning meetings, they often realize many of those efforts weren't successful, or worse, weren't driving the kind of success your company needed. 

Your marketing plan is designed to offer a high-level overview of where your company is now and where you'd like to be by the end of the year. Then, it dives into how you plan to get you there. What’s the saying? “A goal without a plan is just a wish” — or something like that.

Let's say you want to try out paid advertising this year, and you're also thinking about redesigning your website. While you can absolutely spend money on both of those things, a marketing plan helps you determine:

  • Why you're investing in those tactics and what you plan to achieve with your investment.
  • How you plan to invest in those tactics (which ad platforms, how complex of website redesign, etc.).
  • How to measure the success of those efforts.
  • And most importantly, how those new marketing initiatives help your company reach your yearly goals (revenue, sales, or other identified goals).

What Does a Marketing Plan Include?

Marketing plans include:

Given the amount of information, most marketing plans are big documents. At Evenbound, our marketing plans can range from 15-25 pages, depending on your company’s goals. But, just because a marketing plan is comprehensive doesn't mean it has to be hard to put together. An experienced marketing agency can help streamline the process. 

Plus, once you have a solid marketing plan in place, updating it for future goals becomes much easier.  That first draft can be the most challenging and time-consuming — but luckily, it's all downhill from there.

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What’s the Ideal Marketing Plan Timeline?

There are a lot of companies out there who develop quarterly and even monthly marketing plans. These documents require less upfront work. After all, a whole year of planning can seem overwhelming. While there's nothing wrong with a quarterly or monthly marketing plan, those types of documents tend to end up as more of a task list than an actual overarching strategy.

For example, many companies who develop monthly marketing plans get stuck in a short-term mindset. They get things done just to get them done rather than implementing and executing tactics that are part of a larger strategy designed to get your business where you want to go. On the other hand, an annual marketing plan allows you to zoom out far enough to see what you need to do — and importantly, why you need to do it — to reach your company's strategic goals.

The Evenbound team is big on strategy, which is why we're big proponents of creating an annual marketing plan. We start by understanding big picture goals and work backward from there. Typically, we recommend dividing up your annual goals into quarterly plans with specific action items. Starting with the big-picture helps your team and ours see how every effort contributes to a larger strategy.

How Do I Start My Marketing Plan?

#1. Identify Goals

It's hard to build a plan if you don't know where you're trying to go. Goal setting is essential to any marketing strategy. If you’re unsure how to identify and track goals, an experienced marketing agency like Evenbound can help!

For some businesses, these goals might be revenue or sales-focused. For example, “We want to close X deals above $XXX in the new year” or, “We want to grow revenue by XX% in the new year.” For others, it might be a more nuanced goal, such as, “We want to break into X market by the end of the year,” or, “We measure market presence by X amount of qualified traffic to this part of our website.”

Whatever your company's goals, make sure they meet the SMART criteria:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Want more details? Dive deeper into SMART goals in this blog.

#2. Think Strategically

With those goals in place, your marketing plan becomes less of "Where are we going to spend money this year?” and more, "What do we need to do to accomplish these goals?" That strategic shift will make a big difference.

By utilizing your company’s existing data and resources, you can define which strategic objectives align with your business goals, whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or expanding market reach. These marketing strategies will serve as a roadmap for how your business can effectively reach and engage with your target audience. 

#3. Determine Tactics

Once you have your overarching strategies in place, the rest of your marketing plan will start to build itself as you consider which tactics your team needs to execute to reach those goals. 

Here are some example strategies with corresponding tactics:

  • If your strategy includes breaking into a new market, a tactic may include increasing your company’s social media posts to those audiences, adding a new market-specific section to your website, and start developing content that addresses that new market. 
  • If your strategy includes driving more SQLs, a tactic to improve your conversion rate may be developing more valuable sales content.

#4. Execute and Refine

An annual marketing plan is not a one-and-done task. Once developed, your team should revisit your marketing plan at least quarterly. Any marketing plan is a living document. Why? Because plans change. Goals change. 

For example, you might discover in Q1 that you've already blasted past your yearly sales goals. Or maybe there's a huge market shift in the spring and your company wants to leverage the opportunity. A lot changes in a year; your marketing plan needs to change and adapt with it. 

Your marketing plan is your company's roadmap to bringing in and closing more of the right customers, so make sure it's always as up-to-date as possible. 

Need Help Developing a Marketing Plan for Your Business?

We’ve got you. The Evenbound team regularly partners with clients who pose the questions, “What does a marketing plan include?” and “How do I build it?” We’re experienced in developing and executing successful marketing plans. If a marketing plan feels daunting, or you know what you want but don't have the time to develop it, then let’s talk! We're here to help.


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