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Write a Creative Marketing Plan in 7 Sentences

Our Guerrilla Marketing coach explains the quickest way to create an effective marketing plan, plus 7 ways to ensure its success.
April 24, 2006

There are literally volumes written about marketing planning. It boils down to developing your roadmap. What paths will you take, which turns will you make and, most important of all, where you are going? Unless you have an endpoint on your road map, how do you know which path to take? In the words of the immortal Yogi Berra, "You got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going because you might not get there."

A plan offers a simple strategy or set of strategies, a marketing calendar, an evaluation system, and a selection of weapons and tactics that give you complete control of your marketing.

A good plan conveys your company's vision to target markets, customers and employees. As part of this vision, your plan should emphasize your company's long-term goals and the path to get there. Stops along the journey, in the form of initiatives and actions, are key landmarks on the roadmap to executing the plan.

To create a good marketing plan you need three basic things (besides the guerrilla marketing prerequisites of time, energy and imagination). You need lots of information. You need thinking time, analysis, ideas, creativity and imagination, all wrapped up into "brain power." Finally, you need initiative: the ability to want to do something, and the ability to get it done.

Marketing plans range in form from the back of an envelope to bound editions. The guerrilla rule of thumb is to lean toward the brief side, but with enough meat that it can be used as a guiding tool along your marketing journey. A good guide will provide plenty of information for you to develop the initiatives, actions, follow-up, accountability and measurement to run your business effectively, and in this case, your marketing.

Here's a simple process to creating a marketing plan using just seven sentences:

Sentence 1: What is the purpose of your marketing?

Sentence 2: Who is your target market?

Sentence 3: What is your niche?

Sentence 4: What are the benefits and competitive advantage?

Sentence 5: What is your identity?

Sentence 6: What tactics, strategies and weapons will you use to carry out your marketing?

Sentence 7: How much money will you spend on your marketing; what's your marketing budget?

These sentences represent your marketing plan outline.

"Build it and they will come" isn't an effective marketing plan or strategy. A successful plan boils down to two essentials:

1. Knowing your market inside and out, including what customers want and expect.

2. Identifying what's in your way to satisfy customers: e.g., competitors, barriers to entry, costs, outside influences, budgets, knowledge, etc.

Armed with the knowledge of these two essentials, you can develop all the necessary marketing strategies that'll allow you to attract, obtain and keep customers. In addition, you'll also be ready to react to any marketplace changes when they happen. A good guerrilla marketing plan must be flexible enough to respond to changes. Markets change, customers change, and company intentions and activity change. Flexibility is an inherent characteristic of a guerrilla marketer.

The outcome of this planning process won't just be your total plan, but will be your total planning perspective.

Here are some distinct actions you can take to ensure that you complete an effective marketing plan: