3 Apps to Help You Write a Marketing Plan These tools can help you figure out your needs, understand your competition and develop a cost-effective marketing strategy.

By Cynthia Boris

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You might have a great product or an excellent service but your business won't grow unless people know you're out there. That requires marketing -- online, mobile, on Google, Facebook, direct mail or even printed flyers on doorstep. But where do you begin?

It all starts with a marketing plan. It's a written strategy to help achieve your goals and spread the word about your startup.

Here are three apps that can help you figure out your needs, understand your competition and develop a cost-effective marketing strategy:

1. Marketing Plan Premier
This comprehensive iPad app is both a fill-in-the-blank tool and a mini-marketing text book. Marketing Plan Premier relies heavily on the idea that all good businesses provide a solution to a consumer problem. The initial steps involve defining that problem and how your product solves it.

From there, the app helps you analyze your competitors, determine your target market and come up with a price. Finally, the app briefly runs you through options for advertising.

Related: A Data-Driven Reality Check for Your Marketing Budget

Once you fill in all the blanks, Marketing Plan Premier inserts your answers into a pre-written multi-page, executive summary. You can export the finished Word document by email or through Dropbox.

Price: $9.99

2. Marketing Plan App
If you don't need a lot of guidance, Marketing Plan App can get you similar results in less time. The app is available for iOS and Android, and it's formatted to work with the smaller, mobile phone screen.

This app can help you craft everything from your Vision Statement and market analysis, to helping you determine your marketing budget. After you fill in the blanks, save the document as a PDF or Word doc, then email to export or print straight from your device.

Price: $9.99 for iOS, $7.99 for Android.

Related: Writing a Business Plan? Don't Forget About Marketing

3. MarketMyBiz
This marketing plan app comes from a very unusual source: the government of Australia. MarketMyBiz is a beautifully designed app for the iPad or Android tablets. It isn't as wide-ranging as Marketing Plan App, but the navigation structure is intuitive and you won't get bogged down in boxes as you move from page to page.

This app also includes a section that helps you discover your weaknesses and helps you create a plan to address each one.

When you're finished, MarketMyBiz compiles your answers into one, simple report that you can print from the tablet or email as a PDF.

Price: Free

Which tools would you recommend for creating a marketing plan? Let us know in the comments below.

Cynthia Boris is a freelance writer based in Orange County, Calif. Covering all things tech and TV, her work has appeared on websites such as Tecca, MarketingPilgrim, SheKnows and io9.

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