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Marketing Plan Template


Using a well-defined marketing plan enables companies to scale their marketing tactics, goals and strategies, which in turn drives steady growth in the long run.

As one of the main pillars for most businesses, marketing is also one of their biggest sources of expense. This is why spending a certain budget as productively as possible becomes a key concern for business owners and marketers. However, trying out different marketing initiatives without a clear plan leads to little or inconsistent success.

To learn how to create a successful marketing plan that will help you grow your business strategically, here you’ll find a series of related resources, including a professionally-designed marketing timeline template that you can use for free.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a strategic roadmap that guides companies in organizing, executing and tracking their marketing strategy over a given period of time.

Documenting the marketing tactics of a business in an organized way, a marketing plan is an effective tool to keep things on track and measure the success of any planned or ongoing campaigns.

What does a marketing plan include?

A marketing plan outlines a company’s marketing strategy for the coming year, quarter or month. No matter the span of its projections, a marketing plan typically includes:

  • An overview of the company’s marketing and advertising goals.
  • A description of the company’s current marketing position.
  • A timeline that illustrates when all the tasks subserving a company’s strategy are to be completed.
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be tracked to assess the effectiveness of marketing initiatives.
  • A description of the company’s target audience and customer needs.

How do you create a marketing plan?

Although the scope of a marketing plan depends on its purpose or the type of organization it is intended for, here are the main steps you need to take in order to create a good marketing plan:

  1. Outline a simple executive summary – it introduces the audience to your company goals, marketing achievements and important milestones, future plans and overall brand identity.
  2. Set metric-driven marketing goals – identify clear key performance indicators (e.g. website traffic, conversion rate, customer retention) that you want to impact and define the percentage by which you want to increase them.
  3. Define your user personas – by answering to the questions “Who are my ideal customers?”/”What are their goals and biggest problems?”/”How does my business help them?”
  4. Research your competitors and identify how they are conducting their marketing initiatives.
  5. Establish accurate baselines so you can track your progress and figure out what worked and what didn’t.
  6. Create an actionable list of marketing initiatives that you will undertake over a specified period of time. This will make up the timeline of your marketing plan.
  7. Make your marketing plan look professional and clear by using a template.

Using and updating the Marketing Plan Timeline Template

At the foundation of any good business initiative is a solid marketing plan. However, marketing plans can often be heavy documents that go unread. Using the PowerPoint marketing timeline template to illustrate your plan can help. Creating a timeline visual to accompany your marketing plan makes sense particularly when communicating with clients, management and other high-level audiences that need to be briefed. A good visual will also become a reference point for delivering your marketing plan and a measuring stick to assess progress.

Use this free marketing timeline template to present important marketing strategies in a clear, easy-to-understand way. It was designed for business professionals who need to outline plans and communicate them visually. The marketing plan template is a native timeline slide which means it can be shared, edited, and updated by anyone who has PowerPoint. You can download and manually change any milestone or phase on the template, or you can use the free timeline creator from Office Timeline to automatically update the template’s placeholders with your own marketing plan.

Office Timeline is a PowerPoint timeline maker that will automate the layout of your marketing timeline. It enables you to show the progress of your marketing strategy throughout its life cycle and also lets you instantly update the plan when things change. This means you can keep your audiences in the know of the latest marketing plan updates, as fast as they need them.

Office Timeline Pro Edition enables marketers to automatically import larger plans from tools like Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Project and other project management or planning tools. It has advanced project planning features such as showing the progress of tasks with a percent complete feature or a Today’s Date indicator. Marketers can use it to provide status reports - which can easily be updated each week - to teams, partners, customers, and clients. These visuals will illustrate progress on critical marketing objectives to your important audiences.

FAQs about marketing plans and templates

Let’s explore the most frequently asked questions related to marketing planning.

What are the 7 elements of a marketing plan?

Here are the 7 essential elements (known as the 7 Ps) of a marketing plan:

  1. Product – an assessment whether their product/service is (still) suitable for the current market and present customers.

  2. Price – an evaluative look at the current pricing structure of a product/service in order to determine whether it should be kept or changed.

  3. Promotion – all the ways in which a company tells its customers about its product/service and how it then markets the product/service to them.

  4. Place – defining the place where a product/service is sold, reviewing and reflecting upon the ideal location for the customer to receive essential information on the product/service and make a purchase.

  5. Packaging (Presentation) – the visual elements in the packaging of a product/service through the eyes of a critical prospect and determine if anything can be changed to elicit better reactions from customers.

  6. Positioning – ideas on the ideal impression you want to create in your target audience’s mind and what it takes to make that happen.

  7. People – the people inside and outside a business that are responsible for each element of its sales and marketing strategy and activities.

How do you write a marketing plan?

These are the 5 main steps to writing a marketing plan:

  1. Define the mission and value proposition of your business – this refers to the overall promise of value to be delivered to the customer. It needs to state how your product/brand/service helps the users, what benefits it brings to them, and why they should choose it and not another.

  2. Identify your target audience – To what specific demographic is your product/service addressed? This aspect should rely on thorough market research that will help you decide what marketing channels you best to use.

  3. Set your marketing goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) that will allow you to measure the success of your marketing strategy in relation to your stated objectives.

  4. Establish the strategic steps of your execution plan – what actions and campaigns will you launch to promote your product/service? Create a timeline of these planned steps to better visualize each of them and monitor their progress. To jumpstart the process, you can use our easily customizable marketing plan timeline template found on this page or explore other professional pre-designed samples in our gallery of timeline templates.

  5. Decide on a budget – this will allow you to create an action plan suitable to your context, with clear-cut resources allocated to different areas of that plan.

What is a general marketing plan?

Generally speaking, a marketing plan is the strategic roadmap that a business will implement to sell its products or services. It determines who the target audience is, how to best reach that market, at what price the company’s offering (product or service) should be sold, and how the company will measure the results of its efforts.

What is an example of a general marketing plan?

Here is a generic example of a marketing plan:

"Derek has started a new company the product of which is targeted at recently retired men. Based on the market research he conducted in advance, his marketing plan identifies radio and television as the best means of reaching his target market, as opposed to social media which is less used by retired men in comparison to more traditional forms of communication. Derek’s target audience and choice of media leads to tailored ads (language, specific hours of airtime) that state how the product will benefit the users’ lives, especially compared to other market alternatives. Once the radio and television ad campaigns have been executed, Derek’s marketing team analyzes how those efforts translated into sales."

What is a marketing plan outline?

The typical outline of a marketing plan includes the following essential sections:

  1. Marketing goals and objectives.

  2. Defined target audience.

  3. Researched marketing tactics.

  4. Planned execution of chosen tactics and channels.

  5. Timeline of planned activities and set budget.

What is the most important part of a marketing plan?

Situation analysis is considered the most important part of a marketing plan and should be carried out right at the very start because it offers an overview of a brand’s SWOTs and influences all the other steps in the plan’s execution timeline.

When doing your company’s situation analysis, define:

  • what your brand is about;

  • your brand’s offering (product or service);

  • your USP (Unique Selling Point);

  • your market and competitors.

Once you have finished doing a detailed overview of these aspects, you can proceed to the rest of the steps in writing a marketing plan.

How do you structure a marketing campaign?

A marketing campaign is a short-term plan of communication that uses both online and offline marketing tools to generate leads and encourage sales. You should structure your marketing campaign around these six main areas:

  1. Goals and tracking – What do you want to achieve with this initiative and how will you measure its results?

  2. Insights and targeting – Who do you want to reach and influence throughout this initiative?

  3. Main message and offers – How do you want to specifically position your brand, products, and/or services? What offer will be used to engage and convert your target audience?

  4. Campaign media and timeline – Through which media channels do you plan to influence your target audience? What will be the integrated sequence of activities that make up the timeline of your marketing campaign? You can use a marketing plan timeline template like the one on this page to effectively visualize these elements.

  5. Asset production – This involves the actual organization of the assets necessary to create and carry out the marketing campaign.

  6. Execution – What components do you need to test before the campaign goes live? This way, you can identify any loose ends and adjust them.

What is included in a marketing campaign?

A strong, effective marketing campaign defines and includes the following elements:

  • The statement of the product or service;

  • The main offer of the campaign (its specific call to action);

  • The promotional channels to be used for raising awareness and gaining traction;

  • A timeline that visualizes the campaign’s action plan;

  • The required budget;

  • How the plan’s offer will be featured into the customer’s journey and on landing pages;

  • Methods of measuring and reporting the campaign’s results;

  • The process through which the generated leads will be developed and followed up by means of the campaign’s offer.

What types of marketing campaigns are there with examples?

There are several types of marketing campaigns that a company can use to improve its growth, increase brand awareness, achieve specific goals, attract new customers, and generate more sales. Here are the most common ones:

  • Traditional media campaign – this type relies on the use of traditional media outlets such as television, magazines, radio, and direct-mail advertising to increase brand awareness and promote a product/service. As an example, think of placing an ad in your local newspaper to inform prospects about a sale that a nearby store is running.

  • Product launch campaign – this is necessary to raise awareness about a new product and explain why the customer needs it. As an example, let’s take a shoe company that launches a new pair of women’s sneakers. Its product launch campaign may target women of a certain age group and include social media ads combined with e-mails to existing customers notifying them about the new offer.

  • Brand awareness campaign – it is designed to help consolidate the awareness of a company’s brand, along with its product or service offerings. Oftentimes, larger companies choose to implement this type of campaign regularly to maintain their popularity. Here’s a concrete example: a business can create a blog that offers high-quality content that is relevant to their target market. This way, people who look for an answer to a question that is addressed on the blog can also learn more about its brand and positioning.

  • Email marketing campaign – this is usually employed by companies to keep in contact with existing customers and notify them of sales, coupons, discounts, and new products/services. For example, a SaaS business may send out an email campaign to all its customer base to inform them of a newly released product feature and offer them a free demo.

What are the key elements of a campaign’s strategy?

The following elements are considered the key components of a campaign strategy:

  • Promotion – referring to the activities that communicate the existence of a product/service to a company’s target audience or user group.

  • Advertising – it encompasses the messages that explain the value of the product/service and how it fulfills the customers’ needs.

  • Distribution – the process of making a marketing initiative accessible to customers.

  • Merchandising – this defines the possible creative ways in which products/services can be displayed to entice customers to make a purchase.

  • Pricing – the process of adjusting a company’s pricing structure based on market conditions, customers’ willingness to pay, and other factors.

What are 3 marketing strategies?

Here are three marketing strategies to consider if you want to improve the quality of your campaigns and achieve your marketing goals:

  1. Target repeat customers – this strategy relies on the practice of targeting past buyers through direct mailing lists, email blasts, and loyalty programs. Apply it to increase repeat sales and brand loyalty by offering special incentives to repeat customers or by re-engaging recent buyers with surveys that include discounts on future purchases.

  2. Market to competitor consumers – you can use social media ads, search engine results, and tracking cookies to engage users who have recently visited a competitor’s website or social media page. You also might consider using PPC (pay-per-click) ads on search engine result pages to feature competitor keywords to increase overall visibility and to have your website at the top of the search results.

  3. Establish a new niche – this comes in handy when your company decides to expand its offering to a new target. To this end, you can contract a popular, well-liked spokesperson to whom your new target can relate to do social media ads and digital promotions on behalf of your brand.

What is a marketing plan template?

A marketing plan template is a pre-formatted structure that you can use to create your own version. Its already-made outline contains all the key characteristic elements as placeholder items which can be replaced with your specific business information.

Our marketing plan timeline template  is one such customizable example. It is built as a native PowerPoint slide that you can easily update using the 14-day free trial of the Office Timeline add-in.

An automated timeline maker, Office Timeline helps marketers import larger sets of data from productivity platforms like Microsoft Project and Excel right into PowerPoint and turn them into presentation-ready visuals. It also comes with dozens of other professionally looking timeline templates to start from. Learn how to make a timeline with the add-in and other tools with our step-by-step tutorials.

If you need more samples that you can edit and repurpose for various other use cases, check out our collection of timeline examples or simply choose from the ones below.

Updating your template is simple and fast.

Use the Office Timeline PowerPoint add-in to quickly update any of these timeline templates or create your own project visuals. Easily change the texts, dates, colors, shapes and styles of your timeline, right from inside PowerPoint.

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