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What is a marketing plan, and do I need one for my small business?

Updated: Sep 28

In simple terms a strategic marketing plan can provide the structure and focus to help your business identify and reach more customers, build a strong brand, and become more profitable. I think that answers the question as to whether small businesses should have one but let me explain further.


Most small businesses focus on the more visible aspects of marketing that sits on the surface such as branding, web design and social media. Small business owners, especially start-ups, typically have small budgets and so may be doing some of the marketing themselves. Alternatively, they may outsource some aspects to agencies and/or freelancers, or they may have the luxury of a trainee who can do some marketing. Unfortunately, this frequently provides results which are inconsistent and not joined up and can be confusing to potential customers.


Having a marketing plan that includes a coherent strategy and action plan will give a small business the solid foundations and direction it needs. This joined up approach will yield better returns from marketing activity and bring improved returns from such investment. It should help simplify and define the right messages, to the right customers, in the right manner and at the right time. A strategic marketing plan will help you take a step back and see the bigger picture so that your marketing efforts are optimised and can be clearly and consistently communicated to those carrying out the activities. s opportunities.


So what is included in a strategic marketing plan? A good marketing plan will lay out the strategy required to help you achieve your set marketing goals and objectives. It should include:-

  • Who are the target market customer segments?

  • Which of these segments the business wants to grow;

  • The positioning and key business messages for each segment, and

  • The route to market.


It should lay out the business:-

  • Mission,

  • Vision,

  • Values

And it should include a strategic roadmap that outlines the online and offline tactics needed to implement this strategy.


Many businesses then create more focussed action plans off the back of this overarching strategic marketing plan such as a content marketing plan, digital marketing plan, public relations plan, social media plan and advertising plan.


A marketing plan needs to be tailored to a business to be effective – there is never a one size fits all. The plan usually starts with the output of a detailed external and internal audit. The mission, vision and values will be detailed, as well as financial goals and objectives which can then be broken down into marketing objectives. It should set out the strategy the business will take to help it achieve its objectives, a plan of action and its marketing budget. Not all small businesses have a marketing budget, but this will help a business control the costs of marketing and ensure spend happens in the right places. Finally the plan should examine how success will be measured.


In summary the following sections make up a marketing plan:

  • A situation analysis

  • Mission, vision, and values

  • Goals and objectives

  • Strategy to achieve objectives

  • A plan of action including key marketing tactics and messages relating to target segments

  • Budgeting and how to measure success


Small business owners can find lots of free and paid for marketing plan templates and resources to help them build a marketing plan. However, the best plan for your business will always be tailored to your business. Marketing Superpower was created because of a gap in the market for practical, strategic marketing aimed specifically at the SME marketplace. We offer a fast-track strategic marketing planning service that will give you the clarity and strategy needed to increase your turnover and maximise your profit[RO1] . With an independent view a marketing consultant can challenge your thinking and can use their experience of what has worked for similar organisations to recommend strategic actions and tactics that may not previously have been considered.


For more information go to www.marketingsuperpower.co.uk/services. If you'd like to know if working with Marketing Superpower on any aspect of your marketing strategy, planning or delivery would be a good fit for your small business, book your free discovery call with me here or contact Rebecca on rebecca@marketingsuperpower.co.uk



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