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How to Write a Marketing Plan (with some tips)

The “Marketing-for-leads” Approach

How to Write a B2B Marketing for Leads PlanLet me show you how I walk through developing a marketing plan. The primary goal of a “marketing for leads” marketing plan is to stimulate prospects or customers to declare themselves interested in your company’s products or services; to generate sales leads that are opportunities for new sales and/or additional sales to existing customers.

Branding and awareness building is important too, but has different metrics. Blend your branding plan with the marketing-for-leads program for a cohesive strategy. Or let your brand messages come along for the ride with your lead generation messages.

Is there a specific format for a marketing plan?

In general, the format of your marketing plan depends on which audience it needs to communicate to. A simple on-screen presentation may be good enough when it is only being used as an internal working document. However, if you’re presenting to potential investors who you need to impress and who want to see all the thinking that went into your plan, you may opt for something as advanced as a multi-faceted document with tables of contents and numerous graphics and attached spreadsheets.

What information needs to be in it?

A typical marketing plan is written in this order:

  • Executive Summary
  • Mission Statement
  • Situation Analysis
  • Goals
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Marketing communications Tactics
  • Resource and Budget Requirements
  • Implementation Plan
  • Supplementary Information

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary distills the key points from the entire plan into a one-page overview. Keep it readable. Although it appears at the beginning of the plan, write this section last because your plan will go through changes as you write it.

Mission Statement

The mission statement expresses the overall objectives of the marketing plan. Make your objectives succinct and measurable, not just hot air about being “the best.”

For example: “The mission of this marketing plan is to identify the best marketing strategies and tactics to increase our company’s sales revenue 25 percent in the next 12 months.”

Situation Analysis

Describe the current market environment your company is facing, including competition, economic and regulatory. Describe how your company’s abilities (internal) fit into the broader market environment (external.)

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis will illustrate the gap between your current strengths/weaknesses and where you need to be.

Strengths include:

  • expertise,
  • employees,
  • financial security and
  • reputation in the marketplace.

Weaknesses include:

  • what your company is not good at doing and
  • resources your company doesn’t have available.

Here’s your chance to review past marketing activities, define the range of products you are marketing, and address changes in the customer base (e.g., a major merger or acquisition.)


Describe your company’s goals. Consider including sales revenue goals at three levels: minimum, target and stretch.

  • Minimum goal: the sales revenue needed to stay in business without layoffs
  • Target goal: where senior management would like your company’s sales revenue to be
  • Stretch goal: matches your management’s most aggressive revenue targets

Key points to include…

  • The percentage of revenue that needs to come from new business;
  • The percentage of new business revenue that needs to come from marketing generated leads;
  • A definition of a qualified lead;
  • The number of qualified leads from marketing that you need to meet your goals;
  • The number of new inquiries you need so you can identify the required number of qualified leads; and
  • The number of marketing touches you need to generate enough inquiries.

Keep in mind, your objective is to answer the most important questions in this marketing plan. It takes effort to get these metrics, but when you have them, it shows you have a pulse on what’s really going on.

Marketing Strategies

Explain the strategies you developed to meet the sales goals listed in the previous section. Discuss the business problems your products and services address and your company’s solutions. Identify the companies, contacts, and vertical or horizontal markets which are the best targets.

Marketing Communications Tactics

These are the steps needed to implement the strategies and achieve the company’s goals. How will you communicate with your target audiences? Talk about:

  • your list sources
  • detailed communications media including direct marketing, online marketing, events, or print advertising
  • offers including how-to guides, buying guides, white papers, information kits, live demos, or invitations to events
  • relationship marketing techniques including newsletters, events, direct mail letters, phone calls, emails, or faxes
  • sales tools including items like PowerPoint presentations and proposal templates
  • online demonstrations or events
  • leave-behinds
  • templates
  • case studies
  • reference stories

Resource and Budget Requirements

What do you have to work with? What do you need to get the job done? Include in-house and third party resources such as

  • marketing communications experts,
  • graphic designers,
  • event coordinators,
  • telemarketing companies,
  • temporary or contract workers,
  • college interns.

Also describe any training you need, like technical or vertical-market training.

Don’t forget to tie the budget needed to how your marketing plan will help your company meet its sales revenue goal. It also helps to get budget approval if you explain how you will measure your marketing programs and communicate the results to management.

Implementation Plan

Explain the proposed schedule of marketing activities as well as who will be responsible for each. A simple spreadsheet that lists each activity and target due dates will suffice.

Supplementary Information to Include

Attach items that support your marketing plan and its objectives. Some examples:

  • spreadsheets of budget and calendar information
  • information on tradeshows mentioned in the plan
  • samples of competitors’ ads or other marketing materials
  • samples of marketing materials that need to be updates
  • a survey of the salespeople that shows what kinds of sales tools and/or marketing programs they need to be more effective in the field


If you follow the steps outlined here, you’ll find that your marketing plan almost writes itself. And next year it will be even easier, as you can simply update this year’s plan, making necessary changes or additions to bring it up to date.

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