Every business needs a marketing plan, regardless of size or industry. Whether you are a large, medium, or small company, a solo entrepreneur, or a partnership, B2B or B2C, every business should invest in a marketing plan. Unfortunately, in my experience, too many companies forego this critically important aspect of their business planning.


Common excuses include:

Lack of time.

Lack of expertise.

Misperceptions about marketing.

Reasons Why You Need a Marketing Plan

A well-crafted marketing plan:

  • Defines your business strategy for acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones.
  • Articulates measurable goals based on consumer research.
  • Is essential to driving leads and closing sales.
  • It serves as the model for analyzing the success of your company’s marketing efforts.

Marketing Plan vs. Marketing Strategy

These terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a distinct difference.

A marketing strategy goes hand-in-hand with your business goals and is something you establish first. Then, your marketing plan outlines the steps to achieve your marketing strategy.

A marketing plan is a guide or roadmap that helps you achieve your strategic goals. It details the tactics, processes, and systems.

Elements of a Marketing Plan

While there are numerous templates for creating the perfect business plan, I believe these are the core elements needed to drive a company’s marketing initiatives.

Mission and Vision

The mission defines the present state or purpose of an organization. The best mission statements define a company’s goals in at least three dimensions:

  • What the company does for its customers.
  • What it does for its employees.
  • What it does for its owners.

Vision statements are aspirational; they lay out the most important primary goals for a company. It defines the optimal desired future state—the mental picture—of what an organization wants to achieve over time. The greater “Why?”

Target Market

A target market is a group of customers who are most likely buyers of a company’s product or service due to shared demographics. In marketing, there are four major segments in defining a target market: geographic, demographic, behavioral, and psychographic.

Buyer Persona

The buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. You create your personas based on the company’s existing customer base, market research, and educated assumptions about your target buyer. Elements include demographics, psychographics, goals (what challenges is your buyer trying to address), and influences.

Unique Selling Proposition

The unique selling proposition (USP) or unique value proposition (UVP) defines how a product or brand distinguishes itself from the competition. At its core, it should answer the question, “What makes your brand different?” against the competition.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Every marketing plan should include KPIs. These are individual metrics that track the performance of any campaign. Examples include email marketing metrics, website traffic, and social media engagement.

Marketing Channels

Define what channels you will use for educating your customers, generating leads, and developing brand awareness. Examples of marketing channels include digital options such as social media, website, and email. Offline channels include networking events and word of mouth.

Marketing Budget

Every plan needs a budget. Think of a marketing budget as a guide that keeps you on target. Without one, costs can spiral out of control. Your budget should be tied to your business goals and driven by how best to reach your target market based on competitive analysis.

The Bottom Line

Having a great product or service does not mean much if people are unaware of its existence. Therefore, an effective marketing strategy—the “why”—and a marketing plan—the “how”—is essential to generating awareness and driving sales.

This is where the professionals at YGL Enterprises, Inc. can help. We provide strategic marketing solutions, brand management, and content strategy for small and mid-sized B2B businesses. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.

Yvonne Levine, Charlotte NC-based Marketing Consultant Provider of strategic marketing solutions and brand management.Yvonne Levine of Charlotte-based YGL Enterprises, Inc. is a Marketing Consultant and provider of strategic marketing solutions and brand management. As president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., Yvonne collaborates with professional services organizations and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content strategies, and digital marketing plans. Helping companies devise a targeted strategy first creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.