How To Build A Marketing Plan + Templates [Free]

Whether you are starting your marketing plan from scratch or refining an existing one, here is how to build one with free templates.

January 10th, 2021


5 min read

How To Build A Marketing Plan + Templates [Free]

Once you build a marketing strategy, you want to ensure it provides you with a rewarding return and great insights. Without planning a strategy or by following a random plan that doesn't cater to your needs will only result in a minimal return on investment or little to no results in your marketing campaigns.

It is important to understand what a marketing plan entails and how to build one and this articles aims to do exactly that.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is nothing but an outline that encapsulates the marketing tasks your team needs to perform in order to achieve the marketing goals they need to reach. This report is usually time bound, spanning from 3 months right upto a year.

it usually includes:

  • A short paragraph on the purpose of the marketing report.
  • Your target market and which audience you want to reach.
  • Your key performance indicators (KPI) and how you want to track them.
  • Your current marketing position vs where you want to be once you reach the deadline.
  • A timeline of your tasks and smaller deadlines for each of them.

Read on to get an in depth understanding of the steps involved in building a marketing plan along with marketing plan templates.

Steps in building a marketing plan

  • Step 1: Document your business goals

    Your business goals are different for your marketing goals. Business goals take into account your company bottom line. These goals can be general ones that will benefit sales and profit. Make sure to state your business goals for a longer period than your marketing goals. This will allow you to monitor how your marketing goals are performing in correlation to your business goals.

  • Step 2: Conduct a SWOT analysis

    Conduct a SWOT analysis of your company and its efforts in all the departments. A SWOT analysis encompasses your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The opportunity and threats part will also give you a good view on the competitors, their position in the market and also an insight into comparisons between you and your competitors.

    The image below gives you a brief idea on how to build a SWOT analysis.

    Conduct a SWOT analysis

  • Step 3: Come up with SMART goals

    Once you understand where your competitors stands, come up with SMART goals specifically for your marketing team that will help you achieve the business goals set out in step 1.

    SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. The goals you set out here must satisfy each of the SMART criteria.

    Goals that are not specific are hard to describe or quantify. For example, you can set out a goal to achieve a growth in social media followers on Instagram. This goal is specific to Instagram making it easier to understand.

    Measurable goals have a number attached to it. This number defines the quantity of the goal and makes it easier to compare to the actual end result. For example, a goal to achieve 100 new followers on Instagram not only specifies the goal but also quantifies it.

    Achievable goals are reasonable goals that are easy to achieve. For example, gaining a 100 followers is more achievable than saying you want to gain a million.

    The goals need to be relevant to the marketing objectives and business goals. If they are not relevant, you are essentially putting a lot of resources into a result that is not necessarily going to benefit you.

    Goals need to be time specific. This gives you a deadline to achieve the goal by and keeps motivation high for yourself and the team. Make sure the time scale is optimal. Too long can make the team lax and too short can put them under a lot of pressure.

  • Step 4: Set your budgets and timelines

    Once your SMART goals are set, make sure you discuss the budget you want to allot to the team or specific to each goal. Also set overarching as well as internal deadlines. These deadlines should give you a better idea of when you need to finish the work.

    On average, companies spend 6-12% of their revenue on marketing tasks. However, if you are a smaller company or newly established, you can try to go lower.

    Alternatively, you can also perform all marketing tasks without allotting any money to it. Organic marketing is all the rave these days with companies focusing on SEO and building a natural following on social media. Some companies also believe that networking and word of mouth are enough to grow your brand.

  • Step 5: Create a campaign and build a task list

    Once you set your goals, detail how you want to reach them. What tasks need to be done, by who and what is the deadline to finish them by. Start a gantt chart or opt for a project management tool that helps you figure out how far along your team members are in the project and how the goals are progressing.


Here are 5 marketing plan templates you can look into when devising your own. These marketing plan templates are perfect to use when it comes to planning a document for your investors, top management or even regular meetings.

  1. Forbes' Go To Marketing Plan
  2. Building a Marketing Plan for a Cosmetics Company
  3. Non Profit Marketing Plan
  4. Quick MBA's Marketing Plan Template
  5. Philip Kotler's One Page Marketing Plan