A solid marketing plan is the foundation of a successful business. In addition to serving as a means of organizing the most important elements of the business development process, a marketing plan outline can serve as a tool to highlight projections and costs to potential investors and stockholders.

A comprehensive marketing plan outline typically begins with an executive summary and overview of the business. The outline should also include information pertaining to target market, relevant goals, marketing strategies, and implementation strategies. Finally, the plan should address budgetary parameters, financial projections, and means of analyzing the progress of the business.

Each of these key components is referenced in the sample marketing plan outline below:

I. Executive Summary

The executive summary is the cornerstone of a successful business plan. The executive summary should highlight the primary objectives of the marketing plan and should briefly reference budgetary considerations and projections. Because the executive summary will be read with a greater degree of frequency than other sections of the business plan, it is important to be succinct and limit the summary to approximately one page.

II. Business Overview

In this section, the plan writer should provide general background information on the business industry, including relevant competitors, environmental considerations, and strengths and weaknesses related to the business.

III. Target Market

One of the most important steps to take in launching a business is to identify potential customers and groups of people who will utilize the goods and services that you plan to offer. This section of the outline should demonstrate an effective understanding of the needs of your target market.

IV. Goals

The goals that you outline in this section should be specific and succinct. They should be numbered and should include references to timeframes.

V. Marketing Action Plan

This section should include the means by which the business will be promoted and advertised. As in the case of the goals section, the plan components should be specific. For instance, the plan may reference a proposed website address and establishment of a toll free telephone line within 30 days of the launch of the business.

VI. Business Launch Strategies

Tasks to implement the business are outlined in this section, along with persons who will be responsible for completing each task. Target dates for completion of each task are also referenced in this section.

VII: Budget

It is important to provide an estimate of the cost of operating the business. This section should outline budgetary parameters and revenue forecasts. Additionally, it is helpful to include the variables which influenced your cost estimates and revenue projections.

VIII. Analysis of Outcomes

This section of the plan should list the means by which you will evaluate progress and measure the success of the business. It is important to address strategies to address potential problems with the business.

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