You know about your business. But what about everybody else? Do other people — most importantly, potential customers — know you exist?

That awareness doesn’t just happen. It’s something you need to intentionally create. And that’s exactly where an effective marketing plan comes into play. 

Your marketing plan is a document that outlines your marketing efforts. It details how you’ll spread the word about your business and continue to grow your customer base and your revenue. 

Whether you’re creating a marketing plan for the first time or the 15th time, the process can feel a little daunting. In this guide, we’re breaking down exactly what is included in a good marketing plan and how to complete each section for your own business — along with plenty of helpful tips and examples. 

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What is a marketing plan?

It’s all right there in the name: Your marketing plan spells out how you’ll market your business. 

This document includes basic information about your brand and business, such as your mission, audience, and messaging. But it also digs deeper into marketing-specific goals, the tactics and channels you’ll use to reach them, and the metrics you’ll use to monitor your progress and determine success. 

In many cases, a marketing plan is included as part of a larger business plan — a document that establishes your overarching business goals and related strategies.

While there are some common elements found across all types of marketing plans, keep in mind that the most effective marketing strategy is one that’s customized to your business and audience. That means marketing plans themselves can run the gamut from simple and straightforward to lengthy and complex. 

Ultimately, creating your marketing plan isn’t about fitting a mold or following a template — it’s about crafting a strategy that will have the biggest impact on your unique business. 

Why are effective marketing strategies important?

Here’s the quickest way to summarize the importance of solid marketing operations and a highly effective marketing plan: It’s nearly impossible to run a successful business if nobody actually knows about your business. You need customers — and customers need a way to find and learn about you. 

To dig a little deeper, crafting an effective marketing plan offers several business advantages: 

  • Attract new customers: Your marketing plan details the ways you’ll get in front of more people. Your marketing strategies help you bring new customers to your business, which boosts your reputation and your bottom line.
  • Retain existing customers: Marketing isn’t only about finding new customers — it also helps you keep your current ones. Your marketing efforts keep you connected to your existing customers and can even foster continued loyalty through discounts and other valuable promotions. It’s a powerful strategy, with “discounts on products I regularly use” cited as the top preference of customers in a recent PwC customer loyalty survey.
  • Reinforce your brand identity: When 46% of customers say they buy from a familiar brand, cultivating name recognition and brand identity is important. Your marketing strategies promote your brand’s public persona and are a great way for people to build familiarity with your business and personality. 

Turning on an “open” sign or launching a website isn’t enough to build buzz about your business. Effective marketing strategies are crucial for getting your business the attention (and customers) it deserves. 

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How to create an effective marketing plan

Your marketing plan will be your centralized resource for you — or anyone on your team — to understand how to market your business. 

If you aren’t including your marketing plan as a piece of your overall business plan, then you’ll want to start with some of the nuts-and-bolts information about your business, such as your mission, vision, and values. You might also want to detail a bit about your history and the specific products and services you offer. That’s helpful context for anybody who might review the plan without all of your in-depth knowledge or experience.

After you cover the basics, a typical marketing plan includes:

  • Marketing goals
  • Target market
  • Competitive analysis
  • Budget and resources
  • Channels and messaging

Let’s take a closer look at each of those sections, tips to complete them yourself, as well as some marketing plan examples to provide some inspiration. 

1. Set goals for your marketing strategy

business goals

You’re creating a marketing plan because you want to spread the word about your business. But “market business” isn’t exactly a helpful or tangible goal. 

Ask yourself this: Why are you creating a marketing plan? What are you trying to achieve? Get as specific as possible with your marketing objectives

Maybe you’d like to increase your website traffic. Or acquire new customers. Or grow your social media following. Or enter an entirely new market. Or increase sales of a specific product or service.

You can get even more detailed with goals for specific channels or campaigns later on. For now, pinpoint exactly what you want to accomplish (aim for three to five goals to start) with your entire marketing plan. Here’s a quick example: 

Marketing Objectives

Marketing Objective #1: 

Increase website traffic by 25% in 2023

Marketing Objective #2: 

Increase customer retention by 10% by the end of Q3

Marketing Objective #3: 

Foster brand identity as a leader in the outdoor gear industry

2. Identify your target market

You already know the ins and outs of your business — but how much do you know about the people who are most likely to buy from you? In order to identify and implement effective marketing strategies, you need to not only understand what you’re marketing, but who you’re marketing to. 

In this section of your marketing plan, you’ll dish on all of the details about your target customers. Many companies do this by building out different customer personas, which are fictional representations of the people who best fit your business. 

This information about your target audience should be rooted in facts, not assumptions. You can learn about your best customers by:

  • Reviewing analytics from your website and social media accounts
  • Collecting customer feedback through surveys and interviews
  • Chatting with your customer-facing teams to gather their insights

Your business isn’t for everyone — it doesn’t have to be. This section helps you and everyone else involved with your business understand exactly who your marketing efforts need to speak to.

Customer Personas

Outdoor Enthusiast: 

  • Any gender identity
  • Ages 20-45
  • Strong passion for the outdoors and adventure
  • Care deeply about conservation and sustainability
  • Not particularly price-conscious and are willing to invest in the best gear

Family Adventurer: 

  • Parents
  • Ages 30-40
  • Eager to spark a love of the outdoors in their children
  • Care deeply about teaching outdoor safety and environmental stewardship
  • Price-sensitive and don’t want to break the bank on outdoor bonding time

3. Understand your competitors

Your business isn’t the only company doing what you’re doing — you have competitors working hard to get the same customers you want. That’s just a reality of doing business.

This section of your marketing plan prompts you to do a competitive analysis, which is essentially a deep dive into your competitors. You’re aiming to understand not just the details of their companies, but how you can set your own brand apart. Why should customers choose you?

Some competitive analyses cover every aspect of competitive businesses while others provide the higher-level details. How thorough you want to be is up to you, but remember that your focus shouldn’t just be on creating a rundown of competitors — you’re trying to find your unique differentiator. That’s important information as you hash out your marketing strategies later. 

Competitive Analysis


Competitor #1: 

Competitor #2: 




Number of employees: 



Most beloved products: 

All-weather boots

Cold-weather sweaters, jackets, and parkas





  • Long-standing company history
  • Immediate brand recognition
  • High-quality, trusted products
  • Solid brand identity rooted in sustainability and stewardship
  • Strong brand recognition

How we stand out: 

Build a brand identity that’s fresh and focused on modern environmental issues

Provide customers gear from a sustainable brand but at a lower price point

4. Create a budget

Whether you decide to try out paid ads or invest some dollars in the right marketing tools for your team, marketing has a price tag attached to it — and it’s important to understand how much money you have as well as how you’ll manage and allocate it.

The budget section isn’t always the most compelling and interesting part of your marketing plan to complete, but it’s crucial for ensuring that you develop marketing strategies you can reasonably afford and execute. 

There are a variety of ways you could split up your budget. Maybe you want to assign dollars based on channels (such as social media, email marketing, direct mail, etc.). Or perhaps you want to categorize based on a specific campaign or marketing goal. Or maybe it’s easiest to split up the budget based on the fiscal quarter. 

There isn’t one right way to go about this — you need to find what works best for you and your team. Here’s a quick and simple look at what your budget section could look like: 

Marketing Budget



Social media




Direct mail




5. Pinpoint your channels and strategies

You’ve laid the groundwork and now it’s time to get into the good stuff: the actual marketing strategies you’ll use. To do this, you’ll need to refer back to all of the previous sections you completed. But first and foremost, turn your attention to your goals. 

Taking one goal at a time, work with your marketing team to talk about different ways to work toward that objective. Collaborate to brainstorm different solutions and land on the ones that you believe will be most effective. 

As you do this, you’ll also need to reference your customer personas, competitive analysis, and your budget to ensure you’re working within those constraints. You can also set smaller milestones or goals attached to individual tactics — it’ll make it easier to monitor your progress as you move forward. 







Increase website traffic by 25% in 2023


  • Create downloadable outdoor gear guides (how to pick the right hiking boots, what to pack in your backpack, etc.)
  • Complete one guide per quarter
  • Achieve at least 1,000 downloads on the first guide one month post-launch


  • Run targeted advertisements on Facebook and Instagram
  • At least 20,000 impressions per ad and a 3% click-through rate
  • Promote gear guides on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Pinterest
  • At least 25 shares on each guide post
  • 5% click-through rate

6. Coordinate your team

You won’t carry out these marketing strategies on your own. While you should involve your team in the actual creation of your marketing plan, it’s also smart to have a dedicated sitdown when you can talk through the finished plan, clarify roles and responsibilities, and set a cadence for check-ins moving forward.

Even with careful planning, executing your marketing strategy (and enterprise project management in general) is complex. You need the right software to centralize your communication and resources, provide visibility across the team, and collaborate more seamlessly. 

Whether you run a dedicated marketing agency or head up a marketing team within an organization, Wrike is the best marketing project management software. With all-in-one campaign management, templates, and streamlined approvals, you and your team can spend less time managing your strategy and more time actually executing it. 

7. Monitor results

social media performance

As you carry out your marketing plan, you’ll learn about what works well and what doesn’t. That’s information you can use to adjust your approach moving forward.

Much like any other business strategy, your marketing plan isn’t set in stone. Regularly revisit your objectives and tactics (you can do this quarterly, or even every month) to get a grasp on how you’re performing and determine if anything needs adjusting. 

Every year, review your plan more comprehensively to see if you need to make any updates to your competitor or target market. 

The more you commit to regularly updating and maintaining your marketing plan, the more accurate and helpful it will be. After all, the most effective marketing plan is one that’s fluid. 

Plan and execute your most effective marketing plan with Wrike

Creating your marketing plan takes work — and so does executing it. You need the right software to help you plan campaigns and tasks, clarify roles and responsibilities, and monitor progress toward your goals.

Wrike has all of the features your marketing team needs to write your marketing plan and bring it to life. You’ll find: 

  • Centralized communication and streamlined workflows
  • Helpful pre-built templates for content operations, competitor analysis, campaign management, and more
  • Seamless integrations with Google Ads, Facebook, and more to get instant visibility into campaign performance

Stop trying to make marketing magic happen with jumbled spreadsheets and sticky notes. Bring your whole team into Wrike and help them unlock their most creative and collaborative brainpower.

Ready to elevate your business and your bottom line with a solid marketing plan? Get started with Wrike today.

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