A Sample Marketing Plan Example: The Strategic Marketing Plan Outline.

5/23/2008 7:36:40 PM

A marketing plan is as important to the business as the “wind pipe” is to the newborn baby.

For the baby, a strong and healthy “wind pipe” means sufficient supplies of oxygen to nourish and sustain their growth.

Without a strong and healthy “windpipe,” a newborn may require medical treatment, hospitalization and even surgery to get the necessary amounts of oxygen to their lungs.

For the business, a marketing plan is the “wind pipe” that supplies the enterprise with customers and revenue keeping it alive and well.

Ultimately, a business is only as healthy and strong – profitable – as its “wind pipe” or its marketing plan. Every business owner should care for their company’s health like they would care for the health of a child. From conception through birth, infancy through adolescence, both the business and the child’s health are sensitive to their environment. Both require constant attention, care, supervision and regular “check ups” to insure they grow and mature properly.

As with the child, a company’s strength is dependent on the health of its plans and systems.

As a parent to premature twin boys, health, “wind pipes” and “check ups” are topics close to my heart.

My twin sons Edward and Phillip were born thirteen weeks prematurely and came without any advance warning. Weighing just one pound fifteen ounces and two pounds one ounce respectively, they weren’t capable of drawing breath on their own.

Edward spent three months and Phillip spent the first five months of his life in a neonatal intensive care unit.

As you can imagine, the trauma of not knowing from hour to hour or day to day whether they were going to live or die was unbearable.

By their first birthday, my sons still weren’t completely healthy. I had racked up $1 million in medical bills and countless sleepless nights. My wife and I were doing everything we possibly could for them and it still wasn’t enough…

The Education Begins

At twenty seven weeks gestation, a newborn’s lungs aren’t fully developed.

From the moment my sons were born, both required a ventilator, supplemental oxygen and steroids just to breathe. Edward was ultimately weaned off life support equipment and medication. However, Phillip’s lungs sustained damage from his premature birth. He required supplemental oxygen and was intubated – oxygen was forced through a tube down his throat for nearly seven months.
This process caused severe damage to his trachea or “wind pipe.”

To eliminate further damage to his trachea from intubation, he was given a tracheostomy. From that moment forward, his lungs were supplied with their oxygen needs through a hole in Phillip’s throat.

What does my sons’ hospitalization have to do with getting more customers and growing a business?

Raising children and running a business are similar in many ways. Whether you’re playing the parent or manager, both roles require your time, undivided attention, energy and resources… Both children and businesses require substantial emotional and financial commitment. Although both can be tremendously rewarding, they can often demand more from you than you can possibly give…

As Edward eventually overcame his breathing problems, Phillip’s breathing problems persisted.

From the moment Phillip was born, my wife and I were resigned to the fact we had to rely on the expertise of others – his doctors for his care. In the first year alone, we consulted seven medical specialists at four different hospitals. Because his medical conditions affected different parts of his body, each complication required a specialist.

With each new medical problem, I would have to ask the appropriate physician what Phillip’s treatment options and risks were. In each case, no single doctor oversaw or was in charge of evaluating how treatment of one problem would effect the treatment of the others. This lapse in strategy – all of his problems were treated individually and not as a whole – left my wife and I helplessly in the center of every decision making process.

As Phillip’s complications continued, our belief in his doctors’ vehement prognosis that he would outgrow his problems became more and more difficult to reconcile with the fact his condition had not improved and was getting worse. With little improvement in Phillip’s condition and a great deal of soul searching, my wife and I realized Phillip’s doctors didn’t have his “cure.”

What do you do when you rely on someone for the “cure” and you don’t get it? How many chances do you give them before you seek help elsewhere?

What would you do if your child’s health depended on professionals whom you couldn’t depend on anymore? On Phillip’s first birthday, I finally concluded his doctor’s didn’t have the answers we needed.

How? I asked a direct question: Have you successfully treated or cured problems like Phillip’s before? Their answer wasn’t convincing. How could we expect to get a cure from someone who had never produced one before?

With nothing left to lose, we decided to get a second opinion.

Graduation Day

In Phillip’s case, we decided seeking a second opinion wouldn’t hurt us any more than watching him suffer had. We were still optimistic we could find a cure.

As a marketing consultant, I am usually contacted by a business owner after they too have concluded the treatment they were getting wasn’t quite the “cure” they had hoped for…

At this point in Phillip’s care, we had already seen seven different doctors at four hospitals – and time was running out. With Phillip’s health at stake, we decided to “forget the rest and get the best.” Looking for the best medical care for my son sparked in us the hope for new possibilities. Miraculously, we stumbled onto the interdisciplinary approach to medicine.

We found a group of specialists who worked together as a team to cure all of a child’s medical problems at the same time within one hospital. This unique approach to treating medical problems is called the interdisciplinary team approach. With one call to their office, we had scheduled our appointment and were on our way.

After a year of waiting patiently for Phillip to realize his previous doctor’s prognosis and “outgrow” his condition and after only three hours of examination by his new interdisciplinary team of doctors, we were informed Phillip would never outgrow his condition.

What a relief… having lived with the disappointment of him not outgrowing his breathing problems, we were then shown the medical reasons why he wouldn’t outgrow them.

Microscopic pictures revealed Phillip’s “wind pipe” had been permanently damaged beyond repair in five places.

More importantly though, we were given a new medical plan, corrective surgery options and an optimistic prognosis for Phillip’s recovery.

Phillip’s life was about to take a dramatic turn for the better…

Experience Pays

How did we know the advice we were getting this time was any better than what we had already received? To paraphrase a French philosopher – “the reason offered by the strongest is always the best.”

How did we know these doctors were the strongest?

A problem clearly defined is halfway solved! Up until meeting his new doctors, no one had ever clearly articulated what Phillip’s problems were! If you can’t put your finger on the problem, how can you solve it? Once we were shown detailed pictures of his problems and heard their recommendations of how to solve them, we knew we had found the “cure.”

In hind sight, the advice we got at first was academic, based on theory not actual experience.

Don’t get me wrong – Phillip’s doctors weren’t inexperienced – they were experienced. They just weren’t experienced in treating complex medical problems like Phillip’s. Individually and collectively, Phillip’s original group of doctors had only treated ten cases like his.

Phillip’s “cure” came from his interdisciplinary team’s academic mastery and their substantial experience treating problems like his. Combined, his interdisciplinary team of doctors had successfully treated one thousand similar cases!

Phillip’s first group of doctors had enough knowledge to treat his problems. His interdisciplinary team of doctors’ knowledge combined with their experience treating one thousand similar cases gave them the power to identify and cure his problems .

An Ounce Of Prevention …

When I am called to evaluate a prospective client’s business, numerous “cures” have usually been “prescribed” and “surgeries” performed by past or present staff.

Usually their “treatments” simply hid the source of the problem and did nothing to repair or replace the faulty underlying business plan. Often businesses are even left to “outgrow” their problems.

Like Phillip’s experience with his first group of doctors, sometimes problems are beyond a person’s capacity to successfully treat let alone identify and cure.

A Pound Of Cure

To get more customers through your doors and profits to your bottom line, your business must first have a healthy and strong “wind pipe” or marketing plan.

In most established enterprises, operations and finance systems are usually the strongest processes while the marketing plan is usually the weakest. Few if any resources are consistently directed toward adding and retaining customers, yet the steady flow of new and repeat customers is the oxygen that keeps a business alive.

A healthy, strong marketing plan has six components. Almost any business weakness can be strengthened by initiating and installing one or more of the following six processes:

A Marketing Plan Example: The Strategic Marketing Plan Outline Includes

• Marketing Research and Analysis
• Customer Retention
• Public Relations
• Strategic Marketing
• Database Marketing
• Direct Marketing

Making these processes part of your regular business operational procedures will insure your “wind pipe” is constantly full of new and repeat customers. If you aren’t using all six of these strategic marketing processes, how can you expect your business to stay healthy or grow?

More than likely, your business got to its present size by using just one or two of these marketing processes.

Imagine what would happen to your business if you were applying all six of these marketing processes…

Shouldn’t the health and well being of your business be just as important to you as a child’s health is to his parents?

Now is the time to give your business a “check up.” Get a second opinion.

At the very least, a “check up” will confirm what you already know. At best, a second opinion may surprise you with the cure…

For information how to write a marketing plan visit the Marketing Software part of this site to download more information about tools for constructing Marketing Plan that is guaranteed to produce Marketing Breakthroughs.

A Strategic Marketing Plan Example:

1. Executive Summary

a. Synopsis of Situation
b. Key Aspects of the Marketing Plan

2. Situational Analysis

a. Market Characteristics
b. Key Success Factors
c. Competition and Product Comparisons
d. Technology Considerations
e. Legal Environment
f. Social Environment
g. Problems and Opportunities

3. Marketing Objectives

a. Product Profile
b. Target Market
c. Target Volume in Dollars and/or Units

4. Marketing Strategies

a. Product Strategy
b. Pricing Strategy
c. Promotion Strategy
d. Distribution Strategy
e. Marketing Strategy Projection

5. Appendices

6. References

To learn more about our Marketing Plan Example or The Strategic Marketing Plan Outline visit the Marketing Strategies section of this site.

Tim Cohn is a Google Advertising Professional and author of the book For Sale By Google.