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Here’s a radical idea… a marketing plan!

Ask three B2B marketers for a marketing plan and you’ll get three different documents doing three different things. You will want to debate what the plan suggests but instead you frequently find yourself debating what the plan looks like.

So as to help things along, here’s my view of just what should be included in a decent marketing plan…A

(1) Executive Summary 

What are the (up to) five key things that your marketing plan says you will do?

This is your elevator pitch to the business and will be at marketing objective or marketing strategy level. Write this at the end.

(2) Background 

Your marketing audit. 

These are the things you need to take note of when writing your plan. Anything going here should be factual – ie it will have a quotable source. The temptation is to use this section as a dumping ground – only note things that will impact the way that you market the product or service. It is likely that you will be writing about a customer – which means you should be clear who that customer is: decision maker, product expert, prospect, etc. If you don’t know the answers, ask yourself if it’s important; how can you find out; is it a risk if you cannot?

(3) Objectives 

Your marketing objectives.

No more than five things you will do to use marketing to deliver the Product or Business management objectives, taking advantage of or overcoming the points you noted in section 2, in the time and with the budget you have available. 

Each objective will be clear so you know exactly what needs to be achieved, its completion will be measurable so you can tell when it has been achieved. It will be possible to achieve it in the timeframe and with the budget you have. It will have a clear timeframe to be delivered in.

At this point, your objectives will be strategic – ie they will be about what you will do not how you will do it (websites, brochureware, events, etc come later!!).

(4) Strategy 

The segmentation, targeting, and positioning you will use.

To achieve your marketing objectives, who will you target and how will you position our offering to them?

What’s the best way of looking at your audience (location, ACORN, age, gender, occupation, socio-economic group, job title, benefits sought, etc)?

What is the position you will market to this target audience that gives you clarity, uniqueness, and advantage?

(5) Messages 

Up to five key messages in order of importance.

These are the points you want to get across to your target audience – as close to the actual words you will use as possible. They would be the points you’ll use in all of your marketing.

(6) Tactics 

The things you will practically do (written as an objective), how much money you will spend, and when you will deliver it

Group these by channel: advertising, signage, hoarding, digital, events, guerrilla, incentive schemes, personal selling, PR, and sponsorship. Bullet each point.

(7) KPIs 

How will you measure your success in delivering your tactics?

What are your targets for each tactic? How will these help you deliver your marketing objectives?

(8) Implementation Plan 

A GANTT chart or equivalent for who needs to do what by when

Categories: b2b marketing customer KPIs marketing Planning

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Dave is an experienced global B2B Chief Marketing Officer / Marketing Director with an established reputation for delivering commercial results in start-up, mid-tier, and blue-chip businesses across technology, and business services and professional services sectors.

Dave has worked for major brands such as Telefonica O2, EY, and Barclays and held posts from Chief Marketing Officer to Director of Online, has run his own business, and managed a P&L for a major corporate. He is chair and co-founder of the Business Marketing Club ( - a network of B2B marketers. In 2019, he was named one of the top 100 B2B European marketing leaders ( He is a graduate of Cambridge University, a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Chartered Marketer and holds a MBA with Imperial College, London. Dave is a keen cyclist and adventure traveller, is married, and lives in Buckinghamshire. You can read his blogs at

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