How to Build a Marketing Plan

How to Build a Startup Marketing Plan - My Way

By Avi Hein

When running any business, whether a startup or an enterprise business, don’t just start with random marketing activities. You won’t know where you are going. Instead, you need to build an integrated marketing plan.

After building a marketing and messaging strategy, you want to map your marketing activities with your business goals.

Don’t decide you want to be on Twitter or in the media or build a website without a plan.

Your marketing plan should be integrated with your entire marketing activities. What does that mean?

According to one definition: “True IMC is the development of marketing strategies and creative campaigns that weave together multiple marketing disciplines (paid advertising, public relations, promotion, owned assets, and social media) that are selected and then executed to suit the particular goals of the brand.” Don’t just think tactics but rather think of all of your marketing channels and how they can work together to achieve your business goals.

Do that with a marketing plan.

In order to build a marketing plan, follow these steps:

1.  Determine your business goals: $200,000 in sales per month? 800 sales leads per month? 500 product downloads? 50 blog reviews? 50,000 website visitors?

Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound

2.  Decide on the time period. You should build an annual or semi-annual plan, as well as in a monthly plan. While your plan should be flexible, taking into account change, it provides a good framework to ensure that you do not miss any important opportunities.

In an annual or semi-annual plan, you may want to include:

  1. Holidays
  2. Conferences
  3. Industry events
  4. Industry trends
  5. Company events
  6. Maintenance events (website redesign, media lists created, set ups, etc.)

3.  Determine the marketing channels that you are working with. For example:

  1. Website
  2. Print
  3. Media and bloggers
  4. Industry analysts
  5. Social Media (such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Stack Overflow, etc.)
  6. Community
  7. User Groups
  8. Conferences
  9. E-mail Newsletter and Announcements
  10. Internal Communications, such as other divisions within the company
  11. Sales Collateral
  12. Product

4.  It’s frequently helpful to create a theme for the time period. For example, a December plan may be End of Year.

5.  Start creating the plan. In the columns, write the timeframe. In the rows, write the MARCOM channels. For example, a monthly marketing plan may look like:

Monthly Marketing Plan for Reach Startup Co.

Goals: $200,000 sales/month, 800 sales leads, 30,000 unique website visitors

Theme: Summer Learning


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4


Finalize conference messaging & positioning




Speaking Opportunities

Presentation Finished & Practiced


Speak at Briforum

Email Briforum speech to leads

Public Relations

Set up meetings with journalists & analysts

Announce that Product Manager is speaking press release and media pitch


Publish bylined article about the challenges of IT in the cloud era in eWeek

Meet with at least 15 journalist & 3 analysts

Follow up with reporters post-conference


Social Media

15  tweetable and quotable comments for conference

Promote conference & articles


#ITChallenges campaign

Live Tweet conference, offer giveaway to registrants


Pre-confernence Google+ Hangout

Post video recording on YouTube


Comment on blogs of conference attendees


Keyword research for conference

Create conference landing page


Post conference recording

Sales Collateral

Brief sales team about conference

Ship brochures, rollups, and display to conference

Tradeshow booth at Briforum (staffed by James and Michael)

Post-event email to leads

6.  Implement – Start implementing the programs

7.  Evaluate – Evaluate progress

If you are looking for a sample startup marketing plan, talk to Gaia-VSM or check out the following research from HubSpot – Building the Marketing Plan: A Blueprint for Start-ups

*Avi Hein was the marketing manager at Typemock, a software company making development tools. He blogs at Reach out to him on Twitter at @avihein or on LinkedIn.



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  8. Mira
    This is a great marketing plan to start out with. But what is the timeframe for this before you start upgrading your methods?
    • Hi Mira, You should constantly monitor the effectiveness of the marketing activities and upgrade it accordingly
    • Avi
      You should be writing a plan each month. You can also have a quarterly or yearly plan, but be aware that the longer out you are, the more likely it will need to be evaluated and changed. Constantly test, evaluate, and change.
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