How to Construct a Marketing Plan and Budget

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One way to significantly increase the chances of marketing success is to develop a marketing plan and stick to it.  You can go into detail and write an executive summary, a SWOT analysis, goals and objectives, a general marketing strategy, a timeline and a budget.  But for many of you, this is more than you have the time or desire to do.  While it is nice to know your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, it’s execution that will bring you business. 

Spreadsheet

Having earned my MBA in Marketing, I know the importance of having a formal marketing plan, provided you have the resources available to create it.  But being a pragmatist, I say forget the formal marketing plan and just outline your marketing activities and budget.   This will allow you to jumpstart your marketing efforts right away. 

Too often advisors attempt to write a formal marketing plan and get bogged down by the details of defining every part of their strategy from a SWOT Analysis to a Unique Value Proposition.  On the flip side, advisors who do not write a plan never seem to get around to doing any marketing, or their marketing efforts are sporadic and ineffective.  By creating a marketing calendar and a budget, a defined set of activities will motivate you to act immediately.

When I developed the annual marketing plan for my former employer, I would write a formal marketing plan of 25 or more pages.  I would spell out every strategy in excruciating detail for the executive team’s review and approval.  However, the only thing I needed from a planning and implementation perspective was a one-page spreadsheet (see Worksheet: Construct a Marketing Plan & Budget) and a calendar.  In the following sections, I’ll show you how you can easily construct your own marketing plan in just four steps.