Best free marketing plan templates + how to write one Marketing plans offer clarity and direction to team members about how to reach target customers. Here are our top free templates to lay out a sales and growth strategy. Written by Helena Young Updated on 5 July 2023 Our experts We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality. Written and reviewed by: Helena Young Lead Writer An effective marketing plan provides the platform by which to launch your brand to high-growth. Marketing results are not just happy accidents; they are the reward for knowing who your target customer is, and using a carefully drawn-out strategic plan to attract them.A marketing plan is a high-level document that clearly outlines the budget and steps required to turn ideas into action. Depending on the software you use, it will also keep every project member on the same track to ensure all marketing activities lead to the same North Star.Starting a marketing planner from scratch is daunting. When you're just getting started, it can also feel like the wrong thing to spend money on – especially in today's economic downturn. Luckily, there are lots of ready-made templates available for zero charge, or a free trial, using project management software.Below, we’ll go through what a marketing plan should look like, with examples of the best project management templates to use. By the end, you’ll be ready to set your marketing objectives and, ultimately, achieve them. This article will cover: What is a marketing plan? What should a marketing plan include? How to create an effective marketing plan Verdict Marketing plan FAQs What is a marketing plan?A marketing plan provides the blueprint for how a business will market their product or service to customers over a set period (usually years). It should cover the entire marketing lifecycle, including planning, launch, and review.Without marketing, brands are essentially advertising to a brick wall. Customers cannot buy from a company they are not familiar with, which means every firm – regardless of size or resource – needs a marketing plan to succeed.Of course, different industries will have different marketing planners. Whereas a beauty brand launching a new product might target a specific sales figure, a restaurant might focus on upping the number of bookings – both of which require different tactics to achieve.Still, the below guide covers the basic details of what you need to include in a marketing plan – on top of relevant planning templates from ClickUp, our number one rated project management software. What should a marketing plan include?Your marketing planner should be customised to reflect your unique objectives and target audience. However, to help shape your plan, we’ve listed seven key building blocks to convey all the marketing need-to-knows for stakeholders and team members: Executive summary Market analysis Customer analysis Competitor analysis Marketing goals and objectives Marketing strategies and tactics Budget and resourcesBelow, we’ll explain what each of the above components should contain using example templates from ClickUp, our top-rated free project management software.1. Executive summaryAn executive summary provides a brief overview of your business. It gets everyone up to speed on the company before diving into specific marketing details.Keep this section simple; you are providing an overview, not your entire company history. Include technical information, such as the company’s name and leadership structure, as well as your mission statement.Be sure to discuss your value proposition. This is the selling point your marketing will hinge on. It should explain what you are offering customers, and why they will choose your product or service over a rival provider.For example, we built the below executive summary for a fictional jewellery business based in Swansea, using the free ClickUp template. Because ClickUp makes it simple to upload files, we were also able to add visual elements like a logo.(Text generated using ChatGPT).2. Market analysisMarket analysis is an assessment of the industry you are entering. It allows you to predict the success of your brand before any marketing activities begin.Like the executive summary, this section should be kept general and broad. However, it should be based on facts gathered from industry research (if you previously wrote a market analysis for your business plan, this section should be simple to build).Gather any pertinent research about your industry from your trade associations and local educational institutions. Use it to answer the below questions:What are the current market trends?How do your products or services cater for them?Historically, how well have your products sold?The ClickUp free template for ‘Executive Summary’ works equally well for this section. For the example market analysis template below for Bono Jewellery, we were able to add a link to relevant documents to provide additional industry data for stakeholders.(Text generated using ChatGPT.)3. Buyer personaA buyer persona is a description of your ideal customer. Writing one will help you to understand the needs and wants of your customers, and what makes them tick.While fictional, a buyer persona needs to feel like a real person. They should be crafted using data-driven insights, not just guesses. Here are the basic questions that a buyer persona should answer:Demographic: age, gender, location, marital status, etc.Salary and occupationGoals and challengesInternet usage Product knowledge and familiarityWe used the free ClickUp template named ‘User Persona’ for this section. It provided custom fields which we used to fill in the above information for each persona. Because ClickUp also let us add tags, we were easily able to filter these credentials alongside other buyer personas, to see how we might market to groups – not just individuals.4. Competitor analysisCompetitor analysis basically means checking out the competition to see how they’ve approached marketing and what you can learn from it.There’s nothing wrong with some friendly competition. And when it comes to marketing, it can be particularly beneficial to see how your rivals are positioned in the market – and work out how you might answer an unmet customer need.We recommend the free template from ClickUp labelled ‘Market Analysis’. It had ready-made, custom fields for us to record details like online ratings and average price point.SWOT analysis of a rival’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats is a good technique for competitor analysis. You can even colour-code the findings for at-a-glance understanding – as we’ve done in the below example for our fake startup, Bono Jewellery.More on this: check out our full list of the top competitor analysis templates. All of them are free to download today.5. Marketing goals and objectivesThis section should outline what you want your marketing plan to achieve, and how those goals will be measured.Every target should follow the SMART methodology to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.ClickUp’s ‘SMART Goal Action Plan’ template is available to download free of charge. We were able to easily add six target objectives for Bono Jewellery, our fictional business, and even add features such as completion rate and ‘goal health’.We also liked that ClickUp lets you flick between views. Once we had inputted our list of objectives, we could see them on a timeline or a Kanban board.We found ClickUp's action plan template was the best way to track our progress towards a SMART goal.6. Marketing strategies and tacticsThis section should outline how your marketing plan will serve to achieve your stated objectives, and who will be responsible for each task.Your marketing strategy is the coming together of the above sections to explain how you plan to outdo your competitors and appeal to your buyer personas. It should be a drop-down list, elaborating on your SMART objectives to detail the steps involved to achieve them.It’s a good idea to state the different marketing technologies (like email marketing software) and channels you will use to spread awareness of your brand. The latter is also a good way to organise your marketing strategy.ClickUp has many marketing strategies templates. We’ve filled in the ‘Social Media Strategy’ template below. If Bono Jewellery was planning to promote itself on a specific social channel, this is how it would approach designing a marketing strategy:7. Budget and resourcesUse this section to state how much money and manpower the marketing team has to pursue the goals outlined above – and where it will be spent to achieve them.To make things easier, it makes sense to itemise the budget into specific spending areas. For example, marketing software fees should be categorised as separate to affiliate marketing costs.Remember: while you should only begin adding up your total costs at the end, it’s a good idea to have some idea of budget at the beginning of your plan writing process. This way, you’ll be working to a price tag from the beginning, and won’t arrive at an unrealistic number.ClickUp also caters to this need. The aptly-named ‘Marketing Budget’ template comes with a ton of finance management tools including the handy impact rating feature. Team members can use this to judge a tasks’ effort versus reward, so they know which to prioritise. How to create an effective marketing planYou now know what to include in a marketing planner – but how should you approach building one? Here are our five top tips for crafting a successful marketing plan:1. Conduct a comprehensive market analysisThe clue is in the name. Marketing plans should dedicate a lot of space to market analysis, so you need to make sure the data being reviewed is accurate and up-to-date. Identify target market segments, assess market trends, and carry out SWOT analysis on your competition.2. Set time aside to define your marketing goals and objectivesWhen it comes to creating a marketing plan, knowing what you want is just as important as knowing how to get it. Before you open up the laptop, spend time to brainstorm what success looks like for your marketing plan. Ensure every goal is SMART.3. Use the four P’s to develop marketing strategiesTo make your marketing strategies template easier to produce, think about the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Categorising your strategies into these areas will also make tasks easier to allocate to designated team members.4. Know your budget and resources ahead of timeIt can be tempting to let ideas run away from you when you’re formulating a plan. Knowing how much you have to spend, and how much manpower you have available, will help you to keep your objectives SMART.5. Implementing and monitoring the planOnce you begin to implement your marketing plan: keep the tab open. Don’t let yourself forget the milestones and deadlines you set – it’s a good idea to organise a fortnightly or monthly review so you can see how things are progressing. VerdictAs we’ve shown above, a marketing plan has a lot of moving parts. It’s almost as complicated as designing a business plan. That’s why using a marketing plan template is so important for small business owners.Templates save hours of fiddly admin time. Rather than a blank canvas, you can jump ahead to take care of planning your marketing campaign. Plus, using a freemium project management provider like ClickUp Free means you’ll get more time back, for no charge. Start Your Marketing Plan Today Use customisable templates to design a marketing plan that reflects your brand’s unique journey and mission statement. Download ClickUp for over 1,000 free templates. Marketing plan FAQs What is a marketing plan template? Marketing plan templates come ready-prepared with all the lists, tasks, and timelines you need to detail how you will achieve your brand-building goals and objectives for the year. They can be used to develop and optimise your marketing plan to organise everything from marketing campaigns, to social media content planners. How can a marketing plan template benefit my business? Because they are auto-populated, a marketing plan template means business owners don’t need to spend hours setting up tables. Plus, if you’re new to writing a marketing plan, being told exactly what data to input can help to plug any knowledge gaps. Are there any industry-specific marketing plan templates available? ClickUp’s library of over 1,000 templates is organised by industry use case. Because of this, a team can search for the template they are most likely to use. For example, ClickUp has a specialist user research template to help UX teams understand their unique customer needs. Can I customise a marketing plan template to fit my specific needs? The best marketing plan templates can be tailored to reflect your unique brand and buyer persona. Choosing the right software is key here - monday.com is our top-rated project management system for customisation. Every one of its templates is designed to be flexible to users’ needs. How often should I review and update my marketing plan? Good practice is to review marketing plan at least once a quarter. However, you cannot review your marketing plan too often. Marketing strategies are designed to build brand awareness, so by monitoring how well your plan is succeeding, you’ll also be keeping an eye on your company’s position in the marketplace. Share this post facebook twitter linkedin Tags News and Features Written by: Helena Young Lead Writer Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.