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The Insanely Easy One-Day Marketing Plan

If your do-it-yourself marketing is not making an impact, you need a marketing plan. (Or you need a better one!) Entrepreneurs are notoriously busy. As a result, it can be tempting to accelerate marketing tactics with only a vague mental blueprint to go on. Unfortunately, even in small businesses, marketing has more complexity than we can store in our already taxed brains. An excellent marketing plan – even a simple one – is an insanely powerful solution.

In this series on Marketing Must-Haves, we are diving a little deeper into the marketing plan itself. Last week we explored how most organizations – and especially the smaller ones – are juggling so many tasks that they don’t stop to plan how to grow their revenue and customer base intentionally. The problem this can create is a lot of last minute, urgent tactics that are patched together. The answer is a marketing plan that encompasses the entire business.

The Right Marketing Plan

Finding the right marketing plan is actually not as easy as it might seem. If you do not have a marketing degree, the complex plans used by larger organizations can be overwhelming. On the other hand, the simpler plans can omit vitally important information needed for success.

There are thousands of options for simple, or one-page marketing plans available online. I am adding mine into the mix. I have eliminated unnecessary content for smaller and mid-size businesses, without leaving out any vital steps as the over-simplified versions tend to do. I then streamlined the main action steps, to guide you and your team through them.

Each step has a brief explanation to ensure your marketing sticks, and also makes you irresistible to your best customers. The rest of this blog will give you a slightly more in-depth user guide explanation, so you can download the PDF and get your marketing on track in less than a day.


You, and your business, are the necessary place to begin with your marketing plan. This is what your business stands for. And it makes you unique. Although organizational mission, vision and values statements have gotten a bad rap in some circles, when they are done well, they clearly point to the brand’s personality and trust factors. Many smaller organizations tend to confuse the statements with the equally important Unique Selling Proposition. However, they are not the same. Here is a brief overview of how each one supports the brand’s position:

MISSION STATEMENT: Sometimes the trickiest statement, a mission statement is what you do, framed from an inspirational viewpoint. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.

  2. Nordstrom: To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.

VISION STATEMENT : This is a future statement about how you are changing the world to be a better place – and here are a couple of examples:

  1. Alzheimer’s Association: A world without Alzheimer’s disease.

  2. LinkedIn: Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. 

YOUR CORE VALUES: Far from a list of vaguely motivating words, these are 3-4 principle-based words that anyone can recognize in how you operate, and against which every decision it measured.

UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION (USP): Here you describe your what makes your brand or product uniquely valuable to your customers. As an aid, here are a couple of the most commonly referenced – and notice they also make great ad headlines or taglines.:

  1. Avis. We’re number two. We try harder.

  2. FedEx Corporation. When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.

  3. M&Ms. The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

  4. Statefarm. Like a good neighbor, Statefarm is there.

  5. Domino’s Pizza. You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.


The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis is not difficult, but is often avoided out of fear of the perceived negatives in the weaknesses and Threats.

In fact, a SWOT not only helps build on what you do well, by addressing what you’re lacking, it minimize risks, and to take the greatest possible advantage of chances for success. The key messages developed later in the plan are designed to play to these positives and downplay or offset the negatives. The four areas are split between internal and external impact as follows:

  1. INTERNAL:strength is a resource or capacity the organization can use effectively to achieve its objectives.

  2. INTERNAL:weakness is a limitation, fault, or defect in the organization that will keep it from achieving its objectives.

  3. EXTERNAL: An opportunity is any favorable trend or change in the environment that may increase demand or enhances position.

  4. EXTERNAL:threat is any unfavorable situation in the environment that may be damaging to its strategy, such as a barrier, constraint, or might cause damage.

It bears mentioning, when we acknowledge an area for improvement, we often begin taking the necessary actions to eliminate the problem.


The process of identifying and personifying the target (ideal) customer for your business is crucial. It is so important, in fact, that I encourage you to download my TARGET AUDIENCE WOOKBOOK if you have not done this work previously.

A vague idea of who you are talking to creates vague content. As a result, your actual customers cannot see themselves in your marketing and keep right on walking – or scrolling – past you. It is as if you are in another dimension and invisible.

To clearly define your customers, give them a recognizable personality, based both on who you currently serve, and who might also be interested. Keep in mind, just because you wish you had them as a client or customer does not mean they are ideal for you. They must both want what you offer and be able to pay what you are worth before they can be considered an ideal customer. Typically each organization has 3-5 main customer personas – and I walk you through how to find them easily in my TARGET AUDIENCE WORKBOOK.


Even when a customer elects to “do nothing” (or do it themselves) it is competition for your offering. But there are usually direct competitors in the mix as well. Take the time to really understand who you are competing directly with, as well as who the big players are, the newcomers are, and definitely who is showing up in online searches for exactly what you do.

Many businesses leave an examination of the competition to chance, and as a result, they neglect to take the new customer’s journey of discovery right at the time that the customer is preparing to buy for the first time. Understanding how you stack up in that moment can make or break your marketing.


Although it can be tempting to leap ahead into action, goal setting is a big piece of the marketing planning process. It involves setting business and key additional goals that actually define the right marketing approach. Goals like these should definitely be SMART – otherwise they are meaningless. The goals to outline are:

  1. Business Goals: Whatever your goals for the business – to sell it, support your lifestyle with it, or franchise it – be clear and committed.

  2. Sales Goals: Whether you “like” selling or not, it is a necessary business activity. How much do you intend to sell, and by when?

  3. Financial Goals: Business runs on revenue. What income do you need to pay yourself, invest in growth, and keep the engine running?

  4. Marketing Goals: Your marketing goals should be designed to provide enough leads to convert to sales that produce the intended financial revenue for your business goals to be met.


  1. PRODUCTS: What are the offerings you can you provide?

  2. PRICE: Even if your intel is sketchy – put a stake in the ground and do some research. What is the value in the marketplace for what you do?

  3. PLACE: Often referred to as “placement”, Place is any of the many options for where you can show up. Based on where your target market is present, what is a good place to have your product visible and available?

  4. PROMOTION: How will you reveal to consumers why they need it and why they should pay a certain price for it – ads, email, online search, etc.?


More and more businesses are catching on that customers don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. That means they want to see a reflection of themselves and a path to transformation. Based on your USP and your target customer’s pain points, create 3-5 talking points that are from a customer’s viewpoint, and inspire hope for transformation. Leverage testimonials and industry facts to generate trust. Talk less about you, and more about the change you create.


Once all the preceding elements are in place, and assuming you have some fundamental branding in place that reflects your brand persona, you are finally ready to put together a plan. The key elements are the activity itself, what the goal of the activity is, where it will be placed, when and – the most often overlooked by smaller entities – the budget for the placement, including the time to create and place it.

A marketing plan like this can be done relatively quickly by any business. The time it takes save wasted time from off-target, partial effort. It also improves integration of all efforts to grow the business. I enthusiastically encourage you to download your plan now, and please, reach out with any questions you might have.

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