How to Write a Marketing Plan with Five Questions

by Matt Heinz

How to Write a Marketing Plan with Five QuestionsAsk 20 marketers how to write a marketing plan, and you’ll get 20 different answers. Some have more strategy than tactics, some get tactical immediately without a strategic foundation.

But the biggest problem most marketing plans have is that they’re company-centric. They’re written from your point of view, based on what you want from the market, and they fail to reflect or take into account your customer’s perspective.

The same is true for the sales process most companies use today. It’s easy to define the process you want your sales team to go through in working leads into opportunities and, eventually, closed business. A more valuable exercise may be to map the buying process. How do your customers buy, what stages do they go through, what triggers or accelerators drive them closer to making a decision?

So for your marketing plan, take that same customer-centric approach and apply it to five questions.

  1. What/who are your targets?
  2. What do they care about? What outcome are they seeking?
  3. Where do you find them?
  4. What or who influences them?
  5. How do they want to engage and (eventually) buy?

These five questions are the foundation of your plan. The answers should give you a blueprint for what to do, where to do it, what to say, and how to match your marketing and messaging to the way your customer already thinks and operates.

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Matt HeinzMatt Heinz is principal at Heinz Marketing, a sales & marketing consulting firm helping businesses increase customers and revenue. Contact Matt at or visit

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  1. Matt–These five questions are fantastic! I love #4, in particular. It’s so important, yet often overlooked.

    We work with nonprofits and foundations, so we encourage them to first ask “why should someone believe in what we do?” Then they can think about the what, who, how (very similar to how you divvy it up): What does marketing success look like (given the organization’s belief)? Who do they need to reach to achieve success? How will talk to those people (message), how will they connect with them, and how will they measure success?

    Thanks for presenting such a simple, cogent way of thinking about marketing.

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