The Elusive One Page Marketing Plan

If you can create a one page business plan, like Jim Horan describes in his 2004 book of the same name – it should be a snap to create a one page marketing plan – Right?

Well many have tried, and few have really succeeded.

Yes you can create an outline of a marketing plan on a single page, but really – is an outline really enough.  Think of a chalk outline of a dead body from your latest weeknight cop show – does that tell you everything about the guy who was murdered? Does it tell you even what he looks like, his hair color, what he likes to eat, what friends and family he has, or what he does for a living.

No – an outline does not fill in all the information needed.

Some one page marketing plan templates try to get deeper by asking for target market descriptions and positioning statements.  Then they want you to outline your sales strategy and promotion strategy.

Imagine – your sales strategy – completely described in one little box.  Forget all those years of training, years of practice, theories by great salesmen such as Sandler, Ziglar, Kennedy and more. Forget about the 5-6 or 7 step sales process. Forget about closing strategies and consultative selling.  Just give me a sentence to describe my sales strategy and I can have the latest three sales people up and turning a profit in minutes! – ya right!!

Other one page marketing plan templates try to get you thinking like a marketing guru or warrior – to find your ideal customer, then find the most important activities to target that client with the best message.  But again it discusses revenue and profitability, and unless you are amazing enough to be able to pull exact figures off the top of your head, you can really say that the one page marketing plan is a complete plan.  Again it is only a summary of the real plan that requires work, research, testing and diligence.

The final one page marketing plan template I looked at was a bit more in-depth.  It even included half of a SWOT analysis (why only half – I am not sure – and they left out the most important – Opportunities). They also included a month by month breakdown of  tactics.  Still not complete, this at least was a better outline, but the problem is that you would have to type in about a 3 font size to actually get the information into the little blanks they left for you.  So in reality, this would turn in to a 4-8 page plan by the time you actually filled it all in.

So really – should you attempt to create a one page marketing plan?  Is marketing so insignificant that you do not have the time nor money to do it right.  Experts say that 5-10% of your gross revenue should be spent on marketing.  And if you are in a highly competitive industry, or high growth business, then that can be even higher to achieve the results that are possible.

Think of marketing as an investment in your company – one that will pay higher returns than any other – if done right.  Don’t try to find shortcuts with your marketing – it will only lead to bad decisions and lost time.

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