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How to create a marketing plan

Step by step guide to writing a marketing plan for your non profit.


The executive summary

A high-level summary of the marketing plan as a whole, and a paradox on paper: this is the last section that you should write, but the first section that should be in the finished report. It’s best to keep the Executive Summary as short and sweet as possible — just a couple of sentences to sum everything up. While writing it, imagine that you’re going to present it “elevator pitch” style. Once you’ve finished it, read it out loud. If it takes you longer than ten seconds, it probably needs to be simplified even further.


The challenge

This section should contain a brief description of the services and/or products that your organisation offers. With each description, include goals that you want to set for each service/product. Keep the number and complexity of your goals at a maximum of three per service/product, and remember that they need to be concise, measurable, and moderately easy to achieve.


Situation analysis

This section contains a snapshot of your organization, your stakeholder base, and your market at large. (Yahoo mail login guide)

3.1. Organization Analysis

  • Long and short-term organization-wide objectives
  • The focus of your organization (should fall directly in line with your mission and vision statements)
  • Analysis of the culture of your organization 
  • Strengths of your organization
  • Weaknesses of your organization
  • Your organisation’s local/regional/national/international reach

3.2. Stakeholder Analysis

  • Decide which particular category of stakeholders you’re analyzing: it could be your beneficiaries, corporate donors, individual donors, government etc.
  • Identify and estimate the number of particular stakeholders interested in/benefitting from/relevant to your organization
  • Key demographics of your stakeholder base (age, social class, gender).
  • Value drivers (what is it about your products and/or services that provides true “value” to your stakeholder base?)

3.3. Competitor Analysis

  • Market position (Are your competitors fully invested in the market, or do they only play in specific segments? Are they big or small?)
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Market shares

3.4. Market Analysis

  • Market trends
  • Market size
  • Market growth rate
  • Profit potential
  • Market demand
  • Business environment
  • Distribution channels

Make sure a thorough market analysis has been conducted before you dive into your business promotions. It not only safeguards your business but also gears up your business growth.

3.5. Collaborators

People and organizations that are key to continuing what you do: branches, shops, partners, distributors, suppliers, etc.

3.6. Environmental or PEST Analysis

  • Political and legal environment (e.g. What are the specific governance issues of your organization? Is the political context favorable or unfavorable to your organization?)
  • Economic environment
  • A social and cultural environment
  • Technological environment (e.g. Are cutting-edge technologies integral to your products/services? Are you integrating new media to promote your services/engage with your supporters/beneficiaries, etc?)

3.7. SWOT Analysis

  • Your organization’s internal strengths (what does your unique structure and/or unique employee team help you be the best at?)
  • Your organization’s internal weaknesses (in what areas do your unique structure and/or unique employee team hold you back?)
  • External opportunities for your organization (What’s out there that you could easily take advantage of for your betterment?)

Market segmentation

Each market has its own different segments/target audiences. Understanding the relevant segments for the service(s)/product(s) in your market is important - they allow you to adjust your “marketing mix” (the “"4 P’s” discussed lower) to better adapt to the different needs of each segment/audience.

Segments should be measurable, accessible, different from other segments in response to a marketing mix, durable (not constantly changing), substantially large enough to generate income, and homogeneous.

Inside your marketing plan, listing your segments should follow a clear and predictable form, like the one listed below:

Name of the segment/audience:

  • description
  • percent of your overall income this segment accounts for
  • what, exactly, this segment wants and needs
  • how this segment uses your service/product
  • what sort of support this segment needs
  • the best ways to advertise to and communicate with this segment.

Repeat this until you feel that you have identified all of your major segments. Large corporations utilize buyer personas to help identify their major segments in this process.


Alternative marketing strategies

Write down details about any alternatives that you and your team considered before arriving at your current strategy. These may include eliminating a particular service or product, changing the price point of a service or product (if applicable), etc.


Selected marketing strategy

Explain the strategy that you and your team have developed and agreed upon. Why did you choose this strategy? Why do you feel that it’s the best possible strategy for the near future? Once that’s on paper, put your “4 P’s” down for each service/product. Each of them should have their own “4 P’s” – you can follow the format below:


  • Branding/Brand Name
  • Intended quality of the product 
  • Scope of the product line
  • Warranty
  • Packaging

Price (if applicable)

  • List price
  • Discounts
  • Bundling
  • Payment terms
  • Leasing options (if applicable)

Place (distribution)

  • Distribution channels (do you market this service/product yourself, commission an agency, etc)
  • Channel motivations (what sort of margins should your contractors expect, if applicable?)
  • Criteria for evaluating your contractors:
  • Locations
  • Logistics and supply chain


  • Advertising (what types? how much of each type? what type of advertising channels — TV, print, online, etc. – do you plan to use?)
  • Public relations
  • Promotional programs
  • Budget, including your break-even point
  • Projected results of this promotional program (impact to stakeholder loyalty, new supporter acquisition, etc.)

Short and long-term projections

This section should include forecasts of revenues and expenses, your break-even analysis, and any changes or adjustments that you predict you’ll need to make in the future.



This is an expanded version of your executive summary. You should include all specific numbers (projected costs, revenues, profits, etc.).


And finally...

a couple of tips:

  • Remember to integrate the needs and ideas of every department (and every employee, if you feel comfortable with it) into your marketing plan. It’s also highly important to make sure that this plan integrates and meshes seamlessly with your business plan and your mission, vision, and core values statements.
  • Include any charts, graphs, etc. that you may have completed as a part of creating your Marketing Plan, as well as all charts, graphs, etc. that are necessary to explain or expand upon any of the sections above.

Further information

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki building the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual.

Knowhow has partnered with wikiHow to give the non profit community in the UK the chance to further develop wikiHow guidance for the UK voluntary sector.

If you want to view the original article and find author credits, visit How to create a marketing plan on the WikiHow site.  

Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.


Page last edited Apr 04, 2019 History

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