How to Create a Marketing Plan for 2018

Jerry Rackley

As we close in on the end of the calendar year, many organizations are going through planning processes, including most marketing departments. Demand Metric has just released the 2018 Marketing Plan Presentation Template. Year in and year out, this template has consistently been one of the most sought after resources in the Demand Metric library.



Too many marketers get criticized for not doing enough planning.  If we’re honest with each other, we can all recite stories from our pasts about “flying by the seat of our pants” when it comes to executing the marketing function.  Sometimes this works, because we have experience (and the scars to prove it) and our instincts are pretty darn good.  However, the rest of the organization can easily get frustrated when the marketing team doesn’t adhere to the same, rigorous planning disciplines that guide the rest of the organization.

The reality is this: developing a marketing strategy that is more than mere window-dressing is hard.  It takes time to research and analyze at the level of detail required to build an impactful marketing plan.  It’s not uncommon for marketers to put forth a mighty effort to build a plan, commit it to paper, pat each other on the back when it’s done and then stuff it in drawer where it gathers dust for the next 12 months.

Demand Metric has created this 2018 Marketing Plan Presentation Template to help marketers plan like the boss wants you to.  Here are some things you should know about using this template:

  • It’s a process.  This template does in fact result in the creation of a presentation, one that you can give to stakeholders. But the end game here isn’t the slide set, it’s going through the process.  Even if you never present the slides this template helps you create, the value comes from completing the process the template leads you through.
  • It’s comprehensive.  When you download and open the template, don’t be intimidated. It outlines a complete series of steps that will help you plan effectively.  If you’re expecting to open this template up and have it look like a marketing plan Mad-Lib, where you just fill in a few blanks and you’re done, then you’ll be disappointed.  This template covers all the bases.
  • It starts with the vision.  Marketers can’t build great plans if they’re not based on the vision that is driving the organization.  Marketing strategies and plans that work are derived from the vision and values of the organization.  Creating a plan in a vacuum wastes effort at best and leads marketing in unproductive directions at worst.
  • It’s measurable.  The cliché that you can’t manage what you can’t measure applies here. The template leads you to identify metrics that will serve as valid indicators of marketing’s contribution.  Vanity metrics that just show how busy marketing is will not do.  They don’t fool anyone, and they actually lead to a loss of credibility.
  • It looks at resources.  Comprehensive marketing plans consider not just what marketing needs to do, but the resources to successfully execute the plan. The end of the process this template leads you through is the budget piece, where you’ll have a precise understanding of the funding required, and the business case for it.

Completing the marketing planning process using this template gives marketing direction, instills confidence within the team, and boosts the credibility of the team outside of marketing.

There’s another important benefit to putting a well-researched, well-constructed marketing plan in place: it gives marketing the power to say “no” to requests that have no merit.  Without a plan, it’s hard to say no to the many things marketing is asked to do that don’t really make sense. 

But we don’t like saying no, because it feels arbitrary to the person making the ask.  Besides, we need friends in the organization, and we don’t like to send people away unhappy.  When we have a solid marketing plan, however, it enables us to say “no” to the things that are not strategic, that are not in the plan, and to do it in good conscious. 

We hope that our members find the 2018 Marketing Plan Presentation Template helpful, and for those that need advice or assistance creating their marketing plans, please contact us.

Resource Reference 

A marketing plan presentation template consisting of seven stages.