Never underestimate the power of brevity. Marketing plans can run for pages, and sometimes they should. But for many situations a one-page marketing is fine, if not even better than a longer plan.

A one-page marketing plan forces you to coalesce your thoughts into one short, succinct document. Like the one-page business plan, the single-sheet marketing plan encourages you to focus on what really matters. It can help bring clarity to your thoughts. It can help team members both understand and maintain a better recall of your marketing direction.

Even a one-page marketing plan should include more than just a checklist of your planned promotional activities. It should be more of a product plan, also including the key differentiation of your product from those of competitors, as well as a quick description of your target market and customer needs. Therefore, you should have a separate marketing plan for every key product or product line that you offer.

This is suggested template for a one-page marketing plan:

Title:

List the product/service and the specified marketing time period to be covered.

Product/Service:

In one sentence, describe your product or service including the utility it provides for its users.

Target Market:

Zero right in on the best target customers for your product/service. Which people are most likely to buy your product/service and/or which audience are you most likely to be able to impact with your marketing?

Key Differentiation:

How is your product or service different from those of your competitors?

Benefits to Customers:

How does your product provide better or different benefits to potential customers than competing products? Is there a benefit or perceived benefit that plays a key role in customers’ buying decisions?

Customer Evaluation:

Which attributes of your customers may be important for marketing? For example, are they geographically clustered? Do they have similar demographics? Do they tend to weigh a particular factor in mind when making buying decisions?

Marketing Strategy:

Now, we get into the part of the document most people think of when they think of a marketing plan. You’ve spelled out your target market and the key differentiators for your product or service. It’s time to talk about how you’re going to promote your business idea. Pick one or two primary marketing tactics you’ll be using, and briefly describe how you plan to execute them.

Special Offers/Pricing:

What pricing or special offers will you include in this marketing campaign?

Marketing Message:

What key messages do you want to deliver in your marketing?

Creative:

What headlines or specific words may you use in your marketing?

Media:

If you’re going to rely heavily on social media, for instance, which channels will you choose? Will you advertise or just try to go viral for free? Will you engage in email marketing or inbound marketing, and how? Talk about where and when your messages will run. If you’re engaging in publicity, mention the types out outlets you’ll target and why. Distill everything into a few sentences.

Profit and Loss Projection:

Project the profit and loss of your product/service during the marketing time period.

Measuring Results and Continued Testing:

Not only should you track your sales during the marketing period, but as much as possible you should try to determine how each customer heard about your product. Which medium drove in the result? You may decide to quickly change your advertising media or message in the middle of the campaign, or you decide to adjust it for the next campaign. Marketing is hard. Be prepared to test and try different options until you get great results.

Summary:

Brevity can be a friend to the entrepreneur. Learn to write a one-page marketing plan, and you’ll develop razor-sharp focus for your business model as well as a substantive way to pitch audiences on your products and ideas without overwhelming them.

Sample One-Page Marketing Plan:

(For illustration purposes, I am basing this sample on a simple summer business trading used boats that I ran during summer vacations from college).

Title:

Bobby’s Boat Yard, End-of-Season Clearance Sale Plan, August 15-September 7

Product/Service:

The used boats that remain unsold towards the end of the summer season. Especially concerned about selling slower-moving boats that have been in inventory for more than 2 weeks.

Target Market:

The end of the season buyer is most typically not a summer homeowner but more likely someone who lives in the area year round and has likely owned boats before.

Key Differentiation:

Our key differentiation from larger new boat dealers who also sell used boats is that we charge more reasonable prices. Our key differentiation from private sellers is that our used boats are “cleaned up” for sale and that we have several choices of used outboard boats available right now.

Benefits to Customers:

Customers can save money buying a boat from us as opposed to a larger dealer who also sells new boats. And versus buying from a private party, a potential customer can view several boats at once at our yard.

Customer Evaluation:

End-of-season customers typically live in the vacation community year-round, have owned several boats in the past and are value and brand-name aware.

Marketing Strategy:

We will emphasize “year-end clearance” because our target market will find this a credible reason that we are selling boats at great prices and we will reinforce this in our pricing policy.

Special Offers/Pricing:

The first week of the clearance sale, we will lower prices 10% below our pre-sale prices. The second week, we will lower prices a further 10% for any remaining boats. The third week, we will lower prices still a further 10%.

Marketing Message:

You can save money by our end-of-season clearance sale.

Creative:

End-Of-Season Boat Clearance Sale!

Media:

Local newspaper and signage.

Profit and Loss Projection:

We have 7 boats remaining in inventory with a current average purchase price of $1,100.

We anticipate that on average during the clearance sale we will sell the boats for a 15% discount on this price or $935. Our average purchase price of these boats was $895. So our expected gross profit margin will be $40 per boat.

Summary:

While the anticipated gross margin during the clearance sale is very low, our main objective is to clear out our inventory and reduce carry costs including insurance and taxes over the winter.

Bob Adams is the founder of BusinessTown.com