The Executive Summary
Whenever you start a new business, launch a new product, or seek to increase your customer base, you need a marketing plan.
A solid marketing plan acts as a road map to guide your marketing efforts and take your business to the next level.
When done properly, your marketing plan will help you to:
- Understand your customers’ needs
- Tailor your products to address these needs
- Discover the language you need to use to communicate effectively with your customers
- Establish which distribution channels will give you the best results
- Produce the right content at the right time to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts
Once you have your marketing template, you will understand how to market your business effectively. Furthermore, the document adds weight to the viability of your product/service, and you can then use it to approach investors and lenders for funding.
The ultimate aim of a marketing plan is to grow your bottom line.
Marketing plans are complex and multifaceted. In this series of articles, we will explore each facet in-depth. Together, the articles in this series will guide you through the process of creating a marketing plan that will take your business to the next level.
Please note: you must be agile in your approach to your marketing plan. A marketing plan is effectively a living organism. As you move through the project, you’ll need to adjust and tweak your strategy as you establish what works and what doesn’t. This template is your guide, you bring the flexibility and lay the roadmap as you put each step into practice.
In part 1, we start with the executive summary.
What Is The Executive Summary?
The executive summary is the part of your marketing plan that outlines the most important findings from your research. It is a summary of the entire marketing plan.
You write the executive summary after completing the other sections of your marketing plan. This may leave you wondering why we have chosen the executive summary to feature as part 1 of the series; it’s because the executive summary always comes at the beginning of your marketing plan.
It outlines the most important goals, actions, and conclusions revealed by your research and documented elsewhere in the plan. It allows anybody to read your marketing plan and understand quickly where your business is heading and how it is going to get there.
A strong executive summary will:
- Outline your goals
- Reveal the most important findings from each section of your plan and how they relate to reaching your goals
- Use concise language that is easy to follow
- Have a positive and interesting angle
What Should You Include in the Executive Summary?
The executive summary for your marketing plan must show prospective readers the main gist of your marketing plan, as well as information about the product/service and your business in general.
Your executive summary should include the following information:
A description of the product/service you are marketing.
Here, you are explaining why you are writing a marketing plan, e.g., “To demonstrate to investors the potential income from sales of x-product”.
Describe the product clearly and concisely. Outline its unique selling proposition, i.e., the reason people will buy your product and not your competitors’ product. Give pricing details and a short description of why you have chosen that price.
A description of your business and the main people involved in the project.
Provide a short overview of the history of the business, including its annual sales figures, the size of its current customer base (if there is one), its company structure, and the skillsets/expertise of the people involved in the project (and their relevance in helping you achieve your goals).
Include other professionals involved with the operation too, e.g., suppliers, lawyers, and internet experts.
A description of your customer base, where you will find them, and how you will target them.
Describe the characteristics of the target audience and how you identified this.
Explain where you will find them and how you will target them by describing your promotional strategy (e.g., the channels you will use to reach your customers, such as social media platforms and/or direct mail) and outlining your use of marketing materials (e.g., your brand colours, leaflets, etc.).
Outline your distribution plan, explaining how you will deliver the product (e.g., by post for a physical product or in-person when offering specific types of service).
A summary of the overall objectives of the project and the strategies you will employ to achieve them.
This is effectively a summary of the executive summary. As succinctly as possible, explain your overall objectives and the strategies you will use to achieve these objectives.
The executive summary of your marketing plan provides a concise overview of the entire marketing project. It provides you with a roadmap for executing the strategy, and it provides investors with a way to easily evaluate the project and quickly decide if it’s worth their investment.