The first section of the marketing plan is the SITUATION ANALYSIS. In this section you look at your challenges, your competition, and how you are unique in the marketplace. The situation analysis lays the foundation for your goals, strategies and tactics. This is accomplished through a thorough analysis of your self and your specific situation or market. In this section you create your Unique Selling Proposition (U.S.P.). The second section of the plan defines your TARGET AUDIENCE. Here is where you uncover who has a NEED for your product or service. This involves profiling you existing customers and finding common attributes. The purpose of the exercise is to ultimately create an "ideal customer profile". In the Target Audience section of the document you decide which customers you are going to approach with your marketing efforts.
A good template will provided a step_by_step approach with explanations as to why each step is proposed. The strength of the marketing plan derives from the integration of each step. So if you leave out a step, you may undermine your own plan.