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.
The third section of the marketing plan is GOALS. This is where you lay out exactly what you want to accomplish with your marketing efforts. Without goals you will never have a benchmark to compare to. If your marketing plan is a one year plan, how will you know if you were successful or not at the end of the year of marketing activities? Another critical element of the Goals section is to schedule evaluation points throughout the duration of your plan. Having these points predetermined will allow you to continually assess the effectiveness of your efforts.