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The World’s Shortest Marketing Plan Goes A Long Way

Originally published
Originally published: 3/1/2022

Make this your first step toward improving internal communications.

Recently, I sat down to analyze our company’s marketing goals and objectives. The original plan had been written more than a year ago and didn’t include plans for the new website launching early this summer. That project alone will take up significant resources and while the budget for the project is set, the time commitment is not. I’ve been through several website launches in my career and the investment in time, is significant. 

I wanted to write a plan that would include components for our visitors, our advertisers, our staff, and the vendor in-charge of the project. Add an additional several thousand pages of content into the mix, and it’s easy to see how this plan could become cumbersome. 

Keeping the stakeholders abreast of that’s happening and on the same page, is the main objective of the plan. One of the larger drawbacks to most marketing plans is their complexity and length. Expecting everyone to read the lengthy marketing masterpiece you created, isn’t realistic. 

To find a template that would serve as the “CliffsNotes” version, I searched “world’s shortest marketing plan” in hopes of finding a good option. At the very top of the search was a link to one of our former monthly columnists, Guy Kawasaki. There in the link to his blog was the information I needed. “The World’s Shortest Marketing Plan” written by Kelly O’Dell, a speaker, author, and leadership coach. It served our purposes well. You can find more of Kelly’s work at You can also download this template here or from our website at

This template is perfect for any marketer, and once filled in, addresses customer needs, product positioning, price, promotion, timing, cost, product benefits, distribution, and more. An additional benefit of this template is its capability to allow for editing of the questions, so they are relevant to your company and your situation. If you’ve never developed a marketing plan, this is a wonderful place to start. If you have created one, and it’s become too complex, here’s a way to simplify things and boil them down to what really matters. Best of all, this is easily shared with your entire company, large or small, with vendors, and anyone else with whom you want to be on the same page.

Also, as a great complement to this marketing plan, in our archives, you can find an article by one of our former board members, Jackie Rainwater. He wrote “Great Companies are Built with Great Internal Communications”. It will most certainly be a beneficial read if you are in the planning stages or rebranding stage of your business.

Finally, there are several benefits to using this plan. First, it’s short, concise, and manageable. Second, it’s customizable for your individual marketing project. And it’s a terrific way to keep multiple groups on the same page. Most importantly, you’ll open a line of communication with your employees, and improve internal communications and input.  

Terry Tanker is the owner of JFT Properties LLC and publisher of HVACR Business magazine. He has more than 25 years of experience in the advertising and publishing industries. He began his career with a business-to-business advertising agency. Prior to forming JFT Properties LLC in January 2006 he spent 20 years with a large national publishing and media firm where he was the publisher of several titles in the mechanical systems marketplace. In addition to his experience in advertising and publishing Terry has worked closely with numerous industry-related associations over the years including AHRI NATE and ABMA.

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