Click here for the first part of Effective Marketing Plan: 3 Cs

 Click here for the second type of Effective Marketing Plan format.

Now that you know your target market, the characteristics of your product and client, your competition, your challenge and the problem that is deterring you from fulfilling your challenge, you need to juice out an insight.


Effective Marketing Plan: Insight, USP, Main Message, Consumer Benefit


What is an insight?


An insight is a fact you didn’t know before.  It is the key to effective marketing plan. It is meant to help the marketing team crack the challenge and help the creative team develop their creative materials.

The most common source of insight is consumer studies. In the fictional example that we did, we learned that people buy cheap mini speakers first but once they find the sound sucks, they buy the higher end one.

This piece of information is an insight because:

  • It is something you didn’t know before
  • It will help you create a strategy for both your media and creative materials.

This piece of information will help you segregate the market. There are the first time buyers who buy the low end mini speakers because of the price and high end ones because of the quality.

You can then create two different creative materials. One material should talk with the first time buyers and the other should talk with those who want to upgrade. The first material could harp on how it is more practical to buy your speaker and other should harp on quality with better price.

It could also plan your media strategy better. You can get into forums and sites that are meant for newbies. You can then plan a separate campaign for those who are upgrading.


Scientific Advertising
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Claude Hopkins worked for various advertising and marketing agencies including Bissell Carpet Sweeper Company, Swift & Company. He is one of the pioneers of Scientific Advertising. He believed and proved that effective marketing materials highlights "the reason why".


Insight coming from sales or other sources


It is possible that the insight comes from sales records or even the technical department. We once had a sales report that reflected high consumption of alcohol during the day in country rural areas. It prompted all media placements to be transferred to morning shows.

However, the sales report still reflects consumer behaviour. It can come from anywhere but it most certainly will boil down to your consumer.




A USP or Unique Selling Proposition is the characteristic of your product that sets it apart from the rest. In our fictional example, it is the only 5.1 capable mini speaker. That’s the characteristic we will use to highlight.

There are phones that highlight being the thinnest phone. There are cars who claim to be the most fuel efficient. There are online stores who highlights having 1-year return policy. There are running shoe brands who claim to be the lightest one. There are also some products that claim to be the cheapest. That’s acceptable too, just be mindful of the dangers of going on a price war with other brands.

Whatever the USP may be, make sure it is really unique and connected to your insight and challenge. If our mini speaker’s USP is about how it looks, say it is colourful, it is detached from the insight. Consumers don’t look at how the speakers look like, they are after the performance.


Art & Copy: Inside Advertising's Creative Revolution
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Art & Copy is a look at HOW some of the best marketing and advertising campaigns came to being. The people who ACTUALLY created the campaigns are the ones who talk about the details of the campaigns. You don't get any more credible than that. Campaigns include Nike's Just Do It, Coca Cola legendary ribbon logo and others.


Single Minded Proposition / Main Message


Now that you know what makes your product unique, what your target market wants and what is the barrier, you can formulate your Main Message or single minded proposition.

In the simplest and most straight forward way possible, say what you want to say about your product to sell to your target market in one sentence.

This is not the copy point or the tagline, it is simply the one sentence that summarizes everything you want to say. Yes, it has to be one sentence.

There are different ways to write a main message or single minded proposition. You can concentrate on consumer benefit or product feature or do a breast beating.

If we apply this to our fictional case, the main message would be, or

  • Little Speaker is the first 5.1 mini speaker in the market.
  • Little Speaker bring the most superior portable sound experience with its 5.1 speakers.

Now that you know the main message, you have to make sure that no matter how creative the copy may be or where you place your ad, your main message would about the fact that Little Speaker bring 5.1 audio experience.


Consumer Benefit


This is where you emphasize what your product does for the consumer. So, what if you offer 5.1 mini speaker? What does the consumer stand to gain?

Consumer benefit is usually emotional in nature. Usually, it follows this formula:

If I do ______ instead of _____ I will_____.

Let us apply it to our fictional case.

If I buy Little Speaker instead of XMini, I will be enjoy and share cinema quality audio experience everywhere.


Call to Action


Now that you know what you want to say, you should know what you want the market to do after seeing you ad. Do you want them to go to a website? Do you want them to buy the product? Do you want them to call a number? Do you want them to go to a store to buy the product? Do you want them to switch brands now?

Now you have the groundwork, you can get into the details of the plan. This is when you get to the specifics of your marketing plan. I will come up with the specifics. However, I will tackle the second format of marketing plan first but not before some more tips about this format.


Effective Marketing Plan Tips


1)      Make sure your challenge is a valid one. Don’t rely on “logic” alone, come up with numbers to support the challenge you came up with.

2)      Information about your target market should be based on actual research. Don’t rely on “what you think” or “logic”. It is far too critical.

3)      When a client already hands you an objective or a challenge, it doesn’t mean you will accept it blindly. You still need to do your diligence and make sure the challenge makes sense. If you come back to the client with better objectives, at least you are able to cover your @ss.

Click here for the first part this article: Marketing Planning Process Part 1: 3Cs

Click here to read an assessment of Cotton On's Marketing Plan.

Click here for the second type of Effective Marketing Plan format.