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How to Write a Marketing Proposal

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When trying to woo new marketing clients, the proposal you show them needs to sparkle. While it's always a gamble as to whether you'll actually win the client or not, think of this phase as an opportunity to lay the groundwork of the plan you'll put in place. In other words, you can use the elements you've included in the marketing proposal as the framework for the actual marketing plan.

Company's Goals

A solid marketing proposal has to pay heed to the company's goals and overall business style, so your first job is research. It doesn't hurt to ask the client for information about his business plan or strategic objectives for the coming quarter -- though he may or may not provide it. Regardless, also familiarize yourself with the company's products and services, the market conditions, and what its competitors are doing in terms of marketing, promotion and product differentiation.

Executive Summary

Based on that research, you should have some ideas about how you'll market the company's products and services. Write a brief summary of the company's situation as you see it, and then what you'll offer, including the approach you'll take and the demographics to which your proposal is targeted. Offer insight, but without providing so many details that the company can pass you over and use the ideas without you in the mix, notes marketing professional Kyle Chowning. This serves as your "executive summary" and "situational analysis" to present at the beginning of your marketing proposal.

Details About the Goals

Now it's time to offer more details. In the second section, state the company's goals as you understand them, breaking them down further into primary and secondary goals, and the initiatives you'll take to meet those goals. This helps clients see that you understand their needs. Provide just enough detail to convince clients that you understand the things you need to do to meet their goals. Also offer a value proposition, stating how you'll measure your success. Based on your research and your ideas, you may be able to promise that you'll be able to help clients gain a certain number of new followers or get a certain number of views on their websites, for example. This shows clients how you'll help, while also giving you clear goals to work toward, suggests Chowning.

Details About the Tasks

Break down each primary and secondary goal further into individual tasks that you'll do to meet the goals. Include names of people involved, dates by which you'll do certain tasks and the platforms you'll utilize to carry out each task. After you've stated all this information in a written format, also consider including it in a visual format. Create a pyramid-style visual, for example, with the goals at the top, with arrows pointing down to the individual tasks that you'll do, and then another set of arrows even lower, pointing to the outcome of each activity. End your proposal with an estimate of how much it will cost you to do the project, how long it will take you to carry it out, and anything you need from the client to move forward.


Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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