Develop the Marketing Plan of Your Life

woman writing with laptop and tablet

Great minds Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill have both been credited with the adage “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” There’s a reason everyone from a Founding Father to your ninth grade English teacher has uttered these wise words: they’re as relevant today as they were hundreds of years ago. They can be applied to just about any life-changing moment or career-making decision, including marketing, where you’ll find marketing plans aplenty. The trick is creating the right plan to follow—in your education and your career. Follow these four steps to develop the marketing plan suited to you.

Step 1: Your Marketing Education

If you see marketing in your future, it’s time to make a marketing plan, of sorts. Dr. Avisha Sadeghinejad, Program Chair for the Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Marketing in the Forbes School of Business and Technology at Ashford University, offers advice on creating a career plan, starting with your education. “You’ll want to pursue a degree that provides an academic baseline and develops technical knowledge,” says Dr. Sadeghinejad.

“It’s wise to choose a degree designed to bring together the knowledge gained through the entire program, permitting you to demonstrate mastery in the various competencies of the field,” she adds. The diverse courses you’re exposed to in a marketing program create a diverse skillset that’s highly employable.

Step Two: Your Marketing Skills

Dr. Sadeghinejad explains that students should seek to gain application skills in market research, consumer behavior, advertising, and strategy. “At the end of your coursework, you should be able to analyze marketing data, develop marketing plans, and examine the appropriate use of marketing media,” she explains.

When industry influencer HubSpot (2016) synthesized employment and organizational needs, its findings echoed Dr. Sadeghinejad’s insights. They demonstrated that some of the top skills for marketers are data visualization and analysis, technical and soft skills, social media, and teamwork. As your education leads to valuable skills, “You’ll be expected to apply and integrate the knowledge, tools, and expertise to assess real-world problems and offer realistic solutions,” Dr. Sadeghinejad says.

Step Three: Your Marketing Career

When the time comes to put your newly acquired skills to use, you’ve got options. Dr. Sadeghinejad has seen a wide variety in career paths that graduates from the program take. “I’ve seen many students pursue careers as sales representatives; marketing coordinators; communication specialists; account, advertising, and marketing managers; market research analysts; and marketing consultants,“ she says. “The list of opportunities goes on and on.”

Additionally, the number of jobs in marketing, public relations, promotions, and advertising is predicted to grow in the coming years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (2014) estimates a nine percent increase in employment by 2-14-2024, which is faster than the national average.

Step Four: Your Marketing Plan

Following your education and now settled into your marketing career, you’ll likely encounter your share of marketing plans. Thankfully, you have years of classes, skills, and experiences to prepare you for these daily recitations. But in case memory evades you, Entrepreneur (2013) recommends including these five key elements:

  • Step 1: Create a situation analysis.
  • Step 2: Define your target audience.
  • Step 3: List your marketing goals.
  • Step 4: Develop strategies and tactics.
  • Step 5: Set your marketing budget.

Dr. Sadeghinejad explains that marketing plans examine external and internal environments that impact marketing decisions and consider marketing information systems. She notes, “It includes the organizational characteristics of marketing research, basic tools and procedures, and management science applications.”

Planning for your future in marketing requires solid education, skills, and experience. Lay the foundation for your marketing plan now.

“A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.”
-H. Stanely Judd

Written by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.


HubSpot. (2016 January 4). 7 Essential Skills Marketers Need to Succeed This Year [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Sadeghinejad, A. (2016, November 3). Personal communication.

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). Occupational outlook handbook. Washington, DC: N.A.

For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed each program, and other important information, please visit:

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