How to Write a Strong Marketing Proposal

strongmarketingproposalUpdated: July 4, 2014

Writing a strong marketing proposal is key to winning new business. It is the point of reference that both you and your client will reference when there is a need to establish expectations, objectives and successes.

Over the years, I have written a lot of marketing proposals. Some were really bad and some were great. In the past year or so, I’ve begun to hone in on what I believe to be a strong marketing proposal template. Since this is one of the keys to success, I thought I would share with you all how I write marketing proposals for my prospect clients.

Scroll down to the bottom of this post to download a Microsoft Word sample proposal template.

Marketing Proposal Template

“…you saved my skin and by far this was the best template available.” —Ashley Box, Subscriber

Step 1: The Overview

This purpose of the overview is to show your client that you understand the opportunity at-hand, the market conditions they are facing, and how you and/or your company can help them achieve the goals and objectives. Be careful to keep this section about the client, not you.

Step 2: Your Idea(s)

The next step is to write a summary about your campaign idea(s). You want to be careful to not reveal so much detail that they run with your idea and never hire you. You want them to see that you’ve given it some thought and you have a plan when they hire you.

Step 3: Prove Your Idea

In step three, provide the prospect client with statistics and research that backs up why you think your ideas are viable. In some cases, you may be able to provide insight into an area of opportunity that they never thought of, thus giving you a competitive edge.

Step 4: Objectives *

In step four, list out the objectives that you plan to achieve and when. For example:

  • Complete the marketing strategy and schedule within 30 days

This gives your client a list of deliverables and sets the expectations and benchmarks for success. It also empowers your client to keep you accountable for what you say you’ll deliver.

Step 5: Measurement of Results

In step five, you establish how you and the client will measure success. Be as specific as possible. For example:

  • Increase the number of unique visitors at the website by 10% within 90 days of the campaign launch

The temptation is not to be specific because nothing is guaranteed. However, establishing measurable results will build confidence in your client and give you and your team a scoreboard in which you can measure your own success.

Step 6: The Value to [Client Name]

In step six, you establish credibility with your clients. This is where you talk about your previous successes, your technological advances, best-practices and current and/or previous client accomplishments. Be sure you understand the full value of what you’re providing. Often times, the value you bring to the business is far greater than a simple hours worked, multiplied by an hourly rate calculation. Read this post if you’re struggling to understand how to value your work.

Step 7: Timing

In step seven, you estimate how long it will take for you to plan, execute and provide proper analysis of the idea(s) and when you can start on the project.

Step 8: Methodology & Options

One of the keys to a marketing proposal is providing options to your client. If you only give them one, they will see your marketing proposal as take-it-or-leave-it option. That will leave you clientless in a heartbeat. However, providing them options empowers them to decide how they will use you based on their needs, not yours. Here are the options that I generally provide to my clients:

  1. Advisory – In this role, you typically serve in a short-term capacity. Perhaps, three to six months. Your aim is to establish the campaign plan, strategy and analytics, then empower their team to execute.
  2. Consultative – In this option, you do everything that you would have done in the advisory role, but you work with the staff individually to make sure they are trained to do the job well. You also help with the initial execution of the campaign, but leave the day-to-day details to them. The timing of this option could range from three to nine months.
  3. Collaborative – In this option, you do all of the above PLUS you work in the day-to-day. The estimated time of involvement will depend on the complexity of the project.

Step 9: Terms & Conditions

In step nine, you present the following:

  • financial fees for each of the above options
  • payment terms (how much you need upfront to start the contract; discount if contract is paid in full upfront, etc)
  • expense terms
  • any other conditions you want to put on the marketing proposal

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep your terms and conditions minimal, especially with corporate clients. If you opt for the long detailed versions, expect delays due to legal involvement. It’s best to offer the minimal conditions and let their legal team take lead if they decide that your marketing proposal needs legal involvement.

Step 10: Acceptance

In step ten, your client checks their desired option, signs and dates. Don’t forget to provide an easy way for them to send the contract back to you.

In Conclusion

While this process may seem long and drawn out, you’re right it is. A well thought-out marketing proposal is where we make our money. What keeps your clients coming back are results. Those results are determined by what objectives and measurements you provide within your marketing proposal.

FREE Download: Marketing Proposal Template
Subscribe to my blog and get my free, customizable marketing proposal template that will help you easily organize, present and sell your marketing strategies.



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Step 4-10 of my marketing proposal template was modeled and adapted from the book, Million Dollar Consulting Toolkit (affiliate link) by Alan Weiss; a book I highly recommend. Here’s a quick summary of the book:

Book that influenced my marketing proposal templateThis useful guide provides specific checklists, guidelines, templates, and actual examples for every step of the consulting process. It covers marketing, sales, meetings, implementation, follow-up, invoicing, practice management, insurance, equipment, subcontracting, and scores of other elements. Thousands of people have bought Weiss’s Million Dollar Consulting and started their own consultancy. Now, this handy resource goes hand-in-hand to provide all the tools new consultants need to enact all the recommendations and ideas in Million Dollar Consulting. (src: www.wiley.com)

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  • http://twitter.com/mmattheww Matt Fehrmann

    How many pages does this usually become? Just curious. I do Web development proposals at Zgraph, where I work. There is definitely stuff I can glean from this, so thanks!

    • http://www.kylechowning.com Kyle

      @Matt – My proposals usually range from 2-4 pages; depending on how complex the project is. I try to keep it as simple as possible.

      • iftikhar khan

        Dear sir i’m new in marketing,i’m working as marketing manager with a FM radio station in Pakistan.sir i hve some small clients but i wanna businss with big companies like PEPSI,NOKIA,SAMSUNG etc as we have a good coverage area but i’m not havng any idea how to make contact with them sir i would be really thankfull to you if you give me any suggestion.

  • http://www.contrarianconsulting.com Alan Weiss

    I appreciate your mentioning my work, but more of what you print here is from my work than you credit, specificially, everything from “objectives” through “acceptance,” and originated over ten year ago in my book “How to Write A Proposal That’s Accepted Every Time,” and reprinted in the book you do credit. I’d appreciate your making this clear in your column. Thank you, Alan Weiss

    • http://www.kylechowning.com Kyle

      Mr. Weiss,

      First, thank you for stopping by. I’m honored to have you as a visitor.

      Most importantly, I have corrected my post to reflect the amount of influence your work has had in crafting the template I use in my business. My apologies for under crediting you. It wasn’t intentional.

      Kyle

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/lblack01 lblack01

    I think this is a great outline and I would love to download the word template but it is not allowing me. Is there something else I can do?

    • http://www.kylechowning.com Kyle

      I’ve posted it on Google Docs for your convenience.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/lblack01 lblack01

        I searched it on google docs and it was not there.

        I tried clicking on the link on your page and it is not working. Maybe it is because I have a MAC?

  • Ralph Morton

    Thank you for your help, the steps you provide will help me with various promotions I will take on in future.

  • Trey King

    Kyle – Thanks so much for a great template. Iw as really struggling with hoe to get what was in my head onto paper. With one paper you saved my day!!

  • Noelle E. Sewell

    Kyle,

    I just started working with a magazine that has no budget for marketing but we have been asked to submit a marketing plan to several companies. Are there any books you could recommend to assist us with this? I read the template but I don’t understand some of the tems you use.

  • http://jamiefavreau.wordpress.com Jamie Favreau

    Thank you for your Google doc. I appreciate it. I am writing a social media proposal and needed the help.

    • http://www.kylechowning.com Kyle

      Glad I could help!

  • http://www.barrelofcrafts.com Victor

    Thanks so much for the well thought out post. I have to turn a proposal in on Friday and this is just what I needed.

  • http://prettysavvy.ca/ Aurea

    This is a great post! Very Well Done!

  • ellabelle

    Thanks for the Proposal Template!!! I was searching for a Marketing Proposal for a start-up in NYC and this should be a perfect outline to use to put the proposal together quickly.

  • Mitsu

    Thank you for posting !! The format was a great help to me. I would also like to thank Allan Weiss for writing the book.

  • Wayne

    Thanks a billion for the template, its direct and efficient, much appreciated!

  • Gulfraz

    very well done

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  • http://goodsmscollection.blogspot.com/ rakesh

    thanks!!!!

    it helped me

  • Diane Pascual

    Thank-you so much for this! I've been researching online and stumbled upon this! How awesome that you have provided this! Thank-you!!!

    • http://www.kylechowning.com Kyle

      Thanks for leaving a note Diane! Enjoy.

  • http://www.welcomehomerental.com Amy

    Thanks for the template and general guidelines on writing a marketing proposal. It is helping me greatly on a huge proposal I am working on this week. Many, many thanks!

  • jackson osei owusu

    I want to write a proposal to a company,to request for supplying them of autoparts.

  • Grateful

    Thank you so much for this Kyle, i'm not exaggerating when i say this post may well have changed my life. Wishing you and the family well.

    • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

      Wow! Thank you!!!

  • Zinny

    tanx for the knowledge gained from this,it was helpful and refreshing

  • http://www.uwsp.edu/athletics/mbb/06-07/schedule.htm Schedule

    You you could make changes to the page subject title How to Write a Strong Marketing Proposal | Kyle Chowning to something more better for your subject you write. I enjoyed the post yet.

  • Megan

    Thank you for the template and the step-by-step instructions. I work in a grant funded program with high school students and they will be creating their own inventions and then marketing them to a fictious investment firm. This really helped me understand marketing proposals when I have NO formal schooling in business or marketing. I feel that your steps and template helped to provide a great start-up back drop for teaching students how to market their inventions. Thanks again!

    • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

      Glad I could help!

  • Ashley

    Im stuck on the part… TIMING

    We are estimating a one-year commitment to the development, launch and ongoing marketing of this new initiative. We are able to begin within X of your approval, provided that it is forthcoming by __________.

    What is the forthcoming by? Referring to a timeframe, a month, a date? OR a person? OR an event?

    • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

      It’s about a time frame like 1 week, month or 90 days…whatever suits.

  • http://www.themarketingcrew.com Sarita

    Thanks for this Kyle… You saved me some brain ache in putting this together. And that’s worth a ton :-)

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  • TheBerns

    Hey buddy, just wanted to say thanks for this. I had read Alan Weiss’ Million Dollar Consulting where he described this process and I was going to have to spend some time trying to put it all together…and you came along. Thanks for sharing and saving me a ton of work!

    • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

      Glad I could help. I hope you get what you’re going after.

  • Randika

    exceelent stuff!….Randika Fernando

  • http://www.globalmarketforce.com Dave Cardwell

    good information!!!! Thanks

  • http://www.vmrcommunications.com Hugh Macken

    This is really helpful. I will be making use of the template. Thanks so much.

  • Tina

    Despite being an experienced product marketing professional, I still found your article and template to be extremely helpful.  You (and Alan Weiss) have provided practical advise and a useful tool (template).  Marketing is soooo important.  Thanks!

    Tina

    • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

      Thank you Tina!

  • http://twitter.com/tuckandvine Louis Fernando

    Thanks Kyle, this is great for someone like me who needs a bit of structure to start thinking about things. 

  • http://twitter.com/danieltrichards Daniel T. Richards

    Thanks, Kyle. Very helpful. You instantly became one of my new heroes. 

  • Kmorgante

    Kyle-
    This post has helped immensely. Now I can take my clusters of detail, ideas and options and form them into a concise proposal… Not to mention include additional information and check points I had not yet thought of. Good stuff- thanks for sharing.
    Kathleen

  • Hip Mama Media

    Great post, Kyle. The measurements and the options are often overlooked in proposals because marketers aren’t thinking more broadly and offering their clients the most attractive package possible. I agree that you can’t be too specific because you don’t have 100% control of the outcomes, but not offering any real benchmarks on the success of the project hurts your chances of winning the job. Good stuff!

  • Stacy

    Absolutely spectacular! Thank you so much. Will subscribe and continue to read.

  • oyewumi oluwasanmi kehinde

    This is a great guide to successful prospecting. lovely post!

  • RobbyV

    Such a great post my friend. Thank you so much for taking the time to lay this out.

  • RobbyV

    Great post! Just finished writing my proposal and couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks!

    • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

      Thanks for stopping by! Godspeed on your proposal.

  • CatherinePrendergast

    Very well written and informative! Thank you for the insight and for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  • Hossam

    This is really a Good Post and direct to the point without academic staff that has no meaning to the business

  • muranga

    Thanks for the post….may you increase in your endeavors for not selling this information.
    God bless
    Nelson

  • Ravi Vastrad

    Thanks so much Kyle, you have made it so simple to understand and apply the concept in varioud situations. You have an amazing gift share to this world to make a better place for every creation. To God be glory for great things He will accomplish for all who are available to work in His harvest.
    God Bless
    Ravi Vastrad

  • Bowens

    do you have to include the value to section? also, the objectives section…if they are provided to me for the project that I am writing the proposal for am I just using their objectives or creating my own for this section?

    • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

      Follow a plan that suits your needs/project the most…and by all means, don’t add to your workload. Use whatever details they provide. It’ll also display that you’re listening and acting on their needs.

  • Johnny Hodg

    Thank you Kyle! Just starting my career and needed direction. Thanks again

  • Deborah Ginsburg

    Great post! Very helpful and direct. Thank you for sharing your insight.

    • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Amanda Washburn

    Just came across this article and wanted to say thank you! You did a wonderful job and this is going to be very helpful for me. Just starting my own business and this gives me a head start. Continue the great work.

  • http://www.cliffhangercontent.com Christina Cordova

    Thank you! This was more helpful than you know, as I’ve never written a proposal before! And even if I don’t get the contract, at least I’ll know I looked professional in the whole pitching process :)

  • iangarlic

    Great post and thanks for sharing! I especially appreciate the doc!

    • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

      Glad I could help!

  • Debbie

    Thank you, great post, really appreciate.

    • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

      Thanks for stopping by Debbie!

  • Bobshoe

    Excellent post with valuable information. I genuinely appreciate that you offered a free template download. Because your advice is so on target, may I suggest that you don’t deprecate your ideas by promoting Alan Weiss’ Toolkit that is sadly so outdated — unless you think the Fax is the latest gadget.

    • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

      Thanks for the feedback Bobshoe. When I originally posted this, it was current. I’ll update it. Good idea.