How to Write a Marketing Plan You Can Actually Stick To

Whether you’re still pre-launch or you’re actively trying to grow your fashion startup, you need a great marketing plan in place to help you produce real results. A marketing plan will help you make sure you stay on track, stay on message, and work towards the goals you set for yourself and your startup. However, it’s often a lot easier said than done–making a plan can be easy, but sticking to it when you have a million other things to think about is tricky.

To make sure you write a strong plan that will hold up through all your growing pains, here are a few quick tips for creating a great marketing plan for your fashion startup that you can actually stick to.

1. Use a very simple framework or template.

Your marketing plan should hit a few key points: objective, value proposition, audience, pricing, promotions, distribution channels, and KPIs. You can easily find plenty of templates online to work from, but don’t feel the obligation to use a super detailed, comprehensive one.

Imagine opening up your marketing plan again three months down the road. If it’s a fifteen-page document, chances are pretty good that you’re not going to review the whole thing. In addition, so many things will have changed, that it’ll be outdated and less useful. Keep it simple and high-level, and it’ll be a lot more likely to stand the test of time. Your weekly promotions might change by next quarter, but your overall objectives, customer personas, and KPIs shouldn’t.

2. Make it a thought exercise.

Keep in mind that the most important thing to come out of your marketing plan is simply the fact that you’ve thought this through. Don’t leave your marketing plan to chance or the last minute. Make sure to devote some real attention and thought into what you want to achieve with your brand, your marketing channels, and your campaigns.

Think through what you’d do in certain scenarios, good and bad. Look at brands you love and competitors in your space to consider their marketing strategies for reference. You can learn a lot from what’s working for competitors, even if you don’t do exactly what they’re doing.

3. Write a base plan, and then add in bonus opportunities.

Consider your base-case scenario: what do you want to achieve as a baseline? Narrow it down by consumer segment, or down to a few priority marketing channels. Consider what resources you have available to carve out for marketing no matter what. Once you’ve built that baseline, then you can start layering in additional opportunities and campaigns that you can make optional.

If you’re not selling as quickly as you’d hoped, you’ll find it easier to know what to cut quickly that way. And on the other hand, if things are going well, if you’re selling better than expected, you can invest more in marketing. This flexible strategy is especially good for when you find out that certain marketing channels are converting more cheaply than you expected, because you can funnel more budget and effort into those!

4. Build in tests and hypotheses.

Leave plenty of room in your marketing plan to test. You certainly won’t know right off the bat which campaigns and which distribution channels are going to work best for you (although you probably do have a hypothesis). So, don’t go and spend all your budget in the beginning if you’re not sure what’s going to work best. Instead, save some of those resources to dedicate towards what is working the best after a few weeks or a few months into your marketing plan.

Make sure you know what you’re testing (and be sure to write it into your plan). For example, if you think that your customers will respond best on channels like Instagram and Pinterest, but you also want to test Facebook and Twitter too, just in case, build your marketing strategy so that these channels are comparable and you’re actually measuring the same KPIs for each channel. That way, you’ll be able to tell if your conversion rate and your CPA are better on Instagram and Pinterest, as you expected.

5. Be detailed in the short-term, high-level in the long-term.

Now that you’ve written out a broader, high-level plan, you can start adding more detail upfront for the first month or two of your marketing strategy. You should be getting into weekly (if not daily) detail here in terms of spending, priorities, content production, campaign timelines, etc.

Most entrepreneurs will tell you that a majority of their plans for six months out end up changing for one reason or another. However, the early weeks are a lot less likely to shift, and you want to be able to have a calendar to check in with while you are busy with all the other priorities you’re facing in running your business.

As you progress and learn, you can start adding in more detail week by week so that you’re always ready to go with details about a month in advance. Your larger, strategic vision should be there for the next quarter or six months, but it won’t need to be as detailed.

6. Create reasonable milestones and checkpoints.

Make sure to set aside checkpoints for yourself and your team to take a step back and take stock of what you’ve achieved so far. Are you hitting your goals? Are you setting the right goals? What campaigns, distribution channels, and team resources are working the best for you, and which aren’t?

It can be easy to get swept up in all the madness that goes into growing your fashion startup, and it’s important to review and learn from what you have accomplished so far. Don’t wait until you’re one year in before doing a review. Instead, you should be setting checkpoints on a monthly basis, at least.

What kind of questions are you facing when trying to write your fashion startup’s marketing plan? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

Marissa Fortson

Marissa is a consultant and advisor to startups and emerging brands on all thing brand and digital marketing. She loves working with passionate founders to launch and grow great consumer brands, with the help of creative, cohesive marketing campaigns. Based in LA, she's worked with companies like DogVacay, Disney, Sandwich Video, Harper Wilde, and NomNomNow. In her free time, you'll probably find her on a hike with her pups or on a last-minute road trip to yet another national park. Say hello to her at

  1. Tehmina

    Hi, Can you recommend some good marketing plan templates? Some that you know have worked well?

  2. Zack Jones

    Hey, I’m starting up a new clothing line and I’ve never worked in the fashion department before. When is a reasonable time to start making your first products? I don’t have a manufacturer. I have ideas for a marketing campaign and a target consumer audience. Along with a general outline of what I’m thinking of making. Not to mention my budget is scarce. I’m putting lots of time and dedication into this. I’ve always loved putting styles together out of stuff that I find at goodwill just because I’ve been on a budget my whole life. And I’m thinking this clothing line will help me financially and it’s something that I enjoy doing that I can give back to the people.

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