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How to do a Marketing Plan

Why marketing plan? 

  • Failure to plan is planning to fail
  • To understand your organisation and the changing environment that we operate in, so that you can identify opportunities and set goals and strategies for success
  • To put those goals and strategies in writing so that they provide a focus for the year, and so that their success (or failure) can be evaluated and recorded for the future
  • To communicate your club’s marketing strategy to members

How a marketing plan works

  • Marketing planning is a cyclical process which is never completed.
  • It starts with understanding your organisation, its history, members, strengths and weaknesses
  • Knowing your market and looking for opportunities that fit with your strengths
  • Setting goals and developing strategies and tactical plans
  • Making it happen – implementation
  • Evaluation -and then you start all over again as the organisation and environment is changing


  •  USP – unique selling point (or proposition) What sets your club apart from other organisations in your area?
  • Targeted markets –Don’t try to be all things to all women. Think instead of groups of similar women who might be attracted to your club.
  • Positioning relates to perception. What do women say and think about your club? Are you traditional, modern and fun-loving, political etc. (Positioning)
  • Marketing Mix – the elements of a marketing strategy. Product (or service/experience), price, place (or venue) and promotion typically make up the elements of a marketing strategy. The plan is customized to maximize the chances of attracting members of each target market.

Writing a Marketing Plan

  • · Keep it simple – remember why you are doing it.
  • · Keep it brief – Don’t write a book that won’t get read
  • · Make it suit your club
  • · Just do it – if the whole process seems too daunting – just make an annual “to do” list.

(Make a List)

 The Process

You might not follow all of these steps nor do them in this order. That’s OK. This is a general method not a recipe!


It’s usual to begin your marketing plan with a little background on your club. It sets the scene for

members and others that you might send your plan to. e.g. funding applications. You might include

a brief history of BPW and highlights from your record of achievement and action.


SITUATION ANALYSIS – where are you now?

Current Situation – for example

  •  Membership – how many, increasing or declining?
  •  Club in good heart or struggling?
  •  Are you achieving the BPW aims?

Competitors – in your area may include

  •  Organisations which are the voice of a particular grouping of women – for example Graduate Women, Rural Women, Maori women’s Welfare League. Country women’s Institute
  •  Service Clubs – for example Zonta, Soroptimists, Altrusa
  •  Business Networking Groups for example Her Business Network, Chamber of Commerce


  • · Social Clubs – for example Red Hat

Your Members

What is their age range, ethnic mix, educational and professional mix and so forth?

SWOT Analysis (SWOT Analysis)

– Strengths

– Weaknesses

– Opportunities

– Threats

Mostly (but not always) strengths and weaknesses are factors from within your club and opportunities and threats are factors outside your club. This is a good one to brainstorm at a meeting. Be honest now and no defensive reactions allowed! When you type these up after the meeting a table is a good way to display them.


Set a time frame – you may set long term – 5 year and short term 1 year goals

Set some really specific objectives

Membership – Do you want more members, younger members, greater ethnic mix, more skills.

Becoming more widely known in your community

 OUR MISSION – what do we stand for? What is important to us? What will we stand up and fight for?


What do you want to say about your club in 5 years?


Do not lose sight of the BPW aims. They should be your reason for existing

 Unique Selling Point

Look at your SWOT analysis – what sets you club apart from its competitors?

General Positioning Statement

What do you want women and the community to think and say about your Club? E.g. BPW Abc is the club where women will find a unique mix of political action and social interaction. BPW Xyz is a very friendly club and a good place to meet likeminded women.



This is broad brush stuff. Pick two or three things that if you did them well would make a difference

to your club. Some likely possibilities are

Raise your profile – so that more women will want to join.

Keep the BPW aims in sight and achieve something specific towards each of them each

year – success breeds success

Use the BPW brand so that BPW generally will become better known

Improve Club Management to become more appealing to existing members


Think about groups of similar women in your community who could be interested in joining. Likely

candidates –

– New business owners

– Women just like you

– Migrant women

– Younger women

For each of these do a little mini marketing plan

Product: BPW Club membership, with affiliation to BPWNZ and BPWI.

Price: Should you have different prices for different groups of women? Will your sub cover club running costs as well as BPW levies, or will you charge the bare minimum and make up the difference at your monthly meetings and events.

Place: Do you need to hold a mix of meeting styles to attract different groups. Perhaps a networking

style after work for younger women?

Promotion: How will you promote your club to the target markets that you have identified?

 Implementation- working your way through the plan to make it happen

Look at both your strategies and the groups of women that might join your club. Make a list of practical things that you can do this year to make it happen. Be very specific, allocate a person to be responsible for each, set a deadline (may be on-going) and set a budget where appropriate.

A table is a good way to set this up. Review it at least every 6 months.

Short of skills? Do what small businesses do – find mentors for your club. There will be women in the community who have neither the time nor the inclination to join a club. However they may be willing to mentor in a particular management or marketing skill area either on a one-off or on-going basis.


Marketing is about 1% brilliant ideas and 99% good old fashioned stick-ability. Be persistent and get good habits. (Get Good Habits.)

 More Resources

The Internet has a wealth of information on marketing and marketing plans. I’m not going to list them here as there is so much out there and the web changes all the time. A quick search for ‘marketing plan nfp’ will yield heaps of information relating to not for profit marketing.

For more information the following hand-outs are very helpful:


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