Introduction:

A marketing proposal is, in simple terms, a tool used by marketers to sell an idea or project to a client. 

But the world of marketing is cut-throat and competitive and landing the best clients, the biggest names, and the best pay, means writing the best marketing proposals.

Use this 'Marketing Proposal Template' checklist to do just that!

Use it alongside the proposal document you plan to submit to make sure you include detailed strategy ideas, accurate delivery time frames, and competitive estimated costs. But most importantly, use it to make sure you WOW the client with your proposal. 

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Enter company details

Enter your details in the fields below. 

Enter proposal reviewer details

Enter details about the person/company who will be reviewing your proposal in the fields below. 

Pre-Proposal Tasks:

Study the RFP criteria

Upload the request for proposal guidelines, study them carefully, and list out the key RFP requirements in the field below.

They may specify evaluation criteria and allocate a certain number of points to specific sections or components. 

Missing or incomplete items often result in outright rejection or at least a lower score, which will limit your chances of success. 

If there are many new requirements, in addition to those included in this checklist, consider updating this checklist with each requirement as a new task.

Read this to find out how. 

Research the proposal reviewer

The more you know about the person who will be reviewing your proposal, the better you can tailor your proposal to meet their requirements.

Look at the following sources of information to find out more about your funder:

  • 1
    Their website
  • 2
    LinkedIn profiles
  • 3
    Annual reports
  • 4
    Success stories of previous grants
  • 5
    Staff biographies

Answer the following questions to make sure you know your proposal reviewer inside out: 

Conduct a competitor analysis

Research your competition to identify potential weaknesses or gaps. Record your findings below and use this information to help inform your GAP and SWOT analysis. 

Conduct a GAP analysis

Conduct a GAP analysis to assess the current situation as it is, and the desired situation if your proposal was to be accepted.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

Identify and record the strengths and opportunities that will exist if your proposal is accepted. 

Identify and record the potential weaknesses and threats that may exist if your proposal is rejected. 

Define the problem/need

Using the information gathered in tasks 5 - 9, think about the purpose of your proposal.

Answer the following questions to get your thoughts together so you can begin writing your proposal with some clear direction. 

Plan your proposal

Proposals are often organized into distinct sections. These sections can have different titles depending on the guidelines specified by the organization, but they frequently serve the same purposes.

Review the guidelines to see if they have specified a structure to follow.

If they have asked you to follow a specific structure, make sure you have a plan for each section they have requested.

If they haven’t specified a structure, list out what you might include in the following sections:

Choose a title

Your proposal title needs to be catchy, descriptive, informative and pre-dispose the reader favorably towards the proposal.

Brainstorm potential title ideas and record them below.

Run each title option through the below criteria and choose the final title by selecting the title which best meets the criteria. 

Record your final title in the field below. 

  • 1
    Is it concise?
  • 2
    Is it descriptive?
  • 3
    Is it informative?
  • 4
    Is it catchy?
  • 5
    Does it predispose the reader, favorably, towards the proposal?

Add this to your proposal document cover sheet 

Writing the Proposal:

Write your executive summary

Your executive summary should state exactly why you're sending the proposal and why your solution is the best for the prospective client.

After reading your executive summary, even if they don't read the full proposal, the prospect should have a clear idea of how you can help them. This is where you should present the case for why you are the right company for the job, and give the reader the key message of the proposal. focus on the conclusions you want the reader to reach after reading it.

This is what you planned to include in your executive summary: {{form.Executive_Summary}}

Make sure your executive summary includes the following: 

  • 1
    A statement of the problem/need for your project/program/activity
  • 2
    The purpose of project/program/activity
  • 3
    Project/program/activity goals or objectives
  • 4
    The significance of the project/program/activity

Write your company overview

Your company overview should include vital details about your company. It should describe the vision and direction of the company so the reviewer can develop an accurate impression of who you are.

This is what you planned to include in the company overview: {{form.Company_Overview}}

This is your company's mission, vision, and values: {{form.Your_Company's_Mission,_Vision_and_Values}}

As a guide, make sure the company overview section in your proposal document answers the following questions: 

  • 1
    Where are you located?
  • 2
    How large is the company?
  • 3
    What do you do as a company?
  • 4
    What do you hope to accomplish as a company?

Write your need/problem statement

This section provides you with the opportunity to show the reviewer that you have a clear understanding of their needs or the problem they need help solving.

Develop a clear, concise description of the problem or situation in the need/problem statement section of your proposal document.

For example, you could describe the problem's impact, both in social and economic costs. You could show how your proposal could change the way people live.

You must convince the proposal reviewer that what you propose to do is essential and that your organization is the right one to do it.

Use the competitor, SWOT, and GAP analysis to explain why your proposal is important. 

Competitor analysis findings:{{form.Competitor_Research_Findings:}}

GAP analysis findings: {{form.GAP_Analysis_Findings}}

Strengths & opportunities: {{form.Strengths_&_Opportunities}}

Weaknesses & threats: {{form.Weaknesses_&_Threats}}

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.Problem/Need_Statement}}

Answer these questions to help pinpoint your problem statement: 

  • 1
    How it is responding to a gap in resources, knowledge, or opportunity that needs to be filled?
  • 2
    How will the project/action/program make a wider, positive impact?

Confirm your solution

In the solution section of your proposal document, define what will occur as a result of your project/program/activity.

Make sure your proposed solution is customized to the client's needs so they know you've created this proposal specifically for them

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.Solution}}

To make sure your solution is clear, concise and customized to the client's needs, answer the following questions before you write up the solution section in your proposal document: 

Include your experience

In your proposal document, be sure to include relevant qualifications, awards, case studies, client testimonials, and information from previous projects to showcase your experience, demonstrate why they can trust you to deliver, and prove you're the best choice.

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.Experience}}

Establish the deliverables & timeline

Use the information established in task 17 to pinpoint specific deliverables. Each deliverable should be clearly identified in terms of what the client should expect to receive as part of your solution. 

These should be specific and never over- or under-promise.

The timeline indicates the client when the deliverables will be completed. 

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.Deliverables_&_Timeline}}

Use the below as a framework to help you create this section in your proposal document.

Confirm the budget

Provide a breakdown of all direct and indirect costs involved in the budget section of your proposal.

Include costs that directly relate to the benefit being created, including production, marketing or distribution costs. 

Include indirect costs that are not directly identified with the project benefits, including facilities use, utilities, support staff, insurance, and legal /accounting expenses. 

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.Budget}}

Clarify your terms & conditions

Your terms & conditions are essentially a summary of what you and the client are agreeing to if they accept your proposal. Make sure you go into specific detail about the project timeline, pricing, and payment schedules.

Upload your terms & conditions below and make sure you send them to the legal team before adding them to the proposal.

Include a key CTA

Figure out the appropriate call to action for that particular client and project, and end your proposal with it.

As an example, you could state your desire to take the conversation further. Or request an eSignature to initiate the project.

Pre-Submission Tasks:

Check the aesthetics

Read through your proposal and check for the following aesthetic/formatting errors: 

  • 1
    Is there a title page with all the necessary information describing this document?
  • 2
    Does the organization of the proposal enhance the content and make it easy to find/avoid types of information?
  • 3
    Are the margins consistent?
  • 4
    Is pagination accurate?
  • 5
    Did you use a consistent type-style?
  • 6
    Did you use sign-posting and color coding where appropriate?
  • 7
    Have you used visual aids such as charts, tables, diagrams where appropriate?

Check the structure

Read through your proposal and check it follows the EXACT structure stated in the guidelines.

If the guidelines do not specify a structure to follow, make check your proposal has the following sections at least: 

  • Title page
  • Table of contents
  • Executive summary 
  • Problem/need statement 
  • Solution
  • Experience
  • Deliverables & timeline 
  • Budget
  • Terms & conditions
  • Key CTA

Check the language

Read through your proposal again and answer the following questions to make sure your proposal is informative and interesting to read: 

  • 1
    Is the language uncluttered and concise?
  • 2
    Have you avoided using technical terms and jargon wherever possible?
  • 3
    Do you use objective language?
  • 4
    Have you avoided subjective terms?
  • 5
    Is the tone friendly but informative?
  • 6
    Is it written in a storytelling style?

Send your proposal to a "cold reader" to review

Upload the first draft of your finished proposal document and send it to a "cold reader" to review. Give them a copy of the proposal guidelines/requirements, but little other information.

Ask them to read the proposal quickly (as this is how the proposal reviewer is likely to view your proposal) and ask them to answer the following two questions: 

  • Do they understand it?
  • Does it make sense?

Implement their feedback

Update your current proposal document and record the feedback you have received for future proposals.

Check the proposal against the RFP

Read the proposal through for the final time.

Double-check it is aligned with the RFP guidelines.

Here are the key RFP requirements: {{form.List_Key_RFP_Requirements:}}

Answer these questions before uploading the final proposal document, ready for internal approval: 

  • 1
    Have you presented a compelling case?
  • 2
    Does your project seem feasible? Is it overly ambitious? Does it have other weaknesses?
  • 3
    Have you stated the means that reader can use to evaluate the success of your project after you’ve executed it?

Send for internal approval

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Check the proposal against the RFP
    Will be submitted

Submit the proposal

Submit your proposal in-line with any requirements. 

{{form.Final_Proposal}}

Sources:

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