How to Create a ‘Back of A Napkin’ Marketing Strategy Plan? Sometimes, you get stuck by an idea or a dream, and you get so mesmerised that you want to lay your hands on the next paper you find and start everything at once. We all have been there, but if I tell you businesses are no different in this aspect, would you believe me? Let’s find out more in this blog post and Create a Back of a Napkin Marketing Plan.

Back of a Napkin Marketing Plan

You must have heard that once a famous artist whilst sitting in a cafe’ in Paris’s streets got a brilliant idea for his/her next masterpiece. If I tell you that these miracles happen in the business world, you might find it strange. Still, yes, we have numerous examples of the successful back of a napkin marketing plan.

You must have heard that ideas and inspiration can strike you in the most unexpected spaces with unexpected people. If you have worked in the business world, you might not find it strange when I’ll tell you that most important decisions are not taken in the air-conditioned conference rooms but during tea breaks or our beloved Chai par Charcha.

Let’s get round the table and unravel this little piece of a napkin business plan and how you can create one in this article together.

What is a Napkin Business Plan?

If you have watched the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, we saw that Imraan Qureshi’s biological father Salman Habib played by Farhan Akhtar’s character Naseeruddin Shah, asks him what you do for a living and he answers by writing Jingles. Salman proceeds and asks him what he actually does for himself, and he replies- “I write poetry.”

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara


Similarly, formalised business plans in the organisation explain the vision, strategies and mission to the outsiders for numerous purposes. On the other hand, back of a napkin marketing plan is the poetry written by firms for themselves. The verses of this poem reflect your own vision and the goals that you set for your firm.

This back of a napkin plan should be the most used document in the firm as it carries your vision, mission, objectives and the strategies.

You might be thinking why not be content with a formalised plan when everybody knows about it inside and outside the organisation. The back of a napkin marketing plan is informal, and as is on the back of a napkin, it can be tweaked and improved as time goes on. Hence, it eliminates the need for commitment while you grow and improve yourself.

Now we know what is meant by a napkin plan, let’s move on and learn how do you create an effective plan using the two most essential things- Your imagination and a Napkin, literally.

How to Create a Back of a Napkin Marketing Plan?

The best method to create a back of a napkin marketing plan is to pick up a pen and the nearest piece of paper you can lay your hands on and start writing your plan. Yes, I am serious, it is as simple as it sounds, but you might disagree with me, and I understand your concern- What exactly to write? What is the plan I am talking about?

Its time I answer you- What are the steps in creating a marketing plan? Let’s tackle this plan first and then we’ll delve into What exactly to write and how?

We all have in one point in our lives have heard the phrase- If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This is so common it’s almost a cliché, but what exactly is a marketing plan? What are its components, and what do we get out of marketing planning?

I will try to answer these questions in this article and first consider what a marketing plan is?

What is Marketing Strategic Planning?

Have you ever wondered why some firms go out of business like-Ambassador cars, Luna Moped and some continue to run for many years like Nestle and PepsiCo? The answer to this lies in that the firms couldn’t plan properly and could not adapt to changing times and simply vanished.

Market Strategic Planning

So Strategic planning is a process of creating and maintaining a fit between a firm’s objectives, resources and the evolving marketing opportunities. In the managerial world, it is done via several frameworks like SWOT, PESTLE or simply by keen observation.

The formalised planning process in the business world should ideally come from the firm’s individual independent units and then is consolidated by higher-level managers to have a consistent vision and mission throughout the organisation.

Now, armed with this knowledge, we move on to the components of a Marketing Plan and see how we can create a back of a napkin marketing plan on our own.

Marketing Plan Elements

Marketing plan elements just like your clothes will not fit everyone and are always different for different firms and even within firms are sometimes not the same. This, however, does not imply that basics are different. Just as fabric, thread, and knitting form the basis of your clothes, some elements are common to all business plans.

The fundamental constituents of your napkin business plan are these elements. Let’s have a look at them pictorially-

Back of a Napkin Marketing Plan

The mission will tell you what you aspire for, the situation will tell you what the world is telling you to do. After finding a balance between the two, you will look for a sustainable objective.

This will prompt you to have a marketing strategy using a marketing mix to achieve your objective. An implementation plan will help you realise your goals and the most crucial aspect is the evaluation of your goals.

These elements are a must-have in your napkin business plan. Still, no, I am not limiting you to only incorporate these.

Hey this your napkin, your own canvas and you are the artist. You can use this picture above as a guide but don’t forget you can add as many elements of our own as you see fit.

The back of a napkin marketing plan allows you the freedom to check your elements from time to time. Then you can alter your strategies, objectives or your goals after your evaluation. This evolving process gives you the room to continuously keep a check on your business and continuous development.

You now know how you create an effective plan. It’s time to look at an example of an e-marketing plan using the back of a napkin and let’ learn by example and finally create a back of a napkin marketing plan by ourselves.

Example of a Back of a Napkin Marketing Plan [e-Marketing Plan]

I’ll give an example of a fictitious firm losing website conversion rate even after everybody is accessing everything online after the onset of a pandemic. While pondering over the issue, the marketing officer wants to have a plan to increase the firm’s website traffic by over 20%. He/ She has come with this number on their own.

Let’s use our knowledge and create a back of a napkin marketing plan for them.

Back of a Napkin Marketing Plan

The firm has a clear objective to grow traffic by 20%. Now, let us talk a bit about their consumers. Almost everybody has started to spend more and more time online and are going for consumer-friendly and easy to navigate sites. Consumers prefer comfort over other aspects.

The next step is to come up with a strategy to revamp the existing website. The firm will have to look at its own resources and decide whether to outsource the operations or hire somebody to do the job.

The implementation will also include a checking system which will be website analytics to confirm if there is actually an increase of 20% or not.

The plan seems simple right and covers every single aspect. Also, if you are interested in looking at the back of a napkin strategy plan for content strategy, have a look at this video here-

Now, let’s grab a piece of paper and start with your own Back of a Napkin Marketing Plan.

Why You Need a Back of a Napkin plan?

You might be wondering why you need a back of a napkin marketing plan when you already have a formal business plan? What is the need for an informal plan when you already have you set goals written in the formal one?


The answer lies in the difference between the two plans. The formal business plan is mostly used to convey people outside the organisation like the financers, investors to communicate the goals, vision, strategy and implementation.

The back of a napkin plan is highly effective in working through the initial stages of any new business plan, business idea, a product idea or a new issue. The flexibility provided by the napkin plan helps one to continuously evolve and get better at decision making.

Consider if you are the CEO and is launching a new product in the market. You and your team are continuously evolving to better the product, and every day you learn a unique aspect. If you keep updating your formal plan every day, the process is time-consuming, require your considerable resources and is not even required by your financers.

In this case, having a back of a napkin plan will help you be on top of things and help you translate your vision into reality.

And now you have the sufficient expertise to create a Back of a Napkin Marketing Plan.


In this blog post, you learned how to create a back of a napkin Marketing Plan. This entails a thorough understanding of a few things like-

  • A back of a napkin plan is an informal plan that helps businesses plan and evaluates their new strategies.
  • The plan has few fundamental components common to all Back of a Napkin Plans and is your vision, internal and external analysis, followed by the formulation of objectives. To achieve the objectives, a marketing strategy is devised along with implementation and an evaluation system.
  • The back of a napkin plan is highly effective in working through the initial stages of any new business plan, business idea, a product idea or a new issue.
  • The flexibility provided by the napkin plan helps one to continuously evolve and get better at decision making.

I am sure you can Create your Own Back of a Napkin Marketing Plan and help yourself grow and continuously achieve your objectives.

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About the Author:

Tanisha is an MBA student at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Rohtak. and has completed her B.E in Chemical engineering from the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar. A marketing enthusiast at heart, her favorite subjects at IIM Rohtak are (obviously) marketing management and data analytics. She is curious all the time, loves to cook, and aims to start her own start-up in the food industry. She also loves to read magical realism. To contact her, drop a message on LinkedIn.
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