Join Drew Boyd for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the planning process, part of Marketing Foundations.
President Dwight Eisenhower once said, plans are nothing, planning is everything. There's a lot of truth to that. Although you'll come out of this process with a written document, it's the planning process itself that allows you to learn about your competitive situation, to make tough choices, and to align your team. You can start the process any time, but an important consideration is how and when your company does its annual business planning process.
That's where the company develops financial forecasts, investments, budgets and so on. Now, generally speaking, there are two ways to connect the marketing planning with the business planning. Some companies start the marketing planning process first. Right around the middle of the fiscal year. Each marketing team develops their own sales revenue forecast, for their assigned products. They also develop a budget to spend on marketing programs that they think are needed to achieve those revenue forecasts.
Those forecasts and budgets are combined into a company-level revenue forecast and budget. And that's fed directly into the annual business planning process. Now some companies do just the opposite. They start with the business planning process, where they develop an overall revenue goal and spending target, and then those are divided and given to the individual marketing teams. Those teams now have to take those targets and develop the best marketing plan they can to achieve those goals.
The marketing planning process has four phases. In the analysis phase, you'll learn about your customers in terms of how and why they buy your product. You'll analyze the competition, and how they compare to your company in terms of strengths and weaknesses. You'll also analyze the overall market, to understand its potential. And where the most attractive segments of the market are, to earn revenue. In the strategy phase, you'll use what you've learned to make decisions around segmenting the market, targeting specific parts of those segments.
And ultimately, how you will position your products and services to win over customers. In the tactical phase, you'll create marketing programs to execute your strategy. You'll make decisions around your products and services, and how they have to perform in delivering benefits to your customers. You'll set prices. You'll create sales support material. And you'll develop a marketing communications campaign. And finally is the measurement phase. As the name implies, this is the part of the process where you find out if you're achieving what you expected to achieve.
But it's not just measuring sales. It's finding out if you're getting business from the customers you expected to get business from, and it's also finding out if they bought your products and services for the reasons you expected. The measurement phase helps you know if you're getting a good return on your marketing investments. A good marketer is disciplined, and doesn't cut corners in the planning process. It takes time and lots of hard work, but in the end, it's worth it.
You'll also learn to address tactical challenges and present the plan to get buy-in throughout an organization, from the C-suite to the sales team, as well as use the marketing plan to guide outside agencies and vendors. Finally, you'll learn how to launch the campaign and measure its performance.
- Marketing in an organization
- Assembling the team
- Creating the marketing plan
- Analyzing your products, customers, and market
- Segmenting customers
- Creating a value proposition
- Developing a strategy
- Setting goals
- Setting prices
- Using social media
- Presenting your plan to leadership
- Budgeting your plan
- Measuring success