The approaching new calendar year brings with it a new sense of drive and determination – a drive to make the next year’s business results even better. To determine how to improve next year’s marketing performance, ask yourself a simple question – Did you plan your marketing or did you react to opportunities placed in front of you?
For many organisations, their marketing plans failed simply because they just started doing marketing, without a strategic plan. It’s easy to understand the need for strategic marketing planning, but creating a strategic marketing plan is notoriously the most difficult of all marketing tasks.
The strategic marketing planning process involves a daunting task – bringing together into a realistic, well timed, budgeted plan for all of the elements of marketing that will help you meet your business objectives and hit your sales targets.
Achieving this, will require careful compromise between conflicting objectives and some difficult decision making. And there is no doubt that different directors in an organisation may have strong ideas and objectives for their particular area of the business. Conflict and compromise is inevitable and all part of the planning process.
The complexity of your planning will also be influenced by any number of factors: your company size, international markets, your market share, the competitive environments you operate in, technology and your financial position.
Is it realistic for an inexperienced marketer to be able to pull this plan together successfully?
Strategic marketing planning involves a systematic approach, difficult decision-making and dedicated time. It also requires an understanding that there can be marketing objectives and strategies at all levels in marketing – social media strategies, advertising and promotion strategies, sales strategies, and pricing strategies. Pulling all of these into a coherent executable plan will keep your marketing resource and budget focussed on the right things and improve your results.
As you review or set your business objectives and your sales forecasts for 2013, remember that this activity alone does not determine HOW your objectives and targets will be met. The HOW will come from a marketing strategy.