Why is marketing planning essential?

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Marketing planning can benefit any business by ensuring a response to changes in the external environment and understanding internally the strengths and weaknesses of the business. The planning process will be unique to every business and will serve to achieve the business’s corporate objectives through a set of coordinated and carefully planned activities.

Marketing planning can benefit your business in the following ways:

  • As a key management tool: To ensure consistent information about products or services are delivered from top management.
  • A guide/roadmap for all core functions: To ensure that all departments understand the key objectives/goals surrounding your product or service offering.
  • An internal communication tool: To ensure that the plan is communicated consistently and you’re USP’s become an integral part of the business.
  • Allocation and direction of key planned activities: To ensure that the planned activities are given ownership and explained to the relevant stakeholders.
  • Enable cross-functional resource allocation: To ensure that training is given to all employees who are dealing with customers on a daily basis.
  • Enable performance measurement: To ensure that continual monitoring and reviews can take place and the necessary refinements and adjustments can be implemented in the future.

According to Philip Kotler, the central role of strategic planning relies on ‘successful marketing which requires companies to have capabilities such as understanding customer value, creating customer value, delivering, capturing and sustaining this. The marketing plan is the central instrument of directing and coordinating this effort.’

For marketing planning to be successful, the whole organisation needs to follow the established methods in order to control the company objectives and continually monitor any changes in the environment.

Management support from every area of a company is required for successful implementation of the plan.

With this in mind, it is important that marketing does not become wholly responsible for the plan and tasks are not carried out in isolation from the rest of the business.

Your in-house teams must work closely with operations, research and product development, finance and human resources to ensure that the plans are viable and realistic.

So in summary, marketing planning can help businesses deploy their resources to meet strategic ‘windows of opportunity’ such as major changes in the market – i.e:

  • New technology.
  • New market segments.
  • New channels of distribution.
  • Market redefinition where the nature of demand changes.
  • Legislative changes.
  • Sudden and unexpected economic and political change.

So in theory high quality marketing planning can lead to performance benefits and enhance market orientation but should not be viewed as an independent activity!

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