Author:
Anna McCollum
Subject:
Marketing
Material Type:
Textbook
Level:
High School, Community College / Lower Division
Tags:
License:
Creative Commons Attribution
Language:
English

The Marketing Plan in Action

The Marketing Plan in Action

Overview

Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution

Outcome: The Marketing Plan in Action

Explain how the marketing plan is used by marketing and the overall organization

In the first few modules of the course we discussed the importance of the marketing planning process to create alignment between marketing activities, company objectives, and the corporate mission. At that point we hadn’t discussed the elements of the marketing plan in any detail, so we focused on the general outline of the planning process. But now you’re miles down the road, having learned about the marketing mix and many other elements of the marketing plan. It’s the perfect time to circle back and revisit the planning process and see the marketing plan in action.

The specific things you’ll learn in this section include:

  • Discuss how the marketing plan is used to coordinate efforts between the marketing team and other parts of the organization
  • Explain how the marketing plan is used to track progress, evaluate impact, and adjust course where needed
  • Explain why and how to update the marketing plan

Learning Activities

  • Reading: Using and Updating the Marketing Plan
  • Self Check: The Marketing Plan in Action

 

Licenses and Attributions

CC licensed content, Original

  • Outcome: The Marketing Plan in Action. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution

Reading: Using and Updating the Marketing Plan

 

The Marketing Planning Process: a 7 layer process. Corporate Mission leads to Situational Analysis which leads to both Internal Factors (Strengths & Weaknesses) and External Factors (Opportunities & Threats). These both lead to Corporate Strategy (Objectives & Tactics) which leads to Marketing Strategy (Objectives & Tactics) which leads to the four Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion which all center around the Target Market. The final layer is Implementation and Evaluation.

Creating Alignment

The marketing plan captures the outputs from the marketing planning process in one cohesive document. If the plan is done well, it puts a plan in place that aligns the marketing strategy, objectives, and tactics with the corporate mission. It also supports the corporate objectives and strategy, which creates alignment with other functions across the company.

While this alignment is assumed, the presentation and formalization of the marketing plan often surfaces misalignment. Perhaps the finance team had assumed that the promotion strategy was not central to the plan and had reduced the budget. Perhaps the supply chain team had not recognized how aggressive the new product plans were and is not staffed to support them. While it is frustrating to identify points of confusion and misalignment, it is always best to do that in the planning process before it has impact on customers and on the market.

The marketing plan acts as a mechanism to communicate with other functions and to check for alignment.

Clarifying the Action Plan

There are many reasons why organizations fail to execute effectively, but many can be traced back to communication. When a large marketing organization begins to execute a plan, it’s important that everyone understands what the goals are, but it’s equally important to know which analysis supports (or possibly undermines) the plan. If a marketer is not fully aware of competitive threats that have been identified, then he may unknowingly make trade-offs that fail to address the competitive risk. If a product marketer is deeply focused on defining a new product and bringing it to market, she might not be aware of significant dependencies on the supply chain and distribution channels.

Similarly, in small organizations, there is a tendency to jump over the analysis and simply do what needs to be done. The marketing plan requires a greater level of rigor and serves to communicate that rigor to the rest of the team. The marketing plan is also a requirement of most funders (banks and investors alike), because it forces a degree of discipline on small businesses, which they may not already have.

The marketing plan is an important tool to communicate detailed plans within the marketing function.

Informing Adjustments and New Strategies

As soon as the first activity identified in the plan is executed, the marketing plan begins to be outdated. The more successful the plan is, the more quickly it will require a significant revision. If you are able to identify and implement a strategy that results in tremendous success, that will change the competitive dynamics and cause other companies to adjust their strategy and tactics.

Moreover, each action will generate new market data about what works and what doesn’t work. This creates opportunities for new analysis and better strategies.

Sometimes an organization can get away with small quarterly updates to the marketing plan and major annual revisions. Other times, the market has shifted enough by the end of one quarter that a completely new approach is warranted—or a more aggressive implementation of the current approach. Either way, a regular update to the marketing plan allows for new analysis informed by new market experience, opportunities to realign plans with other functions, and the chance to inform others within the marketing function so that the team can learn and evolve together.

 

Licenses and Attributions

CC licensed content, Original

  • Reading: Using and Updating the Marketing Plan. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution

Self Check: The Marketing Plan in Action

Check Your Understanding

Answer the question(s) below to see how well you understand the topics covered in the previous section. This short quiz does not count toward your grade in the class, and you can retake it an unlimited number of times.

Use this quiz to check your understanding and decide whether to (1) study the previous section further or (2) move on to the next section.

 

Licenses and Attributions

CC licensed content, Original

  • Self Check: The Marketing Plan in Action. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution