Marketing Planning as a Continuous Process
Dr. Brian Monger
Although most books on marketing planning portray the process as a series of discrete, straightforward steps, the process is, in fact, a continuous interplay of assumptions, objectives, strategies, programs and budgets, with a constant movement backwards and forwards, from the general to the specific, and with some stages occurring concurrently rather than consecutively.” That is, it’s not possible to start at one point and proceed step by step to the end. As you progress, you will need to go back and forth adding and adjusting elements.
Planning is, or should be, a continuous activity of marketing management, rather than an irregular act. Doing a plan once a year and never reviewing and adjusting it is not realistic or practical.
Planning is the principle activity of a manager. Implementation – “doing the work” – is another job. Management planning has real worth. Just doing things, working hard (sweat equity) is not an effective or efficient use of resources. Planning aims at giving better returns on invested resources.
Every organisation is the scene of continuous decision-making and problem-solving, but this should not be confused with marketing planning and control. The latter is a separate and higher-order activity which often rewards the organisation with improved sales and profit.
Expressed in its simplest form, if the purpose of planning is to answer three central questions:
- Where is the organisation now? (Marketing Audit)
- Where does the organisation want to go? (Goals and Objectives and Opportunity Analyses)
- How should the organisation organise its resources to get there? (Plan – Strategy and Tactics)