The marketing planning process involves both the development of objectives and specifications for how they will be accomplished.
The marketing planning process has evolved to provide a framework for all four of these activities. For small organisations this is a straightforward process involving well established stages and, if required, the production of a document, ‘The Marketing Plan’.
Often this can be used as the basis for negotiations with organisations such as – banks which can provide start-up finance for a new venture or additional finance for expansion.
The steps involved in the marketing planning process are:-
1. Business Review 2. Problems and Opportunities 3. Sales Objectives 4. Target Markets and Marketing Objectives 5. Plan Strategies
6. Communication Goals 7. Tactical Marketing Mix Tools 8. Budget, Payback Analysis and Calendar 9. Execution 10. Evaluation.
Marketing Planning Process and Steps
Marketing Planning Process – Analysing Marketing Opportunities, Researching and Selecting Target Markets, Designing Marketing Strategies and a Few Others
The marketing planning process consists of:
1) Analysing marketing opportunities,
2) Researching and selecting target markets,
3) Designing marketing strategies,
4) Planning marketing programmes and organizing,
5) Implementing and controlling the marketing effort.
1) Analysing Market Opportunities:
The first & foremost task of the Market Planning process is to identify its potential long-run opportunities given its market experience and core-competencies. The firm has to evaluate its various opportunities, it has to manage a reliable marketing research and information system once the firm has analyzed its market opportunities, and it is ready to select target markets.
2) Developing Marketing Strategies:
After selecting the target market, the firm has to develop a positioning strategy. Different decision tools and controls are needed at different stages of the new product development process. After launch, the product’s strategy will need modification at the different stages in the product life cycle. Finally, strategy will have to take into account changing global opportunities and challenges.
3) Planning Marketing Programs:
To transform marketing strategy into marketing programs, marketing managers must make basic decisions on marketing expenditures, marketing mix and marketing allocation
4) Managing the Marketing Effort:
The final step in the marketing process is organizing the marketing resources and them implementing and controlling the marketing plan. The company must build a marketing organization that is capable of implementing the marketing plan. Because of surprise and disappointment as marketing plans are implemented, the company needs feedback and control.
There are three types of marketing control:
a) Annual Plan Control – It is the task of ensuring that the company is achieving its current sales, profit and other goals.
b) Profitability Control – It is the task of measuring the actual profitability of products, customer groups, etc.
c) Strategic Control – It is the task of evaluating whether the company’s marketing strategy is appropriate to market conditions.
Marketing Planning Process – 5 Basic Steps: Determination of Organisational Objectives, Assessing Organisational Resources, Marketing Strategy and a Few Others
The marketing planning process involves both the development of objectives and specifications for how they will be accomplished.
There are five basic steps in the process:
1. Determination of Organisational Objectives:
The basic objectives, or goals, of the organisation are the starting point for marketing planning. They serve as the foundation from which marketing objectives and plans are built. These objectives provide direction for all phases of the organisation and serve as standards in evaluating performance. Soundly conceived goals should be S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-specific.
2. Assessing Organisational Resources:
Planning strategies are influenced by a number of factors both within and outside the organisation. Organisational resources include capabilities in production, marketing, finance, technology, and personnel. By evaluating these resources, organisations can pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. Strengths help organisations set objectives, develop plans for meeting objectives, and take advantage of marketing opportunities. Resource weaknesses, on the other hand, may inhibit an organisation from taking advantage of marketing opportunities.
3. Evaluating Risks and Opportunities:
Environmental factors – competitive, political, legal, economic, technological and social – also influence marketing opportunities. The emergence of new technologies or innovations may open new opportunities for under-marketed products. The marketing environment may also pose threats to marketing opportunities.
4. Marketing Strategy:
The net result of opportunity analysis is the formulation of marketing objectives designed to achieve overall organisational objectives and develop a marketing plan. The marketing planning effort must be directed toward establishing marketing strategies that are resource efficient, flexible, and adaptable. The marketing strategy is the overall company programme for selecting a particular target market and then satisfying consumers in that segment.
5. Implementing and Monitoring Marketing Plans:
The overall strategic marketing plan serves as the basis for a series of operating plans necessary to move the organisation toward accomplishment of its objectives. At every step of the marketing planning process, marketing managers use feedback to monitor and adapt strategies when actual performance fails to match expectations.
Marketing Planning Process – Top 10 Steps: Business Review, Problem’s and Opportunities, Sales Objectives, Target Markets and Marketing Objectives and a Few Others
To bring order and efficiency to the difficult task of marketing planning, we have broken down the process into ten steps that we believe need to be addressed when developing a disciplined marketing plan. All too often companies think of marketing as only one or two components, rather than as an interlocking, step-by-step, comprehensive process.
Following are the ten steps of disciplined marketing planning that we employ:
Step # 1. Business Review:
To develop a marketing database there first needs to be an understanding of the scope of your business, followed by a comprehensive analysis of the company, product, and marketplace relevant to the target market and competitive situation.
This is accomplished through secondary research (company records, data analysis, and existing industry reports) and very often, primary research, including surveys and focus group information. The business review provides a qualitative and quantitative decision-making base for the subsequent marketing plan and a rationale for all strategic marketing decisions within the plan.
Step # 2. Problems and Opportunities:
The problems and opportunities step is a summary of the challenges that emerge from the marketing database. In this step the data collected from the business review are distilled into meaningful summary points that form the basis of the marketing plan.
Step # 3. Sales Objectives:
Sales objectives represent projected levels of goods or services to be sold. Setting sales objectives is critical because it is the first task of the marketing plan development and it sets the tone of the entire marketing plan. Everything that follows in the plan is designed to meet the sales objectives, from defining the size of the specific target market and establishing marketing objectives, to determining the amount of advertising and promotional expenses to be budgeted, to the actual hiring of marketing and sales personnel, to the number and kinds of distribution channels/ stores utilised, and, very important, to the amount of product produced or inventoried.
Step # 4. Target Markets and Marketing Objectives:
We put the target market and marketing objective steps together because of their critical link to one another.
a. Target Markets:
Once you have developed sales objectives, you must determine to whom you will be selling your product. Making this determination is really defining a target market —a group of people with a set of common characteristics. Target marketing concentrates marketing efforts toward a portion of the population with similar purchasing needs and buying habits.
b. Marketing Objectives:
Marketing objectives clearly define what behaviour you want from the target markets; they are measurable ends that need to be achieved. In this step you will quantitatively lock the required behaviour in the marketing objectives to a quantified target market that will fulfil the sales objectives.
Step # 5. Plan Strategies:
The overall plan strategies include the positioning strategy for the image of your product and the marketing strategies needed to fulfil the marketing objectives.
a. Brand Positioning:
Once you have defined your target market(s) and have established marketing objectives, you must develop a market positioning for your product. By positioning, we mean creating the desired perception of your product within your target market relative to the competition. The positioning strategy provides overall direction for the specific marketing strategies and a singular focus for the tactical marketing mix tools.
b. Marketing Strategies:
A marketing strategy is a statement detailing how an individual marketing objective will be achieved. While marketing objectives are specific, quantifiable, and measurable, marketing strategies are descriptive.
They explain how the measurable objectives will be met. In our planning methodology, we outline eighteen strategic considerations that should be addressed in most marketing plans. The marketing strategies also guide the development of the tactical marketing mix tools (Step 7) and provide direction in setting communication contribution values for each tactical tool.
Step # 6. Communication Goals:
These goals set the target market awareness and attitudes necessary to deliver positioning and fulfil the marketing objectives, as well as provide direction for what is to be accomplished by each tactical tool in terms of communication value.
Step # 7. Tactical Marketing Mix Tools:
This step of disciplined marketing planning develops tactical plans. The tactical plans incorporate marketing executions that, when implemented, will allow you to meet your marketing objectives and execute the overall marketing strategies and communication guidelines established earlier. Each marketing mix tool should have its own objectives, strategies, and where appropriate, executional specifics.
The following marketing mix tools are included in the tactical planning process:
The product is the tangible object that is marketed to the target market for consumer goods, retail, and business-to-business companies. For service businesses, the product is a future benefit or future promise.
The naming of the product, service, or company is called branding. A brand or name is the label that consumers associate with your product. For this reason, a brand or name should help communicate the product’s positioning and its inherent drama for the consumer.
For manufacturers, packaging holds and protects the product and assists in communicating the product’s attributes and image. For retailers and service firms, packaging is the inside and outside environment that houses and dispenses the product/services (stores, offices, etc.), and it helps communicate the company’s attributes and image.
Price is the monetary value of the product. The monetary value is usually governed by what the target market or buyer will pay for the product and what the seller or company must receive for the product in order to defray costs and generate a profit.
We define distribution as the transmission of goods and services from the producer or seller to the user. Distribution must ensure that product is accessible to the target market.
f. Personal Selling/Service:
Personal selling for retail and service firms, often referred to as operations, involves all functions related to selling and service in the store, office, or other environments, such as door-to-door solicitation, in-home selling, and telemarketing. This includes hiring and managing sales personnel, stocking inventory, preparing the product for sale, presenting and maintaining the facility, and follow-up service to the customers.
For business-to-business and package goods firms, personal selling relates to the manufacturer’s selling and servicing of its products to the trade and/ or intermediate markets (various buyers of the product within the distribution channel from original producer to ultimate user).
Promotion provides added incentive, encouraging the target market to perform some incremental behaviour. The incremental behaviour results in increased short-term sales and/ or an association with the product (e.g., product usage or an event-oriented experience). In addition, promotion is more short-term in focus.
h. Advertising Message:
Communication that informs and persuades through paid media (television, radio, magazine, newspaper, outdoor, internet, and direct mail) constitutes the advertising message.
Media Advertising media are paid carriers of advertising, not at the point of purchase. While the advertising message is what is being communicated, the advertising media are how it is delivered.
j. Internet Media:
The Internet is an interactive medium with centralised con tent that is delivered to members of the target market when it is requested.
Members of the target market drive their exposures to your organisation’s Internet content, while your organisation drives exposure to its multimedia content.
Merchandising is non-media communication of the company and/or product to the target market. This is the method used to communicate product and promotional information. Merchandising makes a visual and/or written statement about your company through an environment other than paid media, with or without one-on-one personal communication.
Merchandising includes brochures, sell sheets, product displays, video presentations, banners, trade show exhibits, shelf talkers, table tents, or any other non-media tools that can be used to communicate product attributes, pricing, or promotion information.
l. Public Relations:
Public relations creates goodwill for an organisation, not just for the short-term but also regarding long-term public opinion issues. Publicity is a part of public relations and is any non-paid media communication that helps build target market awareness and positively affects attitudes for your product or firm. Publicity provides your firm or product with a benefit not found in any other marketing mix tool. Since publicity utilises non-commercial communication, it adds a dimension of legitimacy that can’t be found in advertising.
Step # 8. Budget, Payback Analysis, and Calendar:
a) Budget – The budget is the cumulative monetary cost of implementing the plan.
b) Payback – Analysis An analysis of whether the marketing plan and its specific marketing programmes, as well as executions within the plan, will generate the projected revenues in excess of expenses constitutes the payback analysis.
c) Calendar – The calendar is a schedule of the marketing plan’s tactical executions.
Step # 9. Execution:
The tactical execution both for and in the marketplace is developed once the marketing plan is prepared. This is where it all happens- getting your product, service, or store ready for the market and executing the marketing mix tools, such as seasonal selling, the promotion, advertising, merchandising, and publicity. Finally, executorial includes staying on top of all the execution detail in the marketplace. All that you have done will now face the ultimate test of marketplace acceptance. Will the target market buy your product?
Step # 10. Evaluation:
The methodology used to help determine the level of success of the overall marketing plan and its specific elements is part of evaluation. We have also included the research and testing components in this step. Research is included because it is a means to evaluation, and testing is a component of this step because it is a learning experience. For example, you might evaluate the effectiveness of a single plan element, such as advertising, or the entire plan in test markets on a limited scale before full implementation.
While evaluation is the last step in the process, it signals a new beginning to the whole disciplined approach, as evaluation findings become a major part of the marketing background section in the preparation of next year’s marketing plan. Evaluation is one of the most important steps, because it is a learning tool that will lead to improved marketing plans and execution of marketing programmes in the future.
Marketing Planning Process – 6 Important Steps
We have the following usual steps in the marketing planning process:
1. Assess the marketing opportunity.
2. Identify marketing objectives or targets.
3. Develop marketing strategies.
4. Develop the marketing mix.
5. Secure the approval of the marketing programme.
6. Control the marketing plan—plan the control and plan the implementation.
Planning process begins with a review of current marketing situation through situation analysis or study of external and internal environment. In this review we find out where we are now.
Then next step is the formulation of marketing objectives which will indicate where we want to go.
Then we devise our strategies and programmes or action plans in the form of marketing-mix which will point out how do we go there. A strategy is the preferred means to achieve the desired ends or objectives in the face of competition.
Finally controlling the marketing plans will assure us our arrival at the destination as per our plans. We can remove errors or deviations, if any, in time and achieve the standard performance.
Marketing Planning Process – 7 Major Steps: Assessing Opportunities and Threats, Establishing Marketing Objectives, Framing Marketing Strategies and a Few Others
Establishment of a plan for the firm’s total marketing programme is a major task that the management has to undertake. Although the exact sequence of marketing planning varies from firm to firm, certain sequential steps are recognised.
The process of marketing planning is a compendium of at least seven steps:
Process # 1. Assessing Opportunities and Threats:
Analysis and interpretation of marketing opportunities and threats in the starting point. In the process of marketing planning Marketing opportunities are the marketing possibilities open to the firm and the threats represent the obstacles in the path of the company in achieving customer satisfaction. In this stage the marketing management of the company scans the business environment, both internal and external, to identify and understand the relevant factors which affect the marketing operations of the company.
This stage involves the following major steps:
(a) Developing a consumer profile by identifying the consumer needs and problems and determining their quantitative and qualitative character.
(b) Developing a corporate profile by identifying and assessing the corporate strengths and weaknesses in terms of physical, financial and manpower resources.
(c) Developing a market profile by identifying and assessing market forces like competitors, trade intermediaries, public authorities etc. which could have an affect on the marketing operations of the company.
(d) Measurement of the potential demand and forecasting of sales for the planning period.
(e) Assumptions about the economy, industry, government and technology.
(f) In short, the first step lays down the foundation on which the marketing plan is built.
Process # 2. Establishing Marketing Objectives:
Having analysed and interpreted the marketing opportunities and problems, the next stage in the planning process is to establish the marketing objectives. Marketing objectives are made up of the basic objectives, goals and targets. Marketing objectives are the outcome of the interaction between the top management and the marketing manager because marketing objectives are shaped by the company’s basic objectives. The marketing manager establishes the marketing goals and targets in the light of the broad company objective. The marketing goals and targets may be broadly divided as financial and operating.
The financial goals are those which are expressed in financial terms and include return on investment, gross profit/sales, market value of shares, working capital ratio turnover ratio etc. On the other hand, operating goals are those which are not expressed in financial terms and are not immediately and directly associated with profit. These may be- balance between home and foreign sales, government or nongovernment sales, market share, utilisation of productive capacity etc. It is also important for the goals to be specific.
Process # 3. Framing Marketing Strategies and Policies:
The marketing objectives provide essential inputs for the formulation of marketing policies and strategies. A policy is a broad guideline for thought and action whereas strategy is their interpretation and designing of competitive moves to face marketing pressures. Policies are largely influenced by the basic marketing objective(s) while strategy is influenced by goals and targets. While formulating strategies the following factors must be considered: moves of competitors, substitutability of marketing inputs, productivity of marketing inputs, input elasticity etc. so as to produce an action programmable to meet the special market pressures.
Process # 4. Programming of Operations:
Based on the inputs of policies and strategies, the marketing management next develops action programmes in respect of each sub-function of marketing in terms of product or consumer groups and market segments with perspective of time and resources. In effect sub plans are to be prepared such as product mix plan, sales, force plan, advertising and sales promotion plan and so on.
Programme is a major course of action that enables a manager to achieve his objectives within the frame of policy guidelines. These programmes for sub functions are based on procedures, rules, budgets and methods. They are designed to attain the functional objectives of the firm within the limits, of the firm’s marketing policies and strategies.
Such programming can be centralised or decentralised. In centralised programming the formulations of the programmes is done by the marketing manager and his associates at the top and these programmes are passed on to the lower levels to implement. Decentralised programming is contrary to centralised programming.
In decentralised programming, the programming is done at the functional and sub-functional level within the broad frame work provided by the marketing manager. Both centralised and decentralised programmings have their merits and demerits. Hence a company will have to make a choice after weighing the merits and demerits of each case.
Process # 5. Developing Marketing Mix:
Whenever decentralised programming is followed, there is a need to integrate all sub-functional programmes so as to develop an integrated comprehensive master marketing plan. It involves evaluation of each sub-functional programme relative to others in terms of contribution to achievement of the marketing objectives and the requirements of the resource inputs. In accepting, rejecting, or modifying each programme while integrating them, the principle of differential advantage is always adhered to.
This integration process leads to the development of the company’s marketing mix in which each sub-function and its programme is adjusted with others in such a way that their interaction in the market produces maximum impact. For example, the advertising programme is adjusted in terms of media, content and timings that reinforces the working of the sales force and intermediaries to maximise consumer need satisfaction and price realisation on products.
The preparation of the master plan is usually the responsibility of the top marketing management and involves deliberations, balancing and compromises. It involves co-ordination and adjustments with other functional plans such as production, finance, purchasing and personnel and plans of trade intermediaries and members of the company’s vertical marketing system.
Process # 6. Designing Resource Mobilisation Plan:
Once the master marketing plan is ready for implementation, the top management has to design a programme of resource mobilisation. A resource mobilisation plan shows the quantum, type and costs of resources to be used to implement the master plan. These resources can be of three types, physical, financial and manpower resources. The physical resources may be research paraphernalia, advertising development, materials handling, warehousing, selling kit and the like.
The financial resources are the finance and credit needed to procure material and manpower resources and services from outside. The manpower resources refer to the number and the quality of men and women needed to implement the programmes. In essence, it is to plan, mobilise, organise and employ resources.
Process # 7. Monitoring the Operations:
Once the above steps are carried out the master plan designed and resources mobilised should be used to achieve the marketing objectives. Once the activities begin to be carried out there should be constant feedback as to whether the activities are moving as per plan or not. Planning will be meaningless if control is not exercised on the activities to check whether the activities are moving as per the plan or not. Thus control is the counter side of planning. It is the ultimate step in planning. Through the control process the management receives information about the manner in which the marketing plan is being implemented.