Marketing Planning – an aid to integrated thinking

Building a marketing plan can be a daunting prospect. Whilst a plan may take on monumental proportions in large corporates in smaller organisations this need not be the case.

If there is no formal business plan in place then it is well worth deploying some strategy tools. These help determine the competitive context of the organisation and may well suggest opportunities for it. The plan can then be developed by making use of structure headings to prompt thinking.

Where organisations can go wrong is to apportion too much importance on any one channel to achieve a particular outcome. Typically it is not a debate between social media or e-mail or direct mail or events etc. but a case of being aware of what each channel can deliver in a particular sector. There are big variations between sectors so what may be rewarding for FMCG may deliver little in high value professional services.

Making use of a formal marketing plan has the benefit of encouraging an organisation to take an integrated view of the opportunities. This is increasingly becoming important as marketing diversifies and channel specialists proliferate often with little understanding of the essential role of integrated thinking.

Plans can become a little sterile. It is always important to remember that marketing is a creative discipline and needs to engage people. Creativity is not just a matter for designers it is a matter for those who plan campaigns, develop ideas for new products and services or indeed are involved in direct selling.