The practice of Marketing Planning has been the focus of businesses from all areas of industry. The importance of such a plan enables the organization to identify marketing opportunities, give direction towards company objectives and allow follow up procedures if necessary. The marketing plan as described by Sally Dibb in Marketing Planning Best Practice encapsulates a systematic process that explores marketing analysis, strategy development and the design and implementation of marketing programs as well as the importance of evaluation. This functional process has become common practice within the modern-day business environment. A study conducted by the U.K. Times of 1000 companies demonstrated that most U.K. businesses are now actively involved in some form of marketing planning (Dibb and Simkin 1997;2000). As described by Reed, (2003) marketing oriented firms emphasis the importance of customers, competitors, and corporation factors and is not only a market driven approach but an entire way of doing business.
The Planning Overview
Marketing planning requires a systematic process implementing the components of marketing management which include:
"ÃÂ« Marketing analysis (situation analysis and problem and opportunity stage)
"ÃÂ« Strategy development (marketing objectives and strategies)
"ÃÂ« Resource allocation, approval and implementation
"ÃÂ« Evaluation, feedback and control
There is no one right way to plan. The planning process must add value. Good planning processes should be unique and tailor made to the specific circumstances of a business or a planning unit within that business. There are certain objectives that should be covered within the planning process, of these which are described;
* Budgeting for marketing activities
* Specifying goals to be achieved
* Determine differential advantages of competitors
* TOWS analysis (threats, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths)
* Implementation and control of active marketing strategies
* Designation of responsibilities, implementation
* Marketing intelligence of competitor's activities and...