In essence, great marketing planning involve 3 key decisions.

  1. Decide where to go? Clarify the company strategy or Brand strategy.
  2. Translate the strategy into the next 12 months plan and deciding on where to allocate resources.
  3. And finally, decide on how to execute the plan.

It always surprises me how often companies and marketers tend to “forget” the second phase and jump directly from strategy to execution. In most cases, the reason is that the marketing planning process itself is completely broke.

See if this rings a familiar bell?

Company X starts their marketing planning process in February. First a global assessment on trends, market forces and competition is conducted. The global team interacts with the regions and affiliates to consolidate and update the required corporate templates. As of April, the global direction is established and handed over to the regions. The region and the affiliates work through summer to translate the global directions into meaningful actions (adding at the same time another 50 slides to the template). Around September, the plans are presented to the business mainly in order to obtain the necessary marketing funds. In November, the funds get reduced forcing the marketing teams to cut back on the planned activities. In December, a new competing product is launch rendering the entire global strategy meaningless.


  • A marketing plan of 100 slides in PowerPoint driven more by templates than thinking
  • A process that can mobilize up to 100 workdays
  • No alignment between business and marketing
  • No execution – in essence a complete waste of resources

    Time to rethink your marketing planning approach
    Time to rethink your marketing planning approach

Here is what a great marketing planning process should look like:

It should be simple

Let’s forget all this talk about sales and marketing alignment (which we all know is about one function aligning with the other).  Success stems from a superimposition of sales and marketing  not alignment. Develop a simple and transparent process with an easy non-technical language and jargon is the first step.

Forget templates

Does your marketing rely on template filling? If so, one day your department will be outsourced to a bot. Focus on quality thinking and translate the marketing plan into a compelling story. Try this metaphor for size, how often do you actually view the “Making of ” bonus  DVD disc instead of the movie DVD  disc itself? In an essence, when marketing presents 100 PowerPoint slides plans, they are showing the “Making of” disc. And guess what the sales teams  want to view.

More than just Customer Centric

Be proud if your approach is customer centric. But if you not also business centric then you are missing completely the beat. The best marketing plans (or brand plans) manage to be both. After all, the raison d’être of a brand plan is to mobilize the rights resources to achieve the business financial goals by changing certain customer behaviors.

Sounds utopic? It is feasible and also comes with 2 additional bonuses.  A brand plan that fits on one page and completed in a couple days.

Contact to find out more.


Marketing Planning: Time to rethink your approach
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