Marketing planning is a key parameter for a company’s marketing activity. The paper includes a deep analysis of the literature on strategic marketing and marketing planning. Marketing planning in different organizations is carried out differently. It concerns the contents of a plan, duration of the planning limitation, sequence of development and organization of planning. On the one hand, the range of marketing plan content is different for various companies: it is sometimes only a little wider than the sales department’s plan of activity. On the other hand, the marketing plan is based on the broadest consideration of business strategy that develops into the integrated plan, covering all markets and products. Thus, the essay consists of the introduction, main body and conclusion, giving evidence that marketing activity of a company cannot happen without marketing planning.
At present, the need for justification of long-term purposes of development is more obvious for the majority of the world companies. In many respects, it defines the relevance of marketing planning in a modern economic formation, which is in the transition state so far. Marketing planning becomes one of the most important elements of business management concept today. It is used to increase the efficiency of administrative system existing in companies, allowing to make real programs of production and realization, to react to the changes happening in the market quicker and creates essential advantages in a competitive struggle. Thus, the given essay will discuss why marketing planning is a key parameter for a company’s marketing activity and why marketing cannot happen without marketing planning.
Some organizations and companies can achieve a certain level of success without spending significant amount of time for formal planning. Moreover, marketing planning in itself does not provide success. Nevertheless, formal planning can create a number of important and often essential favourable factors for a company. A business plan made for the organization in general or for the certain directions of its development can be the only planned document for such organizations. In this plan, information on market segments and their capacity, a market share is given; the characteristic of consumers and competitors is provided; penetration barriers on the market are described; a marketing strategy is formulated.
In order to achieve success in business, there are no ready strategies; it is more interesting to review the examples of the successful marketing activity, which became successful due to the logically implemented marketing planning. There are two common features for all market leaders. First of all, it includes the statement of ambitious goals and, secondly, a careful development and subsequent introduction of marketing strategy. The main goal of a marketing activity includes the reception of certain commercial results by means of the most effective management of own resources, satisfying the needs of customers more effectively than those of competitors. The market is gradually sated and the achievement of strategic goals is possible only on the basis of the creation of long-term, confidential relations with consumers and participants of marketing networks (Kotler & Keller 2005, pp.27-29).
Marketing Activity and Marketing Planning
Modern marketing is considered by experts as the system of organization of all company’s activities, production and sale of goods, rendering of services on the basis of a complex studying of the market and real inquiries of clients, for the purpose of receiving the maximum profit. The increase of a role of marketing in connection with the change of a situation in the market and transformation of the former into “the market of the buyer” has an impact on the development of departments of marketing, their place in the organizational structure of a company and interaction with other divisions. However, marketing as a system of economic views includes much more. The main objective of marketing is to sell a ready production, and marketing sets the task of creation of demand and release of goods according to them. Marketing represents a human activity, directed at the satisfaction of the needs and requirements by means of an exchange. The concept is rather broad and includes studying the market and development of new types’ production, and creation of a demand, formation of the requirements and consumer preferences, along with physical distribution of products (Blythe 2005).
A good marketing and business development can have a key impact on the company’s success. Even in companies, where all employees share the point of view about marketing, there is a gap between actual knowledge and the development of a good marketing plan, subsequent in its performance. The companies, which will hardly bring clients, cannot develop the best marketing plans which can be introduced and will have the most positive impact on the activity of a company at introduction.
Strategic marketing includes an active marketing process with the long-term horizon of the plan directed at the excess of average market indicators by the systematic implementation of the policy of creation of the goods and services, providing consumers with the goods of a higher consumer value than those of competitors. It is the type of business activity directed at the definition of the position in the market of the provided services, definition of strategy for the promotion of commodity group or service from a producer to a consumer. There is the analysis of provisions, preferences and requirements of the consumer by means of strategic marketing passes the analysis; this data is used for the production of new group of goods or rendering of services (Moderandi Inc. 2013).
Strategic marketing aims the company at the economic opportunities, adapted for its resources and provides the potential for its growth and profitability. The problem of strategic marketing includes the specification of a company’s mission, formation of the developmental strategy and provides the balanced structure of a company’s commodity portfolio. The purpose of strategic marketing includes the definition of the company’s direction for wholesale and retail product sales, rendering the necessary help at a choice of definite goods (White & Uva 2000).
The purposes of strategic marketing consist in the systematic collection and analysis of the obtained data on the sales of products. It is possible to achieve success in prosperity of a company by drawing up the action program. The establishment of the possibility of reorganization of the company’s activity in those directions which provide its greatest development that has to result in the greatest profitability consists in a continuous monitoring of a company’s situation. Generally, strategic marketing includes the pre-planned marketing analysis, researches, definition of a segment of the market and positioning of commodity group on sales markets (Moderandi Inc. 2013).
Strategic marketing belongs to a special type of business management, where management, internal structural objects, and definition of a company’s position are conducted. A modern company should operate the whole system of marketing methods with intermediaries, consumers and other contacts. Marketing planning is helpful in the above mentioned operations; it includes the process of considering the changes of marketing actions, assets and resources, which will be necessary in the future for the support of a company’s revenue and level of profitability, taking into account the forecast of the market changes. Marketing plan, in most cases, contains the retrospective overview of marketing and provides a general strategic marketing plan, approximately for three years, with more detailed tactical marketing plan for the following year. The most important points vary from a company to a company, but, generally, the main emphasis is placed at the market opportunities and threats, portfolio of brands and distribution of marketing expenses. There is no unique formula for the preparation of marketing plan. There is no ideal size or level of specification. There is no uniform magic list points of the plan. However, despite all this, understanding target audience of the plan, expected use and main objectives are quite possible for any competent person to write a satisfactory marketing plan.
Marketing involves identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer needs. A marketing plan takes the stated aims and objectives and then puts in place a series of marketing activities to ensure those objectives are achieved. Marketing plans can cover any time period, but normally set out activities for the next one to five years at either a business or brand level (The Times 2008).
The communication between the marketing system and planning function is active and bilateral. The marketing purposes make decisive impact on the system of planning; all marketing actions are interconnected within the planning program. A planned character at realization of marketing actions is expressed in the development and implementation of the marketing program, which represents the global plan and defines the content of all other company’s plans.
Marketing plans should correspond to the strategic and financial plans, but, in reality, everything is different. In order to implement the marketing planning, it is necessary to make sure that the financial plans of a company are realistic. Marketing plans should give the opportunity to measure the result of a company’s marketing. It means that they should include financial and non-financial figures and goals. The budgetary motive is always included into a marketing plan. The plan can be used for supporting the need of a bigger budget. Also, the plan can be used for the confirmation of the need of allocation of someone else’s budget. Therefore, the plan should speak the language of finance and marketing. Therefore, the compliance of words and figures in a marketing plan is very important.
The marketing plan in detail describes the desirable purposes of a business in future and a way of its achievement. The analysis of a market situation, which allows to reveal the problems interfering the achievement of the objectives, is the cornerstone of the marketing plan. The marketing strategy, each element of which is estimated from the point of view of a situation in the market, operational problems, possible ways of their decision and necessary resources, is built on the basis of the results’ analysis. After that, the marketing budget is formed on the basis of which the forecast of implementation of the marketing plan is built (Blythe 2005).
In the course of planning, a company can open new, not noticed earlier opportunities or to find more effective ways of the use of the available resources. The planning process promotes the best understanding of marketing tasks, and increases efficiency of marketing actions. In the course of planning, the reference point to which it is necessary to compare future achievements comes to light.
The marketing plan includes the following:
- Situation analysis: marketing analysis (capacity, growth potential); analysis of consumers, analysis of competitors, assessment of a competitive position of a company: marketing share, price/quality, cost/value, SWOT-analysis, assessment of the results achieved by the enterprise for the period (year): sales, a degree of satisfaction of consumers, profit;
- The strategic plan of marketing on the basis of the analysis of a company’s portfolio from the point of view of a market appeal and competitive advantages. The strategic plan is the report in which the best method of unitary enterprise is stated – all business for the definite period of time in the future (around three years), taking into account the forecast of internal and external changes;
- The plan of measures on the realization of the chosen strategy, according to a marketing complex: a product policy; price policy; a plan of a product distribution; advertising and methods of promotion, actions for the stimulation of sales; schedule of actions and marketing budget (Doodle & Lowe 2008).
Thus, marketing activity of a company cannot work successfully without a detailed strategic marketing plan. Marketing plays an important role in strategic planning. It provides the necessary information for the development of the strategic plan. Strategic planning defines a marketing role in the organization. Strategic marketing planning consists of three stages:
- Strategic plan
- Marketing management
- Plan implementation
Formal marketing planning has a number of advantages; it induces the management to think constantly of the future. It forces the company to define the purposes and policies more accurately, results in the best coherence in work and gives objective indicators of overall performance. A careful marketing planning helps the company to expect changes of the environment, react to them quickly, and also be always ready for the unforeseen circumstances.
The annual marketing plan represents a short-term plan, describing the current situation, purposes of the company, strategy for the forthcoming year, an action program, budget and forms of control. A long-term plan describes major factors and forces, which will influence the organization for the next several years. It contains long-term goals, the main marketing strategy which will be used for their achievement, and defines necessary resources. Such a long-term plan should be updated annually for the purpose of introduction of amendments, in compliance with the occurring changes (Wilson & Gilligan 2005).
The strategic plan is created to help the company use the opportunity in constantly changing environment in own interests. This is the process of establishment and preservations of strategic compliance between the purposes and opportunities of the company, on the one hand, and the changing opportunities of the market, on the other hand. Strategic planning is the base for the other types of planning in the company. It starts with the definition of the company’s global purposes and mission. Then, more specific goals are established. For this purpose, a full information on the internal environment of the organization, its competitors, and situations in the market is collected. This information influences the work of the company (Graham 1993).
Strategic planning is characterized by the establishment of the purpose, strategy and a definite direction for their achievement. It contains some stages: strategic or long-term planning, the purpose of which includes the definition of important tasks of marketing of production. The strategic planning includes the creation and support of the strategy of a company for the performance of its purpose, definition of opportunities for marketing. It is developed for a long term and includes several main points:
- The long-term marketing goal of a company is defined;
- A marketing strategy is defined;
- A marketing strategy economic portfolios of the enterprise, as well as their development in the long term are traced (Ward 2015).
The purpose of marketing consists in the possibilities of consideration of different activities of a company directed at the transformation of the need of the consumer to revenues of the enterprise, in the achievement of the predicted results on a sales market and in the determination of the social importance of a company.
To sum up, it should be mentioned that marketing activity cannot happen without marketing planning. Marketing is considered as the market concept of the management of a company, it becomes the fundamental criterion function, defining all aspects of a company’s activity, and, therefore, turns from the usual economic function into the content, intrinsic line of the company’s functioning, seeking for the reception of a maximum profit. Planning of a company’s activity, especially big, was always made to a greater or lesser extent. However, at present, it is coordinated with marketing and its principles. The existence of the strategic plan gives the chance to formulate ultimate goals of activity, to distribute resources correctly, to consider strengths and weaknesses of a company, to take care of preparation and attraction of necessary employees in due time, to order equipment, to coordinate delivery of raw materials, to sign contracts for delivery of necessary materials from the other firms, and, if necessary, to create networks of branches, etc.
Planning is the process of definition of goals, strategy, and also actions for their achievement for a certain period of time, proceeding from the assumptions about the future probable conditions of a plan implementation. Generally, we can speak about the development of long-term plans and tactical, annual plans of strategic marketing. The strategic, long-term marketing plan developed for 3-5 and more years describes the main factors and forces which, as expected, will influence the organization for several years, and also contain long-term goals and main marketing strategy with the indication of the resources necessary for their realization. The long-term plan is usually reconsidered and specified annually, and the annual more detailed plan is developed on its basis.
The annual plan of marketing describes the current marketing situation, the purposes of marketing activity and marketing strategy for the current year. Its structure also includes the action program, budget of marketing and control actions. The strategic and tactical plans of the marketing activity can include such points as product (service) plan, research and development of new products, distribution plan (increase of distribution efficiency), advertisement plan and sales plan, distributional channels plan, prices plan, including changes in prices in the future, marketing research plan and marketing organization plan. The given essay discussed the strategic marketing and its great impact on the marketing activity of a company. The recommendations about the improvement of marketing activity are focused, first of all, on the current solution of a company’s problems. Finally, they should promote the increase of efficiency of its financial and economic activities in all directions.