The document, The Annual Planning Process, sets out the typical process for the development and implementation of the marketing plan over a year. This document provides more detail around the elements of the plan preparation. The diagram below illustrates how the components of the process lock together. A copy of Components of the Planning Process is available to download (to download right-click/save as on a PC; on a Mac press Apple/S)
The input aspects make clear that the audit phase needs to be used to drive a full situation analysis. This includes understanding what has and has not worked as a result of previous strategies and plans, and why. Learning and insights can be secured to put together an appropriate strategy; the SWOT analysis, discussed elsewhere, provides the most obvious tool to help do this, although there are others that can be deployed. Most importantly, this process should be aiding the identification of opportunities that can be exploited in the plan, along with any key issues that need resolving.
The long-term strategic plan should always be prepared before the 1-year operational marketing plan; the diagram sets out the typical components for each, although this is not definitive. In principle, the strategic plan considers a longer time frame in broader strokes, to establish a clear sense of direction that dovetails with the corporate strategy. The operational plan will pick up the first year of the strategic plan but provide the detail required for implementation, such as courses of action, and detailed activities with timings, responsibilities and budgets attached. The marketing objectives, expressed in terms of volume, revenue and margin, must harmonise with the overall corporate objectives and budget; any variation must be resolved by successfully challenging the corporate numbers or (more likely) reworking elements of the plan in order to achieve a synergistic outcome.