Top 5 Tips for Your Annual Marketing Plan

by Sat Duggal

Market and Data Analysis

Over the past decade, we’ve helped P&G, Unilever, General Mills, GE, DuPont, Eli Lilly and other world-class companies develop their marketing planning process. 

1. Don’t Start With Tactics!

Far too many marketing plans are little more than a laundry list of tactics. A great annual marketing plan starts with an in-depth, data-centric assessment of the market situation. It then moves on to clear goals for marketing effectiveness, efficiency, and impact on customer behavior. From there, strategies can be identified and prioritized based on their financial value and return. Only then are you ready to select tactics, using past performance data as your guide and combining tactics in an integrated mix to address each strategy.

2. Put Yourself in Your Competitors’ Shoes

Considering the potential actions of competitors is an essential part of marketing planning that is often left out. This includes making educated estimations about their planned product launches or other significant moves. We also recommend a dynamic “war-gaming” exercise, which allows you to explore and play out moves and countermoves.

3. Have Contingencies for Everything

Preparation pays. An exhaustive effort to identify possible scenarios and develop contingency plans can protect you from missing critical opportunities – or worse, making poor choices that could seriously damage your brand. For best results, you should also establish and monitor indicative metrics for the most likely scenarios, so you can quickly identify them if they arise.

4. Step Out of Your Silo

Alignment with sales, operations, R&D, and other functions is vital to success. Emailing your plan to a few key people won’t cut it. True integration requires a systematic communication effort and a collaborative process of synching the execution of your plan to other functional plans on a month-by-month basis.

5. Track and Tweak

Your plan should be a living document. Commit to formally reviewing your progress every quarter, tracking key metrics frequently, and making adjustments on an ongoing basis.

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Keywords: Market and Data Analysis