Annual marketing planning is a major part of organizational success, and for good reason. It paints a realistic picture of where your organization stands and sets the stage for the future.
For marketers, annual planning is a time to:
- Reassess what’s happening in the market
- Analyze what your competitors are doing
- Study and evaluate your own performance
- Organize and align key stakeholders for the coming year
- Establish and plan for short-term and long-term opportunities
- Identify emerging opportunities
But a business that forgoes the thoughtful development of a strategic marketing plan can face major implications. If you implement a new plan without going through this process, your organization can suffer serious consequences.
Here are five risks of poor marketing planning:
- If you don’t have a comprehensive plan, you have no way to measure success. In turn, programs that are meant to be long-term might be axed if they don’t perform well in the short-term.
- If your competitors planned accordingly but you didn’t, you could be at a marketplace disadvantage. Instead of being proactive, you will now be on the defensive and highly reactive to market forces. In turn, your organization could lose market share, volume and profitability.
- Anyone within the organization can potentially implement their own plans if there isn’t a strong, approved plan in place. Your organization might even turn into a marketing version of the Wild Wild West, moving from tactic to tactic with no way to evaluate effectiveness.
- This loss of control can lead to frustrated employees. Without clear direction, they might not understand how they’re contributing to the big picture and lose motivation.
- External partnerships can become strained. If your partners don’t understand your plan, it will be difficult for them to support you.
Poor planning can be rectified, but it takes hard work to get your organization back to higher ground.
The road to recovery: fixing poor planning results
Previously, I talked about things to consider during annual planning. But remember that you can also plan off-cycle.
If you want to create a meaningful path forward, organizational alignment is paramount to everything else. Single departments or people don’t create successful marketing plans. That’s why the planning process has to be a collective effort.
Planning takes patience, and if you’re not already planning on an annual basis, turning the train around won’t happen overnight. Much of your budget for the year will already be set, so your first-year turnaround will be somewhat constrained. However, you can use the money you have to implement the plan to the best of your ability. This is extremely important, because the results from your first recovery year will likely impact the budget you receive the following year. Spend time and effort planning now, so you don’t have to play catch up later.
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