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Creating a good, actionable marketing plan

Researching some advice on writing a marketing plan recently, I was pointed towards this excellent article in Marketing Week, which really nails some of the potential pitfalls.

“One of the secrets of good marketing planning”, it says, “is to get the work done ahead of the finance teams, so that marketing can propose its budget and have an input into the sales projections for the year ahead. That approach is infinitely superior to waiting for the CFO to estimate everything using arbitrary guidelines and then allocate marketing’s crumbs from the top table, while operating under the overriding assumption that marketing is just another cost, like office toilet paper or heating bills, that needs to be allocated. The dumb reality of most British marketing planning, however, is that this sub-optimal, cost-based, marketing-as-a-proportion-of-expected-sales approach is exactly how most marketers derive their budgets. And there is very little they can do about it.”

Even in the smallest companies

I find this happens even in the smallest companies where there’s no ‘CFO’ allocating budgets around departments. The amount spent on marketing can be doled out indiscriminately, rather than having to be justified. Creating good, actionable marketing plans should always precede any allocation of funds. Sure, there may not be enough budget available to meet a plan’s requirements, but at least there was some justification for trying to get it.

There’s a lot more good advice (and a fair bit of what would normally be considered NSFW language) here:

Planning for marketing planning: 14 steps to an effective presentation (by Mark Ritson, 11 Feb 2021)