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The primary consideration in any planning session that draws up a marketing plan is to identify the objective of the marketing campaign. The objectives of marketing can be brand awareness, market penetration, increasing sales revenues, creating a positive image, and other issues. The nature of the campaign, the channels selected, the content, and other critical elements of the campaign all depend on the desired objectives.
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Scope and Budget
Having identified the objective of the marketing campaign, the second priority is to consider the scope and budget for the exercise. These factors serve as guidelines on what to do and what not to do.
Scope refers to an understanding of the broad framework within which the marketing campaign will operate. Defining the scope involves identifying the broad range of activities and tasks, and resource utilization to meet the desired objectives.
The marketing budget plays a crucial role in shaping the scope of the marketing campaign, and plays a major role in determining the extent and depth of the campaign, the type of channels, and the overall quality of the campaign.
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Strategy: Choose the Activities and Channels
An important consideration for the marketing planning session is the marketing strategy, or the activities and the mediums best serve the objectives.
The nature of marketing activities can include advertisements, promotions, public relations, engaging people to build relationships, and more. Each activity has its own channels. For instance, the possible channels for advertisements include newspaper ads, online banner ads, online click ads, hoardings, bulletin board ads, and more.
Selection of the activities and channels depends on considering factors such as market survey reports, experience with previous campaigns, benchmarking, studying research reports, and more to identify the best channels to tap into the targeted market.
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The content or the message makes or breaks the advertisement campaign. Content is what the audience gets, and includes the text, catchy phrases, graphics, animation, or anything else depending on the medium.
The marketing planning session needs to brainstorm the most effective content, and / or provide the creative team of copywriters and designers with critical insights and inputs that help them make relevant and attractive content for the campaign.
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One important consideration of the marketing planning exercise is to prepare timelines to synchronize the marketing campaign with key operational requirements. For example, a newspaper ad best serves its purpose when published the day after the product reaches stores. An online ad campaign requires having the right infrastructure such as people to respond to inquiries in place.
The marketing campaign also needs to consider and leverage opportunities presented in the external environment. Some examples to this end are:
- Making the most out of seasonal factors that may make people want to buy the product or service.
- Using religious or other events that lead to a large congregation of people in a certain area to distribute flyers or take a large hoarding space.
- Exploiting spurts of interest generated by a championship win to launch a targeted campaign.
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The best planning sessions for marketing planning consider whether the adopted strategy and content fits in with the societal norms, regulatory guidelines, and the company’s ethical policy and value systems.
Very often, marketing planning ignores the social, legal, and other regulations in place. For instance, the content might include forbidden comparisons, explicit sexuality or religiously offensive materials that significant groups of people might find offensive. Failure to temper the campaign causes negative publicity and attracts damage lawsuits.
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The marketing planning session remains incomplete without arranging to integrate all the crucial bits and pieces to allow for a smooth execution of the marketing plan. This involves defining the roles and responsibilities of each person involved in the campaign, forming relationships and associations to implement the specific tasks associated with the campaign, ensuring that the content reaches the right place at the right time, monitoring the implementation real time, conducting periodic audits and reviews to ensure best utilization of resources, and more.
Covering all bases in the planning session for a marketing plan lays the groundwork for a successful marketing campaign. A fruitful planning session depends on good groundwork, attendance of the key decision makers and members of the marketing team, and availability of quality information.
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- McDonald, Malcom. “Advanced Marketing Planning." Cranfield School of Management. http://www.themarketingprocessco.com/document_downloads/mcdonald_presentation_nov_08_00.pdf%20Retrieved%20May%2006, 2011
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