Planning and plans are often viewed as the same thing. While they are interconnected, they are distinct entities – planning is a process, whilst a plan is the outcome of the process.
Planning projects, developing marketing plans and implementing marketing plans are key components of all client projects at IMS Marketing. When we begin working with a new client, we spend a significant amount of time planning. During the planning process, we gain an in-depth understanding of the client, their business, their products, their values and their clients. We identify what the client’s goals and objectives are for the duration of the project and begin to create a strategy.
The outcome of the planning process is a marketing plan. A marketing plan outlines the marketing tactics that are going to take place over the duration of the project to help the client reach their goals and objectives.
On paper, a marketing plan looks great. However, once we begin to implement the plan, it is inevitable that unexpected events will take place that may have an effect on the implementation of the plan. We have found that there are peaks and troughs in the implementation of any marketing plan. There may be times when clients have other priorities and marketing takes a back seat for a few weeks. There may be other times, when clients require more marketing support than expected. As our clients marketing plans usually cover a period of 12 – 18 months, it is impossible to predict events that may affect the project. As a result, nine times out of ten, projects don’t go to according to plan.
So why do we bother spending all this time planning projects, if we know that the implementation of the plan will deviate from the actual plan?
As Eisenhower explained it “in preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”. While we don’t quite agree with Eisenhower when he says that plans are useless, we do recognise that the true value often comes from the process of planning rather than the plan itself.
The planning process provides us with a framework of what our clients want to achieve over the course of the project. As a project progresses and unforeseen opportunities are presented, we can refer back to the planning process to identify whether these opportunities are in-line with their goals.
In order to get the most from your marketing plan, it should allow for flexibility and adaptability, allowing you to respond to the market and unforeseen opportunities.
To discuss your marketing requirements or to begin developing your marketing plan, contact IMS today on 091 739450.