Evidence on the Value of Strategic Planning in Marketing: How Much Planning Should a Marketing Planner Plan?
STRATEGIC MARKETING AND MANAGEMENT, H. Thomas, D. Gardner, ed., pp. 73-87, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 1985
10 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2005 Last revised: 31 Dec 2011
The formal planning process consists of five steps: specify objectives, generate strategies, evaluate strategies, monitor results, and gain commitment. Marketing planners frequently ignore steps in the formal planning process. One cannot argue, then, that 'the market' accepts formal planning. In particular, marketing planning frequently lacks formal linkages to corporate planning, it is narrow in its generation and evaluation of strategies, it lacks formal schemes for monitoring the success of the plan, and formal approaches are not used to implement the plan. Experts in marketing planning also ignore key steps in formal planning. This was more true for experts in companies than for academic experts. In general experts recommended an increase in formality for some steps, especially for the evaluation of strategies. By far the most conclusive type of evidence is that drawn from research studies. We found no empirical evidence on the value of formal planning for marketing strategy. Nor did any of the planning advocates draw upon the existing evidence from research in corporate planning or in organizational behavior. We suggest the following approaches to research on strategic planning for marketing:
(1) Surveys of planners have proven to be a useful and low-cost approach in the study of corporate planning; it seems logical to extend this for research on marketing strategy. Such studies are most useful when they obtain detailed information on the planning process, the situation, and the impact of planning on all key interest groups.
(2) Observation of the prescriptions, the planning process and of the plans might be useful for organizations facing large changes, if it is possible to also obtain a control (informal planning) group.
(3) Experimental studies of cases would be desirable. Groups trained in formal planning procedures would be matched against informal planners on cases where the outcomes are known to the experimenters.
(4) Laboratory experiments are especially useful in studying which aspects of the planning process are most useful.
Hopefully, a variety of these approaches will be used in an effort to rule out alternative explanations of the results and to determine how much formality should be introduced for given situations. These could add significantly to our knowledge on how much planning a marketing planner should planif a planner could plan plans.
Keywords: strategic planning, marketing, formal planning, corporate planning
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