Is it easier to hit a moving target?

marketing planning

A quote from a conversation I had last week with a Marketing Manager: “… our company does marketing planning once a year… ”

It reminded me of a study published by the European Marketing Confederation earlier this year, that highlighted Planning as one of the current key challenges for Marketing.

47% of CMOs and senior managers say
“Marketing Planning is one of the top priorities to address by 2020.”

They say the main issues are:

  • Marketing planning is insufficiently aligned with overall business planning.
  • Planning is limited to an annual review of strategy and major actions.
  • Content-based planning at topic and program level is often neglected.
  • The usual method is simply to adjust the previous year’s plan with minor content and scheduling changes.
  • KPIs are seldom jointly agreed between marketing and other teams (such as sales, distribution, foreign subsidiaries, etc.).

As a result, the CMO has difficulty proving the return on marketing investment (ROMI) and justifying the costs.

In practice, tactical measures are driven by day-to-day pressures and updated on the fly, without reference to the marketing strategy or plan.

A lack of coordination with other areas (such as sales) inevitably leads to duplication of work. This, combined with centralized approvals, can in turn lead to bottlenecks in internal processes.

These European CMOs say they want to move away from tactical-only annual planning. Instead, planning must cascade from top-level business objectives, through strategy, to activity level. Ongoing updates should ensure that adjustments to tactics refer back to the strategy.

Constant updating of a rolling Marketing Plan driven by strategy sounds sensible to me.

Do you agree?


The study comprised 285 participants from the executive and board level of companies from Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, Holland and Norway. The majority are large – usually international – companies with over 250 and often (especially among the German companies) over 5,000 employees.

  • English version here:
  • German version here:

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