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July 11, 2009

Planning an Effective Promotional Program

The Essential Insight:
A promotional program is an essential component of the overall marketing communications program.  When planning for a promotional program you need to know how all the parts of the promotional mix will affect the overall marketing plan.  

Fast Facts:

  • Before developing a promotional plan, marketers must understand the overall marketing plan for the company.
  • There are five basic elements that should be included in all marketing plans.
  • Promotional planning focuses on information within the marketing plan that is relevant to the promotional strategy

Developing and implementing an effective promotional program requires good planning.  The first step is to design a promotional plan that provides a solid blueprint for the development, implementation, and control over your company’s integrated marketing communications program.  At MZI Global., we begin promotional planning by deciding on the role and function of each component in the overall promotional mix.  We then develop strategies for each part and finally put the plan into motion.  Promotion is only one part of, and has to be integrated into, the overall marketing plan and program.  

Review of the Marketing Plan
We begin the IMC planning process by reviewing the marketing plan and goals.  At MZInc., we believe that before developing a promotional plan, we need to understand where our clients have been (their history), their current position in the market, where they want to go, and how they’d like to get there.  Most of this information should be included in the marketing plan, a document describing the overall marketing strategy and the programs developed for a company, a particular product line, or a brand.  

Marketing plans take many forms, but all include five basic elements:
1. A detailed situation analysis, consisting of an internal marketing audit and review, and an external analysis of the market competitors and environment;
2. Specific marketing goals providing direction, a time frame for completion, and specifying mechanisms for evaluating performance;
3. A marketing strategy and program that includes selection of target markets, as well as decisions, and plans for the four elements of the marketing mix;
4. A program for implementing the marketing strategy, including determining specific tasks to be performed and identifying who has responsibility for each task;
5. Developing a feedback loop.  That is to say, a process for monitoring and evaluating performance and providing feedback, so that effective control can be maintained and any necessary changes made in the overall marketing strategy and/or tactics.

The promotional plan is a critical component of the overall marketing strategy. Promotional planners need to know what the role advertising and other parts of the promotional mix will play in the overall marketing program. Drawing up a promotional plan is analogous to developing a marketing plan, and often uses the latter’s detailed information. Promotional planning focuses on information within the marketing plan that is relevant to the promotional strategy.