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Importance of marketing planning process and the marketing audit

In this modern-day and competitive world every small and large company must plan its activities to build up its strategy also to achieve their targets more effectively. Among the primary components considered while developing a marketing plan is a marketing audit to determine the needs of a firm, to help them analyse the marketplace opportunities, plan marketing activities, use and monitor strategies and control the utilization of marketing resources. Hence it's essential for each firm to have a perfect marketing audit to be able to design a highly effective planning process.

This report evaluates the importance of marketing planning process and the marketing audit. In addition, it outlines the key challenges confronted in gathering the mandatory marketing information in both theoretical and practical perspective. It discusses the potential challenges that may be experienced by Innocent in applying the proposed marketing plan.

During any marketing planning process; the foremost step is to assemble the information. This is done by different methods and ideas but the basic sources of gathering marketing information are

Internal details such as comments from customers, sales information and inventory levels

Marketing intelligence is utilized mainly to warn the organization to the changes in the exterior environment. The info is mainly based on the external extra sources to create the continuous movement of information.

Marketing research- It is designed to provide information to the company to help them in making specific decisions. For example, whether to get into a fresh market or kick off a new product.

Scientific method- A rational method that makes the analyst to follow procedures that reduce the possibilities of slipshod work or reliance on intuition.

Other than the aforementioned resources, the marketing decision making can also be actively increased by costing models, correlation research, site-selection models and game theory (Hatton, A; 2000). These ideas are discussed at length below.

Game Theory: It consists of four sections related to whether the game involved is static or energetic also to whether it has a complete or in complete information ("Complete information means that there is no personal information"). It could be controlled either in static complete information or static imperfect information and energetic complete information or vibrant incomplete information (Gibbons, R. S. , 2000)

Site Selection: A market research site is an area where the group identifies the opportunities and troubles, tests technological alternatives. However the selection is made by considering its representativeness of a greater area to ensure that the results obtained can be suitable in other areas with similar characteristics (Zandstra et al. , 1981). Various pursuits like gathering and analysing secondary information, interviews to key informants and immediate site recognition travels are helpful in choosing the site (Axelby, G. , 2002).

Marketing Research: It is worried about research into marketing procedures. It's been defined by the American Marketing Association as "the systematic gathering, recording and evaluation of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services" (McDonald, M. , 2007). There are two forms of marketing research, Internal or external. The exterior research activity is conducted within the competitive environment beyond your firm, while interior marketing analysis gives a much valuable intelligence of sales developments, change in marketing mix and advertising levels. Aside from this, there's also reactive and non-reactive research methods. The past involves some type of proactive assessment in the market place, and later is based on the interpretation of observed phenomena or extant data.

Scientific Method: A reasonable method which makes the firms to follow procedures to be able to reduce the options of slipshod work or reliance on intuition. It consists of four stages that happen to be Observation, Formulation of hypotheses, prediction into the future and testing hypotheses. FOR EXAMPLE, a firm operating on a normal pace wanted to develop some opportunities it starts off by first watching the market and your competition, formulate the competitor's solution as the only real hypothesis and predict the near future by likely to apply the solution to the firm and test it in the market. This allows the firm to decrease the potential risks associated by coming into the market and gives an effective and logical consequence.

So, it's an obvious idea that information and market research are the primary elements for the success of any firm. Good information can lead to an effective plan, which explains why one should make certain of the right questions to ask such as: "who are our customers and what's our market share?" and so forth.

Generally all the ideas above suggest that gathering the info is very essential for market planning process, but it should also be looked at that the info should be collected in line with the company need. Hence, the information is gathered based on the need of the innocent for suggested marketing plan. Since Innocent is going through the financial crisis, keeping that in mind a fresh plan is suggested to overcome the loss triggered by the economic downturn since 2 yrs. Decision making is complicated yet critical aspects within this example, however gathering the backdrop information for doing the marketplace research is considered as less complicated process.

As Innocent knows its inner environment and its own market position on the market at present, the look process is designed in such a way to put together the weaknesses and potential talents and provide valuable information into a launch of a new product in the UK market and grow its foundation in European union market. The information is mainly collected by taking into account of the internal data such as comments from customers and sales reviews. The study of these internal data has given a concept about the potential pitfalls in today's marketing plan such as reduction in the sales quantity and customer inclination towards cheaper products due to downturn which eventually resulted in the increased loss of the company. Therefore, an external research has been completed in order to understand the client needs and develop the new product line according to these to keep the existing customers and attain new ones. This external research is performed mainly by organising the happenings and face to face reviews with key customers for the information about the necessity and the changes they would like to better perform in today's market. Innocent's business is principally product focused alternatively than market centered, nonetheless it should be mainly market targeted to generate revenue to the business. Levitt also argued that business should be looked at as customer gratifying process however, not as goods-producing process (Wilson, T. , 1992).

Furthermore, these inner and external studies throws light on the opportunities and problems for innocent and help in understanding the SWOT of the company and producing a powerful marketing audit. Evaluation of the secure and regular market position of innocent in UK market offered an possibility to generate a new marketing objective to the company. According to Ansoff Development matrix, Innocent's new market goal is to be in existing UK market with a fresh product and also with existing products in the new EU market (Foundations of marketing).

It is simple for Innocent to launch a new product line in UK market as they have good consistent performance. Since Innocent is aware of its customer bottom and its market segmentation, the need for information gathering is very nominal. This allows them to gain the previous customers again who are willing to pay less to the Innocent products. With UK's one fourth population willing to take smoothies and Innocent being the marketplace leader in the smoothies industry, it is not hard to allow them to launch a new product line. So, by making use of internal details and previous performance of the company, it is currently clear that there surely is a need to release a fresh product which could do wonders to the business. In addition, Innocent is wanting to go to a fresh market in Europe which is not a fairly easy process and the info gathering has different conditions in a fresh market. Observing the industry and rivals advantages and their products can help Innocent to understand the customer's needs and work matching to them to make an impact in customers view. The suggested marketing plan includes an effective marketing mixture that suits the EU market and most importantly the low price plus some different promotional activities like product sampling and events conducted on healthy refreshments.

So, gathering information is did the trick by using theories like segmentation of the marketplace matching to site-selection and watching new market by using medical method. But speaking pretty much almost all of the organisations do not count on theories and works based on the market variant. So in instances like these swift and careful decisions should be made as software of theories is a period consuming process. It also makes marketing plan intricate and crucial for organisations to comprehend and can lack the flexibleness.

Marketing Audit:

Marketing plan is only going to be as effective as the information which it is situated and the marketing audit is the means where information for planning is organised. As the marketing audit provides the backbone research that facilitates both marketing and corporate and business decision, it is considered most necessary to the planning process. "A marketing audit is a systematic, critical and unbiased review and appraisal of all the external and internal factors that have affected an organisations commercial performance over a defined period". It really is based on the existing situation and answers the question: 'Where is the organisation now?' The marketing audit is actually a database of most market-related issues for the company, which forms area of the company-wide management audit. In addition, it provides a basic knowledge of how the company relates to the environment in which it manages by permitting the management to select a position within the surroundings based on known factors. It is generally structured into 2 parts.

External audit- parameters that are uncontrollable (business and financial environment, the market, the competition)

Internal audit- factors that are controllable (organisation's talents and weaknesses, functions and resources vis- -vis the environment and competitors)

In the modern world every small and big company has a need for marketing audit as it can help in gathering information and makes company to make decisions in appropriate way. Usually the need of any audit does not manifest itself until things commence to go wrong for a firm, by means of declining sales, slipping margins, lost market talk about or underutilized development capacity. Neverthless, the audit has been used regularly by organisations these days as the market started fluctuating every now and then.

Its primary goal is to ensure that the decision-making process can be an enlightened one. The audit seeks to provide information on two key aspects of the marketing environment

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