The marketing plan for any company should be based on an integrated marketing communication strategy that includes advertising, website, social media, public relations, direct/indirect mail, marketing events, and trade shows. This integrated marketing plan, as it is known, operates mainly on the two-dimensional plane of using consistent messages and imagery. The trade show display is the three-dimensional vehicle for the marketing plan. It, too, must communicate the same messages and images as the two-dimensional marketing media.

Getting your plan in place is time consuming, but a requirement. The earlier you start; the better off you will be in putting a strategic plan in place that is viable for your company in 2012. However, the management of growing companies often does not fully appreciate the importance of an integrated marketing plan and the necessity for the expense.

Here is a marketing readiness evaluation you can take:

Marketing Planning Readiness Evaluation

To determine where your corporate culture stands in regard to understanding the need for marketing planning, for each of the questions below, score your perception of your company as follows:

1 Does not apply
2 Strongly disagree
3 Disagree
4 Agree
5 Strongly Agree

1. My company seems to have organizational inertia, and prefers to keep doing what we’ve always done. ____
2. My company does not have specific departmental performance objectives for our functional areas, or they are not well-tracked. _____
3. People in my company generally dislike being held accountable for results because of their fear of failure. _____
4. My company is not very well informed about the environment we compete in, and our competitors have taken advantage of that. _____
5. Many people in my company dislike analysis and resent being distracted from their normal work duties._____
6. Our company does not have a well-defined planning process for the overall strategic direction of the firm. _____
7. The functions of marketing and sales are not closely integrated, and each department acts independently of the other. _____
8. Executives in my company are very entrepreneurial and usually make decisions as issues arise. _____
9. My boss often challenges me about the money I want to spend on marketing initiatives. _____
10. Marketing is perceived in my company as a “necessary evil.” The leadership knows they need marketing, but they’re not sure why. ___


Add up all your scores and record the total here: _______


If you scored under 30, you have a good chance of gaining the support of the key executives in your firm for your marketing plan. While you may have to overcome some resistance and internal barriers, once people understand the reasons for creating and implementing a marketing plan, the resistance is likely to eventually dissolve.

If you scored between 31 and 40, you may have a mixed reception for the development and implementation of your marketing plan. Some in your firm may actively encourage you not to “waste your time and theirs,” while others may applaud your efforts to professionalize your marketing approach. Try to build on the enthusiasm of your supporters until you have some early tangible results you can use to demonstrate success and help win over the doubters.

If you scored over 40, your planning process may need to start out informally as you ease your company into a more structured approach to marketing. You may encounter strong resistance when attempting to convince decision makers to commit resources based on an annual marketing plan. Be persuasively persistent, while gradually introducing plan elements as they are developed.

What are some of the other potential barriers to implementing a marketing plan that exist in your organization? What are three to five of the most important planning readiness issues you must address as pre-work to the planning process? We will discuss those questions in our future blog articles.