Align Your Business with a Marketing Plan

BY ARA Retail Institute
24 August 2017

It may be a question of the chicken and the egg regarding what comes first in retail, business or marketing objectives. In truth  they  are  at  best  one  and  the  same.  Without a marketing plan, business objectives cannot be achieved, without business objectives; marketing plans have no anchor or relevance.

It is essential then that retailers ensure a strategic alignment between business and marketing plans.

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Foster cooperation across different teams and operational areas

Developing a team-based approach has a range of benefits, it:

  • Generates a greater variety of ideas from different perspectives
  • Encourages a rigorous debate to test concepts
  • Builds commitment to the final outcomes
  • Creates a supportive environment for achieving objectives

In  terms  of  marketing  objectives,  there  is  a  range  of  stakeholders  to  be  included  in  the  process.  This includes not only immediate frontline team members, but also Board of Directors, senior management, owners and staff from specialist areas including:

  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • IT
  • Marketing

The challenge here is to encourage healthy debate and avoid “group think”. Brainstorming is a useful technique to work with a range of diverse people to get the best decisions. Whilst the term is frequently used, not many people fully appreciate what the process involves.

Conventional group interactions can be fraught with problems.  Confident,  ego  driven  participants  can  drown  out  and intimidate  quieter  group  members.  Less  confident  participants  can  be  too  scared  of  ridicule  to  share  their  ideas  freely. Others may feel pressurized to conform to the group view, or are held back by an excessive respect for authority. As such, group outcomes are often ineffective and sterile.

By  contrast,  brainstorming  provides  a  freewheeling  environment  in  which  everyone  is  encouraged  to  participate.  Broad thinking ideas are welcomed, and many of the issues of group problem solving are overcome. All participants are asked to contribute fully and fairly, liberating people to develop a rich array of creative solutions to the problems they're facing.

Establish Effective Planning Frameworks for the Marketing Plan

The engagement and buy-in of key stakeholders can also be leveraged to support the establishment of planning frameworks for the marketing plan.

Facilitating a group of key stakeholders from across the business to form a nucleus of representatives is an essential step. Ensuring they are able to meet as required and contribute their perspective and feedback can help provide the momentum to propel the marketing plan forward whilst ensuring the voice of important elements of the business have a forum. This not only strengthens organisational commitment toward the marketing plan, but also the validity and relevance of the marketing plan itself.

Implementing Monitoring Frameworks

This planning framework can then be used as the template for the implementation of monitoring frameworks to be relied upon as the plan is rolled out across the business.

Retaining  the  nucleus  group  of  key  stakeholders  from  across  the  business  to  monitor  and  track  the  marketing  plan implementation  as  it  occurs  offers  timely  feedback  on  the  expected  an  unexpected  outcomes.  This allows a proactive response and minimises any negative fallout.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ARA Retail Institute

ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. The ARA Retail Institute is a Government Registered Training Organisation (RTO) making it fully qualified to offer retail education programs to ARA members and broader retail industry.

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