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BEST PRACTICE: Planning your marketing for the year ahead

 In his seminal text On Marketing Planning, Professor Malcolm McDonald suggests levels of competence in marketing planning leave room for improvement. “Research over 25 years reveals an appalling level of competence in this central marketing function,” he says. “Many practitioners have not even heard of most of the tools of the trade necessary for producing a solid marketing plan.”

A bit harsh perhaps, and for those marketers doing a sterling job in trying circumstances, no offence intended. McDonald's comments provide interesting talking points nonetheless. Could those in charge of marketing planning up their game? Do too many conduct marketing on the hoof rather than making sure marketing tactics are in tune with business objectives? And what makes a good marketing plan anyway? Is it one that ties in with the classical marketing theory as espoused by the leading marketing bodies, or is there room for creative license along the way?