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Why is planning ahead so important in marketing?

University of Exeter student, Freya Carr, is currently undertaking work experience at Bigwave Media. Here, she explains the importance of planning ahead when constructing a marketing strategy.

Reassessing the needs of your audience
A huge part of planning ahead in marketing involves having an intimate understanding of your customers and their changing needs. Through market research and tracking sales it is possible to establish what is most important to your customer and then delivering upon that theme. Planning ahead therefore allows you to modify your marketing plan to reflect the requirements of your customers and ultimately increase returns.

Creating focus
When you plan ahead you are forced to identify what exactly it is you want to accomplish and how you intend to do it. With a plan in hand you are able to focus more on exactly what you need to do to deliver your service to your customers. This helps to create a bigger picture, which in turn can help to improve communications and share responsibilities by identifying who needs to do what and when.

Reducing stress and increasing success
Even the most basic planning can save you time, money and stress. Just plotting dates on a calendar helps give an overview of the year ahead and can help increase success rates. With more time up your sleeve you are able to eliminate many potential problems before they ever occur and reduce the number of rushed decisions that are made without reference to an overall marketing plan.

Staying ahead of the competition
Through careful planning you can often get in first, putting you ahead of your competition. You could be the first to announce or launch something new and desirable. For many businesses, there are specific times of the year that you need to be in touch with your customers. By planning ahead and getting everything ready in advance, you can ensure that you don’t miss out on vital marketing opportunities.

Embracing the digital era
The end of 2012 saw the opening of a number of social network sites including Microsoft Socl and the re-launch of MySpace. With 2013 set to see the continued growth of social media, marketers need to plan their social media activity to ensure they are ahead of their competitors in taking advantage of these promotional platforms. However, not all social media networks are going to be useful for everyone. Planning ahead allows you to establish the social media preferences of your consumers and tailor your activity to match this.

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