Have you had an experience in which you created a solid marketing plan or campaign, then the budget was reduced or the product got delayed and the marketing plan you put so much time and effort into became useless and out-of-date? Or the business environment changed forcing you to regroup and start all over again? Here is the irony of marketing planning vs plans that frustrates us: we spend so much time and effort planning yet it usually does not work out the way we plan.

Chaos intervenes. If we don’t plan, chaos still intervenes. It’s just a depressing lose-lose situation. Does this mean we should not plan? Frankly, planning is in our DNA. We plan our wedding, our vacations and even our days because we recognize the benefits of marketing planning:

1. Know what to do to accomplish end goals

2. Mitigate foreseeable chaos

The truth is there is a difference between “plans” and “planning”. Marketing Planning is an active way of discussing the goals, objectives, strategies, and tasks that we need to accomplish. Marketing Plans are the outcomes and documentation of planning.  Since things change, plans need to get updated on a regular basis.

Planning is a continuous process that helps us adjust course, keep on-track and make accomplishing our goals more likely. President Eisenhower says it so poignantly, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Planning is the prerequisite of business success, but success is not guaranteed by planning.

Three takeaways on Marketing Planning vs Plans


  • is an active ongoing process, while plans are the documentation of that discussion at one point of time.
  • aims to mitigate problems and changes, yet bear in mind that the only constant in life is a change.
  • does not guarantee success, yet it’s absolutely necessary.

These two quotes reflect the essences of marketing plans vs planning.

“Have a plan, but be ready to abandon it at any moment.” – Jennifer Baichwal “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” -Yogi Berra

So, don’t fall in love with your marketing plans.  Don’t get frustrated with constant changes.  It’s all part of the game. The saga of marketing planning vs plans continues. Curious about building a worldwide marketing strategy that works?

Download the first chapter of https://pamdidner.com/global-content-marketing/ my book Global Content Marketing, for free.

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