Week 4 Discussion – Strategic Planning and Advertising

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Week 4 Discussion – Strategic Planning and Advertising

Learning Objectives Covered

1. Identify and discuss the three tiers in the strategic planning process



Strategic planning is the process by which businesses or
organizations within businesses define direction and make decisions on
how to use resources to pursue this direction. Watch the video below to
summarize the strategic planning process:

Overview of the Strategic Planning Process (4:30 minutes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU3FLxnDv_A (Links to an external site.)

There are several levels of plans that are involved in the strategic
planning process: The business plan, the marketing plan, the brand
communication plan or integrated marketing communication (IMC)
campaigns. Before IMC became more mainstream, the business plan, the
marketing plan, and the advertising plan were the most commonly used
plans. They were sometimes referred to as the three tiers in the
strategic planning process. This was because each plan worked in
conjunction with the one before to provide a comprehensive overview of
the planning process.

Strategic planning that makes use of IMC or brand communication plans
includes another level of plans for specific areas of marketing
communication such as advertising or public relations (Moriarty,
Mitchell, & Wells, 2014, p. 179).

Business Plans

Business plans are used to direct operations of an entire business or
in the case of large companies it may be used to direct specific
divisions. Business plans give a picture of the company and the
environment that the company works within. Creating a business plan has
several steps or parts. The part that make up a business plan are
similar to the parts that make up other plans in the strategic planning

The firsts part of the business plan is the vision and mission
statements. These statements differ in that the vision statement defines
what the organization wants to be, and the mission statement defines what the organization will do. In the video below, Bruce Johnson helps to clarify the difference between a vision and a mission statement:

What’s the Difference Between Mission and Vision? (5:08)What’s the Difference Between Mission and Vision? (Links to an external site.)
What's the Difference Between Mission and Vision?

Internal and external research comes in the business plan after the
vision and mission statement. One way to approach this research is to do
a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.
SWOT is used in many planning processes that help organizations look at
both interior and exterior strengths and weaknesses. Watch the video
below for an overview of the SWOT process:

How to SWOT Analysis (5:23 minutes)

How to SWOT analysis (Links to an external site.)
How to SWOT analysis

Goals and objectives are the next part of the business plan. Goals
are long range and general in scope and define the financial aspects of a
business. A goal could include developing a low-priced brand for a
specific market. Objectives on the other hand are specific and
measurable, and in business plans they usually focus on return on
investment (ROI). “ROI is a measurement that shows whether, in general,
the costs of conducting the business—the investment—are more than
matched by the revenue produced in return” (Moriarty et al., 2014, p.

Goals, Objectives, Strategies & Tactics: What’s the difference? (2:32 minutes)

Goals, Objectives, Strategies & Tactics: What’s the difference? (Links to an external site.)
Goals, Objectives, Strategies & Tactics:  What's the difference?

The remaining parts of a business plan include: strategies, tactics,
implementation, and controls. Strategies are the plans that will achieve
the goals and objectives set up earlier in the business plan. Tactics
are specific activities that carry out the strategies. Implementation is
the actual decisions that must be made to carry out the tactics
including things like budgeting, scheduling, and personnel. Controls are
management tools like “budgets, audits, time sheets, and quality
control procedures… that keep programs on strategy and that track the
effectiveness of strategic decisions and implementation programs. This
information feeds back into the planning process and is used to adjust
future plans” (Moriarty et al., 2014, p. 181).

Marketing Plan

Marketing plans are similar to business plans except that instead of
focusing on the business as a whole, marketing plans are developed for
specific brands or product lines. A restaurant might have an overall
marketing plan but it could also have a separate marketing plan for a
breakfast menu. There are six steps to creating a marketing plan
(Moriarty et al., 2014, pp. 181–184).

Step 1 is a situational analysis done through SWOT analysis (see SWOT video above).

Step 2 is to set objectives.

Step 3 is customer analysis.

Step 4 is developing a brand strategy.

Step 5 is to develop the marketing mix strategy including “product
design and performance criteria, pricing, distribution, and marketing
communication” (Moriarty et al., 2014, p. 184).

Finally, Step 6 is implementation of tactical decisions that carry through on the marketing mix strategy.

How to Write a Strategic Marketing Plan (5:38 minutes)

How to Write a Strategic Marketing Plan (Links to an external site.)
How to Write a Strategic Marketing Plan

Brand Communication or Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) Plan

Communication plans also use objectives, strategies, and tactics
similar to the processes used for business and marketing plans. Just as a
general goal in the business plan may become more specific objectives
in the marketing plan, general goals in the marketing plan are converted
into more specific objectives in the communication plan.

The major goals in a communication plan are to figure out who the
audience is, what message you would like to get to them, and what tools
will you use to reach them. An outline of an IMC plan is quoted below
(Moriarty et al., 2014, p. 535).

  1. Situation Analysis
    • Background research
    • SWOTs: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
    • Key communication problem(s) to be solved
  2. Key Strategic Campaign Decisions
    • Objectives
    • Targeting and engaging stakeholders
    • Brand positioning strategy
  3. MarcomMix
    • Platforms and objectives
    • Synergy
  4. Message Strategy
    • Key consumer and brand relationship insights
    • Message direction
    • Strategic consistency
  5. IMC Media and Contact Points
    • Multimedia and multichannel
    • Multiplatform
    • Contact points, touch points, and critical touch points
  6. Management and Campaign Controls
    • Budgeting
    • Evaluation of effectiveness

Other Marketing Communication Plans

The IMC outline can also be used for specific marketing communication
functions like advertising plans and public relation plans. The
creation of these types of plans allows for insights into the specific
audience, the creation of a message strategy, and the creation of a
media strategy. These plans design activities using key media to
accomplish objectives developed in the plan. They will provide the
detail needed to carry out the activities in a given time frame.


Moriarty, S., Mitchell, N., & Wells, W. D. (2014). Advertising & IMC: Principles and Practice (10th ed.). Pearson Higher Ed.


For this week’s discussion spend some time researching
advertisements. By looking at the advertisements and information you can
find about them, what do you think the advertising plan or IMC plan
would look like? Questions that might help get this type of information:
Who is the target audience? What is the overall message strategy? What
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats can you deduce from the
advertisement and other information you were able to find about the ad?

An example of this type of deconstruction is given in this Ad Age article (Links to an external site.)
(539 words) that discusses a Planet Fitness advertisement that ran on
New Year’s Eve and in January of 2016. The ad showed humorous clips of
people being rejected in different situations and carried the message
“The world judges, we don’t. Be free.” This is an attempt to appeal to
people who want to make New Year’s resolution but are intimidated by the
idea of going to a gym where they might be judged. The timing of the ad
is important because the majority of health club memberships are sold
in January of each year.

In your initial discussion post, share the advertisement you have
selected and your insights into what the advertising plan might look

Reply Requirements

Per the Due Dates and Participation Requirements for this course, you must submit your main post of 150+ words with at least two IWG citations and references. Two 50+
word peer responses are required as your follow up posts. Responses can
be addressed to both your initial thread and other threads but must be
your own words (no copy and paste), each reply unique (no repeating
something you already said), and substantial in nature. Remember that
part of the discussion grade is submitting on time (20%) and using
proper grammar, spelling, etc. (20% per post).

Remember that part of the discussion grade is submitting on time and
using proper grammar, spelling, etc. You’re training to be a
professional—write like it.

Click here for info on the Institution Writing Guidelines (IWG) if you have questions.


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