Behind the corporate objectives, which in themselves offer the main context for the marketing plan, will lay the "corporate mission"; which in turn provides the context for these corporate objectives.
This "corporate mission" can be thought of as a definition of what the organization is; of what it does: "Our business is …".
After fixing the targets and setting the strategies, they will be realised by the marketing mix in step 4.
The last step in the process is the marketing controlling.
The structure of the facts book will be designed to match the specific needs of the organization, but one simple format - suggested by Malcolm Mc Donald - may be applicable in many cases.
This splits the material into three groups: The last of these is too frequently ignored.
Solid marketing strategy is the foundation of a well-written marketing plan.
While a marketing plan contains a list of actions, a marketing plan without a sound strategic foundation is of little use.
Accordingly, the best approach is to accumulate this material continuously, as and when it becomes available; since this avoids the otherwise heavy workload involved in collecting it as part of the regular, typically annual, planning process itself - when time is usually at a premium.
Even so, the first task of this "annual" process should be to check that the material held in the current "facts book" or "facts files" actually "is" comprehensive and accurate, and can form a sound basis for the marketing audit itself.