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.
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.
In a single organization, however, it is likely that only a few aspects will be sufficiently important to have any significant impact on the marketing plan; but all may need to be reviewed to determine just which "are" the few.
A "traditional" - albeit product-based - format for a "brand reference book" (or, indeed, a "marketing facts book") was suggested by Godley more than three decades ago: His sources of data, however, assume the resources of a very large organization.
In most organizations, "strategic planning" is an annual process, typically covering just the year ahead.
Occasionally, a few organizations may look at a practical plan which stretches three or more years ahead.
The idea precedes the deed." If the organization in general, and its chief executive in particular, has a strong vision of where its future lies, then there is a good chance that the organization will achieve a strong position in its markets (and attain that future).
This will be not least because its strategies will be consistent; and will be supported by its staff at all levels.