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Outside of traditional marketing-driven or marketing sophisticated sectors (consumer packaged goods, automotive industry, entertainment, food service), marketing more often than not refers to marketing programs and activities (e.g., websites, brochures, advertising, direct marketing, sales promotions, etc.) and not to sophisticated and disciplined strategic planning.

It would appear many marketing efforts are directed at tactics and implementation. While this is understandable from a pure cost or spending perspective (it does cost more to implement than to plan), philosophically, it would appear that many firms believe that marketing is more tactical than strategic.

While there are obviously strong pockets of marketing skills in various industries and individual enterprises, there is a general service sector feeling that marketing is often a secondary consideration for many organizations.

As some consulting industry representatives have remarked, there is sometimes little distinction between implementation ("doing things right") and strategy ("doing the right thing"). Some respondents suggested that for many clients, their immediate focus is clearly on implementation and trying to get results without consideration for strategy in many cases.

Other industry practitioners observed that unless a CEO or COO of a company came from a true marketing background (i.e., not sales - often synonymous with marketing in many peoples' minds), or the company had a marketing driven culture, attention to strategic marketing practices was minimal.

~With thanks to Industry Canada and Engelberts & Woyzbun Ltd.

The Marketing Process and the Consultant

Where and how does a consultant "fit into" the marketing process?

The following material is largely an excerpt from a 1996 study "The Marketing Services Industry" undertaken by Engelberts & Woyzbun Ltd. on behalf of Industry Canada. In our opinion it lays out, in a very clear and concise manner, the basics of the marketing process.

The model to the left assumes a continuous process loop beginning with the marketing planning process, its transition to implementation, followed by evaluation, and then a renewed cycle of planning.

In theory, the process is seamless, with marketers constantly planning, implementing and monitoring results, and making adjustments where necessary.

As a result, the model shows an overlap between the distinct phases of the process.

Marketing Services Model

The planning function in marketing is the focal point of all key marketing decisions or strategies. In the marketing planning process, a framework is developed to guide all  marketing activities for a company, product or service, throughout a given planning or business cycle.

Key marketing decisions usually involve identification or setting of overall marketing objectives, and the development of the  strategies designed to achieve those objectives.

Based on the overall marketing approach identified, various marketing sub-strategies are then developed, including decisions regarding product or service form and function, pricing strategies, distribution strategies and promotion strategies (including advertising, sales, public relations, etc.)

The Marketing Process

In theory, the evaluation of marketing programs is the third major stage in the marketing process, designed to provide feedback regarding the success or impact of programs and, most importantly, to provide the information required to modify or change marketing strategies and implementation.

The evaluation process can range in sophistication and complexity from the analysis of internal sales data to formal market research studies and evaluations.

Evaluation services are either provided in-house or through marketing research firms or consultants. Unlike the provision of planning and implementation services, it is common practice in marketing (as in financial matters) to have an evaluation (a.k.a. audit) conducted by more objective, arms length parties. Service providers can be subdivided into several sub-segments including full service research firms, specialty research firms such as audience measurement firms, firms specializing in providing field services to other marketing research companies, qualitative research specialists, etc.

The following table provides an overview of how the consultant fits into a company's marketing, and/or business management planning, implementation and evaluation processes. Please note that the categorization of service providers into the three process areas is generalized and not meant to indicate exclusive provision of such services.






Helping clients identify and/or make marketing policy decisions

Helping clients to actually execute marketing programs

Providing information in support of marketing decisions

Activity Summary

The development of strategic business and/or marketing plans, including development and selection of marketing sub-categories

The actual implementation of the marketing activities ranging from product development to advertising, public relations, sales promotions, business development programs, and website development and promotion

The measurement and assessment of the level of success of the marketing strategies and programs

Service Providers

  • In House Personnel

  • Management Consultants

  • Marketing Consultants

  • Advertising Agencies

  • Market Research Companies

  • Specialized Planning Consultants

  • Website/Internet Specialists
  • In House Personnel

  • Advertising Agencies

  • Direct Marketing Agencies

  • Public Relations Firms

  • Media Industries

  • Website Development and SEO

  • Firms

  • Other "Specialty" Firms
  • In House Personnel

  • Management Consultants

  • Marketing Consultants

  • Market Research Companies



Once key marketing policy decisions are confirmed, the implementation of marketing programs begins. Again, while some organizations have in-house resources capable of carrying out various aspects of marketing-related campaigns, implementation activities are frequently outsourced to marketing service companies.

The providers of marketing services, associated with implementation activities, make up the bulk of the marketing services sector, and at a national level include interactive marketing services, advertising, public relations, direct marketing (including telemarketing and direct mail), specialty media, advertising media, etc.

On a local level, marketing services can be interpreted to include virtually any service provider dealing in marketing-related communications, including photocopy services, graphic design, packaging, printing, etc.

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