Marketing Planning Cycle Explained

The marketing planning cycle; Analyse, Planning, Implementation and Control (APIC) is a model used to visually illustrate the 4 stages of planning within a marketing environment.

Audit and Analysis

The cycle starts with the audit and analysis, step 1.

In a new business start-up, the audit and analysis process generally quickly leads to the initial business planning and objective/goal setting. For existing businesses, this level of analysis and planning generally comes as a result of a major event such as a recession, or after a major change in technology or possibly some heavy competitor activity within the marketplace.

However, in both cases, annual reviews of the audit, analysis and planning stages are typical in most market-orientated companies that have the resources to do this.


Following the Audit and analysis step 1 is the actual planning. It’s at this stage that the marketing plan is produced. This includes results of the audit and analysis activities along with marketing objectives, marketing strategy and overall tactical plans – these activities are synchronised with the overall corporate mission, strategies and objectives.

Implementation Stage

The implementation stage consists of the marketing and promotional mix. This also includes communications and delivery of activities which are derived from media plans.


Finally, with control/evaluation, we examine our overall performance in meeting our objectives by utilising a number of metrics.  These will include measures such as; how well we are meeting the expectations of our customers, where we are strong/weak/vulnerable, how can we meet or exceed expectations in future in light of known opportunities and threats and what else do we need to do.

At the end of the process; the information that is received back as a result of the control/evaluation stage feeds back into the overall planning and implementation cycle. This minor tweaking and adaption of the planning cycle continues and is an ongoing process.

marketing planning

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