No marketing program is planned and implemented perfectly. Marketing managers will tell you that they experience many surprises during the course of their activities. In an effort to ensure that performance goes according to plans, marketing managers establish controls that allow marketers to evaluate results and identify needs for modifications in marketing strategies and programs. Surprises occur, but marketing managers who have established sound control procedures can react to surprises quickly and effectively.
Marketing control involves a number of decisions. One decision is what functions to monitor. Some organizations monitor their entire marketing program, while others choose to monitor only a part of it, such as their sales force or their advertising program. A second set of decisions concerns the establishment of standards for performance; e.g. market share, profitability, or sales. A third set of decisions concerns how to collect information for making comparisons between actual performance and standards. Finally, to the extent that discrepancies exist between actual and planned performance, adjustments in the marketing program or the strategic plan must be made.
Once a plan is put into action, a marketing manager must still gather information related to the effectiveness with which the plan was implemented. Information on sales, profits, reactions of consumers, and reactions of competitors must be collected and analyzed so that a marketing manager can identify new problems and opportunities.