Yes! If you don't have an Operating Plan as part of your firm's annual Strategic Plan.
Continuing to improve what you deliver (services are products, too) and how well you deliver it meddles in your processes, systems, tools and training...clearly areas "outside" of the marketing department. Or are they?
Product quality, which products you deliver, and the finesse with which you deliver them are pretty fundamental in your ability to survive and thrive, long term. Isn't that why you are in business?
Product development is essential to evolving with your customers. And to besting your competitors through setting yourself apart. You either want to do altogether different things than your competitors, or do the same things, but do them differently...better.
So the Operating Plan and Marketing Plan should work in tandem and be integrated—not in isolation of one another—to support the Strategic Plan.
But, alas, most firms don't have Operating Plans at all. If yours does, be sure to include these Product Development initiatives in a category I'll refer to, here, as R&D (research & development). If your firm doesn't have an operating plan, then be sure to account for R&D in your marketing plan.
This chart shows essential top-level elements of Operating and Marketing Plans—expanded to show more details in the areas I'm referring to today. Click to Zoom.
Focusing on R&D is also focusing on your current clients—part of marketing.
And focusing here ensures you clarify and streamline your processes so that high-quality services are provided as effectively and efficiently as possible.
This impacts good use of personnel capacity, increases the recognition of need for training and delegating, and directly impacts the profitability of each project or job.
Profitability is one of the reasons you "do" marketing, right?
But profitability and marketing all too rarely intersect within firms...a problem worsened when segregating marketing from your operations and vice versa. See my earlier post, "Don't Separate Marketing From Strategy" for more on this.
Every critical operating or marking initiative shown in my chart needs to be interwoven into your team members' personal action items or they are likely to go undone. Placing product/service-related items in marketing plans is not unreasonable. Mentoring and people development is another area I often place into personal marketing plans.
I suppose this really turns an Individual Marketing Plan into an Individual Practice Plan and that is a-OK. Call it whatever you like. But ignore these crucial activities at your marketing's peril.