Strategic planning at the corporate level involves the formulation of strategies to achieve the corporate goals and objectives. Corporate goals and objectives are the specific goals or objectives that the company is striving to achieve to fulfill the corporate mission and vision. Examples of corporate strategies include product differentiation strategy which is employed by a company when the product or service launched to the market is something that does not exist yet in the market. At the division level, strategic planning involves the formulation of strategies to attain the divisional objectives and goals of the company.
The company may be divided into functional divisions (marketing, finance, production, and human resource) which have functional goals and objectives. To reach these goals and objectives, the company devises strategic plans for each functional division. For instance, the company might have decided to use the just-in-time production strategy to attain the goal of reduced storage cost.
Finally, strategic planning at the business unit level involves the formulation of strategies to achieve the goals or objectives of the strategic business units (SBUs). If the structure of the company is divided into product SBUs, for example, then as part of the strategic planning, the product SBU goals and objectives should be attained. Product SBU strategies may include promotional strategies to achieve product SBU goals like 100 percent increase in profit of a certain product line.
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The marketing process involves conducting a situational analysis by considering the internal and external environment to determine the opportunities and threats the company may face. It also involves formulation of strategy by using the company’s strengths to exploit the opportunities and minimize threats and improve weaknesses (SWOT analysis). This would be followed by marketing mix decisions concerning the four P’s of marketing (product, place, promotion, and price). Finally, the marketing plan is implemented and adjusted in accordance to changes in consumer preferences.
A marketing plan includes a situational analysis to investigate the internal and external environment of the company. This involves conducting a company analysis where the goals and current capabilities (strengths and weaknesses) of the company are identified. This is followed by the presentation of market segmentation which involves identifying your market and how they can be divided into different groups of customers (segments). Through market segmentation, the company would be able to customize its approach to different market segments in order to satisfy the needs or preferences of each market segment.
A marketing plan also includes a discussion of alternative marketing strategies. This part discusses the marketing strategies the company considered to employ before deciding to pursue the recommended strategy. Examples of alternatives marketing strategies include re-branding and discontinuing a product line. Finally, the marketing strategies for each of the four P’s of marketing (product, place, promotion, and price strategies) are discussed.
A thorough market research is imperative to effectively manage the marketing process the central focus of which is the market needs and preferences. Since the ultimate goal of the marketing process is to satisfy the needs and wants of the customers in order to maximize profit, a company needs to learn about all the details concerning its target market. Hence, the company has to conduct a market research on what would satisfy the customer’s needs and preferences. In this way, the company would be able to successfully manage the marketing process. This would also ensure that there is an existing market for the product. An effective implementation of the marketing process would prevent the company from having financial losses due to bad investments.
- Netmba.com (2007). The marketing process. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from http://www.netmba.com/marketing/process/
- Quickmba.com (2007). Marketing plan outline. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from http://www.quickmba.com/marketing/plan/
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