Marketing Strategy Chapter 2 Developing the Marketing Plan
Marketing Plan Structure 1) The specific outline used is not important as long as the outline is comprehensive and includes all relevant information. 2) The structure should be logical so it is easy to follow and communicates its message clearly to top management. 3) The structure should be flexible enough to be adapted easily to unique situations and organizational characteristics. 4) Any marketing plan structure is just a framework, not a series of sequential planning steps. 5) Many elements of a marketing plan are decided upon simultaneously, such as marketing strategy and implementation.
The executive summary is a synopsis of the overall marketing plan with an outline that conveys the main thrust of the marketing strategy and its execution. The purpose of the executive summary is to provide an overview of the plan so the reader can quickly identify key issues or concerns related to his or her role in the planning process. The executive summary tells managers what information is contained in the plan for other planning or implementation issues. The executive summary may also be used by others outside the immediate organization who have a stake in the firm’s success. Executive Summary
The environmental analysis summarizes all pertinent information obtained about three key business conditions: the external environment, the customer environment (i.e., target markets), and the firm's internal (organizational) environment. Information for the environmental analysis may be obtained internally through the firm's information system or externally through primary and/or secondary marketing research. The environmental analysis should be simultaneously comprehensive in scope and focused on key issues in order to prevent information overload. The collection and organization of environmental data should be an ongoing effort, and the data can be stored and analyzed within the firm's marketing information system (MIS) so that up-to-date information about the firm's environment is available when needed. Environmental Analysis
The SWOT analysis focuses on the internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats) that give the firm certain advantages and disadvantages in satisfying the needs of its target market(s). Strengths refer to factors that give the firm an edge in meeting the needs of its target markets (i.e., a competitive advantage). Weaknesses refer to deficiencies that a company might have in marketing strategy development or implementation. Opportunities refer to favorable conditions in the environment that could produce rewards for the organization if acted upon properly. Threats refer to conditions or barriers that may prevent the firm from reaching its objectives. SWOT Analysis
Marketing goals and objectives are formal statements of the desired and expected outcomes resulting from the marketing plan. Marketing Goals are broad, simple statements of what is to be accomplished through the marketing strategy. Marketing objectives are more specific and are essential to planning. Marketing Goals and Objectives
Marketing strategies involve selecting and analyzing target markets and creating and maintaining an appropriate marketing mix (product, distribution, promotion, and price) to satisfy the needs of those target markets. The marketing plan should clearly define target markets in terms of one or more important segmentation variables (e.g., demographic, geographic, psychographic, product usage). The plan should specify how the elements of the marketing mix will work together to satisfy the needs of specific target market segments. The final portion of the strategy section of the marketing plan outlines the expected reactions to implementing the chosen marketing strategy. Marketing Strategy
Marketing implementation is the process of executing the marketing strategy by creating specific actions that will ensure that the marketing objectives are achieved. What specific actions will be taken? How will these activities be performed? When will these activities be performed? Who is responsible for the completion of these activities? How will the completion of plan activities be monitored? How much will these activities cost? Marketing Implementation
The first part, marketing evaluation, involves a financial assessment of the marketing plan. Financial projections are based on estimates of costs, sales, and revenues. The second part, marketing control, involves establishing performance standards, assessing actual performance by comparing it with these standards, and, if necessary, taking corrective action to reduce discrepancies between desired and actual performance. Performance standards can be based on sales volume increases, profitability, market share increases, or even advertising standards such as brand name recognition or recall. A firm can use a number of tools to pinpoint potential causes for discrepancies, including the marketing audit, a systematic examination of the firm's marketing objectives, strategy, and performance. Evaluation and Control
In the past decade, many firms have changed the focus and content of their marketing plans. Of these changes, the one most frequently mentioned by marketing managers is an increased emphasis on the customer. Other important changes in marketing plans include better analysis of the competition, more specific objectives and measurement, and more reasoned and realistic planning. Some of the problems most commonly cited in the development of marketing plans, including getting company wide consensus and cooperation and finding enough time to prepare a good plan. Some shortcomings of marketing plans include too much emphasis on short-term goals and the plan not being specific enough. Problems in Creating Marketing Plans
Using the Marketing Plan 1) A marketing plan is only as good as the information it contains and the effort and creativity that went into its creation. 2) The importance of having an ongoing system of collecting relevant marketing information cannot be overstressed. 3) A marketing plan is not a substitute for managerial judgment. Managerial intuition and judgment are essential in the marketing planning process. 4) The authority to approve a marketing plan is typically vested in executives above the marketing level. A good marketing plan can sell itself to top management.
Using the Marketing Plan (continued) 5) The completion of the formal, written plan is not the most critical goal. It is more important that the plan is approved by top management and that the necessary resources are provided to help ensure its implementation. 6) To give a marketing plan every chance for success, very little time should elapse between the completion of the plan and its implementation. 7) The creation of a marketing plan is an important milestone, but is by no means the final step in strategic market planning. 8) Due to ever-changing environments, a marketing plan must be flexible enough to be adjusted on an ongoing basis.