Marketing Plan and Strategic Marketing Plan Term Paper

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Marketing Strategy your purchase.In the past, a successful company had to rely on marketing or planning and executing the development, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and/or services. In this very competitive and global business environment, however, organizations must go even one step beyond this: They must rely not only on a general marketing plan but one that fits specifically with the company's strategy and goals.

A strategic plan is clearly delineates where an organization is going over the next year or more, how it will get there and the way it will determine if it did or did not reache its stated objectives. A business plan and a strategic plan are not the same. The focus of a business plan is usually on a particular product, service or program; the focus of a strategic plan is usually on the entire organization.

There are a number of different methods, models and approaches followed in strategic planning. The one developed and used depends on the nature of the organization's leadership, culture of the company, complexity of the business environment, size of the organization and the expertise of planners. For example, there some of the different types of strategic plans include goals-based, issues-based, organic and scenario. Goals-based planning is probably the most common and begins with an emphasis on the organization's mission, vision and values, goals and objectives to reach the mission, strategies to achieve the goals, and action planning or who will be responsible of doing what and when.

Wysocki (2001) defines marketing as the "The identification of customer wants and needs, and adding value to products and services that satisfy those wants and needs, at a profit." This definition includes three components: 1) the identification of customer wants and needs, since the customer or end-user of a product or service is most likely the most important person in the marketing scenario, 2) one must add value that satisfies wants and needs to one's product or service or the customer will not remain a customer for long, and 3) firms must make a profit to be sustainable in the long-run. Wysokci emphasizes that marketing does not just occur between development, packaging and consumption. Rather, effective marketing in the present-day changing environment demands that manufacturers or service providers also take on a "marketing" approach to all aspects from production to shipping.

A strategic marketing plan goes hand-in-hand with the strategic plan as a means of meeting the specific goals and objectives. According to Porter (1998), there are two major components to a marketing strategy: 1) how an enterprise will address the competitive marketplace and 2) how it will implement and support the day-to-day operations. In today's very competitive marketplace a strategy that insures a consistent approach to providing a product or service in a way that will surpass the competition is essential. However, in concert with defining the marketing strategy it is also necessary to have a well defined methodology for the daily process of implementation. It is of little value to have a strategy without either the resources or the expertise for execution. In addition, a strategic marketing plan requires communication across all functional areas of the organization such as operations, human resources, sales, shipping, and administration (Cohen, 2001).

According to Winer, a strategic marketing plan includes a number of different analyses. One of these is called the external analysis, which involves an examination of the relevant elements external to an organization. This analysis should be purposeful, focusing on SWOT or the identification of threats, opportunities, and strategic questions and choices. The important aspect here is not to get to deep into specifics: Too many companies get bogged down into writing page after page of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing their business (Aaker, 1995). The components of external analysis include: Customer analysis, or the delineation of the market segments to be looked at, as well as the motivations and unmet needs of possible customers identified; Competitor analysis, the ID of strategic groups and their performance, image and culture, in addition to the identification of competitor strengths and weaknesses; and Industry analysis, the clarification of major market trends, key success factors, and the identification of opportunities and threats through the analysis of competitive and change forces such as distribution issues, governmental factors, economic, demographics, and communication requirements. (Aaker, 1995).

Each of these analyses gathers detailed information in order to develop suggestions and eventually conclusions. For example, Winer (2003) discusses the aspect of market research to acquire information on customers. Successful marketing necessitates regularly updated and relevant market information. For example, an inexpensive research program, based on surveys given to current or prospective customers, can frequently uncover dissatisfaction or the desire for new products or services. Market research will also identify trends that are affecting or will impact sales and profitability. Population transitions, legal changes, and altering economic situations need to be monitored to rapidly identify concerns, threats and opportunities. It is also essential to keep up with the competitors' market strategies.

The second type of analysis conducted often for strategic marketing plans is called the customer analysis, which consists of the examination of customer segmentation, motivations, and yet unfulfilled needs. This includes Market Delineation, or the break down of the current and potential customers (Wedel, 1998). Customer characteristics provide data required to decide if a company can and should try to obtain a sustainable competitive advantage for marketing to a specific market (Lehmann and Winer, 1994). Unmet needs are possible opportunities for gaining already obligated competitors (Aaker, 1995).

Third is the Industry Analysis that has the objectives of determining the attractiveness of various markets and better understanding the dynamics of the market so that opportunities and threats can be detected and strategies adopted (Aaker, 1995).

This analysis includes looking at Major market trends or what is changing in the marketplace such as consumer needs. Key success aspects, which help develop and grow a company. Competitive forces that help detail the potential for profit in an industry (Porter, 1980). Change forces, or events outside an organization that encourage the way a company conducts its business, such as government regulations, product and marketing innovations, economics, market trends, and information needs (Lehmann and Winer, 1994).

Once all this information is acquired and documented, it is necessary to incorporate it into the company's strategic plan. This means that each department must determine how it will use this information in way that is pertinent to their own specific goals and objectives.

An area that companies often forget is monitoring and analyzing how well a strategic plan is doing once it has been developed. It is necessary to regularly find ways to review what is being done and its effectiveness in the marketplace. This is the only way that the organization will know what needs to be changed in order to remain competitive.

As noted, each company will have a different method of developing a marketing strategy depending on the product or service being sold, the culture, the industry, the competitors and so forth.

Marketing strategies are not only used to revamp or introduce products or services on a normal schedule, some companies use them in crisis modes as well. One of the worst competitive positions is being late to market with a new product or service. That is, one or more competitors has a head start and brought a product out into the market and already a few laps ahead in marketing. According to Christ (2005) the advantage given to early entrants or early movers can be overcome even by organizations that do not enter until well after a market is developed. This may be especially true if the market is characterized by one or more of the following: The market consists of products that offer relatively similar advantages with no one product having superior features; growth in the market is relatively slow but most likely will pick up speed as more customers begin to recognize the benefits; customers who have already bought the product do not have a strong overall satisfaction level with what is already being sold; a large number of product distributors have not added the product to inventory or are not against expanding their offerings.

In this case, for example, the marketing strategy could include one or more of the following: gain market share by coming in with a lower price that still meets company goals; provide more benefits than what is offered presently; emphasize ease of use advantages; use incentives to encourage movement of customers; be more creative and work harder than the competition.

Finally, what is an example of a strategic plan? It is important to note here that products and services are often thought of as what are most covered by strategic marketing plans. However, they can also be used to change behavior. For example, nonprofit organizations can use them to promote additional giving to worthy causes. In this light, below is a marketing strategy for promoting parents to read more to their children that is included in…[continue]

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