Ansoff (1965) begins to write article in the area of the strategic management. Lamb (1984) points that “Strategic management is an ongoing process that evaluates and controls the business and the industries in which the company is involved; assesses its competitors and sets goals and strategies to meet all existing and potential competitors; and then reassesses each strategy annually or quarterly to determine how it has been implemented and whether it has succeeded or needs replacement by a new strategy to meet changed circumstances, new technology, new competitors, a new economic environment., or a new social, financial, or political environment.” Later Mintzberg (1998) highlight a number of different approaches to strategy development.
The marketing strategy is shaped by your comprehensive business goals, which includes a definition of the business, a depiction of the products or services, a rough sketch of your target users or customers. The marketing strategy is actually a document with which you can judge the effectiveness of the certain marketing plans. The marketing strategy is a summary of the firm’s products and market position related to the competition.
1Marketing plan supports strategic objectives
Impact of firm strategy on the marketing plan
Strategy of the organization is the goal and key of marketing plan. The company’s strategy establishes what kind of businesses the company will be in and its objectives for each. It shows the direction and guides the individual action plans at every step. Bonoma (1985) indicates that the definition of a marketing plan is that it is a written document including details about the necessary actions to achieve one or more marketing objectives. A marketing plan may be a component of a comprehensive business plan of an organization. It can be a plan for a product or service, a brand, or a product line. Robust marketing strategy is the base of a well-designed marketing plan. While a marketing plan includes a lot of actions, a marketing planning which doesn’t have a well strategic base is useless.
First of all, only when marketing objectives are accurate and comprehensive, the organization can have a clear vision of where its future lies, then it will have a good chance to achieve a strong position in its market. Marketing objectives include products, markets, financial objectives, policies and so on. And the organizations may have various certain preoccupations. For example, the small business may have a limited financial resource, or a company develops a brand new product which does have a compatible market. To achieve a variety of marketing objectives, organization has to use different marketing strategies; therefore solid marketing strategy is the foundation of a well-written marketing plan.
Besides, one aspect of strategy is often overlooked is that “timing”. It is crucial to implement each element of the strategy at best time. Taking right action at wrong time is as bad as taking wrong action at right time. While a marketing plan contains a list of actions as a schedule of planned activities. Timing becomes an essential and vital part of plan. That’s another reason why the firm strategy has a significant impact on the marketing plan.
Generally speaking, Bonoma (1984) states that marketing for a number of years has been long on advice about what to do in a given competitive or market situation and short on useful recommendations for how to do it within company, competitor and customer constraints. The formal marketing plan is usually in the written form, which makes the market plan most effective. The substance of the planning process is that it moves the actions from the general to the specific, from the goals of the organization to the objectives of the plan, then to the individual plans for each component of the marketing plan. It is also a process that each element impact between each other. And that marketing strategy is the key, essence and guidelines of the process.
Components of a marketing plan
By the definition of Alf Nucifora, one of America’s leading marketing consultants, there are three essential elements of the marketing plan. First element is goal. According to setting a goal of marketing plan, the firm can compare between where they are now and where they want to be. Second element is budget. In order to achieve the goals and strategies, money is a necessary part. A large amount of money is not made good use of because of the absence of an effective marketing plan. So a clearly planned budget is also necessary. For example, the amount which should be spent on marketing and advertising vary and it depends on a variety of factors, for instance, how new your brand is in the market.
Another element is target. If you don’t know who you are aiming at, then how can you hit them? Take the advertising plan for example, if you want your advertising dollars go further, you should know clearly what types of people is generally going to stop and listen to what you are talking. Actually, the content you say is more important than the people who you say it to.
According to the model of Baker, Michael (2008), the detailed component of the marketing plan include following parts:
Generally, the executive summary is in the first part of the marketing plan, but it should only be written after all other parts are completed. It is a rough overview of the entire marketing plan and covers only the primary points.
The situation analysis helps us determine the market position that the firms are at present. It demonstrates what’s carrying on outside of the firms, what’s happening within the organizations, and so on.
What kind of changes is happening in our city, state, country and around the world which may have significant influence on the firm’s business?
Before producing a marketing plan it’s quite important to know what consumers want and how they make purchase decisions which may require a deep marketing research.
Learning the state of the organization and its resources helps to determine the advantages and disadvantages of the firms.
Developing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis is necessary in evaluating the company’s marketing position and it can be a guide to develop marketing plans.
Marketing Goals and Objectives
After considering the firm’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, we’ll roughly know what kind of marketing goals and objectives we should set.
In this section, we should indicate the primary, secondary, and tertiary target markets and their purchasing features.
In the first part of this section should demonstrate the action that the firm should take aims to meet the strategic goals and objectives we’ve set. The following step is discussing the specific actions that will take place and when they will happen.
Evaluation and Control
The last part of the marketing plan is evaluation and control. Many peoples may ignore the importance of assessing their marketing plan. This step is extremely important, because it provides a guideline for what to do or not to do in the next marketing planning period.
Risk in a marketing plan
Malcolm and Ian indicate that the marketing objectives should consist with the strategic objectives and also it should solve the problem that which products/services are to be sold into which market sector.
According to the article of Ansoff (1965), there are four options of the strategic objectives: market penetration, market development, product development and diversification. The Chartered management Institute gives the detailed definition of the four terms.
Market penetration: the existing product and existing market are called market penetration. The existing products or services are sold to the existing customers, which mean increasing income by promoting the product or repositioning the brand.
Market development: the existing product is sold to the new customers. Product development: promote the new product or service to the existing market. For this strategy, it may require the new competencies and the firms to promote modified products. Diversification: It is the growth strategy that introduces new products to new customers. In this strategy, it carries more risk as the business is moving into markets in which it may not familiar with. It may have little or no experience. To adopt the diversification strategy, the firm needs to know what it is going to gain and it should have honest assessment of its risk.
2Construction of a market plan
The levels of importance of each component of the plan
According to the CMI lecture resources, a marketing plan is an excellent tool to guide the company’s strategy. Each component plays an important part in the marketing plan. The general components of a marketing plan include marketing audit, SWOT analysis, marketing objectives and core marketing strategy. The most important part should be the marketing objectives. The firm should have a clear idea what the objectives are. The marketing objective is the purpose that the plan would like to achieve. For example, some argue that Apple’s market entry is driven by its growth objectives and trajectory. For instance, it has taken significant market share in the MP3 sector. It has established a very strong position already and would need another, new but related, opportunity to keep up its growth trajectory and satisfy shareholders.
The marketing objective is the soul of the plan, and the purpose of making the marketing plan is to achieve the marketing objectives.
The SWOT analysis is a little less important component comparing with the marketing objectives.The SWOT analysis (the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) is necessary in evaluating the firm’s situation and it serves as a direction to developing marketing plan. The advantage of SWOT analysis provides a quite simple, low cost way of evaluating the firm’s position, which tells where the company currently sits and where it will be in the future. Its purpose is to make the manager anticipate important developments that can have an effect on the firm. For example, industry analysis predicts that supermarket chain buyers will face more than 10,000 new grocery product introductions next year. The buyers are expected to accept only 50% of these products. This is the threat for the company.
Comparing with the two parts referred above, the marketing audit and core marketing strategy is less important, however, they are also necessary.The marketing audit includes external audit and internal audit. The external audit includes macro environment and task environment. For example, political, economic, social, technological and legal environment are macro environment. Task environment include markets, competitors, distributors, suppliers and advertising. The marketing audit is quite important, because it is the premise that the marketing can be successful. For example, only when we analysis the legal environment clearly, the marketing plan can carry on with little risk. Today’s forward-thinking companies are responding strongly to the environment movement. ITT states that all of our companies share a common goal: To improve the quality of life. Because it’s not just how you make a living that’s important, it’s how you live. Knowing the state of the firm and its resources help us to determine where it is strong and which area we should pay attention to. And the core marketing strategy is about how to achieve the marketing objectives, which consists of 3 elements: target markets, target competitors and competitive advantage.
Mitigation strategies for high risk components of the plan
There are many high risk components in the plan. For example, the technical requirements are new and complex. There are several mitigation strategies for this risk. Use the utilize system and technical design documents to clearly lay out how the technology fits together; define the overall system technical architecture and have it approved by knowledgeable people in the company; send the architecture proposal to outside consultants for further feedback and validation; create a pilot test or prototype to utilize the new technology in a small way at first. Another risk is the long estimated plan duration. The mitigation strategies are the following: be diligent using formal change management procedures; make technical design and architecture decisions are flexible as possible to account for potential changes. Another high risk factor is that the business benefit is poorly defined. The mitigation strategy is trying to make business customer quantify the comprehensive business value: look at the main demands and try to quantify the value of the various deliverables; review prior similar projects to see in which way the benefits were quantified; never start if the business value is undefined.
Produce a marketing plan
The marketing strategy provides the goals for your marketing plans. It tells you where you want to go from here. The marketing plan is the specific roadmap that’s going to get you there. (Hussey, 1997)
The marketing plan is in the following:
1.0 Executive summary
The restaurant I manage is a Chinese buffet restaurant which is located in Leeds. It is in a large car park a bit far way from the city centre. There are many other famous restaurants near by including Nando’s, Pizzahut etc. This marketing plan demonstrates our market segments and strategies we are employing to get the customers and create a revenue stream.
Our vision is to offer delicious Chinese traditional foods to the local people. We do this by providing Oder Foods and Hot pot service to them.
1.2 Current marketing situation
The economy still does not recover from the crisis from 2007. So there are still great impacts on the restaurant industry. And for the PSW policy may be cancelled in the near future, the employee market also will be affected. Referring to the microenvironment, there are many strong competitors near by, which absorbing a large amount of customers.
1 Generate over 11,000 per week in sales by the end of July.
2 Increase the sales by 20% by the end of this year.
2.0 Target market
My ideal customer is the local people who live near by and pay interest to Chinese traditional food. Many students and Chinese who have lived in UK for many years still can not get used to the western food. Other local people are also pay great interest to Chinese foods.
2.1 Market definition and segmentation
We target two segments: Chinese customer and local people in the UK. In both of these two segments, customers pay great interest to the Chinese foods.
1 Chinese customer
The famous Chinese food- hot pot is well known by Chinese and popular in China. So I plan to promote the hot pot to Chinese students and other Chinese people.
2 Local people
Many local people would like to try Chinese food and I plan to do the order service for them. For the hot pot is rarely known by them, so I will concentrate on promoting it to them
2.2 Target market segment strategy
Our strategy focuses on developing the order food and hot pot service which is typically different from other western restaurants. For the reason that there are already many famous western restaurants near by, so if it would like to attract customers’ attention, there should be some feature.
3.0 Marketing plan strategy
I plan to make the order food menu more attractive and the price more suitable for the local people. We also will design a board which can get people’s feedback soon and we make relevant response to their suggestion.
4.0 Expense budget summary
Marketing expenses are mostly for brochure sent by the staff. The budget is expected to limited in 600 pounds. As showed in figure 1.
4.1 Expense budget in the year 1
We hope the monthly expense can be kept in the same level which is about 50 pound one month.
3 Promote the marketing plan in support of strategic objectives
How marketing plan supports strategic objectives
The marketing plans are the actions the firms take aiming to achieve the goals of the marketing strategy. In other words, the marketing plan, then, can be viewed as the practical use of the marketing strategy. Marketing plan includes certain details which are about the business’ unique selling proposal, pricing strategy, the sales and market distribution plan and the plans of advertising and promotions. The market plan and strategic objective interact between each other. The marketing strategy offers the objectives for the marketing plans, which tells us where we want to go from where we are and the marketing plan is the detailed roadmap with the direction of which we can get there. Take my buffet restaurant for example, the strategic objective is to get more profits and make it more attractive for the local people. It is stated in my marketing plan that it will increase the sale by 20% at the end of this year, so no matter in a long or short term, the marketing plan will support the strategic objectives.
A comprehensive marketing plan is an excellent tool to guide your company’s strategy. Even not all sectors of the plan are directly related to the firm business; however, you can make sure you’ve taken all factors into consideration when making decisions with these directions.
Approach to gain agreement for the marketing plan
Lancaster (1993) states a strategic planning can easily lead a debate over the process. For instance, one may argue that the goals must be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Another people may indicate that the targets of the group should be BHAG – big, hairy, audacious goals.
So when developing the strategic plan, it is necessary to find a method to make the whole group agree with the plan. The whole team should get start for the plan and spot the critical issues which should be addressed by the plan. By identifying the crucial issues, the planning team can get agreement on the view that the strategic planning model must be designed around addressing these issues. Take the Chinese restaurant I manage for example, when go start for the plan, I have select the critical issues and discuss with the staff including the waiters and cooks. The critical issues in my marketing plan are objectives and budget. Generally speaking, the revenue per week of my restaurant is 10,000 pounds, so in accordance with staff’s agreements, we set the objective revenue to 12,000 in the end of this year which is practical and incentive. The same principle applies to the budget as well.
Evaluation and review measures for the agreed plan
The evaluation and review measures for the agreed plan have significant meanings. The reason we use measurable marketing objectives is then we can track the progress toward achieving them. One good way of evaluating and reviewing is organize scheduling quarterly meetings. At these meetings, the responsible individuals can give report on what they’ve achieved in the last quarter. Take my restaurant for example, we organize meeting every month to assess the plan and evaluate whether it will achieved well. According our record, there are still only a few weeks we can get 12,000 pounds revenue per week, so there are still a long time to make this revenue stable in the following month. However, it indicates that the plan is practical. For the income has increased steadily since the promotion of the marketing plan.
There are a range of evaluation measures for the agreed plan. Greenley (1983) states that as the firm activities move forward over time, it is doubtless that we will find it is necessary to adjust the plan itself. Then we must decide if we should reinforce our efforts. Meanwhile, no matter whatever your decisions are, remember to renew your marketing plan document. If the goals are not achieved, we can also write our understanding of why we didn’t achieve the goals. All this information will be extremely useful when you produce next year’s marketing plan.
In conclusion, the marketing plan and strategic management interacts each other in the process of planning. The strategy of the organization is the guideline of the marketing plan and the marketing plan is the specific action according which the strategic objectives can be achieved. Generally speaking, it is important to reduce the risk in the marketing plan. Meanwhile, achieving the agreement of whole team is also quite important. In a word, the strategic management Strategic management is a level of managerial activity under setting goals and over tactics.
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