Framework for Planning

Planning in the international context is more difficult than planning for domestic operations, partly because there are more unknowns in the former than in the latter. However, conceptually it encompasses all the steps used in the preparation of any typical marketing plan. To reiterate, a marketing plan shall normally consist of the following steps:

• Diagnosis of the situation or situation analysis.
• Identification of corporate strengths and weaknesses as well as environmental opportunities and threats.
• Definition of the objectives.
• Forecasted estimates of sales, costs, and profits.
• Designing an appropriate marketing programme based on objectives and estimates.
• Deciding on the relevant appropriations for the plan.

Definition of the objectives is considered by some as the first step in the marketing planning process. Others feel that realistic objectives should be set only after the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis and in the light of the information and data thrown up by situation analysis. What is, however, important to bear in mind is that since marketing planning is an iterative process, it requires monitoring, revaluation and adaptation of objectives and strategies in the light of constantly changing environment. Strategic planning in the international marketing should encompass the following decision areas:

Commitment decision
Considering the resource position of the firm and its home market situation, does the international market offer an attractive opportunity worth striving for?

Area of operation decision
Which country/countries present the most attractive alternative(s) as potential target markets?

Entry mode and operation decision
What could be the most effective entry technique for entering the international markets and conducting the marketing operations?

Marketing mix strategy
Which possible combination of the marketing mix elements would be suitable to achieve the objectives in the given environment?

International marketing organisation
What is the best possible organisational arrangement which will guarantee sufficient flexibility in and effective control over operations?


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