Strategic Marketing Planning

Stanton defines strategic marketing planning as the process of setting marketing goals, selecting target markets and designing a marketing mix to satisfy these markets and achieve these goals. The marketing strategy is therefore functional strategy. It is different from corporate strategy. However, the marketing strategy stems from the corporate strategy. In other words, the functional strategies should be in conformity with the overall strategy of the company. The functional strategy like marketing strategy sets the boundaries for all the action programmes related to marketing. According to staton, the six stages involved in strategic marketing planning process are:

1. Situational analysis-with a purpose to determine where we are and where are we going.
2. Determine the objectives – these goals should be specific and realistic.
3. Select and measure target markets-identify present and potential customers.
4. Design marketing mix strategies and tactics – How do we get to where we want to go.
5. Prepare annual marketing plan-the how to do it guide to yearly marketing operations.
6. Implementation and evaluation – How are we doing? Did we do what we said we would do?

Situation analysis consists of an analysis of external environmental forces and the non-marketing resources that influence an organization’s marketing programmed. These factors are: political, economic, competitive, socio cultural, historical, etc. this analysis also reviews and evaluates an organization’s existing marketing mix so as to identify the flaws and problems associated with them. This analysis will help an organization to know where it is and where it should reach in future, which may be called the first stage.

The second stage is to formulate the objectives. This includes both the corporate objectives as well as marketing objectives. At the time of setting the marketing objectives, care should be taken to make it specific, measurable and in conformity with the corporate objectives. It will be better to spell them out in writing so that there is no scope for confusion.

In the third stage, the organization should identify the present and potential customers. This is what is called selection of target markets. Apart from analyzing the existing market for its products, the organization should try to identify the new market for its products. For this purpose, the company has to adopt the marketing segmentation technique. Once the market is segmented, it is necessary to forecast the market for the product in each segment.

The fourth stage is to design a strategic marketing mix that enables the organization to satisfy the wants of its target markets and to achieve the marking objectives. The design and later the operation of the marketing mix components constitute the bulk of a Company’s marketing effort.

In the fifth stage, the strategic marketing planning is prepared. A series of short term marketing plans are prepared. Usually a period of one year is covered. They are called annual marketing plans. It includes a statement of objectives, identification of target markets, strategies relating to the marketing mix, information regarding the budgetary support for the marketing activity. After formulating the strategic marketing planning in the above manner, the last stage is, it should be implemented and evaluated periodically. This is done to understand how for the organization is following plan. If there are deviations, the causes and consequences of such deviations are analyzed.

Further, to design the future course of action, there is a need to analyze the changing marketing environment. The actual performance of the strategic plan has to be critically evaluated so as to accomplish the objectives of the company as desired and as planned. In the process of evaluation, it any defect is found, corrective measures should be incorporated immediately. It would also be wise to do this evaluation segment – wise so that the strategy developed for each segment can be perfected. It is also good to study the strategic planning of the competitor to come out with new ideas and plans.


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