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WINDOWS COMPANYSTRATEGIC MARKETING PLAN TABLE OF CONTENTS ...
- How to Create a Marketing Plan
A very good speaker said in his business start up seminar the following:
The Market Analysis
The importance of marketing in a company’s ongoing success can be better appreciated when you consider the activities marketing embraces. Marketing attempts to measure and anticipate the needs and wants of a group of customers and respond with a flow of need satisfying goods and services. Accomplishing this requires the firm to
• Target those customer groups whose needs are most consistent with the firm’s resources and capabilities.
• Develop products and/or services that meet the needs of the target market better than competitors.
• Make its products and services readily available to potential customers.
• Develop customer awareness and appreciation of the value provided by the company’s offerings.
• Obtain feedback from the market as a basis for continuing improvement in the firm’s offerings.
• Work to build long term relationships with satisfied and loyal customers.
The most important characteristic of marketing as a business function is its focus on customers and their needs. This is a focus that all managers – not just marketers – need to adopt to ensure their organizations can build and sustain a healthy ‘top line.’
Both individuals and organizations seek goods and services obtained through exchange transactions. Ultimate customers buy goods and services for their own personal use or the use of others in their immediate household. These are called consumer goods and services.
When people buy products to satisfy their needs, they are really buying the benefits they believe the products provide, rather than the products per se. The specific benefits sought vary among customers depending on the needs to be satisfied and the situations where products are used. Because different customers seek different benefits, they use different choice criteria and attach different importance to product features when choosing models and brands within a product category.
Thus, value is a function of intrinsic product features, service, and price, and it means different things to different people. Customers’ estimates of products’ benefits and value are not always accurate.
A customer’s ultimate satisfaction with a purchase, then, depends on whether the product actually lives up to expectations and delivers the anticipated benefits. This is why customer services – particularly those occurring after a sale, such as delivery, installation, operating instruction, and repair – are often critical for maintaining satisfied customers.
A market consists of (a) individuals and organizations who (b) are interested and willing to buy a particular product to obtain benefits that will satisfy a specific need or want, and who (c) have the resources (time, money) to engage in such a transaction. Some markets are sufficiently homogeneous that a company can practice undifferentiated marketing in them. The total market for a given product category thus is often fragmented into several distinct market segments. Each segment contains people who are relatively homogeneous in their needs, their wants, and the product benefits they seek. Also, each segment seeks a different set of benefits from the same product category. Strategic marketing management involves a seller trying to determine the following points in an effort to define the target market:
1 Which customer needs and wants are currently not being satisfied by competitive product offerings?
2 How desired benefits and choice criteria vary among potential customers and how to identify the resulting segments by demographic variables such as age, sex, lifestyle, or some other characteristics.
3 Which segments to target, and which product offerings and marketing programs appeal most to customers in those segments?
4 How to position the product to differentiate it from competitors’ offerings and give the firm a sustainable competitive advantage.
Marketing Management – A Definition
More specifically, marketing management is the process of analyzing, planning, implementing, coordinating, and controlling programs involving the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of goods, services, and ideas designed to create and maintain beneficial exchanges with target markets for the purpose of achieving organizational objectives.
Analyzing the 4Cs
A substantial amount of analysis of customers, competitors, and the company itself occurs before decisions are made concerning specific components of the marketing program. This reflects that successful marketing management decisions usually rest on an objective, detailed, and evidence based understanding of the market and the environmental context. The analysis necessary to provide the foundation for a good strategic marketing plan should focus on four elements of the overall environment that may influence a given strategy’s appropriateness and ultimate success: (1) the company’s internal resources, capabilities, and strategies; (2) the environmental context – such as broad social, economic, and technology trends – in which the firm will compete; (3) the needs, wants, and characteristics of current and potential customers ; and (4) the relative strengths and weaknesses of competitors and trends in the competitive environment. Marketers refer to these elements as the 4Cs, and they are described in more detail below.
Market Opportunity Analysis
A major factor in the success or failure of strategies at all three levels is whether the strategy elements are consistent with the realities of the firm’s external environment. Thus, the next step in developing a strategic marketing plan is to monitor and analyze the opportunities and threats posed by factors outside the organization. This is an ongoing responsibility for marketing managers.
To understand potential opportunities and threats over the long term, marketers must first monitor and analyses broad trends in the economic and social environment. These include demographic, economic, technological, political/legal, and social/cultural developments. Of particular concern within an organization’s economic environment are the actions and capabilities of its current and potential competitors
Industry Analysis and Competitive Advantage
The competitive and market environments of an industry are not static, but can change dramatically over time. For example, Iomega’s initial product, the Bernoulli Box, lost much of its early momentum when SyQuest entered the market with a faster, cheaper alternative. Module 5 explores the competitive dynamics of an industry, emphasizing how competition and customers’ buying patterns are likely to change as an industry or product market moves through various lifecycle stages.
The primary purpose of marketing activities is to facilitate and encourage exchange transactions with potential customers. One of a marketing manager’s major responsibilities is to analyze the motivations and behavior of present and potential customers. What are their needs and wants? How do those needs and wants affect the product benefits they seek and the criteria they use in choosing products and brands? Where do they shop? How are they likely to react to specific price, promotion, and service policies?
Market Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning Decisions
Not all customers with similar needs seek the same products or services to satisfy those needs. Their purchase decisions may be influenced by individual preferences, personal characteristics, social circumstances, and so forth. On the other hand, customers who do purchase the same product may be motivated by different needs, seek different benefits from the product, rely on different sources for product information, and obtain the product from different distribution channels. Thus, one of the manager’s most crucial tasks is to divide customers into market segments – distinct subsets of people with similar needs, circumstances, and characteristics that lead them to respond in a similar way to a particular product or service offering or to a particular strategic marketing program. After defining market segments and exploring customer needs and the firm’s competitive strengths and weaknesses within segments, the manager must decide which segments represent attractive and viable opportunities for the company; that is, on which segments to focus a strategic marketing program. Iomega, for instance, targeted two market segments with its new line of data storage drives.
Finally, the manager must decide how to position the product or service offering within a target segment, that is, to design the product and its marketing program so as to emphasize attributes and benefits that appeal to customers in the target segment and at once distinguish the company’s offering from those of competitors.
Marketing Program Components
Dozens of specific tactical decisions must be made in designing a strategic marketing program for a product market entry. These decisions fall into four categories of major marketing variables that a manager has some ability to control over the short term. Often called the 4 Ps, the controllable elements of a marketing program are the product offering (including the breadth of the product line, quality levels, and customer services); price; promotion (advertising, sales promotion, and sales force decisions); and place (or distribution channel decisions). Because decisions about each element should be consistent and integrated with decisions concerning the other three, the four components are often referred to as the marketing mix .
The marketing mix is the combination of controllable marketing variables that a manager uses to carry out a marketing strategy in pursuit of the firm’s objectives in a given target market.
Implementation and Control of the Marketing Program
A final critical determinant of a strategy’s success is the firm’s ability to implement it effectively. And this depends on whether the strategy is consistent with the resources, the organizational structure, the coordination and control systems, and the skills and experience of company personnel.16 Managers must design a strategy to fit the company’s existing resources, competencies, and procedures – or try to
The final tasks in the marketing management process are determining whether the strategic marketing program is meeting objectives and adjusting the program when performance is disappointing. This evaluation and control process provides feedback to managers and serves as a basis for a market opportunity analysis in the next planning period
The Marketing Plan
The Plan – Road to Success
A marketing plan is a written document detailing the current situation with respect to customers, competitors, and the external environment and providing guidelines for objectives, marketing actions, and resource allocations over the planning period for either an existing or a proposed product or service.
Marketing plans vary in timing, content, and organization across companies
There are three major parts to the plan. First, the marketing manager details his or her assessment of the current situation. This is the homework portion of the plan where the manager summarizes the results of his or her analysis of current and potential customers, the company’s relative strengths and weaknesses, the competitive situation, the major trends in the broader environment that may affect the product and, for existing products, past performance outcomes. This section typically also includes forecasts, estimates of sales potential, and other assumptions underlying the plan, which are especially important for proposed new products or services. Based on these analyses, the manager may also call attention to several key issues – major opportunities or threats that should be dealt with during the planning period.
The second part of the plan details the strategy for the coming period. This part usually starts by detailing the objectives (e.g., sales volume, market share, profits, customer satisfaction levels, etc.) to be achieved by the product or service during the planning period. It then outlines the overall marketing strategy, the actions associated with each of the 4 Ps necessary to implement the strategy, and the timing and locus of responsibility for each action.
Finally, the plan details the financial and resource implications of the strategy and the controls to be employed to monitor the plan’s implementation and progress over the period. Some plans also specify some contingencies: how the plan will be modified if certain changes occur in the market, competitive, or external environments.
1. Executive summary
Presents a short overview of the issues, objectives, strategy and actions incorporated in the plan and their expected outcomes for quick management review.
2. Current situation and trends
Summarizes relevant background information on the market, competition and the macro environment and trends therein, including size and growth rates for the overall market and key segments.
3. Performance review (for an existing product or service only)
Examines the past performance of the product and the elements of its marketing programme (e.g. distribution, promotions, etc.)
4. Key issues
Identifies the main opportunities and threats to the product that theplan must deal with in the coming year and the relative strengths andweaknesses of the product and business unit that must be taken intoaccount in facing those issues
Specifies the goals to be accomplished in terms of sales volume, market share and profit
6. Marketing strategy
Summarizes the overall strategic approach that will be used to meet the plan’s objectives
7. Action plans
This is the most critical section of the annual plan for helping to ensure effective implementation and co-ordination of activities across functional departments. It specifies:
The Target market to be pursued
What specific actions are to be taken with respect to each of the 4 Ps.?
Who is responsible for each action?
When the action will be engaged in
How much will be budgeted for each action.
8. Projected profit-and-loss statement
Presents the expected financial payoff from the plan
Discusses how the plan’s progress will be monitored; may presentcontingency plans to be used if performance falls below expectationsor the situation changes.
10. Contingency plans
Describes actions to be taken if specific threats or opportunities materialize during the planning period
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