Marketing & Sales planning and strategy

Advice / Marketing

Marketing & Sales planning and strategy
satish patil , Manager, India

Marketing and Sales

The marketing planning process

Marketing process can be realized by the marketing mix in step 4. The last step in the process is the marketing controlling. In most organizations, "strategic planning" is an annual process, typically covering just the year ahead. Occasionally, a few organizations may look at a practical plan which stretches three or more years ahead.

To be most effective, the plan has to be formalized, usually in written form, as a formal "marketing plan." The essence of the process is that it moves from the general to the specific, from the vision to the mission to the goals to the corporate objectives of the organization, then down to the individual action plans for each part of the marketing program. It is also an interactive process, so that the draft output of each stage is checked to see what impact it has on the earlier stages, and is amended.
[edit] Marketing planning aims and objectives

Behind the corporate objectives, which in themselves offer the main context for the marketing plan, will lie the "corporate mission," which in turn provides the context for these corporate objectives. In a sales-oriented organization, the marketing planning function designs incentive pay plans to not only motivate and reward frontline staff fairly but also to align marketing activities with corporate mission.

This "corporate mission" can be thought of as a definition of what the organization is, of what it does: "Our business is …". This definition should not be too narrow, or it will constrict the development of the organization; a too rigorous concentration on the view that "We are in the business of making meat-scales," as IBM was during the early 1900s, might have limited its subsequent development into other areas. On the other hand, it should not be too wide or it will become meaningless; "We want to make a profit" is not too helpful in developing specific plans.

Abell suggested that the definition should cover three dimensions: "customer groups" to be served, "customer needs" to be served, and "technologies" to be utilized [1]. Thus, the definition of IBM's "corporate mission" in the 1940s might well have been: "We are in the business of handling accounting information [customer need] for the larger US organizations [customer group] by means of punched cards [technology]."

Perhaps the most important factor in successful marketing is the "corporate vision." Surprisingly, it is largely neglected by marketing textbooks, although not by the popular exponents of corporate strategy - indeed, it was perhaps the main theme of the book by Peters and Waterman, in the form of their "Superordinate Goals." "In Search of Excellence" said: "Nothing drives progress like the imagination. The idea precedes the deed." [2] If the organization in general, and its chief executive in particular, has a strong vision of where its future lies, then there is a good chance that the organization will achieve a strong position in its markets (and attain that future). This will be not least because its strategies will be consistent and will be supported by its staff at all levels. In this context, all of IBM's marketing activities were underpinned by its philosophy of "customer service," a vision originally promoted by the charismatic Watson dynasty. The emphasis at this stage is on obtaining a complete and accurate picture.

A "traditional" - albeit product-based - format for a "brand reference book" (or, indeed, a "marketing facts book") was suggested by Godley more than three decades ago:

1. Financial data—Facts for this section will come from management accounting, costing and finance sections.
2. Product data—From production, research and development.
3. Sales and distribution data - Sales, packaging, distribution sections.
4. Advertising, sales promotion, merchandising data - Information from these departments.
5. Market data and miscellany - From market research, who would in most cases act as a source for this information. His sources of data, however, assume the resources of a very large organization. In most organizations they would be obtained from a much smaller set of people (and not a few of them would be generated by the marketing manager alone).

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