Marketing strategy is a method which will help an organization to focus its limited financial resources on the most potential opportunities to improve sales and thereby attain a sustainable competitive edge. It is generally acknowledged that businesses are defined by what they do best i.e. marketing and therefore it is essential to the survival of a business that it harnesses its strengths to the maximum.
A marketing strategy is not just a generic or “black and white” one, but rather it is a comprehensive framework which encompass the various drivers of growth in an organization and how these drivers affect marketing, operations and structures. Marketing focuses on identifying new customer opportunities, identifying the optimal time and price for products or services and making these available to customers, and measuring the effectiveness of marketing strategies in maximizing sales. Marketing therefore is the science of discovering the desirable attributes in a product or service and capitalizing on them, applying the science of demand and supply to create markets where competition cannot occur. Marketing therefore requires the systematic study of market structure, consumer behavior, investment objectives, allocation of resources, and the impact of external factors on market shares.
A marketing strategic planning process involves defining marketing objectives, defining appropriate marketing strategies and developing and monitoring customer objectives. It also involves identifying the sources of competitive advantages and how to exploit these disadvantages. Strategic marketing plans provide a clear framework for assessing the profitability of the marketing programs of an organization. The planning process also provides a set of performance measures that reflect the nature, amount and cost of investment necessary to realize the marketing objectives.
The main objective of marketing strategic planning is to establish and maintain a competitive advantage at the fore of an organization’s development. It is necessary for any company to understand what its competitors are doing so that it can avoid being left behind. Every company must have its own competitive roadmap, which it implements to achieve the objectives set out in its marketing strategy. Strategic marketing planning includes the identification of the customers, identification of appropriate marketing strategies and various forms of advertising. It also involves the conduct of research to acquire information about the marketplace, to formulate the marketing strategies and to monitor and evaluate the performance of the marketing campaigns.
The objective of strategic marketing planning is to obtain a competitive edge over the other companies by having the most effective mix of appropriate marketing strategies and advertising techniques. This can be done by first building the competitive analysis. Competitive analysis is an assessment of the current market situation, an evaluation of the strength and weakness of the market positions of the company, and an assessment of the opportunities for the company in the market. It also involves gathering the financial data pertinent to the companies’ competitors, market structure, customer’s perspective, and the various potential distributors of the product or service.
A marketing strategic planning includes four chapters that pertain to the preparation of a marketing plan. These chapters include a discussion on the what is marketing objectives, planning and organizing for the planned marketing strategy, developing the marketing plan, and finalizing the marketing plan. This final chapter contains the analysis of the marketing objectives. This chapter presents the marketing strategy to be implemented as well as provide recommendations on how to make it more effective. In the next chapter two more objectives for the marketing plan are presented, these include evaluating the marketing objectives and surveying the market.