Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan

Marketing plan A marketing plan is a written document that details the necessary actions to achieve one or more marketing objectives. It can be for a product or service, a brand, or a product line. Marketing plans cover between one and five years. A marketing plan may be part of an overall business plan. Solid marketing strategy is the foundation of a well-written marketing plan. While a marketing plan contains a list of actions, a marketing plan without a sound strategic foundation is of little use. The marketing planning process [pic] [pic] The marketing process model based on the publications of Philip Kotler.

It consists of 5 steps, beginning with the market & environment research. After fixing the targets and setting the strategies, they will be realised 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 overall objectives of the organization down to the individual action plan for a part of one 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. Marketing planning aims and objectives Behind the corporate objectives, which in themselves offer the main context for the marketing plan, will lay the “corporate mission”; which in turn provides the context for these corporate objectives.

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. In a single organization, however, it is likely that only a few aspects will be sufficiently important to have any significant impact on the marketing plan; but all may need to be reviewed to determine just which “are” the few.

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). It is apparent that a marketing audit can be a complex process, but the aim is simple: “it is only to identify those existing (external and internal) factors which will have a significant impact on the future plans of the company. ”  It is clear that the basic material to be input to the marketing audit should be comprehensive.

Accordingly, the best approach is to accumulate this material continuously, as and when it becomes available; since this avoids the otherwise heavy workload involved in collecting it as part of the regular, typically annual, planning process itself – when time is usually at a premium. Even so, the first task of this annual process should be to check that the material held in the current facts book or facts files actually is comprehensive and accurate, and can form a sound basis for the marketing audit itself.

The structure of the facts book will be designed to match the specific needs of the organization, but one simple format – suggested by Malcolm McDonald – may be applicable in many cases. This splits the material into three groups:  1. Review of the marketing environment. A study of the organization’s markets, customers, competitors and the overall economic, political, cultural and technical environment; covering developing trends, as well as the current situation. 2. Review of the detailed marketing activity. A study of the company’s marketing mix; in terms of the 7 Ps – (see below) 3.

Review of the marketing system. A study of the marketing organization, marketing research systems and the current marketing objectives and strategies. The last of these is too frequently ignored. The marketing system itself needs to be regularly questioned, because the validity of the whole marketing plan is reliant upon the accuracy of the input from this system, and `garbage in, garbage out’ applies with a vengeance. • o ? Portfolio planning. In addition, the coordinated planning of the individual products and services can contribute towards the balanced portfolio. 80:20 rule. To achieve the maximum impact, the marketing plan must be clear, concise and simple. It needs to concentrate on the 20 percent of products or services, and on the 20 percent of customers, which will account for 80 percent of the volume and 80 percent of the profit. ? 7 P’s: Product, Place, Price and Promotion, Physical Environment, People, Process. The 7 P’s can sometimes divert attention from the customer, but the framework they offer can be very useful in building the action plans.

It is only at this stage (of deciding the marketing objectives) that the active part of the marketing planning process begins’. This next stage in marketing planning is indeed the key to the whole marketing process. The “marketing objectives” state just where the company intends to be; at some specific time in the future. James Quinn succinctly defined objectives in general as: Goals (or objectives) state what is to be achieved and when results are to be accomplished, but they do not state ‘how’ the results are to be achieved. 3]  They typically relate to what products (or services) will be where in what markets (and must be realistically based on customer behavior in those markets). They are essentially about the match between those “products” and “markets. ” Objectives for pricing, distribution, advertising and so on are at a lower level, and should not be confused with marketing objectives. They are part of the marketing strategy needed to achieve marketing objectives. To be most effective, objectives should be capable of measurement and therefore “quantifiable. This measurement may be in terms of sales volume, money value, market share, percentage penetration of distribution outlets and so on. An example of such a measurable marketing objective might be “to enter the market with product Y and capture 10 percent of the market by value within one year. ” As it is quantified it can, within limits, be unequivocally monitored; and corrective action taken as necessary. The marketing objectives must usually be based, above all, on the organization’s financial objectives; converting these financial measurements into the related marketing measurements.

He went on to explain his view of the role of “policies,” with which strategy is most often confused: “Policies are rules or guidelines that express the ‘limits’ within which action should occur. “Simplifying somewhat, marketing strategies can be seen as the means, or “game plan,” by which marketing objectives will be achieved and, in the framework that we have chosen to use, are generally concerned with the 7 P’s. Examples are:  1. Price- The amount of money needed to buy products 2. Product- The actual product 3. Promotion (advertising)- Getting the product known 4. Placement- Where the product is located . People- Represent the business 6. Physical environment- The ambiance, mood, or tone of the environment 7. Process- How do people obtain your product In principle, these strategies describe how the objectives will be achieved. The 7 P’s are a useful framework for deciding how the company’s resources will be manipulated (strategically) to achieve the objectives. It should be noted, however, that they are not the only framework, and may divert attention from the real issues. The focus of the strategies must be the objectives to be achieved – not the process of planning itself.

Only if it fits the needs of these objectives should you choose, as we have done, to use the framework of the 7 P’s. The strategy statement can take the form of a purely verbal description of the strategic options which have been chosen. Alternatively, and perhaps more positively, it might include a structured list of the major options chosen. One aspect of strategy which is often overlooked is that of “timing. ” Exactly when it is the best time for each element of the strategy to be implemented is often critical. Taking the right action at the wrong time can sometimes be almost as bad as taking the wrong action at the right time.

Timing is, therefore, an essential part of any plan; and should normally appear as a schedule of planned activities. Having completed this crucial stage of the planning process, you will need to re-check the feasibility of your objectives and strategies in terms of the market share, sales, costs, profits and so on which these demand in practice. As in the rest of the marketing discipline, you will need to employ judgment, experience, market research or anything else which helps you to look at your conclusions from all possible angles. Detailed plans and programs

At this stage, you will need to develop your overall marketing strategies into detailed plans and program. Although these detailed plans may cover each of the 7 P’s, the focus will vary, depending upon your organization’s specific strategies. A product-oriented company will focus its plans for the 7 P’s around each of its products. A market or geographically oriented company will concentrate on each market or geographical area. Each will base its plans upon the detailed needs of its customers, and on the strategies chosen to satisfy these needs.

Again, the most important element is, indeed, that of the detailed plans; which spell out exactly what programs and individual activities will take place over the period of the plan (usually over the next year). Without these specified – and preferably quantified – activities the plan cannot be monitored, even in terms of success in meeting its objectives. It is these programs and activities which will then constitute the “marketing” of the organization over the period. As a result, these detailed marketing programs are the most important, practical outcome of the whole planning process.

These plans therefore be: • Clear – They should be an unambiguous statement of ‘exactly’ what is to be done. • Quantified – The predicted outcome of each activity should be, as far as possible, quantified; so that its performance can be monitored. • Focused – The temptation to proliferate activities beyond the numbers which can be realistically controlled should be avoided. The 80:20 Rule applies in this context too. • Realistic – They should be achievable. • Agreed – Those who are to implement them should be committed to them, and agree that they are achievable.

The resulting plans should become a working document which will guide the campaigns taking place throughout the organization over the period of the plan. If the marketing plan is to work, every exception to it (throughout the year) must be questioned; and the lessons learned, to be incorporated in the next year’s planning. Content of the marketing plan A marketing plan for a small business typically includes Small Business Administration Description of competitors, including the level of demand for the product or service and the strengths and weaknesses of competitors 1.

Description of the product or service, including special features 2. Marketing budget, including the advertising and promotional plan 3. Description of the business location, including advantages and disadvantages for marketing 4. Pricing strategy 5. Market Segmentation Medium-sized and large organizations The main contents of a marketing plan are: 1. Executive Summary 2. Situational Analysis 3. Opportunities / Issue Analysis – SWOT Analysis 4. Objectives 5. Strategy 6. Action Program (the operational marketing plan itself for the period under review) 7. Financial Forecast 8.

Controls In detail, a complete marketing plan typically includes:[citation needed] 1. Title page 2. Executive Summary 3. Current Situation – Macroenvironment o economy o legal o government o technology o ecological o sociocultural o supply chain 4. Current Situation – Market Analysis o market definition o market size o market segmentation o industry structure and strategic groupings o Porter 5 forces analysis o competition and market share o competitors’ strengths and weaknesses o market trends 5. Current Situation – Consumer Analysis [4] o nature of the buying decision o participants demographics o psychographics o buyer motivation and expectations o loyalty segments 6. Current Situation – Internal o company resources ? financial ? people ? time ? skills o objectives ? mission statement and vision statement ? corporate objectives ? financial objective ? marketing objectives ? long term objectives ? description of the basic business philosophy o corporate culture 7. Summary of Situation Analysis o external threats o external opportunities o internal strengths o internal weaknesses o Critical success factors in the industry o our sustainable competitive advantage 8.

Marketing research o information requirements o research methodology o research results 9. Marketing Strategy – Product o product mix o product strengths and weaknesses ? perceptual mapping o product life cycle management and new product development o Brand name, brand image, and brand equity o the augmented product o product portfolio analysis ? B. C. G. Analysis ? contribution margin analysis ? G. E. Multi Factoral analysis ? Quality Function Deployment 10. Marketing Strategy [5] – segmented marketing actions and market share objectives o by product, o by customer segment, by geographical market, o by distribution channel. 11. Marketing Strategy – Price o pricing objectives o pricing method (eg. : cost plus, demand based, or competitor indexing) o pricing strategy (eg. : skimming, or penetration) o discounts and allowances o price elasticity and customer sensitivity o price zoning o break even analysis at various prices 12. Marketing Strategy – promotion o promotional goals o promotional mix o advertising reach, frequency, flights, theme, and media o sales force requirements, techniques, and management o sales promotion publicity and public relations o electronic promotion (eg. : Web, or telephone) o word of mouth marketing (buzz) o viral marketing 13. Marketing Strategy – Distribution o geographical coverage o distribution channels o physical distribution and logistics o electronic distribution 14. Implementation o personnel requirements ? assign responsibilities ? give incentives ? training on selling methods o financial requirements o management information systems requirements o month-by-month agenda ? PERT or critical path analysis o monitoring results and benchmarks adjustment mechanism o contingencies (What if’s) 15. Financial Summary o assumptions o pro-forma monthly income statement o contribution margin analysis o breakeven analysis o Monte Carlo method o ISI: Internet Strategic Intelligence 16. Scenarios o Prediction of Future Scenarios o Plan of Action for each Scenario 17. Appendix o pictures and specifications of the new product o results from research already completed Measurement of progress The final stage of any marketing planning process is to establish targets (or standards) so that progress can be monitored.

Accordingly, it is important to put both quantities and timescales into the marketing objectives (for example, to capture 20 percent by value of the market within two years) and into the corresponding strategies. Changes in the environment mean that the forecasts often have to be changed. Along with these, the related plans may well also need to be changed. Continuous monitoring of performance, against predetermined targets, represents a most important aspect of this. However, perhaps even more important is the enforced discipline of a regular formal review.

Again, as with forecasts, in many cases the best (most realistic) planning cycle will revolve around a quarterly review. Best of all, at least in terms of the quantifiable aspects of the plans, if not the wealth of backing detail, is probably a quarterly rolling review – planning one full year ahead each new quarter. Of course, this does absorb more planning resource; but it also ensures that the plans embody the latest information, and – with attention focused on them so regularly – forces both the plans and their implementation to be realistic.

Plans only have validity if they are actually used to control the progress of a company: their success lies in their implementation, not in the writing’. Performance analysis The most important elements of marketing performance, which are normally tracked, are: Sales analysis Most organizations track their sales results; or, in non-profit organizations for example, the number of clients. The more sophisticated track them in terms of ‘sales variance’ – the deviation from the target figures – which allows a more immediate picture of deviations to become evident. Micro-analysis’, which is a nicely pseudo-scientific term for the normal management process of investigating detailed problems, then investigates the individual elements (individual products, sales territories, customers and so on) which are failing to meet targets. Market share analysis Few organizations track market share though it is often an important metric. Though absolute sales might grow in an expanding market, a firm’s share of the market can decrease which bodes ill for future sales when the market starts to drop. Where such market share is tracked, there may be a number of aspects which will be followed: • overall market share segment share – that in the specific, targeted segment • relative share -in relation to the market leaders • annual fluctuation rate of market share Expense analysis The key ratio to watch in this area is usually the `marketing expense to sales ratio’; although this may be broken down into other elements (advertising to sales, sales administration to sales, and so on). Financial analysis The “bottom line” of marketing activities should at least in theory, be the net profit (for all except non-profit organizations, where the comparable emphasis may be on remaining within budgeted costs).

There are a number of separate performance figures and key ratios which need to be tracked: • gross contributionnet profit • gross profitreturn on investment • net contributionprofit on sales There can be considerable benefit in comparing these figures with those achieved by other organizations (especially those in the same industry); using, for instance, the figures which can be obtained (in the UK) from `The Centre for Interfirm Comparison’.

The most sophisticated use of this approach, however, is typically by those making use of PIMS (Profit Impact of Management Strategies), initiated by the General Electric Company and then developed by Harvard Business School, but now run by the Strategic Planning Institute. The above performance analyses concentrate on the quantitative measures which are directly related to short-term performance. But there are a number of indirect measures, essentially tracking customer attitudes, which can also indicate the organization’s performance in terms of its longer-term marketing strengths and may accordingly be even more important indicators.

Some useful measures are: • market research – including customer panels (which are used to track changes over time) • lost business – the orders which were lost because, for example, the stock was not available or the product did not meet the customer’s exact requirements • customer complaints – how many customers complain about the products or services, or the organization itself, and about what Use of marketing plans A formal, written marketing plan is essential; in that it provides an unambiguous reference point for activities throughout the planning period.

However, perhaps the most important benefit of these plans is the planning process itself. This typically offers a unique opportunity, a forum, for information-rich and productively focused discussions between the various managers involved. The plan, together with the associated discussions, then provides an agreed context for their subsequent management activities, even for those not described in the plan itself. Budgets as managerial tools The classic quantification of a marketing plan appears in the form of budgets. Because these are so rigorously quantified, they are particularly important.

They should, thus, represent an unequivocal projection of actions and expected results. What is more, they should be capable of being monitored accurately; and, indeed, performance against budget is the main (regular) management review process. The purpose of a marketing budget is, thus, to pull together all the revenues and costs involved in marketing into one comprehensive document. It is a managerial tool that balances what is needed to be spent against what can be afforded, and helps make choices about priorities. It is then used in monitoring performance in practice.

The marketing budget is usually the most powerful tool by which you think through the relationship between desired results and available means. Its starting point should be the marketing strategies and plans, which have already been formulated in the marketing plan itself; although, in practice, the two will run in parallel and will interact. At the very least, the rigorous, highly quantified, budgets may cause a rethink of some of the more optimistic elements of the plans. Approaches to budgeting References 1. ^ Abell, “Defining the Business: The Starting Point of Strategic Planning” 2. ^ “The Marketing Imagination” . ^ J. B. Quinn, “Strategies for Change: Logical Incrementalism” (Richard D. Irwin, 1980) 4. ^ Quick MBA Marketing plan based on consumer and competitor analyses 5. ^ Marketing plan basics Table of marketing targets, actions, means and results • H. A. Simon, Rational decision making in business organisations, ‘American Economic Review’ • J. Pfeffer and G. R. Salancik, ‘The External Control of Organizations’ See also • business plan • marketing • marketing management • plan • strategic management Retrieved from “http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Marketing_plan” Categories: Marketing | Management

Marketing Plan The information for this article was derived from many sources, including Michael Porter’s book Competitive Advantage and the works of Philip Kotler. Concepts addressed include ‘generic’ strategies and strategies for pricing, distribution, promotion, advertising and market segmentation. Factors such as market penetration, market share, profit margins, budgets, financial analysis, capital investment, government actions, demographic changes, emerging technology and cultural trends are also addressed. There are two major components to your marketing strategy: how your enterprise will address the competitive marketplace • how you will implement and support your day to day operations. In today’s very competitive marketplace a strategy that insures a consistent approach to offering your product or service in a way that will outsell the competition is critical. However, in concert with defining the marketing strategy you must also have a well defined methodology for the day to day process of implementing it. It is of little value to have a strategy if you lack either the resources or the expertise to implement it. In the process of creating a marketing strategy you must consider many factors.

Of those many factors, some are more important than others. Because each strategy must address some unique considerations, it is not reasonable to identify ‘every’ important factor at a generic level. However, many are common to all marketing strategies. Some of the more critical are described below. You begin the creation of your strategy by deciding what the overall objective of your enterprise should be. In general this falls into one of four categories: • If the market is very attractive and your enterprise is one of the strongest in the industry you will want to invest your best resources in support of your offering. If the market is very attractive but your enterprise is one of the weaker ones in the industry you must concentrate on strengthening the enterprise, using your offering as a stepping stone toward this objective. • If the market is not especially attractive, but your enterprise is one of the strongest in the industry then an effective marketing and sales effort for your offering will be good for generating near term profits. If the market is not especially attractive and your enterprise is one of the weaker ones in the industry you should promote this offering only if it supports a more profitable part of your business (for instance, if this segment completes a product line range) or if it absorbs some of the overhead costs of a more profitable segment. Otherwise, you should determine the most cost effective way to divest your enterprise of this offering. Having selected the direction most beneficial for the overall interests of the enterprise, the next step is to choose a strategy for the offering that will be most effective in the market.

This means choosing one of the following ‘generic’ strategies (first described by Michael Porter in his work, Competitive Advantage). • A COST LEADERSHIP STRATEGY is based on the concept that you can produce and market a good quality product or service at a lower cost than your competitors. These low costs should translate to profit margins that are higher than the industry average. Some of the conditions that should exist to support a cost leadership strategy include an on-going availability of operating capital, good process engineering skills, close management of labor, products designed for ease of manufacturing and low cost distribution. A DIFFERENTIATION STRATEGY is one of creating a product or service that is perceived as being unique “throughout the industry”. The emphasis can be on brand image, proprietary technology, special features, superior service, a strong distributor network or other aspects that might be specific to your industry. This uniqueness should also translate to profit margins that are higher than the industry average.

In addition, some of the conditions that should exist to support a differentiation strategy include strong marketing abilities, effective product engineering, creative personnel, the ability to perform basic research and a good reputation. • A FOCUS STRATEGY may be the most sophisticated of the generic strategies, in that it is a more ‘intense’ form of either the cost leadership or differentiation strategy. It is designed to address a “focused” segment of the marketplace, product form or cost management process and is usually employed when it isn’t appropriate to attempt an ‘across the board’ application of cost leadership or differentiation.

It is based on the concept of serving a particular target in such an exceptional manner, that others cannot compete. Usually this means addressing a substantially smaller market segment than others in the industry, but because of minimal competition, profit margins can be very high. Pricing Having defined the overall offering objective and selecting the generic strategy you must then decide on a variety of closely related operational strategies. One of these is how you will price the offering. A pricing strategy is mostly influenced by your requirement for net income and your objectives for long term market control.

There are three basic strategies you can consider. • A SKIMMING STRATEGY If your offering has enough differentiation to justify a high price and you desire quick cash and have minimal desires for significant market penetration and control, then you set your prices very high. • A MARKET PENETRATION STRATEGY If near term income is not so critical and rapid market penetration for eventual market control is desired, then you set your prices very low. • A COMPARABLE PRICING STRATEGY If you are not the market leader in your industry then the leaders will most likely have created a ‘price expectation’ in the minds of the marketplace.

In this case you can price your offering comparably to those of your competitors. Promotion To sell an offering you must effectively promote and advertise it. There are two basic promotion strategies, PUSH and PULL. • The PUSH STRATEGY maximizes the use of all available channels of distribution to “push” the offering into the marketplace. This usually requires generous discounts to achieve the objective of giving the channels incentive to promote the offering, thus minimizing your need for advertising. • The PULL STRATEGY requires direct interface with the end user of the offering. Use of channels of distribution is minimized during the first tages of promotion and a major commitment to advertising is required. The objective is to “pull” the prospects into the various channel outlets creating a demand the channels cannot ignore. There are many strategies for advertising an offering. Some of these include: • Product Comparison advertising In a market where your offering is one of several providing similar capabilities, if your offering stacks up well when comparing features then a product comparison ad can be beneficial. • Product Benefits advertising When you want to promote your offering without comparison to competitors, the product benefits ad is the correct approach.

This is especially beneficial when you have introduced a new approach to solving a user need and comparison to the old approaches is inappropriate. • Product Family advertising If your offering is part of a group or family of offerings that can be of benefit to the customer as a set, then the product family ad can be of benefit. • Corporate advertising When you have a variety of offerings and your audience is fairly broad, it is often beneficial to promote your enterprise identity rather than a specific offering. Distribution You must also select the distribution method(s) you will use to get the offering into the hands of the customer.

These include: • On-premise Sales involves the sale of your offering using a field sales organization that visits the prospect’s facilities to make the sale. • Direct Sales involves the sale of your offering using a direct, in-house sales organization that does all selling through the Internet, telephone or mail order contact. • Wholesale Sales involves the sale of your offering using intermediaries or “middle-men” to distribute your product or service to the retailers. • Self-service Retail Sales involves the sale of your offering using self service retail methods of distribution. Full-service Retail Sales involves the sale of your offering through a full service retail distribution channel. Of course, making a decision about pricing, promotion and distribution is heavily influenced by some key factors in the industry and marketplace. These factors should be analyzed initially to create the strategy and then regularly monitored for changes. If any of them change substantially the strategy should be reevaluated. The Environment Environmental factors positively or negatively impact the industry and the market growth potential of your product/service.

Factors to consider include: • Government actions – Government actions (current or under consideration) can support or detract from your strategy. Consider subsidies, safety, efficacy and operational regulations, licensing requirements, materials access restrictions and price controls. • Demographic changes – Anticipated demographic changes may support or negatively impact the growth potential of your industry and market. This includes factors such as education, age, income and geographic location. • Emerging technology – Technological changes that are occurring may or may not favor the actions of your enterprise. Cultural trends – Cultural changes such as fashion trends and life style trends may or may not support your offering’s penetration of the market The Prospect It is essential to understand the market segment(s) as defined by the prospect characteristics you have selected as the target for your offering. Factors to consider include: • The potential for market penetration involves whether you are selling to past customers or a new prospect, how aware the prospects are of what you are offering, competition, growth rate of the industry and demographics. The prospect’s willingness to pay higher price because your offering provides a better solution to their problem. • The amount of time it will take the prospect to make a purchase decision is affected by the prospects confidence in your offering, the number and quality of competitive offerings, the number of people involved in the decision, the urgency of the need for your offering and the risk involved in making the purchase decision. The prospect’s willingness to pay for product value is determined by their knowledge of competitive pricing, their ability to pay and their need for characteristics such as quality, durability, reliability, ease of use, uniformity and dependability. • Likelihood of adoption by the prospect is based on the criticality of the prospect’s need, their attitude about change, the significance of the benefits, barriers that exist to incorporating the offering into daily usage and the credibility of the offering. The Product/Service

You should be thoroughly familiar with the factors that establish products/services as strong contenders in the marketplace. Factors to consider include: • Whether some or all of the technology for the offering is proprietary to the enterprise. • The benefits the prospect will derive from use of the offering. • The extent to which the offering is differentiated from the competition. • The extent to which common introduction problems can be avoided such as lack of adherence to industry standards, unavailability of materials, poor quality control, regulatory problems and the inability to explain the benefits of the offering to the prospect. The potential for product obsolescence as affected by the enterprise’s commitment to product development, the product’s proximity to physical limits, the ongoing potential for product improvements, the ability of the enterprise to react to technological change and the likelihood of substitute solutions to the prospect’s needs. • Impact on customer’s business as measured by costs of trying out your offering, how quickly the customer can realize a return from their investment in your offering, how disruptive the introduction of your offering is to the customer’s operations and the costs to switch to your offering. The complexity of your offering as measured by the existence of standard interfaces, difficulty of installation, number of options, requirement for support devices, training and technical support and the requirement for complementary product interface. The Competition It is essential to know who the competition is and to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Factors to consider include: • Each of your competitor’s experience, staying power, market position, strength, predictability and freedom to abandon the market must be evaluated.

Your Enterprise An honest appraisal of the strength of your enterprise is a critical factor in the development of your strategy. Factors to consider include: • Enterprise capacity to be leader in low-cost production considering cost control infrastructure, cost of materials, economies of scale, management skills, availability of personnel and compatibility of manufacturing resources with offering requirements. The enterprise’s ability to construct entry barriers to competition such as the creation of high switching costs, gaining substantial benefit from economies of scale, exclusive access to or clogging of distribution channels and the ability to clearly differentiate your offering from the competition. • The enterprise’s ability to sustain its market position is determined by the potential for competitive imitation, resistance to inflation, ability to maintain high prices, the potential for product obsolescence and the ‘learning curve’ faced by the prospect. The prominence of the enterprise. • The competence of the management team. • The adequacy of the enterprise’s infrastructure in terms of organization, recruiting capabilities, employee benefit programs, customer support facilities and logistical capabilities. • The freedom of the enterprise to make critical business decisions without undue influence from distributors, suppliers, unions, creditors, investors and other outside influences. • Freedom from having to deal with legal problems. Development

A review of the strength and viability of the product/service development program will heavily influence the direction of your strategy. Factors to consider include: • The strength of the development manager including experience with personnel management, current and new technologies, complex projects and the equipment and tools used by the development personnel. • Personnel who understand the relevant technologies and are able to perform the tasks necessary to meet the development objectives. Adequacy and appropriateness of the development tools and equipment. • The necessary funding to achieve the development objectives. • Design specifications that are manageable. Production You should review your enterprise’s production organization with respect to their ability to cost effectively produce products/services. The following factors are considered: • The strength of production manager including experience with personnel management, current and new technologies, complex projects and the equipment and tools used by the manufacturing personnel. Economies of scale allowing the sharing of operations, sharing of production and the potential for vertical integration. • Technology and production experience • The necessary production personnel skill level and/or the enterprise’s ability to hire or train qualified personnel. • The ability of the enterprise to limit suppliers bargaining power. • The ability of the enterprise to control the quality of raw materials and production. • Adequate access to raw materials and sub-assembly production. Marketing/Sales The marketing and sales organization is analyzed for its strengths and current activities.

Factors to consider include: • Experience of Marketing/Sales manager including contacts in the industry (prospects, distribution channels, media), familiarity with advertising and promotion, personal selling capabilities, general management skills and a history of profit and loss responsibilities. • The ability to generate good publicity as measured by past successes, contacts in the press, quality of promotional literature and market education capabilities. • Sales promotion techniques such as trade allowances, special pricing and contests. The effectiveness of your distribution channels as measured by history of relations, the extent of channel utilization, financial stability, reputation, access to prospects and familiarity with your offering. • Advertising capabilities including media relationships, advertising budget, past experience, how easily the offering can be advertised and commitment to advertising. • Sales capabilities including availability of personnel, quality of personnel, location of sales outlets, ability to generate sales leads, relationship with distributors, ability to demonstrate the benefits of the offering and necessary sales support capabilities. The appropriateness of the pricing of your offering as it relates to competition, price sensitivity of the prospect, prospect’s familiarity with the offering and the current market life cycle stage. Customer Services The strength of the customer service function has a strong influence on long term market success. Factors to consider include: • Experience of the Customer Service manager in the areas of similar offerings and customers, quality control, technical support, product documentation, sales and marketing. The availability of technical support to service your offering after it is purchased. • One or more factors that causes your customer support to stand out as unique in the eyes of the customer. • Accessibility of service outlets for the customer. • The reputation of the enterprise for customer service. Conclusion After defining your strategy you must use the information you have gathered to determine whether this strategy will achieve the objective of making your enterprise competitive in the marketplace. Two of the most important assessments are described below.

Cost To Enter Market This is an analysis of the factors that will influence your costs to achieve significant market penetration. Factors to consider include: • Your marketing strength. • Access to low cost materials and effective production. • The experience of your enterprise. • The complexity of introduction problems such as lack of adherence to industry standards, unavailability of materials, poor quality control, regulatory problems and the inability to explain the benefits of the offering to the prospect. The effectiveness of the enterprise infrastructure in terms of organization, recruiting capabilities, employee benefit programs, customer support facilities and logistical capabilities. • Distribution effectiveness as measured by history of relations, the extent of channel utilization, financial stability, reputation, access to prospects and familiarity with your offering. • Technological efforts likely to be successful as measured by the strength of the development organization. • The availability of adequate operating capital. Profit Potential

This is an analysis of the factors that could influence the potential for generating and maintaining profits over an extended period. Factors to consider include: • Potential for competitive retaliation is based on the competitors resources, commitment to the industry, cash position and predictability as well as the status of the market. • The enterprise’s ability to construct entry barriers to competition such as the creation of high switching costs, gaining substantial benefit from economies of scale, exclusive access to or clogging of distribution channels and the ability to clearly differentiate your offering from the competition. The intensity of competitive rivalry as measured by the size and number of competitors, limitations on exiting the market, differentiation between offerings and the rapidity of market growth. • The ability of the enterprise to limit suppliers bargaining power. • The enterprise’s ability to sustain its market position is determined by the potential for competitive imitation, resistance to inflation, ability to maintain high prices, the potential for product obsolescence and the ‘learning curve’ faced by the prospect. The availability of substitute solutions to the prospect’s need. • The prospect’s bargaining power as measured by the ease of switching to an alternative, the cost to look at alternatives, the cost of the offering, the differentiation between your offering and the competition and the degree of the prospect’s need. • Market potential for new products considering market growth, prospect’s need for your offering, the benefits of the offering, the number of barriers to immediate use, the credibility of the offering and the impact on the customer’s daily operations. The freedom of the enterprise to make critical business decisions without undue influence from distributors, suppliers, unions, investors and other outside influences. Market Situation Interpretation and Response:The Role of Cognitive Style, Organizational Culture, and Information Use |Keywords | | | |  | arket situation interpretation, market situation response, cognitive style, organizational culture, information use |  | | | |  Abstract | | |

Improving marketing decision making requires a better understanding of the factors that influence how managers interpret and respond to a market situation. Building on extant literature, the authors develop a model that delineates antecedents of and responses to the interpretation of a market situation. Using case-scenario methodology, the authors test the model in the context of a marketing decision (annual advertising and promotion budget recommendation) with data collected from a nationwide sample of hospital marketing executives.

The results of the partial least squares analysis show that (1) cognitive style, organizational culture, and information use affect the extent to which managers perceive a given market situation as one in which they can control the outcomes of their decision; (2) the more managers perceive a situation as controllable, the more they appraise that situation as an opportunity; and (3) the more managers appraise a situation as an opportunity, the greater is the magnitude of their response.

Author(s): J. Chris White 1 | P. Rajan Varadarajan 2 | Peter A. Dacin 3 |[pic]  | | | |  Author(s) affiliations | | | |  | . Assistant Professor of Marketing, Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, Michigan State University 2. Distinguished Professor of Marketing and holder of the Ford Chair in Marketing and E-Commerce, Texas A&M University 3. Professor of Marketing, School of Business, Queen’s University Product control system for Abstract A supermarket or like vending establishment equipped with a computer having a bar code reader at a checkout counter or terminal.

The various shelves for the various items are provided with respective bar codes equipped with individual electronic displays linked to the computer so that these displays can display data at least in part coordinated with the bar code of the respective items stored there above so that the individual items need not be provided with price labels or the like. challenging 1. Calling for full use of one’s abilities or resources in a difficult but stimulating effort: a challenging course of study; a challenging role for an inexperienced performer. 2. Absorbing; intriguing: a challenging idea.