An introduction to Strategic Marketing
The essence of strategic marketing lies in the ability of a company to meet the changing needs of markets and to match potential opportunities with company capabilities. This article seeks to briefly define strategic marketing and outline techniques available for strategic analysis. Let us first have a brief understanding on the marketing concept and the marketing orientation to get an understanding of marketing strategy.
The definition for marketing is the course of planning and implementing the formation, pricing, forecasting and delivery of ideas, products and services to generate exchanges that fulfil individual and corporate objectives, according to the American Marketing Association. This definition focuses on marketing as process within an organization and highlights the importance of “exchange” in this process while also acknowledging that organizational goals may not only be for profit. Therefore this definition is applicable for all types of organizations whether commercial or not for profit. However there is no one definitive definition for marketing. But marketing can be seen from two perspectives as a “functional activity” and also as a ‘business philosophy”.
On the other hand, “marketing strategy” intends to convert organisational objectives into a viable market position. The key element is to distinguish your products from that of your opponents by satisfying the requirements of the clients more successfully. Therefore the marketing strategy addresses three main areas as,
- Assessing the external environment and identifying consumer needs,
- Corresponding customer needs with internal competencies and
- Implementing programs that achieve a superior competitive advantage.
The three main aspects therefore can be shortened to customers, competitors and internal organizational factors. In contrary to operational marketing, strategic marketing is concerned with addressing issues such as what markets should we be in? What is our distinct competitive advantage? Where do we want to be in 10 years’ time? Do we have the necessary resources, skills, competences and assets? Who are our current and future competitors and what are their strategies? As these issues are relevant for the entire organization, and focus on the future they can be described as strategic issues.
When planning a strategic marketing plan there are few key areas that need to be discussed and analyzed. For example the Portfolio analysis can be used for planning the management of the product portfolio. This technique maybe used to determine the relative positions of business and to identify strategies for resource allocation between them. The BCG matrix and the GE multi factor model may be used for this purpose. The BCG matrix works by classifying products on the basis of their market share relative to that of the largest competitor and according to the rate of growth in the market as a whole.