Marketing has evolved over the years from just being emphatic on sales and advertising. More firms are incorporating the concepts of marketing. This has resulted in the emergence of strategic marketing. Wilson and Gilligan (2005, p. 3) assert that strategic marketing is being conceptualized as an approach to doing business or as an organization, focus, orientation or philosophy in the 21st century. Marketing refers to a management process through which individual and institutional customers obtain products and services that they require through the creation and exchanging value and products with others. As a management function, strategic marketing ensures that all the resources of a firm are used to satisfy the needs of a given customer group (William & Gilligan, 2005, p.4). Therefore, the core concepts that are involved with strategic marketing include the customers’ needs, values, wants, products, exchange, communication and establishment of relationships.
Through marketing, an organization becomes strategically concerned with the scope and direction of all the long-term activities that are carried out by an organization to attain a high competitive advantage (Leo, 2009, Para. 4). In line with this, strategic marketing entails the development of strategies that will ensure that a firm copes with its competitors, identify new market opportunities, development and commercialization of new services and products, resource allocation to various marketing resources and development of an organizational structure that will ensure that the firm’s set goals and targets are achieved (Richard, 2005, p.4).
This means that an organization applies its resources to ensure that it is able to meet the needs of the consumers in an organization that is characterized by a high rate of dynamism (Michael, 2008, p.83). The discussion of this paper entails an analysis of the process through which marketing is continuously being perceived as a strategic panacea to various markets and sectors. This has resulted in the designing of a set of techniques and tools to ensure customer-centric focus.
The strategic role of marketing
Development of corporate growth strategies
The management of firms is continuously being committed to ensuring that their firms succeed into the future as a going concern entity. To attain this, the management of these firms is formulating comprehensive corporate growth strategies (Manda, 2004, p.2). Corporate growth strategies refer to the approaches that are developed to ensure that a firm attains its corporate objectives. Marketing enables a firm to develop effective marketing penetration strategies. Market penetration strategy refers to the decisions that are formulated to ensure that a firm attains its growth objectives through its products that are already in the market. Marketing enables a firm to persuade the customers to purchase its products and services and capture new market segments. The result is an increase in products or services used in the market. This is attained through a number of strategies, which include increasing its marketing communication, sales promotion, lowering prices amongst other actions (Kotler, 2002, p.65).
To increase their profit level, firms are increasingly venturing into the global market as a market expansion strategy. To ensure that a firm’s products and services appeal the international market, the management of firms should balance the diversity in products needs. In addition, the management should ensure that the products are availed to the target customers who are located in different geographical regions.
Through marketing, a firm is able to effectively introduce and market new products to its existing market. This enables a firm to generate more business from its current customer base. As a result, the firm is able to attain its profit and wealth maximization objective. In addition, marketing enables a firm to diversify its products and services through the introduction of new products and services into new market segments (Lerzon, 2008, p. 54).
Ansoff’s Growth Matrix enables the management of firms to determine their growth direction. This is based on the existing or new products in its existing or new market segments. According to Ansoff’s product (Anon., 2009), Ansoff’s Growth Matrix enables a firm to determine its marketing strategy on the basis of market penetration, product development, market development and diversification.
Ensuring effective customer satisfaction
Marketing enables a firm to addresses the needs of consumers effectively through the establishment of Strategic Business Units (SBUs). Strategic Business Units refers to an organization’s division, products, or brands that can be marketed independently of other products. The effective establishment of SBUs enables a firm to segment, position and target its products and services more effectively. According to Kotler (2002, p.53), market targeting and segmentation enable a firm to effectively serve its customers. This is because the firm is able to conduct a market survey to determine the performance of various market segments.
According to the customer service program (Anon., 2004), this market segmentation results in increased customer satisfaction. Various theories have been advanced in the process of determining the performance of products and services in the market. One of the most famous theories is the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).BCG matrix enables a firm to identify the performance of its products or services based on market share and growth potential. Through the SBUs, the management of a firm can be able to identify new market opportunities for its products and services by identifying the growth potential.
Development of business strategy
Marketing enables the management of a firm to establish an effective business strategy. Considering the competitive nature of the business environment, management of firms is increasingly being concerned with developing business strategies that their competitors cannot easily copy. This enables the firm to maintain its marketing advantage. The different strategies are formulated by considering various marketing variables. According to Drummond and Ensor (2004, p.2), a firm’s business strategy can be formulated by determining a firm’s market scope.
Relevance of marketing concept to all sectors
Marketing concept refers to a marketing philosophy in which the consumer is considered the most important asset of a firm. This means that all the operations of a firm are geared towards ensuring that the customer is satisfied. According to Richard (2005, p.7), there is no organization that can survive without the continuous patronage of the consumers. According to Kotler (2002, p.54), for a firm to become successful in an environment that is characterized by intense competition, it must be market-oriented. A market-oriented firm refers to an organization that effectively understands the importance of meeting the customers’ needs, develops strategies to ensure that the firm provides high-quality products and services, which result in a high level of customer satisfaction (Yaun, 2008, Para. 2). Yuan (2008, Para. 3) asserts that a market-oriented firm ensures that its products and services are effectively marketed by devising a comprehensive marketing program that entails all its departments. The marketing concept is important to both public and private sectors for a number of reasons.
Enables a firm to attain customer focus
For a firm to be successful, it is paramount that the management incorporates the concept of customer focus. This means that all the activities of a firm’s department are geared towards satisfying customer needs. According to Kotler (2002, p.61), these departments include marketing, manufacturing, research and development, finance, personnel and purchasing department. This means that the management of the firm has to ensure that there is total company effort in attaining customer focus. Therefore, the management has to involve all the employees of the firm to ensure that the firm achieves a common goal, which is customer satisfaction. To ensure all the sectors of the firm focus on satisfying the consumers’ needs, various firms are incorporating the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). For a firm to effectively satisfy the needs of the customers, it must first understand what the customers want and what they are willing to pay for the value that they obtain from consuming a particular product or service. By fulfilling the customers’ needs, the management of the firm is able to effectively establish a good relationship with the customers (Kamran, 2003, p.10).
To ensure that customer focus is effectively incorporated, the management of firms has incorporated the concept of the marketing mix. Marketing mix entails a number of variables, which include product, place, promotion and price. The product entails a good or service that is demanded by the customers in the market. By understanding the customers’ needs, the firm’s production department is able to produce a product or service that meets the exact needs of the customers. By being customer-focused, the management of a firm ensures that there is customer efficiency, the means that the cost of production will be minimized to ensure that the firm attains a competitive advantage in terms of pricing. The price refers to the amount of money that the consumer is willing to part with for a given product or service. The price set for a product or service is used as a measure of the value that the consumers receive from consuming a product or service. Through promotion, the management of the firm is able to avail information related to a product or service to the customers. On the other hand, place ensures that the product or service is conveniently availed to the consumers by adopting an effective distribution channel (Marketing communication, 2004, p. 4).
From the inception of a firm, the objective of the management is to maximize its profit level. To be able to attain this, the management has to ensure its products and services are effectively produced and sold to the consumers at a profit. Profit objective is an important element for various firms. This is because t enables a firm to attain the projected growth. The result is that the firm is able to effectively satisfy the needs of the customers. Therefore, through the marketing concept, a firm is able to attain its long-term growth objectives by ensuring that it successfully meets and satisfies the needs of the consumers (Lerzon, 2008, p. 54).
Impact of traditional marketing approaches to changes in the environment
Despite the changes in the marketing environment, the traditional marketing approaches continue to affect the marketing changes in business in relation to social and physical environments. For instance, the emergence of electronic marketing has to depend on traditional marketing approaches such as the marketing mix. For electronic marketing to be effective, it must consider the best method of promoting a product or service in relation to the social characteristics of its target market. This means that the modern marketing mix strategies that result from changes in technology have to incorporate the traditional concept of the marketing mix.
To ensure that a product effectively satisfies a given customer category, the management has to conduct effective market segmentation. Various variables are considered in the process of market segmentation. Some of these variables include demographic variables. Due to changes in consumers’ lifestyles, the management has to ensure that it conducts an effective market segmentation basing on the social changes (Blackwell, 2006, Para. 3-5).
Market planning process
For a firm to develop an effective strategic marketing plan, a number of processes have to be incorporated. The initial step involves setting the goals that the firm intends to achieve.
Setting the goal
The goals are developed by stipulating the firm’s mission and corporate objectives. This is because marketing enables a firm to attain its corporate objectives as a going concern entity. The mission of the firm describes what the management of the firm intends to develop the firm into. In relation to marketing, a firm’s mission can be to attain customer loyalty by ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction, which is a marketing panacea (Bernard & Olive, 2004, p. 210).
Analysis of the external and internal environment
To be able to effectively succeed in the market, the management of the firm must analyze the external and internal environment (Michael, 1980, p.60). This is attained by conducting a marketing audit. To conduct a marketing audit effectively, there are a number of tools the management of an organization can incorporate. For instance, in relation to the internal environment, the management should conduct a SWOT analysis (Heinz, n.d. p.2). This will enable the firm to determine its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in relation to marketing. As result, the management will be able to develop a marketing strategy that will enable the firm to attain a higher competitive advantage relative to its competitors. On the other hand, the external environment can be analyzed by conducting a PESTLE analysis. PESTLE analysis involves an evaluation of the impacts of the political, economic, social, technological and legal environment on the operation of the firm (Drummond & Ensor, 2004. P.22). In addition, conducting external analysis will enable the firm to understand the operations of its competitors more effectively (‘To get grips with the competitors’, 2004, p.3).
Creation of the marketing strategy
The next step involved in marketing planning is the development of a marketing strategy. This is conducted by conducting setting measurable marketing objectives and strategies to attain these objectives. The marketing objectives may relate to the market share that the firm intends to acquire. In addition, marketing objectives also involve a forecast of the profit level that the firm intends to attain within a given time duration. The management must consider alternative plans that will ensure the firm attains the set objectives. These plans may relate to the marketing mix strategy that the firm has to adapt (Nigel, 1990, p.29).
Allocation of resources and monitoring
For marketing to be effective, a number of resources are necessary. These resources relate to financial and human capital. Financial capital is paramount in the development of an effective marketing mix. For instance, comprehensive market research will have to be conducted to determine the needs of the consumers so as to ensure that the product is effectively designed and developed so as to result in customer satisfaction. Knowledgeable human resource is paramount in ensuring that comprehensive market research is conducted. Therefore, the management has to ensure that it develops an effective marketing budget for the marketing strategy to be effectively developed implemented. To effectively implement the marketing strategy, the management has to ensure that it develops a comprehensive action plan. The action plan should indicate the necessary steps that the management has to consider in implementing the marketing strategy.
Marketing is an important element for the success of the firm. In the 21st century, marketing is increasingly being considered a panacea. This has resulted from a shift of marketing from sales and advertising to being more customer focus through the incorporation of the marketing concepts. Marketing enables a firm to attain its growth objectives through product and market expansion. For a firm to be effective market-oriented, it has to incorporate the concept of customer focus. Customer focus should be incorporated into all the sectors of the organization. This ensures that there is goal congruency in all the sectors of the firm, which results in an increased probability of the firm attaining its profit maximization objective. This ensures that all the activities of the firm are geared towards attaining customer satisfaction. Through customer focus, the firm is able to develop an effective customer relationship. This enables the firm to succeed in the future by attaining its long-term objectives. For the marketing strategy adopted to be effective, the management has to consider a number of steps in developing the marketing strategy. These include setting the goal, analyzing the external and internal environment, creating measurable marketing objectives and allocation of the necessary resources. Finally, an action plan and a monitoring strategy should be developed.
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