Strategic Marketing Planning framework The Strategic Marketing Plan framework developed for a firm operating in a particular sector needs to address specific organizational needs; usually, the organizational environment is set as a key criterion for the identification of this framework’s phases; in this context, the strategic marketing planning framework may be differentiated across firms that operate in markets with different cultural and social characteristics but this would be a problem only if this framework would have to be used in the international market (see section b below); otherwise, i.e. in regard to a specific market the strategic marketing plan framework is likely to have a standard format – see Figure 1.
Of course, it would be possible for this framework to be slightly differentiated in accordance with the characteristics and the culture of a specific firm but in its main scope and structure it would remain the same. The strategic marketing plan presented in Figure 1 below – used as an indicative diagram of this type – can be analysed as follows: a) definition of vision and goals; at this phase it is required that the firm sets its vision, i.e.
its overall view on its potential achievements within a specific market; these achievements need to be clearly stated taking into consideration the resources available but also the prospects for success within a specific period of time, b) the identification of the customers and the competition is related with the following two issues: the characteristics of targeted customers, as these characteristics can be identified through their preferences on similar products/ services; the identification of the customers can be also related with the estimation of the expected performance of the firm’s products/ services in a particular market; the identification of competition has two aspects: the identification of most competitive firms in the industry where a firm operates and the identification of the most successful practices of these firms – these practices can be used as indications of the customers’ preferences in regard to similar products/ services, c) the development of core message (3rd phase of the strategic marketing plan framework presented in Figure 1) refers to the description of the firm’s existing strategic alliances – the firm which manages to pursue its customers on the quality of its strategic coordinators – which are part of the firm’s operational environment – is most likely to gain a significant percentage of the market share, d) the firm needs to identify its brand identity; in other words, it needs to develop a brand that will be able to respond to the customer needs being aligned with the characteristics and the trends of a specific market; regarding the above, the firm’s brand would have the following characteristics: d1) attract the attention of customers in terms of innovation, d2) highlights effectively the advantages of the products/ services to which it refers, d3) is distinguished from the brands of the competitors – the graphical representation of the brand can be important at this point and d4) be able to respond to different cultural and social characteristics (this is an issue particular important when the strategic marketing plan framework is going to be used in the international market and not in the national market – where its success may be easier), e) the identification of the marketing strategy and budget is of crucial importance for the success of the firm’s marketing plan; the marketing strategy that would be applied in the context of a specific market should be chosen using specific criteria: e1) cost and time, e2) resources required, e3) chances for success taking into consideration the similar plans of firms that operate in the same industry, e4) the level of risk undertaken – i. e.
in case of failures in one or more phases of the specific project which would be the damage caused to the firm?
It is in this context that the estimation of the project’s budget is taken place at an early phase of the project; in this way, the risk of a major financial loss from a potential failure is limited, f) when the marketing strategy has been chosen, then the tactics used for its development need to be identified; these tactics are not standard; examples could include the use of media, press for the promotion of the firm’s products/ services, the provision of offers on the marketed products/ services and so on, g) at a next level, sales tools would be created in order to support the tactics used during the development of the firm’s marketing plan; these sales tools would include: sales through the Internet, sales over the phone or through points of sales set within large stores/ shopping centres; also, the use of the firm’s products in events that are going to be attended by many people could be appropriate sales tools for the promotion of products – as in the case of L’oreal developed in the next section; h) in the final phase of the project, its execution should start; at the same time, mechanisms should be developed for the monitoring of the project making sure that its terms – especially in regard to its duration and its cost – are met.
Figure 1- Strategic Marketing Plan framework (source: Vista Consulting) b. How and why the details of this strategic marketing process may differ in the international context The operations of firm in the international market cannot be based on the same marketing framework as in the local market; of course, similarities exist under the influence of the customer preferences on specific products/ services – referring especially to the case of brands that are well known in the global market.
On the other hand, in the international market the competition is likely to be extremely strong; under these terms, firms that operate only in their local market and are interested in entering the international market are expected to face strong pressures by the other firms in the same industrial sector. Usually, the ability of a firm to operate globally is judged by its ability to differentiate its policies and culture in order to meet the customers’ needs internationally.
The strategic marketing planning framework is used in order to define the parts of a successful marketing policy; however, it could be stated that the specific framework would be most appropriate for firms that operate in a particular market – i. e they have not entered the international market. On the other hand, the strategic marketing planning framework could be also used in the context of the international market if appropriate adjustments were made on its structure and content.
A series of such changes can be suggested as follows: a) the phases of the framework could remain the same but an additional phase would be added: the research on the global market; this research should be used in order to identify the following two issues: a1) the existence of similar products/ services in the international market, a2) the marketing policies used for the promotion of these products, a3) the requirements for the entrance of a product/ services in a foreign market (these requirements would define the framework in which the firm’s marketing plan should be developed), b) the time/cost of the framework should be estimated in advance; in the context of the local market the planning and development of marketing plans is likely to have specific duration/ cost; however, in the case that as strategic marketing plan framework is used in the international market it is necessary that its duration/ cost is precisely estimated – as possible – because global market is characterized by continuous turbulences and the market conditions of foreign countries cannot be evaluated with accuracy in advance, c) the resources available for the realization of the strategic marketing plan framework should be allocated in advance; in this context, it needs to be ensured that the firm’s employees have the necessary skills/ expertise in order to respond to the needs of the particular project; also, they should be state their willingness to relocate if the establishment of a firm’s branch in a foreign market is attempted; at the next level, the funds required for the support of the relevant project should be available; it is noted that the usual cost of similar project in the context of the national market may mislead the firm’s manager; an appropriate cost management scheme should be developed making sure that the cost of the plan’s completion in the international market would be estimated with accuracy; d) the firm’s core message should be differentiated; in the context of the local market, a firm’s core message should be used in order to inform the customers on the firm’s coordinators – firms with which a strategic cooperation has been developed; however, in the international market, the firm’s core message should be used in order to describe the terms of the firm’s support by well known international firms – which usually act as suppliers; in this way, the quality of the firm’s products/ services is emphasized making use of existing and well known brands. References Hollensen, S.
(2009). Essentials of global marketing. Pearson Education Kerin, R., Hartley, W. (2003). Marketing: The Core. McGraw Hill Professional Kotler, P., Armstrong, G. (2008). Principles of marketing. Pearson Education Mooij, M. (2009).
Global Marketing and Advertising: Understanding Cultural Paradoxes. SAGE Mukerjee, K. (2007). Customer Relationship Management: A Strategic Approach to Marketing. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd. Stanco, J. (1995). Utilizing the strategic marketing organization: the modernization of the marketing mindset. Routledge Online sources L’oreal UK Limited, available at http: //www. loreal. com/_en/_ww/careers-l-oreal. aspx