Showing posts from 2013

A Strategic Marketing Planning Tool

Over the years the leading marketing and management thinkers have developed theories that look for answers as to why companies failed after enjoying a period of tremendous success. Theodore Levitt attributed failures to the leaders of these companies being myopic and defining their business mission too narrowly. For example, railroads considering themselves as being in the railroad business rather than the transportation business was myopic and prevented them from entering into air transportation, shipping and trucking. Clayton Christensen developed the theories on disruptive innovations and suggested that, over time, industry-leading companies continued developing product enhancements that were driven by the most demanding and profitable customers. As a result a significant portion of customers not wanting or needing all of the product enhancements were vulnerable to attack from new companies offering less expensiv


The chart below demonstrates the approach for developing a successful marketing strategy. The graphic suggests that a vision and mission should drive the price, place product and promotion marketing components and that once these 4 Ps are identified a strategy can be developed. It is interesting to ask which of the 4 P’s is most important.   To determine value of each of the four Ps requires a vision and mission statement that clearly defines the nature of a business, the market segment to be served and an idea of what success looks like. For my classes at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business I have used the example of an individual with a pressure washer and limited funds wishing to enter into the maintenance business and grow to be a major player in home and commercial maintenance. This individual might create a mission statement that as follows:   1) To make available quality exterior maintenance service to home and business clien


I have been involved in developing marketing strategies that required the developing a competitive advantage in markets filled with strong competitors. I have consistently found that developing solid information on the market and the competitors was critical in building a foundation for the strategy. Information Sources Gathering information on the market and the competition is readily available if you know where to look. Information on the market is available through census data, industry data and consumer research. Most of this is readily available on the Internet. Gathering data on the competition is also readily available.   Some of the information can be taken from financial reports if the competitor is a publicly traded company. These reports usually give key statistics, profiles of key managers and basic financial data. Information on competitors can also be gathered from customers, vendors and public records. Developing financial profiles of a c

Developing a Successful Marketing Strategy

Set an Objective The marketing effort begins with an objective. This objective can be to create a new business to serve a specific market, launch a new product for an existing business, develop a new market with existing products and so on. After establishing the objective it is important to take a hard look at the business you are in or are hoping to start. This exercise will help to better understand your current position in the industry and possible avenues for growth. For example, if owning a cup cake specialty shop, you should determine if you are in the cup cake business, confectionary business, restaurant business, or bakery business and so on.   The choice will affect the strategy that might be employed to achieve the objective.                                     Identify a Customer Base Also considering the business, it is important to identify the potential customer base (key customers) you will be serving and your business capabilities. For example i

Strategy Before Tactics

An MBA student asked me not long ago, if I knew of companies that developed or updated strategies on a regular basis. He went on to say that he was in charge of providing IT support for his organization and when asking for the strategic direction of the company he was told “to increase profit by X% in the next operating period.” This was clearly not a strategy but an operational goal. Operational goals are almost always addressed with tactical solutions. The longer an organization has been in existence, the less likely a regular strategic planning process will exist. Leadership will recognize changes in the environment, new financial goals, changes in operation procedures, new challenges and competition. Almost always tactical plans are developed to address the market changes and financial goals.   Tactical plans will include pricing structure changes, development of new products, new human resource programs and new operational procedures. These plans can b