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The Practice of Strategic Marketing Planning

Introduction

An opportunity to create a competitive advantage, overcome financial challenges, receive stable profits and attract a large number of potential consumers are the consequences of following the practice of strategic management supported by modern business organisations. Along with these objectives, the task of building sustainable leadership positions is no less important since effective control and interaction with interested parties allow realising all the stated goals as productively as possible. The concept of strategic management promoted today implies utilising a number of tactical decisions and approaches aimed at optimising a business and increasing production results.

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Due to this diversity, it is essential to adhere to current operating conditions in order to withstand high competition and maintain leading market positions. Existing approaches and strategies help achieve the necessary improvements and realise the necessary goals in both micro and macro environments. The use of highly efficient steps that increase competitive advantage gives business firms an opportunity to maintain a high level of sales and, at the same time, contributes to strengthening leadership positions in a team through effective stimulating and motivational practices.

Peculiarities of Strategic Marketing Planning

Today, there are many interpretations and explanations of how strategic management works, and the conditions vary depending on different aspects – the work environment, the size of the organisation and other criteria. However, Hooley et al. (2017) give a general definition of this concept and argue that this type of work involves following the policies for creating services and goods with high consumer value in order to increase the position of a particular company in the market and overcome competitive difficulties.

As Payne and Frow (2014) note, value propositions for customers are formed through a number of analytical procedures implying a comprehensive assessment of the current situation, for instance, monitoring the target audience, researching consumer needs and other tasks. As a result, due to these activities, companies gain an opportunity to promote certain goods or services as successfully as possible and in the shortest possible time, which guarantees a stable and high profit.

The planning process itself is a multi-tasking matrix that includes various components and opens up significant opportunities for interested parties. Affordable business impact tools, as Bauer et al. (2016) remark, allow maintaining stable sales even in difficult working conditions, and the successful combination of corresponding approaches promotes dynamic activities, which are important for maintaining high positions.

Hooley et al. (2017) state that in order to create clear and competent tasks, it is crucial to build appropriate missions and decide which business management approaches can help achieve these goals. In case of success and a rationally selected management strategy, all departments of a company, without exception, can operate stably and implement all the stages of work productively. Thus, strategic management with its tools makes it possible to not only solve significant production issues but also expand the scope of interventions, thereby giving leaders an opportunity to gain an advantage over competitors.

Macro Environment and Competitor Analysis

Regarding the stated thesis about the variety of tools and methods for improving the quality of strategic management in a competitive environment, in advance, it is it is important to evaluate the characteristics of activities and, in particular, the levels of intervention. Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick (2016) provide examples of individual cases and focus on the macro environment that implies not internal organisational issues but a general range of tasks and market situations.

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The authors draw attention to various external aspects that affect business, for instance, environmental issues, cultural forces, legislative aspects and other drivers that largely affect the specifics of activities (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2016). These factors are highly significant for all interested parties since neglecting any relevant effects is fraught not only with undesirable expenses but also a possible loss of authority because a number of conventions, as a rule, dictate the nature of work and interventions.

Competitive analysis is an equally important aspect of strategic management. According to Reeves, Love and Tillmanns (2012), the decision-making process should be accompanied by the assessment of other market participants’ activities not only in order to anticipate possible outcomes of interventions but also develop valuable strategic solutions and steps. Hooley et al. (2017) argue that the creation of profitable offers for consumers should be accompanied by a parallel analysis of the market and monitoring the work of other enterprises to avoid low demand and, consequently, losses.

Smith (2018) suggests paying attention to innovation and attracting relevant and modern resources that contribute to business optimisation and open prospects for the promotion of specific goods and services. In addition, such tools are valuable resources for overcoming a competitive barrier since a proper analysis involves not only assessing the state of the market but also developing the necessary ways to overcome potential difficulties. Therefore, such an analytical activity carries a high practical significance.

Customer Analysis

Gaining competitive advantage through competent consumer analysis is a crucial objective. West, Ford and Ibrahim (2015) formulate marketing principles that are consistent with current business trends and note that gaps in assessing the preferences of the target audience affect sales negatively and entail the loss of market positions. For instance, interacting with potential customers through communication based on empirical evaluation methods helps provide an objective and comprehensive picture of the needs that can be met in case of direct contacts (Hooley and Greenley, 2005). In other words, those analytical tools used to measure consumer interest are a valuable criterion of marketing policy aimed at optimising a business and increasing competitive advantage.

In addition to obtaining the necessary information about the preferences of potential customers, consumer analysis opens up prospects for impacts on the target audience. According to Van den Driest, Sthanunathan and Weed (2016, p. 67), competent leaders have the abilities to predict consumer behaviour objectively and “to transform data into insights about consumers’ motivation and to turn those insights into strategy”.

This assumption is relevant in a competitive environment, which is to be overcome in order to gain the highest possible profit with minimal expenses. This is the key essence of strategic management since an opportunity to optimise the company operation through tactical solutions rather than financial investments characterises a business as successful and reveals the strengths of its team leaders. For potential clients, the assets of a particular organisation do not play a significant role if the goods or services offered are of a high quality and consistent with buyers’ interests. Therefore, customer analysis tools are no less important than those aimed at overcoming a competitive barrier.

Internal Analysis – The Organisational Resource Base

The concept of strategic management includes numerous approaches and practices designed to improve the existing business and realise all the necessary goals successfully. In addition to analysing the external working environment, monitoring internal activities should be carried out, and appropriate interventions are to be conducted, which may allow attracting more consumers and exceed competitors’ outcomes.

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Mauborgne and Kim (2004) mention the Blue Ocean strategy that is a relevant methodology in terms of optimising performance and creating the necessary development prospects. The authors note that searching for new areas of work by creating spheres of influence and conditions for entering markets is strategically successful if a minimum of resources is utilised for these purposes (Mauborgne and Kim, 2004).

As Hooley et al. (2017) state, in order to implement such a principle, it is essential to engage all the necessary forces and organise activities so that both team leaders and subordinates could work to achieve a common goal. If internal resources are insufficient to implement the appropriate steps, the reorganisation of operation can help, for instance, by reallocating roles and focusing on short-term goals.

When referring to the available information, one can note that those companies that promote internal changes in accordance with the provisions of strategic management demonstrate better results than enterprises that neglect such changes. De Swaan Arons, van den Driest and Weed (2014) mention the Marketing 2020 programme and note that the appointment of those responsible for monitoring the performance and success of optimisation solutions within a particular business has improved production results.

Another example of such activities is the organisation of supply chains as a tool that, as Anderson, Narus and van Rossum (2006) remark, contribute to forming valuable consumer propositions in case of its competent implementation. Brand value and the power of impact on the target audience are created through the competent optimisation of internal activities aimed at promoting goods or services with maximum benefit (Roper and Fill, 2012). Therefore, strategic management at the internal level is no less important than that at the external one, and the necessary and accessible resources should be engaged.

TOWS Analysis

Among complex strategic management tasks, in addition to the Blue Ocean strategy, the TOWS analysis should be highlighted. Hooley et al. (2017) disclose this acronym as potential threats, opportunities for growth, weaknesses and strengths that a business possesses. Zeithaml, Bitner and Gremler (2017) argue that building successful customer relationships is not possible without assessing development prospects in advance. According to McDonald and Wilson (2016), the step-by-step implementation of such monitoring provides a comprehensive picture of the current situation. In addition, both external and internal gaps may be identified. All these aspects contribute to enhancing management and leadership outcomes.

Conclusion

Overcoming competitive challenges may be achieved through strategic management with its relevant and effective optimisation approaches aimed at external and internal operational changes. The very concept of such business work involves evaluating different environments, and engaging all the necessary resources is important for minimal costs. Such tools as the TOWS analysis and the Blue Ocean strategy are valuable instruments for solving complex strategic management tasks.

Reference List

Anderson, J., Narus, J. and van Rossum, W. (2006) ‘Customer value propositions in business markets’, Harvard Business Review, 84(3), pp. 90-99.

Bauer, T. et al (2016) Marketing performance – how marketers drive profitable growth. Chichester: Wiley.

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De Swaan Arons, M., van den Driest, F. and Weed, K (2014), ‘The ultimate marketing machine’, Harvard Business Review, 92(7/8), pp. 54-63.

Hooley, G. and Greenley, G. (2005) ‘The resource underpinnings of competitive positions’, Journal of Strategic Marketing, 13(2), pp. 93-116.

Hooley, G. et al. (2017) Marketing strategy & competitive positioning. 6th edn. Harlow: Pearson.

Jobber, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2016) Principles and practice of marketing. 8th edn. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill.

Mauborgne, R. and Kim, W. C. (2004) ‘Blue ocean strategy’, Harvard Business Review, 1, p. 76-84.

McDonald, M. and Wilson, H. (2016) Marketing plans: how to prepare them, how to use them. 8th edn. Chichester: Wiley.

Payne, A. and Frow, P. (2014) ‘Developing superior value propositions: a strategic marketing imperative’, Journal of Service Management, 25(2), pp.213-227.

Reeves, M., Love, C. and Tillmanns, P. (2012) ‘Your strategy needs a strategy’, Harvard Business Review, 90(9), pp. 76-83.

Roper, S. and Fill, C. (2012) Corporate reputation brand and communication. Harlow: Pearson.

Smith, R. (2018) ‘Winning at new products: creating value through innovation’, Research-Technology Management, 61(2), p. 60.

Van den Driest, F., Sthanunathan, S. and Weed, K. (2016) ‘Building an insights engine’, Harvard Business Review, 94(9), pp. 64-74.

West, D., Ford, J. and Ibrahim, E. (2015) Strategic marketing: creating competitive advantage. 3rd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Zeithaml, V., Bitner, M. and Gremler, D. (2017) Services marketing: integrating customer focus across the firm. 7th edn. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill.

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