Marketing strategy involves mapping out the company's direction for the forthcoming planning period, whether that be three, five or ten years. It involves undertaking a 360° review of the firm and its operating environment with a view to identifying new business opportunities that the firm could potentially leverage for competitive advantage. Strategic planning may also reveal market threats that the firm may need to consider for long-term sustainability. Strategic planning makes no assumptions about the firm continuing to offer the same products to the same customers into the future. Instead, it is concerned with identifying the business opportunities that are likely to be successful and evaluates the firm's capacity to leverage such opportunities. It seeks to identify the strategic gap; that is the difference between where a firm is currently situated (the strategic reality or inadvertent strategy) and where it should be situated for sustainable, long-term growth (the strategic intent or deliberate strategy).
After setting the goals marketing strategy or marketing plan should be developed. The marketing strategy plan provides an outline of the specific actions to be taken over time to achieve the objectives. Plans can be extended to cover many years, with sub-plans for each year. Plans usually involve monitoring, to assess progress, and prepare for contingencies if problems arise. Simultaneous such as customer lifetime value models can be used to help marketers conduct "what-if" analyses to forecast what potential scenarios arising from possible actions, and to gauge how specific actions might affect such variables as the revenue-per-customer and the churn rate.
A marketing plan can be adjusted at any point based on the results from the metrics. If digital ads are performing better than expected, for example, the budget for a campaign can be adjusted to fund a higher performing platform or the company can initiate a new budget. The challenge for marketing leaders is to ensure that every platform has sufficient time to show results.
Market challenger: The market challenger holds the second highest market share in the category, following closely behind the dominant player. Their market posture is generally offensive because they have less to lose and more to gain by taking risks. They will compete head to head with the market leader in an effort to grow market share. Their overall strategy is to gain market share through product, packaging and service innovations; new market development and redefinition of the to broaden its scope and their position within it.
Among the best commercial sources of information are research and trade associations. Information gathered by trade associations is usually limited to that particular industry and available only to association members, who have typically paid a membership fee. However, the research gathered by the larger associations is usually thorough, accurate, and worth the cost of membership. Two excellent resources to help you locate a trade association that reports on the business you are researching include the Encyclopedia of Associations (Gale Research), and the Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources (Gale Group).
Market leader: The market leader dominates the market by objective measure of market share. Their overall posture is defensive because they have more to lose. Their objectives are to reinforce their prominent position through the use of PR to develop corporate image and to block competitors brand for brand, matching distribution through tactics such as the use of “fighting” brands, pre-emptive strikes, use of regulation to block competitors and even to spread rumours about competitors. Market leaders may adopt unconventional or unexpected approaches to building growth and their tactical responses are likely to include: product proliferation; diversification; multi-branding; erecting barriers to entry; vertical and horizontal integration and corporate acquisitions.
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