Marketing Management Process
Marketing management is a process of identifying customer needs and wants and then developing a marketing program to satisfy customer needs with a profit. So, effective marketing starts with the identification of a set of consumers and their need structure.
Table of Contents
Identifying Customer Needs (Market Analysis)
A marketer needs to identify marketing opportunities by analyzing and scanning the external environment and collecting market-related information to estimate current market demand and forecast future potential.
The marketing manager segments the market to identify a homogenous set of customers who are likely to respond more positively to the planned marketing program. The marketing manager evaluates the positions of competing brands in business and decides on a suitable and unique position,
which will differentiate its offer from the competitors. While developing marketing strategies, he should understand the consumer decision-making process and what factors influence this process to deal with competition.
Identification and selection of targeted segment(s) and positioning strategy help the marketer to develop a new product or service offered for the market.
Develop Marketing Strategies (Marketing Planning)
He develops the product or service, gives it a brand name, and decides on a pricing strategy for the new offer. Pricing strategy is decided for the whole life of the product or service and not merely for the introductory period of the offer.
He also develops a strategy for coping with pricing changes in countering the competitor’s counter-pricing strategy. He also sets up intermediaries and recruits salespeople to take the offer to the market. Design and selection of value networks help in distributing the product into different parts of the market.
The market analysis revolves around finding out the current position of the company in the form of current market share, market power, the relevant strengths and weaknesses of the company in the face of competition, and the market opportunity and threats it is likely to face in the marketing environment.
The marketer uses various methods like SWOT analysis, scenario building, cross-impact analysis, and other environmental scanning techniques to scan the marketing environment for opportunity identification.
While planning for the market, he has to decide the segment to target, the company’s business mission, the category of customer markets it wants to serve, and the type of strategy to arrive at the desired marketing goals.
For this reason, one of the first tasks in marketing planning is to divide the heterogeneous market into relatively homogeneous segments. Once a particular customer group is identified and analyzed, then the marketing manager can allocate company resources and activities to profitably satisfy the needs of identified customers.
The marketer tries to find answers to the questions like:
- What problems do the company’s customers (potential customers) have that the offering (products or services) can solve better than those of other marketers?
- What is the profile of the customer having this consumption problem?
- What are the particular stages and circumstances (actual/ potential) that need modifications in a company’s marketing offer (products, prices, distribution, or promotion)?
The marketing manager assumes the role of a solution provider rather than a product manufacturer. Market analysis helps the marketer to identify new markets for existing products and for new products, to innovate new products for existing customers, and to discover potential product offerings for the future.
Implementation of the Marketing Program
The marketing manager plans an integrated marketing communication strategy through a combination of tools like advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing to promote the product or service in the market for higher consumption and brand image.
The marketing manager combines all the elements of a marketing program viz. product, price, value networks, sales force, and integrated marketing communication tools through effective coordination and control.
A marketing plan is not effective unless it is implemented. Without a proper implementation program, marketing planning exercise is just paperwork. Marketing implementation involves the execution of the planned strategy and allocation of scarce resources for achieving marketing goals.
The marketing manager executes the marketing strategy by translating it into a number of operational plans and short-term programs, whose time-bound results can be measured.
Control of the Total Marketing Efforts
Marketing control is a process of benchmarking the expended effort and resources with the set goals. Achievements are evaluated with the set objectives to find out the deficiencies if any, and to design modified action plans for the future so that the effectiveness of the resources expended and flow of profit increase.
Every organization has a structure and culture that reflects its readiness and effectiveness to cope with the ever-changing needs of customers by providing a sustained level of satisfaction. Marketing function confined to a particular departmental structure in the organization seldom brings success.
It creates goal confusion, due to functional myopia in the organization. In this context, the whole organisation has to understand the urgency of market orientation for greater success. The concept of organizational structure revolves around two issues.
The first is the relative importance of the marketing department inside the organization and the second, is its relationships with other functional departments and external players in the value chain.
A marketing manager has to take various decisions for developing a successful marketing program. Marketing decisions are taken under certain assumptions about the environment. Many a time, when these assumptions go wrong, marketing programs fail.
Environmental factors are external to the organization and beyond the control of the marketing manager. He needs to take note of the current environment and assume risks to develop opportunities and avert threats to marketing success.
Under specified assumptions about trends in the external world, he takes decisions regarding the product or service offer, the pricing proposed for the offer, the length and type of distribution channel, and tools of integrated marketing communication.
These factors are called marketing mix elements. Assumptions or environmental conditions on the basis of which marketing decisions are taken are beyond the control of the marketing manager and are called uncontrollable factors.
Elements of the immediate environment that directly affect a business are called micro-environmental factors whereas broader, external factors are called macro-environmental forces. Marketing mix is the set of controllable factors that a marketing manager uses in designing a marketing program to achieve desired results.
To summarise, the marketing management process consists of four key stages, namely
- Market analysis
- Marketing planning
- Implementation of the marketing program
- Control of the total marketing efforts