Unit 2- Marketing Strategy
Q. (a) Define marketing strategy and explain the four steps in formulating marketing strategy (1paragraph).
(b) Jim Craig, a marketing manager at a communications equipment firm, was enthusiastic about the prospects for the new, upgraded model of the Apex tester. The previous two models were quite profitable and a marketing research study clearly identified the improvements that should be embodied in the new model. Key market segments wanted a lighter more compact system and one that could handle a wider range of equipment test functions. Given the strength of the firm\’s R&D and manufacturing capabilities and the “can do” attitude that prevailed in the organization, Jim was confident that the model could be designed to incorporate the new upgrades and meet the planned target to release the new model in fifteen months. To his surprise, however, R&D and manufacturing vigorously resisted his proposed modification. Nevertheless, in the end, the Apex tester was released on schedule, embodied the attributes isolated by marketing research, and was a glowing market success. Why do managers who represent different functional areas in the corporation often see things differently and clash over the appropriate strategic course? What steps can marketing managers like Jim take to minimize cross-functional conflict while serving as a strong advocate for the consumer and considering the buyer’s point of view? (2 paragraphs)
Unit 2- Marketing Strategy
A marketing strategy is an organization’s strategy that combines all the marketing goals and objectives into one comprehensive plan. It’s often preceded by a marketing research and its main focus is on the right marketing mix that achieves maximum profitability potential for business sustainability and also forms the foundations of an organization’s marketing plan. According to Varadajan (2010), the first step towards developing a marketing strategy is conducting a situational analysis which entails the determination of where the company is at the moment, what sets it apart from competitors etc, by using management tools such as a SWOT analysis. The second step is the definition and description of the target market in terms of demographics, lifestyle, income levels and geographical location. The setting of the marketing goals is next, for instance, is the organization hoping to increase sales by 20%? Here, the aim of the marketing strategies is established. Such goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic and time-bound (SMART). The final step is the development of marketing communication strategies and budgetary allocation.
According to Jehn,(1999), different functions in an organization have different goals and objectives which inform the decisions made. The objective of a finance decision may probably be the keeping of proper books of accounts while managing costs, while that of the marketing department may be to increase sales and revenues. The differences in the goals and objectives of functions in an organization often occasion conflicts among managers in these functions. While the goal of the Jim Craig is to deliver the new improved tester to the market as per the recommendations of the market research, increase sales and revenues, this may differ from the R&D department whose issue may be the feasibility, technical ability, and cost of the new design, which may lead to resistance.
Clear communication structures that allow for detailed discussions, demonstrations, persuasions, and collaborations are key to managing cross-functional conflicts. By having several sessions where the findings of the marketing research can be discussed as well as the expected revenue and profit that will accrue to the organization as a result of the new design, it would significantly reduce conflict with the R& D department.
Getting the management of the company to address the issues raised by the R&D department and supporting them to overcome those challenges is a great approach to reducing conflict in this scenario. For instance, if the R&D department feels that the time allocated is too short, or if they feel that they do not have the necessary resources to come up with the design within the stipulated timeframe, the management can come in by availing the necessary resources which help in managing the conflict.
Jehn, K.A (1999) Managing Work team Diversity, Conflict, And Productivity: A New Form of Organizing in the Twenty-First Century Workplace. Journal of labor and employment law
Varadajan, R (2010) Strategic Marketing and Marketing Strategy: Domain, Definition, Fundamental Issues, and Foundational Premises. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 38(2):119-140