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Marketing Planning & Research


MARKETING PLANNING AND RESEARCH

WHAT IS MARKETING PLANNING

Simply put, planning means deciding now what to do in the future including when and how you are going to do it. It is the process of anticipating the future, and determining courses of action necessary to achieve organisational objectives.

Planning is carried out in every functional area of the organisation, hence, we have production planning, financial planning, personnel planning and marketing planning. Without a plan, you cannot get anything done because you don’t know what needs doing or how to do it.

A marketing plan is a written document containing the guidelines for the organization’s marketing programs and allocations over the planning period. It is a business document written for the purpose of describing the current market position of a business and its marketing strategy for the period covered by the marketing plan.

MARKETING PLANNING PROCESS

There are five basic steps in the marketing planning process which are discussed below.

1. Determination of Organizational Objectives

Objectives or goals are what organizations desire to achieve. This could be in terms of profit or growth. They serve as the foundation from which marketing objectives and plans are built. These objectives provide direction for all phases of the organisation and serve as standards in evaluating performance.

2. Assessing Organisational Resources

Planning strategies are influenced by a number of factors both within and outside the organisation. Organizational resources include capabilities in production, marketing,, finance, technology, and personnel. By evaluating these resources, organizations can pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. Strengths help organisations set objectives, develop plans for meeting objectives, and take advantage of marketing opportunities. Resource weaknesses, on the other hand, may inhibit an organisation from taking advantage of marketing opportunities.

Determination of Organizational Objectives

Assessing Organizational Resources

Evaluating Risks and Opportunities

Formulating Marketing Plans

Implementing and Monitoring Marketing Plans

 

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3. Evaluating Risks and Opportunities

Environmental factors – competitive, political, legal, economic, technological and social – also influence marketing opportunities. The emergence of new technologies or innovations may open new opportunities-,for under-marketed products.

The marketing environment may also pose threats to marketing opportunities. For example, a new genetically engineered drug may be developed with the potential to yield ten million naira revenue annually. But a government agency may delay requests to market the drug due to regulations.

4. Formulating Marketing Plans

The net result of opportunity analysis is the formulation of marketing objectives designed to achieve overall organisational objectives and develop a marketing plan. The marketing planning effort must be directed towards establishing marketing strategies that are resource efficient, flexible, and adaptable. The marketing strategy is the overall company program for selecting a particular target market and then satisfying consumers in that segment.

5. Implementing and Monitoring Marketing Plans

The overall strategic marketing plan serves as the basis for a series of operating plans necessary to move the organization toward accomplishment of its objectives. At every step of the marketing planning process, marketing managers use feedback to monitor and adapt strategies when actual performance fails to match expectations.

KEY ELEMENTS IN MARKETING PLANNING

The key elements of any successful marketing plan in the opinion of Janet Hunt (2014) revolve around the elements of the marketing mix which are product, price, promotion, and place earlier discussed in chapter three. Market segmentation is also a key element in marketing planning.

Product

The concept of product in a marketing plan deals with finding the right product for your target market. The product must be something desired by the intended customer. A target market can be a certain age group of people, such as young adults; people of a certain geographic area, the Northwest or Southeast, for example; or people of a certain income level, incomes greater than N500, 000 per year.

The target market for your product could also be a very specific combination of these criteria. For instance, an electronic game manufacturer can target young adults with an income more than N500, 000 per year living in metropolitan areas. Companies often conduct surveys to determine products desired by specific target markets.

Price

Price is a very important element of the marketing mix. The company must create something of value for the consumer. The product must be one that the consumer is willing to pay a predetermined price for. Analysis is necessary to determine the price customers are willing to pay for a specific product. If your price is too low, you will not realize a profit. However, pricing higher than the other market suppliers of the product leads to decreased sales, also resulting in a loss for the company.

  Consumer & Organisational Behaviours

Place

Selling your product in the correct place is another important aspect of the marketing mix. No matter how good your product or service is, if the customer cannot find it, no purchases will be made. To determine the proper place to market your product, you must determine where the target audience is shopping for similar purchases. This might be in a brick-and-mortar storefront location or through an Internet store.

Promotion

Once you have determined what product you will sell, the price you will charge and the place you will sell it, you must tell people about it. This is where promotion comes in. There are multiple mediums available to promote a product or service to your target consumers, including word of mouth, newspapers and other print publications, television, radio and Internet advertising.

The money you have available to spend for promotion can determine which means you use. A small business with a limited advertising budget can print and distribute low-cost fliers rather than spending money on expensive radio or television advertising.

IMPORTANCE OF MARKETING PLAN

In a fast-changing and increasingly digitalized world, some degree of planning is essential, if only to avoid expensive mistakes.

The planning process also provides the opportunity to gather support for proposals, co-ordinate different functions, bring about cultural change, and communicate objectives to team members.

Marketing planning has a number of benefits. The marketing planning process:

•    Motivates staff

•    Secures participation and involvement

•    Achieves commitment

•    Leads ultimately to better decision making

•    Requires management staff collectively to  make clear judgmental  statements  about assumption – the very basis upon which the future depends

•    Ensures a systematic approach to the future has been taken

•    Prevents ‘short-termism’s the tendency to place all effort in the ‘here and now’

•    Creates a climate in which change can be made and in which standards for performance can be established

•    Enables a control system to be designed and established whereby performance can be assessed against predetermined criteria.

MARKETING RESEARCH

The America Marketing Association (AMA) defines marketing research as follows:

“Marketing Research is the function that links the consumer, and the public to the marketer through information. It is used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; to generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; to monitor marketing performance and to improve understanding of marketing as a process”.

Marketing research activities generally study the industry, market trends, and market share analysis. Others are pricing, product distribution, promotion and buying behaviour. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues; designs the method for collecting information; manages and implements the data collection process; analyzes the result and communicates the findings and their implications.

Marketing research could also be collection and use of information for marketing decision making. The critical task of the marketing manager is decision-making. Decision-making involves not only solving problems as they arise, but also anticipating and preventing future problems.

THE REASONS FOR MARKETING RESEARCH

The main reason for marketing research is to provide information that aids in facilitating marketing decisions. The importance of this role cannot be over-stated; it is the reason for marketing research. Without marketing research information, it is hard, if not impossible, for management to make sound marketing decisions or to properly implement the marketing concept; as a result costly failures may occur.

The role of marketing research in marketing management is so important the American Marketing Association’s definition of marketing research specifies the ways that the information provided by marketing research may be used. E.g. such information can be used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process.

To identify and define marketing opportunities means to define those wants and needs in the market that are not being met by competition. To generate and refine marketing actions means to determine which plan, or marketing strategy, will best meet market opportunities. Monitoring marketing performance is a way of maintaining control over the success of a new product c service. To improve our understanding of the marketing process means that some marketing research is conducted to expand our basic knowledge of marketing.

  Marketing Management Philosophies

For marketers, research is not only used for the purpose of learning, it is also a crit component needed to make good decisions. Market research does this by giving marketers picture of what is occurring (or likely to occur) and, when done well, offers alternative eta that can be made. For instance, good research may suggest multiple options for introducing products or entering new markets. In most cases marketing decisions prove less risky they are never risk free) when the marketer can select from more than one option.

Using an analogy of a house foundation, marketing research can be viewed as the foundation of marketing. Just as a well-built house requires a strong foundation to remain sturdy, marketing decisions need the support of research in order to be viewed favorably by customers and to stand up to competition and other external pressures. Consequently, all areas of marketing and all marketing decisions should be supported with some level of research.

While research is key to marketing decision making, it does not always need to be elaborate to be effective. Sometimes small efforts, such as doing a quick search on the Internet, will provide the needed information. However, for most marketers there are times when more elaborate research work is needed and understanding the right way to conduct research, whether performing the work themselves or hiring someone else to handle it, can increase the effectiveness of these projects.

GETTING INFORMATION FOR MARKETING PLANNING

The main source of getting information for marketing planning is market research. There are four main ways of gathering information for market research:

1.  From internal information already held by an organisation, e.g. details of existing customers and their spending habits.

2. External primary information – i.e. information collected at first hand by interviewing customers and potential customers to get their views about a company, products and services.

3.  External secondary information – using published sources of information e.g. those produced by marketing organisations about products, markets and brands.

4. The Internet – Internet is a great way of getting information, however, some of the information you can access is not suitable, especially for children.

In our contemporary society it is absolutely impossible to imagine our life without using the internet. The number of people who find the internet a convenient tool helping them in studying or working is increasing steadily, so is the number of those who believe the internet to be harmful and overestimated as the best source of information.

However, we have to take into account that the internet often provide us with lots of unnecessary or even unsuitable information we are not looking for. At first, it refers to obscene photographs, videos and websites. A huge amount of advertizing all over the sites you are visiting can be irritating as well. In addition to this, a great number of people become addicted to the Internet and simply can’t live without it. Many of them don’t tend to read books or even think independently because they believe everything can be easily found on websites.

MARKET SEGMENTATION

Market Segmentation is the process of dividing the total different types of markets for a good or service into several segments, each of which tends to be similar in some significant aspects. Management selects one or more of these market segments as the organization’s target market. A separate marketing mix is developed for each segment or group of segments in this target market.

The main reason for market segmentation is that markets consist of buyers, and buyers differ in one or more ways. They may differ in their wants, resources, locations, buying attitudes, and buying practices. Through market segmentation, companies divide large, different markets into smaller segments that can be reached more efficiently and effectively with products and services that match their unique needs.

Companies today recognize that they cannot appeal to all buyers in the marketplace or at least not to all buyers in the same way. Buyers are too numerous, too widely scattered, and too varied in their needs and buying practices. Moreover, the companies themselves vary widely in their abilities to serve different segments of the market. Rather than trying to compete in an entire market, sometimes against superior competitors, a smaller organisation must identify the parts of the market that it can serve best and most profitably.

  Planning For A Personal Marketing Outlet

Market Segment, Target Market, Mass Marketing, Niche Marketing

A market segment is made up of consumers who react the same way when they see a product, for example when bankers see good suits for sale. While a target market is a group of consumers an organization has chosen to serve, for example market for children toys.

Mass marketing is the opposite of market segmentation. It is the strategy whereby an organization treats its total market as unit-that is, as one mass aggregate market whose parts are considered to be alike in all major respects. The organization then develops a single marketing mix to reach as many customers as possible in this aggregate market.

Niche Marketing is a situation when the marketer identifies a small market whose needs are not being well served. A niche could also be described as unserved need or need gap that is calling for the attention of the man letter. It is an untapped opportunity that exists in a market.

SUMMARY

A marketing plan is a written document containing the guidelines for the organization’s marketing programs and allocations over the planning period. It is a business document written for the purpose of describing the current market position of a business and its marketing strategy for the period covered by the marketing plan.

There are five basic steps in the process of marketing planning. 1. Determination of Organizational Objective. 2. Assessing Organizational Resources. 3. Evaluating Risks and Opportunities. 4. Marketing Strategy. 5. Implementing and Monitoring Marketing Plans.

The key elements in marketing planning are the elements of the marketing mix and market segmentation. Marketing planning has a number of benefits: Motivates staff, Secures participation and involvement, Achieves commitment, Leads ultimately to better decision making, Requires management staff collectively to make clear judgmental statements about assumption – the very basis upon which the future depends. It also: Ensures a systematic approach to the future has been taken, Prevents ‘short-termism’s the tendency to place all effort in the ‘here and now’, Creates a climate in which change can be made and in which standards for performance can be established, and Enables a control system to be designed and established whereby performance can be assessed against predetermined criteria.

Marketing Research is the function that links the consumer, and the public to the marketer through information. It is used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; to generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; to monitor marketing performance and to improve understanding of marketing as a process.

The main reason for marketing research is to provide information that aids in facilitating marketing decisions. The importance of this role cannot be over-stated; it is the reason for marketing research. Without marketing research information, it is hard, if not impossible, for management to make sound marketing decisions or to properly implement the marketing concept; as a result costly failures may occur.

The main source of getting information for marketing planning is market research. There are four main ways of gathering information for market research: 1. internal information already held by an organization 2. External primary information 3. External secondary information 4. The Internet

Market Segmentation is the process of dividing the total different types of markets for a good or service into several segments, each of which tends to be similar in some significant aspects. Management selects one or more of these market segments as the organization’s target market. A separate marketing mix is developed for each segment or group of segments in this target market.


Comments

  1. I got all I needed here. Good job and Keep it up.

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