Introduction to Strategic Marketing
Strategic marketing requires high level of skills, critical consciousness of the current issues and challenges and capability to react towards fast changing markets. Business organisation makes use of strategic marketing for developing plans to reach and satisfy their customers by increasing productivity, performance and profitability. Usually, organisation make written strategic marketing plan which depicts what kind of programs are going to be used for marketing within a time limit and how they are going to be executed. It also helps the business enterprises to become more innovative and penetrate the markets through a better way. Firm can consider ways such as newsletters, podcasts, and mails in their strategic marketing planning. In simple terms, it is means that through this the companies differentiates themselves from their rival firms by capitalising strengths for providing constantly better value to the customers against its rivals. The present study is focusing on assessing the role of strategic marketing in Marks and Spencer Company which is one of the leading multinational retail firms in UK. The report is going to highlight relationship between corporate strategy and marketing strategy. Along with this, it will also cover the approaches for internal analysis of the company and integration of internal and external analysis.
Assessment of role of strategic marketing
Strategic marketing plays an essential role in the retail company Marks and Spencer because it helps in accomplishing goals through utilisation of scarce resources in an effective manner. Allocating and utilising scarce resources effectively helps the cited organisation to increase its sales and competitiveness. This supports the firm in increasing its abilities and effectiveness as compared to its competitor. Strategic marketing affirms that correct materials are selected for producing of goods and services in the company. It also assures that production is done according to the needs of customers. If the cited firm understands how to make an integrated marketing strategy, then it will support its individual decision in terms of particular marketing tactics. The overall importance of strategic marketing in the stated retail company is highlighted in the below headings:
Helps in determination of optimal prices
One of the important components of strategic marketing is to set right price for products and services on the basis of their market research. If the firm realises that its customers desire for high end goods, then its pricing strategies may need to sell products at the prices which make a high end sensed value.
Aids with marketing communication
The market research will support the organisation in developing its brand or image which it desires to establish. In absence of market research and a strategic marketing plan, the company can react to requests which do not get along with its brand identity which it has made on the basis of its efforts put in product development.
Streamlines development of product
Strategic marketing helps the mentioned firm in developing products and services which has best possibilities of making profit. This is due to the fact that strategic marketing begins with research of market which considers optimal target customer, activities of rivals and current trends.
Analysing the relationship between corporate strategy and marketing strategy
Corporate strategies and marketing strategies often coexists or flap over each other, opposite to the popular beliefs, the key attention of marketing consists of strategic plan's features of development, pricing and distributing product and services. Both these terms differs when corporate strategy does not focus on development of product or services and sales. Rather it focuses more on initiatives of profitability. The top management of Marks and Spencer have to keep closer eye on their marketing department for determining if corporate strategies they desire to take further align with its marketing strategies or not. For instance, a corporate cost containment strategy which involves use of cheap material for making products which can harm its brand which depends on supporting its prices, brand strategies and distribution.
Corporate strategies and marketing strategies both are equally essential for the stated retail company. The firm is made up of several departments like finance, human resources, information technology etc. so, all departments have to perform collaboratively for accomplishing targets of the corporate strategy. Therefore, corporate strategy should not neglect strategic goals of departments or desires and preferences of customers. They must be aligned with strategies of the departments. Same is for the marketing strategies also. For instance, the cited organisation can make plans to reduce cost through corporate strategy. For this motive, it cannot compromise on quality of its offerings by making use of cheap raw material and unskilful labour. So, it can be concluded that corporate strategies must be given due importance to current strategies of different departments in its future planning. Both the strategies have to be aligned for success of the whole company. The cited organisation cannot choose one strategy over the other or it cannot ignore any one of them completely.
Analysis of how marketing strategy is developed
Well developed marketing strategy helps the cited firm to recognise its business goals and create powerful reputation for its products and services. Development of marketing strategy which consists of elements detailed below will support the firm in making most of its investment and improvement in sales results.
Identification of business goals
For developing marketing strategy, the cited organisation has to identify business goals so that it can further define a combo of marketing goals for supporting them. While setting business goals, it is critical to be focused for effective measurement of the results against what was being set for achieving.
State marketing goals
Now the stated organisation has to define set of particular marketing goals on the basis of business goals. It will inspire the firm and help to make benchmarks for success.
Conducting research is vital part of marketing strategy. The firms requires to collect information on market like its size, growth, social trends etc.
Developing profile of potential customers
Now it has to take use of market research for developing a profile of customers which it is targeting and then it has to identify their needs.
Developing profile of competitors
As part of marketing strategy the company has to also make a profile of its rivals by identification of their products, supply chains, pricing and tactics for marketing.
Create strategies for supporting marketing goals
Now the company has to make a list of its target market and make strategies for attracting and retaining them.
Use 7 Ps of marketing
Then the organisation has to identify tactical marketing mix iwht the use of 7 Ps of marketing. If it takes the correct combination of marketing, its marketing strategy has more chances of becoming successful.
While making decisions regarding tactics, the firm can conduct some online research, test ideas and approaches on its customers and employees and revise what works for it.
Evaluating approaches to internal environmental analysis
For evaluating internal environment, Marks and Spencer can adopt approaches such as SWOT analysis. This analysis will be helpful for the firm to do a quick revision of is strategic situations and evaluate is there is a suitable match between internal resources, external environment and values. With this, McKinsey's model can also be taken in use to do internal analysis which includes independent factors that are categorised in soft and hard components.
Explaining internal environment
An internal environment comprises of components within the organisation. This includes current employees, management, corporate culture that states behaviour of employees. However, some of these elements impact the entire firm, others influence only management.
Approach for internal environmental analysis
One of the approach to for studying the internal environment is McKinsey 7s framework. The model consists of seven independent variables that are classified as either hard or soft elements. Hard elements are strategy, structure, and systems. They are easy to define or identify and management has a direct impact on them. On the other hand, soft elements like shared values, skills, style and staff are very difficult to define and are less tangible. They are more affected by culture but both of them are equally important for Marks and Spencer to become successful.
Strengths and weaknesses of McKinsey 7s Model
The benefits of this framework includes its effectiveness for diagnosing and understanding the organisation. It serves as a guide for bringing changes in organisation. Another advantage of the framework is that it is a set of rational as well as emotional constituents. But the key weakness of this model is that it neglects the differences. Many firms which applied this model have failed.
Importance of McKinsey 7s Model
This model is very essential for understanding the gaps which appears in the cited retail company that creates imbalance. It also facilitate the organisation in knowing system change and the impacts on the entire organisation. It is important for aligning departments and processes while acquisition or mergers.
Evaluating approaches to external environmental analysis
For the purpose of evaluating external environment, there are approaches such as PEST analysis, Porter's five forces model. Porter's five force model is a tool which analyses competition level in an industry and developing business strategies. The cited company has to consider the five forces which are threat of new entry, threat of substitutes, buying power of customers, bargaining power of suppliers, and industry rivalry.
Explaining external environment
The external environment includes the factors outside the organisation which influences the functioning of the firm. Some of the external components can be manipulated by firm marketing, whereas others need adjustments to be made by the company.
Approach for external environmental analysis
For analysing the external environment of Mark and Spencer PEST analysis is being conducted which is used for assessing four external forces which are related with situations happening business. PEST is acronym for Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors. This analysis will help the cited retail company in determining how these forces will influence the performance and activities in long run. It is used in collaboration with other types of analysis tools such as SWOT analysis and Porter's Five Forces for providing a clear understanding of conditions and connected internal and external forces.
Strengths and weaknesses of PEST analysis
The advantages of this analytical tools are that it gives a simple and easy to be used for analysing external environment forces. It helps in reducing the influence and effects of prospective threats to the cited retail firm. The tool assists and promotes development of strategic thinking in the company. But it has some demerits too such as the firm can oversimplify the data and information collected which is taken in use for decision-making. The procedure are to be done on a regular basis for its effectiveness and most of the times firm may hesitate in making this investment.
Importance of PEST analysis
The outcomes by doing PEST analysis can help the managers of the mentioned organisation to conduct a SWOT analysis. The political, economic, social and technological forces which are identified in the analysis can be classified as the opportunities or threats in the SWOT