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Marketing Strategies

Healthy Marketing Strategic Planning

Healthy marketing strategic planning allows your organization to adapt to a continuously changing marketplace. It is a process of developing and maintaining a viable fit between your organization’s objectives, skills and resources and your changing marketing opportunities.

The aim is to become healthy enough so that you can yield target profits and growth and stay healthy even when unexpected events upset any of your specific businesses or product lines. Organizations with unhealthy marketing rely solely on simple growth projections in planning their production, sales and profits.

Strategic planning should take place at the corporate, divisional, business unit and product level of your organization. It should call for action with each business, assess the market’s growth and your position within that market, and develop a strategic game plan for achieving your short- and long-term objectives.

Healthy companies also know how to fill the strategic planning gap, which occurs when there is a difference between your future desired growth and projected growth. Planning for growth includes incorporating strategic growth models such as:

Intensive Growth: Identify opportunities for further growth within your current business model
Integrative Growth: Identify opportunities to build or acquire businesses that are related to your current businesses
Diversification Growth: Identify opportunities to add attractive businesses that are unrelated to your current business

Healthy strategic planning includes:

  • Defining a mission and vision
  • Analyzing external opportunities and threats
  • Analyzing internal strengths and weaknesses
  • Formulating goals, objectives and strategy
  • Formulating action programs
  • Implementing programs
  • Gathering feedback from programs and exercising control

Healthy marketing processes consist of:

  • Analyzing market opportunities
  • Developing marketing strategies
  • Planning marketing programs, including choosing the marketing mix
  • Organizing, implementing and controlling the marketing effort

Life Cycle Strategies

If your organization’s marketing practices are healthy, you will re-formulate your marketing strategy several times during your product’s life cycle (PLC). Economic conditions change, competitors launch new assaults and your product passes through new stages of buyer interest and requirements. Because of the impact of these changes, your organization should plan strategies appropriate to each stage in the PLC. Developing healthy PLC allows you to extend your product’s life and profitability, keeping in mind that your product will not last forever.

Most technologies, products, services and brands exhibit life cycles with distinct stages. Generally the stages in any life cycle include: introduction, growth, maturity and decline. Healthy marketing of a PLC calls for different marketing strategies for each stage of the PLC. Do you know the PLC stage of your products and/or services?

Symptoms in the introduction stage include slow growth and minimal profits. Several treatment strategies are available in the introduction stage: including rapid skimming, slow skimming, rapid penetration or slow penetration.

If successful, your product will enter the growth stage, expressed through rapid sales growth and increasing profits. At this stage of fast growth it is important to stay marketing healthy by improving the product, entering new market segments and distribution channels and perhaps reducing price slightly.

Following growth is the maturity stage, where symptoms of slowing sales growth and profit stabilization occur. Treatments for maturity stage include developing innovative strategies to renew sales growth which include modifications to the market, product and/or marketing mix.

Finally, the product enters the decline stage, where generally little can be done to stop the deterioration of sales and profits. At this point, a healthy marketing organization should identify the declining products/services and develop a treatment of continuation, focusing on milking strategies and finally phase-out strategies in a way that minimizes hardship to the organization’s profits, employees and customers.

New Product Development Strategies

Every organization should continue developing new products or services. Replacement products must be created to maintain or build sales. Furthermore, customers want new products, and competitors will do their best to supply them.

Healthy marketing departments participate in every stage of product development. New product development can be the life source of a company’s future. Healthy new product development needs an effective organization to manage the development process.

Typically the new product development process involves eight stages: 1) idea generation 2) idea screening 3) concept development and testing 4) marketing strategy development 5) business analysis 6) product development 7) market testing and 8) commercialization. The purpose of each stage is really for the organization to determine whether the new product/service idea should be dropped or moved forward.

Ensuring an integrated and coordinated new product development process between all parties involved will reap healthy results and maximize chances of success. Unfortunately we hear so often that most new products fail – mostly due to unhealthy marketing practices. There are five unhealthy marketing practices that lead to new product failure.

Five Reasons Why New Products Fail:

  • Owner, executive or the product idea champion might push their favorite idea through in spite of negative market research findings.
  • Idea is good but market size is overestimated.
  • Product not well designed or market mix not integrated appropriately.
  • New product incorrectly positioned in the market.
  • Competitors fight back harder than expected.

Differentiation & Positioning Strategies

Differentiating and appropriately positioning your product and/or service may give your organization the edge. Differentiation is definitely worth establishing in your strategy planning to the extent that it is important enough, distinctive, superior, communicable, preemptive, affordable and profitable.

If your industry is very competitive, then differentiation can become a key competitive advantage. Your market offer can be differentiated along five dimensions:

  1. Products
  2. Services
  3. Personnel
  4. Channel
  5. Image

Your positioning strategy must also be communicated effectively through your marketing mix. Unhealthy positioning symptoms include under-positioning, over-positioning and confused or doubtful positioning.

Competitive Strategies

Healthy marketing strategies also take into account the competitors’ strategies. The competitive arena can be classified by roles of the leader, challenger, follower or niche, and within those roles are various competitive positions. Developing a healthy marketing strategy becomes dependent on whether your organization is a market leader, challenger, follower or niche.