*Developing Marketing Strategies and Plans
*Capturing Marketing Insights
*Connecting with Customers
*Building Strong Brands
*Shaping the Market Offerings
We’ll use the following situation to illustrate these tasks in the context of the plan and application.
RPL inc. operates in several industries, including chemicals, cameras, and film. The company is organized into Strategic Business Units (SBU). Corporate management is considering what to do with its Excel camera division. At present, Excel produces a range of 35 mm and digital cameras. The market for cameras is intensely competitive. Although RPL has a sizable market share and is producing much revenue for the company, the 35 mm market itself is growing very slowly and its market share is slipping. In the faster-growing digital camera segment, RPL is facing strong competition and has slow to gain sales. RPL’s corporate management wants Excel marketing group to produce a strong turnaround plan for the division. Marketing management has to come up with a convincing marketing plan, sell to corporate management on the plan, and then implement and control it.
Developing Marketing Strategies and Plans
The first task facing Excel is to identify its potential long-run opportunities given its market experience and core competencies. Excel can design its cameras with better features. It can also consider making a line of video cameras, or it can use its core competency in optics to design a line of binoculars and telescopes. Whichever direction is chooses, it must develop concrete marketing plans that specify the marketing strategy and tactics going forward.
Capturing Marketing Insights
To understand what is happening inside and outside the company, Excel needs a reliable marketing information system; it will want to closely monitor its marketing environment. Excel’s microenvironment consists of all the players who affect the company’s ability to produce and sell cameras—suppliers, marketing intermediaries, customers, and competitors. Its macro environment consist of demographic, economic, physical, technological, political-legal, and social-cultural forces that affect sales and profits.
Excel also needs a dependable marketing research system. Marketing research is an indispensable tool for assessing buyer want and behavior and actual and potential market size. An important part of gathering environmental information includes measuring market potential and forecasting future demand. To transform marketing strategy into marketing programs, marketing managers must make basic decisions on marketing expenditures, marketing activities, and making allocation. How much money should support Excel’s two or three camera lines? Direct versus distributor sales? Direct – mail advertising versus trade-magazine advertising? State markets versus Zonal markets? To make these allocations, marketing managers may use sales-response functions that show how sales and profits would be affected by the amount of money spent in each application
Connecting with Customers
Excel must consider how best to create value for its chosen target markets and develop strong, profitable, long-term relationships with customers. How many households plan to buy cameras? Who buys and why do they buy? What are they looking for in the way of features and prices? Where do they shop? What are their images of different brands? How does the digital segment differ from the 35 mm segment? Excel also sells cameras to business markets, including large corporations, professional firms, retailers, and government agencies. Purchasing agents or buying committees make the decisions. Excel needs to gain a full understanding of how organizational buyers buy. It needs a sales force that is well trained in presenting products benefits.
Excel will not want to market to all possible customers. Modern marketing practice calls for dividing the market into major market segments, evaluating each segment, and targeting those market segments that the company can best serve.
Building Strong Brands
Excel must understand the strengths and weakness of the RPL brand with customers. Is it so strongly associated with certain technologies that it could not be used to brand new products in related categories? Is its 35mm film heritage a detriment in the digital camera market? Suppose Excel decides to focus on the consumer market and develop a positioning strategy. Should Excel position its cameras as the “Royal�? brand, offering superior cameras at a premium price with excellent service and strong advertising? Should it build a simple, low-priced camera aimed at more price-conscious consumers? Should it develop a medium-quality and medium priced camera? After launch the product’s strategy will need modification at all different stages in the product life cycle: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Furthermore, strategy choice will depend on whether the firm is a market leader, challenger or follower. Excel must also pay close attention to competitors, anticipating its competitors’ moves and knowing how to react quickly and decisively. It may want to initiate some surprise moves, in which case it needs to anticipate how its competitors will respond.
Shaping the Market Offerings
At the heart of the marketing programs is the product—the firm’s tangible offering to the market, which includes the product quality, design, features, and packaging. As part of its product offering, Excel may provide various services, such as leasing, delivery, repair, and training. Such support services can provide a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.
A critical marketing decision relates to price. Excel has to decide on wholesale and retail prices, discounts, allowances, and credit terms. Its price should be commensurate with the offer’s perceived value; other wise, buyers will turn to competitors’ products.
Excel must also determine how to properly deliver the value embodied by these products and services to the target market. Channel activities include the various activities the company undertakes to make the product accessible and available to target customers. Excel must identify, recruit, and link various marketing facilitators to supply its products and service efficiently to the target market. It must understand the various types of retailers, wholesalers, and physical-distribution firms and how they make their decisions.
All the tasks are comprehensively discussed for the given situation in the case. The fore sight, marketing plans, segmentation and turning around the camera unit is deliberated methodically in this article.