The strategic plan defines the company's overall mission and objectives. Within each business unit, marketing plays; i role in helping to accomplish the overall strategic objectives. Marketing's role and activities in the organization summarize die marketing process and the forces influencing marketing strategy.
Target consumers are at the center of the marketing strategy. The company identifies the total market, divides it into smaller segments, selects the most promising segments, and focuses on serving them. It designs a marketing mix using mechanisms under its control: product, price, place, and promotion. The company engages in marketing analysis, planning, implementation, and control to find the best marketing mix and to take action. The company uses these activities to enable it to watch and adapt to the marketing environment. We will now look briefly at each factor in the marketing process and say where it is developed elsewhere in this book.
• Target Consumers
To succeed in today's competitive marketplace, companies must be customer-centered - winning customers from competitors by delivering greater value. However, before it can satisfy consumers, a company must first understand their needs and wants. So, sound marketing requires a careful analysis of consumers. An understanding of buyer behavior, discussed in Chapters 7 and 8, guides this process. Companies know that they cannot satisfy all consumers in a given market - at least, not all consumers in the same way. There are too many kinds of consumers with too many kinds of needs, and some companies are in a better position to serve certain segments of the market. As a consequence, each company must divide the total market, choose the best segments, and design strategies for profitably serving chosen segments better than its competitors do. This process involves five steps: demand measurement and forecasting, market segmentation, market targeting, market positioning, and competitive positioning.
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