Marketing can be defined as a process through which customers obtain what they need through creating and exchanging products and value with others (Levitt, 1981). However, marketing is a complex subject that involves different stages ranging from determination of customer needs to satisfying them at a profit. This paper outlines a marketing plan that covers marketing situational analysis, marketing strategy, distribution channels and pricing strategy among others.
A product can be defined as a by product of labor or effort that results from a process (Lovelock, 1983). In marketing, a product can be termed as anything offered to the market for the purpose of satisfying a need or a want.
Situational analysis can be termed as a foundation for strategically planning in a marketing process. It is concerned with examination of environmental factors such as political, economic, socio- cultural, technological, competition among others.
The government set laws regarding taxation and a firm should study taxation laws and regulations in detail for purposes of projecting business profitability and also in determination of prices (Robert & Bradley, 1987).
The global economic recession poses many problems which trickle down to individual economies. This has an effect on firms as it decreases the sales volume. A firm should scan the economic environment with a view of considering manipulation where possible to ensure that the company sales levels are not adversely affected.
Social cultural situation
The socio- cultural dimension regards population growth, age mix, literacy levels, acceptance of imported products amongst others (Abraham, 1954). A firm should take note of demographic trends across the market to understand which territories can create a booming business for their product. More so, the firm should find out whether people targeted as potential customers have basic education such that they can understand messages delivered through promotional activities. In addition, when a marketer understands how a clients perceives both locally manufactured and imported products. This information will enable a firm to develop promotional strategies that will help to woo the customers to use their product.
In today’s world, technology is changing day by day. There is increased use of internet as firms are basically applying technology to promote their products, which has an advantage of reaching many customers. Further, adopting the current technology will aid the firm by properly displaying its product to both local and foreign customers. Through this, high sales levels can easily be achieved.
As a result of cut- throat competition, the firm should adopt competitive strategies that will make its product unique from those of the competitors. It should dwell much on product quality, right quantity and also its appearance which should be distinct from those of the competitor.
To remain customer friendly, the firm should show concern to its environment. It should desist from actions that tend to cause global warming and also should consider disposing its waste products in an effective manner, such that it does not harm the same environment which creates a market for its products (Cunningham, Kotler, &Ronald, 2000).
The Marketing strategy
Marketing strategy refers to scanning of both internal and external environment. The internal environmental factors regards analysis of marketing mix whereas external environmental analysis tend to examine the customer, competitor, target market as well as the analysis of the PESTLE factors. For this case, we shall examine target marketing and market positioning.
Each marketing plan tends to identify various segments for product market and should be distinct in nature to suit the requirements of different markets. The marketer should appreciate the fact that some segments are distinct from the others and the product is perceived differently (Shostack, 1977). Target marketing is designed for markets that are too broad and undefined. A marketer takes the total market and divides it carefully understanding such aspects as demographics, geographical location of customers, customer’s marital status which are all important in target marketing.
Besides these, the marketer should also understand psychographics- study of human characteristics of the customer and how it impacts on products, packaging, advertisements and public relation efforts applied by the firm. Another area of interest is the customer’s life style. The marker can obtain information in relation to this from customer comments in relation to consumption of the firm’s products. As such, by studying such behavioral variables keenly, the researcher can identify some common factors that can be used in predicting consumers’ future behavior.
A marketer should note that a product cannot be everything to all people. Very few products in today’s market carry a universal appeal. This is commonly observed in basic commodities where marketers have gone a notch higher by creating brand awareness and product differentiation. Proper product positioning makes the potential buyer recognize the uniqueness of the item, and compares it with what the competition has put on offer.
Positioning is basically product brand identification. It entails analyzing a market segments and development of product distinct position in the overall market. A marketer should always think of how the product should appear in the segment and what must be done in that segment to ensure that the product sells (Berry, Parasuraman, & Zeithaml, 1985). This will call for different advertising methods for every segment.
Market positioning should vary in different segments to meet individual segment prevailing conditions for a product. The marketer should have valuable data about the customers and the respective segments. Positioning as well can be based on the benefits strongly relating to product features. This can be more effective since a marketer can talk to the customers about the product and what it can do for them (Abraham, 1954). A product may be good but unless customers are made to understand how the product may benefit them, they may fail to purchase.
Product pricing is the linchpin of product viability thus one of the most important business decisions to make (Shostack, 1977). The most important point is to set a price acceptable by the target market and one that recovers the minimum costs and preferably generating profit for the enterprise. Pricing decisions should be based on costs, effect of competition, consumer’s perception of the product and the amount they are willing to pay. When setting prices, the firm should consider price floor and ceiling. Price floor refers to the lowest price that can be offered and still break- even. Therefore, if the firm decides to set the product price below cost, it should only be for short-term. This is to achieve a specific strategic purpose such as introducing new product in the market. On the other hand, price ceiling depends on what the market will bear and depends on two variables; the maximum price that the customers are willing to pay and the competitor’s price for the similar product. Upon understanding the price floor and ceiling, the firm can now make an informed decision about pricing the product.
Distribution is an important facet in marketing through which firms can achieve differentiation. Generally, a distribution channel performs the work of moving goods from producers to the consumers (Lovelock, 1983). Besides, each distribution channel may offer different coverage, expertise, performance and can also lead to realization of economies of scale. Many producers do not sell directly to the customers.
Integrated Marketing communication
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) refers to the idea of coordinating promotional efforts with a view of achieving the best combined effects of the firm’s efforts (Gonring, 1994). In general, sequences of events usually take place before the customer buys a product. The consumer must first be aware of the product and what it will provide. Further, the consumer evaluates the merits of the product by probably giving it a trial, in which case a good experience could lead to a continued use. To achieve this, different promotional approaches will be used use depending on the stage of consumer’s decision process that the marketer wishes to have an impact on.
Promotion Mix Strategies
Marketers can choose from two common promotion mix strategies “push” promotion or “pull” promotion. A push strategy involves “pushing” the product through distribution channels to final consumers (Cunningham et al., 2000). The firm directs its marketing activities towards inducing its sales people to promote its product to final consumers. Using a pull strategy, the producer directs its marketing activities towards final consumers by inducing them to buy the product. If the pull strategy is effective, consumers will demand the product from channel members, who will in turn demand it from producers. Thus, under a pull strategy, consumer demand “pulls” the product through the channels. A combination of both strategies is often preferred. In recent years, consumer goods companies have been decreasing the pull portions of their promotion mixes in favor of more push……………………………………………………………………….