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    Marketing Development Planning

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    1. Undertake an evaluation of the macro, micro, and internal environment, assessing your findings with a SWOT analysis.

    2. Develop marketing objective from the results of this analysis and in line with your corporate goals.

    3. Develop a range of options to meet these objectives, reviewing their relative feasibility.

    4. Prepare a strategic marketing plan.

    5. Explain the method to be used to implement and control the plan.

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    I have taken Microsoft as an example for this study.

    Company Background
    Microsoft is one of the largest computer software organizations in the world having revenues of more than $45 billion annually. It has a monopoly in the operating software industry and provides a wide variety of software and e-commerce services and products. This includes operating systems for personal computers and servers; server applications for client/server environments; business and consumer productivity applications; software development tools; and Internet and intranet software and technologies. The company has expanded its interactive content efforts, including MSN (the Microsoft Network online service), various Internet-based services, and entertainment and information software programs. Microsoft also sells PC books and input devices, and it researches and develops advanced technologies for future software products. This other important data is as follows:

    Corporate Headquarters Address

    Microsoft Corporation
    One Microsoft Way
    Redmond, WA 98052-6399

    Fiscal Year End: on June 30th
    Vision Statement
    "Empowering people through software."

    Mission Statement
    "Our mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential. We work to achieve our mission through technology that transforms the way people work, play, and communicate. Since our founding in 1975, we have been a leader in this transformation. We develop and market software, services, and solutions that we believe deliver new opportunity, convenience, and value to people's lives. We do business throughout the world and have offices in more than 100 countries."

    Environmental Analysis
    If we closely analyze this statement, the patterns of an organization's actions will be clearly reflected not only in the financial performance of an organization over the years but in the relative strengths, weaknesses and strategic positioning of the firm in the business environment, industry or economy it operates in. The understanding of these elements is the prima facie requirement in the strategic planning and management process and is closely analyzed in the environmental scanning process of an organization. These factors are very important in establishing the corporate level strategies of an organization. But one has to remember that there are numerous other factors also such as the general state of the economy and industry growth rates which influence the formulation of strategy. Thus let us discuss the environmental analysis of Microsoft in detail.

    External Environment
    Here we will analyze the affect of societal forces and to see what trends are likely to affect Microsoft. The business environment of the new millennium will have to contend with:

    1. Turbulent markets that change rapidly and unpredictably
    2. Highly fragmented 'niche' markets instead of mass markets
    3. Ever greater rates of technological innovation in products and processes
    4. Shorter product life-cycles
    5. Growing demand for tailored products - 'mass customization'
    6. The delivery of complete 'solutions' to customers, comprising products and services.

    Economic Forces
    Globalization has increased opportunities. Moreover, globalization leads to the creation of the universal customer, one who expects the same quality of products and services regardless of where he or she is located in the world. This does not mean one customer, one world, one brand or one positioning platform.

    Exchange rate exposure may affect financing costs volatile cash flow. Transaction exposure reflects the exposure of Microsoft's future cash transactions to exchange rate movements. Economic exposure measures the direct and indirect risks to cash flows from exchange rate movements. Translation exposure focuses on consolidated financial statements. (Measuring Exposure to Exchange Rate Fluctuations, 2004)

    General Economic and Geo-Political Risks
    Events like terrorist attacks and political instability may affect the revenue and profitability. Similarly the business cycle, inflation, softness in corporate information technology spending, or other changes in general economic conditions that affect demand for computer hardware or software could adversely affect the revenue or our investment portfolio (Annual Report for Microsoft, 2006).

    Technological Forces
    The impact of the internet, portable information devices, electronic networking, smart mobile robots, and increase in the speed of microprocessors will have tremendous impact on business. There has been tremendous impact of e-business on the typical business. The information is exchanged much more quickly than any other medium which is helping organizations to make more quick and accurate decisions. E-business has removed geographical and time restrictions for the organizations.

    - Recording and analyzing strategic management records: processing these strategic management records into industry trends reports, market share reports, mission statements, and portfolio models. (Information Systems, 2007)
    - Use of all the above to implement and control the businesses.

    Thus they are more connected and knowledgeable in seeking to improve the processes, quality, technology and overall customer delight. Due to e-business there is much more agility to improve and also to respond to the needs of the customers, vendors, government and to society at large. It is also reducing the costs and making supply chain more efficient.

    Political Legal regulations
    As a large company Microsoft will find it tough to handle regulations. Moreover it had faced numerous antitrust regulations and suits.

    Microsoft has to be cautious about various laws regulating the internet and e-businesses. There are CAN-SPAM, gambling laws, the Federal Telecommunications Act and the Computer Decency Act and other laws which must be considered. Moreover B2C websites have more legal responsibilities for conducting their businesses with integrity and lawfully protecting the privacy of their customers. Customers provide details of important personal information and credit cards over their website to facilitate the purchase of goods and services.

    Complex legal issues such as intellectual property, competition, privacy, consumer protection, equal access and opportunity are to be addressed by Microsoft online services. Issues such as intellectual property, consumer protection, access, confidentiality, sustainability, reliability are very important.

    Thus, they are subject to government litigation and regulatory activity. They also face scrutiny from government agencies under U.S. and foreign competition laws. Some jurisdictions also provide private rights of action for competitors or consumers based on alleged anti-competitive conduct (Annual Report for Microsoft, 2006).

    Demand Conditions
    In this case, when the market for a product is larger in domestic markets then the local firms devote more attention to that product than do foreign firms, leading to a competitive advantage when the local firms begin exporting the product.

    In the USA, Microsoft has huge local market which was more attractive to the foreign market. Thus it led to national advantage. It also helped in anticipating global trends.

    Moreover the customers of USA are more demanding which has led to greater pressure on firms to constantly improve their competitiveness via innovative products, through high quality, etc

    Globally also Microsoft is seeing rise in demand because:
    - Due to global communications and cross-cultural experiences
    - Globally standardized products can be sold the same way across the world
    - Microsoft has also implemented product modifications from country to country

    Related and Supporting Industries
    When local supporting industries are competitive, firms enjoy more cost effective and innovative inputs. In USA the supporting industries are well developed which has led to the cost efficiency to Microsoft. There is also proximity of upstream or down stream industries facilitates the exchange of information and promotes a continuous exchange of ideas and innovations.

    Firm Strategy, Structure, and Rivalry
    There is healthy local rivalry such as Google, yahoo, Oracle, IBM, competing with Microsoft. In long run more local rivalry is better since it puts pressure on firms to innovate and improve. The direct competition has impels firms to work for increases in productivity and innovation.

    All this has led to:
    - Setting up facilities overseas to match lowers labor costs of foreign competitors.
    - Expanding internationally to amortize investment in world scale production, and/or funding for world scale R & D.
    - Rationalization of product lines to ...

    Solution Summary

    This response discusses strategic marketing planning and the assessment of the macro, micro, and internal environment of a corporation.