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Marketing strategy, marketing plan, and marketing program

Question #1

Distinguish between a marketing strategy, a marketing plan, and a marketing program. Illustrate using a local well known retailer or use examples from your own company (or both).

Question #2

Discuss how a company's financial strength may have a bearing on the kinds of products and services it produces. Will it have an impact on the other three P's as well? If so, how? Use specific examples in your answer.

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Question #1

Distinguish between a marketing strategy, a marketing plan, and a marketing program. Illustrate using a local well known retailer or use examples from your own company (or both).

"The marketing plan is a guide to implementation and control for the marketing strategy.
The marketing plan fills out the marketing strategy. It is a written statement of a marketing strategy and the time-related details for carrying out the strategy. Implementation is that which puts marketing plans into operation.
There are also operational decisions to be made along the way. These are short-run decisions to help implement strategies.
? Several plans make a whole marketing program
A marketing program blends all of the firm's marketing plans into one large overall plan."
"Marketing strategy
- A statement (implicit or explicit) of how a brand or product line will achieve its objectives. The strategy provides decisions and direction regarding variables such as the segmentation of the market, identification of the target market, positioning, marketing mix elements, and expenditures. A marketing strategy is usually an integral part of a business strategy that provides broad direction to all functions."


1. Introduction
Simply put, customers are no longer a given?just because you make it, doesn't mean anyone will buy it. In order to continue to thrive, companies must acquire and keep customers.

Because it is the only business function that deals directly with customers, marketing and sales has become an area of increasing focus for companies of all sizes. How should companies approach the process of marketing products and services? The process of marketing occurs in five steps:

Step 1: Understanding the market climate and marketing strengths and weaknesses
Step 2: Developing a marketing strategy
Step 3: Building a marketing plan
Step 4: Implementing the plan
Step 5: Monitoring the success of the plan
Though this five-step-process may appear straightforward, many companies demonstrate a great deal of confusion about developing a marketing strategy.

In fact, many confuse solid marketing strategy with pure tactics, or what we like to call, "brand juice." Visual identity, clever tag lines, creative "essence" advertising, edgy names, well-designed Web sites, big ticket giveaway promotions, publicity buzz-making are all key ingredients in brand juice and elements of marketing, but they are supporting elements. To be effective, such supporting elements must be part of a more comprehensive plan.
2. What is a Strategy?
Real marketing strategy provides a roadmap to creating and delivering true value to distinct groups of customers. All successful marketing strategies must begin and end with the customer?they cannot be an afterthought or taken as a given?so marketers must test their assumptions about their customers constantly

What goes into a marketing strategy? A cohesive combination of:

Targeting?to whom are you going to market your products and services?
Positioning?how are you going to differentiate yourself from competitors?
Product/Service Attributes?what attributes/features will the product/service have?
Marketing Communications?how are you going to reach the target and with what message?
Pricing?what price will you charge the target?
Distribution?what channels will you use to sell the product or service?
Customer Service?how will you manage additional customer needs?
Of these components, targeting and positioning are the two most critical elements. To paraphrase marketing guru Phil Kotler, if you nail the targeting and positioning, everything else falls into place.
3. Nailing the Targeting
The targeting decision ? identifying the people you want to direct your marketing efforts towards ? is one of the first issues a marketer considers.

Targeting is knowing where to concentrate forces. "To win a war you need to know where to attack," Dwight Eisenhower might have said to an audience of business managers. "We wouldn't have brought the Nazis to their knees if we had landed the Allied forces at Calais instead of the beaches of Normandy."

Most marketers agree that focusing on subsets of current and potential customers is the most efficient way to develop a marketing program, but this immediately begs the question, which subset?

There are literally hundreds of thousands of different ways to divide customers into subsets, also called segments. Consider just a few of the popular market segmentations we have observed among a variety of businesses: heavy, medium, light users; 18-to-49 year-old-women, 18-to-49 -year-old men, older women, older men; people who look like current customers, people who don't; current buyers, non-users; big customers ? the largest 10 percent versus nine other customer size groups; five different benefit segments; five different personality segments; and six different attitude segments.

In this day and age of increasing personalization, some might even argue that the U.S. offers a number of potential target markets equal to the U.S. ...

Solution Summary

This is a discussion of how to distinguish between a marketing strategy, a marketing plan, and a marketing program and the impact of a company's financial strength on the kinds of products and services it produces.