The general increase in the world market competition and globalization has literally seen the merging of organizations and companies under the same industry or plying the same trade across the continents. It is therefore not strange to find uniformity in worldwide trends within the same industry, especially due to technological advancement. This has also led to high level of concentration on companies’ Total Quality Management of their products or services in an attempt to maintain a competitive advantage against their business rivals. This has therefore led to full embrace of marketing management to work hand-in-hand with the business management aspect. Business management is the control and administration of personnel and procedures within an organization with overall focus being on productivity of targeted output against predicted or budgeted capacity. Marketing management is the analysis, evaluation and implementation of effective sales and advertisement strategies within the business marketing functions all driven by external environment which mainly consists of consumers and regulators or government authorities. It is worth noting that marketing management is focused on moving the sales volume.
How marketing management affects modern day business management
In order to stay relevant within the competitive market environment, businesses have to effectively merge the marketing management aspect with the business management function. Traditionally, the two were isolated but with the appreciation of the ever-changing consumers’ needs companies have had to seriously focus on marketing management. This is the only way business management can focus on customization of products or services to satisfy the constantly informed consumer base by frequent and aggressive advertisements by competitors. Through marketing management extensive research and analysis is done that is aimed at breaking down the entire market segment into small divisions which the company can comprehend in a much better way, thus getting every bit of preference or particular needs of the smaller target groups. In business management, analysis of the client can only be thorough through marketing management. Each market strategy effectively chooses a business operation strategy of division basing on; demography, physical location of consumers, business needs or consumer behavior among other preferred reasons for prevailing market circumstances. This procedure can only be efficient if applied business management procedures fully take into consideration information that is available from marketing management endeavors.
How an organization can apply marketing management for positive results
An organization can utilize marketing management positively through its marketing department taking time to comprehensively evaluate and understand each individual organization’s abilities and capabilities in terms of manpower and material resources. This is especially with regards to direct resources at the disposal of the marketing function to substantially compete with existing business rivals and those that are perceived or passive. The passive or perceived rivals are those that do not directly compete in the same industry but can alter the decisions of players within an industry. It therefore, boils down to existing brands for the target market to be audited by the business management units so as to maintain specific brand equity.
Challenging traditional strategic thinking
Strategic thinking aims at looking for opportunities that are rare and building on them in order to maintain a profitable business development and expansion. This has to involve the creativity and proactive nature of all the employees and related people who participate in the daily operations of a company. Excellent strategic thinking creates a competitive edge for a business in form of created and added value. The current business and market environment is volatile and has a consumer base that is very knowledgeable in terms of their needs. This is further complicated by globalization and high level of communication through the recent technological advancement, especially the Internet. This requires a company to employ effective thinking in order to achieve and surpass its targets in productivity or sales. A preferred strategic method should thoroughly employ SWOT analysis which entails scrutiny of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within its scope of operation. All these should be done while focus is on likeminded competitors so as to pick up current trends in the same industry of operation.
Current marketing management effectiveness and success is fully dependent on how flexible the organization can make its strategies to suit the versatile competitive market. Traditional strategic thinking is based on sticking to a pre-determined and planned mode of operation whereby any alteration could not be made midway or once the process is started. Reviews and analysis were by then considered only after a full cycle in order not to cause more confusion and also so that the extent of variances and their respective causes could be quantified confidently and more accurately. Therefore, modern strategic thinking involves active change management which involves both pro active and reactive responses to possible changes within the business or market environment with regards to the current competition. The ability for a firm to adapt to changes in the market environment at an equal pace determines the level of success with regard to prevailing competition within a certain market segment. This has a lot of say in long term viability of any business.
Competitive strategy as a learning process
Competitive strategy as a learning process is purely engraved in the ability of the organization to establish and adjust procedures and practices in such a way that there is knowledge development that is used for generating or sustaining competitive advantage. The strategy is able to come up with an elaborate orientation of the market which is able to generate individual marketers’ entrepreneurial aspirations in realizing the organization’s objectives. This is what determines the learning culture within an organization with regard to competition and moving the sales volumes. It is however the responsibility of the business management functions to support and encourage this learning atmosphere within the organization. Every serious marketing function or department within an organization should work towards generating fresh knowledge to constantly improve on previous output.
Building branding, products and services value
Branding is the establishment of a consumer loyalty value to certain attributes which makes them to recognize, associate and prefer a product or service. These great qualities in services or the product which attract consumers are the ones which establish repeat consumer purchases due to their loyalty that stems from the initial attraction and satisfaction. A good branding process always involves reviews of services or product based on inquiries from the consumers, any production concerns and how the product is handled within the company and as it is placed in the market. This is effectively done through customer service personnel who should be experts in their marketing and professional fields in relation to the company’s needs. The customer service staff must be conversant with common business courtesy and also be excellent in business ethics application. Product reviews always bring out the fact that the market share maintenance of a company depends on its capacity to provide an avenue for customers who need from time to time share their experiences of the products or services. Having this feedback system in place always creates a feeling of recognition value which is an extra element that a business rival might not have to assist to connect with the customers. This feedback mechanism through a marketing survey has proven over time that some part of the customer base initially less satisfied with a product or service ends up developing more confidence resulting from customer service assistance offered subsequently. This is because the customer care offered either explains the level of dissatisfaction or corrects the error of application of the product or reception of the service originating from the consumers themselves. Some dissatisfaction can arise from lack of knowledge of how to use a product or service, thus the consumers will be in need of constant guidance and encouragement. This customer care helps build trust within the customer, thus establishing some loyalty to the product or service based on familiarity and increased satisfaction of the consumers’ needs. The best way to utilize the customer reviews is having a database of the same accessible to the consumers and staff. This can be through frequent magazine publications or in this technological era, building a company’s website. Research has proven that most potential consumers will take time to extensively go through customer reviews when in the process of acquiring the product or service. It follows that if there is evidence of excellent reviews about the product or service, the brand’s worth will be increased from the existing and potential customers’ perspective. This, therefore, raises the chances of frequent and repeat acquisition of the product. Businesses that invest in serious brand building of value through excellent customer care services are effectively and efficiently doing brand marketing. Branding is more of a relationship above the physical product or service being offered to the consumer. This forces the company to always view a product from within and also from the perspective of the consumers. A further consideration should be given to analysis, if possible, of how the competition views the product or service. This eventually boils down to the competitive edge sustenance or creation that should result into better sales.
Decisions for a new strategic marketing direction
The decision to choose a new strategic marketing direction is always challenging and risky because change always has direct and indirect effects on the business. This can either be positive and negative. It is, therefore, prudent to say that the first consideration is assessment of the effects and settling on the most positive strategy that goes well with the targets of the business. Marketing executives from time to time work hard in running marketing activities as per plans, managing the sales staff and liaison with the administrative function of the business. These vigorous activities can easily make one lose some focus on the ultimate business objectives. It is important to occasionally review and evaluate the overall business perspective through brainstorming sessions that aim at implementing the outcomes. A constant reminder of the following is essential:
- All the available services and products of the firm should be considered because it is bad practice to only focus on best-selling products or those that have a huge potential in future sales. Neglect of other products that are deemed to be inconsequential often drags down the overall name of the company through bad publicity. Business rivals are known to use such a weakness to campaign against the competitor company’s brands.
- Serious consideration to the entire market should be given unlike the practice of concentrating on only the company’s share of the market. This always generates new ideas that may not be available within the company’s market share. It also may provide an insight into why some portion of the entire consumer market favors competitors products over the company’s own products.
- The external and internal environmental factors that affect the production, distribution and placement of final products have to be constantly analyzed so as to pick out any changes that affect direct output at every stage whether positively or negatively. This might explain the final results and come up with alternative ways of product and service improvement.
- The level of production, consistency in product research and other organizational factors, like availability of reliable financial back up, makes it easier to absorb any changes in the demands within the production unit or the consumer circles for better sales.
New strategic marketing directions should be as a result of planning that goes way beyond the prevailing or immediate circumstances. This should clearly define the future aspirations and actively involve the tactical segment of the business which should advise the business management function.
Financial appraisal for strategic marketing decisions
Financial appraisal of strategic management decisions is basically a process of determining which marketing strategy best supports a company’s financial obligations, especially on targeted returns in profit and process sustainability. This involves the establishment of ways and methods of valuing the returns from marketing strategies employed because the returns may not be direct or may not occur immediately. The most frequently used methods are cash flow statement analysis, economic value added and return on capital employed. A good combination of the three methods takes into consideration the ability of the company to have ready cash to support the marketing activities despite the status of returns for general continuity and the reasonable income which justifies the capital or resources employed in a preferred marketing strategy. Financial appraisal is, therefore, essential in marketing strategy approval originating from a variety of available options.
Creating shareholder value
Shareholder value is the direct worth shareholders get entitled to with reference to the success of an existing business which is of interest to them. Marketing management aims at moving volumes in sales, thus generating more earnings for the firm in order o create more income to cover expenses of the firm. The more money that is earned in sales is used to offset a business’s running expenses and net profit upon decision of the management and shareholders split into two segments. One segment is re invested to generate increased future earnings for the shareholders while the other segment is directly paid as dividends or awarded in terms of extra shares of to the shareholders. This is an important aspect of recognizing business owners because once they feel valued, they never hesitate to support proposed marketing or general business decisions.
Setting goals and objectives
Setting up of goals and objectives is essential in marketing management because it justifies or gives direction on how intense the internal activities should be carried out. In marketing, unlike business management, quicker results are needed and due to frequent changes in consumer preferences, the objectives and goals always seem to be of short-term nature. This, therefore, enhances and directs the analysis, planning and control processes within the defined short-term for long-term benefit. It is worth noting that this circle, when practiced over time, can self-adjust depending on the market situation as long as key marketing executives are retained over a longer period of time.
Analysis, planning and control
Competitor analysis is as vital as consumer analysis because it gives an insight into existing weaknesses and prevailing strengths of business rivals within the same market. This often leads to position appraisal which in simple terms refers to knowledge of how the consumers and competitors rank us within the market. Position appraisal often directly determines how effective marketing endeavors are in the external environment. This process can only be achievable through planning and setting up of controls that will guide employees on implementation of policies and procedures aimed at productivity.
Strategic investment evaluation and establishing performance measures
Strategic investment evaluation and control within marketing management involves the actual measurement of outcomes against input within a specific business operation cycle. The two approaches used are based on both the customer and the brand strategies employed. Brand based strategies refer to those strategies that a certain product of the company is put through with specific result targets, while the consumer-led strategies are those that the company has little control over but rely on demand and specifications of the customers. The resultant measures, therefore, are either internally or externally attained form each respective strategy employed. This means that a brand-based strategy can be effectively valued and measured based on the volumes of sales found from the figures within the organization. Therefore, the evaluation is basically in terms of planned sales volumes and worth against the realized sales. The consumer-led strategies can only be valued effectively through feedback from the market which can be approximated through increased sales figures or constant increase in demand of the products or services.
Marketing management is an integral part of any business that thrives on consumers in an environment that has competition especially where competition is stiff. Very few organizations or companies can afford to ignore this factor because even where there is no competition, there is always unexplored consumer base that would otherwise increase the income of the business entity.