When talking about marketing, many think, almost immediately, of advertising campaigns, promotional items, or activities focused, basically, on the image of a product to facilitate its sale. In reality, marketing covers more than advertising and is based on the 4Ps (product, place, price, and advertising).
Today, there are several approaches to marketing. There is talk, for example, of the marketing revolution achieved through user knowledge, segmentation, planning, and in other ways to achieve the same objective: sell and position; However, the challenge increases when, in addition to selling, we want to do it with quality, consistency, and profitability. In this sense, the marketing department is the spearhead of the company’s activities, from the conception of the products to the monitoring of results in the market. He must determine what is sold, where it is sold, to whom, and how it is sold.
Marketing has three levels or stages that allow establishing objectives, methods, determining actions, resources, and responsibilities:
- Strategic level: at this stage, the needs or desires of customers are detected, business opportunities are identified, and markets are selected. For this reason, this is where market research is of vital importance for decision making.
- Tactical level: pricing, product, distribution (sales channels), and communication (advertising) policies are defined; customer retention policies are also established.
- Administrative/operational level: with strategic and tactical information, the marketing plan is designed, executed, and monitored. In this stage, the means that will allow the actions to be carried out are selected, and it also includes the analysis of the achievement of objectives (sales, market share, satisfaction, etc.).
The correct implementation of the stages can increase the probability of success of a project of this type. On this occasion, the first stage – strategic marketing – will be addressed as it is the basis of planning.
The initial step of a company (manufacturing or service industries, final consumption, or intermediate consumption markets) that wants to plan activities and actions related to marketing should always be researched. The research tools help to determine the size of the market, the selection of products and sales channels, information that, as we will see later, is the pillar for the design of the marketing strategy that will be followed, either in an annual budget or in a medium-term strategic plan.
In addition to research as a tool for strategic planning, there is data analysis through mathematical techniques (probability and statistics) that provide valuable information for decision-making, this type of information is quantitative. For example, you can measure the percentage of market share for a product, the relationship between sales for a variable, and so on.
As we can see, there are tools that the marketing department can exploit to provide extremely useful information for the General Management or for business owners, helping to make a correct strategic selection to carry out the marketing plan (which must also be aligned with the Mission, Vision, and Values) through product-market analysis, the environment, the product portfolio, competitive advantages and, above all, feedback from customers themselves. This is when the strategy is executed as a project.