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The Strategic Marketing Process: Organizational Decision-Making

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In today’s competitive marketplace, organizations need a strategy to help them stay focused. In setting the course for the company, management needs to identify where they are now and where they want to go (Kerin, 2004). Once these questions are answered, Kerin suggests that secondary questions emerge on resource allocation, converting the plan into action, and revising the plans, if necessary, the basis of the Strategic Marketing Process.

The Planning Phase

Strategic marketing planning examines three areas: their own business, competitors and the current business environment. The Business Portfolio Analysis examines strengths and weaknesses of organizational market growth rate and relative market share. The Market Product Analysis (MPA) views growth opportunities of markets and products. These tools provide management with their current position and assists with resource allocation based on the company’s objectives. These techniques are the groundwork for the SWOT Analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

The SWOT establishes overviews of the company, examines industry trends, competition, internal assessments and customer research according to (Kerin p.34), and helps to suggest which type of strategic thrust the firm should use to gain competitive advantages (Prahalad and Hamel, 1990).

Stalk, Evans and Schulman (1992) propose that a SWOT analysis is carried out to determine whether the company has the strengths necessary to deal with the specific forces in the external environment. This analysis enables managers to identify: External threats, opportunities, and distinct competencies that can ward off the threats and compensate for weaknesses.

Phase 2: Market-Product Focus and Goal Setting

Once a SWOT Analysis is complete, management moves to the product phase by determining which products are marketed to the consumer. Typically these decisions are based on market segmentation (Kerin, p. 35). By tailoring marketing programs to individual market segments, management can do a better marketing job and make more efficient use of its resources.

Market segmentation is the selection of groups of people who will be most receptive to a product. This includes demographics such as income, occupation or geographic location; and psychographic variables such as life-style, activities, interests, and opinions. No matter how segments are defined, they are characterized by considerable change over time.

Goal Setting sets measurable marketing objectives to be achieved. Determining strategic goals for organizations may include setting marketing and product goals, selecting target markets, and finding characteristics of a product that make it superior to competitors (Kerin, p.35).

Phase 3: Marketing Program

By utilizing Phase 2, organizations know their target market. That is, which customers are most likely to purchase their product. Phase 3 involves the planning of the marketing program, utilizing the Four P’s of marketing: product, price, promotion, and place.

Identification of the target market’s wants and needs is the first step in developing the market mix. The second step is developing a product to satisfy those needs and setting a mutually advantageous price. The promotion is the communication between the buyer and seller for the exchange of goods for money. Finally, the place is the location for the customer to buy the product. These four tools are all controllable by the marketing department. There are, however, uncontrollable environmental factors made up of social, economic, technological, competitive, and regulatory forces. In order for the product to succeed despite these uncontrollable factors, a firm must include contingencies.

Strategic Marketing Process: The Implementation Phase

Completion of the strategic marketing plan marks the beginning of the implementation phase. In order to meet the objectives in the marketing plan, resources must be obtained, a marketing organization in order to implement the plan must be established, and designing the timetable for execution of the plan’s components and the actual execution of the plan must be done (Kerin, p. 37). According to Kerin, the marketing strategy is the means by which a marketing goal is achieved and marketing tactics are the detailed day-to-day operational decisions essential to implementation of the marketing strategy.

Strategic Marketing Process: The Control Phase

The control phase of the strategic marketing plan is the part of the plan that keeps it moving in the determined direction. The marketing manager should compare the results of the marketing program with the goals in the written plans to identify deviations, correcting negative deviations or exploring positive ones.


Having a map is worthless if you have no idea where you are or where you are going. People and organizations need to have a frame of reference, a starting and ending point in order to be able to reach the end goal. For the organization, the strategic marketing plan provides the current status, the map and the goal. Without a plan, businesses wander and lose sight of their objectives. A comprehensive strategic marketing plan keeps the company focused.


Kerin, R. A., Hartley, H. W., & Rudelius, W. (2004). Marketing: The core. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Prahalad, CK. and Hamel, G. 1990. “The Core Competence of the Corporation”. Harvard Business Review, May-June, pp. 79-91.

Stalk, G Jnr., Evans, P. and Schulman, LE. 1992. “Competing on capabilities:
the new rules of corporate strategy”. Harvard Business Review, Vol.70, No. 2, March-April, pp. 57-70.

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