Strategic Marketing has been defined as the management function responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. Strategic Marketing is, therefore, both a philosophy and a set of techniques which address such matters as research, product design and development, pricing, packaging, sales and sales promotion, advertising, public relations, distribution and after-sales service. These activities define the broad scope of marketing and their balanced integration within a marketing plan is known as the marketing mix. A modification of a definition of strategic marketing suggests that marketing is the management process that seeks to maximize returns to shareholders by creating a competitive advantage in providing, communicating and delivering value to customers thereby developing a long-term relationship with them. This definition clearly defines the objectives of marketing and how its performance should be evaluated. The specific contribution of marketing in the organization lies in the formulation of strategies to choose the right customer, build relationships of trust with them and create a competitive advantage.
Scope of Strategic Marketing
Marketing is a philosophy that leads to the process by which organizations, groups and individuals obtain what they need and want by identifying value, providing it, communicating it and delivering it to others. The core concepts of marketing are customers’ needs, wants and values; products, exchange, communications and relationships. Marketing is strategically concerned with the direction and scope of the long-term activities performed by the organization to obtain a competitive advantage. The organization applies its resources within a changing environment to satisfy customer needs while meeting stakeholder expectations.
Implied in this view of strategic marketing is the requirement to develop a strategy to cope with competitors, identify market opportunities, develop and commercialize new products and services, allocate resources among marketing activities and design an appropriate organizational structure to ensure the performance desired is achieved.
There is no unique strategy that succeeds for all organizations in all situations. In thinking strategically about marketing many factors must be considered:
- the extent of product diversity and geographic coverage in the organization,
- the number of market segments served,
- marketing channels used,
- the role of branding,
- the level of marketing effort,
- and the role of quality.
It is also necessary to consider the organization’s approach to new product development, in particular, its position as a technology leader or follower, the extent of innovation, the organization’s cost position and pricing policy, and its relationship to customers, competitors, suppliers and partners.
The challenge of strategic marketing is, therefore, to manage marketing complexity, customer and stakeholder expectations and to reconcile the influences of a changing environment in the context of a set of resource capabilities. It is also necessary to create strategic opportunities and to manage the concomitant changes required within the organization. In this world of marketing, organizations seek to maximize returns to shareholders by creating a competitive advantage in identifying, providing, communicating and delivering value to customers, broadly defined, and in the process developing long-term mutually satisfying relationships with those customers.
A strategic marketing approach attempts to determine ways of offering superior value to the more profitable segments without damaging individual customer relationships. A strategic marketing approach reflects an integrated approach based on research and feedback. Customer needs are first evaluated through market research, an integrated marketing effort is developed to satisfy customers so that the organization achieves its goals, especially those affecting shareholders. This is a customer orientation and contrasts very bluntly with a narrow competitor orientation based on sales in which the organization by capitalizing on the weaknesses of vulnerable competitors or by removing its own competitive weaknesses attempts to obtain high sales and long-run profits.