Marketing plays a critical role in corporate strategic planning within successful companies. Market-oriented strategic planning is the managerial process of developing and maintaining a viable fit among the organization's objectives, skills, and resources and its changing market opportunities. The aim of strategic planning is to shape the company's businesses and products so that they yield target profits and growth and keep the company healthy despite any unexpected threats that may arise.
Strategic planning calls for action in three key areas. The first area is managing a company's businesses as an investment portfolio. The second area involves assessing each business's strength by considering the market's growth rate and the company's position and fit in that market. And the third area is the development of strategy, a game plan for achieving long-term objectives. The complete strategic planning, implementation, and control cycle is shown in Figure 1-4.
Corporate headquarters starts the strategic planning process by preparing statements of mission, policy, strategy, and goals, establishing the framework within which the divisions and business units will prepare their plans. Some corporations allow their business units a great deal of freedom in setting sales and profit goals and strategies. Others set goals for their business units but let them develop their own strategies. Still others set the goals and get involved heavily in the individual business unit strategies.1 Regardless of the degree of involvement, all strategic plans are based on the corporate mission.
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