Steps in the Marketing Process

The marketing process consists of analyzing market opportunities, researching and selecting target markets, designing marketing strategies, planning marketing programs, and organizing, implementing, and controlling the marketing effort. The four steps in the marketing process are:

1. Analyzing market opportunities. The marketer's initial task is to identify potential longrun opportunities given the company's market experience and core competencies. To evaluate its various opportunities, assess buyer wants and needs, and gauge market size, the firm needs a marketing research and information system. Next, the firm studies consumer markets or business markets to find out about buying behavior, perceptions, wants, and needs. Smart firms also pay close attention to competitors and look for major segments within each market that they can profitably serve.

2. Developing marketing strategies. In this step, the marketer prepares a positioning strategy for each new and existing product's progress through the life cycle, makes decisions about product lines and branding, and designs and markets its services.

3. Planning marketing programs. To transform marketing strategy into marketing programs, marketing managers must make basic decisions on marketing expenditures, marketing mix, and marketing allocation. The first decision is about the level of marketing expenditures needed to achieve the firm's marketing objectives. The second

Demographic/

economic environment

Political/ legal environment

Technological/ physical environment

Demographic/

economic environment

Technological/ physical environment

Demographic Environment Marketing

Political/ legal environment

Social/ cultural environment

Figure 1-9 Factors Influencing Company Marketing Strategy

Social/ cultural environment

Figure 1-9 Factors Influencing Company Marketing Strategy decision is how to divide the total marketing budget among the various tools in the marketing mix: product, price, place, and promotion.19 And the third decision is how to allocate the marketing budget to the various products, channels, promotion media, and sales areas.

4. Managing the marketing effort. In this step (discussed later in this chapter), marketers organize the firm's marketing resources to implement and control the marketing plan. Because of surprises and disappointments as marketing plans are implemented, the company also needs feedback and control.

Figure 1-9 presents a grand summary of the marketing process and the factors that shape the company's marketing strategy.

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