Strategic Control

From time to time, companies need to undertake a critical review of overall marketing goals and effectiveness. Each company should periodically reassess its strategic approach to the marketplace with marketing-effectiveness reviews and marketing audits.

^ The marketing-effectiveness review. Marketing effectiveness is reflected in the degree to which a company or division exhibits the five major attributes of a marketing orientation: customer philosophy (serving customers' needs and wants), integrated marketing organization (integrating marketing with other key departments), adequate marketing information (conducting timely, appropriate marketing research), strategic orientation (developing formal marketing plans and strategies), and operational efficiency (using marketing resources effectively and flexibly). Unfortunately, most companies and divisions score in the fair-to-good range on measures of marketing effectiveness.33

^ The marketing audit. Companies that discover marketing weaknesses should undertake a marketing audit, a comprehensive, systematic, independent, and periodic examination of a company's (or SBU's) marketing environment, objectives, strategies, and activities to identify problem areas and opportunities and recommend a plan of action for improving the company's marketing performance.34 The marketing audit examines six major marketing components: (1) the macroenvironment and task environment, (2) marketing strategy, (3) marketing organization, (4) marketing systems, (5) marketing productivity, and (6) marketing function (the 4 Ps).

Highly successful companies also perform marketing excellence reviews and ethical-social responsibility reviews to gain an outside-in perspective on their marketing activities.

^ The marketing excellence review. This best-practices excellence review rates a firm's performance in relation to the best marketing and business practices of high-performing businesses. The resulting profile exposes weaknesses and strengths and highlights where the company might change to become a truly outstanding player in the marketplace.

^ The ethical and social responsibility review. In addition, companies need to evaluate whether they are truly practicing ethical and socially responsible marketing. Business success and continually satisfying customers and other stakeholders are intimately tied to adoption and implementation of high standards of business and marketing conduct. The most admired companies abide by a code of serving people's interests, not only their own. Thus, the ethical and social responsibility review allows management to determine how the firm is grappling with ethical issues and exhibiting a "social conscience" in its business dealings.

Effective control of the marketing process ultimately depends on accurate, timely, and complete information about markets, demand, and the marketing environment—the subject of the next chapter.

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