Lecture 5. Strategic Marketing
The term ‘Marketing’ is widely misunderstood. Many people think of marketing simply as advertising and promotion. This is merely one aspect of marketing, ie ‘operational marketing’ or ‘marketing communications’.

Strategic Marketing relates to the ‘big picture’ and the big decisions, such as these:

            • ‘What business should we be in?’

            • ‘What do customers really want?‘

            • ‘At what can we excel in a competitive marketplace?‘

            • Which customers should we decide strategically NOT to serve?

            • What is our Unique Business Formula? 

Strategic marketing involves the recognition of competition, the identification of competitive advantage and as a result, serving markets you can serve better than your rivals. Consequently it involves deciding which markets NOT to serve, because rivals can do it better.

This requires both an accurate understanding of market needs, and a willingness to shape the business and its products around the needs of selected customers (instead of trying to shape the customer to fit the enterprise’s products and services.)

Strategic Marketing is at the heart of devising a feasible Business Formula because a Business Formula has to take into account an enterprise’s competitive advantage and its choices to serve some markets and not others.

In short, Strategic Marketing requires a complete change of thinking, from:

‘Let’s do everything we can – and try to sell to everyone’ to ‘Let’s do only what our rivals cannot do as well as us – and sell only to those markets that want what we excel at.’

Only when the big issues of marketing strategy have been decided that we can turn to the details of operational marketing (marketing communications).

Having decided which precise markets to focus on, we can tailor our messages to the precise needs of our chosen customers.

Furthermore, we can listen to customers in our chosen markets, in order to understand more fully what they really want to buy.

Marketing can be described as ‘looking at the enterprise from the customer’s point of view’.

Or, as marketing guru Peter Drucker said:

“Marketing is not only much broader than selling, it is not a specialised activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view.”

In the end, Strategic Marketing is about deliberately aligning the whole enterprise to the changing needs of carefully chosen customers. This means that some markets are deliberately avoided in order to focus entirely on strategically selected markets, niches and customers.

Consequently Strategic Marketing is about high level decisions about the direction of the enterprise as it manoeuvres successfully amongst competitors, uses its competitive advantage and selects particular customer groups to serve in order to fulfill its objectives and achieve its Vision.

That’s why David Packard of Hewlett Packard said: “Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.”

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