Comprehensive tools of strategic marketing planning - Marketing Management

In Chapter 4 and the earlier part of this chapter we looked at some of the earlier tools of analysis available to the marketing planner for analysing strategic alternatives and choices. We have seen that although they are useful, they represent only a partial framework for analysis and decision making. In recent years progress has been made in developing more comprehensive tools of strategic analysis. Different though the various tools may be, they are all primarily directed towards two essential activities:

  1. diagnosis of the current position of the company;
  2. prescription of strategies for the future aimed at maintaining, or improving, performance.

A particular problem for the marketing planner in the large multi-product/multi-market company is that decisions must be made as to what priority to place on each of several business areas, each competing for scarce resources. For future success in business, it is vital that these conflicting demands for resources are balanced so as to offer the greater chance of meeting overall corporate objectives. The partial perspectives offered by the tools of analysis examined earlier are particularly inappropriate for this need, hence the development of more comprehensive approaches.

Before we look at these more comprehensive tools of strategic market planning, we must emphasize that none of the tools provides a fail-safe panacea for diagnosis and decision. Each requires managerial judgement and experience in its application and interpretation. If we think of them as being aids to marketing management rather than a replacement for judgement, we have gone some way towards using these more powerful tools wisely.

Some tools of strategic market analysis fall into the category of ‘portfolio analysis models’. Referred to as ‘product market grids’, these models are based on positioning each business unit, or specific product market on a grid according to the attractiveness of the market and the company’s competitive position.

One of the earliest and most influential of the product/market portfolio techniques is that developed by the Boston Consulting Group. We now examine this strategic tool in detail, and examine its uses and limitations.

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