The essentials of the control process - Marketing Management

The essentials of the control process for any management function. We can see that it contains four essential elements, namely:

  • setting specific performance standards;
  • locating responsibility for achieving these standards;
  • evaluating performance against standards;
  • taking corrective action.

In addition, we can see that performance standards should stem from and reflect the objectives, strategies and tactics of the planning process. The corrective action then feeds back to, and potentially affects, the planning process itself, performance standards, and those responsible for achieving these standards.

Building on this overview of the control process, designing an effective system of control requires consideration of the following:

Information

The control process is reliant upon timely, accurate and up-to-date information. In designing the control systems for marketing strategy, the information element should be based on establishing minimum rather than maximum information needs. This will mean improved, not reduced, performance. When designing a control system, if we are not careful, marketing personnel can spend more time accounting for their activities than performing them. In addition, information costs money. The control system, of which information is a part, should not cost more than the costs that would be incurred if there were no controls. Finally, information needs to be analysed and presented in a way that is understandable to those who require it.

An overview of the control process

overview of the control process

Communication and ‘noise’ in the system

communication is essential for effective control. Managers need to be made aware of standards of performance against which their activities and those of their own subordinates are to be judged. In addition, rapid feedback of results is important so that differences between required and actual standards of performance can be corrected. Direct communication between manager and subordinates, rather than passing information down a potentially long chain of command, is preferred as this minimizes the ‘noise’ in the control system which can occur when information is distorted by having it passed down an extended scalar chain of command.

Human aspects of control

‘Control’ can be viewed negatively if individuals fear that the control process will be used not only to judge their performance, but as a basis for punishment. Another reason for this negative view is the fact that the process of collecting information for control is often seen as detracting from ‘real’ work. Salespeople, in particular, often see control in this way – they often resent having to fill in visit report forms which contain essential control information because they feel it leaves less time for selling.

To be successful, people involved and affected by the control process should be consulted in both the design and implementation stages of marketing control and need to be convinced that the purpose of control is to improve their personal levels of success and that of the company. Subordinates need to be involved in setting and agreeing their own standards of performance, preferably through a system of management by objectives.


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