Corporate planning - Marketing Strategy

The corporate plan will define objectives for the entire business and should co-ordinate the various functional strategies (marketing,operations, human resource management, finance, etc.) to deliver the overall corporate objectives. It is important that functional strategies are interrelated (see Figure). For example, if the marketing strategy focused on developing high levels of customer service in order to retain key customer groups, both the operations and human resource management functions would have role to play in delivering this.

Corporate strategy can be summarized as being:

  • Integrative :The process co-ordinates functional activity towards a common goal and takes a ‘whole organization’ view of the corporation. By defining corporate targets, normally in financial terms, collective targets are set for the functional groups.
  • Providing focus : Strategy defines the scope of the business – the general nature of activities and markets served. This strategic direction allows functional areas to develop appropriate strategies and tactics.
  • Important : By its very nature, corporate strategy is the process of making major business decisions. It defines business direction over the long term and is critical in setting the overall resource profile available to the organization.
  • Matching : There is a need to match the organization’s activities and resource base to the current and future business environment.

The strategic process

The strategic process

A useful summation of corporate strategy management is provided in this above Figure . This model takes a top-down view of the overall strategy process. It identifies the five components vital in achieving corporate success:

  1. Vision :Senior management and other stakeholders must establish an overall vision of what the corporation should be. This defines the basic need they fulfil and establishes the generic direction of the business.
  2. Corporate objectives and strategy Collective : goals and strategy define the ‘benchmarks’ for success, and ways of achieving success. This level co-ordinates corporate activity and initiates activities to achieve desired results.
  3. SBU/functional objectives and strategy Corporate : strategy translates into objectives and plans for individual elements of the business.This may take the form of SBUs (Strategic Business Units –divisions within a company) or functional activities. For example, a hotel chain could divide its business into three SBUs – accommodation, food and beverage,and conferences and leisure.
  4. Resources : For a given strategy, the need exists to match resources to strategic intent. This process normally involves annual budgeting.
  5. Structure : Management must develop the appropriate organizational and staffing structures to facilitate success.

Successful businesses ensure these factors are aligned in order to turn strategic intent into business reality.

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