Marketing Management Chapter 8: Product and Service Decisions

For a complete list of all chapters so far, you can visit the Marketing Management Tab on the blog!

Chapter 8: Summary

The good or service as seen by the consumer constitutes much more than just a physical core product; all the intangibles that accompany the product form the package. The product audit is used to explore what this package comprises. The Ansoff Matrix looks at the four main growth strategies and demonstrates the increase in risk as a company moves from penetration of the known market to diversification into a totally unknown market.

The theory of the product life cycle says that the stages of introduction, growth, maturity, decline, and postmortem that a product goes through are to be reflected in the corresponding marketing mix. Even though most attention is focused on new-product launches, most products are in the maturity stage, where they need careful management attention to either prolong their life cycle or to lead to graceful retirement.

A popular theoretical tool for structuring product portfolios is the Boston Consulting Group Matrix. Its four quadrants are based on market share and market growth: problem children (or question marks), stars, cash cows, and dogs. Because of its assumption of a significant product life cycle and economies of scale, the Boston Matrix may have less relevance than its advocates suggest. In any event, the use of the matrix requires a sound understanding of the complex interrelationship between market growth rate and relative share.

The development of a product mix needs to consider both the width and depth of product lines and may require line stretching or line rationalization. In doing so, the firm must carefully consider the implications of such product policies on sales, profits, and relationships with customers and suppliers.

When using a strategy of market expansion, the firm must consider whether and how to standardize or adapt its products. In addition, attention must be devoted to packaging. No longer simply driven by product protection, packaging must reflect market requirements, promotional opportunities, and distribution considerations.

Services, whether related to goods or pure services, have distinctive features. In particular, they are more dependent on people, which necessitates more, and higher, standards of management. The intangibility of services means that the associated physical elements may be used for promotion, and strong branding is important. The lack of storage capacity may require new efforts at smoothing out demand fluctuations through personnel management or pricing strategies.

Overall, even though all elements of the marketing mix are equally important, the product is the most visible component and serves as the focal point for all marketing mix aspects.

Marketing Management Chapter 4: Understanding the Buyer

For a complete list of all chapters so far, you can visit the Marketing Management Tab on the blog!

Chapter 4: Summary

Focus on the buyer is the key dimension of marketing and is what sets the discipline apart from all other business fields. The marketer must therefore understand how buyers come to the decision to purchase a product. This decision-making process is a complex one, both for consumers who are end-users and for industrial buyers. For consumers, the process includes the effects of experience, lifestyle, promotion, and price. More general factors influencing consumers may be culture, geography, social class, occupation, psychological factors, peer pressure, and the effect of globalization. Marketers have conducted a great deal of research to understand the consumer decision process better and, as a result, have developed the tools of lifestyle analysis and segmentation to be able to serve consumers more efficiently and more profitably.

On the industrial side, organizational purchasing is subject to a different set of influences, both because it is usually based on derived demand and because the decision is often split between decision-makers and influences. Other factors that affect buyers’ product acceptance are the diffusion of innovation, usage, and loyalty, and the existence of a customer franchise.

Marketing Management Chapter 3: Understanding the Market Environment and the Competition

For a complete list of all chapters so far, you can visit the Marketing Management Tab on the blog!

Chapter 3: Summary

An understanding of the environment is important for the marketer. Social, technological, economic, political, and ecological factors can have a major impact on the firm’s opportunities and threats. Key social and cultural elements to consider are the redefinition of occupations, a societal trend toward postmaterialism, and major demographic shifts. In the area of technology, the outlook for marketers is likely to be thoroughly changed by transformations in information processing and the subsequent shifts in business practices as well as the emergence of new materials, new biotechnological products, and growing environmental concerns. In the economic area, increasing globalization, regional integration, and exchange rate effects represent major influences on marketing practice. The political environment is characterized by legislative and regulatory actions that influence the firm but that can also be influenced by the firm. However, the political arena is also increasingly defined by the activities of special-interest groups whose actions can have a major effect on firms. Furthermore, the marketer is likely to be required, either by regulation or by good marketing sense, to take into account various stakeholders beyond the shareholders if the firm and its products are to remain acceptable to society at large. The ecological background of the target market also needs to be considered, in order to satisfy contemporary ethical customers.

To deal with the environment, the firm must first analyze and understand it. Such analysis can be accomplished by environmental scanning, Delphi studies, and scenario building. To understand the competition, however, the firm must evaluate more specific issues such as market structure, products and production processes, and industrial changes taking place.

After understanding these dimensions, the firm can achieve a successful strategic position through economies of scale, political clout, and captive distribution systems. Firms that are unable to win the competitive battle in the field of commerce, in particular, are increasingly seeking victory in the halls of government. Building and maintaining a successful position also requires an understanding of the likely competitive response from adversaries and the different strategies that leaders and followers can employ. Overall, you should remember that as difficult as it may be to maintain a leadership position, it is even harder to be a profitable follower.

Marketing Management Chapter 2: Marketing Planning

Image courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/royalty-free-images/

For a complete list of all chapters so far, you can visit the Marketing Management Tab on the blog!

Chapter 2 Summary: Marketing Planning 

Summary

In general, the use of plans conveys a number of advantages: (1) consistency, (2) responsibility, (3) communication, and (4) commitment.

The corporate plan should contain three main components: Where the organization is now? Where the organization intends to go in the future? How it will organize its resources to get there?

Corporate objectives, which are usually more complex than just financial targets, should reflect the corporate mission (including customer groups, customer needs, and technologies), which may reflect a strong corporate vision.

The starting point of the marketing planning process is the marketing audit, the output of which may be one or more facts books, covering a wide range of questions about internal (“product”-related) and external (“environmental,” as well as market) factors, and the marketing system itself, as well as the following basic questions:

Who are the customers? What are their needs and wants? What do they think of the organization and its products or services?

This step will lead to the production of marketing objectives and subsequently to marketing strategies (typically covering all elements of the Price, Product, Place, and Promotion).

A suggested structure for the marketing plan document itself might be as follows:

  1. Mission statement
  2. Summary of performance (to date, including reasons for good or bad performance)
  3. Summary of financial projections (for three years)
  4. Market overview
  5. SWOT analyses of major projects/markets (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunitites, Threats)
  6. Portfolio summary (a summary of SWOTs)
  7. Assumptions
  8. Objectives
  9. Financial projections for three years (in detail)

All these detailed plans should be, as far as possible, (1) number-based and “deadlined,” (2) briefly described, and (3) practical. These programs must be controlled, particularly by the use of budgets, for which the overall figures may be derived by (1) affordable, (2) percentage of revenue, (3) competitive parity, or (4) zero-based budgeting.

Finally, the actual performance of the marketing strategy needs to be examined. The most important elements of marketing performance are (1) sales analysis, (2) market share analysis, (3) expense analysis, (4) financial analysis, and (5) relationship analysis. Although much of the relationship analysis may not be quantifiable, it has become an increasingly important determinant of a company’s long-term success.

Marketing Management: Past, Present, and Future

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my new book! Marketing Management: Past, Present, and Future is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Please check out the link to purchase it down below.

This textbook provides students with comprehensive insights on the classical and contemporary marketing theories and their practical implications. A fourth, revised edition of Marketing Management, the text features new classical and contemporary cases, new interdisciplinary and cross-functional implications of business management theories, contemporary marketing management principles, and futuristic application of marketing management theories and concepts. The core and complex issues are presented in a simplified manner providing students with a stimulating learning experience that enables critical thinking, understanding, and future application.

https://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Management-Springer-Business-Economics/dp/3030669157