The aim of strategic market planning is to adopt, adjust or reshape on an ongoing basis the corporation’s different businesses to accomplish the target growth and profit objectives. The whole process involves keeping in focus the changing market opportunities and developing a viable fit between the corporation’s objectives, resources and competencies.
In a hyper competitive marketplace, companies can operate successfully by creating
and delivering superior value to target customers and also learning how to adapt to a
continuously changing market place. So to meet changing conditions in their industries,
companies need to be farsighted and visionary, and must develop long-term strategies.
Strategic planning involves developing a strategy to meet competition and ensure longterm
survival and growth. The marketing function plays an important role in this process
and it provides information and other inputs to help in the preparation of the organisation's
strategic plan.
The overall objective of strategic planning is two fold :
To guide the company successfully through all changes in the environment.
To create competitive advantage, so that the company can outperform the
competitors in order to have dominance over the market.
Strategic planning consists of developing a company mission (to give it direction), objectives and goals (to give it means and methods for accomplishing its mission), business portfolio
(to allow management to utilise all facets of the organisation), and functional plans
(plans to carry out daily operations from the different functional disciplines).
No matter how well the strategic planning process has been designed and implemented, success depends on how well each department performs its customer-value-adding
activities and how well the departments work together to serve the customer. Value chains and value delivery networks have become popular with organizations that are sensitive to the wants and needs of consumers. The marketing department (because of its ability to stress the customer's view) has become central in the implementation of most strategic plans. Ultimately, the aim of strategic planning is to serve the company's business products, services and communications so that they achieve targeted profits and growth.
Need for Strategic Planning
Many companies operate without formal plans. However, formal planning can provide
many benefits:
It encourages management to think ahead systematically.
It forces managers to clarify objectives and policies.
It leads to better coordination of company efforts.
It provides clearer performance standards for control.
It is useful for a fast-changing environment since sound planning helps the company
anticipate and respond quickly to environmental changes and sudden developments.
There are three different types of plans that companies might use:
Annual plans (deal with the company's current businesses and determine how to
keep them going).
Long-range plans (also deal with company's current businesses and determine
how to keep them prosperous).
Strategic plans involve adapting the firm to take advantage of opportunities in its
constantly changing environment.
The Framework
The basic framework of strategic planning process can be described as shown in the
picture below. Stage One is a situational analysis and is the starting point of strategic
planning. Stage Two is a process of goal setting for the organisation after it has finalised
its vision and mission. Stage Three deals with the various strategic alternatives an
organisation has. Stage Four and Five are the final process of selection, implementation
and control of a suitable strategy.

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