Marketing is made up of two totally different aspects, but undoubtedly complementary. On the one hand, we have a part focused on the medium and long term, such as strategic marketing ; and on the other hand we have a tactical part focused on the short term and creating marketing actions, which is operational marketing. Society in general usually identifies marketing, only with its operational part, since it is the visible part of marketing (advertising, promotions, events, etc.). But as we will see throughout the article, this is a big mistake, since for Successful operational marketing requires prior analysis, planning and a series of effective strategies, which work in the strategic marketing dimension.
“In an environment as competitive as it is today, it is necessary for the marketing professional not only to deal with the operational part of marketing, but also to be concerned with working on the strategic part of the marketing of the company.”
STRATEGIC MARKETING CONCEPT
Strategic marketing is a methodology of analysis and knowledge of the market, with the aim of detecting opportunities that help the company to satisfy the needs of consumers in a more optimal and efficient way than other competitors.
We cannot create goods and services to later try to sell them. This vision has long since stopped working. Now we must analyze what customers need to then create products or services focused on satisfying the detected needs.
The objective of strategic marketing is to satisfy unmet needs that suppose profitable economic opportunities for the company. The marketing professional, when working on the strategic part of marketing, must discover new markets to target, analyze the attractiveness of these markets, evaluate the life cycle of the products with which he will work, study his competitors and also have They have to find a competitive advantage that is durable over time and of course difficult to imitate because of the competition.
STRATEGIC MARKETING FUNCTIONS
The strategic dimension of marketing is part of the general strategy of the company, as well as being a fundamental part of any marketing plan.
Before formulating the company’s marketing strategy, we must have a solid working base and obtain information through market research and studies, be clear about where we are and where we want to be thanks to the exercise of establishing or reviewing the mission, vision and values of the company, analyze our strengths and weaknesses, as well as threats and market opportunities, all with the well-known SWOT matrix strategic tool .
It is necessary to obtain information and carry out an in-depth analysis of the situation to subsequently establish our strategies in an effective way. The main functions of strategic marketing are:
- Analyze new consumer habits and trends.
- Study the competitors.
- Observe the evolution of demand.
- Detect new customer needs. (see Maslow’s Pyramid )
- Study market opportunities and threats.
- Create a sustainable competitive advantage.
- Study our capabilities to adapt the company to the market.
- Define the marketing strategy that allows achieving the objectives that the company has set.
MAIN STRATEGIES OF STRATEGIC MARKETING
On the other hand, below you can see the main marketing strategies that work in the strategic part of marketing a company.
Tools like the BGC matrix allow us to make strategic decisions about our product portfolio, especially those related to product potential and profitability.
The brand positioning strategy helps us to work the place we occupy in the consumer’s mind with respect to our competition. Furthermore, this strategy works: how to add value to consumers, our current position and that of our competition, or the position we aspire to and its viability.
Within strategic marketing, the market segmentation strategy divides the market into groups with similar characteristics and needs in order to offer a differentiated offer adapted to each of the target groups. This strategy also helps us discover new markets and adapt our offer to that target group.
The functional strategy will help us make the necessary strategic decisions about the 4P of the Marketing Mix: product, price, communication and distribution. The 4Ps will have to work consistently with each other.
The Ansoff Matrix is the perfect tool to determine the strategic direction of growth of a company. It will help us to make a decision about the best option to follow: market penetration strategy, new product development strategy, new market development strategy or diversification strategy.
Customer loyalty strategy
If the company has set customer loyalty and development objectives, it is necessary to work on relationship marketing and customer relationship management strategies . These will help improve the customer experience and create more lasting and profitable relationships with our customers.
Once we have made all the relevant strategic decisions, and we have defined our marketing strategy (strategic marketing), we can start working on our marketing actions (operational marketing).
It is absolutely necessary to know what strategic direction we are going to follow, what products we are going to work on, in which markets we are going to operate, what segments we are going to target, what brand strategy we are going to follow, what price scale we are going to define, what distribution we will choose, what will be our tone of communication, etc. Only after working all these aspects, if we want our marketing to be effective and efficient, we have to carry out the marketing actions of our organization; such as launching a certain product, improving a service, launching an advertising campaign or opening a new market, among others.
EXAMPLES OF STRATEGIC MARKETING:
Since World War II, Switzerland has always been a leader in the quality watch industry. But in the early 1980s, one of the biggest crises in its history would come, suffering a drop in sales of quality watches.
Two of the main factors that affected the industry were aspects related to new customer buying habits and the emergence of low-cost, good-quality Asian watches (Japan and Hong Kong), making it a commercial success.
Swiss manufacturers concerned about the loss of market share, analyzed what was happening in the watch market and what were the expectations of customers. Thanks to strategic marketing they created a new marketing strategy to adapt it to a new need that they had detected.
Asian digital watches were inexpensive but sloppy in design, all black, dark, and all resembling each other. The new marketing strategy would be to continue with the luxury and quality watch brands that are so deeply rooted in Switzerland. But on the other hand they would follow a strategy of launching new products to compete with oriental watches. These new Swiss watches would be affordably priced and feature innovative, attractive and brightly colored designs to compete with the sad image of Asian watches. They created a new category of differential product within a market with products that offered the same value proposition. A disruptive watch brand was born: Swatch .
Automakers saw a segment of the population that was increasingly concerned about the environment, the continued rise in the price of fuel and were quickly adapting to new technological changes.
In this situation, Toyota decided to launch its Prius model, a hybrid car that uses electricity and gasoline. This eco-friendly vehicle reduces environmental impact by consuming less fuel and emitting fewer gases that are harmful to the environment. It also takes into account the economy of the user, since being a hybrid model consumes less fuel.
Since its launch in 1997, the Toyota Prius has become the quintessential sustainable car. In 2005, it was declared Car of the Year in Europe and America.
Toyota, with its hybrid Prius model, is a good example of how strategic marketing works correctly. He knew how to detect and exploit a latent need in the market, such as having a car that takes the environment into account and was also much more economical in fuel consumption.
As we have seen, any company, regardless of its size, needs to work on its strategic marketing to increase its business competitiveness. Many companies focus on working operational marketing in the short term without having previously defined a strategic vision through strategic marketing, and this is a big mistake. In marketing if we want to be effective in the short term it is a sine qua non condition to work our strategy.