The Development and Structure of a Marketing Plan: Towards the Development of Marketing Strategies
1. The Situation Analysis
In the planning process there are steps that must be taken prior to the development of the marketing strategies; the first one is conducting a situation analysis. A situation analysis is “the overall process of collecting and interpreting internal, competitive and environmental information.” It presents a summary of these environments and summarizes the company’s current marketing objectives and performance in the market. Through the situation analysis business is provided with a systematic way of viewing marketing activities by analysing the customer, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) in relation to the competition. The situation analysis according to Gartrell includes internal, external and customer analyses, also known as the product, position, and prospect analyses.
The product analysis includes a review of the current objectives, strategies, and company performance. Product capabilities are examined as well as the limitations of the tourist product. The whole destination and its facilities are examined to determine what is there to be offered to the potential traveller. This analysis eliminates poor performance since through this the marketing goals and objectives are reassessed in order to determine their effectiveness.
Second is the position analysis, which addresses issues such as how the destination is “perceived” by the market, an analysis of the strength and weakness and how these can be compared to the threats and opportunities in the external environment, as well as the previous success of the destination shown in statistical reports. Also, the position of the destination in relation to the marketplace, the competitors’ products, services and their position in the market are examined. Position is important, since marketing strategies are developed based on the kind of image that the company expects to maintain in the eyes of the customer.
Next is the prospect analysis also known as the customer analysis, which involves the selection of the best target markets, likely to increase the usage of the destination’s products and services. In this analysis factors like potential demand in certain markets, the criteria for selecting the competition, emerging markets, and what political, social and economical factor may influence the markets are examined.
It must be noted that one of the major steps for conducting the situation analysis is the collection of research. Research is pertinent because it is the tool that allows the organisation to become aware of the customer needs, wants and preferences. Marketing research “monitors and evaluates marketing actions and performance, and communicates the findings and implications to management”. Its importance is even more highlighted since it allows for the collection of the necessary data and information to conduct a thorough prospect analysis. In an effort to thoroughly collect accurate and up-to-date data and information from the external environment, an organisation should also have strong marketing intelligence. Marketing intelligence includes “everyday information about developments in the marketing environment that helps managers prepare and adjust marketing plans and short-run tactics.”
Besides, the product, position and prospect analyses, Gartrell …