The course of marketing decisions aimed at answering to this question. Marketing actions need to be carefully resonate, before applying them, because they will have an impact on the entire marketing mix and consequently on the company.
The contribution of Michael Dorsch was extremely useful to understand how to assemble the single tools gained in the previous lessons. He taught to the class how to rationally plan both short and long term marketing actions.
The marketing plan combines the single tools that we encountered in the course into a five-step approach:
- The definition of the corporate mission is composed considering the corporate culture and philosophy as well as the business definition and the market orientation;
- The determination of the corporate objectives consists in the translation of the corporate mission into measurable performances essential to control the evolution of the strategy;
- The strategic marketing plan redaction is made through a situation analysis and a SWOT analysis, which are helpful to identify strategic windows. The definition of those market opportunities is helpful to define the proper long term strategy, opting for a growth strategy or a consolidation strategy.
- Once the overall strategy is defined the tactical marketing plan can be edited. This short term oriented program consists in the definition of the marketing mix, according to the brand positioning.
- The budget allocation can be set as soon as the plan is completed. In fact the total marketing budget is divided in single components according to the strategy.
Following this procedure it is possible not only to plan and reason marketing actions, identifying the right strategic windows, but even to control their efficiency after the implementation. The setting of measurable objectives has to be carefully defined in order to weight, control and eventually adjust each marketing action.
After showing to the class how to consciously manage the 4 Ps Dorsch highlighted the growing importance of three additional Ps associated to the Service Marketing.
This branch of marketing is related to the idea that consumption, as well as consumer mentality, changed. Previously buyers, purchasing a product, looked mainly for the good’s value, nowadays they expect to find some benefits even from the service. Service marketing is not only about service companies, such as hotels or phone operators. Its importance is growing even for those businesses, which are mainly focused on goods. In order to satisfy the consumers’ growing needs marketers are supposed to enlarge the value creation from the product to the service, building assets along the entire purchasing process and managing the customer interface.
Dorsch drove our attention to the following additional Ps related to the Service Marketing:
- The Partecipants include all the people involved in the service, both employees and customer. Employees play a critical role in the service profit chain, they can help in shaping the experience. For this reason it is important to encourage them to use their optimum discretionary effort in order to satisfy consumers’ needs and expectation about the service;
- The Physical Evidence consists in the service environment and tangible aspects of the service. The location, the dimension, the layout and the aesthetic impact of the servicescape/shop are all features that influence the customer experience.
- The Process of service assembly is made up of all the procedures that contribute to the delivery of the service, it is planned by Blue Prints and Behavioural Scripts. Blue Prints are graphical representation of all the “front-stage” touch-points with the customer and the related back-stage activities. The behavioural script, instead, describes step by step the service encounters from both the perspective of the customer and the employees.
Service marketing and these additional Ps were born for supporting service-companies and they were later absorbed by any kind of business. Nowadays, as already mentioned, goods-companies need to consider them as indispensable also in their marketing mix. Brands that implemented this approach are winning over the competitors. Think about Apple and its stores. Why do you buy the i-brand? is it all about a computer or a phone? Is it all about the apple? Or is it because of the experience that you can live in buying the “Appled-brand”? Isn’t it unique? Isn’t the genius bar perfectly designed for your needs?
In conclusion in marketing there is not a 100% right or 100% wrong decision, but there is a way to plan, evaluate, measure control and eventually adjust each action according to the changes of the market.
Dorsch’s classes had been extremely beneficial in gaining a critical and organized approach to the market, considering the company as a part of a big system that is continually evolving.