No marketing program is planned and implemented perfectly. Marketing managers will tell you that they experience many surprises during the course of their activities.
In an effort to ensure that performance goes according to plans, marketing managers establish controls that allow marketers to evaluate results and identify needs for modifications in marketing strategies and programs.
Surprises occur, but marketing managers who have established sound control procedures can react to surprises quickly and effectively.
Marketing control involves a number of decisions.
• One decision is which function to monitor. Some organizations monitor their entire marketing program, while others choose to monitor only a part of it, such as their sales force or their advertising program.
• A second set of decisions concerns the establishment of standards for performance, e.g. market share, profitability, or sales.
• A third set of decisions concerns how to collect information for making comparisons between actual performance and standards.
• Finally, to the extent that discrepancies exist between actual and planned performance, adjustments in the marketing program or the strategic plan must be made.
Keys to Success
Once a plan is put into action, a marketing manager must still gather information related to the effectiveness with which the plan was implemented.
Information on sales, profits, reactions of consumers, and reactions of competitors must be collected and analyzed so that a marketing manager can identify new problems and opportunities.
A prime guideline for marketing success is to realize that establishing customer satisfaction should be the company's number-one priority. The only people who really know what customers want are the customers themselves. A company that realizes this will develop a marketing mentality that facilitates information gathering and maintains effective communication with the primary reason for the company's existence: the customer.
A second guideline is to establish a company image that clearly reflects the values and aspirations of the company to employees, customers, intermediaries, and the general public.
Third, while marketing requires work that is clearly distinct from other business activities, it should be central to the entire organization. Marketing is the aspect of the business that customers see. If they see something they do not like, they look elsewhere.
Fourth, the business should develop a unique strategy that is consistent with the circumstances that it faces. The marketer must adapt basic marketing principles to the unique product being sold. This means that what a food company does may not work for a telephone corporation because one is inherently a goods product and the other a service product. In other words, imitating what other organizations do without fully understanding one's own situation is a dangerous strategy.
Finally, technological progress dictates how marketing will be performed in the future. Due to computer technology inventiveness, both consumers and businesses are better informed. Knowledge is the most important competitive advantage. The world is one market, and information is changing at light-speed.
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