1.1Background to the Study
Some industry commentators call the marketing function the last bastion of bureaucracy. Traditionally, the role of the marketing professional in many organizations has been to serve as the identifier of potential customers, approaching them, presenting organizations products and services and being the selling arm of executive management. According to Lusch, Vargo, and Malter (2006), In this role, the marketing professional served executive agendas well, but was frequently viewed as being more dealing with external stakeholders by much of the rest of the organization. While some need for this role occasionally remains (you wouldn’t want every manager putting his own spin on presenting to potential customers, as an example) much of the marketing role is transforming itself.
Wedle, Michel and Wagner Kamakura (2006) states that marketing practitioners often find themselves so preoccupied with the hard work of running marketing programs, supervising staff and sales force, and attending to the day-to-day grind that they lose sight of the Big Picture. However, it is essential every once in a while to step back, gain a little perspective, and engage in some serious strategizing. Strategic planning looks beyond the immediate circumstances, in the process clarifying where you want to be in the future. This strategic perspective can be contrasted to the tactical level (which looks at performance of specific products or markets over a shorter time frame) and operational planning (which focuses on the nitty gritty of getting the job done).
The role of the marketing manager must parallel the needs of his or her changing organization. Successful organizations are becoming more adaptive, resilient, quick to change direction and customer-centered. Within this environment, the marketing professional, who is considered necessary by production managers, is a strategic partner, an employee sponsor or advocate and a change mentor. Marketing Generalists, Managers, and Directors, depending on the size of the organization, may have overlapping responsibilities. In larger organizations, the Marketing Generalist, the Manager, and the Director have clearly defined, separated roles in marketing with progressively more authority and responsibility in the hands of the Manager, the Director, and ultimately, the Vice President who may lead several departments including administration, Wedel, Michel and Wagner Kamakura (2006) Marketing directors, and occasionally marketing managers, may head up several different departments that are each led by functional or specialized marketing staff such as the international manager, the regional manager, or the training manager. Marketing staff members are advocates for both the company and the goods and services offered by the company. Consequently, a good Marketing professional performs a constant balancing act to meet both strategic needs successfully.
Bower, (2006), states that strategic marketing is a method of focusing an organization's energies and resources on a course of action which can lead to increased sales and dominance of a targeted market niche. A marketing strategy combines product development, promotion, distribution, pricing, relationship management and other elements; identifies the firm's marketing goals, and explains how they will be achieved, ideally within a stated timeframe. Marketing strategy determines the choice of target market segments, positioning, marketing mix, and allocation of resources. It is most effective when it is an integral component of overall firm strategy, defining how the organization will successfully engage customers, prospects, and competitors in the market arena. Lusch, Vargo, and Malter (2006), states that as the customer constitutes the source of a company's revenue, marketing strategy is closely linked with sales. A key component of marketing strategy is often to keep marketing in line with a...