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What Are the Different Perspectives in Marketing Planning?

Planning your marketing requires multiple viewpoints.

Marketing can seem like a science, but it also requires creativity and instinct. When you create a marketing plan,
you can benefit from looking at your marketing resources, goals and methods from several different angles. Varied
perspectives can help you consider possibilities and pitfalls that may thwart your marketing or help it succeed. How
you blend the varied viewpoints can make your marketing stand out in the crowd and be well-suited to your products
and services.

The Four P's

Traditional marketing planning focuses on product, pricing, place and promotion. Planning that uses the four P's
starts with product considerations such as features, benefits, packaging and brand name that will make a product
viable. Pricing issues must be decided with competition and profit in mind to properly position the item in the pricepoint hierarchy of similar products. Then the marketing plan must give details that will put the product in the right
place, literally, for people to buy it. Only then can the plan deal with the types of promotions that will get the
product attention in the marketplace. An example of the four P's approach would be a company that creates a
superior vacuum cleaner with a sleek design. Then the company prices that vacuum cleaner for the upscale market.
The company finds luxury stores that will carry the vacuums, then creates an ad campaign that is elegant and
sophisticated for leisure magazines that appeal to affluent people.

Push vs. Pull

Some modern marketing planning rejects the traditional approach because it assumes that a marketer can push
products into the marketplace. A newer marketing theory suggests that you can pull customers toward you by
providing them with quality information and authentic presentations that avoid hyperbole, and by listening to them
instead of constantly broadcasting one-way messages to them. This perspective focuses on creating ways for
customers to provide feedback and participate in the improvement of products as well as the marketing of those
products. For example, a company that sells training services might survey companies to find out what they want
from training programs or what they feel most often fell short in previous training courses. As the feedback turns
into improvements, the company may sell its services to customers who have had a role in shaping the service.

Situation Analysis
Focusing on your own planning can lead you into mistakes, because you may not be listening to the marketplace.
Listening instead of telling can change your perspective. Once you gauge market demand, customer tastes,
competitor strengths and weaknesses, and your own position in relation to those market metrics, you can adjust your
planning to fit your vision into existing conditions. For example, before writing a marketing plan for a new type of
ice cream, an entrepreneur can research the total market dollars that customers spend, survey customers to find out
what they might be willing to try, and set some sales goals that would indicate that the company was succeeding in
capturing market share. Analyzing the current state of the market can keep your plan firmly based in reality.

Science and Perceptions

In marketing, perception is reality. If customers think a product is attractive, it is attractive. Though you can take a
highly scientific approach to marketing planning by using facts, figures and focus-group surveys, no amount of
science will eliminate the need to cater to customer likes and dislikes. Your marketing plan must leave room for the
unexpected. For example, if customers consistently favor a product that you are not promoting very much, your plan
must give you room to shift your marketing dollars to the popular product. If your plan states that you will advertise
in parenting magazines to create awareness of your line of clothing for boys, and you find that the clothing line for
girls consistently outperforms in sales, your plan should indicate that you will put more dollars into the marketing of
the best-selling product.