Marketing company is great not by â€œwhat it is,â€ but by â€œwhat it does.â€ Marketing implementation is the process that turns marketing plans into action assignments and ensures that such assignments are executed in a manner that accomplish the planâ€™s stated objectives.
A brilliant strategic marketing plan counts for little if it is not implemented properly. Consider the following example:
A chemical company learned that the customers were not getting good service from any of the competitors. The company decided to make customers service its strategic thrust. When this strategy failed, a postmortem revealed a number of implementation failures. The customer service department continued to be held in low regard by top management it was understaffed; and it was used as a dumping ground for weak managers. Furthermore, the companyâ€™s reward system continued to focus on cost containment and current profitability. The company had failed to make the changes required to carry out its strategy.
Strategy addresses the â€˜whatâ€™ and â€˜whyâ€™ of marketing activities; implementation addresses who, where, when and how. Strategy and implementation are closely related: One layer of strategy implies certain tactical implementation assignments at a lower level. For example, top managementâ€™s strategic decision to â€œharvestâ€ a product must be translated into specific actions and assignments.
Marketing experts identified four sets of skills for implementing marketing programs:
1. Diagnostic skills: When marketing programs do not fulfill expectations; was it the result of poor strategy or poor implementation? If implementation what went wrong?
2. Identification of company level: Implementation problem s can occur in three levels: the marketing function, the marketing function, the marketing program, and the marketing policy level.
3. Implementation skills: To implement programs successfully, marketers need other skills: allocating skills for budgeting resources, organizing skills to develop an effective organization and interaction skills to motivate others to get things done.
4. Evaluation skills: Marketers also need monitoring skills to track and evaluate marketing actions.
Companies today are striving to make their marketing operations more efficient and their return on marketing investment more measurable. Marketing costs can amount to 20 to 40% of a companyâ€™s total operating budget. Companies recognize the high amount of waste in many practices: too many meetings lasting too long, undue time spent in looking for documents, delays to receiving approvals, and difficulties in coordinating vendor partners.
Most marketing departments use a limited number of unconnected technology tools such as e-mail, spreadsheets, project management software, and customer databases. But unconnected tools cannot deal with the increasingly complex nature of business, the increased number of collaborations, and the global scope of operations. Companies use information technology to improve the management of their marketing resources. They need better templates for marketing processes, better management of marketing assets, and better allocation of marketing resources. Certain repetitive processes can be automated. This drive is going under such names as marketing resource management (MRM), enterprise marketing management (EMM) and marketing automation systems.
Several software companies now offer software packages to help companies better manage their marketing processes, assets, and resources. The packages are customized so different marketing managers â€“ Vice President of marketing, product and brand managers, field sales managers, marketing communications managers â€“ can do their planning implementation, and control.
Marketing resource management (MRM) software provides a set of Web based applications that automate and integrate such activities as project management, campaign management, budget management, asset management, brand management, customer relationship management, and knowledge management. The knowledge management component consists of process templates, how to wizards, and best practices.
The software packages are Web-hosted and available to users with passwords. They add up to what some have called desktop marketing in that marketers can find whatever information and decision structures they need on their computers. The computer will host a dashboard on which marketers can manage their activities. In the next few years, MRM software will enable marketers to greatly improve spending and investment decisions, bring new products to market more quickly and reduce decision time and costs.