NATURE, IMPORTANCE AND SCOPE OF STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR MARKETING
Strategic planning is the management task concerned with the growth and future of a business enterprise. Strategic planning can be viewed as a stream of decisions and actions that lead to effective strategies and which, in turn, help the firm achieve its growth objectives. The process involves a thorough self-appraisal by the corporation, including an appraisal of the businesses it is engaged in and the environment in which it operates.
Rapid changes in Environment necessitate a Strategic Perspective
The Indian marketing environment in the current times, we saw more vividly the import of environment in marketing management. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the fluctuating environment that renders strategic planning an indispensable task for the business firm. If the environment is by-and-large stable, things will be more predictable and convenient for the firm; it can stay with existing strategies, structures, products and markets. But, it is not so in actual practice. In present times, in particular, the environment and all its constituents are changing fast. In fact, practically everything outside the four walls of the firm is changing and changing fast, resulting in a discontinuity with the past. The things happening are totally disconnected from the past experiences of the firm. Strategic planning navigates the corporate ship through the uncertain and turbulent environment.
Strategic Planning provides the direction to the Corporation and indicates how growth is to be achieved.
A business firm cannot afford to travel in a haphazard manner; it has to travel with the support of a road map. Strategic planning provides the road map for the corporation. It ensures that the enterprise keeps moving in the right direction. It serves as the hedge against risk and uncertainty, the hedge against costly mistakes and overnight vulnerability .It lends a framework for the corporation, which can ensure that decisions concerning the future decisions on matters like product-market choices, and investments are taken in a systematic and purposeful way. The focus of the corporation thus gets decided through this process.
Strategic planning works as the pathfinder to the various business opportunities; simultaneously, it serves as a corporate defense mechanism, which helps a firm avoid costly mistakes.
Enables Long-term Decisions Concerning the Firm
Starting from the corporationâ€™s mission and philosophy, down to choice of businesses and strategies, all vital aspects in the governance of business are chartered through strategic planning. It is through strategic planning that a corporation takes decisions concerning its mission, the businesses it will pursue and the markets it will serve; it is through strategic planning that it lays down its growth objectives and formulates its strategies. In other words, all decisions of high significance and consequence to a corporation are taken through the strategic planning process.
Strategy is not something that can be taken out of oneâ€™s hat and pushed into the market. To forge appropriate strategies, a company has to go through the strategic planning process. It has to do a good deal of homework. It has to bring to the fore the corporationâ€™s ambitions, identify its core competencies and competitive advantages, decide the businesses in which it should stay, the business it should quit, and the ones it should enter. It has to then decide on the actual strategies to employ.
Ensures Optimum Utilization of Resources
Usually, the resources available to any business firm are limited. Naturally, the firm has to utilize its resources creatively and optimally. Strategic planning ensures such utilization. It lends a frame of reference for investment decisions. It aids the concentrated application of the resources on vital areas i.e. areas of best potential.
Prepares the Firm to Face the Future
Strategic planning is not a matter of merely projecting the future. It also prepares a corporation to face the future. It even shapes the future in the corporationâ€™s favor. Its ultimate burden is to influence the mega environs in the corporations â€˜s favor, working into the environs and shaping them, instead of merely watching them, or getting carried away by them.
Strategic planning also helps a firm acquire the benefits of a lead time for all its crucial decisions and actions, as it helps the firm anticipate trends.
Helps acquire relevant competitive advantages
Strategic planning has the burden of equipping a corporation with the relevant competitive advantages in its fight for survival and growth. The more intense the competition, the more critical is the need for competitive advantage. And, they emanate through strategic planning.