Marketing planning assignment help - HND Assignment Help

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Marketing Planning process

Table of Contents
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1.0 Introduction
Marketing has become an integral function for all businesses as it enables them to develop strategies to identify and satisfy the needs and demands of the customers. There is a requirement of an effective strategic decentralised marketing planning to decide and analyse the marketing activities for the businesses. Marketing planning enables organisations to understand what they desire to achieve and then plan and implement strategies that would enable them to have a plan to achieve the desired output (Shaw, 2012).
I have chosen the Mars Inc Australia to study the approaches of marketing planning. Mars Inc is a global firm which has been a profitable and successful venture and has well developed marketing strategies and implements strategic marketing planning to manage its global marketing operations. Mars has entered many new markets and has a well developed product line, developing new products so the selection of MARS for this essay will give deep insights on this topic.
1.1 Mars Inc
Mars is a US based global brand having good presence in Australia. Mars deals with the manufacturing of pet food products, confectionery, food and beverages, Candy and Gums etc. The first Mars Candies were made in 1911 in Tacoma, Washington (Baker, 2011).
1.2 Mars Inc Australia
The business operations of the Mars products in Australia started in 1954, when they started the sales of Mars bars in Australia and then the PAL and WHISKAS products of the company were launched in Australia. MARS first Australian Factory was built in Wodonga in Victoria in the year 1966. Now the operations of Mars in Australia is wide spread having six manufacturing locations and employing over 2,000 workforces.  Mars is one of the leading consumer brands of Australia (Aaker, 2008).

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2.0 Marketing Mix of MARS
PRODUCT: Mars has a very well developed product mix ranging from Confectionaries, Pet Food Products, Energy Drinks and sauces, herbs and spices, gums etc.

Product Line of Mars is
 Pet Care Products – Mars is the largest manufacturer of Pet Care Products in Australia catering to the needs of a huge range of customers.
 Chocolates – Mars is the manufacturer of some of the most popular chocolate brands in Australia including Mars, M&M, Snickers, PODS and MALTESERS.
 Food - Mars have been providing healthy and tasty food options to Australia since 1967.The popular Australian food brands are DOLMIO, KAN TONG and UNCLE BEN’S.
 Wrigley – this has become very popular in Australia for over a century. EXTRA, KANDY and HUBBA BUBBA have captured Australian Markets from a long time.
 So we can see that Mars has a well developed product mix with a broad product width and product length.
 PLACE – The operations of MARS Inc are in Australia, New Zealand, UK and other developed countries throughout the world. Mars Inc is selling its products through online as well as through physical distribution channel. Company has developed the distributors in several markets who are selling products on behalf of company.   
PRICE – Mars recently reduced the size of two of its most popular bars MARS and SNICKERS claiming this move is an initiative to fight obesity. However, there is no price reduction with the size shrinkage. A MARS bar of 53 g is priced 1.60AUD.
Mars having a big and well developed product line uses specific strategies to promote various products. They promote their products to the specific customer segments by the use of advertising and communication. Mars aims at providing a clear and suitable informatino to all their customers (Goldstein and Lee, 2005).
The new product of the MARS - Starburst Performance is a sports drink. The marketing strategy for the introduction of this product is to target the existing customers of Mars with the help of an offline and e-commerce to increase the sales.

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3.0 Approaches of marketing planning
Marketing planning process for an organization can be defined as the marketing plan developed by an organization which contains objectives, strategies and action designed by the organization in order to attain the specific objectives. The present section would deal with the marketing planning process adopted by Mars in order to enter into new markets so that overall marketing efforts developed by the company can remain highly attractive for their targeted consumer segment (Dev and Don, 2005). Marketing planning process adopted by Mars in order to enter into new markets with their product offerings can be given through below mentioned stages:
  1. Mission: Mission statement of an organization provides the basic guideline for the organization to remain in business and paves the path for future direction which would be adopted by the organization. Mission statement of Mars is based on the five key principles which are quality, responsibility, freedom, mutuality and efficiency. The major objective for organization is to develop the mutuality of benefits for the various stakeholders of the organization by putting up the best quality with higher efficiency (Kotler & Keller, 2012). In the new markets wherein Mars is entering with its product offerings the major objective for the organization would be to develop mutual benefits for the shareholders i.e. customers, suppliers and business partners etc. Mission statement is the first part of the overall marketing planning for the organization and lays down the basis for development of marketing plan for the organization.  
  2. Corporate objectives: Corporate objectives for any organization can be defined as the set of goals which are defined by the organization and would be achieved within a specific period of time. All the departments of the organization would be dealing in harmony with other departments so as to attain the corporate objectives set by the organization. At present Mars Inc is looking to enter into two new markets which include India and China. Both these markets are developing marketing and having high potential for growth. So the major corporate objective defined by Mars Inc is to attain a significant market share of 5-7% in the two markets for range of pet food products in next 3 years of time. Along with developing market share in the two markets Mars Inc would be looking after creating awareness among the consumers and consumer mind share. This would help Mars Inc to establish itself as a major pet food brand not only in these developing markets but also for developing itself as a major global brand (Adcock et al, 2011). Ten key steps involved in the developing of marketing planning process for Mars Inc can be given as under. As shown in figure 1 below that there are mainly four steps through which entire marketing planning process can be developed and these processes are goal setting, analysing the current situation, creating the marketing strategy and allocating of the resources as per the plan and monitoring of the resources used in the organizational context. 
Figure 1: Showing the marketing planning process for Mars Inc
  1. Marketing audit: Marketing audit is carried out by the organizations in order to check their current strategies and activities adopted for the performance of their marketing plan. Marketing audit of an organization would be directly linked to the marketing department of the organization. Marketing audit would be conducted in Mars Inc for their sports drink product so as to check the performance and efficiency level of the marketing plan. Marketing audit carried out by the organization would be an essential way to highlight the opportunities and threats faced by the company with their new product line in the developing markets so that essential changes can be done in the existing marketing plan of the organization. Marketing audit would be helpful in knowing the deficiencies in the current marketing plan developed by Mars Inc and important changes which can be done for enhancing efficiency level of the marketing plan.  
  2. SWOT analysis: SWOT analysis would be developed by the organization by the marketing audit process. Results of marketing audit would enable an organization to frame the accurate SWOT analysis for an organization. Looking into the marketing audit process for Mars Inc, SWOT analysis can be developed to understand the strength, weakness, opportunities and threat for the organization (Kotler and Kevin, 2009). It can be explored that wide product range, good brand name and significant market share are among the major strength for Mars Inc which would help the organization to enhance their market share in newly developed markets. Looking into the weakness area for Mars Inc it can be stated that company is among the late movers into these markets and mars Inc does not have any local partner to enter into these markets. Opportunities faced by Mars Inc include large customer base in the two developing markets and strengthening their brand in global market by entering in India and China with their newly developed sports drink brand. Threat faced by Mars Inc mainly include stiff competition by some of the major global brands in the developing markets, economic barriers, political issues and social issues faced by the organization in newly deployed markets. Hence, overall SWOT analysis of Mars Inc can be used to frame the marketing planning process wherein strength of the organization would be used to leverage on the opportunities faced by the organization. While weakness would be identified and strengthened so as to safeguard the organization from potential threats.
  3. Marketing assumptions: It is important to understand the consumer behaviour pertaining to particular organization and newly developed products of the company. But it is not possible for any organization to know everything about their consumers hence several marketing assumptions are developed by the organization regarding the targeted consumer base for the particular product and features with which consumers’ link the most. Hence looking into the newly developed product i.e. sports drink for Mars Inc the major consumer segment assumed by the company would be the youth consumers in age range from 10 years to 25 years. While company would be making assumptions regarding the key features of the sports drink such as the style carried, brand ambassador endorsing the brand and flavour of the sports drink promoted by the company. Mars Inc consider that these elements are important to attain high consumer attention and consumer preference for the sports drink would be developed based on these elements of the particular brand (Hochbaum et al, 2011).   
  4. Marketing objectives and strategies: Based on the SWOT analysis developed for an organization, marketing objectives would be developed and these objectives would be attained for overall success of the marketing plan for an organization. Marketing objectives developed for an organization would define the accomplishments which can be attained through marketing function in coming years. Marketing objectives for Mars Inc would be related with the attainment of the market share of 5 to 7% in the developing markets along with the high mind share for the consumers in these markets. Mars Inc would be having the objective that consumers in these developing markets have the awareness about the brand so that Mars Inc can be included among the top 5 brands for the pet food in the developing markets in next 3 to 5 years of time span. These marketing objectives would be attained by the organization by working on the marketing planning process developed.
  5. Forecasted and expected results: Forecasting would be done for the several marketing parameters by an organization such as marketing cost, consumer response for the newly developed product, market forecasting and forecasting pertaining to the competitors etc. Mars Inc need to develop exact forecasting so that expected outcomes are in line with the forecasted results so as to give positive results for their forecast. Mars Inc aims to maintain marketing cost by 10% of the revenue generated in next 3 years, consumers would be highly responsive towards the newly launched sports drink and competition would also be very stiff in the newly explored markets. So it is expected that Mars Inc need to make hard efforts so that their expected outcomes are as per the forecast made by the marketing department of the organization (Laermer et al, 2007).  
  6. Create alternative plans: Alternative marketing plan would be developed by Mars Inc for their new sports drink brand so that in case of problems faced with the existing marketing plan other can be used. Alternative plan would be helpful so that Mars Inc can deploy other new markets wherein newly launched product of the company can be promoted. Further as a part of the alternative marketing plan by Mars Inc it is possible that some of the successful pet food brands are promoted by the company in these developing markets. This would help the company to leverage on the popularity of their existing pet food products.
  7. Marketing budget: Marketing budget for the new market entry along with new product of the company would be developed by Mars Inc based on the percentage of revenue method. Company would decide on the marketing budget of the marketing plan by calculating 10% of the overall revenue gained by the organization in these newly developed markets. Budget allocated by the organization can also be enhanced in order to fulfil their marketing promotions so that an effective marketing plan can be developed. There would be provision developed by the company and these provisions would be used in case of over budgeting for particular marketing expense made in order to make entry in the newly explored markets.
  8. Implementation and evaluation: Marketing plan thus developed by Mars Inc would be implemented in order to attain the objectives by organization. Implementation of the marketing plan would require step by step tracking for the marketing efforts so that accordingly action can be takes so as to achieve marketing objectives decided by Mars Inc (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Evaluation of the marketing plan would be done in order to track whether marketing objectives, marketing resources and other resources present with the organization are on track.
4.0 Recommendations for the marketing planning process of Mars Inc
Some of the key recommendations which can be developed for Mars Inc in order to promote their sports drink brand can be given as under:
  • Segmentation, targeting and positioning should be done properly in advance for the newly launched product of the company in new markets. STP developed by Mars Inc would allow to identify particular consumer segment and promotion activities to tap this consumer base
  • Company should deploy their marketing budget in phases
  • Entry into new markets should be done along with some local partner
  • Objectives of the organization should be set in line with the mission of the organization
  • Marketing audit should be conducted to understand threats and opportunities faced by the organization
  • Marketing assumptions should be properly justified

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