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Marketing in Action 2.1 | Advantages of Strategic Planning

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Marketing in Action 2.1

1. Describe the advantages of strategic planning, and discuss how it might be employed by a company with which you are familiar.
Strategic planning gives the company the ability to identify and address needs and wants that are not being satisfied by their competitors; save money and increase revenue by directing resources toward more profitable markets or even only specific demographics within a single market; anticipate technological and societal trends to better serve existing markets; anticipate technological and societal trends to reveal new or previously unexplored markets; stimulate demand by releasing separate, complimentary product lines simultaneously; create and execute innovative marketing strategies which utilize the company’s wealth of knowledge regarding their market and society at large to generate demand for not only the company’s products but also their brand.
McDonald's vision statement is "to be our customers' favorite place and way to eat and drink." Becoming their customers’ favorite place to eat is a multifaceted problem and takes an array of strategic solutions – solutions which, over time, McDonald’s has realized into reality and success.
A customer’s attachment to the McDonald’s brand begins in childhood where the influence is twofold. ‘Kids’ meals’ are marketed specifically to children, which include tie-in toys with franchises which are popular with children. Further familiarizing children with the McDonald’s brand are on-site playgrounds on the premises of many freestanding restaurants, associating the good times, in the child’s mind with the brand of McDonald’s.
Children are not the only demographic catered to by McDonald’s. In the last ten years, the restaurant chain has introduced a range of options for their more health conscious customers, a clear response to recent societal trends towards a more health-conscious lifestyle. The customer pays a premium for these menu options, despite the cost of production not rising dramatically over the classic menu options. McDonald’s has found a way to charge the customer more without dramatically increasing the cost of production.
Social good is a big part of McDonald’s image and they have done well in terms of building and maintaining that image. Programs like Ronald McDonald House Charities and sponsoring of various community events and sports clubs go a long way toward building the McDonald’s brand as socially conscious and good for the community. Another social responsibility initiative that’s also relevant to the core business of the company is their recent ‘Create Your Taste’ program. This initiative creates a social good by employing extra workers required to work within the newly-required job roles, as well as enticing those who might not have been involved with the McDonald’s brand for an extended period of time.
Many McDonald’s restaurants are open all day and night, either allowing customers to walk into the restaurant itself or drive up and order from their car. Being open and ready to meet customer needs/wants day and night, where many competitors are not, paints McDonald’s as being more reliable and dependable, so why would customers want to go anywhere else?

2. What does Nokia’s brand image mean to you?
Growing up in the nineties, my perception of Nokia’s brand image might be different to the perception of someone born in the year 2000. To me, Nokia is the phone company who produced cheap, ‘unbreakable’ mobile phones (in recent years, the fact that the phones were obviously not unbreakable did nothing to stem the endless parade of jokes comparing them to relatively fragile smartphones).
Until their partnership with Microsoft in 2011, Nokia was not known for making nice, sleek and ‘attractive’ smartphones, but the quality and low price point of each handset remained up to the partnership and onward, with Microsoft still producing great quality, cost-effective smartphones, only now, they’re visually attractive as well, and able to compete with the likes of Apple’s and Samsung’s flagship smartphones in terms of atheistic.
As a former customer and casual user, Nokia, in my mind, stands as a trusted brand that produces smartphones with excellent standards of quality. In the pre-smartphone era (considered by many to have ended with the arrival of iPhone in 2007), Nokia maintained quality in their products despite lower price points than competitors. This proved to be an investment in their brand, keeping consumers’ minds at ease and reassuring them of continued quality.

3. Are you familiar with any products that compete on the basis of simplicity, rather than how fully featured they are? Is this a case of least-cost positioning versus market differentiation?
In many consumers’ minds in 2015, entertainment options for watching movies or television shows begin and end with Netflix. Netflix and it’s contemporaries can be amazing, offering hundreds of hours of entertainment at competitive prices. However, setting-up and even sometimes watching Netflix can be needlessly complicated. There are internet speed considerations, data plan considerations, and if the connection were to fail, all entertainment goes with it.
An almost complete opposite to Netflix is the DVD/Bluray disk player. With the disk player, all technical considerations that had to be made with Netflix no longer apply – simply put a disk into the player and enjoy the entertainment.
Preceding streaming services – such as Netflix – by many years, the disk player was obviously not intended to be a more simple competitor to Netflix, rather, technological and societal trends placed the product in that position. The disk player, as a product category, is still successful and commonplace today.
The ability to locally store and create backups of media collections, the ability to easily share, sell, buy and otherwise control owned media; and, the lack of extra required services and hardware (such as an internet connection) work to differentiate the disk player from other entertainment devices on the market. In recent times, costs related to the purchase of a disk player have fallen, but this should not be completely attributed to a need to compete with the likes of Netflix. Like all consumer electronics, production efficiencies and lower manufacturing costs over time, and lead to these lower costs being passed on to the consumer.

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