Structure of the international marketing plan

Planning is a relatively straightforward exercise leading to the conclusion that the structure and format of international marketing plans of different firms should essentially be similar. However, there are questions that needs an answer, such as:

Where did we come from?
What might conspire to prevent us reaching our target?

The answers to these questions emphasize the fact that the company’s traditions and competitive position have a significant effect on the actual content of the marketing plan and might vary enormously from one company to another, even when they might be competing with very similar products in the same business sector.

A company’s traditional activities, identity and values, for example, can play a major role in determining the future plans and strategies. International marketing plan which require, owners or managers to break with tradition will often be resisted strongly. Companies which in the past may have had very strong links with the domestic country’s traditional trading partners, may find moves to regionalization and the emergence of new markets a threat to their business.

Similarly, to maintain growth in a mature market some firms are attacking new segments. Mercedes Benz entered the small car market segment as well as maintaining their core ‘luxury sector’ cars; some argued that the brand could be devalued as a result and this may have been one of the arguments used by the parent company, Daimler-Benz in the take-over of Chrysler in 1998.

It is equally necessary to fully evaluate the factors which could prevent the firm’s target being met. For example, if a firm embarks on a policy to expand its market share, it is likely to prompt a significant response from competitors. A firm launching a new product must take into account how long it will take for it to be copied by competitors and when even newer technology will supersede it. Sometimes, too, the very traditional ways of operating the business may be a barrier to survival and growth.

Aspects of international marketing Planning:

There are a number of elements in the international marketing plan. There
should be:

  • an expression of the stakeholder expectations;
  • an audit of the firm’s strengths, weaknesses and future potential capabilities;
  • an assessment of the likely changes in the external environment and the opportunities and threats which will result;
  • a statement of corporate objectives;
  • an evaluation of possible strategic options;
  • an assessment of likely competitor responses to the strategic options;
  • the selection and justification of the appropriate strategy.