Page 4: Objectives
It is vital to any firm that its marketing objectives are compatible with the overall corporate objectives. In selecting corporate objectives and strategy, a firm might wish to refer to the Boston Matrix, Ansoff's Matrix or use a simple SWOT analysis to establish where the company is and in which direction it wishes to head. For example, a company planning to consolidate its position within a national market might set very different objectives for the marketing of its products to a company wishing to expand into international markets. This in turn would affect the marketing tactics each company might employ.
Confusion can often arise when attempting to reconcile marketing and corporate objectives. It could be argued that the success of any firm depends on its ability to satisfy a consumer need at a profit. This is, itself, the essence of marketing - so it could also be said that marketing and corporate objectives are the same thing. However, this would imply that marketing is more important than the other functional areas, when clearly they are all inter-dependent. Ultimately, any corporate strategy must both reflect and dictate to each of the different functional areas of the firm. Nevertheless, the information provided by the marketing department will be central to any corporate strategy formulation. This will include sales and market share, analysis of the competition, sales and profit forecasts for the future and analysis of changing consumer attitudes.
Nestlé's corporate objective is to be the world's largest and best branded food manufacturer, whilst ensuring that the Nestlé name is synonymous with products of the highest quality. In recent years, the company has pursued a policy of expansion and diversification through acquisition and divestment to achieve a more balanced structure to the business.
Global brand names can achieve substantial production and purchasing economies of scale and, as world travel increases, so does the importance of instantly recognisable products. With a product portfoliowhich includes eight of the thirty top selling confectionery brands, such as Quality Street, Aero, Smarties, Polo and Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles, Milky Bar and After Eight, it is extremely important that the marketing objectives for each product line are fully compatible with the overall objectives of the company as a whole. Like any group of individuals, each product has its own character, strengths and weaknesses and consequently, the marketing objectives of each product need to be specifically tailored:
- Objectives: What is the company trying to achieve? In which direction are we headed?
- Strategy: How can we get there?
- Tactics: What specific actions need to be taken, by whom and when?
- Control:How can we judge whether we are being successful in achieving our objectives? How do we measure our success or failure?
Having decided its corporate objectives and strategy, Nestlé can set marketing objectives for each of its product lines and profit centres. The primary objective for Kit Kat is to maintain its position as the UK's number one selling confectionery brand. In order to achieve this, Nestlé has to develop a marketing strategy that will take into account all the elements of the marketing mix. This will involve individual strategies for pricing, product development, promotion and distribution.
For an established brand name, these strategies must be flexible and relevant to each new generation of consumers, but at the same time, great care must be taken not to damage the perceptions of the product built up over decades of marketing. Kit Kat has a particularly broad consumer profile and is popular with all age groups. The Kit Kat marketing strategy can be summarised by the line 'Broad in appeal, young in feel and big in stature.'