Even the best marketing strategies need to be reviewed, if not revised. Changes in the market environment can drastically change your marketing mix and your product plans. Marketing strategy should be seen as a process, which means that the best marketing plans will change sooner or later.

Strategic change can be caused by many forces; sometimes change is a threat while other times it can be an opportunity. It all depends on how you define your product or business; Furthermore, how you react may be the most important factor in your future success.

Sometimes the market evolves and the demand for an offering changes. For example, obesity is increasing dramatically in North America; Because of this, people are becoming more “food label savvy” when it comes to calories, fat grams, sugar, carbs, and protein. Fast food restaurants have had to respond with salad bars, better nutrition disclosure and leaner products.

Another source of strategic change is technological innovation. As microprocessors increase in speed and processing power, older personal computers are quickly becoming obsolete. A more disruptive technological change could be the creation of the MP3 format and downloadable music. Music is now purchased one song at a time instead of albums of songs.

From time to time, a market is redefined. This is often driven by competition or customer demand. Today, our fast-paced culture demands a more personalized relationship with information, which has created wikis, blogs like this one, and the birth of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television). This new business of information content allows the reader or viewer to get “personalized content” when they want it and where they want it.

Also, marketing channels change. Today the internet has changed the relationship between customers and providers. No longer dependent on the vendor for product and service education, the new consumer is more informed and sophisticated than ever. In fact, the consumer is more powerful and will either get what he wants or look for another provider.

For the marketing strategist, the challenge is to anticipate changes and take control of your destiny. The alternatives of delaying action or being surprised can spell business failure.

As former GE CEO Jack Welch said, “Change before you have to.”

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