1.1 Background to the Study
Strategic Marketing is becoming more and more important for both the new and established companies due to the complex environmental dynamics and increasing global competition. Manufacturing companies, regardless of their age or size, are forced to build more on strategic marketing in order to compete and survive. Strategic marketing helps to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage (SCA) that will enhance company performance. This is achieved through formulation of effective marketing decisions and actions that determine the long-run performance of a marketing company.
Formulating effective marketing strategies involves recognizing relationships between elements of the marketing mix. Although formulating a consistent strategy is a difficult task for any management team to achieve, implementing the strategy throughout the organization is even more difficult due to several environmental factors that can impact on it. A myriad of factors can potentially influence the process by which strategic marketing plans are turned into organizational action.
However, manufacturing companies in Nigeria aspiring to meet the challenges of today’s rapidly changing markets and increasing competition require strategic marketing decisions. Any manufacturer who fails to recognize the fact that the market place changes every moment, may one day be forced out of business. Customer requirements and competitive forces change significantly every few years in sectors like manufacturing, communications, banking, insurance, petroleum, textile, hospitality and entertainment.
Today’s economic landscape is being shaped by two powerful forces–technology and globalization. Besides technology and globalization, other forces reshaping the Nigerian economy include deregulation, privatization and the general reform agenda of the Federal Government as contained in the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS, 2003) document. These changes in the environment have brought about the need for strategic marketing in conformity with the changing nature of the marketing environment to enable companies compete favorably.
For a manufacturing company to be competitive and increase its performance, the adoption of strategic marketing is imperative. A company that does not strategies its activities may find its very survival threatened, and for a marketing strategy to be successful, organizations need to recognize its relevance and develop an effective process.
In spite of the importance of strategic marketing in the performance of manufacturing companies, most manufacturers in Nigeria neglect the core aspect of the strategy. This often results in ineffective and inefficient marketing, due to a host of environmental factors that are both internal and external to the organization. Even though the environmental factors are largely beyond the control of top managers, manufacturing companies must deal with those factors so as to provide a framework for evaluations of various strategic marketing issues which will consequently help to ensure company performance as the performance of any company depends largely on its strategic marketing activities.
This study on strategic marketing and company performance have made unique and valuable contributions to marketing theory as both are inevitably interrelated, and are often complementary of each other. The two fields are in fact even inseparable, forming two sides of the same coin, since the research results of one cannot fully be understood without the other. Thus, this study helps to provide the relationship between strategic marketing and company performance and thus enhance the understanding of the factors leading to the implementation of marketing strategy.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Manufacturing companies in Nigeria have been operating under difficult conditions in an effort to survive the harsh Nigerian business environment. While some manufacturing companies have closed down, others have moved to other African countries with favourable investment climate (Esiele, 2008). What are then the factors responsible for such closures and movements? This has been attributed to so many internal and external environmental problems and the inability of marketing executives to recognize the relevance of strategic marketing in the performance of manufacturing companies.
There is no doubt that there is a link between strategic marketing and company performance. But the problem of evaluating the factors influencing strategic marketing on the performance of manufacturing companies still exists. Previous attempts to evaluate strategic marketing and performance of manufacturing companies in Nigeria had ignored the extent of the impact of some very important variables unique to the Nigerian environment. These include the neglect of the relevance of strategic marketing by manufacturing companies, inadequate funding, attitudes of marketing executives, lack of basic infrastructural facilities such as stable power supply, good roads and general environmental uncertainties brought about by changes in the legal environment-political, cultural, technological, demographic, competitive, and international environments- which resulted in the unprecedented closure of factories and production plants leading to high rate of unemployment in the country (Agbonifoh & Iyayi, 1999).
These problems which have significant impact on strategic marketing and performance of so many manufacturing companies can hamper the growth and survival of any marketing company. The study evaluated these problems and came up with some policy recommendations on how manufacturers can overcome them using the strategic marketing approach which forms the basis of the study.
1.3 Research Questions
It is in the light of the above that the following research questions were raised:
1.4 Objectives of the study
The main objective of the study is an evaluation of factors influencing strategic marketing on the performance of manufacturing companies. The specific objectives of the study are:
1.5 Statement of Hypotheses and Development
For the purpose of this study, the following hypotheses have been formulated and were tested in the course of the study:
Ho1: Strategic marketing does not have a significant relationship on the performance of manufacturing companies.
Ho2: Fund inadequacy has no significant impact on strategic marketing activities of manufacturing companies in Nigeria.
Ho3: Attitude of marketing executives does not have a significant impact on the performance of Nigeria manufacturing companies.
Ho4: There is no significant relationship between environmental factors and strategic marketing activities of Nigeria manufacturing companies.
Ho5: Infrastructure does not have a significant impact on strategic marketing activities of manufacturing companies in Nigeria.