Marketing Planning


            This article evaluates the marketing plan for Nintendo, an innovation hardware through which the gaming is recognized by people whether old or young. Since 1985, Nintendo has kept the gaming alive with the original Nintendo release and still maintains the true gaming spirit in the modern world.   

Process and techniques for auditing the market environment by Nintendo

            This market environment is an implication of the macro environment surrounding Nintendo and also the task environment that the operation of the organization is based on. The macro- environment is made up of large scale forces together with factors that influence the future of this organization; based on which there is little control by the company. The task of the marketing auditor in this case will consist of assessment of the key treads as well as their implications for the marketing action of Nintendo. However, based on the fact that Nintendo has forecasting department that is good in the long range, the micro environment audit will not be of relevance. A more critical role may be played by the marketing auditors when marketing the task environment of the organization. The task environment will consist of customers, markets, dealers, distributors, market facilitators and the suppliers. A contribution can be made by the auditor through setting out into the field and interrogating the various parties with an aim of accessing their current thoughts and attitudes and ensuring that they are brought to the attention of the managers.

Through the marketing organizational audit, the organization will have to incorporate the issue of effectiveness in the sales organization as well as in the marketing, together with the interaction quality between the marketing and other management key functions that will include purchasing, finance, research, manufacturing and the development. In addition Dibb et al (2006), note that the organization will need to be guided by the fact that it does not have the best strategy for marketing planning. In relation to this, the perspective or the marketing planning will need to be modified in such a way that it is able to result in even better results.

SWOT analysis

            The major strengths for Nintendo are based on the ability of the company to have various platforms in their games including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 together with the Nintendo Wii. Others include the game systems that are hand held such as the Nintendo DS, the PlayStation portable to mention just a few. The distribution of the company’s games spread globally. In addition, when it comes to research and staff development, Nintendo has been one of the best coupled with the production of the role playing, action adventure, combat games and racing.

The Nintendo marketing is limited to the fact that the release of the games is basically popular only in specific times of the year therefore, in case of the production and distribution miscalculation; there will be a likelihood of hurting the sales together with making the assets not to be as profitable as expected. The opportunity arising from the Nintendo marketing is based on the fact that there has been recognition by the computer gaming for the simulation needs for the US army and there can be some games that can be provided for achieving their goals. The adoption of the games is also being targeted at the medicine, defense, education, architecture, government application and also in the city planning. Despite this opportunity, there is a threat to Nintendo which is based on the fact that the sales and the profits depend on the gaming consoles purchasing power that is prolonged. There is therefore a likelihood of the game sales slumping incase of waning of the gaming sales.

Main barriers to marketing planning  

Confusion between the strategy and marketing tactics: As the organizations peers into the misty organizational behavior depth through marketing planning, there is a high probability of the confusion reigning supreme. It is only a few marketers that have a clear understanding to the strategic marketing significance contrary to operational and tactical marketing plan. As Nintendo is being led by the management whose orientation is proactive; stretching beyond the end of the running fiscal year, the results that are being shown are likely to be better in relation to the old hasty organizations whose vision is only short term.

Recommendation: A strategic marketing plan must first be developed. This will entail a strong emphasis on exploring the environment at the external level. There should be an earlier identification of forces from which it emanates in addition to involvement of all the levels in the process of management. Basically, the period that is usually covered by a strategic plan needs to be limited to between 3 and 5 years and it is after this agreement that a marketing plan that is operational is developed.

Isolation of the marketing functions from the operations

            One of the common reasons why the marketing plan fails is due to the belief that marketing is something that is done in the office. The marketing supreme appointment is usually something that is lastly attempted ditch which is usually attempted at putting the “right” after the failure of everything else. Well; here the trouble is encountered after the new person comes along finding all the power vesting in others; in particular for the development of the product, customer service, pricing and selling; irrespective of the skills or knowledge. This results in promotional mix bits for which the new person can play with. This results in the new executive becoming powerless to have any significance influence therefore failing quickly.

Recommendation: In order for this berries to be avoided, Nintendo will; for the marketing planning purpose to put marketing as close to the customers as possible. The sales and marketing should where possible be able to report to a similar person, who ought not to be the chief executive officer.

Confusion between the marketing concept and the marketing function

            This confusion includes the confusion with sales, product management, advertising and the customer service. On the issue of confusion with the product management, the belief that a good product has to be produced by a company in order to be successful is seen to flourish in many companies.

Recommendation: Marketing is usually a process of management in which the utilization of all the organizations resources is aimed at satisfying the needs of a particular group of customers that is selected through which the organization is able to achieve its objectives. Based on this perception, marketing should initially be an attitude of mind rather than a functional activities series.

Organizational barriers    

            Nintendo has a typical organigram, based around the corporate functions that include the production, finance, distribution, personnel, marketing and operations. Even as there is clarity in the justification behind this organization type, it is obviously clear that getting the personnel with loyalty to subjugate their goals to the customer satisfaction broader goals can really be difficult. Clearly, this is the top management role that has a lot to do with the culture of corporate.

Recommendation: The activities of the company should be organized on the basis of the customer groups possibly and not on the functional activities and the marketing planning should be done in these units of strategy. Without marketing planning that is excellent, there will be limited value.

The need for in- depth analysis

This is clear evidence that even from the companies that are well respected; the complaint that is common is usually concerned with lack of information that is adequate for the analysis purpose. However, on deeper investigation, it in most cases usually results to be a scenario of a lot of information and not too little. Lack of proper analysis is the real problem here.  For the last years, the method of market intelligence development has been highlighted in literatures, yet there is clear evidence that the industry has not yet been able to even establish the basic rights in relation to; the environment, markets, internal strengths and weaknesses and the competitors. It is also clearly understood that even if there is an adequate system of intelligence in an organization, there is rarely a case whereby the managers undertake a formal marketing audit as an activity that is required at a specific time of the year as a component of the planning that is agreed.

Recommendation: For there to be an effective marketing audit, there should be an agreement of the checklist which are customized on the basis of the organization level. In addition, the marketing audit should be an activity that is required. There should not be permission for the managers to hide behind terms that are perceived to be vague such as the poor condition in the economy. In addition, there should be an encouragement for the managers to incorporate the marketing tools in the audit

The confusion between the output and process  

            It is usually very common to have the confusion between the processes of management in the marketing plan. This has mostly been perceived to result from the instances whereby the there are very bulky plans to have any importance to the busy line management with most containing data masses and information rightly belonging to the information system of the companies marketing or audit. Through its inclusion to the plan of marketing, the impact and focus is affected.

Lack of skills and knowledge

            The perennial problems are in most cases centered on the behavior of the market segmentation and customer behavior. According to the marketing studies conducted in various leading companies in the UK, it is clear that most of the marketing practitioners rarely have a clue to differentiation of marketing objective and the corporate objective as well as an advertising objective. In order to enhance the success of a marketing, interpersonal skills and communication are important prerequisites; based on the fact that there will not be any success for the marketing plans unless it is understood by those whom the implementation burden lies coupled with motivation towards accomplishment.

Recommendation: There should be certainty that there is necessary skills and marketing knowledge in those in charge of marketing. In particular, there is need for the understanding and knowledge on the use of important marketing tools (         Adcock et al, 2001) which will include; information, positioning, management of the portfolio and analysis of the product lifecycle.

Lack of marketing planning systematic approach 

            Gorb (1998) highlights that the requirements for planning are what form the difference between the hunter and the farmer. Leppard (1987) adds that there are basically many types of planning systems that the organization usually needs. These will range from the systems that are very informal to those that are highly formalized, with the autonomy degree at the top and bottom being based on the development stage and size of the organization. An analytical tool for the organizational development stage measurement has been evolved by Leppard (1987) through which the appropriateness of the marketing plan system is ensured.

Recommendation: A written procedure needs to essentially be provided as well as a format that is well argued for the marketing planning. In this procedure, the key issues should be systematically considered, the strategic planning essential elements should be pulled together in a manner that is consistent, and the diverse business should be compared in addition to understanding the overall conditions and organizational prospects.

Failure of objectives prioritization

            The success of Nintendo is a clear evidence of the company success in the production of marketing plans that have been well reasoned. However, there is a likelihood of encountering many strategies and objectives in a plan. Due to this, the managers results in getting stuck into the syndrome of the day to day, with a likelihood of resulting to creeping to a marketing plan that is not actually implemented. The senior manager has the role of concentrating on the attention of the lower levels of the management in both actionable and leverage factors for effective undertaking of the jobs. A time allocation planner in such case will be very important.

Recommendation: All the objectives should be prioritized based on their urgency and impacts on the organization and the allocation should be accordingly.

Justification for the need of innovation within Nintendo

            After experiencing an industry turbulence over the last few decades, the culture that has been developed by Nintendo has been that of seeking for something new, filled with the believe that the entertainment has to be kept fresh coupled with the unending ambition. According to the top 30 innovations ranking in the video gaming history, Nintendo is the only company that is listed as the current main manufacturer. To keep up with this tread, there is indeed the need for innovation that is not one timer but continuous. Despite dominating the market in this field with high rate of new innovative development, this does not fully shield Nintendo from competition. In fact, the competitors are always developing new products to compete for the limited number of customers that are available in their field. Nintendo was the initial manufacturer to design a Six Analog stick controller, which was applied in its third comfort of the video game. The Wii advertisement activities by Nintendo are a clear illustration of the innovation strategy of the company. Nintendo is quite aware that the business of video game hardware is a momentum business, in which a high sale has to be achieved at the new product launch. To enhance this, the company needs strong reliance on new innovations through which the launch momentum will be enabled.


Phases for new product development by Nintendo

            All the products that are developed by Nintendo have undergone through certain phases. This period is also characterized by various changes being made to the product in relation to its market behavior. Based on the fact that Nintendo product development is guided by the goal of making profits, the product development phases has been guided by strict management. Through the use of strategic planning, the company has utilized various production phases. In the production of its products, Nintendo has incorporated five major steps which are; development of the product, introduction, the growth, maturity followed by the decline of the product. Even before the already established products undergo the phase of decline; they have been followed by the introduction of new and more improved versions. Consider Play Station One which was followed by the Play Station Two. The Wii is still at the growth phase in the market. These phases have not only applied to Nintendo but also to other companies dealing with various products and have been summarized in the figure below.

Figure 1: product development phases.


Source: Meel (2002)


Techniques for new products development

            Price, product, promotion and place are the four marketing Ps. There is however an obsession that is frenetic nowadays with promotion, hectic battle for the pricing and confusion when it comes to place which results in overlooking the P of product. When consider the development of products, it usually takes place in an internal development and research vacuum or as a customer request reflexive response. As Nintendo develops its product, it understands that there is nothing wrong with complying to the needs of the customers but there will be a likelihood of missing the chance of innovation if that is all that the company does. There is a clear understanding that seeking the opinion of what people wants always results in having opinions given on the basis of what they have already seen (Hatton, 2000). Consider the Nintendo Wii. If the people were asked want they wanted before the development of this product, they could not have thought of something like backward compatibility, less power and different controller type. They would have argued in terms of better graphics, more processing power and more storage among others. To enhance success, Nintendo could use the following technique:

Pricing, distributing and communicating new product

Pricing:  As the Nintendo product developers aim at widening of the age group that consumes its products, they are also making effort aimed at breaking the economic barriers. For example, the play station 3 and Xbox 360 have been perceived to exceed their low end models by $360 with a range of up to $450 for their systems of high end (in which more features are offered). In addition, the pricing of Nintendo Wii ranges at $249; with only one model being produced in contrast to the competitors through which very many products have been produced at the same time to an extent of making it hard for the consumers to know exactly what to take. There is also more than $5 less in the games in comparison to the play station 3 and Xbox 360. The pricing at the launch is one of the factors that have created an attraction of the Nintendo products to their customers.

Communication: Extensive promotion is the strategy that Nintendo has used in the communication of its new products to the market. These promotions are aimed at creating an attraction to the customers in such a way that they are not likely to resist the product. For example, for each unit of Wii purchased by a customer, it is accompanied by a free game. There are no other systems that do offer free games with every other new purchase.

Distribution: For the distribution chain, the buying of the Nintendo Wii products is usually from various companies which include IBM and Panasonic. These products are then distributed to Japan local stores and the Nintendo branch in America. The shipment is then done by another group after the verification for quality to warehouse of the final distributors and even sometime they are distributed straight to their stores which include Gamestop and Walmart. Personal trucks are then used by the Wii distributors through which the products are taken to their own warehouses. Then storing is temporarily done for a short period as the consignments for the final distribution are prepared (Brian, 2008). The selling of most of the products by Nintendo has mostly been enhanced online although most of its products have found their outlets through the other retailers. The places such as Gamestop, Walmart and Amarzon among others have been very essential when it comes to the distribution of some of the Nintendo products such as Wii. The excitement that is usually found in launching a new product (Kottler, 2009) has been witnessed by Nintendo based on the fact that most of these products have received an overwhelming positive consumer support.

Nintendo follows the standard distribution strategy in which distribution channel should then be set up coupled with a shipping logistics. According to this strategy, the distributors and retailers should be communicated with once the product is fully prepared for the stores display (Blythe, 2006). Based on the availability of the online shopping, the hosting site should be tested for malfunction prevention. Emergency plans should also be developed in order to ensure that overstock and shortage of the stock is managed. In addition, the support team should be assisted in answering inquires of the customers in addition to troubleshooting any issues encountered by the customers. The effort should be collaborated between the research and support team in order to ensure that long term solution are developed for the issues that were unfolded during the period of the new product development. The pricing criteria at the launch of a new product are usually quite tricky and will depend on the strategy that will be used by the company which will vary. Although most customers usually prefer lowly priced products, this will not necessarily mean that a high sale will be realized through low pricing. The pricing criteria will have to consider the need s of the consumers at the different levels of earnings (Hackley, 2009). The process of pricing should be in such a way that the price is positively appreciated by the customer. It price will also have to consider the pricing criteria of the competitors.

Marketing plan for launching a new product

            Step 1: The initial step in this plan for launching a new product is a market research through which the company gets to learn who uses the product, who will purchase the product and who will benefit from the product.

Step 2: The competition should be investigated in the bid to highlight the difference of the product as well as the comparison to the current products. This helps in determination of excelling ways of the company. The investigation basically what will determine if the company the feature that are to be included in the new product in order to ensure that it survives the market. Nintendo new product development has been based on a detailed market investigation which has been witnessed in the results whereby Nintendo Wii received a massive appreciation within the first week of its launching. The reception of the PlayStation 3 was also massive based on the fact that the PlayStation 1 and 2 had satisfactorily served the consumption needs and they were confidence that the company was preparing for them an even more advanced product.

Step 3:  A public relation should be created in connection to the product

Step 4: The new products marketing strategy should be determined and test done with a focus being aimed at the groups for determination of their response to the product. Many marketing types will ensure the success of most of the product. The online promotions, email solicitations and television and radio spots will result in the customers visiting the website for learning more on the newly created product (McDonald, 2007).

Step 5:  A program of public relations should be created with the ideas included allowing the review of the product by the press.

Step 6: The launching readiness should be evaluated to ensuring that there is coordination of the overall timing and absolute readiness of the product at its launch.

Step 7: The department of the customer service should be trained fully to enable the employees to effectively sell the new product. By the time the product is availed to the market for sale, there should be full knowledge by the staff on the product coupled with readiness to sell the product.

Ethical issues  

The pricing strategy ethics is one of the troubles that are facing Nintendo and other major companies. Various law suits are aimed at ensuring that the wholesalers and retailers are protected from selling lower than the cost through the Unfair Trade Act. Nintendo however has some other issues that it has to deal with. Before the 2003 release of the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo was sued by a European Commission lawsuit for price fixing. Nintendo was alleged for colluding with seven various distributors for excluding from purchasing from those places selling the products of Nintendo at a price that was high only for the Nintendo products to be bought from the other countries at lower prices.

            Subliminal advertising is another ethical issue that is facing Nintendo and other organization that are targeting large group of customers in the advertisement. The inserting messages that are subliminal in the advertisement have been perceived to be an action that is inherently misleading. This attempt usually strives at manipulating the thinking of a customer without the realization of the occurrences of such manipulation. The West has been perceived to have had its share of the hullabaloos related to the subliminal advertising based on the fact that the media themselves have been perceived to be on the active side in hoisting such issues. The subliminal advertisement effects have been perceived to be real with significant financial outcome.

The predatory pricing is also another ethical issue that has been perceived in the marketing of the products in the developing nations that employment of the bulk populace has been found in the small and medium enterprises. The ethical issue in the predatory pricing has been perceived in its use by the large organization with an aim of wiping out the competition. Despite the fact that the “no” proponents hold that this would be attributed by the bared pricing to the free market that is unfettered, it is factual that the such issues threatens eliminating a large number of people.

The misleading and false advertisement then results to the issue of disingenuous advertisement that is downright and false from which credibility becomes the question extension. The modern advertisement in the newspapers have nowadays are seen to compare the brands features with the competitors. Citing the “experts” opinions, these advertisements have been perceived to claim their brands to be better in quantitative and qualitative comparison to those of the competitors (Jobber, 2010).

Post purchase dissonance is an ethical issue which has been based on the fact that what the customers see is not what they actually get. This issue has two or more view points that are perceived to be contrasting. Since the element of tangibility does not exist, there are cases in which the consumer has actually ended up with an end product that is not a true reflection of what was initially displayed. The other viewpoint states the punishment of the establishment by the forces of the market based on the fact that the modern marketing usually perceives the consumer to be the king. However, there is trivialization of the larger ethical issue should such concerns be associated with the market forces game play.


Implication of the ethical issues on the marketing mix

            Products decisions

            Nintendo is among the many organizations that are faced with the challenge of various ethical problems in relation to the application and planning of the strategies of its products. For example, due to the problem of the legal and ethics subject not being discussed as required in the process of new product development, there is a likelihood of putting products that are faulty to the market resulting in damaging the consumers (Morgan, 1993).  This in most cases will result from seeing the security of the product as the engineering problem in most of the circumstances. Some of these products especially those targeting the children will have high sensitivity to the ethical problems (Meel, 2002).  Based on this reason, the ethical way of reasoning will have to come into all the marketing levels from the consumer support to the engineering. The ethical issues that exist at the international level are based on the fact that Nintendo market is affected by the various laws of the country where the market of its products spread.

Pricing decisions ethical issues

            Pricing has been perceived to be probably one of the areas that are most difficult in marketing when the analysis is done from the ethical point of view. Ethically, the pricing is usually supposed to be equal or proportional to the consumers taken benefits. The non price increase are the other ethical issues that are perceived to be related to the price together with the price reduction that is misleading, advertisements and fixation of the prices in such a way that the competition is affected.


Distribution decision ethical issues

            The ethical issues that are usually related to the place are perceived to grow out of enterprise, through which the distribution channel are formed with varying needs and goals. Other ethical issues are perceived to result as retailing problems in the subjects, channel and supply management and direct marketing. The ethical issues that are connected to the decisions on retailing have been seen to emerge in areas such as product assortment, buying, selling pricing and forward buying.

Promotion decision ethical issues

            The issues that are connected to promotion have been examined on the basis of personal selling and advertising. Whether there is an ethical issue in marketing or not is seen to be determined in relation to the loss of advertising to the consumers. The ethics and advertising relationship can be analyzed from the advertising trait point of view.

Ethical issues in Nintendo with other organizations

            Based on the fact that there is an issue of money and time crunches, some of the companies operating in the video game industry are at times venturing to using software that are pirated coupled with the violation of the software licenses. In fact, some of the largest companies operating in this industry have violated the software copies or even the rules governing the software in the past. Some of these companies have the trend of continually using the software illegally therefore resulting to billions of currency loss as a result of violation of the licenses. Based on the illegal software issues, Nintendo as a company producing relatively similar products has at many times faced suspicion from the law over the types of standards that it has been maintaining while producing its products. The reservations also spread to the consumers who have at time restrained from the purchasing these products based on the bad reputation that has solely been created by the other producers in this industry.


            A full understanding of the marketing planning will have the ability to offer a valuable guideline to the company in the situation whereby a good strategy has to be developed for excelling in the modern industrial economy which has been characterized with technology intensive competition. Therefore, a competency set to be developed in such case should be unique rather than pursuing a blind plan in most technologies cutting edge.



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