Generally, an organisation adopts a structure that involves strategic business units does so to avoid the inefficiencies and inadequacies in the cumbersome process that administrating single strategic approach based large diversified organizations or multinational companies (Bnet, 2008). The Strategic Business Units are characteristically large and homogeneous, in a way such that, they can exert control over a majority of the factors influencing their performance. Distinct business strategies are developed for these units, since these units are modelled as separate and self reliant planning entities and managed accordingly. To elaborate on this, it may be stated that each SBU individually has its own competitors, business strategies and goals, which are independent of the strategies of the parent company. Moreover, a Strategic Business unit may in totality be a single entity or a company on its own or, it may also be a part of a larger structure, in which it is a smaller part of the parent company intended to perform a particular task. In general, SBUs may be thought of as operating units that have a distinct dimension with respect to the services provided, products manufactured, or even the kind of customers who are expected to purchase a particular kind of product or avail a specific type of service provided by the company.
A good instance would be General Motors which may have separate units for the production of automobiles, diesel-electric locomotives and trucks; all based on engineering and assembly processes but as is apparent, they have distinct and products.
Yet another example of SBU is based on common customers: Proctor & Gamble makes, Ultra-Pampers, Dawn detergent, Pringles potato chips, all based on the fact that these products are largely sold through super markets. But again, it is notable that each of the products mentioned have a very wide variety in terms of raw materials.
3. The major stages of the 'Market Planning Process' may be discussed under the following heads:
(i) Analysis: This stage comprises of detailed research about the various factors that may influence the product or service to be marketed. These factors include specifics about the Environment, Customers, the present and prospective competitors and the position of the company with regard to all the above factors. The outcome of the analysis helps define a clear Business mission that serves as a general objective and provides direction to the planning process. Marketing Audit and SWOT analysis also form a crucial part of this stage which along with the Business Mission provide a general orientation of the strategies to be adopted.
(ii) Forecast/Assumptions: Armed with the results of the previous stage, this stage helps in visualizing the dynamics of the market. Typically, the changes in customers and competitors, changes in the environment and possible variations of the available resources are weighed along with the objectives to get a forecast which is reliable. The further steps assume and take into