In 1980, Michael Porter developed an approach to strategy formulation that proved to be extremely popular with both scholars and practitioners. The approach became known as the positioning school because of its emphasis on locating a defensible competitive position within an industry or sector. In this approach, strategy formulation consists of three key strands of thinking: analysis of the five forces to determine the sources of competitive advantage; the selection of one of three possible positions which leverage the advantage and the value chain to implement the strategy.[68] In this approach, the strategic choices involve decisions about whether to compete for a share of the total market or for a specific target group (competitive scope) and whether to compete on costs or product differences (competitive advantage). This type of thinking leads to three generic strategies:[69]
Commodity analysis studies the ways in which a product or product group is brought to market. A commodity analysis of milk, for example, traces the ways in which milk is collected at individual dairy farms, transported to and processed at local dairy cooperatives, and shipped to grocers and supermarkets for consumer purchase. Institutional analysis describes the types of businesses that play a prevalent role in marketing, such as wholesale or retail institutions. For instance, an institutional analysis of clothing wholesalers examines the ongoing concerns that wholesalers face in order to ensure both the correct supply for their customers and the appropriate inventory and shipping capabilities. Finally, a functional analysis examines the general tasks that marketing performs. For example, any marketing effort must ensure that the product is transported from the supplier to the customer. In some industries this transportation function may be handled by a truck, while in others it may be done by mail or e-mail, facsimile, television signal, the Internet, or airline. All these institutions perform the same function.
It's critical that your marketing department uses their understanding and analysis of your business's consumers to offer suggestions for how and where to sell your product. Perhaps they believe an ecommerce site works better than a retail location, or vice versa. Or, maybe they can offer insights into which locations would be most viable to sell your product, either nationally and internationally.

The product aspects of marketing deal with the specifications of the actual goods or services, and how it relates to the end-user's needs and wants. The product element consists of product design, new product innovation, branding, packaging, labeling. The scope of a product generally includes supporting elements such as warranties, guarantees, and support. Branding, a key aspect of the product management, refers to the various methods of communicating a brand identity for the product, brand, or company. [43]

The role of a social media manager is easy to infer from the title, but which social networks they manage for the company depends on the industry. Above all, social media managers establish a posting schedule for the company's written and visual content. This employee might also work with the content marketing specialist to develop a strategy for which content to post on which social network.

In the 2000s, with increasing numbers of Internet users and the birth of iPhone, customers began searching products and making decisions about their needs online first, instead of consulting a salesperson, which created a new problem for the marketing department of a company.[15] In addition, a survey in 2000 in the United Kingdom found that most retailers had not registered their own domain address.[16] These problems encouraged marketers to find new ways to integrate digital technology into market development.
Strategic planning typically begins with a scan of the business environment, both internal and external, this includes understanding strategic constraints.[54] An understanding of the external operating environment, including political, economic, social and technological which includes demographic and cultural aspects, is necessary for the identification of business opportunities and threats.[55] This analysis is called PEST; an acronym for Political, Economic, Social and Technological. A number of variants of the PEST analysis can be identified in literature, including: PESTLE analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental); STEEPLE (adds ethics); STEEPLED (adds demographics) and STEER (adds regulatory).[56]
Research and testing: Before you can take your idea public, you should perform marketing research and testing. Marketing departments usually test new product concepts with focus groups and surveys to gauge consumer interest, refine product ideas, and determine what price to set. Researching your competitors can help you set an optimal price and generate ideas for positioning your brand in an existing market. What Is Digital Marketing? And How Does It Work?