Marketers have always used experts to help them deliver their plans. Usually, these experts are communication and research agencies. It is very important to have a good relationship with these agencies because they can add value to your work or be a huge drain on resources.
Ideally, you want to build long-term relationships with these agencies so they can understand your business, brand, and needs. Taking the time to select the right agencies is critical for this process.
The 10-step journey to finding your ideal agency
These ten elements will assist you in gathering crucial information about an agency’s competency, finances, and operational style in order to select the ideal agency for your needs.
- What are your immediate requirements? Do you require a group of strategists, analysts, creatives with lateral thinking, or technical/digital experts?
- What will be the division of labour? What level of control, direction, and outsourcing do you plan to exercise?
- Do not refight the last war. Determine what went well and what went wrong with your previous agency in order to better your future partnership.
- What will your executive team accept, value, and purchase? A well-known multinational agency group, an independent creative hothouse, or a brand-new firm solely focused on making your company renowned
- Go over the basics – The most important questions to answer are:
- What are their names?
- What exactly do they excel at?
- What will each team member’s hourly wage be, and how will they be compensated?
- Can we sue them if they harm our brand? How much insurance do they have?
Those who are unable to provide this type of information on the day of the request are not prepared for your serious consideration.
- Get to know the people you’ll be working with on a daily basis.
The pitch team is made up of the agency’s smoothest, most senior, and most experienced veterans. They are intelligent, well-trained, and polished. Put down on paper how many of them will work for your company if you win.
or the accounting department; this is typically made up of less experienced, lower-paid employees, with one highly experienced Director at the helm.
In many circumstances, an agency will not choose their working team until they have won the client, therefore your account team is a fantasy in many cases.
The pitch team should ideally be part of your working group. This will allow you to get a good look at the people with whom you’ll be working.
Allow top supervisors to assist, but ensure that the agency identify and engage the account executives, account supervisors, and frontline creative, media, or technical personnel who will be working on your account.
Determine how many members of the planned team are learning on the job and how many are bringing their extensive experience to bear on achieving your business goals.
- Look into their procedures.
Learn how the agency operates and how it receives and processes the information you provide.
Compare this to your internal processes and tolerances for productivity. How essential is productivity/efficiency to them? Is it definitely the most important thing?
Request process briefings and closely review the agency’s workflow to understand who does what to whom and when. Ask about production timelines for hypothetical assignments. What are their strategies for dealing with last-minute issues or changes?
- Think about their past experiences.
Match their expertise to your requirements. Make your statement as specific as possible.
Examine the planning process as well as the company’s objectives and make connections. Take a look at some inventive examples and media strategies.
In competitive situations, get them to explain about how they came up with the ideas. You want someone who can think critically, execute well, and redeploy these skills on your behalf.
Although past performance is not a guarantee of future outcomes, all other factors being equal, an agency that has completed the task you require before has a better chance of executing it correctly for you.
- Double-check your references
Nobody will give you a bad recommendation. However, you should inquire further about the nature of the partnership, project timeframe, any claimed victories, and/or the day-to-day working environment. Take a look at how long their clients have stayed with them on average. Inquire about the leadership, the working team, the schedule, and the prices.
Inquire about the specifics of what went wrong. Understanding how an agency heals sometimes is the most enlightening aspect of its operations.
- Put the shortlisted agencies to the test in a live working session.
Request that agencies take part in a live 90-minute strategy discussion. This will provide you with a firsthand impression of what it’s like to work with a specific agency team.
Agency Selection: the shortlist and writing the brief
Analysing a Market
Some businesses conflate the planning process with the annual budgeting cycle. Budgets are distributed more haphazardly in these organisations, based on last year’s allocation or performance. Managers present budgets and then select how to spend them once they have been agreed upon. This strong finance-led approach aided efficiency but did little to encourage proactive, market-driven planning and strategy. Finance, rather than being an enabler of plans, drives the planning in this approach.
Most businesses now understand the need of market/customer-driven planning and strategy, in which opportunities are found, evaluated, and business cases are presented to senior management. The budget procedure is used to allocate resources to implement the chosen plans.
Budgets are essential for management to examine and choose among the available possibilities. As a result, they play a crucial role in the planning process:
They are a quantifiable declaration of the resources needed to put a strategy into action.
They aid in the choosing of a strategy.
Once approved, they serve as a benchmark against which progress and performance may be measured by comparing actual expenses and revenues to budgeted figures.
Marketing budgets have been set in the past in a variety of unproductive methods. Budgets based on the following criteria are included:
last year’s budget (plus or minus a percent )
Spending by competitors or industry best practises
what we can manage
For a number of reasons, none of them presume a relationship between marketing inputs and business outcomes, hence thus are useless and inadvisable.
The plan’s cost should have been calculated based on its objectives and tasks. To put it another way, the operations required to gain 20 new orders, say, should have been identified and costed. The required expenditure can then be compared against the plan’s projected benefits, such as the short- and long-term worth of winning 20 new accounts.
There is only one style of budgeting that is truly acceptable, and that is the objective and systematic approach.
technique of the task
The process for growing consumers in the corporate sector is depicted in the following cascade of objectives.
If this business goal is to be met, you will need to allocate the following resources:
2400 potential business users were made aware of the service.
The sales process for 800 new clients will be resourced.
You may have previous measurements to help you accurately estimate the costs of these activities, or you will need to identify how you will meet your goals; list the tasks; and calculate the budget required.
Remember to double-check your budget for rationality.
Compare the investment you’re asking for to the expected business advantages once you’ve defined the resources you’ll require on an objective and task basis. Is the investment worthwhile? Will it provide a high rate of return on investment in the stock market? If not, you should go back to the drawing board because your business case is unlikely to succeed. Remember to think about a new customer’s lifetime worth, not simply the initial transaction.
Cash Flow Forecasts
Championing the Customer
Bringing the client into the boardroom
In competitive markets, it is widely accepted that a customer-focused business is crucial to success. However, there has been little genuine activity in many industries to make this a reality. This apprehension is natural, but the true roadblock has been the organization’s structure. The majority of businesses are organised around inward-looking strategic business units. Customers and creating relationships with them receive less attention and resources than products and their life cycles. They risk losing out to more agile new entrants that construct a firm that starts with the consumer at its heart, due to their inward-looking attitude.
Customer needs must have a place in the boardroom to avoid this. This is not the same as having a marketer on the board of directors. A client champion, such as a Brand Director or Chief Marketing Officer, who will be best placed at Board level and comprehend the language of finance, which still dominates, is required in the boardroom. They will reflect the customer’s point of view and promote the idea that the company’s raison d’être is to solve the problems of its target market.
This necessitates prioritising client needs in the development of products and services, as demand and supply, and thus your company’s competitiveness, are inextricably interwoven. The focus of the firm, regardless of its size or sector, is on relevant, distinctive, and believable value offerings.
Customer attention is required in many industries because most marketplaces are made up of customers who have a choice for a variety of reasons. Deregulation of public services, for example, has allowed new rivals to enter the market, and advances in service technology, such as online shopping and Internet banking, have helped to expand the range of options available.
Marketing takes on a new role.
A new role for marketers emerges as the entire company seeks to focus on the consumer. Marketing must now be understood as a term used to define how a customer-oriented organisation approaches its business, rather than being considered as a communication function responsible for supporting the sales effort.
Making high-quality items is no longer a guarantee of economic success. Customers expect high-quality products and a flawless customer experience that includes additional perks such as after-sales assistance, delivery, training, or finance packages, thanks to technological advancements that have lowered the hurdles to entry.
The following are the benefits of putting the consumer at the centre of your business:
Customers are less price sensitive and will pay more for a greater value goods.
Customers who are loyal reduce marketing expenditures in the future since researching future demands is easier and less expensive, and loyal customers have a higher lifetime value.
Offering clients what they want today and anticipating how their demands could change tomorrow is an important component of a successful strategy.
Channel Strategy and Effectiveness
Communicating with Stakeholders
Maintaining stakeholder support is important to the success of any company strategy implementation. The owner and their family, employees and customers, as well as industry regulators, are all stakeholders in a small, privately owned business. The stakeholders in a large multinational charity are more diverse, including recipients, governments, other assistance organisations, sponsors, and personnel. They may have interests and goals that do not always align, and they may span multiple geographies. National governments, for example, may seek to maximise tax receipts from businesses operating in their nations, but shareholders would prefer that taxes be paid in the lowest-taxed places.
Not all stakeholders share the same level of interest in the company, nor are they viewed as equally important to its long-term success. Companies of all sizes are recognising the value of taking the time to determine who their stakeholders are, and then implementing plans to meet their needs, in the hopes of retaining their support.
Stakeholder maps are a good place to start, both at the corporate level and at the individual management level, because both must develop a business case and gain support for a strategy.
Effective communication is the cornerstone to stakeholder management. This includes the following:
A straightforward communication process
A strong message
Having the ability to properly communicate this message (and consistently)
You can begin to analyse the scope and kind of communication activities required by mapping the key stakeholder groups, which will serve as the foundation for segmentation because each group has different demands and interests.
Each group will have its own set of motives, which must also be understood. Before communication strategies can be devised, their needs may need to be separated. Consider a charity; regular donors will be satisfied by a sense of connection and accomplishment, as well as recognition of their efforts. There will be corporate sponsors who will be interested in the numbers. Then there are some who are less involved yet would benefit from receiving a monthly newsletter. Understanding and prioritising segments is critical since it allows managers to determine who the recipients are and what their needs are.
Another factor to consider in sustaining stakeholder support is communication via external campaigns. You may need to collaborate with other departments, such as HR to communicate with employees or the Secretary to raise the public profile.
Tip: To prevent wasting time and resources, it’s a good idea to test communications with a small group of people first. This way, any potential issues can be addressed quickly. Monitoring communication responses will provide important feedback for improving ongoing conversations and spotting anything that has detracted from the content sent.
Demand and Supply
Paying attention to the consumer
The process of communication must be two-way. Active listeners are good communicators. ‘They never listen to me,’ is a common complaint of someone in an unsatisfying relationship.
Active listening is critical for a company that wants to create strong customer relationships and become more customer-centric.
Instead of utilising sales and advertising strategies to ‘inform’ people about your product, undertake market research and actively listen to them. If market research is done seriously, this is a step toward your company becoming customer-driven.
The goal of market research is to provide information to businesses about their customers’ requirements and preferences. This information can then be utilised to improve or re-engineer the offering such that it gives benefits that the targeted client segment values. If this procedure is successfully accomplished, and the benefits are adequately communicated to individuals in the segment’s decision-making unit, the organisation should become the preferred supplier for those users.
Listening skills that work
A number of factors must occur in order for effective listening to occur.
You must be specific about who you want to speak with. The section, as well as the decision-making unit within it, must be defined clearly.
If your marketing plan is to build new markets or take market share from competitors, be careful not to make the error of investigating your current consumer base. Non-users are likely to have different opinions than loyal or current customers.
Be conscious of the terminology you’re using — can both parties understand it? The usage of technical jargon is an example of this.
Remember to prepare and present your research questions to the interviews. Carefully designed questions might add bias, and the choice of qualitative or quantitative approaches will affect the type of data collected. Marketers must recognise that research design and development is a specialised skill that must be performed by well-briefed researchers in order for the organisation to achieve the best value for money.
Open channels of communication are required so that the organisation can tap into market information flows. These can be informal and ongoing, such as the information grapevine that the sales team and other customer-facing employees have access to. They could also be more formal and less frequent, and they’re more likely to be focused research surveys. All of these distinct information channels can help the organisation, and it should work hard to keep them open.
You must identify what questions you want answered as a marketer. Research that isn’t focused can be a waste of time and money. To discover the information gaps, a thorough study is required. Secondary data is becoming available to provide quantitative information on who buys, what they buy, and when and where they buy. The qualitative questions that drive motivation and answer the question “why” are critical to understanding customer behaviour and developing more useful market segmentation methodologies.
Note: Information can be divided into two categories: “good to know” and “need to know.” Because obtaining ‘need to know’ information may take time or money, it is necessary to plan ahead and include the research projects required in the following year’s business strategy.
Environmental Analysis Checklist
The external analysis, often known as PEST or PESTEL, sets the stage for all planning. It must be carried out at the market level, with a market defined as a set of organisations or customers with a common need.
PEST or PESTEL analysis should not be done once a year, but rather on a regular basis to keep an eye out for the unexpected. You’re predicting what might happen, therefore you should expect your predictions to be off, and it’s critical to keep track of what really happens so that your plans can be adjusted as quickly as possible.
The further out you prepare, the more likely it is that your prognosis will be inaccurate.
Despite these restrictions, it is critical to understand the market context for which you are designing.
- Determine which environmental elements are likely to play a role in your market.
For example, instead of worrying about the underlying rate of inflation, consider food price inflation or inflation indices for vacationers.
- Determine how these variables can be tracked.
To collect and analyse important data, set up information systems.
- Once the modifications have been found, assess their importance to the company.
Using an opportunities/threats matrix, the management can categorise potential changes in terms of their importance and likelihood of occurring.
- Identifying and forecasting change is useless unless it is implemented.
Significant and likely events should be included in the plan because it is expected that they will occur.
Contingency plans are required for less likely but significant situations, whereas scenario or “what if?” preparations are required for the unlikely.
The PESTEL analysis template contains additional PESTEL information.
PESTELE or STEEPLE is a variant of PEST or PESTEL.
Highlighting actual performance against your budget plan is a helpful practise. The graph below depicts the performance of a group of distributors who were each tasked with producing revenue from a new market sector. Each has a revenue prediction and a cost of sales target. Each one’s performance is then measured in terms of percentages above or below the forecast.
It’s worth noting that by using percent of budget as the metric, distributors with vastly different aims and scales can be compared at the same time.
Management has concluded that meeting or exceeding 10% of estimated expenditures and revenue targets is acceptable.
As you can see in the sample below:
Distributors B, C, F, and K are all within the ten percent budget variance tolerance you’ve selected. There is no need to respond right away.
Both revenue and costs are down for A and J (so profitability may not be too badly impacted), but there is a performance issue that needs to be addressed. Their forecasting and budgeting may be in jeopardy.
It’s possible that market conditions have changed unexpectedly. There may be a cause and effect here: expenditures have been kept low by cutting marketing efforts, and demand has declined as a result, resulting in lower revenues. There could be a resource or management issue that needs to be identified and addressed.
Budget is outperformed by E and G. Revenue is growing, but costs are up as well. Although the impact on profitability may be minor, the underlying causes of this unusually high level of activity are worth investigating. Bottom-line performance will be greatly enhanced if the higher level of business can be maintained with less expense escalation.
Lower revenues and higher costs will have a negative impact on profitability, and the causes must be addressed as soon as possible.
I, D, and H are the success stories, with lower expenses and higher revenues. How was this accomplished, and can the success be replicated in other areas of the company? Maybe these managers could help the L and M teams?
Exception reporting allows you to direct your resources and attention to the areas where they will have the greatest impact, and it pushes you to analyse both excellent and bad performance.
A forward-thinking organisation is a learning organisation, one in which management and operational personnel are continually asking “why?” and striving to better their own performance.
International Markets and Culture
Managing the Customer Experience
Managing International Expansion
Managing the Marketing Mix
What marketing mix do you have?
The marketing mix refers to all of the factors that can impact or change a product’s or service’s demand. It’s a little misleading because marketing doesn’t have influence over these variables; they’re better described as the business mix because they represent a company’s collective business decisions on what to provide a certain market and how to compete for customers.
The ‘4 Ps’ of the marketing mix are Product, Price, Promotion, and Place, but they can be expanded to the ‘7 Ps’ by adding People, Process, and Physical Evidence to show how the mix is extended to incorporate intangible components. These are still important competitive advantage drivers in today’s marketplaces.
What marketing applications may it be used for?
You can alter the marketing mix as a marketer to control the amount of demand that is generated.
It is a mistake to believe that this mission is only about raising demand. The problem is to make sure demand and supply are in sync. Service providers are perhaps the most obvious example of an organisation whose marketing mix is designed to control, shift, or even cut demand at times of peak demand.
Customers make purchasing decisions based on their perceptions of value for money, which is defined as the benefits they believe you provide divided by the price you charge, for example.
‘Does holiday A offer better value than holiday B, notwithstanding the latter’s later departure time?’
Because our discretionary cash is limited, we must make decisions, and the marketing mix serves as the foundation for those decisions.
As a result, the marketing mix is critical in the go-to-market strategy since it symbolises the parts that come together to produce the value proposition.
The value proposition is an internal document that specifies how you wish to position your product or service in relation to a specific market niche. It should clearly state who your offer is for and how it differs from the competitors. It will also guarantee that you market:
The right goods to the right person at the right time and at the right price.
We don’t want a luxury product to be advertised just on the basis of its price, or an economy model to be presented in 5-star packaging. The mix’s uniformity and internal integrity are critical.
There are other permutations of the P’s that can be created, such as boutique city centre hotels targeting corporate travellers. This goal can be met by cutting back on services like porterage that aren’t valued by business travellers.
The marketing mix gives you a toolkit for influencing demand by allowing you to deliver intended value to clients and develop a strong presence in your selected target market.
Remember that each section of your market is distinct by definition, thus their special needs will have to be met by a customised blend of mix ingredients. Because modifications are costly and you are trading effectiveness for efficiency, you will only need to adjust one or two aspects of the mix that satisfy the unique need.
Managing Marketing Resources
Measuring Return on Investment in Communications
Measuring the Return on Communication Spend
Budgets for marketing communication and promotion can be rather large. During the debut of a new deal, companies will normally spend between 1% and 6% of total revenues on marketing and promotional activities, or possibly more.
Because this is a significant investment in a market, determining the return on those resources is critical. It’s hardly surprise that measuring the success of promotional spending is high on management’s priority list. Providing reliable feedback and proof is neither easy nor inexpensive in and of itself. It is, nonetheless, widely acknowledged as a beneficial hobby.
Quantification and review haven’t always piqued the interest of marketing executives. This could be due to our profession’s forward-thinking and “on to the next challenge” attitude, but it seems more likely to be due to a fear of being blamed. The beneficial benefits of learning from experience are lost if review leads to criticism and blame. Marketers must establish a conducive climate and allow time for thoughtful and constructive evaluation.
Instead than being viewed as a means of ‘checking in’ on the marketing team, measurement should be viewed as a means of continuous improvement. We must recognise that we cannot improve marketing and marketing communications operations until managers wishing to boost sales by one can select a potential client and be certain of a 1:1 conversion. In the drive for more efficient and successful market investment, feedback, thorough examination, and analysis of what works and what doesn’t are critical.
Many factors contribute to the difficulty of communication research. These are some of them:
The duration of the decision-making process A ten-year-old youngster who views a luxury automobile commercial on TV and resolves to possess one may take thirty years to realise his or her dream. How can that be explained?
Digital and traditional or offline tactics have evolved in parallel in certain organisations. This is a mistake that makes precisely assessing the impact of a campaign nearly impossible. The focus of a digital strategy should be on providing the platforms and technology needed to reach audiences, but marketing communicators must plan and execute the use of these platforms and technologies in audience-specific programmes.
Online and offline activities, as well as a variety of tools ranging from advertising to events and sales promotion, will be included in the integration of communication tools and channels as campaigns. Attempting to unpick these is like to attempting to unpick a cake mix. You can assess the overall performance, but assessing the worth and influence of each component is far more difficult.
We’re dealing with marketplaces that are made up of individuals. Many uncontrollable circumstances, such as competitive activity or unanticipated environmental changes, might influence behaviour. Taking a snapshot of effectiveness today could lead to false conclusions. A broader perspective
It is frequently necessary to keep track of trends. Trends, not absolutes, should be monitored. As an example,
In a booming market, the number of Twitter followers may be increasing, but this may not be the case.
a significant segment of your market can be used to hide a trend on Instagram.
Although the communication is effective, it will be ineffective if it is used to support ineffective marketing.
Even if you change your business approach, the results will be bad.
The target market segments and intended positioning are determined by the marketing strategy. The value proposition is briefed to the marcoms team; if it is not relevant, differentiated, and believable, the communications team may reach the proper audiences at a low cost, but they will not respond. The communications team’s job is to effectively communicate the implications of that positioning to the DMU’s key players.
The starting point for control is the objectives.
Setting is the starting point for determining the success of communications operations.
defined and quantifiable goals These serve as a rough yardstick against which real performance can be measured.
If you’re already selling in this area, you should have some metrics or at least a notion of how many prospects are going through the decision-making process in order to make one new sale.
The communication aim cascade
Previous measurements can serve as a springboard for defining goals for current year. We’ve recorded a 1:10 conversion from awareness to sale in the basic example below.
If our marketing strategy calls for us to acquire 100 new clients, we will set the following goals:
1000 target market prospects are aware
There are 500 new visitors to the site.
There are 100 new clients.
You’ll almost certainly incur fees at each of these steps; for example, if your internet advertising and SEO spend works out to £2 per prospect reached, you may start calculating a budget to reach 1,000 prospects.
Internal reports, competition analysis, and market research are all sources of information that can be used to aid appraisal.
Metrics – Improving Control
Product Management – Developing New Products
Planning Marketing Activities – Gantt Charts
Product Life Cycle (PLC)
A company’s product portfolio is the variety of products and services it provides to its clients. It can boost its chances of winning more business from existing clients by expanding the lines it offers, and by increasing the variety within a line, it can try to attract new parts of the market. This portfolio shows the organization’s’stock’ of offerings, which are its market resources.
The following terms are used to describe a portfolio:
Within a product category, deep refers to the amount of lines or options available.
The amount of diverse product types or categories is referred to as broad.
Consistent = the portfolio’s similarity in terms of clients, manufacturing methods, and distribution.
As a result, a high-end fashion house may have a portfolio that is thin (few styles), deep (covering shoes, clothes, bags, and perfumes), and consistent (because all offers are targeting the same customer base and delivered through the same outlets).
Portfolio analysis techniques are useful in a variety of situations.
forecasting future sales levels
the tactics required to maximise the profits from a specific product
a thorough awareness of the product portfolio’s profit profile
The numerous portfolio analysis models each have their own set of flaws and limits, which you should be aware of. Each model, on the other hand, can provide useful insight and perspective during the auditing stage of marketing planning.
The outcome of the exchange process when buyers and sellers meet can be used to determine the success of an operation by asking:
Are the needs of the users being addressed, and their expectations being met?
Is the organisation profitable, or has it met other stakeholder goals?
It is crucial for marketers and other management to remember the essence of mutually beneficial exchange. Making efficient products is pointless if no one wants to buy them, necessitating customer-centric business planning. Similarly, if sales are produced at a loss, acquiring clients is of little value to the shareholders.
The products and the markets that they serve are two facets of marketing strategy. A thorough understanding of the market, like a thorough understanding of the product range, is critical to the marketing planning process.
The benefits of the product as a whole are known as the total product concept.
A product or service is essentially a collection of benefits assembled by a corporation (value proposition) to meet the needs of a specific consumer segment. Customers select the product that they believe will best meet their wants or address their problems.
A effective framework for assessing the individual pieces in the portfolio is to review the product offering in terms of Kotler’s Total Product Concept with all four dimensions, namely core, expected, augmented, and potential advantages.
Core and anticipated dimensions will not give you a competitive advantage, but they are necessary for customers to consider your product/service. If your product isn’t being considered, something is wrong at the most fundamental level, and you need to learn more about buyer expectations. If all competitors in your industry simply match basic and expected benefits, your market will become commoditized, and customers will have little choice in which product they buy.
Competitive advantage can be gained and products successfully differentiated from one another in the area of the augmented product. Winning competitive advantage is one thing, but maintaining it is quite another. Features that are easily duplicated by a competitor, such as the introduction of airbags or the sale of air miles, will be quickly replicated if they are effective. These advantages quickly transfer to the expected product, rising costs and opening the market to the company that can discover a new way to differentiate itself. As a result, the fourth circle is crucial. Managers must be on the lookout for prospective benefits they might incorporate into their offering in the future to ensure relevant distinction.
Managers have the chance to conduct a detailed evaluation of the overall product performance, as well as study the numerous features and determine which aspects provide the greatest customer value, during the audit stage of the planning activity. Custom and practise can blind managers to shifting client priorities and devalue elements of the core, or expected offering.
Customer-focused businesses strive to gain a competitive edge by distinguishing themselves from their competitors’ offerings. They might spend more money on a faster delivery service, more technical alternatives, or better after-sales care. Their strategy will succeed if they can provide extra benefits that the market segment values highly. To accomplish this, thorough research is required in order to comprehend the customer’s needs, preferences, and priorities.
After determining and agreeing on the value/money positioning that it believes will win over clients, the company must use all of its operational talents to accomplish this while still generating a profit.
Social Media for Customer Service
Social Media for Sales
Supporting Change in the Marketing Department
What is the definition of change management?
Change management is the process of changing employee behaviour in order to achieve a new way of functioning. It is critical to be clear about the stated change and create clear objectives before beginning any type of change management. Delivering change management objectives necessitates resource reallocation to guarantee that the relevant steps are carried out. Marketing departments are frequently in charge of change programmes because they are ideally positioned to contact various stakeholders and convey complicated information in a timely manner.
Winning the hearts and minds of stakeholders is often critical to the success of change initiatives. Internal (employees and managers), connected (customers and suppliers, etc.) and external (employees and managers) stakeholders must all be identified (Industry bodies, social groups and Government etc.). It is vital to understand each stakeholder’s role in the change programme and to craft relevant communications for them. Understanding the underlying causes of change is critical to success.
It’s critical to identify the driving causes behind a change initiative before getting started, as they frequently influence the strategy to change management. Planned changes, such as relocation and/or restructure, are frequently internal factors. In this case, a pre-defined framework can be put in place ahead of time to advise important stakeholders of their roles during the transition. External influences are frequently unplanned and can include challenges like as shifting consumer behaviour or technical advancements. This type of transformation frequently necessitates a new strategic direction or rebranding. Stakeholder management is critical in this situation, and it requires effective communication routes to reach internal, linked, and external stakeholders. Each stakeholder group is responsible for a distinct aspect of the new strategic vision’s implementation.
In order to manage change programmes, the marketing team must engage in effective communication. Internal and external circumstances can dictate a change agenda in an organisation, and it is frequently the marketing department’s role to lead this change agenda. We’ll go over a couple significant change drivers here:
Factors from within
Process efficiency is a driving force.
Factors from outside
Government rules and regulations
Overcoming Change Resistance
Identifying sources of resistance during change programmes is useful; these fall into one of three categories. I political power-based resistance, which typically comes from senior management, (ii) departmental resistance, which comes from middle management attempting to define the bounds of change programmes, and (iii) individual resistance, which can result in union disputes.
The three stages of Kurt Lewin’s change model are as follows:
- Unfreezing previously frozen behaviour (Gaining acceptance for change)
It’s critical to increase awareness about how present working practises are harming the company.
- Make a behavioural change (Modifying behaviour)
The change is provided here, together with training and education to support the goal of the change.
- re-freeze (Reinforce work patterns)
This is the final stage, and it entails taking steps to prevent employees from reverting to old working habits.
The appointment of change agents
It’s critical to find individuals who see the larger picture, and this often has little to do with their job title. In the different areas where change has influenced working practise, change champions must be assigned. Change champions and senior management should meet on a regular basis, since these sessions will serve as two-way communication conduits during the change process.
Supporting Channel and Partnership Marketing Activities
Why do we employ marketing channels in the first place?
Potential clients need to be able to access products and services, therefore choosing the best channels is crucial. By examining the ‘location’ of delivery in depth, the marketing mix can be used to assist in this process. We’ll be able to address crucial concerns like building channel marketing plans and expanding the channel marketing offer as a result of this.
Creating channel marketing strategies
There are a few critical steps to creating a channel marketing strategy:
This necessitates a first-hand examination of the industry’s structure. Within this industry, it is critical to comprehend the intermediates engaged in the distribution of goods and services. Traditionally, some significant parties are involved, such as the wholesaler and the retailer. However, the introduction of digital marketing has resulted in disintermediation, meaning that businesses are increasingly selling directly to consumers. In the guise of comparison websites, third-party agents have penetrated several industry sectors.
The second step is to create a multi-channel strategy. A product lifecycle (PLC) exists for all products and services, and it is critical to understand the most effective channel for reaching the target client profile. Furthermore, because this audience may be reached through various media, knowing channel synergy is critical.
The importance of channel strategy cannot be overstated. The pull-push notion dictates this to some extent. The flow of promotions directly to the consumer is part of pushing items and services onto customers. Trade agreements with wholesalers and retailers, trade advertising to reach a big audience, and personal selling from shops are all examples of this. Pull marketing, on the other hand, is largely beneficial to manufacturing companies, as evidenced by the use of social media channels to deliver client data. Over time, the organisation earns trust and establishes itself as a thought leader in its field.
Once the plan is determined, channel strategies can be devised. The channel marketing proposition must be carefully studied, which frequently includes a brand value assessment. Content strategy should be suited to the channels being used, which is especially crucial in digital marketing because there are so many various forms to consider.
Why do we employ marketing partnerships?
Before getting into a partnership marketing arrangement, an organisation must be certain that it can achieve its objectives in reaching a certain consumer base without relying on the complimentary talents of another.
It’s crucial to choose the right kind of partnership marketing. Here are some of the most common types of partnerships:
When an organisation uses intermediaries to deliver its products and services to market, it is known as a distribution marketing partnership.
When a company advertises its brand on a third-party promotional platform, it is known as a sponsorship marketing relationship.
When a company uses new and innovative technology from a third party to reach clients, it is known as a technical marketing partnership.
When a company identifies viable customers, it forms an affiliate marketing arrangement with another company. This is a pay-for-performance arrangement.
To help the client organisation deliver products and services to market more successfully, an agency partner is hired for consulting support.
The 7 Ps – the Extended Marketing Mix
The 7 Ps – Place
The 7 Ps – Price
The 7 Ps – Product
The 7 Ps – Promotion
The Ansoff Matrix
The Art of Sales Negotiation
The Boston Consultancy Group Matrix
The Boston Consultancy Group developed a product portfolio matrix to assist organisations in developing long-term strategic plans. It assists a company in evaluating growth potential by assessing their product portfolio and determining where they should invest in, develop, or discontinue product production. Unlike the Product Life Cycle (PLC), which focuses on a single product at a time, the BCG Matrix can assist in the analysis of many products (or key business units) at various life cycle stages in various markets.
The BCG Matrix is used to assess a company’s present product portfolio, providing information on cash flow, investment requirements, and profitability. Its purpose is to assist corporations in resource allocation.
Question and Stars Marks necessitate investment, which must come from the portfolio’s cash-generating products. The management of products through the portfolio, as well as ensuring a product balance, are both critical to a company’s success.
Taking two dimensions into consideration
market share, which is a measure of cash flow, and
Market growth is a measure of how much money is being spent.
The BCG Matrix plots all products (or strategic business units) by comparing their market share to that of their biggest competitor.
Keep in mind that the focus is on the served market. If you’re in the sports shoe business, you need to understand your portion of that market, not the entire shoe industry. And if you solely make footwear for athletes, that is the definition of your target market.
This permits niche businesses to be market leaders in their field, but it can make obtaining precise market size numbers difficult.
With so many markets mature or declining, two more cells were added to depict markets in decline: war horses and dodos, which both create cash and profit but may also be in decline.
The horizontal axis depicts your portion of the market served:
X1 denotes a shared market leading position.
A value of X greater than 1 (to the left of the midline) indicates that you are the market leader and how much larger you are than the number 2 firm. As a result, you are now twice as huge. If the number two firm has a 30% market share, you have 60%, and if they have a 15% market share, you have 30%. The higher the value on this axis, the more powerful you are as a leader.
You are not number one if you are to the right of the midline. You could be the second or fifth most popular product in that market. The decimal value indicates your size in comparison to the market leader. So, if you have a 5% market share and are positioned at 0.1, you know the market leader has a 50% market share, which is 10 times yours.
‘Question marks’ are products in a fast-growing market with a small market share, or a market follower in a new market. They have the ability to earn market share and become “Stars,” then “cash cows” once market growth stops. If question marks do not develop, they will devolve into dogs in a few years when market expansion slows. As a result, question marks must be carefully examined to see whether they are worth a significant expenditure in order to increase market share. Because they are big spenders, you can’t have too many of them in your portfolio or you won’t be able to resource them properly.
In a fast-growing business, ‘Stars’ enjoy a large market share. They are the market’s top dog. This indicates they’ll need a lot of money to stay in business. If they stay on top, they can become ‘cash cows,’ but if they lose market share, they can become ‘dogs.’ Defensive strategies will be used, such as erecting barriers to block or slow new entry into what is anticipated to be a lucrative market. Stars spend money and are in charge of profit growth.
‘Cash cows’ are goods that generate profits for a company. These products may be in a mature market, but their cash and profit-generating qualities make them attractive. These products are given as little investment as possible because such investment would be deemed waste; but, occasionally’milking’ them can yield revenue for ‘Star’ products.
‘Dogs’ are items with a small market share and slow growth, which may indicate that they are in a mature market. These usually break even, as they don’t generate enough cash to keep their market share. As a result, this product is regarded worthless. Dogs should be re-evaluated because there may be a better way to allocate resources.
War horses and Dodos are both declining products, but one is a market leader while the other is a follower. End-of-life and exit strategies must be taken into account, although both are expected to contribute to income and profits, albeit at a decreasing pace. Exit strategies are required when there is a better use of resources (opportunity cost), but consideration for existing customers is also required.
The topic guides Planning Marketing Activities – Gantt Charts; the Ansoff Matrix; SOSTAC® the Importance of Planning; and the Strategic Marketing Plan have additional information on marketing planning. See also the Marketing Plan Template and the Building a Marketing Plan practical reference.
The Challenge of Forecasting
The Diffusion of Innovation
The Importance of Planning
The Planning Gap
The Strategic Marketing Plan
Total Product Concept
Philip Kotler developed the Total Product Concept, which saw products as a collection of benefits from the customer’s standpoint. He considered the entire offer, including the value proposition represented by the 7Ps. The offer might be considered on three levels, according to Kotler: the Core product, the Actual product, and the Augmented product.
The core benefit specifies what the product will provide to the consumer, or the problem it will solve. A automobile, for example, delivers you from point A to point B, making the product useful to the buyer. These are frequently the most basic functional advantages. Any product that provides the core advantage is a competitor, whether direct or indirect. Other vehicles are direct competitors in this case, but a bicycle is an indirect competitor.
The Expected Benefits are the features that a client would expect from a product in that category. When buying a new car, you could expect to get a guarantee, a variety of colours and finishes, and possibly a year of free maintenance. Customers are unlikely to consider an offer if it does not meet these perks, which are provided by all direct competitors.
Satisfying the core and expected benefits will get you on the shortlist, but it will not earn you the job. If all suppliers equal these perks and no one offers additional benefits, the market will have commoditized, and buyers will not care who they buy from. Customers in such a market are less likely to be loyal and are more likely to be enticed by cheap offers.
Keep in mind that the prerequisites for achieving core and projected advantages are subject to change. Increased competition may lead to the expectation of new features, or a change in the external environment, such as legislation, may necessitate the implementation of new standards.
The base of competitive advantage and the basis on which segments and individual customers choose between suppliers are augmented advantages. They should explicitly address the buying behaviour or needs of a segment, such as a 2 hour call out option for breakdowns for the industrial client who operates mission-critical machinery, which will be highly valued and draw a premium price. Customers with spare capacity or the ability to plan for servicing may have the same engineer, but they will not be willing to pay the premium for speedy response.
To win at this level, you must distinguish your offer’s augmented benefits from those of your competitors. Avoid overwhelming customers with a vast number of alternatives and extras; instead, create offerings tailored to specific customer segments. Differentiating functional product features is no longer viable because they are easily reproduced, resulting in amplified advantages being the norm. Costs rise, leaving businesses scrambling to develop a new point of uniqueness.
Customer experience, brand values, and corporate social responsibility, i.e. how you do business as a major differentiator, are more likely to be emphasised today. The main thing to remember here is to keep an eye on the future and the potential benefits you may provide in order to avoid increased commoditization in your business.
Understanding and Defining Markets
Understanding Business Buying Behaviour
Understanding Customer Satisfaction
Understanding International Customers
Using Decision-Making Matrices to Evaluate Strategy
What is Web Analytics, and how does it work?
The collection, processing, and reporting of information about visitors to a website and their subsequent interactions with its content is known as web analytics. Google bought Urchin, a tiny web analytics business based in San Diego, in 2005. Urchin had two products at the time: Urchin Software and Urchin-on-Demand. Google then took the core of Urchin-on-Demand and launched Google Analytics in November 2005, making it free to everyone!
Google Analytics is the most powerful web analytics platform available.
Google Analytics is now the most extensively used online analytics package in the world, with a market share of 86.4 percent * and 55.9% * of all websites using it, compared to 35.3 percent * of websites using nothing! (Image courtesy of w3techs.com)
Web analytics is Google Analytics.
So, when we talk about web analytics today, we should actually be talking about Google Analytics and how it gathers, processes, and reports on website visitors and their subsequent interactions with your content.
Reporting on Data
The ABC model — Acquisition, Behaviour, and Conversion – is the basis for Google Analytics reporting.
Your Website’s Target Market
For starters, Google Analytics provides us with a wealth of information about our website visitors, including their location (country, region, city), age, gender, affinity preference (online hobbies), in-market behaviour (what are they looking for right now), and the devices they are using – desktop, tablet, or mobile – as well as the type of mobile or tablet they are using – for example, an Apple iPhone.
Reporting on Purchases
Google Analytics provides information on how your website’s audience was gained — traffic sources such as organic search from Google, paid search from Bing, and so on are likely to appear in Google Analytics reports. Furthermore, under Behaviour, you can see what content your audience interacts with, such as landing pages and top pages of your site, and whether they behave in such a positive way that some of it converts to a positive goal, such as a sale (Transaction) or a Contact us form, newsletter sign-up, request for more information, and so on.
Tracking without revealing your identity
It’s vital to remember that Google Analytics is and has always been an anonymous tracking tool that never records individual users on a website. It is impossible to determine if I have visited your site or not – simply that a User has visited and participated in a session.
Why do people behave in this manner?
Web analytics programmes, such as Google Analytics, will never be able to answer the question “Why?” your audience performs the way they do. For example, Google Analytics can tell you that your Contact Us page has an 80% bounce rate, which means that 80% of visitors abandon the page after visiting. Google Analytics, on the other hand, will not be able to tell you why they do so; it is up to you to hypothesise and confirm. Perhaps you infer that it’s because they see your phone number on the page and immediately call – a tempting off-site pitch that Google Analytics isn’t tracking.
Outcomes and Objectives
Google Analytics has the notion of Goals or successful outcomes to help us with this lack of “Why?” Google Analytics has the concept of Goals or successful outcomes to help us with this lack of “Why?” Consider your own website: what would be a successful outcome from a visit from one of your visitors that meets your commercial objectives?
Websites for E-Commerce
If you’re a retailer, you’re probably thinking about making a profit. You would use this module to track your on-line store sales because Google Analytics provides an E-commerce system for measuring sales (Transactions).
Websites for businesses to businesses
If you have a B2B website, you may have a contact form that, if filled, allows a member of your sales team to contact the prospect and begin the sales process. If you do, you’ll have this set up as a Goal in Google Analytics, which will show you the conversion rate of this goal by traffic source, allowing you to concentrate on acquiring more of your best-converting traffic.
Websites with Content
If your site is primarily focused on content interaction, you might want to track time on site or pages per session.
Indicators of Key Performance (KPIs)
Whatever your website’s goals are, KPIs – Key Performance Indicators – should be used to track your progress toward them. When driving on a UK motorway, for example, your goal might be to reach the legal speed limit of 7 mph (some of you might now be thinking chance would be a fine thing). That is your goal, and the metric you have chosen is miles per hour. You know you can speed up to reach your goal, but you may need to slow down if you observe traffic. The speedometer, on the other hand, is the gadget that informs you how close you are to achieving your goal. Consider the speedometer to be your Google Analytics account. Consider Google Analytics as a speedometer, or a collection of speedometers, for tracking your website marketing activities.
Identifying and defining your own goals
To that end, you should define some website marketing goals in relation to your commercial goals and express them using Google Analytics Dimensions like Users (visitors), Sessions (visits), New Users, Goals, Transactions, and Metrics like number of Users, number of Sessions, number of New Users, and Goal Conversion rate.
Template for KPI Planning and Progress Reporting
Under ‘Templates,’ you’ll soon find a template to assist you establish some key KPIs for your own website, as well as Google Analytics Dashboard links to help you track your progress.
Have fun analysing!
What Contributes to an Organisation’s Reputation?
What is the meaning of brand reputation?
As a marketing employee of the company, you are responsible for the company’s reputation. External stakeholders understand the promotional campaigns that are run and the messages that are presented (customers, suppliers and wholesalers etc.). Positively regarded messages increase the value of a brand, whereas negatively perceived messages harm its reputation.
Fombrun (1996) identifies four important characteristics that are required to establish a positive reputation. Credibility, trustworthiness, dependability, and accountability are examples of these qualities:
Credibility is defined by brand positioning and quality and is a reflection of the quality of the products and services delivered. Actively seeking independent reviews is a wonderful approach to demonstrate this.
Trustworthiness has been increasingly vital in recent years. The endorsement of friends and family has been supplanted with social approbation. Organizations can support online consumer feedback on social platforms by responding to both good and negative online reviews to generate positive ‘word of mouth.’
Reliability reflects post-purchase reviews, in which aspirational aspirations are put to the test. To avoid complaints, the only proactive action that an organisation can do is to adhere to quality standards.
Obligation – this refers to an organization’s social corporate responsibility in providing products and services. Employees are responsible for avoiding making jokes about mistakes made to friends in places where they could be overheard, and for keeping things discreet outside of the workplace.
There is a foundation for business reputation:
What is the significance of brand reputation?
For a variety of reasons, having a good brand reputation is critical. It has financial ramifications for publicly traded corporations because it can have a major impact on the stock price. In a competitive market, a company’s reputation can be a differentiator that draws new clients. Customers that are loyal to a brand are more likely to become brand champions and make ‘word of mouth’ recommendations.
When a company’s reputation is tarnished, it’s difficult for them to recover. “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, but only one evil one to destroy it,” said Sir Benjamin Franklin. This was recently demonstrated at the 2017 Academy Awards, when an inaccurate best picture nominee was announced. The company that made this error (PwC) had been in charge of this process for almost a century. This long-standing partnership, however, has come to an end due to this one blunder.
Visit Ebook Central, a collection of online books available through MyCIM, for further information on Brand and Corporate Reputation.
What is Risk?
The element of risk has a significant impact in the purchasing decision.
Buyer perception of risk has long been recognised as having a considerable impact on buyer behaviour, and extensive study has been conducted in this area. When it comes to making decisions, especially when the consumer has little or no expertise, there are two major concerns: pre-purchase product or service uncertainty and the implications of a poor post-purchase decision.
What does it mean to be at risk?
Perceived risk refers to the level of risk connected with a purchase. What constitutes a risk is ultimately up to the individual consumer, as each purchase presents its own set of problems specific to the need or desire in question. As a result, forecasting perceived risk is challenging because there are typically varying amounts of risk.
What are the many sorts of risk that people perceive?
According to Fill (2006), there are six forms of perceived risk:
Financial risk is one of the most visible types of risk. Affordability, on the other hand, is frequently used to determine price strategy.
The amount to which the features and benefits meet the consumer’s needs and wants determines the performance risk.
Physical risk – Quality standards are critical in ensuring that consumers are not harmed after completing a purchase.
Social risk – Our demands and desires are swiftly moderated by others’ observations, and peer pressure frequently dictates a purchasing agenda.
Ego – Once you’ve made a purchase, you’ll feel good about yourself. When it comes to promoting products and services in the marketplace, branding is crucial.
Time – As customers consume a wide range of products and services to meet their daily demands, time is becoming a valuable commodity, and consumers must prioritise their needs and wants as a result.
Managing and reducing the perception of risk
Consumers control and mitigate hazards in an online world mostly by conducting online research and obtaining social endorsements.
Organizations seeking to address the issue of perceived risk might use a variety of strategies. For example, comparison websites can increase openness in pricing strategies, and money-back guarantees can be offered if performance falls short of expectations. Where quality standards have been demonstrated to be reliable, they can be promoted. Organizations can directly connect with social networks to boost their social status in order to combat social pressures. It’s critical to value independent assessments and respond to social comments. Finally, initiatives to promote consumer convenience, such as free internet delivery services, should be considered.
Simply Marketing Communications, 2006. [online]. Fill, Chris. Prentice Hall/ Financial Times Ebook Central, Ebook Central, Ebook Central, Ebook Central, Ebook Central, Ebook Central, Ebook Central
Why and How do We Track Brand Performance?
What exactly is a brand, and how does one define it?
Brands are strategic assets that identify organisations and their offers from those of competitors; as a result, they can be divided into two categories: family branding and individual branding. The former refers to the brand as a business entity. A corporate umbrella strategy is used here, with a consistent brand image represented across all products and services. Apple Computers is an example of this, with its corporate brand defining its product range, which includes the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The latter refers to the brand that distinguishes each of the products and services available. This technique employs a distinct brand logo, name, and marketing strategy. P&G is an example of this, as it sells a wide range of household items such as Pampers, Ariel, and Gillette. Some businesses use a sub-branding or hybrid branding approach, in which the corporate brand is merged with the items they sell, such as Kellogg’s, which sells Kellogg’s Cornflakes and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, among other things.
Why do we keep track of the performance of our brands?
Tracking brand performance is critical; it is one of the most crucial indicators of an organization’s success. There are a few major brand measuring elements to consider when conducting a full ‘brand audit’:
Brand value – This must be established because it shows the brand’s market power. ISO10668 is a well-known industry standard for determining brand value. This document lays out a framework for brand valuation, including objectives, valuation grounds, valuation approaches, valuation methodologies, and data and assumption sourcing.
Organizations should be researched, evaluated, and compared across different industry sectors. According to RepTrak® study, Dyson, Aston Martin, and Lego are three of the most reputable companies in the United Kingdom in 2017.
Brand awareness – This must be measured because it is critical for businesses to know how far their promotional initiatives have reached. Sentiment analysis, which employs social listening technologies to hunt for key phrases (the brand) and assess the emotional tone behind a series of words linked with it, is the most effective way to detect this (good feedback, neutral feedback or negative feedback).
To determine brand awareness, surveys are required. Brand awareness can be measured in two ways: recognition and recall. The first is aided research, which uses picture stimulation, and the second is unaided research, in which a list is requested without prompting.
Brand loyalty must be quantified since it is critical for businesses to know how many customers are likely to return after making an initial purchase.
Brand loyalty can be measured in five ways:
satisfaction and contentment
Purchases on a regular basis
Brand equity – This must be measured since it is critical for businesses to understand the value a consumer, or potential consumer, places on a product or service. It is vital to justify brand investment and budget (attract new customers/protect existing customers).
Brand equity = (Brand assets – Brand liabilities) is the formula here.
How can we keep track of how well our brands are performing?
It is critical to do market research in order to define brand positioning and track success, and rigorous procedures must be in place to make this possible. To measure the many parts of the brand, both internally produced and externally commissioned research can be used, but metrics-oriented brand/marketing plans must be established from the start.
The construction of a ‘Brand Dashboard/Scorecard’ is the most effective technique to track brand performance. Depending on the needs of the organisation, appropriate brand and related marketing metrics might be assigned. Setting triggers is critical so that appropriate action can be performed when pre-defined measurement thresholds are exceeded.
Other branding-related materials can be found in the Brand positioning template. Also, learn more about CIM’s Brand Performance training course.