Agency Selection

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.

  1. What are your immediate requirements? Do you require a group of strategists, analysts, creatives with lateral thinking, or technical/digital experts?
  2. What will be the division of labour? What level of control, direction, and outsourcing do you plan to exercise?
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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?

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

  • Prepare real-world data to identify and describe a real-world business problem or scenario that the agency may encounter.
  • One week before the session, send this to the agency.
  • Ascertain that all parties involved have signed non-disclosure agreements in advance.
  • Only two senior employees and the working team allocated to your company should be allowed to attend.
  • The session should last no more than 90 minutes.
  • Establish a clear meeting outcome. For instance, the discussion should result in a campaign theme and three approaches to handle this specific marketing issue.
  • Participate in the session with your team (the people who will interact with the agency on a daily basis). Assume that the relationship exists.
  • Make use of a third-party facilitator. If you’re evaluating the outcome, don’t lead the session.
  • Create a scorecard that takes into account the quality of the ideas, the team’s inventiveness, the shown experience, and the chemistry between the participants.
  • Assess the agencies’ preparedness and any outside data, knowledge, or experience they brought to the table.
  • Attempt to comprehend the relative contributions of senior agency personnel against members of the working crew.
  • Inquire as to which team they preferred and why.
  • To make a final judgment, weigh this exercise against the other intelligence you’ve developed.
  1. Their credentials
  • What kind of market experience do they have?
  • What kind of feedback do you get from current and former clients, as well as the marketing trade press?
  • Which Trade Organizations do they belong to?
  • What is their track record of success?
  1. Creative output
  • Do they create ads that have won multiple awards and are even well-known?
  • Do they create less well-known efforts that are incredibly cost-effective and, ideally, profitable?
  1. Their staff
  • What is the level of experience of the people who will be working in your company?
  • How long have they been collaborating?
  1. The agency itself
  • Is the area suitable?
  • Is the correct combination of resources in place?
  • Do the company’s talents and specialties match your requirements?
  • What is accomplished in-house? What does it mean to outsource?
  • What criteria do you use to determine whether or not your goals have been met?
  • Is its hourly rate/fee structure appropriate for your needs?
  1. Legal compliance
  • What processes are in place to ensure that the law is followed?

The Campaign Brief is a detailed collection of instructions that spells out exactly what you want the agency to do in terms of generating creative content. It is not the role of the agency to establish your value proposition; it is the responsibility of your own marketing team. Aside from money and time constraints, your brief must address the following:

  • Who is your target market and why is your product or service important to them (what unmet need or problem does it solve?)
  • Why is your offer superior to that of your competitors – your unique selling propositions or areas of differentiation
  • What proof do you have in the form of data, case studies, endorsements, and awards? It will be necessary to communicate in a credible manner.

The client and account teams must agree on the most efficient method of briefing the agency.

  • How much time does it take to go from briefing to presenting concepts?
  • When it comes to concept approval and production, how much time should be allowed?
  • What are the ‘rules’ for budgets, buy orders, estimates, invoicing, and the Purchasing/Procurement team’s involvement?
  • When should the Client Legal team be involved, and how much time should they be given?
  • Whether or not the Creative Brief must be approved by the Client.
  • Internal permissions and approving off on creative work will take time.
  • How involved should the agency be in other briefings, such as those to the media agency?
  • How much interaction is required and in what manner; if multiple agencies are engaged, do you want frequent campaign meetings or just updates?
  • What methods will be used to solve problems?
  • Always have the brief written down and approved ahead of time.

The Agency selection topic guide has more information about agency selection. Also, take a look at the marketing strategy template.

Analysing a Market

Even tiny businesses and those with single product lines can sell that solution (or a variant of it) to different markets.

As a result, product managers and marketers must be able to examine each market in detail in order to assess and foresee changes in current business as well as the possibility of expanding into new markets.

To do proper market analysis, you must first define what markets you are in. You can’t begin to analyse a market unless it has been defined. Many people get into the trap of defining markets based on what they manufacture or supply (product orientation) rather than the problems they answer (problem orientation) (customer orientation).

This distinction is significant because it affects not just the size and worth of the market in which you operate, but also who your competitors are. To prevent an inward-looking approach, your market definition must take into account your competitors, both indirect and direct. If I make cleaning products, for example, my competitors would be other cleaning products; however, if I make chemical-free cleaning products, I might face competition from vinegar and soda crystals as alternative cleaning aids.

You should be aware of two things:

  1. What’s going on in the market, or what’s going on to it
  2. You have the ability to compete in it.

The second step is to determine the market context, or what is going on in the market. Is it increasing, staying the same, or decreasing? This will be crucial in estimating future earnings or determining the likelihood of success.

The goal of this work is to figure out where you are in the generic product life cycle. If you’re thinking of introducing a new product, for example, it can be new to you but not to the market. If the market is already well-established, you’ll encounter stiff competition and may need to pursue a niche strategy to get traction, which means that differentiation will be crucial to your success. If you’re first to market, you’ll be going after the innovators, which are usually clients with a problem or an unmet demand. Your importance in fixing this issue will be crucial.

The macro factors known as PESTLE factors are used in external analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental). These factors influence market size and create opportunities and dangers.

Despite a changing and uncertain environment, the goal of planning is to increase the chances of obtaining a given outcome or aim. Environmental influences, on the other hand, cannot be ignored.

Changes in the environment may jeopardise the current business. Increased competition, shifts in customer behaviour or priorities, and the advent of new technologies can all lower demand for today’s product and service portfolio in existing markets. It is the product or marketing manager’s role to assist the organisation in identifying these changes and forecasting their potential impact on profitability and sales. This approach provides the bottom line of the planning gap, as well as an estimate of the company’s fortunes if it continued to offer the same products to the same customer base, and it gives you an idea of what business-as-usual would be worth in the future.

As a result, you’ll have a better grasp of the obstacles you’re going to face as a company. Rather of simply reacting to changes in the environment, you will be in a better position to take proactive measures, such as replacing lost business with new clients and goods, growing market penetration, or diversifying.

Your company’s microenvironment, which includes suppliers, middlemen, and customers, is influenced by the macro environment. Environmental scanning requires you to consider not only how changes in the environment will affect you as an organisation, but also the changes themselves, as well as their impact on customers and the entire value chain.

This forecasting activity cannot be conducted without the participation of competitors. Because they operate in the same market and have similar micro-environments and clients, macro-environmental change will have a similar impact on both. How people react to change may either create an opportunity or be perceived as a threat. Although you can influence competitors’ behaviour, they are uncontrollable, so they must be forecasted and included in your market analysis and company planning, just like the external environment. The majority of them would comprise proactive techniques employed by important competitors.

In their analysis, they looked at both existing and potential situations.

Porter’s Five Forces Model, for example, can help you map and examine how the participants in the micro-environment are changing and where there are power shifts.

Customer analysis is likewise necessary, but doing it internally will only allow you to notice patterns among your current clients; if you want to expand your customer base, you’ll need market-wide expertise.

This will necessitate research.

Keep in mind why you’re conducting this investigation:

  1. predicting future market prices
  2. should be proactive in anticipating upcoming opportunities and dangers

The fact there is a market opportunity is not the same thing as there being an opportunity you have the capability and capacity to address. Your internal analysis has to be robust and honest.

Ask yourself ‘What do customers in this market expect and need? Can you deliver that better or cheaper than the competition?’ If the answer is no, you are unlikely to be successful.

This assessment of potential competitive advantage means you must be an expert in your competitor’s offer as well as your own.

The existence of a market opportunity does not imply that it is one that you have the capability and capacity to address. Your own analysis must be thorough and truthful.

‘What do clients in this market expect and require?’ ‘Can you do it faster or for less money than the competition?’ If the answer is no, you will most likely fail.

This analysis of potential competitive advantage necessitates knowledge of both your competitor’s and your own product.

The overall goal of your study is to find out what will assist you turn your organization’s strengths or dangers into opportunities. SWOT analysis, which combines strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities from both the internal and external environments, could be effective.

Brand Building

The brand is an important part of your value proposition since it serves as a positioning tool that helps you stand out from the competition. The more powerful your brand, especially its emotional values that engage people, the more loyal those customers will be.

Customers define the actual position of your brand; it is their views that matter. Brands are difficult to develop because, while you may desire for customers to regard your brand in a specific way, it is their perceptions that matter. You can only affect, not control, what you do.

A brand that has taken years to establish, on the other hand, can be destroyed in an instant; clients today perceive brands badly if they appear to be untrustworthy or dishonest. In the United Kingdom, journalists’ behaviour in pursuing stories through phone tapping resulted in the closing of the News of the World overnight, and investors reacted negatively when regulators discovered software that might be used by Volkswagen to rig US exhaust emissions tests.

Everyone in the company should be aware of the firm’s brand values and, more importantly, how their jobs and actions reflect them. Brands are defined by what we do, not by what we say about them; our strategy and behaviour at every consumer touchpoint are what define the brand.

Do you want to learn more? Make a reservation for the Introduction to Branding training session.

Through his ‘Post-Truth brand manifesto,’ Sean Pillot de Chenecey, author of The Post-Truth Business, outlines five actions brands and organisations can take to strengthen consumer engagement and overcome the ‘credibility gap.’

The brand life cycle is a diagram that depicts how brands evolve over time.

An understanding of the brand’s values is an excellent place to start. It’s much easier to figure out what the brand is or does based on sensible values. Emotional values take longer to develop since they define how you feel about a brand. Because they stimulate emotional involvement and create the foundation of your relationship with the company, these are the most valuable parts of the brand. Brand supporters and devoted users will have a high level of emotional attachment to the brand.

This correlates to better brand lifetime values and peer-to-peer marketing, which benefits the bottom line while also justifying brand investment.

Once individuals have a rational understanding of the brand, it’s time to start building a reputation for it. This reputation will be in line with your brand’s goal, or what you want to be known for.

To develop and build a reputation, greater ‘below the line’ action was often used. A top engineering firm, for example, may aim to establish a reputation in the field of wave technology. They might publish white papers on their website, provide speakers at technological events, and invest in research, fund a university chair, or organise a conference over time. When their aim of being known as the go-to people for wave technology solutions is realised through top-of-mind associations, their brand is mature.

The brand becomes an intangible asset once it has been formed and matured. It must be safeguarded, but it also has the potential to provide a larger return on the investment made in it. While rational brand values are often related to a specific industry or product type, emotional brand values can be exploited and applied to other industries. Apple has transitioned from computers to music players and phones, bringing a dedicated client base along for the ride.

When considering a brand owner’s possibilities in terms of the Ansoff matrix, they can use the brand to attract new sectors within the same market, such as BMW’s strategy with their many series of automobiles or Apple’s journey of new products related with the same brand.

There are no hard and fast rules, but taking the same brand to new goods is often easier and less dangerous for the brand, as long as the positioning and values are consistent across all markets. In the long run, the repositioning required to attract new sectors, or the market diminishing brand attributes such as exclusivity or luxury, can be negative.

Many companies now have a Director of Brand, indicating the significant value attached to this intangible asset. These positions are significantly broader than traditional communications positions, reflecting the fact that every business decision and action has brand ramifications.

Other resources on branding can be found in the topic guide Why and how do we track brand performance. Check out the Brand Positioning Template as well.

Do you want to learn more? Register for the two-day Brand Masterclass training course. Designing Brand Identity is also available for purchase through the CIM Bookshop.

Brand Valuation

The monetary value of a brand can be measured in a variety of ways. There is an international standard for brand valuation that explains numerous approaches to brand values, but it does not include actual brand valuation formulas. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the British Standards Institution (BSI) have provided links to the standard.

ISO 10668:2010
Brand valuation — Requirements for monetary brand valuation

BS ISO 10668:2010
Brand valuation. Requirements for monetary brand valuation

Interbrand, Brand Finance and BrandZ all publish brand value league tables, their methodologies can be found on their websites.

Brand Finance
Brand Finance methodology

BrandZ’s methodology can be found in their global report (registration required to download)

Interbrand methodology


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

In the planning process, the time dimension is critical. The financial reality that marketers face is critical; marketing expenditure today will create higher income at some time in the future, therefore it’s crucial to specify when costs are incurred and revenue streams are expected when setting budgets.

A financial cash flow will assist finance and management colleagues in determining the amount of investment required in the short term, avoiding the risk of budget cuts after the first or second quarter due to a lack of revenue.

Cash flow is crucial to the success of a small firm. Large orders are accepted without consideration for how to fund the gap between costs out and revenue in, which is a major cause of business failure. This is one of the reasons why payment terms are so critical for small firms who don’t have the financial means to solve their liquidity problems.

In a large complicated organisation, that commercial drive can be reduced, but it is still an important factor – especially when it comes to marketing expenses and managing stakeholder expectations.

Take a look at the illustration above. For a marketing spend of £x (let’s say £60,000), our approach offers an extra £400,000 in revenue. We have failed to highlight the cash flow implications when presented as a whole picture. The expenditure required to build the sales funnel could be disproportionately weighted in quarters 1 and 2, with sales in quarters 3 and 4. In high-value B2B sales operations, the ‘hockey stick’ impact is more evident.

Without any other information, finance will assume that the picture depicts a monthly spend of £5000 and a projected monthly revenue of £33k. The situation is drastically different at the conclusion of quarter one; possibly £40k has been spent but only £25k has been generated. Budgets are often frozen, which is understandable.

If you include your projected cash flow in your budget documents1,

Your finance stakeholder is aware of the situation, and you have properly tempered expectations.

It will lessen the likelihood of budget cuts in the middle of the year.

1 Remember that payment patterns may need to be taken into account when forecasting sales. You may make a sale in the first quarter that is invoiced but not paid until the second quarter.

When presented in this manner, the budget might serve as a last check or control on the plan’s practicality. It ensures that both a bottom-up and top-down approach has been adopted.

The budget and cash flow provide a check on expenses and revenues versus the forecast once resources have been committed to the plan, and it can now realistically forewarn managers of any deviations from the plan, as well as highlighting parts of the strategy that require adjustment.

The most important suggestion for planners who want to make sure their tactical plans are carried out is to include a clear budget. Action becomes more likely if tasks have been detailed and resources for them have been allocated.

The activity required to support a strategy, as well as the resources and returns expected, must be identified in the sequence for your business case.

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

The decisions that ensure that your product or service is available to clients in the appropriate place at the right time are known as channel strategy. In recent years, channel strategy has altered the business model for numerous industries, allowing direct sales via the internet and, in some cases, distribution as well as purchasing, such as music, games, and gambling.

Within channels, technology has enabled disintermediation (the removal of channel partners and the number of organisations between manufacturer and consumer). Shorter channels bring the company closer to its customers, but they can also re-allocate duties like stocking, giving credit, managing service, and delivery.

The length of the channel has always presented businesses with a dilemma: cost or control?

The customer must be the beginning point for designing a channel strategy. Your strategy should be centred on supplying availability when and when the consumer wants it.

Begin by determining the segments to be targeted as well as the positioning (value proposition) for your company’s offering. Against this backdrop, channel possibilities and alternatives must be found. Channels that do not share the same segment aims or have developed incompatible operational posture are not worth considering.

Once the most acceptable channel choices or named partners have been identified, a multi-factor matrix approach to the evaluation and selection process can be used to aid final selection.

Management is responsible for developing the criteria that will be used to evaluate the attractiveness of a channel. These could include the following:

  • Target segments and positioning synergy
  • Servicing costs/margins
  • Geographic coverage
  • Cooperation and joint marketing proclivity
  • Products that are both competitive and complementary are stocked.
  • Availability to share information
  • Capacity for sales and marketing
  • Forecasted sales volume and potential increase

To provide a relatively objective assessment of the best or most acceptable routes and partners, this list can be weighted and channel alternatives scored against these criteria. Using this method, direct sales and marketing possibilities can be compared to traditional middlemen.

The second step is to determine how likely they are to collaborate with you. This is a metric for a company’s prospective competitive advantage in terms of securing shelf space.

Channels have power and influence in the distribution channel because they control access to the target consumer. As a result, channels must be carefully chosen and then treated as customers, as they, too, have demands connected to assisting them in increasing revenues or lowering costs. They may anticipate assistance with employee training, merchandising, and marketing expenditures.

The criteria for the channel will reflect their expectations and needs, and will be weighted to highlight their relative importance; ideally, the criteria will be produced by channel research. These criteria could include the following:

  • Offers of margins
  • Assistance is available.
  • The brand’s halo effect
  • Incentives for promotion
  • Service and delivery
  • Credit
  • Exclusivity
  • Expected sales turnover

By comparing your providing to the alternatives, you will have a better chance of securing a certain channel because it will assist them realise how appealing your product is to their audience.

Using a decision-making matrix to evaluate a channel’s attractiveness and possibility of obtaining shelf space is an excellent approach to ensure that your channel possibilities are rigorously and consistently reviewed, and it helps managers make decisions that reflect both channel and company goals.

Building effective routes to market and long-term channel partner relationships starts with a channel-focused strategy.

Organizations that utilise intermediaries have long understood that in order for a channel to be effective, it requires two communication strategies: one to sell through the channel, and the other to persuade customers to ask for the product; a sales push and a promotional pull plan.

This sales-push approach to the store, on the other hand, could be equated to a sales-oriented approach. In the past, the channel was too often taken for granted, and features such as the latest model or a new better stock item were supplied instead of appropriate store benefits. The channel’s needs were more likely to be assumed than explored, understood, and met. The channel is treated like a consumer when using a marketing approach, and there is an emphasis on generating a package of benefits that the channel values.

You can achieve this by analysing the product in the context of the Total Product Concept.

the shopkeeper

The most important benefit of a product to a retailer is the attractiveness of the business opportunity it provides. Promotional support and favourable margins are expected, but securing shelf space necessitates additional and distinct perks such as exclusivity, specialised promotions, trade incentives, marketing support, and so on. As retailers move toward omni-channel distribution, they’re searching for data and smart solutions that help with selection and dispatching, not just shelf impact.

Your offer will be evaluated by the store in terms of the opportunity cost of choosing your product over a competitor’s:

  • What more could they possibly do with the room?
  • What kind of margins and stock turnover can you expect from other alternatives?
  • How much does stock handling, storage, and likely stock loss cost?
  • What kind of assistance is expected, and how much does it cost to offer it?

The channel will select the supplier who, in their opinion, is providing the best value. You’ll gain a better understanding of what advantages are truly valued and how this differs between sectors and geographical areas once you’ve treated a channel like a client. As a result, you as the provider and the intermediary form partnerships, working together to tackle the challenge of establishing and maintaining competitive advantage.

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.

Communications Planning

In today’s continuously changing and fiercely competitive marketplaces, the commercial requirement to create and sustain long-term relationships with customers, distributors, shareholders, and employees is well understood. Effective communication is the cornerstone to those successful relationships. The ad hoc, tactical promotional operations that were characteristic of many organisations in the past have been replaced by an integrated and coordinated communication activity that is strategically planned and controlled.

Regardless of the media or channel used, integration provides the certainty and effectiveness of consistent messages. It also provides the benefit of efficiency, which is gained from the coordination’s synergy. The communication planner, who is likely to be key in the war for acquiring and maintaining competitive advantage, values both efficiency and effectiveness. Every message sent raises (or lowers) the brand’s perceived value in the eyes of the customer.

Because a customer’s experience and relationship with a brand can last a lifetime and can serve as a powerful emotional barrier to switching brands, it’s no surprise that communication planning and brand building are high on most management agendas.

The idea is straightforward, and the technique is common sense, but the practical implementation is more difficult and complex, as it is with so many elements of marketing.

The hypothesis

The client is communicated with on several levels by the company. Advertising messaging, sales, and promotional efforts all require coordination within the promotional mix. Online and offline messages, as well as third-party comments and endorsements via social media, are likely to be among these modes of communication. Not only does the P of promotion in the marketing mix require integration; the other six Ps of the marketing mix indicate the company’s powerful body language. Customers are more inclined to form opinions about a firm based on how it acts rather than what it says about itself. Managers from all areas of the company must work together and commit to integrating these features.

To do so, an agreed-upon positioning must be established (a process enabled by the value proposition) and communicated internally, as well as actions and messages controlled and policed. Customers will lose trust in a brand or product if there are any discrepancies, thus all components of the communication and marketing mix must be presented in a way that promotes the brand’s emotional and practical benefits.

Integration is frequently made more difficult by scale and geography. Customers in today’s international organisation come from all walks of life and come from all over the world.

Will they have the same take on the brand?

Is it really so important if it isn’t?

Apple, Walmart, and Microsoft, for example, have a broad identity that encompasses a large product range and creates a halo effect (cognitive bias in their favour) for the reputation of old and new items. For those wanting to assure message consistency throughout the portfolio and geographic markets, horizontal management is a big issue. The means for integration are centralised communication funding, the appointment of a global agency, and mandated message management systems, although they are often despised and can result in bland and ineffectual communication at the local level.

The brief is essential to any communication strategy. The vision and value proposition developed as part of the marketing strategy should inform this.

For the communication planner to work, it must supply three things:

It must determine who the offer is for (the segment profile) and why it is important to them (what problem does it solve)

It must be clear about the proposal and how it differs from/outperforms the competition.

It must provide evidence to the planner that the claims made about this brand and offer are true.

A skilled planner will use this value proposition information to guarantee that the right messages are sent to the right individuals at the right time and at a reasonable cost.

Competitive Advantage

Increased competition has compelled more businesses to take a strategic approach to marketing, a process that results in customer-centric tactics. Commercial viability is predicated on customer choice when customers have a choice.

Providing customers with relevant offers that solve their specific problems

These offers must be distinct, i.e., they must outperform what the competition has to offer.

They must also be credible, which means they must be backed up with evidence to back up their assertions.

In a mature market, no company is immune to the danger of a competitor. Even the smallest company can find itself fighting for clients with multinational competitors in today’s technology-enabled world. Mobile phones compete with watches or cameras, and a supermarket meal deal with an evening at your local restaurant. These competitors may be indirect, not just players in the same sector.

A market that is fiercely competitive is ruthless. Companies that fail to meet the needs of their customers will fail commercially. Gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage is critical to success. In principle, competitive advantage is a simple concept, but gaining it in practise is far more difficult.

A competitor is someone who solves the same customer problem as you do.

The question “what are we in business for?” is a good place to start. This answer will allow the company to determine who its current and potential new competitors are in the market.

The next stage is to figure out who your nearest competitors are. It is quite easy for businesses to do this wrong. It’s easy to confuse the market leader or a company with a large market profile with the major competition. Similarly, a market leader may overlook a danger posed by a small specialised company focusing on a portion of their market.

The use of positioning maps can aid in the identification of your closest competitors.

Companies B, E, and F are unlikely to be important competitors of firm A in this scenario. D is the most major challenger, although C is worth keeping an eye on.

Mystery shopping and focus groups with current and future customers might help you figure out what your competitors are really like.

Customers choose rivals based on augmented benefits, which are the features that distinguish product offerings and provide a competitive advantage. The targeted customer values them, and you deliver them at a lesser price or with added value than the competitors.

Only if the benefit provided is deemed useful by the consumer will it affect the customer’s buying choice and hence provide a significant competitive advantage. The company that truly understands its consumers, has true insight into their wants, behaviour, and motivation will be in the best position to develop effective distinction.

The market will have to commoditize if all rivals are regarded to be providing the same basic and expected benefits, with no apparent or effective distinction. The buyer will rationally choose based on price because all of the available options have the same perceived value.

Companies who fall into the trap of becoming competitor-oriented rather than customer-oriented, on the other hand, may find it difficult to stand out from the crowd. This is missing the objective of competitive advantage; the challenge is to compete at the core or expected levels while exceeding or differentiating at the enhanced level.

Good market-oriented organisations seek out market segments with specific demands or buying habits so that they may use their experience to create a distinct, differentiated offer, gaining a competitive advantage and being the preferred supplier to those clients.

Marketing is about employing strategy to reduce competition, not methods that drag the company into wasteful head-to-head competition.

It’s difficult enough to gain a competitive advantage, but maintaining it is nearly impossible. A durable competitive advantage is a feature of the service that is unique or can be protected against competitors who try to copy it. Firms used to compete on continuous product enhancements, the ‘new improved’, ‘enhanced with added…’ As product life cycles decreased, development expenses were high, and the competitive edge became increasingly fleeting.

If successful product and service additions are popular with customers, they are easy to imitate, thus amplified benefits soon migrate and become anticipated.

Companies must always be on the lookout for new ways to provide value to their customers. Benefits that are less tangible and harder to imitate are more appealing in a competitive war; not based on what you do, but how you do it. This refers to customer service, positioning, and the organization’s brand values and attitude. Today, differentiation and competitive advantage are far more likely to be centred on the brand and its values, as well as the customer experience, so ask yourself, “How does it feel to do business with them?”

More companies are focusing on the Triple Bottom Line, which measures an organization’s performance in terms of impact on the environment, society, and profit. Brands like Innocent and Ben and Jerry’s promote their ethical positioning, and more companies are focusing not just on profit but on the Triple Bottom Line, which measures an organization’s performance in terms of impact on the environment, society, and profit. When it comes to purchasing decisions, millennials in particular are far more aware of these bigger social and environmental objectives.

Competitor Strategies

A monopoly market is a luxury that only a few companies can afford. Most companies encounter direct and indirect competitors, or companies that can provide a relevant solution to the customer’s problem. If your current competitors aren’t enough of a problem, you also have to consider prospective new market entries and threats. To a greater or lesser extent, all of these players are pursuing the same goal: gaining the customer’s spending or acceptance.

In the petrol engine market, Volkswagen, Ford, and Vauxhall are direct competitors, but they also face latent rivalry from new modes of transportation such as electric automobiles, as well as indirect competition from motorcycles and public transportation. Customers may be deciding between a new car and a family vacation, making it difficult to recognise all of the indirect competitors. Companies within a sector may work together to stave off new or indirect competitors, but they may also participate in a pricing or promotion war.

It’s pointless to create a growth strategy without taking into account the competition, both in terms of who they are and how they might react. You must understand their goals and how to best deal with them. When evaluating the competitive landscape, you should ask yourself the following questions:

That are your most direct competitors, or those who are pursuing the same clients as you? To those near competitors, how important is this market?

What is the strength of your differentiation? Is it possible to work together?

What are your competitors’ chances of reacting to your strategies?

What new entrants are likely to emerge, and what replacement products are likely to emerge?

New technologies are frequently the key to unlocking new rival threats, thus they must be closely monitored and comprehended. Tablets are starting to replace paper-based periodicals and magazines, re-cart technology is allowing cartons to compete with tin cans in packaging, and video conferencing is a viable alternative to business travel.

Direct, head-to-head, competitive fights are rarely beneficial. A price war eats into profit margins and is likely to continue until the market’s financially weakest competitor exits. Customers may profit from fantastic bargains and extraordinary prices in the near term, but the end result is less customer choice. The winner will be able to earn a larger market share, but it will come at a significant expense.

There are several elements that raise the likelihood of a competitor war erupting in a given industry:

In developed markets,

When marketplaces are expanding, instead of stealing one other’s clients, all players can benefit by gaining new customers. It’s a zero-sum game until markets mature, and one company’s gain is another’s loss.

When there isn’t much difference

Customers will make judgments based on price in markets where product offers are more or less identical and the market is commoditizing. Competitors are forced to respond to the acts of others or risk losing market share because they have nothing to differentiate them in terms of additional value or difference.

When expenses are high,

High fixed or inventory costs imply a higher potential economic advantage through economies of scale, therefore there is a strong motivation to aim a larger market share in these situations.

When it comes to the market,

If a competitor’s business is important to them and accounts for a significant chunk of their revenue or profit, their defence of it is likely to be more zealous than if it simply accounts for a tiny fraction of overall interest. When the strategy is short term, it is the importance of the market to them, not necessarily their importance in the market, that will most affect their anticipated competitive reactions.

As a company, you must be as familiar with your rivals as you are with your own. The establishment of information systems will allow you to track and predict the tactics and responses of your competitors, as well as benchmark their performance.

Set up competitors to keep an eye on you. This is an identified member of your team who keeps tabs on what’s going on in the world of your competitors, including not just their external marketing activities and offers, but also their plans and issues.

However, awareness must not become obsession. Customer orientation should not be substituted for competitor orientation. Any strategies that put one organisation into competition with another should be based on customer-centric considerations.

Positioning maps will assist you in determining which competitors are most likely to be impacted by your approach. Who your nearest competition is will be determined by your customers.

Once the relevant rivals have been identified, it is possible to estimate their potential responses. You may achieve this by using Kotler’s four potential rival categories: laid-back competitor, selective competitor, tiger, and stochastic competitor.

After the responses have been analysed, a strategy can be devised. To describe the alternatives, analogies with sports and battles have been made:

Long-term success is unlikely while defending a permanent location, such as a fortress.

The best kind of defence is attack.

Taking on the biggest/strongest player isn’t always a good idea.

Conflict is less likely to succeed than an attack; look for less well-known areas to attack.

Guerrilla tactics can be particularly effective if you don’t tell the target which market you’re going to assault next or what tactics you’re going to use. This strategy keeps their executives on their toes and their resources occupied defending a diverse set of markets and goods.

Although not all military strategies are effective, there are some lessons to be gained from the experience.

Finally, competitors vary, so keep an eye out. New technologies and new entrants may be clear triggers for a new competitor landscape, but your own strategy may reposition you in the market, bringing certain competitors closer to you while making old foes less of a direct threat.

Demand and Supply

Business planning is all about balancing demand and supply in order to get the most out of your resources. The profit contribution will not have been maximised if demand and supply are out of balance.

If there is too much demand, customer service may suffer, and prices may rise or sales and marketing activities will be restricted.

If there is an excess of supply, resources will be squandered, and prices may need to be reduced to get rid of the excess stock.

An organization’s aims, competencies, and capacity will determine its available supply. ‘What is the capacity?’ and ‘What is the capacity?’ are the two questions that must be answered. and ‘Can that be modified in what time frame?’

The task for marketing is to assist the company in better understanding its markets and consumers so that demand may be managed to guarantee supply equals supply.

While marketing strategies can be used to lower demand, such as anti-smoking campaigns, in private sector operations, we are more likely to conceive in terms of organisational growth, with marketing charged with ensuring growth in demand from both existing and new clients. The ability to know and comprehend the market and the client is crucial to success. The availability of excellent items is no longer a guarantee of commercial success.

Customers decide what they want to buy and how much they want to spend depending on their opinions of value for money. Because something is extremely desirable to one individual may be less value to another, various market segments will evaluate the same offer differently. They will choose an alternative product if it appears to give higher value or the same value for less money. The value of a product is determined by the benefits that come with it. The market’s complexity stems from the following factors:

A cup of coffee will have little appeal to a tea drinker, whereas the same product gives various benefits to different clients.

At different times, the same product might provide a varied value or advantage to the same customer; the first cup of coffee in the morning is usually considered more ‘valued’ than the last.

It’s critical to recognise and comprehend these distinctions because they can serve as the foundation for effective segmentation.

You can vary the value supplied by changing a component of the marketing mix as a company. The 7P’s of the marketing mix are the controllable aspects (the organisation may change these elements), and demand is influenced by the combination of mix elements. A reduction in price will, in most situations, increase the quantity demanded by a company looking to increase sales volume.

Because the buyer is obtaining the original bundle of benefits at a lower price, the quantity desired rises as the price is reduced. This may encourage some customers to buy more (market penetration) and/or new, more price sensitive groups to enter the market (market development).

Price’s ability to influence demand is determined by the customer’s behaviour in response to price. The price elasticity of demand, or the customer’s sensitivity to price, is what economists term it. Products that are nice, have a lot of competitors, and aren’t addictive are more price sensitive than addictive things or necessities that don’t have a lot of alternatives.

Marketers who succeed in converting desires into needs, distinguishing their products, and building brand loyalty can lessen demand’s price sensitivity, allowing them to charge premium prices without causing major brand switching.

Regardless of how price sensitive the demand is, lowering prices can result in better sales and market shares. However, revenue will tend to be higher at higher prices in price inelastic (price insensitive) sectors. Profits will be higher at higher prices unless there are considerable economies of scale to be realised by chasing volume.

If demand is price elastic, a minor decrease in price will result in a larger increase in sales, with revenues peaking at the lower price. Before the impact of price decisions on profits can be estimated, the costs of generating the extra volume must be addressed, however expanding volumes and market share may assist boost profits in these markets.

Understanding how customers react to price is critical for you to understand how to impact their behaviour as a marketer. Price sensitivity does not always remain constant across a market; different segments may be more or less price sensitive than others. For example, the morning commuter market is less price sensitive than the leisure travel market, and the brand loyal spirits drinker is less price sensitive than the occasional tippler.

The true issue for a marketing planner is that the marketplaces you work in are continuously changing, and these changes have an impact on the demand and supply dynamic.

When conducting a PESTLE study, you want to identify and forecast the market’s drivers of change, or the changes that alter the demand and supply balance.

Changes in demand and supply are visible as products progress through their life cycle, which has implications for strategy.

This general demand and supply balance serves as the foundation for whatever strategy you build.

Effective Communication

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Determine how these variables can be tracked.

To collect and analyse important data, set up information systems.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Exception Reporting

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.

is appropriate.

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.

Internal Marketing

Internal marketing is the practise of bringing marketing disciplines and approaches in-house to improve the efficiency with which corporate plans and transformation programmes are implemented. As a crucial aspect of reorganisation, relocation, or altering working patterns, HR colleagues are frequently actively involved in applying marketing principles and strategies to their work with employees.

The employees are the clients in an internal marketing plan, and the plan or change is the ‘product’ we want to sell to them.

It’s also an important aspect of ensuring internal stakeholder support when implementing a marketing plan as part of your action plan. The marketing effort, according to Kotler, has three dimensions: external marketing to customers, internal marketing to employees to gain their support, and interactive marketing to ensure a pleasant interactive relationship between frontline personnel and customers.

Internal marketing is used in a company for two specific reasons:

To market plans or change programmes – the time and effort spent establishing and implementing an internal marketing plan leads to improved communication and staff commitment, as well as more effective plan implementation.

It is possible for functional or project teams – such as finance and human resources – to add value throughout the organisation and boost levels of satisfaction by taking the time to figure out how they can develop their services in a positive way.

Internally, adopting a marketing approach helps to bridge the gap between planning and implementation efforts, and brings employees from all areas of the company together as a single, successful team.

Managers must recognise the vital relevance of implementation throughout the planning phase. Plans must be put into action if their goals are to be met. Before the plan can be properly delivered, the vision, goals, and methods that it incorporates must be adequately promoted to those who will be required to “own” it. In this way, the members of the team become the plan’s ‘clients.’ All marketing tools and strategies can be used as a framework for managing required modifications and as a mechanism for improving the planning process’ execution stage. Internal marketing can increase communication within the organisation in the same manner that marketing improves two-way communication between the company and its external clients.

Plans and ideas should not be generated at the senior management level and then pushed down to the workers in a real marketing strategy. A more collaborative management style replaces the ‘command’ or ‘tell’ method. When employees are consulted before a choice is made, they are more likely to feel participated in the final decision. Instead of simply telling or selling an agreed-upon approach, two-way communication is established this manner.

A thorough audit of the situation is the beginning point for assessing current views, opinions, and concerns and, where possible, ensuring that plans are formulated with worker involvement in mind.

Knowing how the strategy will affect important employees and what they will need to do to make it happen can assist the manager comprehend the ‘cost’ of the required change in behaviour to the employee.

The internal market, like the exterior market, must be split, with the bases reflecting expected attitudes or involvement with the plan. Perhaps the longest-serving employees, or those who work in a specific area or function that would be most affected by the plans, will be the most resistant to change. Because supporters, neutrals, and opponents are all likely to have different needs, you’ll need to build tactics for each significant segment.

International Markets and Culture

In a competitive market, you can only succeed if you understand your consumers and apply your competences and capabilities to create relevant, differentiated, and believable customer solutions.

This can be difficult in a home situation, but for an international marketer, it necessitates empathy as well as study and understanding. It’s easy to overlook distinctions between worldwide marketplaces now that international travel and communication are so widespread.

Customers differ all throughout the world because their behaviour is shaped by their own distinct surroundings. Different political and economic circumstances, regulatory frameworks, environment, and technological experience can all influence customer requirements and responses, but the impact of culture is particularly significant. The greatest issue for international marketers is the obstacle posed by different cultures.

Because foreign markets differ from domestic markets in this sector, macro environmental analysis (PESTLE) is required in all significant geographical markets.

Culture is the set of norms, laws, and structures that govern how we see ourselves, others, and society as people, as well as our place and role in the larger world in which we live. We often associate culture with nationality, yet it can also be a worldwide phenomena. The case of young culture, where people of the same age group referred to as ‘Millennials’ are bound together by music, fashion, and a portfolio of global businesses, is an example of this.

Marketing activity can be influenced by culture in a variety of ways.

  • What customers want and need
  • How are decisions made?
  • How ‘cues’ and messages are interpreted

Where extended families are common, for example, decision-making units may be more complex. Influencing family members who can act as decision-makers or influencers can be difficult if they span several generations or if direct communication access is limited, as it is in some Middle Eastern cultures with women. A product that is wanted as a status symbol in one part of the world may be a need in another, and a marketing message or treatment that is widely accepted in one part of the world may be frowned upon in another.

Cultures are frequently classified as high or low context, and the distinctions between them have important communication implications. Many things are left unsaid in a higher-context culture, allowing the culture and context to speak for themselves. In higher-context communication, words and word choice become crucial because a few words can effectively communicate a complex message to an in-group but less effectively outside that group, whereas in a low-context culture, the communicator must be much more explicit and the value of a single word is less important.

You can’t afford to take anything for granted as a marketer. Decisions cannot be made from the perspective of your own culture without taking into account the target audience’s cultural interpretation and mindset, and communication must be designed in a culturally sensitive and in tune manner.

The disparity in attitude and behaviour across international markets boils down to a key question in worldwide marketing: should we standardise or modify? This is a fight between efficiency, which is championed by cost-conscious accountants, and effectiveness, which is championed by customer-focused marketers.

Standardization provides economies of scale and control, as well as quality and positioning uniformity. Because the offering does not satisfy the precise needs of a culturally diverse market group, the potential downsides include a loss of local motivation and empowerment of local marketing teams, as well as a failure to maximise market share or revenues.

Managers at all levels of a company must be aware of the tensions that exist between the extremes of efficiency and effectiveness and work to find a middle ground. How much of our product can we standardise, and how much must we alter to fit local needs?

The idea that marketers should Think Global and Act Local is a good example of this.

Because modification is costly, it should only be considered when absolutely necessary.

When evaluating the standardise or change question, the product offering and the promotional message or positioning should be considered individually. It may be essential to alter the product to fit local tastes or regulatory requirements, or it may be necessary to standardise the product while the positioning is being finalised.

or, alternatively, communication is diverse.

International Strategy

Global corporations are not required to sell their goods and services in every country on the planet. A multinational player’s implications of a global strategy are simple: the possible market is the entire world, and the same geographic alternatives are examined when picking production locations. Profits are maximised by producing in big quantities in low-cost places, while revenues are maximised by selling in markets where the company has the greatest competitive advantage.

Note that this is not the same as an exporter that serves consumers in a variety of worldwide marketplaces using a simple international logistics and distribution service provided by the internet.

It also differs from an international organisation, which often invests in the country markets it seeks to penetrate.

True international companies have assets in multiple countries, such as warehousing, distribution centres, and support services. They may manufacture in nations where they do not sell and sell in places where they do not manufacture.

Lowest-cost production does not always imply that production will be based on the lowest wage rates. Costs of raw materials and transportation must also be factored in, as well as political stability, economic risk, and the ability to provide supply flexibility and reliability. These operational alternatives are offered not just to product manufacturers, but also to various service providers of offshored back office tasks, ranging from medical test analysis to call centre operations and R&D.

Economies of scale can assist cut average production costs, especially if manufacturing is concentrated, but these economic benefits are less obvious for businesses that provide a high level of service. Marketing managers must share responsibility for the company’s financial health, which necessitates a basic understanding of cost economics.

The global player will also choose markets with great care, focusing on those sectors, whether geographically based or not, that can maximise income and profit. Selection must be structured when there is so much to pick from. A macro level screening will typically assist your organisation in excluding nations where the macro environment, whether economic, legal, political, cultural, or competitive, is not suited or suitable.

A micro level screening of opportunities based on market specific factors such as:

  • Size and value of the market
  • Forecasted rates of increase
  • Competition’s ferocity
  • Market sensitivity to price
  • The life cycle’s stage

Finally, you’re left with a small number of countries to consider, and you’ll need to conduct extensive research to determine their relative practicality. A multi-factor matrix can be used to objectively assess which global market possibilities are the most appealing and give the best chance of gaining and maintaining competitive advantage.

You can assess your ability to obtain a competitive advantage in each market by using criteria that represent customer buying preferences.

This decision framework, once constructed, can be used to assist in future market development decisions.

The global corporation is now more of the rule than the exception. Mergers, alliances, and joint ventures enable an increasing number of organisations to compete on a global scale by combining technology, pooling resources, and combining experiences. Many of these organisations are massive, having immense economic and political clout. Their decisions on where to operate and when to relocate send economic shockwaves through countries, wreaking havoc or creating economic miracles. Governments are increasingly attempting to monitor, police, and maybe constrain the acts and activities of such organisations, with the most recent examples being probes into tax evasion by companies such as Google and Starbucks.

Customers will find it easier to embrace services from worldwide producers as time goes on. The ‘global village’ has been formed by travel, communication, and technology, and while the potential added value of’made locally’ will still exist, there will be a familiarity with global items.

However, as more companies attain scale through partnerships or expansion, the market share advantage that powered many of the first great global players is expected to fade.

The challenge in the future will be to provide value without sacrificing cost competitiveness, which will necessitate product change to match the many shades of global demand.

Managing the Customer Experience

Products are becoming increasingly commoditized in today’s highly competitive industries. Customers are increasingly inclined to be apathetic about the option they choose because quality is an anticipated rather than a differentiated value. This increases their likelihood of being disloyal, switching vendors based on price or convenience. Customer loyalty and distinction are thus more likely to be earned based on how pleasant it is to do business with the brand rather than what it offers.

Emotional values linked with brand engagement are important, and businesses strive to please customers at every stage of the customer journey, beginning before purchase and continuing beyond to ensure that the product in use satisfies expectations.

At the consumer sector, this has meant managing customers across many channels, as the omni-channel world has evolved, and customers want a consistent experience whether they are shopping online, in a store, or calling a call centre.

The CIM Bookshop provides 100 Practical Ways to Improve Customer Experience if you want to learn more about this topic.

Martin Newman, co-author of the book, discusses what consumer-facing businesses should be doing to build long-term customer engagement, as well as his predictions for how the high street will look in ten years.

Intangible gains linked with outstanding service have become increasingly essential, attracting greater management effort to this component of the value proposition. It has forced businesses to become more customer-centric, devoting time and resources not only to the operational aspects of their organisation, but also to the customer care programmes, experiences, and initiatives required to change how things are done.

Effective customer service and happy experiences are the practical outcome of general realisation that guaranteeing customer happiness is not solely the job of marketing, but must be shared by the entire organisation, from senior management to entry-level staff.

What you do, not what you say, positions your brand in the minds of your customers. A relationship can be ruined by an one unpleasant incident.

Managers must aggressively demonstrate that consumers are a top priority, not just for employees, but also for management, in order to ensure that the brand delivers on its promises.

Management must cooperate with operational staff to identify current hurdles to meeting service standards and offer the necessary back-up and support. Staff who operate at the client interface will be directly involved, which will not only develop realistic ideas and improvements, but also assure their commitment to essential changes.

Expectation problems can also be developed or discovered at this pointy end of the business. Customers will be disappointed if their expectations are raised above what the organisation can supply. Exaggerated or optimistic claims from the marketing or sales teams might raise expectations. Customer dissatisfaction can be mitigated by controlling expectations and/or improving service quality.

Moments of truth can be identified and prepared for, which can save money and improve the customer experience.

When something goes wrong, there are moments of truth. These occurrences can be foreseen and planned for, allowing problems to be handled and rectified rapidly.

Customers will be distressed and anxious as a result of events such as missing flights and misplaced bags. How they are treated at this point will determine whether they become a brand supporter or a brand detractor, who may spread their unhappiness widely thanks to today’s social media.

Answering three questions is the first step in preparing for moments of truth:

What do you want them to think of you?

What are their expectations?

What do they go through?

Managers must consider the entire client experience, not just the moments when things go wrong. The mapping of the customer journey is the starting point. Setting customer service goals is pointless if the processes and systems to achieve them aren’t in place. It is simple to conclude that phones should be answered within three rings, however this is a wish rather than a target without appropriate switchboard capacity or enough people to handle calls during peak periods.

Customer journey mapping aids in the comprehension of a customer’s touchpoints. You build value and set the circumstances for sustaining a long-term and lucrative connection with loyal and devoted consumers if the customer journey is consistent and positive, and you surpass expectations. The goal is to create an optimal experience that matches the needs of primary client groups, provides a competitive advantage, and helps customers realise their management goals.

You must comprehend the following:

How current and potential customers interact with various channels and touchpoints

At each touchpoint, customers’ perceptions of the company

How departments and functions should collaborate

Customers’ possible roadblocks and stumbling blocks

Analysis is the first step in customer mapping:

Determine and determine the most important customer segments.

Create a map of essential activities and touchpoints inside each segment for each segment.

Identify their “moments of truth” and “value-creating” acts.

Design and test the concept and design of the experience.

Over time, track, measure, and refresh the experiences.

Customer service and experience that are both effective will help you increase the lifetime value of your consumers. You’ll be able to track your success in terms of attrition rates, customer value improvements, Net Promoter Scores, and lower complaint levels.

Understanding how customer experiences, challenges, and needs change over the course of a customer’s relationship with your business will help you create the experience.

Check out the details of CIM’s two-day Customer Experience Management training session.

The CIM Bookshop also has 100 Practical Ways to Improve Customer Experience available for purchase. Martin Newman and Malcolm McDonald, the writers, explain the importance of customer experience for High Street merchants in this video.

On Exchange, you can also watch several customer experience webinars:

Key Customer Experience Principles: Practical Insights

Exclusive to members: Put the “experience” back into customer service.

Managing International Expansion

Market development is one of the four strategic alternatives available to a company looking to increase revenue. It might be new markets and consumers in the home market, or it could be finding new clients in international markets.

If you’ve decided to grow regionally, you’ll need to make two key strategic decisions:

Which nations do you wish to concentrate your efforts on?

Which mode of entrance do you intend to use?

The answer to this question dictates how worldwide sales and distribution will be organised and managed.

While it comes to developing distribution in foreign countries, there are significant resource and control issues to consider, and these should be carefully considered when pursuing an international market development strategy. Simple export solutions to starting operations and activities in foreign marketplaces are all available.

You must first identify whether there are any external or internal constraints that will effect your strategy before considering the options. Consider the following scenario:

External factors include the availability of appropriate channels or possible partners, any governmental restrictions on foreign ownership of resources, and the level of risk associated with various political, economic, and cultural situations.

Internal – the strategic importance of this market and the objectives set for it; the resources available for investment in it; the value of control to the firm; and the corporate attitude toward risk.

Some of the answers to these questions may limit the number of distribution options available.

The choices, like other distribution issues, necessitate a cost-control compromise. Sales and distribution via a local sales team or a totally owned subsidiary provide total control at a greater cost.

It’s possible, if not likely, that you’ll use distinct market entry strategies in different geographic markets. Market conditions will differ in each scenario, as will the requirement for specific local market knowledge and the considerations and limits.

Polycentric thinking is aided by this method. Each country is treated differently, and the entire marketing mix is altered, not just the distribution component. As a result of this plan, a differentiated marketing strategy and a changed value proposition based on location have been developed.

This may be appropriate in various markets. If geographic location, culture, and nationality have a substantial impact on buying behaviour in your market, such an approach has appeal. Many of today’s markets, on the other hand, are regional or worldwide. Buying behaviour is substantially unchanged across geographic boundaries and frontiers in B2B industries and consumer sectors such as vacation destinations, fashion, and information technology. The internet has aided in the formation of strong global segments in which factors such as age and interest may have a greater impact on consumption than geography. You may find that a demographic segment, a vertical industry sector, or a lifestyle behaves similarly in multiple nations in such markets, and that a single marketing strategy and value proposition should be devised and resources deployed across a number of distinct national markets.

Country A and Country B may have different distribution opportunities, such as promotion.

In that situation, it’s possible that more than one channel will be used to reach the global audience. To maximise marketing effectiveness, marketing planning should be organised on what is most effective from the customer’s perspective, rather than a random result of channel selection or availability.

It’s tempting to imagine that merely adding another distribution connection will help your company grow. A country’s resources are committed, offices and factory space are acquired, staff is hired, and promotional budgets are spent. Setting objectives and building business and marketing strategy around certain geographic areas makes sense.

However, a market strategy is required for each market, and if the market is a worldwide segment such as Millennials, the plan is required for that segment. Do not mix up sales regions and countries with markets; they may not be the same thing.

Planners must always strive to make the most efficient and effective use of resources. While there may be a distinct sales staff within country markets because of language, local market knowledge, and travel efficiencies, they may also have been organised to supply sales inputs to several marketing plans. This necessitates a matrix-based planning strategy.

Each of the four countries must be controlled because activities will necessitate staffing and investment. By applying tactics for the three customer markets identified, each can earn revenue.

However, there must be a market owner for youth, a market owner for young families, and a market owner for older families in order to develop worldwide brands and a consistent value offer. They’d collaborate across geographies to uncover unmet requirements and create value propositions for specific target segments. Local adjustments and adaptations may be required, but the positioning and offer as a whole stay consistent. The multinational marketing credo of ‘Act Global, Think Local’ is reflected in this.

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

The way a company functions is determined by its organisational structure. The foundation of an organization’s interactions between individuals and departments is determined by its structure. Structures like this also have an impact on how resources are allocated and performance is measured.

Functional silos are common in traditional hierarchical organisations, with official communication and control between personnel within a functional area but often just informal communication with other departments below the board level.

Amoebic structures are more flexible and can be reshaped into a new shape in response to environmental change. This enables the rapid establishment of multi-skilled teams without the need for reorganisation. This can result in a framework within which the organisation can change its structure and evolve in response to changing demands and priorities. Personnel donate their skills and experience to various projects and work teams, which then form and reform in response to company demands, in organisations where there are no hierarchies and workers operate as empowered entrepreneurs (typically technological start-ups and the creative industry). The teams cease to exist once their objectives have been met.

This new group of employees brings new perspectives and ideas to the table. The impermanence of the teams, as well as the abilities required to swiftly build productive teams, pose a challenge for individuals working in such organisations.

In many organisations, marketing has been steadily repositioned. The team is recognised as client champions and for the insight they contribute to the planning process; it is no longer a communications centre supporting sales employees, but rather a driver of corporate strategy.

For marketing teams to make the most of their contributions, they need to be included in senior decision-making forums. It’s important to think about who marketers are and how they interact with other teams like sales and product management.

If you want a customer-driven strategy, market knowledge should come before, not after, product development.

Organizations all across the world, in all sectors of activity, have felt pressure to flatten the classic pyramid of management structure in recent decades. As technology improves, senior managers will be able to see what is happening on the opposite side of the planet in real time, reducing the number of layers of supervisors. For today’s fast changing sectors, such as high tech and knowledge workers, the old command and control structure has been shown to be wasteful and ineffective.

Management hierarchies stifle effective customer service and hold down decision-making.

The goal of reorganising organisational structures is to increase efficiency. Management is a costly commodity, and it must be able to demonstrate the value it brings to a company in order to be justified.

The name “The Shamrock Organization” was coined by Irish professor Charles Handy. He considered people to be an organization’s most valuable resource, and argued that businesses should rethink their relationship with employees, offering personal development possibilities in the form of short-term contracts rather than long-term employment. To be flexible, a structure must be able to add and remove employees.

The shape of a shamrock is a suitable symbolic representation of a company with three types of employees. It represents three leaves that are joined as a whole by a primary body.

A shamrock organisation is divided into three components. The first leaf is the core personnel, which is supported by the second and third leaves, which are short-term or self-employed employees who are more flexible and can help the company meet unique demands more efficiently and productively. It is easier to manage expenditures by arranging the organisation in this way.

The core team is responsible for integrating the more transient workers and agencies while guaranteeing their commitment to the projects at hand.

The importance of valuing all members of staff in this type of organisation cannot be overstated. Contracting work to third-party companies necessitates the development and encouragement of relationships. Many businesses place a strong priority on relationship marketing. Staff in the core team must be motivated as well. People are less likely to stay with the same company to advance up their preferred career ladder these days, so businesses must learn to value and reward employees differently, as well as rapidly and successfully induct new team members.

Independent workers, by choice or necessity, who use online markets and platforms to obtain work projects, also known as the Gig economy, are emerging as a result of the digital age.

According to McKinsey (Independent Work: Choice, Necessity, and the Gig Economy: 2016), there were over 160 million independent workers in the United States and Europe in 2016. They distinguish four segments:

Freelancers: those who prefer to work for themselves.

  • ‘Reluctants’ who would rather work in a traditional setting
  • Those who work on the side to augment their main income
  • Those who are financially challenged and must augment their income

Change in an organisation isn’t inexpensive. Restructuring is measured not just in terms of money, but also in terms of people. Organizational change is rarely welcomed by employees since it can lead to uncertainty and stress.

As a result, managers have a responsibility to:

Changes should be carefully considered to ensure that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

Consider the impact of change on internal corporate relationships as well as interactions between employees and customers.

As much as feasible, involve individuals who will be affected by the change in the decision-making process.

Ensure that the benefits of change, as well as the reasons for it, are effectively and professionally promoted internally.

give employees with the knowledge and resources they need to form new teams efficiently and effectively.

As organisations attempt to adapt to quickly changing marketplaces, we may expect to have direct experience with organisational change and to be active in managing change.

Measuring Return on Investment in Communications

With margins under pressure in today’s highly competitive markets, it’s more important than ever to make sure resources are working hard to meet goals. Marketers have a terrible track record in terms of measurement and metrics, and when challenged to assess the impact of spending and decisions, they are conflicted.

Marketers have previously been challenged to demonstrate the impact of tactical spending on sales. This was not conceivable in advertising because the goal of a commercial was to raise brand awareness and only indirectly influence sales. Today, it is widely acknowledged that an integrated campaign is required to move prospective buyers from unawareness to purchase, and that this campaign must include the following elements:

that a campaign’s communication methods and medium would be integrated both online and offline

The impact of sales will be measured in terms of the total amount of money spent on the campaign as a whole, rather than discrete strategies.

Individual tactical elements can be evaluated and examined, but only in the context of their contribution to the decision-making process.

Marketing and communication expenses can account for up to 10% of an organization’s total spending, therefore marketing is in charge of a large amount of money. Metrics are important, and as a marketer, you must be able to not only analyse the impact of your spending on specific markets (a strategic review), but also use this information to improve your tactical mix and future impact of both on and offline expenditure.

Knowing that market indicators are important is not the same as providing better analysis. Providing meaningful feedback and data on the impact of communication spend in a market is neither easy nor inexpensive, but it is widely acknowledged as a worthy endeavour.

It’s tempting to assume that if a company is doing well in a specific market, sales and market share are increasing, and goals are being reached, everything is fine and measurements won’t make a difference.

However, it is safe to believe that both marketing and marketing communications operations can be improved until managers can select one potential client and be certain of a 1:1 conversion. For more efficient and successful market communications, feedback, detailed examination, and analysis of what works and what doesn’t are critical steps in the process.


Effectiveness is a metric for determining whether we are delivering the appropriate message to the right people at the right time. The outputs and outcomes, or what was provided, are considered for determining effectiveness.

What is the cost of sending those messages to the identified people? Efficiency assesses if we are doing things correctly. The inputs, or the resources used to do anything, are the focus of efficiency.

Ratios are significant because they connect inputs and outputs. We made ten calls, for example, and only got one sale. This clarifies the relationship between the two: how much did 10 calls cost to make, and what was the average selling value? (or perhaps the lifetime value of a new customer). With this knowledge, you may make an informed decision regarding resource allocation and ask questions to help enhance the efficiency or effectiveness of the calls made, hence improving the call-to-sale ratio.

Keep in mind that increased efficiency is meaningless if it isn’t accompanied by increased efficacy. Increasing the number of social media followers without converting them into customers or users has little financial value.

WARNING! When using ratios, be cautious because one ratio does not tell you anything. Because you have nothing to compare it against, the sales to call ratio indicated above may be a “industry best” or “industry worst.” It reflects today’s performance in order to serve as a benchmark for tomorrow’s goals, but you’ll need something to compare it to before deciding how good or awful it is. Comparisons to the previous year, another team or comparable product, a different channel or market, and so on may provide you with the additional information you require.

Even if you have a second ratio to compare, don’t jump to conclusions; ratio analysis should prompt you to ask more questions. Sales team B may convert one call out of every eight, which is definitely better than the claimed one out of every ten, but is it? If Team B customers spend an average of £100 and Team A customers spend an average of £50, your estimate of relative performance may change.

Setting precise quantifiable objectives is the beginning step for measuring the efficacy of communications operations. These serve as an approximate yardstick by which actual performance can be measured.

Internal reports, competition analysis, and market research are all sources of information that can be used to aid appraisal. Before you implement the communication activity, you must plan the measuring and monitoring mechanisms as well as the information you want to collect. A remarkable quantity of data can then be quickly gathered. Clipped coupons from the media, for example, can contain identifying codes, telesales employees can collect data on the source of the inquiry, and web analytics can reveal how many page impressions and unique visitors were delivered on, but only if arranged ahead of time.

To determine the amount to which a new campaign has increased awareness, you must first establish a baseline. This will necessitate study; quantitative approaches can be used to test prompted or spontaneous brand awareness, while qualitative techniques can be used to examine existing attitudes, perceived brand values, and so on.

Managers may misallocate communication resources to enhance awareness, which is already high, when they should be investing in improving conversion rates, which are low, if this information is not available.

Following the development of a campaign, the methods, whether online or offline, advertising, sales promotion, or publicity, must be tested on people who represent the target demographic. Recall can be tested and responses appraised using storyboards or mock-ups. If this were to be a global campaign, this work would have to be replicated across regional regions. The information gathered will aid in maximising the effectiveness of each tactical aspect.

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.

be evaluated

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

Performance evaluation can be a difficult task. It’s easy to mistake measurements for checking up on people, and it’s not uncommon for managers to measure because it’s expected rather than because the data and information gathered would be beneficial to them.

The goal of planning is to assist the organisation get the most value out of the resources it has. This entails looking at

Efficiency metrics – how well are you doing things?

Effectiveness metrics — are you doing the correct things?

We can only quantify our success if we want to know how successful we are. You have no way of knowing what is and isn’t working without measurements, and you have a slim possibility of learning and improving your performance.

Metrics should not be compiled solely to fulfil the needs of senior management, but rather to equip you with the knowledge you need to accomplish your work more effectively.

You are accountable for the resources made available in whatever sector of marketing or management you work in, and you must become an expert in the indicators of performance in your field to supply you with information.

If things aren’t going as planned, you’ll get an early warning — We’ll use these milestones to evaluate and appraise our progress.

data that enables you to explore ways to increase future efficiency and effectiveness

The performance data gathered will be used in the audit and analysis phase of the planning cycle the following year.

Check out the details of CIM’s two-day Marketing Metrics: Measuring Marketing Performance training course. Key Marketing Metrics: A Guide is also available. The CIM Bookshop has copies of The 50+ Metrics Every Manager Needs to Know available for purchase.

The outcomes of previous activities are reported via lag metrics. Financial and impact measurements are lagging indicators. The revenue/profits generated are the outcome of the plan implemented the day before. The plan that has already been implemented has resulted in the social impact of projects and the audiences obtained. Because it is too late to change the numbers/results once they are known, it is critical to focus on improving the results for the next time frame.

The measurements for leads are a little different. If you’re vigilant and aware of them, they can alert you to the possibility that your financial results aren’t as expected. Two types of lead analytics that can provide an early warning are market metrics and HR metrics.

The Scorecard with a Balanced Score

Kaplan and Norton’s research reflects the lead and leg factor cascade. They devised the Balanced Scorecard in order to assist businesses.

Align your goals

Recognize the significance of goal-setting and performance evaluation.

Balanced scorecards and dashboards are simply a tool for aligning and reporting key performance measures and indicators. Here, caution is required to guarantee that what is measured is beneficial.

If you consider that a successful firm must have happy customers, and that happy customers require motivated and engaged employees, you can see the rationale behind lead (input indicators) and lag (output indicators) (output indicators).

If you track staff metrics, any decline will alert you to the possibility that customer experience and satisfaction will deteriorate in the future, leading to customers choosing other providers and buying less from you.

Individual measurements are solely used as indicators. Before you draw any conclusions, you should consider them in a larger context. A sudden surge in worker absenteeism, for example, could be the result of a flu outbreak rather than a dissatisfied workforce.

As a marketer, it’s important to monitor changes in your dashboard of metrics (they are solely focused on demand side performance; you may wish to add supply side to create a balanced scorecard).

If you’re in charge of a call centre, a customer care team, or service delivery, you’ll be able to figure out which staff metrics to track and which market metrics to track.

These figures are straightforward; for example, the average customer spend is £180, and the average worker absence is 4.5 days. You will have far stronger control measures if you combine numbers and deal with ratios.

The Net Promoter Score is a customer loyalty indicator based on a straightforward question: Would you recommend our company/product/service to your friends and colleagues?

The most common scoring system for this response is a 0 to 10 scale. The greater the score, the better the chances of progress. Passives, critics, and promoters are the three types of responses. The number of critics is subtracted from the number of promoters to get the NPS score.

It has its detractors, and it isn’t equally beneficial in all industries, but tracking changes in NPS can be a good indicator that something is wrong with the customer experience.

Product Management – Developing New Products

Previously, marketing teams were formed to collaborate with product managers. This is still true in many organisations, but product managers are increasingly taking on strategic marketing responsibilities, making decisions about which market segments to target and what products and services to develop. The marketing team retains responsible for communications but not revenue growth in these organisations, which are generally characterised by technically sophisticated products such as pharmaceuticals, engineering, and financial services.

Product managers in these industries are appropriately referred to as “architects of competitive advantage.” They frequently have profit and loss (P&L) responsibilities and must bring demand and supply for their product or portfolio together through stakeholder management. This is a difficult position that necessitates both customer orientation and technical product expertise.

With technology shortening product life cycles and customer expectations of practically continual product improvement well-established, most organisations’ strategic plans are likely to include new product development (NPD). While the necessity and benefit of adding new goods to your portfolio are obvious, the process is costly and hazardous. As a result, it’s not unexpected that a lot of effort is put towards figuring out how to:

Increasing the return on the initial product investment by maximising the commercial returns from an established product.

Increasing the likelihood of new product success by ensuring that new product development is customer-driven and informed, and that the resultant value proposition meets actual demands and stands out from competitors.

Increasing agility to reduce time to market by hastening the NPD process

Rather than commercialising their existing portfolio, technology-focused companies tend to invest their resources in inventing new products. Adding new items dilutes average product income and reduces overall commercial returns. To maximise growth throughout a product’s life cycle, as well as to keep and gain market share as the product matures, good, positive market strategies are required. Positive product management is also required to plan and implement an end-of-life exit strategy that frees up resources to support the next generation of new products and services.

Product modification can be used to increase the sales of an existing product and maximise its growth potential. Because an established product has a track record, it is often a less risky option, and investment may be on a smaller scale, but the procedure will be the same as for new product development. A new market, whether it’s a different sector or area, will have some distinct demands or behaviours that characterise it as a segment, necessitating a change in the value proposition to ensure success in this new environment.

The shorter product life cycle is also driving a shift away from individual product brands and toward family or corporate brands. Today, brands are more likely to outlive items, and investing in a brand as an umbrella for a series of updated generations of the same product or an extended family of products can yield higher profits; this tendency is evident in the world of smartphones and tablets.

Whether you’re launching a new product or modifying an existing one, the processes to ensure a quick development and launch will be similar.

Most organisations have abandoned the old, time-consuming linear approach to product development in favour of a multi-functional, project-based strategy. This new method assures that technical, operational, business, and marketing considerations are addressed simultaneously rather than sequentially. This helps to cut product development time and costs while also providing a customer-centric approach with marketing input at every level of the process.

Both the technical and marketing sides of development flow into the total business development activity, as shown in the diagram.

The marketing team’s contribution to this process is detailed below.

  1. Their involvement could start with identifying a client need as a possible source of new product ideas.
  2. After that, the concepts will be screened. Marketers can play a role in ensuring that all potential new product concepts fulfil brand criteria and have the potential for scalability and sustainability to warrant further investigation and effort.
  3. The feasibility study is the following step, which will require these ideas to be transformed into product concepts. The who, when, and why questions are all answered by a product concept.

Only after you’ve finished these stages will you be able to determine the size of the market and the character of your present competition.

The proposal can be tested on potential clients at this point, and a thorough business study can be done. The creation of a market map will assist you in defining the competitors, analysing market trends, and forecasting potential demand. Simultaneously, technical experts will analyse operational difficulties and potential production costs while assuring the proposed offering’s functionality.

Products may be tested marketed or launched immediately onto the market during the final stages. In any scenario, a comprehensive business and marketing strategy must be designed in close coordination with operational and logistical personnel to ensure that demand matches available supply during the early phases of a product’s life cycle.

Possible problems can be identified early in the NPD process by working closely together, and cross-functional solutions can be sought to overcome development roadblocks. Products that might later prove unfeasible can be weeded out earlier in the development process, lowering the overall expenses of product development.

Do you want to learn more about Product Management? Through my CIM, I offer the following training courses:

Product Management Fundamentals

Product Management That Makes Money

Planning Marketing Activities – Gantt Charts

The majority of marketing operations are, in fact, a sequence of initiatives with a distinct beginning, middle, and end.

Juggling can be related to project management since there are numerous metaphorical balls in the air that must be caught and maintained moving for the performance to be effective. Many operations are moving at different speeds, therefore the project manager must keep track of their pace and progress. If some deadlines are missed, the consequences can be disastrous.

There are tools and approaches available to assist you in managing these many activities – project software is widely available, but the concepts and goal are the same.

A Gantt Chart is a type of bar chart that is frequently used in project management. It depicts actions as a function of time. The list of activities is displayed in the first column, followed by the timeline at the top of the chart. Each bar on the graph represents an activity, with its position indicating the activity’s start, length, and end.

Henry Gantt, an American engineer and management consultant, popularised the charts in Western countries in the early 1900s. As a result, his name has come to be associated with these types of charts.

Gantt charts were originally drawn by hand, which meant that making a change would require redrawing the entire chart. This limited their utility, as most projects necessitate constant change. Gantt charts may now be quickly made and updated thanks to the introduction of computers and project management software.

Projects not being delivered on time and on budget is a typical issue. As a result, Gantt charts give a tool for Project Managers to better their project planning and control, increasing their chances of completing projects on time and on budget.

The primary advantages of Gantt charts are that they are simple, easy to design, and that they are a very valuable tool for project management since they are visible.

Project managers can benefit greatly from Gantt Charts. They give them the ability to:

Make a schedule for the project.

Make a list of all the tasks in the correct sequence.

Take a bird’s eye view of the implementation and what needs to be accomplished by when (it shows you which ball needs catching next)

Set aside funds for a project.

Place them in context with the timeline.

Progress should be tracked and reported on.

Keep track of a project’s progress and convey it to others.

Project milestones should be displayed.

Recognize and report issues

The Project Manager will need to know how to design a Gantt chart.

all of the tasks that must be completed in order to complete the project

an estimate of the time it will take to complete each activity

responsibilities that must be delegated to others

This method allows the Project Manager to concentrate on the most important aspects of the project, allowing them to set a realistic completion date.

The ability to put so much detail in Gantt charts has the risk of making them excessively complicated. When planning a project, Project Managers should keep this chart simple to operate as an overall overview rather than overloading it with detail, as the concern is that effective progress communication will be lost.

Note: Marketers frequently underestimate the time required to obtain copy approval. Make sure you understand the internal sign-off procedures and account for the possibility of persons being unavailable.

The discipline of thinking through all of the essential actions, who is responsible for them, and the amount of time required is one of the advantages of using a Gantt chart. Thinking about potential issues will allow you to plan for them or take efforts to avoid them.

After you’ve made a list of your activities, figure out how they’re related.
Keep your chart up to date by mapping your progress against it. Set goals for yourself and celebrate your accomplishments.
Use your graph to demonstrate progress and keep stakeholders informed about the strategy.

Keep in mind that when adopting a strategy, you must keep your stakeholders updated until the forecasts are fulfilled.

Progress entails not only coming to market, but also delivering and learning from outcomes. As a result, implementation is a dynamic process in which performance feedback will be used to make adjustments over time.

The Ansoff Matrix, SOSTAC®, the Boston Consultancy Group Matrix, the necessity of planning, and the strategic marketing plan are all topic guides with additional information on marketing planning. Also included are a marketing plan template and a practical guide on creating a marketing plan.

Product Life Cycle (PLC)

The Product Life Cycle (PLC) has been dubbed “the most well-known and least understood term in marketing.” Although most marketers can identify the stages, few appear to take the notion into consideration when analysing markets or developing future strategies.

The PLC stands for the life of a ‘generic’ product, or the life of a market for a specific product, such as smartphones, board games, or sports drinks.

Because demand and supply fluctuate at each step of the cycle, your strategies and tactics must be adjusted on a regular basis to realise the profit potential at each stage.

Because of the problems in estimating the length of each stage, the amount of activity, and the timing of the transition from one stage to the next, the PLC has been criticised as a planning tool. Despite these drawbacks, it does offer a comprehensive tool for analysis, planning, and control. You’ll know the normal form of the life cycle in your industry; fashion goods, for example, have a steep up side and speedy down side; and you’ll know the average duration of the cycle based on previous product experiences. This will assist you in tailoring your thinking to your own market environment.

Lives that are shorter

While technology is prolonging people’s lives, it is simultaneously reducing the life expectancy of many objects. This necessitates purposeful action to extend the life of old items and/or launch new ones. Because the expense and danger of developing new items are so high, modification and extension is frequently the preferred alternative. However, there’s a chance that a competitor will be the first to market with a new solution and reap the benefits of being first to market.

The first mover enjoys benefits similar to those of a monopolist due to restricted supply and likely only one player in the market. New products are frequently marked by high pricing charged to recoup some of the expenditure in research and development. This is a common occurrence in the technology and pharmaceutical industries. When rivals enter the market looking for a point of differentiation, distribution is generally limited and the product itself is quite basic; new features and functionalities emerge during the growth period.

To acquire market acceptance, the first to market organisation must educate customers, focusing on innovators and early adopters. It is necessary to raise awareness, and early endorsements and case studies can aid in the spread of this product to the next set of users.

A pricing penetration approach, which is more typically linked with FMCG products in consumer markets, is an alternative entry method. While increasing distribution can assist a company acquire maximum market penetration, competitors will find it more difficult to enter the market because they will not be able to compete on a lower price point.

Stages of Development

As new rivals enter the market, demand and supply increase; choice and availability expand, prices may decline, and promotion concentrates on competitive advantage. Because there are still new customers entering the market, competition isn’t as fierce as it once was because everyone can grow without stealing clients from one another.

Maturity Level

Competition tends to concentrate in mature markets as suppliers band together to build a more oligopolistic, competitive base. The competitive response to new entrants is likely to be fierce, and this will act as a barrier to entry. In a mature market, the costs of gaining market share are considerable because it necessitates gaining sales from someone else.

While a mature product will generate cash, it will not provide the profit increase that shareholders desire, thus profit improvement methods are necessary. Cutting expenses at this point risks reducing your points of differentiation or the value offer your clients have grown to expect, causing them to switch to another provider, thus the alternative is to breathe fresh life into a mature product.

When it comes to extending the life of a product, you have three options.

  1. Changing the mixture

Changing a product’s positioning by modifying its marketing mix can be used to increase market penetration or open up new market niches. Sales can be boosted, for example, by lowering the price and/or expanding availability.

  1. Adjusting the market

A popular method is to look for new markets for an established product. Consider how GPS technology has progressed from the military to automobiles to home use.

International expansion is a strategy for changing the market. In less developed countries, technologies that are nearing their end of life in one country may still be appropriate. This provides the benefit of extending the product’s life cycle and improving the likelihood of recouping R&D investment.

  1. Changing the product

It is not necessary to make big changes to a product, such as adding electricity to traditional hand-held instruments; it could be as simple as using a different material on the handles to make them ‘easy-grip.’

The modification process should follow the same structure and customer research as the development of a new product. The only difference is that a modified product will usually cost less and have a lower probability of failure than a completely new one. As a result, many businesses have over-relied on extension techniques rather than investing in true new product creation (NPD).

These changes are likely to have an effect on the overall profit margin. Lower prices or greater distribution costs will have an effect, but the adjusted product will also have a different portfolio of items or demand, bigger discounts, or different levels of service. As a result, it’s critical that you, as the planner, determine what this impact will be.

The end of a product’s life is particularly difficult since demand begins to decline, but this could be a long-term process. If rivals quit the market, those that remain will have more opportunity to grow during this time because there will be fewer businesses to compete with.

Businesses will be anxious about retaining customers when they transition to a next-generation product offering, while those that continue to supply the old product may be concerned about the negative impact on their brands.

Real decisions are required to ensure that current customers receive product support and spares, as well as that product withdrawal decisions are made in a timely and orderly manner.

When a company decides to exit a market, it should do so when it can put its resources to better use elsewhere.

Product Portfolio

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.

Portfolio inspection

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.

Researching Customers

Customer research, market insight, and market analysis are all important foundations for a customer-focused organisation, yet they require time and effort.

The initial stage in this procedure is to define the market. Much of the ensuing analysis will be useless or even misleading if the first definition is erroneous. If you characterise your company as being in the ‘movie business,’ for example, your competitors will be other cinemas, and your macro and micro analyses will be confined to those who influence and participate in film attendance. If you describe your market as ‘evening entertainment,’ you’ll face competition from the local theatre and restaurants, as well as new client categories.

You can avoid the danger of’marketing myopia’ by defining your business from the perspective of your customers. This occurs when a company fails to recognise new forms or types of competitors, such as when the camera business fails to recognise the danger posed by smartphones.

As a marketer, once you’ve decided what business you’re in, you’ll need to comprehend the market on a macro level by asking yourself the following questions:

Who are the market’s existing and future customers, and how do they act?

Who do they buy from, when do they buy from them, and where do they buy from them?

What are their requirements and desires?

What are the anticipated environmental changes in this market, and how will they affect customers?

In this market, who do customers see as competitors?

Information and data may be widely available at this level. Industry publications, secondary research, observation, and mystery shopping could all help you develop a more comprehensive market map.

Information gathered from previous market operations, as well as details about your client base, can be incorporated to enhance the macro level study. Technology advancements have revolutionised the ability to store and use client data. Companies today typically have a single perspective of the consumer, with data pulled from a variety of channels and contacts, thanks to data warehousing and data mining techniques, especially when integrated with loyalty programmes. Past transactions and client preferences are also tracked, allowing future offers to be tailored to specific customers even in large markets. All of this customer data has the potential to create a better and deeper understanding of the consumer, but it can only be useful if it is used properly.

Market research and forecasting approaches must be used in addition to current behaviour monitoring. These are intended to assist product designers and marketers in anticipating changing needs.

Remember that the client cannot design the product of future for you. They can be questioned about their unmet wants, but their vision of the product of the future will be based on what they know now: faster, smaller, and less expensive.

You, as a marketer, are in charge of defining the problem and creating a compelling research brief. It is critical to collect ‘need to know’ rather than ‘like to know’ information, which should be prepared to be available when needed and in the format desired by the management who will be working with the data.

Whether the research is to be conducted internally or externally, a research brief is required; its creation is a discipline that can assist assure the relevancy of the material generated.

The following should be included in the research brief:

The problem or aspect of the market to be researched, as well as the questions to be addressed, must be specified.

Confirmation of the ‘population’ or ‘universe’ to be studied; if you’re working on a market penetration strategy, samples can be chosen from existing consumer categories. However, in order for market development plans to be effective, potential buyers must be profiled and employed as the study sample.

A study of previous relevant research or information is required; otherwise, research effort may be wasted just verifying what has already been established. When an external research agency is employed and a solid trust connection is not developed, these issues are more likely to emerge.

Budget information, timeline limits, and the level of precision required. This will prevent the development of suggestions that are inappropriate for the available resources or the investigation’s setting.

Clarification on how the project will be handled; who will be the key internal contacts, what will be the review procedures, and how will the research project’s quality and success be measured?

THE ACID EXPERIMENT When you’ve compiled a list of questions, ask yourself:

What impact will the answers to these questions have on my decision-making process?

I’m not sure what else I’d need to know.

Return to the drawing board if you are unsure of the answer.

You must influence and inform the research agenda as a marketer, as well as battle for the appropriate cash and resources. Effective planning necessitates the use of information.


Consider including an information improvement appendix in every marketing plan, along with a financial allocation for that plan.

The researcher’s job is to write a proposal in response to the research brief, and then to carry out the agreed-upon research plan if it is accepted. Whether the researcher is within or external to the organisation, this phase in the process is a good discipline to follow and should be done formally.

The proposal should include the following:

Restate the researcher’s knowledge of the problem’s breadth and the issues that will be investigated in the research.

Include an assessment of secondary data sources that need to be verified.

Propose a definition for the population from which the sample will be drawn, as well as the size of the sample and the technique of selection that should be used.

Give specifics on the methodology that will be used.

Include a schedule as well as a budget.

Give specifics on how the findings will be analysed and how the results will be presented.

This will assist managers and researchers in ensuring that their thinking is in sync, that nothing has been ignored, and that the research results will meet the expectations of the client.

When study results are generated, research teams, especially internal ones, should not consider their work done. Their job isn’t done until the data is used by managers to make better decisions. As a result, one of the most important aspects of a manager’s job is to consider the most effective method for delivering information.

The Segmentation topic guide contains further marketing research resources. See the Marketing Research Proposal Template for more information.

Sales Strategy

A customer-oriented business seeks to guarantee that the transaction is mutually beneficial, with satisfied consumers serving as a foundation for solid connections and increasing lifetime value. In today’s competitive marketplaces, this is the cornerstone for achieving organisational goals. The entire company must be set up to facilitate and encourage the sales process, the transaction, and the continuous management of the client relationship. All of your efforts and activities leading up to the point of sale are an investment that may not pay off until the transaction goes well.

There will be time spent researching the target market prior to the sale. Resources will be devoted to developing solutions that it expects will meet those client needs, as well as a concerted advertising campaign to raise awareness and foster a favourable attitude among the target demographic. Winning new business can cost five times as much as keeping existing ones, so it’s well worth the investment, even if it takes a long time.

The success of the organization’s activities will be determined by negotiations during the sale process. The price paid and the sales volume attained are indicators of the customer’s opinion of the product.

The offering will have a direct impact on the transaction’s profitability.

Please check The Selling Process Action Guide for more information on negotiating.

The purchase is not the end of the sales process. If sales costs are to be kept low, post-sale orders must be filled, clients must be followed up on, and relationships must be built. A succession of one-time transactions will always be more expensive and less profitable than developing long-term partnerships. Customer satisfaction measures can help you determine whether the product met your expectations, and the sales team plays an important part in customer-company communication.

The sales meeting is a’moment of truth’ between the customer and the company, with the salesman in the spotlight. Their capacity to persuade others of the firm and its products, handle objections, make a contract, and establish a long-term relationship is important to the company’s success. It is now the role of the salesperson to illustrate and convince those three main elements of the offer: relevancy, distinction, and believability.

The ability to prepare and communicate are essential attributes of a successful seller. Personal selling is a costly but extremely successful component of a company’s communication arsenal. The sales team is responsible for ensuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the sales effort.

to receive active assistance from the marketing team and the rest of the company

The entire field of sales staff salary and incentive is crucial. Targets and remuneration should recognise this important function while avoiding pressuring the sales team to close deals.

at any cost, or making an unsuitable arrangement with the buyer.

The proposal must be presented in a realistic manner. The company wants to be seen in a positive light, but it’s all too simple for excited salespeople to over-promise, leaving the company looking under-performing. Customer dissatisfaction is frequently driven by a failure to adequately manage expectations.

The personal selling process can be divided into nine steps as a general rule.

Prospecting for new clients

Prospects who meet the criteria

Relationship development

delivering the sales pitch

Answering questions and rebuttals

completing the transaction

Providing assistance and service

Relationship development

  • Maintaining commitment and trust

These nine stages will not be the same in every organisation, therefore this method is not strict in any way. This strategy offers for a lot of versatility in the salesperson’s approach; however, the negative is that it’s quite straightforward.

If you’re interested in learning more about the personal selling process, there have been a number of additional attempts (e.g., the AIDA sequence, the stimulus-response model, and so on) to describe it in greater depth.


Marketing activity revolves around segmentation. It is the cornerstone of marketing strategy and is part of the ‘go-to-market’ plan at the operational level. Three key decisions make up a marketing strategy:

The idea behind segmentation is simple: if resources are limited and customers in our market have a choice, we will be more successful if we focus on the customers who are most likely to choose our product.

Selectivity and focus are important marketing ideas that provide a number of commercial advantages to a company:

The goal of segmentation is to avoid becoming “all things to all people.” Rather than trying to be a jack of all trades, focus on becoming a master in a few areas. This will help the company use its limited resources more efficiently and effectively. It’s preferable to do it right for a few customers than to get it close for many.

It makes sense to treat customers differently in marketplaces because their wants and behaviours are not all the same. Segmentation prevents resources from being wasted by delivering benefits that aren’t desired by a certain group of customers, and targeted clients will receive an offering that is tailored to their individual needs; hence, segmentation should result in both efficiency and effectiveness.

A segment must consist of buyers who have common buying needs or behaviours in order for it to be valuable; these wants and behaviours allow the chance to construct an offering tailored to specific requirements.

Organizations frequently get segmentation incorrect because they mix up segments with markets. The company strategy is agreed upon – for example, increasing sales to the young market or supporting organisations with a green purpose.

Usually, the following issue is, “How can we communicate with these potential customers?”

How can we segment these markets, is the question that needs to be posed.

Not all green agenda organisations or young people have the same demands and behaviours. Trying to please them all with a single value proposition results in a mediocre answer that falls short of meeting everyone’s expectations.

A segment is a group of clients in a market who have similar needs or buying habits.

Individuals or organisations who have a common concern make up a market.

Step 1: Determine the segments that the market must, may, and should be divided into.
The difficulty comes in the first phase, which is deciding on the appropriate foundation for segmenting the market. Market knowledge was scarce in the past, and people made the mistake of segmenting markets based on shared traits and statistics. For corporate markets, this was frequently geo-demographic, such as industrial sector, and for consumers, age or gender. While members of a segment may share a characteristic, that characteristic may or may not be the one that drives customer behaviour.

Psychographic and lifestyle segmentation-based approaches are now more likely to provide subgroups with a unique/common demand that you may seek to meet as an organisation. The development of improved customer databases and data mining abilities are making it possible to segment markets in this much more creative and original approach in both consumer and business markets.

We have a better understanding of the difficulty of effective segmentation and the need of designing needs-based segmentation methods. We now have more data at our disposal, but we still need to figure out how to put it to good use in order to develop a successful segmentation plan.

Step 2: Review the segments that have been discovered to see if any do not match the fundamental criteria.

Criteria for determining whether or not a segment is appropriate

The following properties are required for an acceptable section to be effective:

Step 3: profile users within each remaining sector to assess their viability and decide their value and long-term viability to the company.
The market planning deficit will be filled by a piece of money from each sector.

Step 4: Using a decision-making framework such as a multifactor matrix, examine segment choices.

This assures that selected segments have the potential to provide a competitive edge for you, and that the selected segments will jointly meet the overall market planning gap.

Step 5: Determine target segments and design value propositions for each.

This defines the optimal positioning and serves as a template for developing the offer (or marketing mix).

Internally, segmentation is used

Marketing approaches and concepts are increasingly in demand to assist in the management of both internal and external consumer groups. Internal marketing is more than just the’marketing of marketing’ within a company; it’s a critical component of any execution plan.

You can use the same methodology to develop an internal marketing plan if you can develop an external marketing plan.

Internal segmentation requires thinking about your internal audience – they are not all the same, and they have various requirements and behaviours. This can be used to construct the differentiated internal tactics that are being given to them.

An HR director, for example, may be faced with a variety of different segmentation bases when segmenting the workforce in order to promote a new evaluation scheme:

Geographically (international business)

By way of example,

In terms of service time

Employees’ ages

In terms of how you feel about the plan

Once the most effective parts have been identified, the ideal way to frame the proposed plan and build up the techniques that outweigh the cost of change can be determined.

Setting Objectives

Every strategy must have a goal. That goal must be specific, quantifiable, and set against a timeline so that progress can be tracked. It must be reasonable and viewed as possible by those who must deliver it, as well as relevant – that is, understood by the team in charge. Setting a profit target for a sales force, for example, isn’t appropriate, but setting a target for new customers or average sales volumes is.

While every plan must have a single goal, you can include sub-goals and even policy statements to describe how that goal will be met. Consider the following scenario:

The overall goal is to boost sales volume by 10% next year.

Sub-objectives: a 5% increase in market share (assuming market growth is percent percent p.a.)

Increasing the number of customers by x, assuming that each client purchases Y products

Policy: For every new client recruited, we will donate £x to environmental causes.

Two’master’ aims aren’t feasible because, for example, if you have a revenue and profit goal, you might not be able to achieve both – you would have to forgo sales to achieve a profit margin, or vice versa.

Objectives connect plans and cannot be produced independently. If the marketing plan’s goal is to create £5,000 in revenue at an average price of £10, we’ll need to sell 500 copies to meet that goal, so 500 is the sales volume goal. This would be passed on to the supply side, where it would become the manufacturing goal. You can then cascade and link the objectives horizontally and vertically in this manner.

Kaplan and Norton, two management gurus, were the first to recognise the importance of goal alignment. Many organisations have implemented their work on the ‘Balanced Scorecard,’ not just to align objectives between functional sections of the business, but also to cascade objectives down to each employee. Because the information is organised in this fashion, every employee can see how their actions affect the achievement of the organization’s overall objectives.

During weekday lunches, a newly appointed restaurant manager conducts an audit, which reveals slow commerce and significant excess capacity. She’s been given a short-term personal goal of raising monthly restaurant profits by £2,000 in the next several months. The new manager thinks that the typical lunchtime bill is £15 and that each lunchtime customer makes a profit of £5. According to a current trade survey:

The average lunch party consists of two people.

As a result, the marketing goal necessitates:

To meet the business goal of £2000 in increased earnings, 400 lunchtime diners per month are required.

A total of 200 bookings are required, with around 50 every week (or 10 per weekday lunch)

It’s worth noting how this clarity of goal also serves as a foundation for measurement and control. The number of additional reservations per day can be tracked to assess if the weekday lunch marketing is successful.

Here’s one example that’s a little different. A B2B firm looking to boost profits by £100,000

Two things happen when the cascade reaches the tactical level of planning:

  1. You’ll get feedback from the ground up on how practical or achievable your plan is. The operations department can tell you if they have the capacity to create and distribute more products, and the sales department can tell you if they can take on new accounts.
  2. Using an objective and task way of budgeting, you can begin to acquire a feel of the budget requirements depending on the task at hand.

A budget is basically a declaration of the resources required to carry out a strategy, expressed in financial terms.

The management can now re-evaluate the strategy’s practicality after it has been spelled out in this manner.

  1. The sales team will be in a better position to evaluate and price the sales resources they require.

Social Media for Customer Service

Delivering superior customer service through social media channels has been one of the most difficult problems for professional marketers. When it comes to dealing with concerns, social media shines.

There are a number of methods for businesses to use their digital platforms to improve customer experience and feedback, and we’ll look at how Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can help:

Facebook is a powerful tool for businesses to gather crucial client feedback. Facebook allows its users to like, tag, and share items that they are interested in; these endorsements are visible to all members who visit a given page or post.

Organizations can use their Facebook business pages to promote themselves, their brands, and their products. Updates, including video footage and links, can be provided to these pages.

Employees are given the authority to respond as soon as a comment is made. Positive feedback is often simpler to deal with, but responding swiftly to a positive post gives you the chance to generate more engagement and attention from others. Negative feedback, on the other hand, can be handled in the same way. It is critical to do so since engaging directly with angry customers demonstrates transparency and is the most effective approach of restoring trust.

Sweepstakes sites and contests can also help you get more people to visit your Facebook page. They can be used to incentivize visitor behaviour by requiring visitors to do pre-defined tasks prior to access, such as downloading an app, like a page, or signing up for a newsletter.

Customers are significantly more likely to like a page if it contains this type of engagement tool. Managing customer experience in this way not only adds a fun element to the customer journey, but research shows that customers are far more likely to like a page if it contains this type of engagement tool.

Twitter is a priceless two-way communication platform that allows businesses to engage with their customers. The average Twitter user follows five companies, and 58 percent of the most popular brands have more than 100,000 followers. Employees can participate in Twitter chats, making it one of the most empowering social channels for dealing with client feedback.

A web widget can be used to show Twitter feeds on websites or blog pages, allowing users to view and engage with messages in real time, ensuring maximum exposure.

Brand reach – It’s critical to expand the reach of promotional messaging, and Twitter is an excellent platform for doing so. In a Tweet, 80 percent of Twitter users mention a brand.

Hashtags are highly useful for broadening the reach of a post because they may be easily picked up and shared by interested individuals.

Sharing relevant insights – Sharing relevant insights on a topic is an essential aspect of exhibiting thought leadership. 83 percent of international leaders use Twitter (one of which is Donald Trump).

In handling social media feedback, building trust and exhibiting transparency are both important, and this type of post may be highly useful in explaining difficulties with accurate facts.

Communication in real time – Being up to date is crucial for beating competitors to a sale, and the term “news jacking” has become popular. In a single minute during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final, 618,725 tweets were sent!

Proactive media manipulation can be quite effective in this situation. Shared insights can reinforce a brand’s position or values.

Customers in today’s society are more inclined to use social media to express both positive and negative feedback; according to study, 77 percent of Twitter users feel more favourable about a brand when their Tweet is replied to. If companies are serious about enhancing their customer experience, they must listen to and act on customer input.

Organizations can utilise Twitter in a variety of ways to collect and respond to customer feedback.

Look for any mentions of their brand, products, services, or campaigns on Twitter.

Tweet questions and/or pleas for feedback about specific issues.

Keep up with the latest industry developments.

LinkedIn can be utilised to improve customer service in two ways. However, because this is primarily a professional networking tool, it does not have the same level of customer interaction as Facebook and Twitter.

Company pages – Instead of messages being distributed to all followers, focused status updates can be sent out on a company page, ensuring that updates are relevant to the audience. Adding the Company Follow button to a company’s website can help them boost their LinkedIn presence. This will aid in the promotion of company pages and the recruitment of new followers.

Visitors can show their support for a post by ‘liking’ or commenting on it. Customers can interact with assigned administrators by reacting to a post. Impressions, clicks, and interactions are all visible indicators for monitoring user engagement. Customer engagement is also shown as a percentage to make it easier to compare the performance of different postings.

Showcase Pages – These are extra pages that go along with the company page. They’re made to assist businesses connect with certain parts of their operations, whether it’s a brand, a significant business unit, or a single programme. Customers who are displayed as followers can create long-term relationships with companies through showcase sites.

Here, the level of customer participation and monitoring operates in the same manner that company posts do. Due to the targeted demographic, engagement levels on showcase pages should be higher, and postings should be more particular in nature.

Interest groups – Organizations can create interest groups for anyone who are interested in joining.

Administrators can deliver messages directly to the inboxes of group members using LinkedIn announcements. To prevent administrators from’spamming’ group members, administrators can only send one email every week to each group.

The CIM Bookshop has a copy of Delivering Effective Social Customer Service if you want to learn more about this topic.

The Social Media for Sales topic guide has more information on social media. Also see the Social Media Planning Template and the Practical Guide to Planning a Social Media Campaign.

You can also watch a Member-Only webinar on driving social media digital strategies.

CIM also offers a variety of social media training courses:

Marketing on Social Media

Strategy for Social Media

B2B Social Media Marketing

Putting Social Media Campaigns in Place

Social Media for Sales

One of the most difficult tasks for professional marketers is to convert social media engagement into revenue streams. Because social media may play a vital role at each step of the customer lifecycle, it’s crucial to have a strategy in place for each. Social media methods are used differently at different stages of the customer lifecycle and can be unproductive if used incorrectly.

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide for many popular social media platforms to assist businesses improve their social media sales by focusing on increasing awareness, generating leads, and converting prospects.

The first thing to know about Facebook is that in a world of 7 billion people, it has over 1 billion monthly active users. As a result, many businesses have a lot of opportunities to reach new clients. There are currently over 4 million advertisements. Many Facebook users also use mobile devices, and mobile advertising accounts for over 73 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue.

Given the large number of active users on Facebook, identifying target audiences is a top priority for advertisers. Fortunately, Facebook’s ad targeting tools allow you to customise your ads. Advertisements can be scheduled to show in a target audience’s News Feed, mobile News Feed, or right-hand column of their Facebook page.

It’s crucial to track how far promotional initiatives have spread. Facebook Ads Manager is a tool for organising, optimising, and measuring ads on Facebook. Furthermore, social media monitoring tools can be used to search for specific key terms, such as brand mentions, on social media. Recently, attention has been focused on gauging sentiment, also known as opinion mining, which examines customer attitudes, feelings, and views.

One of Facebook’s strengths for businesses is Facebook Groups, which allow users to create, manage, and join groups in order to generate sales leads. When it comes to joining groups, it’s crucial to be selective because each group has its own set of demands and desires. It’s also crucial to share relevant content with these groups because messaging must resonate with this set of people.

Organizations can direct Facebook visitors to destinations where goods and services can be purchased directly through the Facebook Store. Creating a custom tab on the business page with a connection to an existing e-commerce website is the quickest and easiest way to accomplish this.

Twitter is one of the most popular real-time social networking networks, with over 1 billion monthly active users. In reality, mobile devices are used by 80 percent of active consumers. Marketers have a lot of opportunities to reach new customers, and they can use paid advertisements to boost traffic and increase revenue.

Prospecting for sales on Twitter can be highly productive; it all comes down to who you follow and who follows you. To begin, write out the key words that your prospects would use and then search for them. Other social monitoring tools can be utilised in conjunction with the built-in search function. Once the prospects have been discovered, start following them and looking for purchasing indications. This entails ‘listening’ to the feed that comes in and acting quickly when pre-defined signals are employed. These triggers must be linked to the various stages of the product lifecycle (PLC) in order for relevant feedback and information to be sent to them.

Twitter advertisements are also a good approach to turn new followers into paying consumers. There are five main sorts of ad campaigns to choose from, including:

Tweet Engagement is the process of promoting Tweets that have been published to a specific audience.

Website Clicks or Conversions – promote a URL with an in-Tweet graphic or a website card with a call-to-action button.

App Installs or App Engagement – which allows advertisers to encourage downloads of their mobile app and thereby boost existing user loyalty.

‘Followers’ are used to advertise an account and increase the number of people who follow it.

Use targeting choices to generate fresh leads.

LinkedIn is commonly recognised as the world’s largest professional social networking network, with over 467 million subscribers. Companies can increase their visibility by creating their own page, which includes an unique banner and a full description of their value proposition and history. Here you can upload creative articles to highlight advertising efforts and deals.

Paid advertisements can be used to drive visitors to LinkedIn profiles and produce viable leads. There are a variety of LinkedIn marketing solutions accessible to businesses, such as text advertising that may be utilised to generate targeted leads across several LinkedIn sites. Sponsored updates can also be utilised to catch LinkedIn members’ attention when they are evaluating and consuming material.

LinkedIn’s lead accelerator is a one-of-a-kind tool that actively seeks for new prospects. This allows businesses to nurture leads beyond their existing connections by reaching out to website visitors who have been filtered based on visitor profiles and online behaviours.

Digital Selling: How to Use Social Media and the Web to Generate Leads and Sell Further is available from the CIM Bookshop for more information on generating leads and sales through social media.

The Social Media for Customer Service topic guide has more information on social media. Also see the Social Media Planning Template and the Practical Guide to Planning a Social Media Campaign.

You can also watch a Member-Only webinar on driving social media digital strategies.

CIM also offers a variety of social media training courses:

Marketing on Social Media

Strategy for Social Media

B2B Social Media Marketing

Putting Social Media Campaigns in Place


Paul Smith, a marketing writer, coined the acronym SOSTAC® to help individuals remember the framework for a plan. It guides you through the steps of analysis: where you are now; setting a goal; devising a strategy to achieve that goal; organising the activities required to carry out your plan; and, ultimately, ensuring that you are on track. Structure for universal planning.

PR Smith ( invented SOSTAC®.

This basic SOSTAC® blueprint can be used to plan vacations, parties, and trips, or to plan at the corporate, SBU, market, and communication levels in business. The same structure can be used if you specialise in public relations or events, and it will help you scope both the planning process and create your final strategy or business case.

Too often in business, plans are still developed in isolation; there is a lack of alignment, integration, and iterative processes in place to ensure that the strategy or action plans will achieve the organization’s objectives.

The SOSTAC® framework can be used to explain not just the planning sequence, but also how plans in different levels of the corporate hierarchy should operate together. In actuality, this is not a neat procedure, and it requires careful planning to be effective.

Everything should begin with a customer interface study, which includes both present performance and capabilities as well as external market drivers. What is the state of our marketplaces, and more significantly, how do we expect them to change in the future?

The company planning team can build a situation analysis that matches the market realities using this bottom-up study. As a result, it’s likely that the approach chosen will be reasonable and doable, with some buy-in from the teams responsible for implementing it.

Marketing planning is divided into three levels:

  1. Our company plan dictates which markets we will target and what products and services we will provide (the Ansoff Growth Strategies).

The operational or go-to-market planning level is the second stage. For any business strategy chosen, a marketing plan is essential; it is here that markets are categorised and the value proposition is defined. The strength of your competitive advantage will be determined by this component of strategy formulation when the plan is implemented.

  1. Finally, tactical plans, which include all of the places where expert marketers are involved in the implementation of the marketing mix, as demonstrated here by the communications plan, but which may also translate into a channel plan or customer service plan.

In practise, you’ll need to review each of these plans to check if and how the objectives, strategy, and tactics are aligned, but this overview will give you a good idea of if the company is aligned and effectively pursuing a single approach.

Any business strategy requires a “go-to-market” plan, and each element of SOSTAC® can be used to develop one.

Situation – the firm’s current position in this market; strengths, limitations, and crucial success criteria, as well as the opportunity’s environmental forecasts

Objectives — a measurable marketing goal in terms of sales income, volume, or market share.

Segmentation, positioning, and targeting are all aspects of strategy (which segments have we chosen to target and what is the value proposition for each)

Tactics – the specifics of how each component of the marketing mix will be developed in order to achieve the agreed-upon positioning and fulfil the value propositions.

Actions – a timeline of tasks that aren’t required to ensure coordinated implementation. This could entail activities such as stakeholder management in order to keep support.

Control – measurements to be collected, information requirements, and a budget to track success against the plan.

The following topic guides contain further information on marketing planning: Gantt Charts for Planning Marketing Activities; the Ansoff Matrix; the Boston Consultancy Group Matrix; the value of planning; and the strategic marketing strategy. See also the Marketing Plan Template and the Building a Marketing Plan practical reference.

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.

Change’s catalysts

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

Customers’ actions



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:

  1. Unfreezing previously frozen behaviour (Gaining acceptance for change)

It’s critical to increase awareness about how present working practises are harming the company.

  1. Make a behavioural change (Modifying behaviour)

The change is provided here, together with training and education to support the goal of the change.

  1. 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

Product, place, promotion, and price were the four Ps of the original marketing mix. People, processes, and physical proof were added over time to cover the intangible character of services. As delivering competitive advantage through product has grown more difficult, attention has shifted to the extended mix for companies in both product and service sectors. In today’s world, service elements are critical to successfully compete in a variety of industries. Differentiation is more about the customer experience and how it feels to do business with you than it is about your product’s features.

This P does not relate to all of your personnel; rather, it refers to those who interact with customers: call centres, agents, and service providers.

The people who come into contact with your clients and who they see as representing your brand are the ones who determine the kind of service they receive. This is particularly true of services, but it equally affects enterprises that produce tangible goods.

Customer interaction is frequently made by the lowest-paid people of your team, who are most usually those on the front line: receptionists, nurses, waiters, and shop employees. Customers are happy when their employees are happy, skilled, and driven. If they are well taught and hired for their positive attitude toward consumers, they are more likely to think about the customer and provide good customer service.

Customer experience is created by a combination of people and processes, but it is a vital differentiation in today’s marketplaces.

You should provide a high level of pre-sale and after-sale support and advise to gain a competitive advantage over your competition. Customers are more likely to pay more for a product if this service is available, so it can alter the price you charge for it. However, there may be a larger cost for you to consider in order to deliver this level of service to your consumers.

In B2B marketplaces where a Key Account Manager is in charge of client interaction, the relationship management they provide will help you retain customers loyal and increase your share of their wallet.

Customers’ perceptions of you are influenced by the procedures involved in choosing, purchasing, delivering, and supporting your products and services to them. This could be a method of ordering and delivering goods. Consider how aggravating it is when a company won’t tell you when their service crew will come or how long you’ll have to wait for a delivery. Customers nowadays expect to be able to place orders without having to keep entering delivery information, to be kept informed, and to be able to track deliveries.

Processes include things like payment processing and customer service, as well as things like how easy it is to navigate around a website and what to do if you forget your password.

The customer journey, from first contact through post-purchase experiences, can be mapped to see where value can be provided. Finding consumer pain spots and “moments of truth” can assist improve the customer experience and prepare employees for situations where things go wrong, such as lost luggage or a delayed flight, a missed call, or a broken product.

Physical evidence refers to the type of image your firm projects by its physical presence, such as its buildings, employee appearance, company vehicles, and so on.

In the service industry, when the offer is intangible, tangible features are very significant. Physical evidence can be provided to training delegates or charity supporters in the form of a lapel pin or wristband.

These tangible symbols are a direct representation of your brand’s beliefs, thus they must be carefully developed.

The 7 Ps – Place

Part of marketing’s job is to make sure the appropriate items are available to the right people at the right time, which necessitates distribution. As you build a distribution plan, you’ll have to make a lot of judgments.

The cost and control of the client relationship are affected by distribution strategy. Using third-party channels and partners can limit your customer touch and knowledge, but supplying clients directly requires delivery and assistance, which may not be your strong suit.

The first decision is whether you want to handle your own distribution or use channels. You can influence your channel partners’ requirements and priorities, but you won’t be able to control their behaviour. The longer the distribution channel (and the more middlemen involved), the less control you’ll have on the client experience and marketing offer.

Many companies choose control and work through their own sales and account management teams in high-value B2B marketplaces. In markets with lesser value consumer goods, considerable distribution is required, and wholesale and retail channels are the most common approach. Even in consumer marketplaces, however, e-commerce has allowed for direct sales to customers.

Intangibility in a service means that creation, distribution, and consumption all happen at the same time. This means that services, such as restaurants, gyms, retail stores, and dentists, require local availability to provide customers with access. As a result, expansion frequently necessitates capital expenditures and limits economies of scale.

Some services, such as white goods repair or home help, are delivered directly to the customer by the ‘technician’ who created and distributed the service. In certain cases, the environment in which the service is delivered is beyond the company’s direct control; tangible evidence in the shape of staff uniforms and liveried vans may be required to compensate.

There is more to distribution than merely the physical location of a store or the local library. It takes into account things like hours of operation, accessibility for those with disabilities, and availability.

Consumers nowadays expect to have constant access to their bank accounts through internet banking, to buy for groceries on their phones, and to have nearly anything delivered to their homes.

When contemplating your product’s location in the marketing mix, think about how easy it is for customers to purchase it.

Is there a waiting list or a complicated purchase process?

Is it possible for people to buy 24 hours a day, seven days a week online, or do they have to go through a select group of ‘exclusive’ distributors?

Is there a variety of channel alternatives and choices, and are they all linked together so that the customer gets an omni-channel experience?

The distribution method you choose will be determined by the type of goods or service you’re selling. Your choice of location will have an impact on the price of a product as well as how you promote it.

A product must be available in order to be purchased. In consumer markets, this could entail securing shelf space in a retail or wholesale channel and then ensuring that product is available in stores. For customers to consider a brand in f.m.c.g. markets, the items must be physically present on store shelves.

Improved logistics, centralised distribution, and warehousing have been implemented by businesses to increase control and save costs in their distribution routes, ensuring availability.

From on-demand downloads of e-books and music to pricing and performance comparisons of consumer durables and services, new technology has a lot to offer in terms of convenience.

The availability decisions you make, like all other aspects of your service, should match the customer’s needs and preferences.

If your clients don’t appreciate convenience, it’s pointless to provide just-in-time availability.

If you want to position your product as exclusive and high-priced, you don’t want to go with broad distribution.

You must select whether you want your product to be broadly available or limited and “one-of-a-kind.” Consider the Apple Store as an example of brand positioning; rather than being merely a distribution point, these locations focus on the consumer experience. When deciding on the optimum distribution method for your product, these issues must be addressed and incorporated into your evaluation criteria.

The first phase in the process is for management to determine what qualities or criteria they would use to determine if a channel is excellent or not. These criteria will vary depending on the company, however they may include:

Customers with whom you have in common

Geographical coverage extent

The cost of maintaining the channel

Estimated business value

Positioning synergy

Possibility of gaining power/squeezing margins

Ability to generate revenue (marketing and sales capabilities of the channel)

Customer information and promotional opportunities are shared in a cooperative manner.

Products from competitors are available.

After management has decided on the criteria, they can be weighted to represent their relative importance (the sum of all weightings equals ten). The performance of each channel must then be rated against the criteria.

After multiplying the weightings and ratings, you’ll get a score out of 50 for the attractiveness of each channel selection.

The next step is to evaluate each channel option’s anticipated competitive advantage. Customers’ service level requirements and priorities are reviewed and weighted after market research. Their criteria may include the following:


Levels of customer service

Retailer expertise and assistance

There is a selection available.

Financing options for customers are available.

Delivery and support are examples of after-sales services.

Each channel option is then graded (0-5) against each of the criteria, resulting in a second score out of 50 that reflects customer perceptions of the channel options.

The 7 Ps – Price

Price is the most difficult and crucial part of the marketing mix for most marketers; it is the only variable in the mix that creates money, while the others all add to costs. Because there are no practical methods for setting price and it necessitates taking into account and balancing many aspects and effects, it is defined as an art rather than a science.

The chicken or egg cycle, which represents the link between price, volume required, and average cost of a product, is the true pricing difficulty. When it comes to pricing, it’s difficult to know where to begin, just as it is with any other connection.

The price established and the buyers’ impression of the value for money this reflects will determine the amount of a product requested in any market area. The lower the price, the greater the volume requested for what economists refer to as “normal” items, and vice versa.

The volume purchased multiplied by the price is the company’s revenue.

If the price is determined by a cost-based formula, either directly or indirectly, the price will fluctuate depending on the amount of sales. Firms producing various volumes of goods will consequently have very diverse average cost profiles and may be expected to set quite different prices in the same industry.

If a consumer buys solely on the basis of price (i.e., they don’t see any difference between offerings), the lowest-cost producer will be the most successful. This is certainly a component that has impacted strategists who have pushed for a focus on cost reduction (e.g., Michael Porter’s recognition of cost leadership as a viable alternative for enterprises to succeed) and pursuing economies of scale.

The average cost of providing these products or services will be determined by the volume needed. Average costs will be lower with higher levels of demand because the fixed cost aspect of the operation is divided by a larger number. The fixed fraction of expenses determines the significance of this downward pressure on costs.

The total cost is calculated by multiplying the average cost by the volume sold.

Contribution or Profit = Total Revenue – Total Cost

A business that wants to maximise profits tries to charge as much as possible, but it is always restricted by what customers are willing to pay. The market (collective customers) will decide how much they will buy at any given price, hence the organisation can only set one of the two parameters: price or quantity. They can either make their item accessible at a fixed price and see how many people buy it, or they can make a limited number available and ask customers what they are willing to pay, which is known as an auction.

Revenue is determined by the mix of price and quantity.

If you make a mistake with the price, you risk:

If you don’t cover your costs, you’ll be out of business.

Set up a price war (with competitors cutting prices in an attempt to increase market share)

Customers will simply refuse to buy at the price you are demanding if you price yourself out of the market.

Keeping war at bay

To avoid a pricing war, competitors must be informed of your intentions. In marketplaces where competitors may quickly follow, a long-term price reduction is an acceptable price strategy. The ultimate consequence is a forced reduction that has a direct impact on profitability and provides no long-term market share benefits. Customers may suffer as well, as smaller profit margins may force competitors out of business, reducing choice and allowing the surviving competitors to charge higher prices.

If any of these things happen, the business’s financial sustainability may be jeopardised. As a result, developing pricing strategy and tactics merits major attention at management level, and managing price necessitates the integration of viewpoints and data from across the organisation.

The figure below depicts the intricacy of the pricing landscape.

Marketers, on the whole, like their products to be price insensitive. Customers that are price inelastic are less likely to be enticed by a competitor’s offer only on the basis of price, and will be resistant to price rises from you.

Natural price-insensitive products have a number of positive properties. You can try to emulate these as a marketer to give price-sensitive goods the same features.

The following are the main characteristics:

Product differentiation gives products distinct traits that let them stand out from the competition.

Create a ‘addictive’ product, one that customers would want to buy again and again, resulting in brand loyalty. These are typically things that have no substitutes, such as gasoline.

Turn luxury products that people want rather than need into necessities by emphasising the product’s advantages.

When the price of a product rises, demand typically decreases. However, there are exceptions, such as products where the price indicates status, such as a Rolls Royce purchase.

To prevent increasing sales but lowering revenue as a result of a price promotion in a price inelastic market, marketers should understand the causes of price elasticity in their industry and analyse the potential change in demand as a result of a proposed price change.

Price-makers must evaluate not only cost and demand factors, but also competitors’ pricing strategies, not only how they will react to your prices. This will have an impact on your market positioning and may assist you identify your main competitors.

Exchange rates and local market conditions will have an impact on prices in foreign marketplaces, so you should think about how you establish prices in different geographies. You might want the price to be ‘fair’ and avoid discrimination ethically. Some businesses follow the McDonald’s model, in which the price is set at the equivalent of ten Big Macs in each country, ensuring a consistent approach to affordability. This burger-based pricing strategy must also account for expenses.

This begins to introduce the spectrum of factors that would be grouped together as price policy. The manager must decide if products within a range or line should be priced the same regardless of cost differences; for example, a size 10 dress is less expensive to manufacture than a size 18, but you might expect them to be priced the same.

From the customer’s point of view, price

Finally, consider price from the customer’s point of view. It is not only the price tag that matters, but also the cost of ownership, operating costs, estimated life, and potential residual values; all of these factors will influence how the offer is evaluated.

The 7 Ps – Product

When marketers talk about the product, they usually don’t mean simply the functions and features, but the entire package – which includes all seven Ps of the marketing mix.

A product or service is essentially a collection of benefits put together by a business to meet the needs of a specific consumer segment. Higher-quality items may have a longer lifespan, use ecologically friendly materials, or have a lower carbon impact, among other benefits.

Customer-focused businesses strive to gain a competitive edge by distinguishing themselves from their competitors’ offerings. For many years, companies attempted to do this solely by enhancing product performance or features – by offering new and improved versions of their product. The problem is that these enhancements were simple to duplicate, leaving just a little window of competitive advantage. They may be able to compete now because they deliver faster, offer more technical alternatives, or give better after-sales service. Their strategy will succeed if they can provide extra benefits that the market segment values highly. These advantages must be relevant to the customer, distinct from those offered by competitors, and credible to the customer.

To do so, you’ll need to undertake thorough research to learn about the customer’s needs, interests, and priorities. You’ll require perception that pinpoints pain locations and unmet demands.

A product’s benefits can be evaluated by looking at the product’s core, expected, and augmented features. Core and anticipated dimensions aren’t likely to give you a competitive advantage, but they are necessary for customers to consider your product or service. Competitive advantage can be gained and products successfully differentiated from one another in the domain of the augmented product. Different groups will place a distinct value on different enhanced benefits.

Winning competitive advantage is one thing; maintaining it is quite another. If a competitor can readily copy a feature, it will be quickly imitated if it is 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.

It is critical that you, as the marketer, analyse the product benefits to verify that they are not out-of-date and that the customer still values them. If not, they must be modified. For example, the value of tour guide services has decreased as we have grown accustomed to travelling overseas, and audio guides in several languages are now available at tourist attractions.

Not what you do and manufacture, but how it feels to do business with you, are the areas where you may achieve a major competitive edge and which are more sustainable. Locations such as

Customer service is important.

Customer loyalty to a brand

Values and reputation of the brand

Remember to evaluate carefully before adding benefits that will provide a short-term competitive advantage but will then entail long-term costs if they become expected.

The 7 Ps – Promotion

All of the instruments and methods available to facilitate communication with a market are referred to as the promotion aspect of the marketing mix. Today’s communication may be provided via both online and offline platforms, and it’s becoming more of a discussion than a series of broadcast messages. Sales, advertising, public relations, events, sales promotions, and merchandising are just a few of the communication possibilities available, and many of them can be used both online and offline.

The promotional methods you employ are determined by your goals, the budget you have available, the message you want to send, and the customer segment you want to reach.

For much longer than marketing, advertising has been a fundamental aspect of corporate activity. Although it remains an important part of many marketing strategies, the interactive nature of digital platforms means that one-way communication is gradually being supplanted by dialogue. Offline communications can generate visitors to an internet site, social media can promote word of mouth, and peer review sites like Trip Advisor have expanded the role of peer review.

Companies spent money on advertising even before they adopted strategic marketing, thus the impact of advertising on sales has piqued the interest of people wanting to understand and analyse the cause and effect link between the two for many years.

The straightforward advertising-to-sales approach emphasises the use of objective measurements of success, such as those derived by asking questions like:

How much revenue is made per dollar spent on advertising?

How much of the total advertising and sales budget is allocated to this?

How many sales calls result in how many orders?

How many repeat orders have you been able to secure?

The assumption underlying this method was that advertising and sales had a linear connection. It was evident right away that there was no such connection. Two campaigns, on the other hand, may have drastically different outcomes.

More specific information was required, which prompted the start of promotional research. As more data became available, it became evident that something was going on that had gone unnoticed and unaccounted for.

Gradually, promotion research progressed, and our understanding of promotional action broadened. Marketers increasingly recognise that a prospect must be led through three stages of awareness, attitude, and action, and that this involves the use of many promotional instruments to be accomplished efficiently.

These can be compared to a Higher Level Response Set model, often known as a Continuum of Behaviour. Each tool serves a different purpose, and it can be used in a variety of ways. As a marketer, your duty is to choose which objectives should be employed, how, and when at each stage of the process.

According to study, purchasing is a taught behaviour that grows into a habit. It’s more harder to make a purchasing switch once a buyer has accepted a product. More than advertising is required to encourage potential buyers to proceed through the Continuum of Behaviour, which depicts the decision-making process, to the loyal user loop.

While advertising has a vital function in proposing a course of action and can assist in coping with a post-purchase experience that may or may not be positive, it cannot have an impact at or after the point of sale. It also can’t take use of the highly targeted and successful public relations methods available. Advertising on your own is unlikely to be very effective and will almost certainly be highly costly. Today, we recognise that advertising and selling must be incorporated into the promotional mix, with defined goals for moving clients through the various stages of the decision-making process. That procedure has three stages: awareness, attitude, and action.

For a sale to be made, every new buyer must be pushed from ignorant to action. To do so effectively and efficiently, you’ll need to employ a variety of promotional tools, as different combinations of tools perform better at various stages of the decision-making process. Advertising and public relations are good at raising awareness but not so good at getting people to take action, whereas selling and point of sale or sales promotion are better at getting people to take action but not so good at raising awareness.

There is a requirement to create targets that are expressed as either a measurable – generally quantity – against time at all stages of marketing activity (SMART). For decades, advertising executives have attempted and failed to develop targets that linked sales performance to advertising spend. However, if cost-effectiveness is to be assessed, objectives must be specified.

Promotional goals can be specified in terms of desired behaviour against awareness, attitude, and action targets. Past performance measures, such as the number of sales per web hit or the pitch/win rate in a particular market, should be used to influence these goals.

Promotional goals can be defined in terms of desirable behaviour compared to targets in the decision-making unit for:




When you know what behaviour you want to see, you may take effective action and choose a suitable promotional mix. If the overall action target is to be met, you must calculate the number of prospective consumers required at each stage of the continuum and anticipate the conversion rate to the next level.

An efficient marketing strategy is required to identify acceptable market segments and generate proper market positioning for a successful communication effort.

The ability to focus promotional efforts on a more narrowly defined target group, especially those who value the company’s competitive advantage the most, leads to improved awareness, attitude, and behaviour. Improvements in marketing strategy, notably more complex segmentation and a better understanding of the behaviour of the decision-making unit (all those involved in a purchase), can help promotional efforts have a greater impact.

All communication efforts and messaging must be connected and consistent to maximise the return on a campaign. It is necessary to be efficient and effective.

Poor campaign outcomes are just as likely to be due to a flaw in the marketing strategy (segmentation or positioning) as they are to be due to a communication planning failure.

Market research tools are used to listen to the marketplace. Marketers then communicate these market messages to the rest of the organisation in order to inform, influence, and eventually coordinate day-to-day, strategic, and tactical actions that, in turn, bring value to customers via the marketing mix. Decisions about distribution methods for staff uniforms, for example, can communicate just as much to the user as a sales brochure. As a result, marketing is responsible for coordinating and integrating all direct and indirect communications that reach the marketplace. If promotional actions are to be efficient and effective, this uniformity is required.

Consumers receive muddled messages if there isn’t this coordination. A high-priced, high-quality product accompanied by sloppy photocopied instructions or a sloppy-looking mailshot promising a professional service can be perplexing to the recipient.

Tip One technique to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer is to mystery shop your own business. This allows you to experience the variety of communications received and analyse their harmony. Simply selecting a sample of mail, brochures, or advertisements reveals a significant diversity in style, tone, and stance. Add in billing, delivery, and other correspondence to the mix – how consistent are things now? – and look for differences in tone and style in emails.

You must be conversant with the promotional sector as a marketer. You can’t be effective in marketing unless you know what promotional media are accessible, what they can do, and how much they should cost. Too many marketers expect too little from their vendors and spend too much for what they get.

From the beginning, it was evident that some advertising strategies drew customers while others, despite having the same potential, failed miserably. Marketing executives were curious as to why this was. Once the data was analysed, it became evident that there were numerous elements and variables at play, making direct comparisons between ads difficult. The following are some of the factors that have been recognised as influencing success:

selection of media

Was the budget wisely distributed among the many media?

What were the circulation figures and demographics of the audience?


What impact did content have on sales?


What did clients and consumers really require and desire?


What did the competition have to offer?

What kind of marketing were they doing?

What kind of unique deals did they have?


What external variables, such as a heat wave affecting ice cream sales or longer-term trends such as unemployment, inflation, social changes, Acts of God, and so on, had an impact on demand?

The Ansoff Matrix

The Ansoff Matrix is a strategic planning tool that gives marketers a framework to assist them map out future growth initiatives. Igor Ansoff, a Russian applied mathematician and business manager, created it.

Acquisition of new business is critical for a management who wants to increase revenue. There are four possibilities accessible, each with its own set of risks and resources.

The Ansoff Matrix can be used to capture the various growth alternatives that may be accessible. It also serves as a beginning point for profiling and, as a result, picking the most appealing company tactics.

The matrix depicts the many combinations of existing and new markets and products that have the potential to boost revenue.

It can also assist you in expanding into digital channels or identifying areas where communication will be more widely distributed.

Market penetration is the act of selling more of your present products to existing clients. This could mean increasing the frequency of purchases, increasing the cross-sell rate of products, increasing the average basket value by up-selling (the deluxe option rather than the economy option), or increasing the average basket value by up-selling (the deluxe option rather than the economy option).

The most appealing of the four possibilities is usually market penetration. It combines the benefit of quick implementation with the minimal risk of working with products and customers you already know.

While there are some clear benefits to using a market penetration approach, there are also some disadvantages to consider. Spending money on penetration will not help you develop your customer base or spread your risk. If the economic fortunes or tastes of your core market change, it will have a significant influence on your firm. Similarly, if you have an established product portfolio that you’re trying to market to’mature’ clientele, there will be concerns regarding future profit growth.

Managers can use better database management and digital communication to upsell and cross-sell to their present customer base. Effective targeting communication may also increase the frequency of purchases. This means you need to know how and where your customers want to communicate, as well as which social media sites they use. A good content strategy can inspire clients to return to your website on a regular basis, resulting in more purchases.

Market development is the choice that may put your marketing talents to the ultimate test. To expand your present product or service portfolio into new markets, you’ll need to do the following:

research into the market

(Almost certainly) the creation of a differentiated marketing mix to meet the needs of new market segments

Increasing awareness and establishing means to reach out to those new customers

It’s a common misconception that a successful technique in one market may be easily transferred to another. Simply entering a new market unprepared, occupied by tied-up channels, committed clients, and unwelcoming competitors, is not a recipe for success. As a business, you must establish credibility with new consumers, competitors, and market dynamics.

The following factors are necessary for success:

Understanding the market’s buying demands and behaviour in depth

Creating efficient distribution channels

Creating awareness and a good attitude about your company’s products and services

  1. Even if you are an online firm, you will still need to give service and support, thus you will need reputable local partners.
  2. When developing your website, think about distinct markets. Consider developing a distinct section on your website to reach out to corporate customers. If your landing page was available in multiple languages, you might be more effective.

Diversification is the riskiest option since it combines fresh products and new markets. Typically, businesses may take steps to limit risk by partnering with a company that has experience in either the product or the market, which may result in acquisitions or joint ventures.

There are degrees of newness in all strategic options; diversification methods are sometimes divided into related and unrelated diversification possibilities. Diversification that is related to the primary business, such as a similar market or technological application. Diversification in unrelated fields would be very different. Virgin has a history of diversification, from planes and trains to wedding gowns and cosmetics stores.

The examination of various feasibilities and dangers should be used to choose strategic solutions with consideration. After you’ve made your decision, you’ll need to create a different ‘go-to-market’ strategy.

As a company, becoming digital will help you grow using all four growth tactics. It’s becoming increasingly important to market it, since many businesses are unaware of the need of becoming digitally savvy and the rewards that come with it.

Getting into the digital world entails more than just downloading an app.

Because digital technology pushes change from the outside in, you must look from the outside in, from the customer’s perspective, to effectively adopt a digital growth strategy. There is a person behind every equipment. The customer experience is no longer about rushing the consumer through the process; instead, it’s about offering excellent service at each touchpoint or “moment of truth” along the way.

The following topic guides contain further information on marketing planning: Gantt Charts for Planning Marketing Activities; SOSTAC®; the Boston Consultancy Group Matrix; the value of planning; and the strategic marketing plan. See also the Marketing Plan Template and the Building a Marketing Plan practical reference.

The Art of Sales Negotiation

Negotiation, a highly specialised component of communication, is at the heart of the sales process. When two parties meet in the sales process, they agree on the terms on which they will conduct business.

There are numerous factors that can affect the outcome of a negotiation. The buyer-seller power balance, the competence of the negotiators, and the long-term perspectives and goals for the relationship will all be crucial.

There can be winners and losers in any deal. In the marketplace, the vendor wants to maximise their profit, while the buyer wants to maximise their satisfaction/benefits, or get the greatest deal possible.

The seller retains the balance of power in a seller’s market, where clients have little alternative. They could force a “take it or leave it” approach in negotiations, maximising profit in exchange for little consumer satisfaction. Customers don’t have a choice, thus this strategy only works if they don’t have a choice. They will perceive themselves as losers in the deal and would most likely seek out other providers.

The balance of power has changed in favour of the customers in a strong buyer’s market. The buyer can now control the terms of the agreement, aiming to maximise their satisfaction at the expense of the seller’s earnings. In this situation, the business will be on the lookout for new opportunities that could be more profitable. In the worst-case situation, the customer may force their supplier to close shop.

The goal of negotiation for firms and customers that want to build a more secure and long-term connection is to establish a win-win situation. Both parties benefit from the exchange, therefore it is a win-win situation.

The capacity of the parties involved to grasp what is desirable to the other side but relatively inexpensive for them to offer is the key to effective negotiation. Increasing deliveries to twice a week, for example, could be very beneficial to a client that wants to minimise stock expenses and enhance cash flow, and it could cost very little to supply.

Successful negotiators must prepare in the form of customer research and a thorough understanding of the business. They must comprehend the buyer’s needs and business, as well as what his or her company can provide to bring value.

The core abilities of a negotiator remain the same whether negotiating peace in the Middle East, resolving a problem between unions and employers, or negotiating a corporate contract. The list, on the other hand, is tough, and it explains why there are so few true experts in the subject.

The following are the basic characteristics/requirements:

meticulous planning and preparation

a thorough understanding of the subject topic being negotiated

Under pressure, the ability to think clearly

Skills in listening

The capacity to clearly convey themselves

Patience and empathy


The ability to persuade and influence others

When it comes to sales talks, it’s normal to focus on the price right away. The issue is that price cuts cost the provider a lot of money. A pound off the price equals a pound off the profit margin. Furthermore, lower prices today create the anticipation of lower pricing in the future. They can also impair the product’s and company’s market placement by lowering the perception of quality.

Negotiating salespeople and marketers should keep in mind that all purchases are based on customers’ opinions of value for money. The 6 P’s in the marketing mix, with the seventh P being the denominator price, provide value.

Adding value is normally less expensive for the organisation, but it can significantly increase the perceived worth of the client, which is desirable because it is more likely to result in a win-win situation.

As a result, in a negotiation, offering 10% more product is a better alternative than offering 10% off the price.

Adding value gives the impression that the buyer received something for nothing. It maintains the company’s perceived price position, and if costs rise, the impact on the bottom line is minimal. Both parties stand to benefit.

Tip: Too often, marketing departments fail to provide enough material for salespeople to work with. If there is no room for negotiation regarding the value proposition, the deal will be based solely on price.

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 goal of planning is to prevent resource waste by ensuring that they are used efficiently and effectively. To do so, demand and supply must be’matched,’ that is, there must be enough items or services available to meet the level of demand generated.

This is a difficult calculation:

Customers will be dissatisfied, there will be long lines, and there will be complaints about poor service if there is too much demand.

There is excess capacity and unsold inventory due to a lack of demand.

Profits will not have been maximised in any case.

Forecasting demand is thus an important aspect of the planning process since it guarantees that the level of demand generated is precisely matched to the output of your company.

Forecasting accurately is a difficult task; it necessitates projecting future changes in the market.

examining how these changes may affect customer behaviour in a dynamic environment The more stable the market is and the longer you’ve been in it, the more likely you are to have analytics, insight, and measurements to help lower the danger of making incorrect projections.

Forecasting changes in a familiar market and not too far into the future is an important aspect of forecasting. Forecasting too far in advance makes market changes and client reactions more difficult to foresee, lowering the forecast’s reliability and accuracy. Similarly, forecasting will be more difficult if you are unfamiliar with a market.

As a result, as a marketer, you must accept that forecasting the future is impossible and that you must be adaptable. Use all of the resources at your disposal to gain information, but be cautious and realistic in your forecasting, and adjust your strategy as needed.

There are several approaches of approaching the problem of forecasting.

  1. Profits

Examine previous sales data and continue the pattern.

  • If sales increase by 20% each year from year one to year three, it’s easy to predict that this trend will continue in year four.

The issue with this strategy is that it assumes:

The market circumstances will remain unchanged, resulting in the same rate of growth, indicating that the market is not maturing.

No action by the company or competitors, such as a price change or a promotion, will have an impact on the level of sales, changing their relative competitive advantage and market share.

No new enterprises will enter or exit the market, affecting relative share.

To make an accurate forecast, you need to have a good understanding of the market and the factors that influence it. Porter’s Five Forces and macro environmental analysis (PESTEL) encourage you to consider changes in the number and nature of competitors, while Porter’s Five Forces encourages you to consider changes in the number and nature of competitors.

These market shifts will aid in determining the generic product life cycle, which illustrates that sales growth does not remain consistent year after year throughout a product’s lifespan. As products mature, sales growth should level off until the market approaches saturation, at which point growth will cease.

  1. Step by step (bottom-up)

Request that each salesperson, channel, or activity team anticipate sales for the coming year, and then add them all together. They are the ones who are closest to the market and are therefore highly informed.

Trends and market conditions are constantly shifting.

The following are some of the drawbacks of this strategy:

Because of this, salespeople frequently underestimate future sales potential.

are concerned that they will be judged on these benchmarks

This is also a communal ‘gut feel’ approach that ignores facts.

of conducting a formal examination of changing market conditions or business strategy

Only today’s items and markets can be forecasted by salespeople. It will give you a ‘business as usual’ outlook if they forecast accurately. You still need to look at a market analysis if you want to grow.

  1. Expert opinion

If you hire a professional to estimate demand, make sure you understand and account for macro and micro environmental trends and changes.

External expert input may also be valuable in forecasting future activity levels, but only at the generic product level. The strength of your competitive advantage will be determined by the performance of your brand over time as a result of your firm’s plans and tactics.

  1. Senior executive (top down)

The senior manager is ultimately responsible for forecasting the company’s business, new projects, and products/markets.

Past sales, sales teams, and experts, as well as company and industry analysis, could all contribute to this. Marketers may anticipate to play a key role in analysing and interpreting market and sales data in order to improve market forecasting.

It’s crucial to remember, though, that markets can shift quickly, so volatile industries like oil and gas and financial services should build contingency plans and make conservative as well as robust projections.

The Diffusion of Innovation

Everett Rogers devised the diffusion process, which is a very effective model of consumer behaviour. It describes how new technology, ideas, and innovations pervade a society or market. The diffusion concept is simple: risk takers who test something first show others that it is safe or valuable, and the next group becomes opinion-formers. Over time, the most risk-averse customers have a growing reference base of users who operate as product references.

The model depicts variances in customer profiles dependent on when they enter a market, such as the widespread use of smartphones or the progressive acceptance of the concept of not using cellphones while driving. There are lessons in the diffusion of innovation that can assist inform both marketing strategy and tactics, whether you work in non-profit or commercial sector marketing.

Organizations have a lot of experience changing their value propositions and communication strategies to reflect the diverse customer groups and segments that come to the market at different stages of the life cycle.

The character and motivators of various user groups might vary greatly, ranging from innovators (those who are the first to take advantage of a new product) to laggards (those who are late to the market). As a result, your company’s proposition, messaging, and media selection will need to change.

Early adopters and innovators are important to the success of a new generic product introduction, yet they are estimated to account for only 20% of the total market. Even if the innovators make up only 2.5 percent of the final market, they are crucial. You won’t be able to reach the mass market until you can win them over.

Knowing where a product is in its generic life cycle gives you valuable market context, since it lets you to see if there are any new customers to target and what their buying habits might be. It’s crucial to remember that by the time the market has become saturated, all new customers, including laggards, have entered the market.

You should track the adoption of new goods in your own company so that you may profile and identify the most likely innovators for future launches. These will differ by industry, however there are certain similar characteristics:

In a B2B market, market challengers are more likely than market leaders to be innovators.

Within the DMU, decision-makers are likely to be crucial targets, and they are often willing to take risks in order to gain a competitive advantage.

Innovative companies or individuals are more likely to regard this new service as a solution to a real problem because they have an unmet need. The elderly with deteriorating eyesight, for example, were among the early developers and adopters of e-books; the option to modify the font size solved a real problem for them.

They are typically not price sensitive, risk takers, and content with a limited set of features and capabilities. In the domain of software, developers accept that the application will have flaws and work together to fix them.

One common blunder is to mix up your personal brand’s life cycle with the general life cycle. You can be launching a product that is brand new to you, but not to the rest of the world. It’s all about where you’re at in the generic life cycle. If the generic product was already well-established, you’d be targeting the late majority and laggards. As a result, the target clients will be more risk adverse and price conscious. Using words like ‘new,’ ‘innovation,’ and ‘exciting’ to promote your launch is likely to turn off your target audience.

Customers go from price insensitive (inelastic) to price sensitive (elastic) as the product becomes more established, as they become more risk-averse and need to be convinced of the value of a solution. Understanding these fundamental distinctions allows you to separate markets when releasing a new product or technology, for example. We also know that the decision-making unit in B2B marketplaces varies across the curve. If you’re looking for innovators, senior decision makers are crucial, while advisers are crucial for ensuring early adopters are aware of innovators’ experiences. By the time the mass market is targeted, decision-making has become more typical, with buyers and procurement taking over as purchasing gatekeepers.

Author Geoffrey Moore examined the behaviour of technology marketplaces in relation to the dissemination of innovation in his book Crossing the Chasm. He discovered a considerable credibility gap between early adopters and the early majority, as well as a difference between each section of customers on the diffusion curve. These gaps can prevent an idea or product from being automatically adopted by the next segment in the diffusion process. This is a significant omission, because it is often only after a technology reaches the mass market that it recovers its development expenses and begins to generate a profit.

Geoffrey Moore identified dozens of successfully launched goods that originally won the backing of innovators and early adopters (technologically influenced people), but ultimately failed because they failed to win over the mainstream market with clear and meaningful product benefits.

Moore’s approach was to segment the early majority market, ensuring that value propositions were updated to match the needs of distinct user segments and that he became the preferred provider to each; he dubbed this the ‘Bowling Alley Strategy.’ In the world of technology, once you have a large enough market share, you can become the industry standard.

The Importance of Planning

Business takes place in a marketplace that is made up of a micro and macro environment that is continually and frequently changing.

Market conditions used to shift more slowly, giving businesses more time to adjust.

As a result, it was feasible to be reactive while yet surviving. Many of the longest-surviving organisations can be said to have done so because they worked in industries where market change was slow.

Markets have evolved globally, competition is severe, and customers are becoming increasingly demanding in today’s environment. You can’t afford to be reactive to external developments in these circumstances if you want to prosper. Customers and competitors are hard to please, so you must be both outward and forward-thinking to have the best chance of future success.

Competitors and customers, as well as supply chain members, make up the micro-environment. All of these market players are affected by the same broader macro-environmental issues, which include anything from global warming to economic uncertainty and political upheavals, as well as new technologies and changing customer habits.

Changes in macro-environmental causes create dynamics that cause changes in the micro-level participants’ plans and behaviour. New technology, for example, may lessen entry barriers, allowing new competitors to enter the market; one example is Uber’s global rise as a competitor to local taxi and transportation systems. Political developments may also result in the opening up or closing of geographic markets; the UK’s surprise Brexit decision in 2016 created both possibilities and challenges for UK and European businesses. You should concentrate on the change drivers that are relevant to your market, such as changes in industry economics and technological advancements.

The marketer’s job is to put up information and research processes that allow for the most accurate and timely forecasting of environmental changes. In many marketplaces, speed is a strong foundation for commercial advantage. Better forecasting can give you a leg up on the competition.

Forecasting change has the drawback of predicting the future, so precision cannot be assumed. Some trends are clearly simpler to recognise and forecast than others. Demographic change, for example, frequently follows a predictable pattern, allowing marketers in Western countries to anticipate and plan for the population’s continuing ageing.

You should not be hesitant to take this step into the future as a marketer. If you wait for the change to happen, you’ll just be able to react, and you’ll be playing catch-up with a more agile opponent. Examining the surroundings for potential changes allows you to be proactive.

Remember that the size, value, and dynamics of your market will be influenced by changes in the external environment. This, in turn, will have an impact on how much your existing market share is worth in the future, as it supplies you with the bottom line of your planning gap.

If external market forces remain unchanged, the market’s value and size will remain unchanged; but, if dangers outnumber opportunities, the market will decline, and vice versa.

Only after a thorough assessment of the external environment can the management create a realistic business objective: what the company wants to accomplish in the face of changing circumstances.

Sort macro-environmental factors into a matrix of opportunities and prioritise threats to analyse the influence of future changes on your organisation. This will help you discover the most likely and major changes that you should be prepared for.

The next stage is to use the environmental analysis to identify prospective product/market possibilities that may be used to close the planning gap (your Ansoff Analysis).

Opportunities that arise as a result of market developments must be examined and sized because they will present the company with growth alternatives. Even risks can be turned into business opportunities if they are recognised. For example, a downturn in the economy may present a chance for a lower-cost version of your product, while a growing awareness of obesity may prompt an ice cream company to launch a low-fat line. While global warming may pose a challenge to the heating industry, it also presents an opportunity for air conditioner sales.

As a marketer, you can uncover product/market opportunities by looking at each expected change and asking, “So what?”

Each expected change must now be reviewed and analysed to see which options are the best for filling the planning gap.

The Planning Gap

As a marketer, you’re probably going to be extremely involved in the business planning process.

Environmental and market research will be required to assess the existing state of the company in its target markets, estimate future changes in those markets, and discover product/market prospects.

To analyse the viability and potential competitive advantage of the tactics under consideration, a market analysis would have been required. It will also be necessary to make decisions on branding, positioning, and competitive strategies.

These activities illustrate some of the work that marketers conduct to assist in the creation of revenue-generating business strategies, such as acquisition tactics. This activity is also known as strategic marketing, and it essentially aids the firm in determining which markets to target and what products or services to provide them in order to meet the company’s goals.

The planning gap tool is extremely beneficial since it pushes clarity on the magnitude of the business challenge that the plan must address. It aids in quantifying the amount of new business required after taking into account underlying market developments. This knowledge aids in determining how achievable the goals are and what resources may be required to achieve them.

The importance of a PESTEL analysis is that it delivers the bottom line for your planning gap. It allows you to predict whether the market is increasing, shrinking, or steady, as well as the volume and value of business you may expect if you simply deliver ‘business as usual.’ In other words, what would your performance be if you had the same market share tomorrow as you do today?

A rising share suggests a strengthening competitive advantage, while a falling share indicates a weakening competitive position.

When the company goal is compared to the bottom line forecast, the size of the planning gap that needs to be closed becomes apparent.

The difference between ‘business as usual’ sales and the goal determines the growth target, or the gap in planning that must be filled. Market penetration, market development, product development, or diversification must all originate from new business (the Ansoff Growth Strategies).

A retention or defence plan is also required, which entails determining how much business must be retained through loyalty and which retention methods must be established in order to maintain present market share.

This is an example of how the planning gap can aid strategic thinking:

What must we do to maintain our existing market share?

How much expansion do we require, and where will it come from?

The growth choices will be found and evaluated after more research is done.

The completed planning gap allows you to express the agreed-upon business strategy and how the planning gap will be filled once they have been selected.

The Strategic Marketing Plan

By deciding which items and markets to focus on, decisions must be made about where and how to compete. In today’s competitive markets, client demands must guide this prioritisation. The function of marketing in this component of the business planning process is crucial because it ensures that the company strategy is customer-oriented. The aim for marketers here, sometimes referred to as the Strategic Marketing Plan, is to assist the organisation in identifying potential revenue development possibilities and evaluating and choosing between them.

Regardless of size or industry, the challenge for most businesses is to make the best use of limited resources in order to maximise return on investment. This necessitates the creation of customer-relevant offers that are distinct from the competitors. The value proposition must also be compelling in order to get a competitive advantage in the markets and segments chosen.

Companies can generate growth in markets with low competition by providing high-quality items; clients with few options have no choice but to accept what is offered. Customers in today’s markets have more options, higher expectations, and easier access to information about what’s available, so in order to thrive, businesses must put the consumer at the centre of decision-making and business planning.

  1. What do you do for a living?
    Because it specifies the area of action with which an organisation is concerned, the mission statement is an important starting point for any planning activity.

Focusing on the benefit of your product or service, rather than merely expressing the type of business you have, is the key to a customer-oriented mission statement. For example, rather than simply being a ‘cinema,’ a cinema should characterise itself as ‘offering entertainment.’ This customer-centric reason for being in company avoids’marketing myopia,’ the risk of neglecting indirect competitors such as restaurants and theatres in this case.

Creating a marketing strategy

The development of a market map is the next step in effective planning. It is possible to determine the realm of your firm once the mission statement has been defined.

who your main market competitors are

the market access routes

what the market’s size is and what the future estimates are

This is useful since it gives you a glimpse of the present market and, more crucially, customers define the competitors, thus competition may be indirect rather than direct.

  1. The inspections

The internal strengths and shortcomings of your organization’s marketing operations should be analysed from the perspective of the client, not the management, during the audit stage. Lists that aren’t tailored to the needs of clients are useless.

Customer research will reveal what customers value most when making purchases, as well as how your performance compares to that of your competitors.

With this data, a much more relevant strengths and weaknesses analysis may be constructed, with distinct advantages and essential success aspects plainly visible. The SWOT Analysis Action Guide contains instructions on how to conduct a Strengths/Weaknesses Analysis.

It is also necessary to comprehend and appraise the changing macro-environment. This is also known as PEST or PESTLE analysis, and it analyses external factors that influence the size and nature of the markets you operate in. They have an impact on your competition and customers, whether it’s through new technology or lower spending power. You’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen in the future.

Political and legal considerations

Social and cultural considerations

Economic and demographic factors are both important.

Environmental and technological factors

Some of these developments will be opportunities, while others will be threats. Early warning of either provides for a more strategic and aggressive reaction.


The market’s size and value are determined by the PESTLE macro environmental factors.

Your competitive advantage — the market share you can capture – is determined by the strengths and limitations of your value proposition.

  1. From audit to gap in planning

The external audit reveals potential possibilities and dangers to your company. These threats will have the effect of reducing sales and profitability from present products and markets. This analysis will help close the planning gap by providing a forecast of expected profits if you stick to current products and markets, as well as a business-as-usual evaluation assuming your market share remains unchanged.

After you’ve completed your environmental research, you may set a realistic goal that represents the realities of your predicted market conditions. The amount of the planning gap is determined by the difference between the aim and the ‘do nothing different’ projection.

  1. Filling in the blanks

Environmental audit prospects are translated into product/market opportunities that can be logged onto the Ansoff matrix.

The product/market growth matrix created by Ansoff depicts the four various growth strategies that a company might pursue. Whether you promote new or old products in new or current markets depends on the strategy you adopt. The risk and reward characteristics of different possibilities differ, as do the investment decisions that senior management must make. The marketer’s job is to assist in the identification of possibilities and the management of the feasibility studies that will underlie each business case.

Please check The Ansoff Matrix Action Guide for further information on the Ansoff Matrix tool.

In the strategic planning process, this is a crucial step. In order to be considered a customer-oriented plan, decisions must reflect not just what your firm wants to do, but also client needs. When deciding where to invest, a decision tool gives the organisation more flexibility in establishing the parameters that are relevant to the company. This includes considering not only economic possibilities, but also the degree of risk, environmental impact, and the demands this strategy may have on a limited organisational resource.

Your marketing strategy is now complete.

The following topic guides contain further information on marketing planning: Gantt Charts for Planning Marketing Activities; the Ansoff Matrix; SOSTAC®; the Boston Consultancy Group Matrix; and the Importance of Planning. See also the Marketing Plan Template and the Building a Marketing Plan practical reference.

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

Defining the parameters of your area of interest or activity by answering the question ‘What business are we in?’ is the first step in knowing your market.

This may not be an easy issue to answer, but it should be spelled out in the form of a business mission statement and publicly conveyed. Rather than being considered as public relations for your stakeholders, the mission statement should provide direction and emphasis for the planners in your organisation.

Most mission statements have the problem of being product-focused rather than customer-focused, and hence fall victim to marketing myopia. The American Railways, for example, failed to recognise the competitive threat posed by the internal combustion engine or aeroplanes since they were not in the “railroad business.” Regrettably, they were in the business of transporting people and goods over long distances.

To avoid this inward-looking mindset, your mission statement should be centred on the value your product or service delivers, taking into account both indirect and direct competition. A theatre, for example, should be labelled as a “entertainment” business rather than a “cinema” business. This captures the value of delivering entertainment to customers while also ensuring that the market research covers indirect competitors such as theatres whose actions may have an indirect impact on their business.

Note that this emphasis on identifying the business can be established at a lower level than the overarching corporate mission. This technique helps the firm establish an external, customer focus at the SBU or even specific product market level. Of course, you might be involved in a variety of markets.

You can begin your analysis once you’ve selected which markets you’ll be operating in.

Tip Carefully define your market; a market is a group of clients who share a common problem.

This must occur at the market level, as this is where unmet requirements can be found. To conduct an effective analysis, you must analyse the present situation as well as how things are expected to evolve in the future.

Note: See the ‘Analyzing a Market’ Action Guide for more information on appraising a market.

Porter’s Five Forces and Market Maps are examples of models that have been developed to help you understand the dynamics in your micro or near environment today. Distributors, customers, competitors, and supply chain members are among the participants. The power they wield in the market, as well as factors such as barriers to entry and exit, influence their actions and strategies.

Porter’s Five Forces (Figure 1)

This visual portrayal of the market helps managers to think about the entire market, where power is distributed, and how it is changing.

The Five Forces model does not predict the magnitude of change; rather, it predicts its direction. It also doesn’t tell you the relative importance of the various forces, so your suppliers may have a minor impact on margins if they only account for a small portion of the cost base.

Figure 2: Map of Marketing

The market map, created by Malcolm McDonald and Ian Dunbar of Cranfield University, is a simple pictorial representation of the immediate or task environment.

It is frequently developed by employees of the company and aids in achieving a helicopter view of the market sector. It has the potential to be expanded.

to include suppliers and potential entrants, resulting in a more thorough picture of the market than Porter’s Five Forces model generates.

Market shares and other well-known indicators can be included to make these maps more data-rich and user-friendly.

for others to comprehend and contribute to They frequently prompt inquiries such as, “Should competitor A consider distribution through cafes and restaurants?” ‘What would be the impact on Competitor E?’ if they did.

By evaluating these issues, it becomes evident that the nearest competition may not be the best option.

be the market’s largest player, but one that uses the same distribution channels.

Both of these tools are primarily descriptive:

They’re only as good as the data that went into creating them.

They can take a long time to make.

Because market conditions can change quickly, they must be kept up to date.

They are concerned with how the market behaves rather than how it changes. This necessitates you.

to include external macroeconomic forecasts

Planners must understand their markets today, but their primary concern is how they will evolve and alter in the future.

It is impossible to plan in a vacuum. Despite a changing and uncertain environment, the goal of planning is to increase the chances of obtaining a given outcome or aim. However, you can’t afford to disregard the forces of nature.

See ‘The Importance of Planning’ for further information on the importance of planning.

Guide to Taking Action.

Understanding Business Buying Behaviour

Organizations that buy and sell items and services that are required for the creation of other commodities and services make up business markets. As a result, demand in these marketplaces is derived; it is based on desire for the final product.

Organizations must please their stakeholders, therefore they will be on the lookout for goods and services that will assist them in achieving their goals and implementing agreed-upon plans. Purchases of business items are made in order to:

Cost-cutting (they help drive efficiency)

Make some money (they help promote effectiveness)

Ensure that a legal or societal demand is met (supporting other stakeholder agendas)

Business marketing differs from consumer marketing in that it requires consideration of both underlying organisational demands and the motives and agendas of individuals involved in the purchasing decision.

These are the primary advantages that any company seeks. They will also expect a variety of other benefits from potential suppliers, such as reliability, quality consistency, delivery, and service.

Choosing between suppliers will be based on the value supplied by differentiation, or the strength of the supplier’s competitive edge, much as it is in consumer markets. Payment terms that are flexible, just-in-time delivery (which lowers the firm’s stock holding costs), shared research and development projects, and even pleasant employees can all assist win commercial contracts. To design an effective value proposition, you must first understand what matters to the company.

If these benefits are to influence purchase behaviour, they must be valued by the customer, as they must be in any market. This strategy relies heavily on market research, as well as the knowledge and feedback of field sales teams.

We recognise diverse buyer behaviour in FMCG marketplaces in consumer markets. Business marketplaces can be classified similarly, and purchasing decisions can be divided into new or repurchase circumstances.

Buyer behaviour is influenced by both the importance of the purchase and the experience of making the purchase decision. Business buyers can grow devoted to a particular brand or supplier. Once a supplier has been chosen and proven, there are significant switching costs to consider, and the risk of switching to a new provider must be justified.

This grid depicts the various types of buying behaviour that you could encounter when dealing with various types of commercial items and scenarios.

It was commonly considered that there was limited place for marketing because of the one-on-one interactions with key account managers and sales teams. Many B2B markets are less developed in terms of marketing, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less vital.

Despite the fact that corporate markets are distinct from consumer markets, knowing and understanding one’s customers and their purchasing habits is crucial to success. Even while sales teams may be the primary source of information, marketers must assist in the development of this important knowledge.

What sets B2B markets apart is the obligation to learn as much about their clients and their businesses as you do about your own. Your job is to assist them in achieving their business goals, such as expanding new markets, controlling costs, or bolstering their “green” agenda. You’ll still need to separate company markets to understand how clients differ so you can create value propositions that meet their demands. For example, two companies may both require equipment maintenance services, but the company with mission-critical machinery will place a higher value on an emergency callout provision and downtime insurance.

You’ll be more ready to deliver a mutually lucrative exchange if you understand their markets and client needs: the more successful they are, the more successful you will be.

Although some argue that B2B markets are more rational than consumer markets, business markets are still made up of people who are spending ‘other people’s money’ in order to maximise the benefits to their company.

Working in the business world differs from working in the consumer world. The specifics of the marketplace vary, but the principles and concepts of marketing do not.

Business markets are more concentrated, thus there are fewer purchasers.

Higher-value clients — each of these customers might account for a considerable portion of output and revenue, and they may be based on a contract that guarantees company continuity for a specific period of time.

Professional purchasing — qualified purchasers will negotiate contracts, and salespeople will need a thorough understanding of product technicalities.

People make purchasing decisions, and the Decision-Making Unit (DMU) in organisations can be complicated, including a lot of people with diverse responsibilities and goals. The members of the DMU have certain responsibilities, but they also have personal goals, motivations, and priorities. In these areas, getting to know the DMU is critical to any sales and marketing activity. The decision-making process can also take several months.

Annual vigorous rounds of contract rebidding have tended to fall out of favour in favour of a collaborative approach. Today’s approach is more collaborative, with joint projects and activities aimed at addressing specific business issues. For example, in order to provide just-in-time delivery, the supplier can move distribution closer to the client’s location. The ties within and between teams are stronger as a result of this method, rather than just between two people.

Demand is derived when consumer goods and services are in high demand. A drop in consumer sales will reduce demand for raw materials and fabricated parts at first, but eventually for capital and investment goods. If a customer’s strategy in their own market is to target value segments, this will be reflected in their price sensitivity and buying decisions.

Volatile demand – while corporate planners try to predict future demand, even minor fluctuations in demand might trigger significant adjustments in investment plans.

Demand that is inelastic – because it is difficult to shift production or suppliers in the near term, business marketplaces are frequently shockingly steady and price inelastic. While a contract’s value may be substantial, the percentage of overall cost represented by a single ingredient or item may be negligible. It’s critical to understand how your product or service fits into your clients’ broader business.

Understanding Customer Satisfaction

Organizational success is only feasible in challenging competitive markets if you can achieve customer satisfaction. Existing clients are likewise a valuable asset that must be valued and cultivated, as new consumers are a scarce and valuable commodity.

The theory of marketing and delivering consumer happiness are simple, but the real implementation and measurement issues are the most difficult aspects of the process.

Customers have issues that they are trying to address or fix. They will select the products or services that they believe will provide them with the most relevant and significant benefits.

There may be a functional need at the heart of their situation, but there are also additional palpable needs.

Customers value both tangible and intangible rewards. For example, the convenience of availability, the assurance of a brand name, the elegant design of a box, or the pricing flexibility are all factors to consider.

The customer’s impression of value for money drives all buying decisions.

Despite the fact that all clients in your market have the same issue, they are not all the same. This is a problem since a “one-size-fits-all” value proposition will not appeal to all customers. Some people are concerned with price, while others are concerned with service speed. There will be disparities in client wants and buying habits within the market. These distinctions determine market segments. Successful businesses have the foresight to see these variances and unmet demands. If they can provide customer solutions, they will be both relevant and different, and they will be able to gain a competitive advantage within that client segment since they have met their specific demand and problem.

Choosing one or two parts to focus on means turning your back on others, but being selective makes good financial sense. By not attempting to be all things to all people, the focus can be narrowed to just a few components. If you conduct successful research, you will be able to identify the segment’s specific needs and possess the competencies and capabilities to meet those demands. The customer will value you if you can match the client’s core and expected needs, as well as develop augmented or differentiated benefits that address the distinct segment needs.

Customers nowadays are well-informed about what they want and value, thanks to the internet’s near-perfect awareness of what else is accessible, yet they are willing to pay for perks that they value.

As an organisation, you may try to produce these relevant and valued benefits by getting to know a sector of the market and discovering the particular demands that distinguish it from the rest of the market.

If you succeed, you will become the segment’s preferred provider. Because no one else is offering this specialised and highly valued solution or benefits bundle, premium pricing can and will be charged. It will be difficult for a competitor to reclaim those clients as long as they are satisfied.

The value proposition is an internal document that explains why these customers should choose you above your competitors. It serves as a framework for developing and aligning all tactical parts of the mix.

Customers assess value for money by weighing the benefits of a product’s offering against its price. A product is more than just a functional, tangible item; it’s an offering that use the entire marketing mix to deliver a package of customer advantages that will be weighed against the price.

People, procedures, and physical evidence, three of the seven Ps, make up what is known as the expanded or service mix, which was included to help managers deal with the issue of marketing an intangible service in today’s competitive markets. The customer experience is currently defined by the service mix, which is especially crucial for managing the customer/organizational interaction and guaranteeing customer satisfaction.

A clear marketing strategy (targeted segments with a clear value proposition) and the assistance of those who can influence or control the Ps of the mix are required to develop a marketing mix that is integrated and consistent with a position that we know will satisfy the client. This indicates that if the operation is to organise itself to meet consumer needs, the entire business must be customer-oriented.

To earn and keep clients, you must meet or even exceed their expectations. Economists call this a’mutually profitable exchange,’ because it satisfies both the customer’s wants and the company’s aims, and if successful, it creates a balance in the customer relationship.

These happy consumers will stick with you until:

You don’t meet their expectations.

They believe that someone else has a better offer that is more suited to their needs and provides greater value for money.

Their requirements shift throughout time.

When it’s often assumed that getting a new client costs five times as much as keeping an existing one, the commercial rewards that delighted clients promise are all too clear. Life time values are becoming more popular as a way for businesses to assess the return on investment from more loyal clients.

All operations have the difficulty of determining what will satisfy the client and how to best assure that it is delivered on time. It’s not just about having a fantastic product or solution; it’s about providing excellent service and delivery at every stage of the client journey.

Why are there still unsatisfied consumers and headlines about customer complaints if there is a greater emphasis on ensuring customer satisfaction?

It’s possible that:

Customers’ expectations are continually rising, making it increasingly difficult for businesses to meet them.

Or, alternatively, too many businesses have failed to recognise the strategic and tactical obstacles that a customer-centric approach entails.

Understanding International Customers

Business research is vital for making industry decisions in any market, but customer insight is even more important when the customer culture is unfamiliar. Market sense, or ‘gut feel,’ is not available to you as a marketer to assist you in making decisions in overseas marketplaces.

Researching international markets can be difficult. Because of their understanding of local customs and culture, local agencies may be preferable. This problem isn’t limited to what’s going on right now. Customers’ reactions to a product or value proposition should be the subject of research. Although research in the 1950s suggested that tea-drinking Britain was not a desirable market for coffee producers, the UK now has one of the highest per capita coffee consumption rates in the world. Similarly, it was thought that the pre-condimented and self-service model of fast food firms like McDonalds would never catch on in the United Kingdom. Many worldwide firms’ success demonstrates how adaptive many cultures are, and communication, rather than product approval, is typically the toughest difficulty.

Marketers must question, test, and observe rather than assume as habits change.

The’standardize’ or’modify’ decisions, as well as the formulation of the marketing mix and brand strategy, must be informed by research into both the physical and psychological demands of customers, as well as their budget. The established brand’s rational principles can appeal to strong physical client wants, but it’s the emotional brand values that must represent psychological needs.

There are global market segments, such as for luxury brands, and in some situations, cultural distinctions between countries are overcome by a powerful cultural force, such as youth culture. The internet and international travel have lessened, but not eliminated, differences. There may be dislike of commodities connected with certain countries, as well as a backlash against global products in favour of local ones. Consider the resurgence of craft and local brands in the United Kingdom.

The brand name, straplines, and visual cues, such as logos, typefaces, and imagery, must all reinforce the agreed-upon positioning and directly appeal to customer demands. In international marketplaces, cultural variations are significant because they influence how customers interpret names, messaging, and cues. Even the colour utilised in a company identity will transmit various messages to users in different parts of the world.

As a marketer, your task is to comprehend these distinctions and identify communication solutions that are culturally neutral or common to the maximum extent possible without sacrificing effect or significance.

Because purchase criteria are likely to be comparable across nationalities, business-to-business products and services are more likely to be successfully standardised across global marketplaces than consumer products and services. Companies are increasingly functioning in a global economy, and this common environment will influence their behaviour and priorities. Senior management teams are likely to come from a variety of nations, but the overarching culture is likely to be influenced by the location of the headquarters. A French-owned company is likely to take a different approach than a company located in the United States or the Middle East.

Understanding international clients necessitates an understanding of decision-making processes, business etiquette, and negotiation customs and practise. National culture can influence buying behaviour in a variety of ways, from the composition of the decision-making unit to the attitude toward risk.

When it comes to market research and understanding, local knowledge is priceless. You can do the following:

Employ local research firms or international firms with local offices.

Employ local workers on the ground in various markets.

Visit them – not just for red carpet events, but also to meet customers and immerse yourself in the culture.

in their work or personal lives

It will be easier to communicate with customers once you have established yourself in a market. Social media, online communities, and communications will assist you in facilitating the necessary debate to ensure that your decisions are customer-centric.

Using Decision-Making Matrices to Evaluate Strategy

This matrices family is probably the most beneficial of all our planning tools. Its roots can be traced back to portfolio analysis, when McKinsey – who developed the matrix on behalf of General Electric – created the GE Matrix to assess goods in the portfolio. Since that first application, managers have recognised the model’s adaptability and recognised that it can be adjusted and altered to assist in any situation when you are comparing, assessing, or making a decision. It can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

settle on a business plan (The Ansoff options)

inside a market, assess and decide which segments to target (marketing strategy)

choose which nations to target (international strategy – the Abel & Hammond Investment Matrix and Country Attractiveness Model may be used in this regard)

choose which channels to use (distribution strategy)

as well as evaluating new product concepts and, of course, portfolio management.

Simply put, these models allow you to determine whether a customer wants to purchase from you or sell to you – they examine and evaluate opportunities in terms of your capabilities in each market. (Bring the two dimensions of your SWOT analysis together and use them)

The decision-making process employs a set of criteria that might contain a variety of factors, reflecting the complexities faced by real-world decision-makers who must balance profit potential with risk, brand equity with environmental responsibility, and so on. The models are collectively known as multi-factor matrices because of this feature. Apart from recognising the various aspects that influence a choice, the weighing process allows a management to include diverse priorities into the decision-making process.

The models are adaptable, allowing users to choose the criteria that are most relevant to their setting and organisation; for example, not-for-profit organisations might evaluate other stakeholders’ interests, and a small business owner can prioritise long-term aims over short-term profits. If you’re looking for channel partners, consider their industry experience, field sales team skills, and willingness to support market campaigns. These are not the same characteristics that are used to evaluate market sectors, such as size, accessibility, price elasticity, and homogeneity of need.

Because all of the options under consideration are assessed using the same decision criteria and weighting, the model is more objective than other decision-making processes.

These models incorporate and embed the customer perspective into the evaluation process, ensuring customer-centric decision-making. This technique considers the customers by attempting to estimate the organization’s prospective competitive advantage; in other words, calculating how likely these customers are to choose us. Customers’ buying criteria are identified and weighted, and our organization’s ability to deliver against these criteria is rated.

They help you establish and validate business cases, analyse previous judgments, and reduce decisions based on ‘pet project syndrome.’

During the planning process, the GE or multifactor matrix can also be used to evaluate and assist in decision-making:

channel selection or assessment

evaluating new product ideas or prioritising various product enhancement options

Choosing a strategy:

which marketplaces and products

which market segments are there?

Which countries are you talking about?

Remember that if you need to compare, assess, or decide, a multi factor matrix will likely come in handy.

Web Analytics

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

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.

Data Gathering

Google Analytics requires a JavaScript tag – also known as the Google Analytics Tracking Code – to be inserted on each page of your website (GATC). This tag keeps track of your visitors by placing a cookie in their browser. A cookie is a small text file that is stored in the browser of a website visitor and is used by Google Analytics to calculate how many users visit your site – Users – and how many return – Returning Users.

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:


Perceived worth


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.