Change Implementation Techniques for Creating a Sense of Urgency

Technique 2.53 Best-practice Marketing

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. Marketing is primarily about meeting customer needs and relationship building.

. Marketing is the full set of business processes that ensures that an organisation profitably delivers products/services to customers in a manner which meets their needs more effectively than the competition

. The marketing process has 4 objectives which must be achieved better than the competition in order to succeed. These objectives are

i. target the right customer

ii. understand the customer's needs

iii. match products and services with these needs

iv. communicate and deliver the product/services effectively

Do all these things better than the competition and do it profitably

. There are 5 steps to achieving these 4 objectives

i. perceive a target market segment and group of customers that, from market research and a broad analysis, appears to offer a significant potential

ii. understand, through research, the needs of the customer. Through analysis, make a preliminary estimation of your organisation's ability to serve them with a product/service package profitably and better than your competitors

iii. develop a product/service package which best fits the needs of the previously-identified customer and reassess potential competitiveness and profitability.

iv. develop a communication strategy which must cost-effectively communicate the product/services to the customer, and perform a final competitive and probability analysis to ensure the entire strategy remains attractive

v. implement the strategy, monitor results and make alterations to the strategy as required over time

. In theory, the steps should be undertaken for all market segments that might be of interest so that their relative attractiveness can be compared. In practice, the process does not always begin "from scratch". It requires commercial judgment in its application, but it is unwise to short-circuit any step.

. Marketing is not just confined to advertising activity, trade shows and customer visits

. A best-practice marketing strategy is developed using the 5 main elements of marketing. Key steps in the process are supported by appropriate research and development on the one hand, and by competitive and profitability analysis on the other. Developing a best-practice marketing strategy to take a product/service to market involves consciously stepping through each stage of this process, initially and on an ongoing basis.

The Total Marketing Process in Practice: A Checklist

A checklist of key questions can be useful when putting the process into practice

. Do I fully understand the needs of the customer group I have selected?

- by level of the distribution chain

- sensory and perceptual needs

- buying criteria, behaviour needs

- current, emerging trends

- in dollar terms

. Does my product/service really meet the needs of this group? And better than the competition (current and potential)?

. Is it likely to be profitable? Is there a product/service that would satisfy those needs and be more profitable?

. Does my communication strategy really support all other elements of my marketing strategy?

- communication strategy should match the needs and characteristics of target customer group and end-users

- message should focus on area where I have a competitive advantage

- appropriate product characteristics (including branding) and services reinforce the message

. Is the total package profitable?

. Have I made the best (most profitable) trade-offs between markets for products and uses of communication expenditure?

- In products:

i) between different markets

ii) between various levels of the distribution chain to target

- In communication expenditure:

i) between products or markets

ii) between different media

. Is the marketing strategy based on knowledge rather than instinct?

For Developing A Best-practice Marketing Strategy

organisational development change management

Process Description

There are 4 key action steps in best-practice marketing. Information derived from the support steps of research, development and analysis enables sound decision-making. How the process works:

Key Element

Brief Explanation of Operation in General Terms

1. Select a target market segment and group of customers

- market research is conducted to gain an understanding of markets and market segments

- very broad estimations of a likely competitive position and potential for profit in the market segments are derived from the market research

- the group of customers in the country, market segment and level(s) of the distribution chain offering the highest potential for profit over time is selected as the target group

2. Understand customer needs for target market segment & customer group

- research is completed in the market to determine the needs of customers at all levels of the distribution chain for the chosen market segment (including the target level and the ultimate consumer)

- further broad analysis of likely competitive position and potential for profit in this segment is carried out

- the result is an understanding of the customer needs for the target segment and of the organisation's relative ability to satisfy them

Key Element

Brief Explanation of Operation in General Terms

3. Select a product/service package which best fits those needs

- research/development is completed as required to develop or adapt products/services to best fit the needs of the target customer group and market segment

- competitive and profitability analysis is completed to estimate how competitive and profitable product/service alternatives are likely to be

- the product/service package which has the best combination of meeting customer needs, competitiveness and profitability is chosen

4. Select an appropriate communication strategy

- research is completed to determine the best messages and media to communicate the product/service package to the target market segment and customer group

- alternative cost-effective communication strategies are developed from the results of the research

- competitive and profitability analyses are completed to estimate which communication strategy will be the most competitive and profitable, and that one is selected

Note : 1) The process is iterative - analysis at any stage may show that rework, redesign or further research is needed at any previous stage

(source: Boston Consulting Group, 1992)

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