Assessing your marketing environment dates back to the beginning of trading thousands of years ago and with the rate of change and competitive nature of today’s markets and sectors it has never been more important.
The process is all about matching your resources, strategy, marketing focus, objectives and campaigns to the ever changing needs of your customers, stakeholders, and wider worldwide trends at the same time as keeping on eye on your competitors.
If you decide not to do this and forge ahead regardless, or you simply aren’t aware that it’s important you may miss out on the following 10 key benefits:
- Prioritisation - ensures you focus your time, budget and people on the right things and enables you to strip out everything that’s failing to add value
- Perceived Value - your customers and stakeholders will see that you are only focusing on delivering the products, services and value that they want whilst your competitors add in confusing but irrelevant extras (that also cost them lots of money which spoils their profitability)
- Resource Allocation - makes sure you have your people doing the right things in the customers’ eyes at the right level so that every minute spent is a valuable minute
- Customer Journey - you can ensure you are using the right marketing and sales tools, embracing new technology and routes to market and optimising relationships with the right strategic partners who can help you along the way
- Reducing Risk - will make sure you don’t get swayed by media hype, the latest fad or snapshot moment. Far better to spot and work with longer term trends that are reliable and sustainable so your strategy reflects a robust future for your organisation
- Continuous Improvement - embrace innovation and better ways of working by watching other industries and sectors and constantly seeking out best practice, efficiency and systems
- Informing your Product Portfolio - market research, customer surveys and ongoing competitor tracking will make sure you are constantly feeding new and appropriate features and benefits into your products and services
- Competitive Advantage - to make sure your core competencies (USPs) are really competencies and not something that all your competitors can and do replicate. Your competencies will be ones that are the most important to your customers and stakeholders
- Contingency Planning - always be running scenario planning in your organisation. Every month ask the question “what if?” to make sure you have a Plan B that you can proactively manage rather than a reactive firefighting approach when something goes wrong
- Return on Investment - know where the value comes from in your business. Where you can gain more profitable revenue and where you can save cost. That vital blend is the lifeblood of your organisation and constantly sensing market conditions and dynamics will keep your finger on the pulse
The assessing of your marketing environment takes the form of Macro Analysis (looking at Politics, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal/Regulatory, Environmental and Ethical trends) and matching these with Micro Analysis (including competitor intelligence, customer and stakeholder needs, supply chain dynamics). Feed this data, which might come from your sales force, partners, customer service and market research, into a Marketing/Management Information System. The outputs you analyse as you spot trends in the data. When you interpret and report the analysis then this is the marketing intelligence you need for great decision making and a far greater likelihood of long term competitive success for your organisation.