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Paul Sparks - Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for "Culture of English Speaking Countries Lessons", Xiangtan Normal University...




British Marketing

What is Marketing?
According to the Dictionary of Marketing Terms, 2nd edition, published by the American Marketing Association, 1995, marketing is the "process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organisational objectives."

What does that actually mean? It means that marketing is involved in every stage of a product - Firstly it is involved in product development in coming up with a needed product or service, then making potential customers aware of it, then making them want it, and then selling it to them. 

Is Marketing about "Sales" or "Advertising"? Often you will hear sales functions referred to as "marketing," but really sales is just a part of the larger marketing process, as is advertising. In the olden days (back 30-40 years), marketing did consist primarily of sales. Rather than having marketing departments, companies had sales departments with an advertising manager and someone who did market research. Sometimes they added a promotions manager or hired an agency to handle advertising and promotions. Things began changing as some companies grew larger and larger and began offering many product lines that needed their own brand managers. 

Everyone is responsible for Marketing: The thing to remember is that, in reality, the marketing department crosses over into the entire company. Everyone in your company should be aware of the marketing message, visions, and goals of the company, and should reflect that message in everything they do that is related to the product and your customers. This is referred to as Integrated Marketing Communications, and means that every contact with customers and potential customers whether it's through advertising, personal contact, or other means should carry a consistent message about the company and product. In effect, every employee is a sales person and every employee is a customer service representative. If they give mixed messages about what your business is then your customers and potential customers will have a distorted picture. Any bad experience a customer has with your company can effect future sales from that customer, as well as the people they tell about the experience.

So what is the Marketing Department's Role? The marketing department must act as a guide and lead the company's other departments in developing, producing, fulfilling, and servicing products or services for their customers. Communication is vital. The marketing department typically has a better understanding of the market and customer needs, but should not act independently of product development or customer service. Don't get the idea that marketing should make these plans and recommendations alone. It is very important that the marketing department get input from many people within the company. Not only does providing input help the rest of the company understand and support the marketing efforts, it also provides some invaluable insights into what customers want and new ideas that may have slipped past the rest of the company.

Marketing in the UK: The UK is a very commercial country, businesses need to advertise and promote themselves in order to survive. Goods and services which are not marketed in the correct way will fail. 

The Marketing Plan: This process involves four stages of action: 

  • Researching and analysing your business and the market 

  • Planning and writing the plan 

  • Implementing the plan 

  • Evaluating the results

Research and Analysis: The research and analysis stage of your planning process is very important. Research and analysis are critical because they lead you to identifying your product's target audience, as well as its strengths, weaknesses, threats and, most importantly, opportunities. Knowing the threats and opportunities your product faces helps you more realistically set your sales goals and objectives.

Knowing your opportunities, target audience, and sales goals will give you the information you need to set your marketing goals to take advantage of the opportunities and meet the sales goals. Knowing your marketing objectives will give you the information you need to set your positioning, pricing, distribution, and other marketing strategies.

Having your strategies set will give you the tactical elements of your marketing plan such as advertising, promotions, branding, packaging, etc. All of those things you have to tailor to your market. Once your tactical elements are determined you can determine your creative element, budgets, and calendar. 

The Business Review: What is the scope of your business? In other words, what business are you in? What is the essence of what your business does or what your product provides? What is your business's philosophy and mission? Are you really on track with what you set out to do initially? Revisit your Vision and Mission statements. 

In order to put together a good plan for marketing your have to have a thorough knowledge of your product. Perform an exhaustive review of : 

  • The product's features 

  • The product's benefits 

  • The life cycle stage of the product 

  • The safety of the product 

  • The reliability of the product 

  • The appearance and packaging of the product 

  • The technology level of the product (if it applies) 

  • The product's sales history 

  • The seasonality of the product 

  • The product's pricing history 

  • The product's distribution history 

  • The product's promotion history 

  • Other areas specific to your product

The Market Review:
Gather market research data or perform your own research to find out: 

  • The size of the market 

  • The segments of the market 

  • Who your primary competitors are

  • What your competitors' strengths are 

  • What your competitors' weaknesses are

  • Who your target audience is, and 

  • What their needs are 

  • What their tastes are 

  • What their buying patterns are 

  • Their preferred distribution method 

  • Their opinion of your competitors' product 

  • Their opinion of your product 

  • Features they would like to see in your product

  • The seasonality of the market 

  • The market growth, shrinkage, or flattening 

Pay close attention to market segments. Markets have become increasingly fragmented. Market segments can be based on price, quality, product use, or even benefits consumers find through a product's use. If you're a small business, then finding the right market segment is very important. It can help you target your efforts and compete more efficiently.

PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors):
Now it's time to cover some important planning elements commonly referred to as PEST - which stands for Political factors, Economic factors, Social factors, and Technology factors. These are all elements that may have an effect on your future business. Make a list of all factors that may be either beneficial or detrimental to the success of your marketing efforts or business. 

Political factors include regulatory issues that affect your product line, legal aspects such as patents and copyrights, or just the current political climate. 

Economic factors include current financial forces on your target market. Is there currently a recession? Is the stock market falling or rising, etc. 

Social factors include changes in social trends, or demographic groups as they affect your target market and their current opinions. This could include changes in shopping habits, such as the increase in online shoppers. It could also include population increase in the over 50 group. 

Technology factors include everything that affects your product, its market, or information-gathering efforts of your market that comes as a result of changes in technology. This would include the Internet, wireless communications, handheld electronic devices, and anything else technology-driven that is affecting your product or service. 

All of the PEST factors will tie into and possibly have an affect on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you identify for your product and market - (Known as SWOT)

SWOT (Strenghts, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats):
SWOT standards for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and is critical to your marketing plan. Your marketing plan builds upon itself and one of the anchoring steps is the identification of SWOT. By completing the review of your business and your market you should be in good shape and armed with the information to identify your SWOTs and PESTs. 

Your strengths and weaknesses are determined by internal elements, while opportunities and threats are dictated by external forces. Sometimes it is recommended to identify your opportunities and threats first in order to more quickly bring to light the product strengths or weaknesses that should be considered first. 

The Marketing Plan Outline:
There are many variations in the format and outlines for marketing plans. Typically, however, your written marketing plan should include the following sections: 

1) Executive Overview

2) Market Review

a) Trends Overview
b) Market Segment
c) Target Market (Primary and Secondary)

3) Competitive Overview

4) Product and Business Overview

5) Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

6) Goals and Objectives

a) Sales Objectives
b) Marketing Objectives

7) Strategies

a) Positioning
b) Product
c) Pricing
d) Distribution
e) Promotion

8) Action Plan and Implementation

a) Media Mix
b) Schedule
c) Budget 
d) Assignments

9) Tracking and Evaluation

a) Response Tracking Procedures
b) Sales Reviews

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