first in marketing audits
Marketing Opportunity

The Marketing Environment

Healthy marketing firms take an outside-in view of their business. They recognize that the business and marketing environment is constantly spinning new opportunities and threats and understand the importance of monitoring and adapting to the changing environment.

Unhealthy marketing firms fail to see change as opportunity. They ignore or resist change until it is too late and their marketing strategies, systems and organizational culture become dysfunctional. Even major firms such as GM, IBM and Sears have fallen sick after ignoring significant changes in their environment.

Healthy marketing organizations ensure their marketers are responsible for identifying significant changes in the environment. Marketing managers must also be trend trackers and opportunity seekers. As marketing is a blend of art and science, it is critical to ensure healthy marketing analysis through a disciplined approach combining marketing intelligence and marketing research (for collecting information about the marketing environment). The marketing health check-up includes an E-PEST test to measure your ability to monitor the external environment forces which include environmental, political/legal, economic, social/cultural and technological forces.

Consumer Analysis

If your aim really is to meet and satisfy target customer needs and wants, then healthy marketing practice calls for understanding consumer markets and consumer behavior. Understanding consumer behavior (or the behavior of your target market) and knowing your customers are never simple marketing tasks. Customers may state their needs and wants but act otherwise. Nevertheless, healthy marketing practice calls for studying your customers’ wants, perceptions, references and buying behavior.

Do your marketers understand how your consumers actually buy? Healthy marketing practice works to understand the buyers’ behavior and influences at each stage. Healthy marketing organizations ensure customer satisfaction at all levels of the buying process. Satisfied customers will purchase and dissatisfied customers will stop purchasing and spread negative perceptions among their sphere.

Do you ask the right questions to ensure healthy consumer analysis?

Your organization will gain maximum sales and profits from your marketing activities when incorporating a target segment. Without a target, you risk wasting marketing dollars on disinterested people. It is like taking a shot gun approach instead of serving your marketing well by embracing target marketing.

Healthy target marketing includes three activities:

Market segmentation: segment, niches, local and individual levels
Market targeting: evaluate and select marketing segments
Market positioning: establish and communicate the products’ or services’ key distinctive benefits in the market

You also need to incorporate the use of variables used in segmenting consumer markets such as:

  • Geographic
  • Demographic
  • Psychographic
  • Behavioral

Consumer analysis serves a very important function when you need to form a comprehensive marketing strategy. Although you can make an intuitive choice of a target segment, the quantitative analysis truly minimizes risk and forms the basis for a healthy comprehensive marketing strategy.

Competitive Analysis

Finding healthy marketing opportunities not only depends on understanding consumer marketing but also studying your competitors. Do you know your competitors’ strategies, objectives, strengths, weaknesses and reaction patterns? Do you have an effective competitive intelligence system? Do you use perceptual mapping technique to gain insight on how to market your product/service as it relates to your competition?

An understanding of competitors can be attained by using both industry and market-based analyses. With good competitive intelligence, managers can more easily formulate an effective and healthy marketing strategy. There should be a healthy balance of both consumer and competitor monitoring without overdoing either one.

Channel Anaylsis

A channel analysis is critical, because the choice of channel influences the price you can charge and the profit margins that you may enjoy. You must ask how your product can reach consumers effectively. How much do the players in each channel profit? Who holds the power in each available channel?