Fact-based marketingWe all like to think our marketing is based on fact rather than gut feel or whimsy. In the same way we like to think our monthly management accounts are based on accurate and meaningful analysis of company performance, rather than imagination or creative accounting. Certainly we want flair, innovation and creativity in using the facts to gain competitive advantage, but we'll be more effective if our plans are based on market realities rather than wishful thinking.
Of course there is marketing and marketing, and it means different things to different people. Most commonly it's used as shorthand for advertising, literature and promotion, and for many that's all it is. But marketing is more than that. Many of the big, strategic issues for management, the ones that make a difference to a company's long-term performance and its competitive edge, are marketing problems.
Obtaining a clear picture of these issues, problems and opportunities isn't as easy as you might think, particularly when it comes to determining how you could change your market, your position in it, create a new market or rewrite the rules. Finding people who specialise in doing that is hard. There aren't many about. That's probably why many businesses struggle to come up with effective solutions, or miss the opportunity.
Most external agencies do market research or marketing. Yet one of the hardest tasks is to design penetrating research from a marketing perspective to establish the dynamics of a market, how it behaves, how it works, highlighting the potential, and the possibilities that marketing could exploit. And applying a marketing mind to the research findings, recommending what action to take and what strategy to adopt based on your research adds considerable value and a sharper focus, particularly when you could be put you on the spot and asked to help implement those recommendations.
Equally difficult for marketing management is to know how far you can stretch your understanding and confidence, or sell your ideas on creating new openings or improving current performance to internal management without the foundation of fact. And missing targets because you have misjudged the market, or your plans or strategy don't match market reality can be a costly business.
Unusually, because of Mike Rigby's considerable experience of marketing and research, and a track record of turning research into effective and innovative marketing solutions in the building industry, MRA combines both: insightful research and effective marketing.
And at a time when most of us have adopted lean management principles, freeing up knowledgeable, experienced marketing people from within the company who can see the big picture and come up with innovative and effective marketing plans that will fly is harder still.
Increasingly companies are looking to achieve a step change in the effectiveness of their competitive edge, to dream up innovative breakout solutions that work without sacrificing margins. They also want to improve profitability. Sometimes we just do the research, sometimes just the marketing. Other times we do the research and then get asked to implement it - fact-based marketing - working as part of the team.
You might need...
- A better understanding of how markets behave and what drives the market
- To find out what makes decision makers tick, how they decide to change brands, and how you can hold on to customers or win them
- To measure market volumes and values and determine routes to market and how they are changing
- To establish price trends and discount structures
- Market share information, or market forecasts
- A customer satisfaction survey
- To research brand awareness and reputations, to benchmark reputations, rank importance of attributes, measure the opportunity gaps, the 'waiting room' or brand loyalty
- Brand mapping, and a review of brand strategy
- To change perceptions and reposition your brand, to improve, repair and manage your reputation
- To develop awareness and importance of an issue in your market
- One or more local distribution (a who got what and why) surveys
- Business-to-business mystery shopping research to establish how people buy and what it is really like to be a customer
- Blind product testing to establish real brand or product difference without the overlay of brand perceptions
- To consider re-segmenting your market, and how to do this
- To determine how to create a new market, how to establish or help with creating 'pull through'
- To penetrate new markets in the UK or overseas, and reduce the risk of entry
- To grow faster and more profitably
- Innovation in your products or marketing
- To combat commodity behaviour and reinvigorate your brands and products
- To establish an effective, market beating strategy