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A close fit

When companies join Network Veka one of the first things they do is go on a short Induction Workshop. It covers marketing, selling, the Network Veka brand, the support package, and how companies can use the brand to help them sell more and achieve the prices they want. Whatever their level of experience and background people find the workshop helps them think about how they sell and market themselves in a changing market. They often return for a refresher.

One of the more revealing exercises in the workshop divides the market into four price-quality sectors - Premium, Upper Middle, Lower Middle and Budget. Using these sectors, and thinking of cars and the car market as a guide, people mark where they think their own company and their competitors are positioned. Then they say where Network Veka is positioned on the same basis.

It's a useful exercise. There is no right or wrong place to be in the market. Premium is not good and Budget bad. It's not what you call yourself that counts, but it is vital to know where you are in the market, and match what your customers are looking for. If the match is poor and customers see you as a budget company, and you're not, there'll be a gap between expectations and reality and they'll never be satisfied. If they think you are a Premium brand and you don't live up to expectations they will be dissatisfied for other reasons, and it will all end in tears.

The exercise also tells us something about Network Veka and the companies that join the network. We've run the exercise for several years now and almost without exception those who join see themselves in the Premium or top of the Upper Middle sector. They see Network Veka as a Premium brand. It's a remarkably close match. Companies join because they want to operate in the Premium sector and see the Network Veka brand as the means to do so.

Try the exercise yourself. Mark the position of your main competitors, your suppliers, your customers and your own brand. Is there a close match between your customers, your brand and your suppliers? If you are having problems with your marketing and profitability it could be as fundamental as a poor fit.

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