marketing

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Developing a marketing strategy

All successful businesses need to have a close understanding of potential and existing customers and the marketplace they work in.                                                                                         This understanding allows us to target customers, sell effectively, compete with other suppliers and spot new opportunities. Performing market research on potential customers and our competitors will help us to gain this vital knowledge.

Developing a marketing strategy is vital for any business.

The focus of strategy should be making sure that the products and services meet customer needs and developing long-term and profitable relationships with those customers. To achieve this, it is necessary to create a flexible strategy that can respond to changes in customer perceptions and demand.

The purpose of the marketing strategy should be to identify and then communicate the benefits of the business offering to its target market.

Once the strategy is created and implemented, it is necessary to monitor its effectiveness and make any adjustments required to maintain its success.

This guide helps in identifying which customers to focus on and the key objectives in reaching them. It explains what to include in the marketing strategy and how it can be used as the basis for effective action.

First step of the planning process: Once the missions and goals are agreed upon and formally stated in the corporate plan, they guide the next steps by defining which strategies are appropriate and inappropriate.

In order to determine an organization's Mission - the overriding reason it exists to provide customers with goods or services they value - managers must first define its business so they can identify what kind of value customers are receiving. Managers ask three questions

  1. who are the customers
  2. what customer needs are being satisfied
  3. how are we satisfying those needs

Answering these questions helps managers not only identify the customer's needs they are satisfying but also the needs they need to satisfy in the future and who their true competitors are.

Objectives

Objectives are specific outcomes that an organisation wishes to achieve by carrying out its activities. They are the anticipated end result of programmes of activity, and therefore have a central role in strategy formulation. Another similar word to objectives is goals.

Objectives have several functions:

  1. Enable overall objectives of the organization to be broken down into clear statements of what needs to be done at each level.
  2. Provide clear statements of what action needs to be taken
  3. Provide focus for all activity
  4. Facilitate control of actual performance
  5. Provide a basis of evaluating how successfully plans are being implemented

The first stage of this assignment was the Diagnosis stage.

Good Planning only occurs if the planner has a detailed knowledge of both the internal and external environment within which the organization operates.

So, the first step we did was to gain detailed information of the internal and external environment within which our organization operates.

External Analysis

Knowledge of external environments helps improve planning. Analysis of external, environment helps improve planning. Analysis of th external environment and trends which lead to changes in it, can identify threats and opportunities more quickly, decrease likelihood of surprises and shorten firms reaction times to events.

External environment can be categorized as being physical, social and competitive.

Physical and Social environment can be studied using PESTEL.

Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural, Technological, Environmental, Legal

Competitive Environment can be understood better by using Porters 5 forces. Competitive strategy of an organization and the need to secure a competitive advantage over competitors is becoming increasingly important in todays business world. Competitive Advantage is the factor which enables an organization to compete successfully with its main competitors on a sustained basis. The heart of any strategy must include an understanding of the organizations competitive strategy and advantage.

Porter listed 5 factors which affect the state of competition in any industry and collectively determines the profit potential of that industry and strategy

1. Threat of new entrants

2. Threat of substitute products and services

3. Bargaining power of customers

4. Bargaining power of suppliers

5. Rivalry amongst current competitors -

Internal Analysis

Importance of the internal environment to the strategy process

Components of the internal environment that need to be examined in order to assess the current capabilities of an organization

A resource audit identifies the any gaps in resources and limiting factors on organizational activity

A Value chain analysis identifies how the business adds value to the resources it obtains and how it deploys these resources to satisfy customers

A Competence is a skill which the organization has which can ensure a fit between the environment and the organisation's capabilities. The organizations outputs can then be reviewed as its product portfolio.

Organization Structure is also a strategic issue.

After gathering the necessary information about the environment our organization operates, which gave us knowledge about the market, we identified TESCO plc as our main competitor in our area. After that, what we did was basically comparison. We looked at what they where 'BAD AT', which was our strength, and what they were 'GOOD AT', which we have to improve.

We came up with the fact that TESCO has problems with the Costumer Service and the quality of the Fruits and Vegetables.

So, we decided to focus on niche-market, where they are 'BAD AT', on Fruits and Vegetables. We know that TESCO is a giant organization, has its own suppliers, operating in many countries and it is impossible to beat them in price.

We analysed the competitor's weaknesses and the second thing we decided to focus on, was the Customer Service. As the "Vietnamese Potravinies" are well- known about their Customer Service, which is our strength, we decided to keep and improve our Customer Service.

Later on, we started writing the objectives of our organization, according to their priorities.

This was the stage that, the most conflicts, arguing and brainstorming started, because everyone was trying to give ideas. Even though we had a team leader, one of the members, Masha, did not agree from the beginning with this and we had many problems at this stage, because Masha was trying to take over control and decide on her own about everything.

It was impossible to get together and work on the task, because some of the members were employed and did not have time to come to the meetings. This is the reason that at this stage, we had some problems with the communication and we had to split up the task and exchange emails. Even when we had agreed to an appointment before classes, most of the members were not coming on time and some of them were not coming at all, except Olda, he always was on time and ready to contribute on the group assignment. Everyone was sending his own part via e-mail and then, the team leader was collecting each part together and presenting it as complete to the lecturer. Communication between the members of a team, is the one of the most significant and key factors leading to success and productive team.

Writing the objectives was Masha's task. She completed the task on time.

However, they were not so clear and as required to be.

They were many in number, but not the right ones, not even SMART.

So, we had to review and discuss with the lecturer and go through them once more in the class and conclude them in more specific and precise sentences.

Even though, the lecturer, Andy Cousins explained the difference between the Objective and Outcomes of an Organization, still, it was a bit vague for our team to distinguish them from each other.

Objectives, Outcomes and Strategies

Objective1 : We will offer and keep high level of customer services by 2011

The Outcome: We will be a market leader due to  high level of customer service and gain loyalty of customers (in the Czech Republic)

The Strategies:

  1. We will create a training program for employees to be able gain the standard of knowledge, in order to save money, the online strategy training will be used by end 2009
  2. We will be introduce training for ones who are not able to use the computers in a form of crash course of computing by 3/2010
  3. We will also prepare a CD with training for those who has no connection to the internet by 3/2010
  4. We will build ability to continue an existing model of customer service by using a shadowing program 5/2010 to 2011

Commentaries: As it is stated above, Customer Service is our strength and one of our objectives is to keep and improve the Customer Service. The members gave different ideas on how to achieve this objective and for the outcomes we will get if we match the certain objective.

After selecting the most suitable and most effective ways to achieve those objectives, we evaluated the strategies, by looking at their:

  • Suitability (Suitability relates to the strategic logic of the strategy)
  • Feasibility (It asks whether the strategy can be implemented)
  • Acceptability (The acceptability of a strategy relates to people's expectations of it)

After brainstorming, discussing and going through all this processes with each-other and consulting with the lecturer, we wrote down the strategies.

This part was completed mostly during the class and all the members gave their own contribution to the team.

Objective 2: We will have a standardized approach to all levels of the organization by 2011

     The Outcome: We will take an advantage of elements of economics of scale in all parts 

     of the organization including suppliers, sales and logistic in order to save money and time.

The Strategies:

  1. We will introduce a business support center and centralize management and supply system by 2011.
  2. We will establish  standards of knowledge about business environment, behavior and product end of 2009
  3. We will centralize a standardized approach to training of employees by summer 2010 to be able to improve language, business and PC skills as well to be able to keep a high level of a customer service
  4. We will introduce logo, staff uniform and high quality bags with own trademark by summer 2010 and use standardized advertisement see objective 3
  5. We will introduce standardized  delivery and storage system, payments systems using cash cards and also element of e-commerce, to add value introduce home delivery, credit facilities, quality guaranty system, e-commerce, assistance for less able by the end of 2010.
  6. We will offer to join the chain by introducing franchisee by 2011

Commentaries: This idea was given by Olda, based on the environmental analysis we had

made beforehand.

The members gave different ideas on how to achieve this objective and for the outcomes we will get if we match the certain objective, but the final version of the strategies were written by Olda.

After selecting the most suitable and most effective ways to achieve those objectives, we evaluated the strategies, by looking at their:

  • Suitability (Suitability relates to the strategic logic of the strategy)
  • Feasibility (It asks whether the strategy can be implemented)
  • Acceptability (The acceptability of a strategy relates to people's expectations of it)

After brainstorming, discussing and going through all this processes with each-other and consulting with the lecturer, we wrote down the strategies.

This part was completed during the class and all the members gave their own contribution to the team.

Objective 3: We will have built a loyalty of customers and create a brand loyalty and brand awareness by 2012

The outcome:  We will create well known trademark.

The Strategy:

  1. We will involve a well known marketing consultant to advise us on strategy for target customer to be as effective as possible by end of 2009
  2. We will create a positive image of Vietnamese shops through setting common objectives and goals, mission statement, logo and slogan to make workers more united, motivated and working as a part of a single system. By end of summer 2010
  3. We will make an advertising campaign for Vietnamese shops to create a nice image in selling high quality fruit and vegetables and their traditional products as rice 2010 - 2012.

Commentaries: This idea came after the environmental analysis we made and identified our weaknesses in the advertising campaign and we decided to create an advertising campaign for Vietnamese shops and create a nice image in selling high quality fruit and vegetables and their traditional products.                                                                                                                            The idea is to create a unique image about our organization.

After selecting the most suitable and most effective ways to achieve those objectives, we evaluated the strategies, by looking at their:

  • Suitability (Suitability relates to the strategic logic of the strategy)
  • Feasibility (It asks whether the strategy can be implemented)
  • Acceptability (The acceptability of a strategy relates to people's expectations of it)

After brainstorming, discussing and going through all this processes with each-other and consulting with the lecturer, we wrote down the strategies.

This part was completed during the class and all the members gave their own contribution to the team.

Objective 4: We will gain a niche market in selling high quality vegetables and fruit 2012

The Outcome: We will be a market leader due to quality vegetables, fruit and sundries (in the Czech Republic)

The Strategy:

  1. We will create and improve a single system and control of supply and distribution by the end 2011
  2. We will create a single system of control and distribution by the end 2010
  3. We will train employees to work together in cooperation with the other shops, suppliers and distributors by the end 2010
  4. We will use the convenient location of the shops and convenient opening hour 2010
  5. We will centralize all who are willing to be centralized the shops around CR 2012.
  6. We will do reconstruction of the shops around CR by June 2012
  7. We will advertise selling of fruit and vegetables by July 2010-12
  8. We will set up working hours from 7.00 till 24.00 by 2011
  9. We will train employees in language skills, computer skills and customer service by 2011
  10. We will provide customers with high quality customer service by July 2011

Commentaries:

We analysed the competitor's weaknesses and the second thing we decided to focus on, was the niche-market, where they are 'BAD AT', which is focusing Fruits and Vegetables.       We know that TESCO is a giant organization, has its own suppliers, operating in many countries and it is impossible to beat them in price in wide-range of products.

After selecting the most suitable and most effective ways to achieve those objectives, we evaluated the strategies, by looking at their:

  • Suitability (Suitability relates to the strategic logic of the strategy)
  • Feasibility (It asks whether the strategy can be implemented)
  • Acceptability (The acceptability of a strategy relates to people's expectations of it)

After brainstorming, discussing and going through all this processes with each-other and consulting with the lecturer, we wrote down the strategies.

This part was completed mostly during the class and all the members gave their own contribution to the team.

1. Formation of the group

The forming of the group was the first step to be done and the members of the group were chosen randomly by the lecturer, Andy Cousins.                                                                                              In the group it was: Olda, Masha, Tea, Eldion and Simohamed - the one who joined the group later on, after 2-3weeks.

The personalities and interpersonal skills in our team:

Team Leader: Olda

Coordinator - presides and coordinates, balanced, disciplined, good at working through others - Simohamed and Olda we a kind of this type of personalities.

Shaper - highly strung, dominant extrovert passionate about the task- Olda and somehow Masha.

Resource Investigator - popular, sociable, relaxed, source of new contacts, good for team spirit but useless for ideas, must be made to work and used positively- I think this was somehow my role in the team.

Team Worker concerned with team maintenance, supporting, understanding, diplomatic. Not competitive and only missed when absent- Tea, Simohamed and Eldion.

Finisher pushes the teams to deadlines, attends to details; urgency and follow through. Essential position, but never popular and never appreciated - Olda, Masha, Eldion.

2. The rate of storming that took place, conflict and forming stage.

The highest rate of the storming was while choosing giving ideas about the objectives and creating strategies to match those objectives. Our group had some problems at the very first stage, because the members were chosen randomly by the lecturer and it was so difficult to cooperate with each-other and create a team image. For me, except Tea, it was the first time to work with the other members in the same group. It took me a while to get used with the members of the group and start working on the task given by the lecturer. For one member of the group, Simohamed was even more difficult to cooperate with the other members of the group, because of the fact that he joined the group so late.

At the same time he has a working experience in the business area, working in one of the worldwide leading companies in its area and after joining the group he was one of the members with the best and most logical ideas.

Choosing the team leader is one of the first steps in creating a team; and for our team, probably, this was the mistake that leaded to conflicts and arguing between some of the team members, especially between Olda and Masha. Even though the fact that one of the members, Masha was trying to take over control and impose her/his ideas and opinions to the others, using autocratic system, we overcame the problem by choosing Olda as the team-leader in a democratic way.

3. What could we have done to make the group function better?

First problem we had was the communication problems. As some of our group members were not able to come, it was so difficult to find a proper time for a possible appointment and work on the assignment. Someone did not have time to meet, or others had a job.

So, it was really difficult to agree and meet up.

We used the time after class to work, sometimes we arranged meetings, and the majority of the task was split up and everyone was e-mailing his own part, which leads to lack of communication and low performance.

We could improve:

  • Cohesion - sticking together - not collapsing under pressure
  • Expressing Solidarity - One for all and All for One

I could say that, one of the team-members, at the same time, our team leader, Olda, did a lot more than he was supposed to do. He had the role of leader in our team, but at the same time he was coordinating and helping the other team members with their tasks. It was him that got the group together and created that team spirit in the group which leaded us to completing the task on time according to the assignment brief.

We met and discussed everything and also we divided the task, but as I said above, at the very first stage, we had many contradicts and conflict between the members of the team, which lead to wasting of time. It was Masha, the one who disagreed with the fact that we choose Olda as our team leader and she wanted to use autocratic system and impose her ideas to the other members of the group.                                                                                           However, she was one of the members that completed the task on time with creative thinking and useful ideas.                                                                                                                                         We could improve it, by selecting the team leader from the very beginning with a democratic way and not just arguing between each-other. Also, we could meet more often and improve the communication and exchange ideas on how to set the objectives and create the most effective strategies to match those objectives.

Arguing and conflicts in a team leads to a loss of time and loss of motivation to perform.   However, as I said, we overcame those kind of problems and the task was completed on time.

4. The evaluation of the successes and failures of the groups we put through the activity.

Despite the fact that we had a lot of contradicts, conflicts and lack of communication between the members of the team, finishing the task on time and according to the assignment brief, shows that our team overcame the problems and was successful.

However, we have a lot of things to be improved in the team.

Most people when working together they may find it easier and more effective way to accomplish a given task. Two minds solving a problem are definitely better than on.   Working with others provides the ability to complete large projects in a shorter time and you may learn a lot from the other members of your group, you are exposed in different perspectives and other people explain things in different way.                                                          People learn more when they are actively involved in the process and people working in small groups tend to learn more of what is taught and solve the problems faster and sometimes better as there is not required to much time to come to a common conclusion by the whole group. The task should be divided between the members and each member has to pursue/ research on its own certain subject area.

  • References

    Notes and links provided on MOODLE of Prague College by the lecturer, Andy Cousins.

    <http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?r.l1=1073861169&r.l3=1073900352&r.lc=en&r.t=RESOURCES&type=RESOURCES&itemId=1073790721&r.i=1073790719&r.l2=1073858842&r.s=m >

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