Although it is common practice in many businesses to employ strategy and planning, in its absence, it can lead to the failure of product launches and sometimes the demise of the company itself. Often sufficient planning is skipped for the sake of saving time, and ironically in most cases, this causes project timeline and cost blowouts. Marketing proactiveness is a method of applying the necessary rigour to strategy and planning to support successful implementation.
So what is marketing proactiveness, and how can you use it to employ a cogent strategy that will give your company the best chance of success?
When planning for a new product launch, many businesses omit an external analysis. Understandably they do this as they feel that they know the market in which they operate. Marketing proactiveness uses data to see what will contribute to positive growth. Proactiveness means ‘acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes.’ Many times throughout history, this omission has foreshadowed the collapse of entire industries, unseen by their leaders. This phenomenon was first coined as ‘marketing myopia’ in an article written by Theodore Levitt. The premise is that companies focus too much inwardly rather than on the needs of customers or changes in the market.
One of the most famous examples of this was the demise of the United States railway tycoons that failed to see the impact air travel was going to have on their industry.
A technology company fails – why?
More recently, a technology company developed a payment system that provided over-the-counter bill payment facilities at retail outlets throughout Australia. The company convinced themselves that a market existed for their product and subsequently invested millions of dollars in research, development, sales, and marketing. In hindsight, it was painfully obvious the product was doomed at the outset as Bpay and other online payment mechanisms were being adopted by consumers.
So what caused this omission of the apparent reality or lack of marketing proactiveness?
The company’s culture whipped up fervour and created excitement with the new initiative. As a result, poor planning and lack of due diligence followed. This failure may have been avoided if there had been an investment in market research that would have uncovered the changing buyer behaviour that was occurring at the time.
Another part of the planning process often ignored is an internal analysis. This process establishes the capabilities of the organisation so that a correct assessment can be made of its ability to bring a product/service to the market. In the absence of this evaluation, the establishment of a functional project plan may prove difficult.
This analysis usually considers all of the resources that are available, including financial, human capital, skills, and time constraints.
A critical element of the planning process encompasses a thorough and comprehensive consumer analysis. Without the appropriately defined target markets, all efforts may be in vain. Understanding customers allows companies to tailor their product/service offerings specific to their needs. Once sufficient research and analysis have been completed, it is paramount to apply segmentation rules.
No matter how great an idea, in the absence of customer segments that consider measurability, substantiality, actionability, and accessibility, your efforts will not return value to the company.
Measurability is your ability to assess the size and financial resources of your chosen target groups, thus allowing you to determine the financial viability of your efforts. If you cannot appraise these criteria against your required margins, you are flying blind and have no way of establishing a viable business case.
Accessibility refers to your ability the actively reach your target market. This part of your analysis will bring to the surface any issues that you may need to consider, including required communication channels. The findings of this process may significantly impact your budget. For example, you may need to acquire a larger dataset or invest heavily in above-the-line advertising. If you cannot reach your identified segments, you may wish to abandon your strategy.
Unless you operate within a not-for-profit environment, substantiality is a key indicator that will demonstrate whether your target segments are significantly profitable to substantiate your efforts. You may have identified a sub-segment of consumers that need and can purchase your product or service, although if the segment is too small, you may never realise a return on your investment.
Finally, we must consider whether your target segments are actionable. Will the marketing efforts reach the desired segments, and if so, will they yield favourable results? To achieve this, careful alignment of customers’ needs and wants must marry up to your product or service offering.
The planning process should not end here. A comprehensive strategy will negate many obstacles if it occurs at the outset. Further, this methodology will discourage reaction-based behaviour and promote a more analytical approach to problem-solving.
For a confidential discussion on how we can assist you with the implementation of your marketing initiatives utilising marketing proactiveness, please contact our office.
If you found this article helpful, follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe to Our Insights on the right-hand column of this page to make sure you don’t miss new posts.
You may also find these articles interesting too:
© 2015 Sales Focus Advisory All Rights Reserved