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Marketing Strategy For SME’s

The Importance Of Strategic Marketing Analysis

Strategic analysis is a process which will provide directors and managers with relevant and timely information to support strategic marketing decision making in a dynamically changing world.In the article below we consider the elements for consideration and the approaches to formulating a marketing strategy.

Marketing Strategy For SME’s

Strategic Marketing Elements For consideration

  • What are the appropriate approaches required to identify and evaluate the likely and possible causes of change.
  • What can you do identify the opportunities and threats in the broad-scale environment.
  • Analysis of market trends and segments, critical success factors the basis of competition
  • Identifying customer needs and problem identification lading to a detailed understanding of their purchasing behaviour
  • Competitor identification and analysis, in order to establish your competitive position
  • Identifying the value networks, supply chains, possible collaborations that provide competitive advantage
  • Establishing your sources of competitive advantage to allow customer value creation.
  • Ensuring your brands & brand equity are developed as a key strategic asset
  • Ensuring that rigorous, inclusive evaluation conducted
  • Are you internal capabilities, resources, systems, processes, structure, culture, and agility capable of developing strategic market requirements
  • The relationship between your company and its external environment at all levels, 

Approaches To Formulating Marketing Strategy  

  • What will allow you to achieve of competitive advantage.
  • The need to balance short & long term aims / performance requirements
  • From what position do you need to develop the strategy, emergent, turnaround, growth, consolidation. rapid growth etc
    • Market entry and development, market exit, motivation, methods.
    • What is it that provide your differentiation,
    • Where are you aiming to set your market positioning
    • How important is branding.
  • Identifying risks and opportunities
    • What are sources of uncertainty and how can these be reduced,
    • How can we mitigate the risks or enhance the opportunities.
    • Preventive & contingent action.
    • Establishing Critical Success Factors (CSFs) & Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Marketing Strategy For SME’s

If you are SME and would like more information on creating a Marketing Strategy click here Andrew Goode on 01733 361729 or click here for information on Get Rapid a unique approach to strategic and tactical marketing

The SME Dilemma In Managing Growth

SME Growth Challenges

Research conducted recently on SME’s looked at three key business activities, with a view to identifying how companies currently spend their time against how they should if they are looking to grow.

The 3 Growth elements were

  1. Strategy – spending time looking at longer term challenges and opportunities
  2. Business Improvement – looking at ways of doing the existing systems and processes better
  3. Day To Day – spending time to actually get items made / services provided

The ideal time allocation for growth

The chart below shows for the 3 key areas the time that should be spent in order for the company to achieve growth

The ideal time allocation for growth

The chart below shows for the 3 key areas the time that should be spent in order for the company to achieve growth

Potential for Owner managers To Add Value

Percentage Time That Would Ideally Be Spent

Strategy 60%
Business Improvement 30%
Day to Day 10%

The Typical Time Allocation By An SME

The chart below shows for the 3 key areas the actual amount of time that most SME’s spent on the activities

Potential for Owner managers To Add Value

Percentage Time That Would Ideally Be Spent

Strategy 1%
Business Improvement 9%
Day to Day 90%

How much time do you spend on strategic thinking?

Go on be honest think about the time you spend

Potential for You To Add Value

Percentage Of Time You Are Spending On Each Activity

Strategy ?
Business Improvement ?
Day to Day ?

Would You Could Benefit From An Improved Strategy

The SME Dilemma In Managing Growth

We find that many SME clients benefit from the discipline of having structured strategy sessions to help in the development and growth of their business. Why not click here Andrew Goode now on 01733 361729 and take out 10 minutes to talk about your current strategy for growth. Unless things change it might be the only strategic thinking you do this month.

Innovation Myths And There Impact

Rising customer expectations & Increased Competition

With customers becoming more demanding, competition increasing and a whole raft of business challenges there has never been a better time to innovate within your business.

As I visit manufacturing sites and companies across the UK I have come across the following innovation myths.

Seven Innovation Myths

Myth 1: Innovation is a ‘nice to do’ rather than a ‘must do’ activity
Fact: Those companies that have a systemised process to innovation are making business improvements that over time will give them a competitive advantage

Myth 2: Its always about the BIG idea
Fact: Linking in with my article the other day about The England Rugby team, its all about achieving steady continuous improvement

Myth 3: A great idea is instantly recognisable
Fact: Unfortunately with the pressures of business sometimes it rrquires a number of re takes before we identify the potential behind a suggestion

Myth 4: Innovation is about new products and technologies
Fact: Innovation can mean

  • Production process improvements
  • Customer service improvements
  • New business models
  • Alternative / new routes to market

Myth 5: Good ideas only come from within an organisation
Fact: In most cases the innovation system can be enhanced when employees, partners, suppliers and customers become involved

Myth 6: Innovative ideas only come from senior management
Fact: Being innovative isn’t a minority activity. All employees have something to offer. What we need to recognise is that this shows itself in a variety of persona’s.

  • The ideaser’s people – will constantly come up with ideas (the challenge is focussing on those with potential)
  • The builders – are constantly negative but can provide a valuable perspective as to why something wont work
  • The screener’s – provide a critical review on the range of innovations suggested
  • The implementers – will take the innovations identified and agreed and make sure they happen

The challenge is to make sure you develop a team that recognises the skill set of each person, so that you maximise the power of the team.

Myth 7: Innovation is only for large companies like 3M and we are to small
Fact: Innovation isn’t dependent upon business size, what evolutionary improvements can you identify and implement

6 ways to help make innovation work within your company

  1. You need to systemise and make it part of a continuous long term programme
  2. The organisation needs to have an innovation culture where people who try something different are rewarded not penalised
  3. A transparent screening process needs to be in place so that if an approach isn’t implemented those involved understand why and continue to participate
  4. If an innovation activity leads to a quick win great. A quick win is still a win
  5. Avoid the implementation void where buy innovation is discussed but the ideas never find the market place
  6. Where you have innovation success communicate it to all

Innovation Myths And There Impact On Business

If you would like to increase the level of innovation within your company perhaps an innovation and creativity workshop could help kick start the process.

10 Top Strategies To Make Absolutely Sure You Achieve Your Goals This Year

Some Basic Goal Achievement Principles

  • You need to know what you want
  • You need to know why you want it
  • You need to believe you can do it

From the perspective of knowing what you want this is where SMART objectives should be set. For those who haven’t heard of SMART objectives before the acronym stands for S: Specific  M: Measurable (some may prefer the concept of score) A: Achievable or Attainable, R: Realistic, T: Time based

10 Top Goal Achievement Strategies

  1. What can you do NOW – Strike while the iron is hot
  2. Good, Bad and Ugly – lets use the example of trying to lose weight and you want to stop eating biscuits (something that you love to eat and once you start you find it hard to stop)
    1. Good – you don’t eat any biscuits
    2. Bad – you eat 3 biscuits
    3. Ugly – eat whole packet of biscuits
    4. If you flip the commitment the challenge becomes not to eat the whole packet
  3. Make the goal achievable
    1. Lets imagine that you want to get fit so you decide to set a goal of I will go to the gym 3 times a week for 90 minute sessions
      1. The problem occurs when you find that you cant fit a 90 minute session then the chance is you will miss your session
    2. If you change the goal to I will go to the gym 3 times a week
      1.  Then if you find that you are short of time you can at least go to the gym even if you only exercise for 30 minutes
  4. Use the acronym GPAD
    1. G = Goal – set your SMART objectives
    2. P = Plan – formulate a plan
    3. A = Action – successful people take action
    4. D = Diary – if you cant take the action immediately put it in the diary to complete
  5. Make a key goal a tradition
    1. When an activity becomes a tradition it is much more likely to be carried out i.e. it becomes a habit which means it is less likely to be ignored or substituted for another activity
  6. Cues to help in the process
    1. Can you change the environment
    2. When do actions take place. For example rather than looking at e mails as they come in why not look at them at specific times during the day
    3. Immediately proceeding action. What happens before you carry out your action
    4. Emotions – how can you change them
  7. Find a technique to act as a memory jogger. there may be some technology or an app for your phone that can help prompt or remind you when you are required to complete an activity
  8. Will Power Leverage an approach to assist you when your will power at its weakest. For example lets imagine that you love to snap up a bargain and will excessively use your credit card to snap up a bargain. Put your your credit card in a glass of water in the freezer. When you next get the urge to go shopping you will have to wait for your credit card to defrost which could provide you with time to cool down and decide that you don’t need to go shopping
    1. I find this a really nice approach and apply in the following way. If I want to go out for a pint of beer (bad) then I will have a pint of water (good) first. So water, beer, water, beer etc
    2. Essentially if you know you are going to have / do something bad then you do something good first
  10. Increase the pain for not achieving your goal. Quite often if you don’t achieve the goal you set then there is limited consequence for this failure. Now if you decide that if you fail to achieve your goal you will pay a financial forfeit to a charity (that you wouldn’t want to support ) then that additional pain may increase the desire to achieve your goal

The A to Z of Gaining More Sales

26 A To Z Tips To Gain More Sales!

  • A – Assume nothing. Ask the right questions to determine what exactly your prospect’s needs are and where they are in the buying process
  • B – Benefits are what a customer is typically purchasing. What pain is your product / service solving and why should they buy it from you!
  • C – Clarity . Confirm and clarify that you have understood your customers needs and confidently covered all objections
  • D – Don’t delay. Once you have seen a prospect get a proposal out as soon as possible and follow up the sales process. Every additional day you delay can reduce your chance of sales conversion
  • E – Effort, it typically takes 8 points of contact to make a sale. Just sending out a mailshot isn’t actually a sales process! Make sure that you allow for the sales effort that will be required
  • F – Focus on what makes you different / better
  • G – Go for it. Sales are tough sometimes you just have to make that phone call, try for that appointment or be brave. What’s the worse that can happen.
  • H – Happy Happy Happy. If you enjoy what you do and have fun doing it you will possibly have more success. Note there are a number of sectors where this possibly isn’t the case in which case Empathy Empathy Empathy
  • I – Integrity in what you do and how you act is absolutely essential if you are to achieve long term sustainable sales
  • J – Join in. People buy from people (they know and like) in many cases. Therefore getting out there and joining networking groups, specialist groups , the golf club, on line forums and joining in is a crucial part of meeting people and developing relationships
  • K – Kill activities that are not adding value to the sales process. CRM systems should save you time and make sales more productive. Your website shouldn’t be a sales prevention tool. If it isn’t helping you in sales kill it and find something better.
  • L – Listening. You have two ears and one mouth and they should be used in that ratio. Listening is a key skill for every person in business not just salespeople
  • M – Marketing is a fundamental approach to help sales. Who are your target customers? Why should I buy a product / service from you? How do you compare to the competition? To achieve more sales make sure you have a robust marketing strategy
  • N – Notes. If you are having a meeting that involves anything complex make sure that you take notes. Direct onto the IPad, into your phone, using traditional pen and paper. If you are involved in discussions with a client record key actions.
  • O – Objection handling is a key skill to master. If you struggle with handling objections would a training course give you more confidence.
  • P – Pricing is a key sales issue. If your product / service is more expensive but better robust marketing knowledge will give you the power to overcome pricing objections. If your product / service is poor and more expensive then it is always going to be a difficult sales so more strategic marketing required
  • Q – Questions are a key element to identify a customers pain points. Ask open questions and then listen
  • R – Referrals will build your business, if you have delivered a great product / service don’t forget to ask for a referral. If you can get a video testimonial at the same time that will also be useful
  • S – Segmentation. Not all customers are the same. being able to identify, group and then personalise the approach to suit the segment should lead to improved sales interaction
  • T – Training is critical. Sales and Marketing are both skills that come naturally to some but for others training will significantly enhance performance
  • U – Understanding your customers needs and values will help you offer an appropriate solution!
  • V – Vocals are very important, vary the pitch, the tone and the speed of content you deliver.
  • W – Websites are a critical part of the sales process. In B2B the likelihood is that a prospect has already visited your website before they give a call (If you have a poor website they might not even contact you!!)
  • X – X factor, what makes your product and services special. Your strategic marketing activities should be able to identify what makes you different
  • Y – You Tube is a great resource for adding authority content. A high quality video that clearly explains your product or service may help shorten the sales process
  • Z – Zoom in on building the relationships with the prospects you believe are looking for a long term relationship

Free Marketing Workshops For Eco Cluster Businesses Supported by NIAB and Opportunity Peterborough

If you are finding that your marketing activities are not helping you achieve your business objectives and desired sales growth, you can now get free support with a Free marketing workshop programme taking place on 11th March, 25th March and 15th April.

Find out more about Free Marketing Workshops For Eco Cluster Businesses and sign up here.

Free Marketing Workshops For Eco Cluster Businesses Aims To Cover These Issues

  • Do you want to get more profitable customers?
  • Is your website losing your business?
  • Are you wasting your time on costly ineffective marketing activities?

These are just some of the elements being covered in the 3 workshops of the Peterborough Eco Cluster free marketing workshop programme, organised by Opportunity Peterborough and NIAB Innovation Farm.

Free Marketing Workshops For Eco Cluster Businesses Only 16 Fully Funded Places Available

NIAB and Opportunity Peterborough can offer 16 fully funded places for clean technology and environmental SMEs based in the East of England. This is a unique opportunity to focus on the marketing and business development of your business. If you have specific marketing challenges then these can be raised within the workshop sessions.
“We aim to make these incredibly practical workshops aimed at covering the marketing challenges of delegates” said Andrew Goode of Blue Dolphin Business Development Ltd who is running the workshops
The programme, worth £1,200, will consist of three half-day workshops covering all aspects of marketing planning and digital marketing for the Cleantech sector. By registering for one workshop you commit to attending all three events so please make sure you are available on all three dates:

  • 11 March – Marketing planning to support business growth at the Eco Innovation Centre, Peterborough
  • 25 March – Digital marketing and e-commerce at NIAB Innovation Farm, Cambridge, including an optional tour of the Glasshouse and Field facilities
  • 15 April – Social media and e-mail marketing at the Eco Innovation Centre, Peterborough
  • Registration will start at 8:30 and the events will run from 9:00 until 13:00 and will conclude with an hour’s networking lunch until 14:00.
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