Dr Brian's SmartaMarketing 2

Smarta Marketing Ideas for Smarta Marketers

Category: Targetting and Segmentation

Successful Student Recruitment Strategy – Part 2 – Written Promotion

Contents

How to Recruit and Attract Students

The W’s of Effective Marketing Communications Messages

Questions to be answered

General Advice – How to Develop Effective Recruitment Messages

Features

Always start with a great opening

How to make your Communication BELIEVABLE

Stimulate action

Present for easy reading

Things to avoid because they turn readers away

 

How to Recruit and Attract Students

How does one influence the mindset of prospective students to view the university as valuable?

How does one effectively highlight the unique features of a university, going beyond the act of plastering a generic message?

How can you win their trust and translate the marketing campaign into generating actual numbers?

What are the digital marketing must haves?

What is the expected impact of deregulation – what this means for student recruitment and how can you best respond?

Education is a very competitive marketplace, where standing out from the crowd can be hard. Here are some general guidelines, which can significantly improve your campaign to attract students.

 

Keep in mind that not all potential students are alike. To communicate effectively you need to (deeply) understand your target market(s) – see the first article in this series – Marketing and Education – Student Recruitment – Part 1

 

Virtually all candidates are used to on-line technologies, thus you must effectively use digital media (Websites, Social Media, Mobile – smartphones, pads etc) as well as conventional methods and media (TV, Print, Outdoors, Transit, Radio etc). Adapting to the new methods is crucial in any campaign these days.

 

The W’s of Effective Marketing Communications Messages

The key to a successful student recruitment strategy is thinking about “why, what you communicate, to whom, when and how,”

 

“Why” – your strategic and tactical objective(s)

“What are you offering?” If it is not immediately clear what you are offering, expressed as a benefit your marketing message will almost certainly fail

“Why” should they enrol?

“What” the message – based on broad strategic elements like Brand as well a situation specific tactical messages. For example, the content of the message should be dependent on the stage the person is at

“Whom” – the target audience (target segments)

“Where” will you find them?

“Where” are you speaking to them? – Media

“When” – timing of the message(s). This can be long-term messages, as may appear on a website as well as situationally specific messages in the general or social media.

 

Before you write a word or draw a picture…

 

– Compare your offer with your competitions. Are they basically the same?

– Isolate the areas where you win and lose

– Translate features/attributes into benefits

– Look for a unique benefit or combination of benefits.

 

Questions to be answered:

 

1.) To whom are you offering what benefit?

2) Is the offer unique/differentiated in the market?

3.) Why should they grasp it?

4.) How should you speak to them?

 

Basically, effective Marketing Communication is about communicating:

 

The RIGHT information

in the RIGHT way

to the RIGHT people

in the RIGHT place

at the RIGHT time

 

General Advice – How to Develop Effective Recruitment Messages

The key to effective Promotional Communication for Student Recruitment is: Successful messages come in only one language – BENEFITS!

 

Prospects want to know – “What’s in it for me?” (W.I.I.F.M.?)

 

A benefit is an advantage or satisfaction the prospect will gain – or the loss avoided – from the item, proposition or service you sell. Do not leave it to the prospect to discover the benefits he or she will gain from the offer. Spell it out, as simply as possible. Prospects cannot get more out of promotional message than what you put in it

 

Features

Effective Marketing Communication must balance stated benefits with component realities (features). They provide the rational reason why the offer will work and help create conviction.   Benefits must be supportable.

 

Create interest and desire by stressing benefits of using your service or owning the resultant building.

Demonstrate the value of your particular product by detailing benefits and features.

Try to make it sell for you alone

 

Always start with a great opening

(1) Involve the reader. Address him/her directly.

(2) Put direct suggestion or question.

(3) Use words that stimulate

(4) Appeal to pride and self-interest

(5) Appeal to current or local issues.

(6) Beware overly clever language and technical terms.

 

Present your proposition quickly and clearly. Once you have gained the prospect’s attention with your opening, give your selling proposition quickly and clearly.

 

A “sale” is made at the moment the prospect decides he wants the benefits to be gained from your service more than the money they cost.

 

How to make your Communication BELIEVABLE:-

(1) Present the main idea at least three times during your message

(2) Tell of popularity (use testimonials, and quote authorities.)

(3) Convey value. Demonstrate the benefits are worth more than the cost.

(4) Give assurances and proof. Overcome objections. Guarantee satisfaction when you can.

 

Stimulate action:

(1) Give the reader good excuses and reasons for enrolment

(2) Make enrolment – tell how, when and where. Offer help

 

Present for easy reading

Content is more important than how you say it. Observing the basic rules, however, will help make your selling message easier to absorb.

 

(1) Start with enthusiasm and involve the reader.

(2) Use short words, sentences and paragraphs.

(3) Be direct, writing in second person, present tense.

(4) Be concrete, specific, honest – in the reader’s vernacular.

(5) Use visual words, lively words. Be informal, friendly, caring.

(6) Be complete, but concise. Give a message, not your life story.

(7) Ask for the desired action.

 

Things to avoid because they turn readers away:

(1) Puns, play on words, clichés, and foreign phrases

(2) Over-statement (that kills credibility)

(3) Long words (use short words)

(4) Formalism

(5) Banalities and platitudes

(6) Looking like everyone else. (Be distinctive.)

 

If you are interested in this subject, you may be interested in this forthcoming event in Sydney in early December

Marketing and Communicating for
Student Recruitment and the
Australian Higher Education Sector

One-day connected forum with two half day workshops
3-4 December 2014, Rydges Sydney Central

http://www.arkgroupaustralia.com.au/events.htm

Listen, network and learn from your peers:
Macquarie University
Australian National University
Charles Sturt University
University of Technology, Sydney
University of Southern Queensland
University of Melbourne
International College of Management Sydney
University of New England

 

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Join Dr Brians LinkedIn groups:

Marketing – Dr-Brian’s-Marketers-Network  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Dr-Brians-Marketers-Network-Number-2650856?trk=my_groups-b-grp-v

Management/Project Management – The Project Management Information Network.  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-Management-Information-Network-Practical-6618103

Loyalty/Relationship Segments.

Dr. Brian Monger

Relationship segmentation is based on customers’ perceptions of their relationships with an organisation and their behaviour within that relationship.

 

Premium/Hard core loyalty – These are consumers with undivided loyalty to one brand

Soft core loyalty – Buyers with divided loyalty between two or more brands.

Latent loyalty – A high attachment towards the product combined with low repeat purchases. Perhaps the lack of (current) availability or a partners preferences, restrict the amount that is purchased

Passive or Inertia loyalty – a low attachment to the product and high repeat purchases. Is the customer staying with the organisation by choice or exhibiting passive loyalty? Passive or Inertia loyalty can be caused by:

  • Limited choice: Where there is only a single choice of retailer. Or forced choice situations like blades for your safety razor.
  • Habitual buying: When you buy your lunch from the café in or near to your college, you do so because it is convenient – not because you are loyal. A similar case is travelling by the same train every day.
  • Risk minimisation: This is typical of products which you buy on the advice of some one else’ advice like medicines, or you continue using a brand because you are concerned about changing.
  • Switching hassles: You would like to switch brands but you feel the cost of switching over is way too high and feel that the benefits are not yet big enough.
  • Lack of a decent alternative: When you use Australia Post, are you doing so out of habit?

No loyalty/ Shifting loyalty/Switchers – These buyers demonstrate no brand loyalty at all and will switch without any concerns.   The various loyalty segments emphasise the point that customer relationship segments and levels are not equal.

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Join Dr Brians LinkedIn groups:

Marketing – Dr-Brian’s-Marketers-Network  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Dr-Brians-Marketers-Network-Number-2650856?trk=my_groups-b-grp-v

Management/Project Management – The Project Management Information Network.  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-Management-Information-Network-Practical-6618103

Who Are You Targeting? Really?

To achieve true segment focus, manangers must be able to identify and define the markets they plan to market to/with.  To hone in on the segments to identify the ones that best fit their business/marketing strategy.

To do that, you must be able to answer a series of key questions, including:

  • Who are the current customers that make up your market?
  • Who are the future customers in that market that align with your product offering?
  • Do you want more customers like them and are those customers profitable?
  • What are the distinct segments in the market and how big is each segment (i.e., number of prospects, market value, and revenue expectation)?
  • What is the growth rate of each segment and how much will it cost you to target each one?
  • What are the major trends in each segment that make it attractive?
  • Which characteristics (company size, revenue size, IT budget size, geographic location, business model, current needs or pain points) define the buyers in each segment and how do those characteristics align with your product offering and value proposition?
  • Why (based on the criteria above) is a particular segment a good fit for your business?

Answering those questions should help you boil down your target market to the customer segments that make the most sense for you to target.

Diffusing Traditional Buyer-Seller Roles

When customers have been brought into your business as residents in your sales database and when you have penetrated their businesses in depth, breadth, and height, the traditional distinctions between buyer and seller will become diffused.  Their basis, which lies in the absence of mutual objectives, will have disappeared.  Win-lose sales strategies will have no place.  Because your customers must win if you are going to have a growing market, and because you must win if your customers are going to have a growing improvement in their profits, Your combined need for win-win relations will foster a new union in your roles.

The line between selling and buying will grey out.  The zone where customer interests conflict with your interests will thin down.  Your need to overcome them will be converted to a need to come over to their way of assigning priorities to their problems, defining the kinds of solutions they can most readily accept, and together with them, implementing the solutions inside their businesses.

You will still have to compete to serve them.  But once accepted, you will become their partners in profit.  Your common objectives will be identified in your penetration plans; both of you will have signed off on them.  The strategies will be known to both of you and approved by your customers so that they can work together with you to achieve shared objectives.

In such a scenario, which is commonplace in Consultative Selling relationships, who is buyer and who is seller-and what difference does it make?  Your role will be that of a customer extender, acting as an extension of your customer’s own people and their capabilities to solve their problems.  Thus you can become positioned as a true adder of value.  Your contribution is perceptible; it is also quantifiable.

The essence of role blending is your combined ability to achieve the dollar objectives of your account penetration plan.  This is your pivot point in moving away from vending toward consultation.  If you fail, you fall back to being a vendor.  You separate out of the partnership and become a supplier once again, perceived as having your own self-serving objectives that are bound to be inconsistent with-indeed, they are adversarial to-the needs of your customers.

Dr Brian Monger is Executive Director of MAANZ International and an internationally known consultant with over 45 years of experience assisting both large and small companies with their projects.  He is also a highly effective and experienced trainer and educator

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Forget the stereotype: typical Australian teenagers?

Forget the stereotype:

Typical Australian teenagers are more likely to be found helping around the house after school than using Facebook or playing computer games, University of Canberra researchers have found.

Teenagers were asked about their typical after school activities with computer games only just scraping into the top 10 in 10th place and Facebook ranked ninth. Family time topped the list, with sport, homework, hobbies and odd jobs also in the top 10, compiled as part of a report commissioned by the Australian Computer Society Community Engagement Board.

“We really need to re-think our stereotypes of modern teenagers,” the report’s author, Dr Karen Macpherson from the University of Canberra Education Institute, said.

“No one would argue against the fact that teenagers have welcomed digital technologies into their lives with open arms. But it may be that the popular stereotype of teenagers as being consumed by Facebook and computer games needs some rethinking. Although technology is now woven into their lives, for example on a daily basis almost half of the teenagers surveyed access Facebook, this study suggested that young people today spend most of their time doing what they have done after school for generations: spending time with family; playing sport; doing jobs around the house; and doing homework. And as they get older, casual jobs are also common.”

Dr Macpherson said it was important to understand the role of technology in young people’s lives to have a clearer picture of what might influence them to take up a career in technology, to help meet the nation’s critical skills shortage. The study gathered comprehensive information from teenagers about the role of technology in their out-of-school lives; their attitudes to the use of technology in schools; their interest in studying technology at school and later; and in taking it up as a career.

“The driver of this project was a question of Australian national interest,” Dr Macpherson said. “We need more young people to take up careers in Information and Communication Technology.”

More than 200 teenagers aged 12-18 years participated in the survey, which was administered at a sample of ACT government and non-government schools during Terms 3 and 4, 2012.

The study found, as with many adults, the mobile phone is usually within arm’s reach. In fact by the age of 18 years, 82 percent of the students in the sample slept with their mobile turned on next to their bed either “always” or “sometimes”.

The research suggested a large discrepancy between teenagers’ confidence in using technology – which was high; and their competence. For example information literacy skills that are fundamental to effective internet searching need improvement.

The study suggested that use of Facebook increases for both boys and girls with age; while playing computer games is very much gender related, and peaks with boys aged 13-15 years.

Results indicate that early high school is a critical time in which to engage teenagers in the study of Science, Maths and Technology.

“In early high school, we see a mismatch between the number of students who are interested in ‘how computers work’, and the lower numbers of students who are interested in ‘studying ICT’. After these early years, interest in both declines. We have a clear opportunity to interest more students in ICT if we engage with them at around 12-14 years of age,” Dr Macpherson said.

A final issue is the significant gap between young people’s perceptions of work available in ICT careers, which many see as fairly limited, and their stated ambitions of working in interesting and well paid jobs that ‘make a difference’.

“Our job is to provide learning opportunities to students that help them join the dots between their stated career objectives, and the fact that many ICT and science careers can meet those objectives,” Dr Macpherson said.

The full report, Digital Technology and Australian Teenagers: Consumption, Study and Careers, is published today and available at http://theeducationinstitute.edu.au/eduinstitute/node/159

 

The teenager’s top 10

When asked what they do after school, the most common activities young people undertake on a regular basis (at least several times a week) are:

  1. spending time with family (90%)
  2. doing homework (82%)
  3. watching television (75%)
  4. doing jobs around the house (73%)
  5. spending time doing a hobby (72%)
  6. playing sport (67%)
  7. seeing friends (65%)
  8. reading (62%)
  9. Facebook(61%)
  10. playing computer games (46%)

 

Dr Macpherson is available for interview: 0407 896489

Contact the University of Canberra media team:

Ed O’Daly 0408 829 618

Claudia Doman 0408 826 362

The Benefits of Socially Responsible Branding

Adding Cause to Branding

The benefits of being perceived to be socially responsible are varied and many. Understandably brands want to be perceived as socially responsible. Being associated with a good cause is a quick way for a brand to be gain the tag of being seen as ‘socially responsible’. This shows the brand to be responsible and caring and these are indeed good qualities for a brand to have. While some brands are inspired by a genuine sense of social responsibility many brands look at the image of being socially responsible as helping in building brand stature. The conscious employment of resources by a brand to aid charitable causes in order to develop image, associations and identity benefits is called cause related branding.

There are 5 main reasons why brands associate with charitable causes other than from a socially responsible perspective:

Builds brand preference: Marketing sense states and some research studies confirm, that ceteris paribus, consumers would prefer buying a brand that is associated with a good cause than from other brands.

Justifies a premium: Consumers often do not mind paying a premium for a brand that is known to be generous to a well-known charity as consumers feel that the brand deserves the premium. The knowledge that a part of the money paid to a brand is going to a good cause adds to the positive emotional component of the brand.

Reduces negative connotations associated with the brand: Liquor and tobacco brands often associate themselves with causes as a means of negating a part of the disrepute associated with their industry.

Provides the brand with desirable values: Brands that are seen to possess a very commercial and greedy image may wish to develop a softer image by showing a softer nicer side by donating to charitable organizations.

Useful for raising money: Brands that plan to approach the money market for raising money from the public often show the warm side of their personality by publicly supporting charitable causes. Investors who are not doing extensive research on the brand may invest because they believe a brand with good intentions can be trusted.

As is obvious from the advantages mentioned above, cause related branding has a lot to offer brands and therefore this route is being used by many brands. There are several successful examples cause related branding working wonders for brands it must be understood that a poorly developed cause strategy will lead to no little or no benefits for the brand. The days when a brand could merely tie up with a well-known charity and earn brownie points are over and the intricacies involved in making cause related branding work are worthy of careful consideration.

In branding, adopting a strategic perspective is critical. In cause related branding it becomes even more critical as the process of establishing an association with a cause takes significant investment of time, effort and money. Reaping the benefits of the association takes time and delinking from a cause can have strong negative repercussions for a brand and the involvement of the highest echelons of management need to be involved in decisions involving cause related branding.

There are three levels of decisions that brands need to look at and the implications of each category of decisions is to be understood before planning for any kind of cause related branding:

Deciding the category: There are a wide range of categories of causes ranging from care of deprived children to restoration of dignity of seniors. Categories are wide and can encompass a wide range of sub categories. Within the cause category of care for senior citizens there are sub categories addressing issues such as care for abandoned elders, medical treatment of senior citizens, etc. It is important to choose the right kind of category and sub category as a prelude to deciding a relevant issue to back within this category.

Deciding the specific issue: Categories of causes consist of different issues. Issues are specific such as programmes to aid restoration of dignity of senior citizens that feel deprived of dignity following their old age. Focussing on specific issues is important for brands as it helps fine tune the values that flow from the association.

Deciding the specific institutions: Unless the brand is willing to create a trust that handles the responsibilities of the cause it will have to depend on institutions to run the operational aspects involved in the execution of cause related activities. Aligning with an institution that caters to a specific cause can provide a brand with strong associations however there are times when brands need to ensure that they are not overshadowed by charities that are stronger brands than their sponsors.

These are some of the aspects that need to be studied before a brand decides to associate with a charitable cause.

What is the relevance of the cause to the brand’s consumer segment?: Association with a charitable cause does not immediately mean that consumers will immediately hold the brand in high esteem. Consumers must find the cause relevant to their value system before the brand receives any approbation. For example: Not all consumers may be equally supportive of a cause that looks at providing food and shelter to immigrants/refugees. These consumers may be more supportive of causes that benefit their countrymen.

How different is it?: Many people are inured to causes and even associations with a good cause like Cancer Care may neither draw much attention to the brand or to the cause nor would the association be very memorable. Finding a cause that is relevant and yet different would help in enhancing the memorability of the brand and cause. For example: A trust that looks after veteran entertainers suffering from terminal diseases can be seen as a worthy cause to support as it appreciates people who once entertained and gave others happiness.

Can the cause be owned?: It is normally difficult to own a cause as this would require immense investment of resources. A niche cause like the one mentioned in the above example may not require huge investments and may not see many other brands supporting this cause. The task of guarding the cause associations may not be very tough nor may the cost of running such a trust be very high.

Will it hold enduring relevance with this segment?: Some causes are contextual. These causes appear to touch a sensitive chord with consumers and then suddenly seem to lose their appeal. Often charities in India catering to cyclone victims suddenly find their support waning in the wake of a fresh new tragedy in a different part of the country. Public sympathy often veers towards the more current tragedies.

How will the relationship be positioned?: The nature of the brand’s relationship with the cause can influence consumer perceptions of the brand. A brand that extends it relationship beyond the financial support to also provide investments of time and talent would most likely stand to gain greater credibility from the relationship than would a brand that only provides money. Brands that appear to only offer financial support may be seen as ‘forced’ or ‘insincere’ and this could in some cases prove counterproductive.

Controversial issues: Brands need to be careful while handling causes associated with controversial issues. For example: A ‘euthanasia’ support foundation campaigning for change in legislation towards euthanasia may be seen by some as a worthy cause but association with this cause may lead to the brand supporting it being embroiled in controversy at some stage of its association if public opinion suffers from the occasional mood swing. While some brands court controversy through short term associations with controversial causes this could be risky as well as counter productive as the issue could turn ugly and taint the brand or it could grow far bigger than the brand.

Cause related branding works best when it is driven by the core values of the brand. Like anything else that is forced, cause related branding could prove counterproductive if it is not a ‘natural’ facet of the brand. When it is not ‘natural’ to the brand then the cause related activities are de-prioritised and lose focus often with corresponding effect on the brand.

In an increasingly cynical world, the value of genuinely sensitive acts is extremely high. There are several cries for brands to show greater responsibility and to share a small part of their wealth with the less privileged. The current economic strife created by schizophrenic brands that show dissonance between their different actions has led to lower levels of consumer belief in brands. Cause related branding performed with genuine intent can help restore consumer trust and build brand equity

Like this short article?  Please comment.  And have a look at other articles  in our sister blog http://smartamarketing.wordpress and checkout the smartamarketing posts on SlideShare. (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

Build Your Personal Brand

Dr. Brian Monger

Branding is not just for products. ‘Personal brand’ has become an increasingly common phrase. Just as traditional product branding helps organisations to draw market awareness, public recognition and customer loyalty to them, building your own personal brand can have a positive effect on employers’ and clients’s attitude to you as a professional. Let’s take a look at how to build your brand

Your personal brand needs to show in everything you do and are involved in.  It’s about your value (offer) to others.

Your personal brand represents what you mean to others.  How they feel about you and how they value you

Focus on who (your target market/audience) you want to connect with and impress.

You don’t need to impress everyone (you never will BTW) You want to impress and be meaningful to who matters to you.  You need to understand your audience/target market(s) in-depth, so you know what will make a positive impression.

Your brand should reflect authenticity and the value that you have.

Focus on what you can deliver; what you want to deliver.  Do not try to be what you cannot be or what will be too hard for you to deliver.

In your personal brand, highlight what value you believe is needed in the market and that is pertinent to you.

Use your brand to demonstrate to clients and employers what benefits and value (that’s what people want and buy)  you’d be adding for them (first) to their organisation (second if they choose to go with you.  Be clear in your understanding of the market and their need for people like you and for what it is you can do for them.

Differentiate your personal brand from other offerings

From a long-term (strategic) point of view, personal brand effectiveness will only work if your audience/target market(s) can differentiate you from the competition.  If they cannot differentiate you from everyone else in the same market you become just like any commodity.  You will not be noticed or appreciated.  You can compete only as a low price commodity.  So don’t use the standard terms everyone else is using about themselves.  Here again it is vital to really know and understand your market/audience.  And if you are being truly authentic as well you will of course be different.

Consider the right medium/media for conveying your brand message.

The digital world is prominent these days, but it is certainly not the only, or even necessarily the best medium for your message.  First you need to know what media your audience/target market(s), use and fight credible.  And do not forget face to face is often the best media.

Think as professionally as you can to develop your personal brand and your brand message 

Your personal brand is about presenting yourself in an effective and professional way, so act like one.

Dr. Brian Monger is a marketing specialist with over 4o years experience.  He is a recognised expert on branding and social media.  He can advise and assist in developing effective personal branding. His professional profile and recommendations can be found on Linked In (Dr. Brian).  Contact him via info @marketing.org.au.

See more articles on marketing and management – smartamarketing.wordpress.com.  Add visit our website http://www.marketing.org.au  or our groups on Linkedin – MAANZ Smartamarketing and MAANZ International

What Should you Charge Clients?

Charging What You’re Worth for Professional Consulting Services

Two of the perennial problems that many consultants face are how to set their prices, and how to convey to potential clients the value in working with them, buying your service product.

Lack of clarity as to what you are worth to clients will undermine your confidence and often lead to trying to compensate by over delivering and over promoting.

Here are some simple ideas to help you get clear on the value you deliver, and to charge fees that are in line with that.

1. Not all clients (customers) are the same.  Your value to them will be different.  That is why it is important to think like an effective marketer and segment/target.  And segmentation needs to more than Demographics/Firmagraphics.

Value is specific (and perceptual) to each market/segment and situation.  You need to create a market segment profile for each target market.  The more detail, the better your understanding.  If it is only a few words, you do not understand your market well enough.

If you are struggling to make a useful segment profile (it takes a bit of knowledge and time) – seek help.  Also check out http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com for ideas about effective segmentation.  You will find other useful and free ideas in the many ideas there as well

2.  What value do you offer? An effective exercise is to list 30 results that your clients get in working with you. Your Product is both goods (tangibles) and services (intangibles). Be sure to list the tangible as well as the non-tangible. Dig deep. If you’re new to your business, then look at the results that are typical of your particular profession or industry, and ask yourself how you can help people create that.

If you are struggling to make a 30 list (it takes time) – seek help

3  Once you have made your basic list, look at it from a client’s perspective.  What benefits are there for them?  Clients/customers buy benefits (intangible services – supported by tangibles).  Put yourself in their shoes and ask “What’s in it for me” (WIIFM).

4. Determine a Price.  Determine not what you think you are worth – but what your prospective clients are prepared to pay.  What clients think may be wrong, but that is what you need to work with.  If you think they should see you as being worth more, then you need to work out how to persuade them of that fact.  While your costs are important in determining an asking Price, Clients don’t care about your costs except where it offers them some advantage.  Adopt a good marketing approach when looking at your cost decisions.  Ask “How can this benefit my clients in such a way as I can add it to my value offer”?

Create Price Lines – that is different asking prices for different segments and offerings.

Price different offerings (Products) differently

4. Don’t stop researching, thinking and planning about your offering. Be sure to ask your clients (frequently) what they value most about working with you or your competitors.  Don’t just assume that what you think is goog is good for your clients – find out.

5. Think strategically as well as tactically.  Tactics – short term plans and action to suit the particular situation are needed, but to get ahead consistently, you need to also think strategically about your business. Look for (and create) value offerings that will differentiate you from your competitors.  If your offering is undifferentiated, it is a commodity.  Commodities only compete on price – or luck.

Thinking strategically means looking at the whole Marketing Mix (eg. 4 P’s) not just Price.  It is also about establishing an effective Brand in your market place.

6. Do your prospective clients know about you and what you can offer them?  Now that you know what you should offer to clients, it’s important that they become aware of it too. How you can let them know is another (important) topic. This is also where knowing a lot about your target segment will pay dividends.  You will know what media they use; what key ideas they want to know about – and how you can effectively communicate with them (not just to them)

Check out the other articles on the SmartaMarketing blog (http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com and https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com); visit MAANZ International (www.marketing.org.au) and look at the short courses on offer.  Or contact me for specific advice and projects you are looking at

It is how you can build your business/consultancy

Dr. Brian Monger

info@marketing.org.au

Positioning your Product in the Market

Determining the Positioning Strategy

Dr Brian Monger

Having explored the alternative positioning strategies available, the marketer must determine which strategy is best suited for the firm or product and begin developing the positioning platform.   The development of a positioning platform can be seen as a six-step process:

1.  Analysing the buyers’ preferences

The earlier discussion of segmentation in this chapter, noted various factors that may distinguish groups of buyers, including situation, benefits sought, behavioural factors and lifestyle differences.  Each of these segments may have different purchase motivations and different attribute importance ratings.  One way to determine these differences is to consider the ideal brand, defined as the value offering the consumer would prefer over all others, including value offerings that can only be imagined but do not exist.  Identifying the ideal product can help you identify different ideals among segments or identify segments with similar or the same ideal points.

2.  Assessing buyers’ perceptions of our value offering. 

The organisation needs to determine how their brand is perceived by buyers in relation to their preferences in 1. above.  Which attributes are important to buyers in evaluating this type of product?

3.  Identifying competitors. 

This process requires broad thinking.  Competitors may not be just those products and/or brands that fall into your product class or with which you compete directly.  The organisation must consider all likely competitors, as well as the various effects of use and situations on the consumer.

4.  Assessing buyers’ perceptions of competitors. 

Once the organisation has defined its competition, they must determine how they are perceived by buyers in relation to their preferences.  Which attributes are important to buyers in evaluating a product and/or brand?

5.  Determining competitors’ positions. 

After identifying the relevant attributes and their relative importance to buyers, we must determine how each competitor (including our own entry) is positioned with respect to each attribute.  This will also show how the competitors are positioned relative to each other.

Adopting a positioning strategy.

Going through the previous steps will help a firm understand which position to (try to) assume in the marketplace.

These judgements raise a number of questions:

•           Is the segmentation/targeting strategy appropriate?  Positioning is the result of a decision to segment the market.  The question here asks whether the right variables have been focused on.

•           Are there sufficient resources available to communicate the position effectively?  It is expensive to establish a brand position.  Marketer need to commit to a long-range effort in all aspects of the marketing campaign.  Further, once a successful position is attained, it is likely to attract competitors.  It may become expensive to fend off me-too brands and continue to hold on to the brand distinction.

•           How strong is the competition?  The marketer manager needs to ask whether a position sought is likely to be maintainable/defensible, given the strengths of the competition.

•           Is the current positioning strategy working?  If current efforts are not working, it may be time to consider an alternative positioning strategy (repositioning).  If they are working, a change is usually unwise.  Change may cause confusion in the marketplace and weaken a brand’s position.  Unless there is strong reason to believe a change in positioning is necessary, stick with the current strategy.

           Monitoring the positionOnce a position has been established, it needs to be monitored.  Tracking studies measure the image of the product (or firm) over time.  Changes in buyers’ perceptions can be determined, noted and reacted to.  The impact of competitors can be determined

Did you find this article useful?  Please let me know

Also check out the article on Segmentation, Targetting and Positioning on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com

Determining Market Share

The Role of Market Share

Conventional marketing wisdom holds that the best strategy is the one that results in the highest market share, and that managers should therefore strive to maximise the market shares of their brands. Implicit in this “wisdom” is the assumption that higher market share leads to higher profits and return on investment (ROI). If this assumption is true, the process of strategy formation is relatively straightforward. If it is not true, however, or if it is true only under certain conditions, it becomes necessary to test alternative strategies against both market share and profitability criteria. What, then, is the effect of market share on short- and long-term profitability?

Share of What?

The first question is, how do you determine the size of the market?  Is it by current sales or do you have some concept of the market potential?

One of the most difficult challenges in implementing a strategy of increasing market share is to answer the question: Share of what? If we define the market widely, we will have a low share; if we define it narrowly (as a market segment), we will have a high share.

It is therefore critical to define the relevant market correctly when assessing a firm’s market share. The product-segmentation methodologies are useful in this process inasmuch as they group products that compete for consumer choices, and thus provide the manager with a hierarchical description of the competitive structure in which he or she is operating. Nevertheless, the manager must determine what level of the hierarchy represents the relevant market.

It is usually best to focus on a managerially relevant segment that is consistent with consumer definitions of alternative choices. What-ever the market definition, consistency in planning and implementation is critical. It is unsound, for example, to claim that one has a high share (of a small segment) when competing for corporate resources, and a small share (of the total market) when trying to motivate a sales force or distribution network.

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