Working with strategies

Once you have done the Internal analysis and the external analysis that led to identifying th SWOT, you are prepared to define strategies.

There are different strategies to define. Here are some:

segmentation

(to be completed soon)

Product

There are different strategies to define. Here are some:

distribution

(to be completed soon)

 

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Analysing the market – the macroenvironment

Getting started with analysing the market – An introduction to the microenvironments

The environment can impact you. Therefore, you must make sure that you are aware of the external factors that you can not control but that you have to adapt to. The macro analysis is composed by (PESTELI):

Political factors

How is the political situation on your market affecting you. It is very important to know all laws that could impact your business, all legislation.

economic factors

How is the economic situation on your market impacting you.

social FACTORS

What social trends should you pay attention to in order to benefit from or pay attention to when setting your strategies.

technological FACTORS

Any technologies that could affect your business that you should take into consideration.

industrial FACTORS

There may be aspects in the industry that you should take into consideration.

summary

Summarize the conclusions of how these aspects impact your business.

 

Internal analysis -how to identify your competitive advantage

The purpose of the internal analysis is to identify your strengths as a company and your weaknesses. Those would be turned into opportunities or threats when compared with your competitors.

Analysing your internal situation to identify your competitive advantages

The analysis should focus on analyzing the following:

  1. Financials
  2. Resources
  3. Product Quality
  4. Organizational Structure
  5. Market structure
  6. Customer perception

By doing a “checklist” of what values are strong/week related to these bullets, you get a good picture of your companies / products / services situation. Once haven done this step you would be able to identify your strengths and what you project in terms of messages to the market.

What is a strength

What differs you from the others on the market. What are your advantages? What is the market perceiving as your strengths? What do you do better than others? Do you have access to low cost material that would give you advantages?

WHAT IS A weakness

Characteristics of your company that will be a hinder in competition with others. It is important to have in mind that these are internal problems, that should be eliminated in the long run or turned into strengths.

How to work with the swot

A SWOT is not a list of “make up” strengths and weaknesses, its a real analysis of what really are your strengths and weaknesses. Once the brainstorming has been done, you need to be able to categorize it in order of value and use these in your value argumentation. Therefore, the normal situation is that you have about 1-3 strengths and a longer list of weaknesses (that you would work on eliminating over time).

understanding competition

It is important to understand that there are 3 types of main strategies to consider which would depend on what product or service you are offering an on what market.

  1. Leader (in cost)
  2. differentiation
  3. Segmentation

If you have a product that is:

  • Targeting the whole market and positioned on low-cost = Cost Leadership
  • Targeting the whole market and positioned as exclusive  = differentiation
  • Targeting segments and positioned on low-cost  = Cost focus
  • Targeting segments and positioned as exclusive  = differentiation and concentration

 understanding COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES

The competitive advantages MUST answer the question: Why should you buy from me?

The first step is to identify if my value is in one of this area. Its easier to market a value that is tangible (less expensive) than a value that is intangible.

If my competitive advantage is tangible I have to concentrate on (in order of importance)

  1. Product (not only the product as such, is the service etc surrounding it)
  2. Distribution (e.g. oranges Lola, you can only buy on internet, milk via vending machine, the first and only one)
  3. Price

If you have no tangible advantages in these areas, you must focus on

Intangible values

  1. Communication (Heiniken, think in green. Is the only competitive advantage. There are others that are green, but they are the only ones that have said that). If there is nothing that differentiate you – the communication has to be very creative.

Once you have managed to identify what you have that is a competitive advantage, you have to “put it nice” via a slogan.

It is important that you take the value you want to “take” and make it yours (even if others may stand for it, the importance is to make it yours).

Once the slogan is in place it has to live up to:

  1. it’s a clear message and concrete?
  2. Based in primary attribute. Not in 5
  3. that it goes along with the mind of the consumer
  4. that it brings value to the customer
  5. something that is an attribute you can stand for (you can not lie)
  6. differentiate, that what you say is not taken by others
  7. sustainable and “defendable” (that it can work in time)

You need to translate this to all your communication, your product, your customer care. Your competitive advantage is the nod, the key, the core of any action you take.

The competitive advantage is equal to the added value.

Once you have the competitive advantage – defend it!

In conclusion, your competitive advantage is not something you can switch out in a year. Therefore, the slogan (if well set) is not changed unless the market has forced you to change you differentiator.

All this is the final positioning of your products.

What are your thoughts about internal analysis? Share your thoughts here. 

If you like this post you probably like this about analysing the market as part of the external analysis as well.

Analysing the market – the microenvironment

Getting started with analysing the market – An introduction to the Market analysis

Analyzing the market is not an easy task but absolutely a must in order to understand what strengths and weaknesses your competitor’s show that you can benefit from. Although, it is good to keep in mind that the customer is the one that has the best “SWOT” of the competition – he or she will always know what differs you from the others and vise versa. If you understand the “photography of all your competitors” you get a picture of what your differentiators would be.

The question you have to ask yourself ALWAYS is what your customer would ask you: “why do I have to buy from you”?

When you think of your offering you have to be able to answer “and what?” questinos. Imagine that your customer is continually saying “and what”? (every time you argue for what makes you special) when you have said your 3rd or 4th reason for why they should buy from you, you have probably reached the limit of what your strengths are and main differentiators.

What is a market?

A market is a combination of:

  • money to spend
  • willingness to spend it

When study a specific market always calculate the size in % and the revenues in real value € in order to understand what you are dealing with. This doesn’t only give you an idea of the size of your market, it also helps you identify if you market price is average, lower or higher than the competition.

For some products, the price is a strategic factor and differentiator but its good to remember that it has to be very high or very low in relation to the others to be interpreted as an advantage by the customers when taking a buying decision. If you are in-between something and very generic the price would not be interpreted as a differentiator.

Different types of markets

A market is a wide description of “something” but hard to grasp. It is easier to look at it if you subcategories it like this.

  • Current market: the present market I have currently. E.g TeaSuscription niche Market).
  • Target market: what I would be able to reach because it exists. I.e. the market I try to reach with my marketing activities (e.g. the tea lovers on that market, the not yet tea lovers).
  • Potential market: the potential of the market. Those markets that I’m not targeting now, but aware of exists to be targeted (e.g. schools, enterprises, joint offering with other subscription services).
  • Total market: the universe of needs you can cover with your offer (e.g. the whole tea market).

Market ratios

It is good to make a study of what penetration you have on the current market and how much your participation is in order to identify where you may have a problem. The way of doing that is to study the relation between market penetration and market participation. There are different ratios that can indicate where you may have a problem. Where shall you start to look?. You are comparing the market with to business. 

What happens if my penetration of the market is 10% but my participation index is 8%? A probable reason is that you are selling to a price that is too low price compared to your competitors.

How to limit your market

Previous years, the physical market was easier to identify (local, regional, global) but with the online business this is not valid anymore as competition becomes global. Limiting the market may be harder, more complex and the competitor analysis of course more complex as well.

Is it a B2C or a B2B?

There is a clear difference in behavior of these two that needs to be taken into consideration when working with an offering, a strategy and communication.

  B2C B2B
Neutrality of buyer Individual or familiar Company or institution
Reason for use Personal or familiar Production, reselling and manteinement
Professionalism of the buyer Little and no A lot
Demand Elastic Inelastic (expect the price to be lower, not affected by demand)
Motivation Subjective Rational
Production Based a stock Based on order
Distribution channels Long Short
Publicity Very important Little important
Selling process Short Long
Selling staff Straight forward Technical / sell person

 Would you add something to these notes related to how to work with a market analysis?

Creating a Strategic Marketing Plan from scratch

It is time to refresh some knowledge, pick up the books, study some new stuff and apply what you learn, in reality. I’m talking about the phenomena: study. A high percentage of my time-off-work will be spent on a Master in Marketing for the coming months  and my plan is to reflect the steps I’m will be taking, but applied on my project www.teterum.com to make it more “down-to-earth”.

For every step taken in this process I will add a link to the post here:

Steps to take when setting up a Marketing Plan 

Three different phases will take us through these steps 

PHASE 1

1) Analysis of the External environment (see intro)
2) Analysis of the Internal environment (see intro)
3) Diagnostic of the situation (SWOT etc)

PHASE 2

4) Taking strategic decisions
–          Setting mission, vision, values, corporate culture
–          Corporate strategies
Defining the business
Defining the portfolio of products or services
Defining competitive strategies
Defining strategies for growth
–          Functional strategies

PHASE 3

5) Taking operational decisions
–          Action plans
–          Prioritization of activities
–          Budgeting and financials

The project

The project I have chosen is the one I launched with Ivan Ruiz Sevilla in September. We are still making changes and listening a lot to our customers for the pilot market – Spain –  we decided to go for.

This is the perfect project to work with as it’s a Start-Up project based on a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) strategy with a limited time of test time to detect the market demand.

Have you worked with a Marketing Plan lately that you would like to share? More than happy to share experiences