Brooksbank's BASIC marketing planning framework

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Brooksbank's BASIC marketing planning framework Empty Brooksbank's BASIC marketing planning framework

Post  Peter Cornish on Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:20 am

The BASIC Marketing Planning Process

Many small and medium sized language service providers take an informal approach to their marketing and suffer the predictable consequences. Limited resources, undefined objectives and no control procedures fail to produce the required results and leave us wondering exactly where we are going wrong. With these challenges come questions that many feel ill equipped to answer or, worse still, choose to ignore:

• How can I develop staff and customer loyalty?
• How do I attract new customers and keep the ones I have?
• Which customers will bring my business the most profit and what services do they want?
• Why do customers choose my competitors over me?
• How do I know if my advertising is working?

As the market we operate in becomes increasingly competitive, there is a growing need for a more formal, comprehensive approach to marketing in order to gain competitive advantage. Adopting a structured approach to your marketing can help you answer these questions and more.

Brooksbank’s (1996) BASIC approach to marketing planning equips you with a practical set of guidelines and tasks that assist in your marketing planning. Breaking the planning process into 5 phases and 10 tasks, the approach covers all the essentials of an effective marketing plan and ensures the process adopts a dynamic, evolutionary nature.

Brookksbank’s 5 phases of BASIC marketing planning are:

Business-customerising
Analysing
Strategising
Implementing
Controlling

Business-customerising describes the importance of a marketing orientation and adopting an organisation wide commitment to the satisfaction of your customers’ needs.

Task 1 of this first phase is building a marketing-led organisational culture where promotion of customer awareness is actively encouraged. Including procedures such as involving of your staff in the planning process and the introducing training sessions etc. are an essential part of business customerisation.

Task 2 is the development of a customer-driven mission statement. The overall scope of the statement should cover 2 interrelated components:

1. The company’s basic business in terms of the products and services you provide and the markets you serve; and
2. The establishment of an appropriate set of business values, attitudes and beliefs

In order to build content and provide direction for the statement, the following 4 questions can be considered:

1. What is our Business?
2. Who is our Customer?
3. What do our Consumers value?
4. What should our Business be?

Your Mission Statement should be realistic, specific, based on distinctive competence and motivating. It should specify your end goals and not cover details of the marketing plan.

The second phase, Analysing, examines the environment your business operates in, both internally and externally. Often referred to as a marketing audit, particular attention should be given to your competitive position.

Task 3 calls for the collection of data from your operational environment in order to produce meaningful information you can confidently base your marketing decisions on. The focus of your research should be on all aspects of the market place but in particular, your existing and potential customers and your competitors’ activities.

The information audit can be broken into 4 stages and addressed by asking yourself the following questions:

1. What do I need to know?
2. What do I know already?
3. What is missing from my knowledge?
4. How can I fill these gaps?

To assist in answering the first of these questions it will help to consider:

• What your customer needs
• Who exactly your target market is and what can be found out about them
• Who your competition is and what they are offering to the market
• What gaps exist in the market

Setting clear objectives before starting your research process is essential to its success. By doing so you can ensure firstly, that the costs of collecting your data do not outweigh the potential benefits and secondly, to determine if the data you require can be collected from secondary sources or if you will need to conduct primary research.

The second part of the Analysis phase, Task 4, takes a closer look at the internal and external issues facing your organisation. One of the key objectives of this task is to identify your organisation’s core competences and how these skills and attributes impact on customer value. Equally important is examination of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in order to identify potential for creating and sustaining competitive advantage.

To achieve these goals we use a SWOT analysis which helps you identify your organisation’s internal strengths and weaknesses and the external opportunities and threats that face it. It is also advisable to conduct individual SWOT analyses for competitors that pose the greatest competition. The following questions will assist in building your competitors’ SWOT profiles:

• What is their (marketing mix) offer?
• What iare their competitive advantages?
• How well are they performing?
• How are they likely to compete in the future?

Equally important at this stage is analysis of your existing and potential customers. Asking who they are, why they buy and what benefits they are seeking will enable you to a profile of your customer identity. With this information you will be able to segment your customers into groups with similar needs and allow more precise targeting of your services. It will also make it easier for you to recognise and combat competition and use your marketing resources with greater effectiveness and efficiency.

Once you have completed a rigorous examination of the factors likely to impact on your business operations you are ready to identify your marketing objectives. Your marketing objectives are what you hope to achieve; the Strategising Stage of your plan outlines how you intend to achieve them.

Task 5 tackles the setting of objectives for each of your products/services and should reflect both the demand and supply side of your desired levels of achievement. In this context, demand typically relates to target profit levels and goals, whilst supply tends to relate to marketing costs and the use of resources.

When setting your marketing goals there are 2 main factors to consider: the organisation’s goals and the customers’ needs. Both side wishes to gain something from the relationship and your objectives should reflect this, both in the long and short term.

Having identified the needs of your customers and formed your organisational goals, there are 4 broad strategies on which to build your strategic thrust. These strategies can be applied to new or existing products and their relationship with new or existing markets:

Market penetration: taking existing products in to existing markets in an attempt to increase brand loyalty amongst existing customers or persuade new one to purchase the brand

Product development: focuses on developing new products in order to improve sales in existing markets

Market development: involves selling existing products to new markets; either geographical or segmented

Entry in to new markets: this potentially risky strategy occurs when new markets are offered new products

Regardless of the strategic thrust your organisation’s objectives will follow, they should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed.

Task 6 examines how you will position yourself in the market. This is determined by the market you wish to serve, your immediate competitors and the competitive advantage you have over them. The key to succeeding in the competitive arena is through your differential advantage, without which you cannot hope to sustain a long term advantage over your competitors.

To produce a concrete differential advantage needs accurate identification of the market segments you wish to target and the ability to best meet the needs of these segments with the products or services you offer them. Close examination of your competitors’ offerings, identification of gaps that exist between these and customers’ expectations, and understanding how you can better meet these expectations, will help you establish where your differential advantage lies.

When selecting the market segments you want to target it is essential that you are able to provide high value to the customer and preferably use a resource or skill that competitors will find hard to copy. By adopting a concentrated approach to your target market selection, you will be able to focus potentially limited marketing resources on a comparatively small group of customers whose needs you are best able to meet.

The penultimate phase, Implementation, develops a marketing mix that your customers will perceive as superior to that of your competitors, primarily through the reflection of your differential advantage.

Task 7 translates your positioning strategy into the marketing mix, or the 4Ps – Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Just like the ingredients of a cake recipe, the elements of your marketing mix can be combined to create different outcomes and varied messages. The golden rule of this task is to combine the various elements of the mix so they complement each other and reinforce your positioning strategy. Conflicting elements will send your customers conflicting messages and can seriously hamper reaching your marketing objectives.

Once your market mix has been developed, Task 8 sees its implementation. Transforming your marketing strategy from a documented plan to a working application means assigning tasks and setting time frames for their completion. In addition, you will need to allocate marketing responsibilities to staff members and introduce procedures to manage and operationalise the tasks they are performing.

Introducing clearly defined procedures for tasks, such as generating and tracking sales leads, following up enquiries and capturing customer information, ensures that quality is consistent throughout and translates your plan into a day-to-day working document.

The final phase of the BASIC marketing plan comes into play once the other phases are in operation. The Controlling phase involves setting up systems to monitor and control changes in the market environment so strategies that become wrong or inappropriate, can be changed or adapted as you see fit.

Task 9 introduces the term “marketing information system” and refers to the procedures used for harvesting and collating information of use to your marketing activities. When designing your information system there are 3 questions to consider:

1. What type of information do you need and how much of it?
2. What information sources should you use?
3. What is the best way for you to store and access the information you collect?

A good marketing information system is one that is capable of capturing information from your financial records, as well as from the market place, so that specific research questions can be answered as required.

Task 10, the final task, puts in place a performance tracker which enables you to compare the reality of your marketing efforts against your planned objectives. To achieve this, an effective performance tracker must complete 2 tasks:

1. Establish the exact standards of performance to be achieved, by which point in time and to which levels
2. Enable the logging of plan performance and environmental factors at regular intervals

With these controls in place, you will be able to monitor performance and take appropriate corrective measures where necessary. By conducting these controls in action, your marketing plan will become a living document able to adapt to changing customer needs, recognise new organisational objectives and exploit environmental changes to your best advantage.

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Brooksbank’s BASIC framework to market planning offers small and medium sized organisations a practical set of tasks and guidelines so they can move forward confidently in their marketing efforts. Essential in the success of your marketing efforts is a company-wide commitment to the satisfaction of customer needs and a marketing-led approach to your business operations. By adopting a formal framework to your marketing planning, you are probably one step ahead of your competition already!

Peter Cornish
Member

Posts : 8
Join date : 2008-02-17

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