There are several models/tools we can use for a diagnostic test which will walk us through all the factors that can affect our business, both inside and outside of our control.
Having established what has worked well for us and where we’ve had success in the past in Part One, Why Now Might Be a Good Time to Put Your Business Through a Marketing MOT, it’s time to look at where we are now.
Using models like these gives us a framework to see how we’re doing things now and how we compare to our competitors in order that we can plan properly for the future.
A good starting point is a SWOT analysis which will give you a handy snapshot of where you currently are.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths relate to how well you think you’re doing or are actually doing and weaknesses are the things that create barriers for you and hold you back. These tend to come from either what’s going on in your business or just outside it – your customers, market place, competitors and relationships with suppliers.
Customers – Who are they, what are their reasons for buying from you? Knowing your ideal customer types means you can develop an effective marketing strategy to help build your customer base and generate revenue.
Suppliers – Those that you rely on to deliver your products or services, changes affecting your suppliers which could impact on you. Who holds the power, them or you? Maintaining good relationships is essential to remaining competitive and securing quality products.
Competitors – Competitor benchmarking is an exercise that all businesses should run periodically. How do their prices and differentiation affect you? What can you do to get ahead? Where do their strengths and weaknesses lie?
Routes to Market – You might be in a period of transition where you’re taking something you’ve delivered physically and have had to quickly adapt to delivering virtually or online. Are there any other ways you could be delivering your products or services?
Opportunities and Threats
These come from the big wide world around you, the macro environment. Taking a much closer look at these things will help you get a really clear sense of what’s going to be happening in the next 6, 12, or even 18 months and what you can do to at least reduce the threat and even turn it into an opportunity. Many smaller businesses have failed in the past to fully appreciate how vulnerable they can be to changes in one or more of these factors although the pandemic experience may have made them think differently. PESTEL is a model we can use to identify the factors beyond our control.
Political – National, regional, and local government policy: tax, trade, fiscal policy, and of course Brexit.
Economic – Inflation, interest rates, exchange rates, economic growth patterns.
Sociological – Demographics and population trends, changes in society, behaviour and values.
Technological – Software, hardware, processes, infrastructure, equipment and machinery, the internet, social media, Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Environmental – Climate, weather, global warming, carbon emissions, carbon footprint, sustainability, geographical location.
Legal – Law of the land, legislation, regulations, directives and agreements (UK, EU, International), safety standards.
Considering all of the above will give you a good picture of where your business is sitting at the moment and means you are ready to move onto the next step which is a bit of situation analysis. This involves looking at the internal environment (you) and the microenvironment.
Starting with you, there are a couple of tools that can help which Marketers refer to as the 7Ps and the 5Ms.
The 7Ps – The Extended Marketing Mix
The 7Ps otherwise known as the Marketing Mix is used by businesses and Marketers to help evaluate and re-evaluate business activities. Understanding these factors can help you with the positioning, targeting, and segmentation decisions you need to make to create your own ‘Marketing Mix’.
Product – Try to view your products or services as someone from outside of the business. How do they compare to those of your competitors? Is there anything that makes yours stand out? How could you develop them?
Price – Is your pricing structure appropriate for the current market? Is it clear? Do you need to raise or lower your prices? Does the profitability justify the investment/effort? Do you need to review your terms and conditions?
Place – Where do clients look and shop for your product or service? Have you chosen the right places to sell? Are you easy to find? Is it easy to buy from you? Where else could you offer your products and services?
Promotion – How do you get your marketing messages out to your target audience? How often do you keep in touch with your customers and prospects? What is the competition doing?
People – Have you got the right people selling and marketing your products and services? As Jim Collins said in Good to Great “get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus… get the right people in the right seats on the bus.”
Process – How easy are you to do business with? Good customer service develops a brand reputation and customer loyalty.
Physical Evidence – This is everything your customer sees or hears when interacting with your business. How do your premises look? How great is your website? What is your branding or packaging like? Are your staff well trained?
5Ms of Marketing – Your Key Internal Resources
This model is used to look at the assets of your business and help you determine whether they are being used to their best advantage and indeed whether any additional resources are required.
Money – What is your marketing budget? What has the return been on your marketing spend to date?
Manpower – Who is available to work on your marketing strategy? Do you need to outsource?
Minutes – Time is one of our most valuable assets, how much time are you able to set aside for marketing?
Materials – If you are selling products this will be raw materials. For services, it’s the things you need to enable you to deliver that service. Are these things readily available or are they in short supply? Do you have access to enough materials to deliver what you need to, in order to achieve your financial goals?
Machinery – What software and CRM systems are you currently using to deliver your marketing strategy? How efficient and effective are these?
The next step of our Marketing MOT journey is thinking about which direction to choose [link to blog when published], who it is we want to receive these messages, who are our ideal clients or customers.
In the meantime, you can watch the second video in our series ‘Stop! Look! Listen! Stay ahead of your competitors and know your macro and microenvironments. And of course, if you haven’t already, you can download our Marketing MOT e-book here.
In addition to our free resources, we have also put together a workbook which can be purchased here, which will take you through the various tools and models mentioned and help you formulate your marketing plan and strategy.