You work in a small or medium company, your resources are scarce and your business is slow? There could be a number of reasons why your business is in trouble, but generally the main reason is that you don’t spend enough time on business, you only work in business. It’s time to lift your head up and realise a marketing diagnostic!
Objectives of marketing diagnostic
Technological evolutions change the way companies do business. Big names like Amazon, Uber, Spotify, Netflix, AirBnB, or Zappos changed the life of millions of people. But you could name a dozen of successful B2B business in healthcare, transport, construction, insurance and many more all around you! Why are these companies successful?
That’s very simple. All these companies took benefit of market opportunities. They also had a clear view of their own strength and weaknesses.
The good news is that marketing brings to every business owners and managers simple tools to improve their visibility, clarify their strategy and finally grow their business.
The objectives of the marketing diagnostic are to take decisions regarding your business: is our market still lucrative, do we have to innovate and launch new products, is our portfolio still competitive, do we have to invest in communication, what about sales organisation etc...
To take these decisions, you must have a clear view of:
- what are the threats and opportunities of the targeted markets
- what are the strengths and weaknesses of your companies
- the risks and ho to minimise them
You have different tools to summarize your work but the main one is the SWOT analysis, used by most of the marketers. But first things first, you must realize an external audit, and an internal audit:
- The external audit analyzes risks and opportunities of the current market; it relies on the macro-environment, the size of the market, and the competition.
- The internal audit analyses the strengths and weaknesses of your products or your brand. The internal analysis is the systematic evaluation of the key internal features of your organization:
- The organization’s resources (resources are assets employed in the activities and processes of the organization. These resources can be Human, Financial, Physical, Technological or Informational )
- The organization’s capabilities (industry-specific skills, relationships with other companies, organizational knowledge)
- The way in which the organization configures and coordinates its key value-adding activities
- The structure of the organization and the characteristics of its culture
- The performance of the organization as measured by the strength of its products.
When you realise your audits, be sure to find the underlying reasons of your problems and not only the symptoms. For example, your customers may choose to buy from competitors due to stock shortage, new design, new technology, price drop etc...
The SWOT matrix is the synthesis of the major points of the internal and external audit. The acronym SWOT means Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats.
The three mains rules for your SWOT matrix are:
1 - Use only the most pertinent points in YOUR environment. Example: a manufacturer of quiet vacuum cleaners may have a competitive advantage on the consumer market but not on the industrial market.
2 - the SWOT matrix is a final conclusion, a direct deduction coming directly from the facts noted during the audits
3 - the SWOT analysis is just a beginning, a tool for your next step: make recommendations.
Other tools for marketing diagnostics
7-S of Mc Kinsey
Originally developed as a way of thinking about the problems of organising effectively, the 7s framework was introduced to address the critical role of coordination, rather than structure, in organizational effectiveness.
The vulnerability analysis
This analysis allows you to identify the risk factors to target with two axes:
- the importance of the risk
- the degree of control
More information on vulnerability analysis: read Marketing Research, David A. Aaker, V. Kumar, Robert Leone, George S. Day