The Marketing Health Check has been designed to give companies a measure of their marketing efforts. It looks at what they are doing well and where improvements can be made. It establishes a correlation between your marketing practices and marketing performance. Research shows that good practice leads to good performance.
This questionnaire has been strongly influenced by the marketing module of Benchmark Index benchmarking system which was run by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the UK. We acknowledge the generosity of the DTI in facilitating us in accessing and using this system as a foundation for the Enterprise Ireland marketing questionnaire.
There are four main elements to the questionnaire. The first three look at the marketing practices and the fourth looks at the resultant performance.
In planning the direction of the business, you need to look at a number of areas to understand what is happening in the marketplace. Two important elements of this focus are customers and competition. Without looking at these elements closely and understanding both customers and competitive influences it is difficult to formulate a winning strategy; and without a strategy there is no direction or focus.
First, we look at your customers, their needs and requirements, how you gather that data and how do you use this data to gain insights into the relevant markets. Key account structures are used by many companies due to the importance to maintain close relationships with valuable customers. Given the importance of customer retention monitoring customer satisfaction is vital.
Developing an information system to monitor your competitors is also vital to determine your strengths and weaknesses by comparison. This means gathering data to develop a competitor knowledge framework.
Strategic planning is a necessary part of any company’s success. Plans need to be integrated and co-ordinated so that implementation is seamless. Objectives and strategies need to be clearly known throughout the company. Employee involvement is necessary to achieve ‘buy-in’ by all. The use of strategic alliances in the company should be a rigorous and systematic procedure involving managers across the firm.
Under marketing & branding we look at how are you differentiating your company from the competition, the marketing tools are you using, and your image in the marketplace.
Marketing research can be obtained from various sources and needs to be processed in a rigorous and systematic way. Likewise, market information comes from many sources including company employees beyond the sales force. The company needs to identify the more attractive elements of the market, segmenting it into different parts to best advantage. Buyers in your markets have different ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. Marketing programmes need to be tailored to ensure maximum benefit from the various targeted segments.
The distribution channels chosen by the company impact on other marketing decisions. Distribution is key to implementing your marketing plan and can be a differentiator. Branding is often considered in very narrow terms in relation to products where consumer companies spend vast amounts of money. Branding is about image, your company’s image in addition to your products’ image. At a basic level this can be the logo on your letters, your name on your premises and on your transport. At its most sophisticated, there can be integrated media campaigns to change peoples’ perceptions along with systematic and regular measurement of the position of the company in the market place. What image does your company give and how is it measured?
In developing your marketing programme there are various marketing tools that can be used in what is described as the ‘promotional mix’. Tools such as advertising, promotion, personal selling, PR, and trade shows can be used in varying degrees in different markets. How structured is your approach to this?
Innovation is a critical part of business success. The development of new products and services and the processes used in developing them, along with the development of the manufacturing & service processes is an important part of innovation. There are a number of different elements to carrying out innovation successfully.
First, we look at how product ideas are generated, and the selection process used to examine them. We also look at how we involve 3rd parties in the process such as customers and suppliers and their impact on innovation within the company. Before projects are undertaken it is necessary to ensure there is a market need and the proposed development is in line with the strategic direction of the company. The development process is examined in terms of cross functional teams, the manufacturing process necessary for the new products along with the time needed to develop them. The use of these techniques leads to a more sophisticated and robust process with a focused on continual improvement. Finally, we look at R&D budgets and the monitoring of projects in both financial and non-financial terms to evaluate success.
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