Eric Maganga — 04 December 2019
7 min read

What to do once you have decided on marketing

What to do once you have decided on marketing

Intro

When you have decided to market your business, this blog will give you guidelines for how to proceed. The types of analyses that are important and considerations to take that will be vital for the success of your marketing efforts will all be explored. Do you have a unique selling proposition? Uncover this with a SWOT analysis. Are your team members optimized for their roles? A quick gap analysis will reveal this. Read on for the full breakdown.

Stimulating market growth

With marketing, there are important considerations that need to be taken into account when expanding to new markets and audiences. For example, you have to take cultural considerations and sensitivities into consideration.

Miscommunication can occur if you don’t do your research. For example, when Pringles introduced their Smokey Bacon chips in a market where people not only don’t eat pork, but also during the holy month where they are fasting.


Another example that was hard to stomach was when Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “finger licking good” was translated as “eat your fingers off” while expanding to China.

On the other hand, this is an opportunity for people who show cultural sensitivity to stand out even further because the competition are making mistakes in this regard.

Culturally appropriate?

As a starting point you should look at how others are communicating in the region – it is crucial to check competitors for inspiration both local companies from the region or others who have expanded to that region. For example you can use Ocean to cluster relevant companies for you.

Once identified, take a look at the language they use – figures of speech, respect across the board including for traditions. This will allow you to not block your growth abroad because of poor uses of language or misunderstanding of customs.

Key takeaway:

How much time and effort you put into cultural considerations can make you by increasing customer loyalty and retention, or do irreparable damage to your reputation.

Ansoff Matrix - product/market expansion grid


The Ansoff Matrix also known as the product/market expansion grid is used for the strategy stage of the marketing planning process.

According to the Matrix, growth into a new market is the single most challenging type of expansion. More difficult, for instance, than introducing a new product to an existing market.

PEST analysis for marketing growth

PEST is an acronym that stands for:

Political

Economic

Social

Technological.

These factors can work together. So if, for instance, on the economic side everyone in a market wants a new iPhone but cannot afford it, that would outweigh the technological analysis that identifies a market as likely to use iPhones.

Is it the right time to invest in international market growth (can you afford it)?

As a startup – do you have the funds you will definitely need to expand? Expansion can be costly and if you are limited with resources or you can predict that the financial hit will be too great, you’ll be setting up yourself up for difficult times ahead if you go through with it anyway.

You’ve done some of the important work, you have an innovative idea – exciting start. You then have to ask do you have a customer base in that new market? You can check out our blog about how to calculate your Total Addressable Market (TAM) for inspiration.

A TAM analysis can be beneficial and we have tips on unconventional ways to do the analysis and the most accurate ways to do it in our guide. Identifying if enough people want what you are offering is crucial when you plan to expand.

Here is another key factor: is your ambition causing you to spread yourself beyond what is achievable?

Are you targeting too many new countries/markets at once? As we established, expanding to a different market is referred to as the most difficult type by the Ansoff Matrix. Therefore it makes sense to be cautious with how many markets to target at once.

Overextending yourself into multiple new markets could while it seems like a great opportunity for profit, mean fewer resources for each market being targeted.

Know your customers

It is critical to your success to truly understand your customers. So once you’ve conducted a PEST analysis and have estimated a TAM, it is time to dig deep and get to know who your customers are. This process can provide valuable information that you can use for your marketing, positioning and strategic decisions.

As stated on Neil Patel’s blog, you can start digitally with analytics that will reveal to you which pages are popular, which pages people spend the most time on as well as which ones have the highest “bounce rates” of people landing on a page then leaving right away. You can also conduct online surveys.

You can continue this process offline by speaking in person in your office or over Skype. By taking in all their major issues and concerns, you will uncover how they feel you can go about solving any problems they may have.

Make note of the language they use to describe any issues so you can dig down and find out the best way for you to provide value with your products or services.

The information you can get from simply asking could end up allowing you to make content pieces that they will be excited to read and share.

Gap analysis (needs analysis, needs assessment)

The first step in a gap analysis is to:

Analyze your mission statement, strategic goals and improvement objectives.

From there, you collect data by looking at current business processes.

Finally you set up a plan to fill the gap.

So if your revenue is plateauing at 1,000,000 in currency whereas your goal is set at 2,000,000 then you can analyze what’s behind the 1,000,000 unit discrepancy.

The gap might also be between sales projections and actual sales. If you have set a goal for 10,000 sold and you can’t get above 2000 then you have an 8000 unit gap.

Whereas the prior two examples focused on earnings/sales, sometimes the gap is between the ability of the employee to perform compared to how they are expected to perform.

In a skills or capability gap, the problem is with what the employee delivers. To remedy this you can for example invest more in the employee (training) to help them close the gap or potentially bring in new workers who are better suited for the role (replacement).

Key takeaway:

Whenever there is a gap that isn’t favorable between where you are and where you’d like to be, analyze it so you can get closer to the desired outcome.

SWOT Analysis (a gap analysis strategy)

One common type of gap analysis is a SWOT analysis which stands for:

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

One strength that should be a low-hanging fruit to uncover and use to your advantage is your business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

In other words, what is your biggest advantage  – why should you be chosen and what benefits do you provide that your competitors don’t? For example, if your e-learning solution is the only one where learners can get certified without physically going to school, that would be your Unique Selling Proposition.

A weakness is an opportunity to improve. For a digital business, poor user interface or user experience on a website is a weakness. Once you acknowledge it you can take steps to remedy it, turning a weakness into a strength. The analysis you perform therefore has great potential that you can unlock as long as you commit to continuous evaluation and improvement.

In SWOT, an opportunity presents itself where a competitor’s product is missing a key feature. If none of the telephone providers in your country provide free data when you travel within the continent, you have a chance to stand out: offer what they can’t.

A threat can arise in the form of disruptive technology or competitors with market share. If more and more of your customers start swapping out your high sugar snacks with a lower sugar alternative that tastes the same, then the alternative productive is increasingly a threat.

Lastly, you can perform the same SWOT analysis on competitors to compare the four factors in the same way just mentioned.

Key takeaway:

SWOT is a thorough way to analyze your position as well as potential to grow to a stronger position. It can help uncover a USP.

Cause and effect analysis (the Fishbone Diagram)

It combines elements from brainstorms and mind maps to uncover root causes to problems. It visually represents primary and secondary causes of problems, respectively. The root cause is the head of the fishbone and everything branches out from there in an interconnected system.

Variables and problems in a Fishbone Diagram

The diagram is helpful for identifying connections between different variables and problems that you might encounter. Is the reason people are not receptive to your product in a new market the marketing approach? Or the way you communicate? Perhaps a combination with one more of a problem than the other. You will be able to discover all of this.

Key takeaway:

For a visual representation of where problems occur, their roots and how they are connected, use the fishbone diagram for cause and effect analysis.

Summary

It can all seem a bit overwhelming but taking the time to perform a gap analysis for example will let you close that gap in for example employee performance versus expected performance. A handy SWOT analysis will help you see your Unique Selling Proposition, if you don’t have one it will let you see that too. All these efforts will be in the name of success and longevity for your brand, so commit early and get it right as you go with some trial and error.

Resource list:

Ready to get started? Find the following templates for your marketing journey.

Gap Analysis (Courtesy of Smart Sheet)

SWOT Analysis (Courtesy of Smart Sheet)

Cause and effect fishbone (Courtesy of Smart Sheet)

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