Sunday, September 9, 2012

Work, School, and God

It has been a long time since I updated my blog. For the past months were really challenging but definitely fun. And in those times I reached another milestone in my life when I got admitted to Graduate School. I am now an official working student. I consider this part of my life as a big leap forward.

As I am writing this entry, we just ended the 1st term and I believe I did well on both my subjects. And I am now patiently waiting for my grades online.

I always find good reasons to go to class after a busy day at work. Since I handle the department calendar, I got to plot my meetings ahead and avoid any conflicts in my masters’ schedule. I always find every class entertaining and informative. We get to discuss issues like professionals in class. What makes it interesting is that the class came from different industry which makes the discussion very insightful. This is what I call a nice break from the office chaos and try to move out of what I do and explore other aspects of marketing. Every day, I feel that I am fresh in the industry. And it humbles me with the fact that I still have a lot of things to learn.

But more that the academic life, I always look forward mingling with my classmates. The small talks and long conversations with them feel like I am not just another aging man from the corporate world. During these times, I realized that my network is quite wide contrary to what I think. It is like wow, you know him... Wow you are friends with… Wow, what a small world. I felt that I am a bit of a social butterfly because of this.

Going back to my work. It is the point in time where everything gets very stressful. The management continues to pressure us to meet our deadlines. Everyone is pretty much on the edge. And despite the effort you put in to meet the deadline, some people (internal and external) are just difficult to deal with. I would rather not elaborate on this. The point is, no matter how much you control things; you’ll always encounter people who would be hesitant to cooperate.

Like I’ve said, the past months were being testy and a lot of temptation. Focus in work is sometimes hard to maintain. I’ll be distracted by one thing or the other. But I thank God for being there to talk me out of doing bad decisions. And in these stressful moments, I became closer to God. He filled me in with the inspiration to continue my daily chores at work and school.

Now, I am just patiently waiting on how things will develop. I know whatever happens; it is God’s decision that matters. I entrust to the Lord all my decisions. I entrust to the Lord that he will always give provision. I entrust to the Lord that he will always be there to guide me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Basic Marketing Framework

Just a thought after 1st term in Graduate Studies. This is how I will encapsulate the lessons I had in Basic Marketing.

Marketing Managers have to be aware of 2 things, Company and the External Environment. As a marketing manager, he or she has to know the whole company, the organization, the operations, its vision and mission, the people inside, etc. These are the things that can immediately address to achieve company objectives. These are controllable variables that can be adjusted internally to serve any marketing strategy. At the same time, the marketing manager needs a keen observation of the external environment. These are variables that are beyond your company’s control but immensely affect your whole operation. Thus, every change in the external environment may pose a new opportunity or threat to the company. Example is when new policy restrictions on imported items that are used as raw materials in your production, then this can be very fatal for your company. Lastly, you need to be very vigilant on the activities of your competitors. Sometimes, it is good to have a very speculative view of your competitors because it is an impetus for continuously improving your product. In doing so, there are a lot of tools you can use such as analysing Socio, Political, Economic, Natural resources, and Technology (SPENT) and the 5 competitive forces suggested by porters which deals with the Bargaining power of Customers and Suppliers, Competitive Rivalry, new entrants, and substitutes (Cenon, 2012).

After having a good understanding of the two then that is the only time for you to make your strategy. This is because these items are framework for strategy planning which start with broad market and narrows down to specific market and marketing mix (Perrault, Cannon, McCarthy, 2012) In making a strategy you need to determine your market segmentation which will give you an idea on the market you want or the most strategic to target. This is the point where you would decide whether to concentrate resources on a single target market approach, multiple target market approach, or combined market segments. After deciding on the target market then you can now position your brand. This should also be enough to differentiate the product from the substitutes or competitors.

This is followed by making a marketing mix. Under this are the 4P’s namely Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. This means that you should be making products that will fit your target market. That is why if you are targeting young early adopters - tech savvy people, then your product development should have all the advance technology like Apple. They pride the high quality and the level of technology of their product. With price, biggest consideration is the ability to pay of the target market. And, your brand should have a market representation on areas where the market is.

To have a formal and credible marketing plan we need to do market research. They can provide us with information about the consumers especially on their behaviour, demographics, psychographics, etc. These kinds of feedback are important in creating a strategy and needed to formalize the action plan thought their marketing mix. That is why there are different approaches in market research such as Concept and Product Test (CPT), Usage, Attitude, Image (UAI), Balance Price Trade Off (BPTO), Ad Test, etc. All of these answer to a specific marketing mix.

But before I end, I would like to emphasize on one thing. Looking at the diagram, the overarching principle here is the Customer Satisfaction. The reason why we are doing this entire marketing plan is to satisfy our target market. Now, the whole strategy and marketing mix will fail if we won’t be able to meet the expectations of our customers. This means that along the way, we misunderstood their behaviour leading to poor judgement on the strategy and marketing mix. That is why market research takes a very important role on making sure that we get the profile of the customers correct (Research should be accurate and validated). [BMV]