Season’s greetings everyone and I hope you are all looking forward to enjoying a break with family and friends.
I love the end of a year and the beginning of the next year. This period is a great time for reflection on what has happened the past 12 months, and of course time to put together plans for the next 12 months. I don’t know about you but I have some very exciting plans for 2015.
Over the next two blogs I’m going to chat about some of the areas of your business you might want to reflect on and how you can plan your upcoming activities.
The Marketing Audit
When I undertake a review with my clients I like to talk about what’s happening in the outside world and what’s happening in their own industry, to identify the company’s position.
Having an awareness of what is going on in the world around you can have an important bearing on the performance of your business. We are in times of change and whatever industry you are in the ability to cope with changes in areas like technology, consumer attitudes and political power can all have an impact on your business.
In the last twelve months the political environment has been interesting. We started the year with a fall in unemployment and rising house prices. However, as the year has progressed we are leaving 2014 with Banks failing stress tests again and Base Rate at 0.5% when rate rises had been predicted. The low interest rates have helped to sustain many companies, whose costs of borrowing have remained low. How would an interest rate rise impact your business?
Technology of course continues to form an integral part of what we do. Most businesses now have a social media presence and content marketing is integral to SEO. Google, the most important search engine for all websites continues to develop algorithms to prevent spam and poor marketing practices in order to promote those companies that are at the cutting edge of their industries. Could your business be affected by changes in Google’s search strategies?
Having an understanding of the nature of the environment you operate in will ultimately provide you with the knowledge you need to make balanced decisions in your business.
I speak regularly to my clients and always ask, “what are your competitors up to?” You’d be surprised by how many business owners don’t have any idea what their competitors are up to. Understanding what is happening in your marketplace is integral to your business performance. In this fast changing world, it is those companies who stand still that will struggle. The way consumers do business is changing so quickly that if companies are to grow and survive they need to be looking at what is going on in the big wide world (especially with technological developments).
Two great examples of huge dynamic marketplace shifts this year have come in higher education and the taxi industry. These changes concern two names most of us had never heard this time last year; MOOCs and Uber.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online modules of degree courses. The growth in MOOCs have had a massive impact on higher education and the longer term implications are far reaching. What would happen if private companies start to develop their own MOOCs for potential students? If you are a provider of Higher Education these questions would be high up on your priority list.
Over the last few months Uber has sprung out of nowhere with the potential to completely change the face of the Taxi industry worldwide. Uber provides consumers with the opportunity to locate people nearby who are seeking taxis to a similar destination, thus allowing the consumer the opportunity to save money. The potential impacts for the industry globally are huge.
We live in an environment where consumer choice is critical and companies that provide individuals with what they want, when they want, will realise success. Are you aware of the changes in your industry and does your business planning support what could happen? Are you shopping your competition?
This Christmas give yourself a short amount of time to answer these key questions:
- Where is your market now compared to 12 months ago?
- Who are your major competitors and how are you different?
- What is your single greatest challenge?
Next time we’ll look at how this information can help to develop a cost effective marketing plan for 2015. In the meantime have a great Christmas.
If you wish to discuss a business development session for your business, give me a call or drop me an email.