Monday, September 22, 2014

Market Assessment - Navigating The Business Cycle

A Market Assessment can change the fortunes
 of your organization's future
Measuring progress on the consistent implementation of marketing and communication strategies allows organizations and companies to see beyond the numbers. Many make the mistake of allowing sales and/or revenue streams to crest and trough, coinciding with changing market forces. Allowing revue streams to ebb and margins to erode as a result of focusing on addressing current business issues and or the complex issues related to delivering jobs or projects can harm your business in the long term.

Gradual loss of focus on your marketing strategy will not be evident during an upswing in the market cycle but will have a dramatic impact on the fortunes of the company during a market cycle downturn or trough in sales. It can create a scenario where you are ill prepared to take on unforeseen or sudden changes in the marketplace; or it can make you unable to effectively fund investment in growth and/or product innovations properly when you need it most.

This issue has emerged over the past several years as one of the most telling - as companies strive to deal with the new reality; since the economic downturn across North America in 2008. The marketplace has changed and every company is being squeezed to offer more, do more and ….charge less of their products or services. As a result organizations and businesses are focused on the day to day issues in the life cycle of the business, such as human resources, project management, technology implementation, financial flexibility and more.

There are strategies that can be employed to help protect companies from troughs in the business cycle. We have developed a specialized process for conducting a “market assessment” to help reveal “opportunity gaps”. The assessment focuses on a bench-marked practice designed to better understand where you are in the business cycle and identify specific actions you can take to address those “opportunity gaps.” The market assessment reveals how your customers, employees, suppliers and key stakeholder perceive the company and its products or services and identifies gaps in your business development strategy.

The market Assessment is designed to be deployed relatively quickly and cost effectively – it provides you with a very clear snap shot of where your company currently sits in the business cycle and helps identify “opportunity gaps.” What is an “opportunity gap” ….well I am glad you asked? These are the potential growth opportunities that are currently being overlooked. A market assessment can reveal possible untapped markets, new partnerships, product development opportunities, unexplored customer loyalty programs, inconsistent value proposition, internal strife… and the list goes on. It’s different for each company depending on what the assessment reveals.

A marketing Assessment can also strengthen your company in preparation for its sale.  Most financial audits, in doing their due diligence will use these indicators to determine the longer term viability of your company. Most accounting practices who are informing the buy and sell process of a company understand that current sales and are not a strong predictor of future sales. Intangibles that give us insight into business issues beyond the numbers, such as new product pipeline, exploration of enhanced partnerships and future sales potential are a better indicators of long term viability.

In my next blog I will provide a specific list of intangibles to consider when conducting a market Assessment and offer readers an opportunity to test their Marketing IQ.

No comments:

Post a Comment