Market and Customer Research
Understanding the market is an essential ingredient for an organisations success – ask any large multinational and they will tell you that getting this right was critical for their long-term growth. However, most companies know only the top-level detail about their market with surprisingly many placing research at the bottom end of their priorities and relying on their own hunches when it comes to major investment decisions.
The practice recognises that there is no reason for this to be the case with a range of cost-effective support available for any company who is at the stage of asking ‘what should I do next?’
Approaches used comprise desk and field (telephone, face-to-face) methods as well as the ability to offer internet surveys through packages such as Survey Monkey. With respect to field research Chris Hadley Consulting has a uniquely high success rate often able to convert 80-90% of prospects into interviews – vital if you have a tightly defined customer base!
The practice has a flexible approach to market and customer research offering both ad-hoc and regular research programmes. Support ranges from one-off projects to long-term tracking programmes that offer the ability for analysis of customer segments.
The practice is equally active in the research and production of market studies. Here it has written a number of UK and European reports for multinational organisations such as Frost & Sullivan and Mintel.
Information is power and as a business having such power provides a major leverage over your competitors. Yet while information may hold the key to increased sales obtaining, sifting and analysing which pieces of information are relevant to your business can be time consuming and hit-and-miss for those who don’t monitor the market on a regular basis.
This is where Chris Hadley Consulting can help. The practice has considerable experience sourcing and analysing the information that is most relevant to your business planning process. We know who to approach both formally and importantly for you, informally.
More importantly as experienced consultants in sectors such as environment products and services we know how information should be used to assist you in your future market development.
Projects are often very specific to a client’s needs and require a quick turnaround. Examples include:
- Reviewing available information on a market, product or service
- Competitor strategies towards a market or sector
- Understanding public sector and regulatory thinking
- Assessing likely bidders for an acquisition target.
Planning is essential for any organisation’s success with marketing no exception. Ultimately you can only be confident that your objectives will be realised if you have a plan in place. Yet as with other aspects of marketing, many companies tend to plan on the hoof believing that things will come right as long as the perceived ingredients for success in their market are added.
Planning however is not complicated with the practice able to assist with both organisational and market planning. For those who are new to this area the key areas that require attention are:
- A situational analysis (where you are now)
- Objectives and goals (where do you want to go)
- Strategies to achieve your aims (how you will get there)
- An action programme (tactics used to achieve these strategies)
- Budgets and controls
While this may sound complicated, planning is a structure process with help only a click or phone-call away.
Strategy and Market Development
Having undertaken customer/market research and committed oneself to a planning process that will realise your aims, strategy development is the next crucial stage. Be it at a corporate or marketing level, the choice of correct strategy will play a major part in goals being either achieved or missed.
Initially organisations might wish to consider how their organisation might interact with the market. Would a competitive strategy be better than a focus strategy for example?
Beyond this product/service market strategies will need to be addressed. Should attention be given to particular segments? What about product life cycles and product development? How should we respond on positioning?
This inevitably leads on to target markets and positioning. Here Chris Hadley Consultinghas experience of using a variety of tools that can help – Ansoff, DP, BCG.
Developing the Marketing Plan
In the context of planning, developing a marketing plan that fits with your objectives, goals and strategies is vital. The plan is the link between what you want to achieve and how it will be achieved ‘on the ground’
Various variables come into play here, what Kotler famously described as the ‘marketing mix’. These are often known as the 4 P’s
Product – features of the product or service
Price – price, discounting, credit terms etc.,
Place – where the product or service will be available
Promotion – how the product or service will be promoted
Depending on the product or service different ‘mixes’ are required. Indeed for those in the service industries additional variables also need to be considered – People, Processes and Physical Evidence. Thus effectively 4 P’s becomes 7 P’s!
Chris Hadley Consultingcan help with this ‘mix’ as well as the procedures required to ensure that success in delivery of the marketing plan is maximised.
Although the practice is based in the UK we operate globally working with organisations within and outside of the UK who are looking to develop their markets.
Outward investment activities build on the experience of Chris Hadley Consulting in undertaking research in markets ranging from Europe to Africa and Asia. Here the practice benefits from Chris Hadley’s support to UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) as a Technical Expert during the period 2002 to 2005.
Support for inward Investment targets those organisations who might be considering investment in the UK or Europe. Again the practice benefits from Chris Hadley’s detailed involvement in partnering activities on behalf of UNIDO working with companies in Europe, Russia, South America, Africa and Asia.
Services offered for both types of support includes:
- Market Research and Intelligence Gathering
- Partner sourcing
- Liaison with government bodies, intermediaries and donors