Page 2: Market analysis to plan promotion
A market is where buyers and sellers come together to exchange products for money. Physical markets take place every week all over the country. In business, the concept of a 'market' applies to any product or service for which there are buyers and sellers.
There are two main types of market that reflect the type of customers the market serves. There are markets where the customers are individual consumers. These are known as B2C (business-to-consumer) markets. There are also markets where the customers are businesses. These are called B2B (business-to-business) markets.
Portakabin deals exclusively in B2B markets. It sells to organisations such as schools and hospitals. B2B markets have different characteristics to B2C markets. For example, business customers often buy in bulk to get good deals on price. Most businesses have a specialist centralised buying function which allows them to negotiate the price. Specialist buyers carefully assess the options and never make 'impulse' buys. Understanding how B2B markets work helps Portakabin organise its promotions in the right way.
An important indicator of the value customers give to a range of products is market share. Portakabin is the leading supplier in its market sector. This means that Portakabin has a greater share of sales than any other brand supplying this market. The Portakabin market share is currently 15%. (As a comparison, Sainsbury has around 16% of the UK supermarket market.) The market share is arrived at by this calculation:
To understand why it is the leading supplier and to maintain its position, Portakabin undertakes market research. There are various ways of undertaking market research by questionnaire, by telephone survey, by focus groups.
Delivering on quality and providing customer satisfaction is vital in retaining customers.
- Its research shows that customers return to Portakabin because of the quality and reliability of its products. The key Portakabin message is: Quality this time next time every time. This message always accompanies the Portakabinbrand name.
- Portakabinalso states that it will be “on time, on budget our promise”. These are explicit statements about reliability and quality. They provide a focus for staff and reassurance for customers.
- Customer satisfaction is crucial. Portakabin has a customer satisfaction index. This currently scores 9/10, which means that customers have had positive experiences in their whole dealings with Portakabin.
These are important considerations when Portakabin plans promotional activity. Marketing specialists use a mix of tactics to attract and keep customers. These involve balancing the four Ps of the marketing mix.
- For product, this includes introducing new products or enhancing existing products or packaging
- For price, this might involve special offers or discounts
- For place, a company might look to use different ways or channels to reach customers, for example, through the Internet or high street retailers
- For promotion this includes many different ways of communicating sales messages to customers to buy products or services
Promotion is an important part of the Portakabin marketing mix. For Portakabin, all promotional activity should reinforce its brand messages of quality and customer satisfaction. The function of promotion is to send out consistent positive messages to existing and potential customers.
Promotion is not just advertising it is a planned series of activities. These must relate to the business's objectives. For example, a business might want to increase its market share, it might want to widen its customer base or increase the number of repeat purchases. Before starting a promotional campaign, there will be:
- a set of clear objectives
- an intended target audience
- staff to work on the campaign
- a budget, based on costs for the work identified