Did you know that researchers have found that as many as 60% of satisfied customers will leave your business for another offering? In marketing it is important to provide a good product at a fair value but we should not assume that this is enough to keep customers. This is simply the starting point. If you really want to understand marketing you should think about one of the most successful creatures in the world: the shark.
Sharks have thrived for millions of years with very little competition (in some cases no natural competition) because, in part, they are continuously monitoring their external environment. How good are you at monitoring your external environment? Are you a marketing shark? Do you care enough about external factors to identify and pursue opportunities that might be outside your traditional comfort zone? If you’re going to thrive you need to recognize that trends in the external environment may attract your customers to other product/service providers.
In 2001 Polaroid filed for bankruptcy. That same year the first camera phone was being introduced by its creators. How did Polaroid’s leaders not see the potential integration of digital image technology and cell phones? They had a 50-year head start and still lost. It wasn’t that people were dissatisfied with old Polaroid pictures per se, just that they saw more value in digital images. Right now in parts of Asia, like South Korea and Japan, cell phones are being used to process retail transactions. A cashier waves the bar code on the cell phone at the cash register and the transaction is processed just as if a credit or debit card was passed to the cashier. How many American retailers, banks, or vending companies are investing in this type of technology? And, why aren’t they? A child could see the consumer benefit, but hesitant retailers, banks, and vendors may be thinking about their internal controls rather than what’s best and easiest for the customer.
External analysis is often looked through, but it really isn’t too complicated. Applying the Opportunity & Threat dimensions of a SWOT analysis is a good start, as is performing a STEEP analysis, which helps you identify social, political, technological, economic, environmental and political trends that may impact your venture. All companies are affected by external trends. What’s affecting yours?
Follow Dr. Matt on Twitter http://twitter.com/kenneycollege