LEC Tip Sheet...

How to both do things right - and do the right things

It’s been said that, in order to do your marketing job really well, you have to be both efficient and effective. It’s not enough to do things right (efficiency), you also need to be doing the right things (effectiveness).

But what does that really mean...?

Effectiveness - doing the right things
To be effective, you must have access to a flow of key external data. This will help you shape your strategic thinking. It’ll also give focus to any tactical actions which may be required. You’d be flying blind without it.

Efficiency - doing things right
To be efficient in making things happen, you also need to be actively generating, and plugged into, key internally generated information flows, systems, and communication channels.

Efficiency is about doing things right, that is, about maximising outputs from inputs, smooth running and things happening when and how they should.

An engine which gives higher power output or lower fuel consumption is efficient.

For example, you may consider yourself being efficient if:
• You handle all the necessary detail to launch a product on time
• You are accurate in your sales forecasts or manage to run your product on lower back-up stocks
• You do things when various company systems require them, e.g. submitting quarterly reports.

Effectiveness is different. It means that you ensure you are doing the right things and thus demands an external focus, covering areas like:

• Ensuring your new product is launched at the right time to capitalise on latent demand, that it is based on a platform of careful research and analysis to ensure its winning position
• Applying your limited resources selectively where you will achieve the greatest return
• Consistently making the right choices between winner and loser options in your competitive actions.

Radio-tube manufacturers may have been efficient in their production but not effective since they were passed by transistors. The same thing happened to sail-ship manufacturers at the advent of steam-ships.

You can consider yourself effective if your product sells extremely well – if you significantly improve the position or performance of an existing product. Most of your effectiveness measures will be related directly to your overall business performance and the soundness of your strategy.

Oddly, in spite of the fact that your efficiency only might affect your results, and your effectiveness certainly will, many companies put the emphasis on monitoring and recognizing the former rather than the latter. It’s not uncommon to find that efficiency measures, not effectiveness, are dominant in how marketers are appraised.

However, you need to know that in the changing market for your products, efficiency alone is not enough by far. How many highly efficient manufacturers of vinyl LP records are still in business?

The good news is that, providing you are basically effective in your marketing, you will survive.

So, you do need both sides of the figure above to achieve job success. You need to be on top of the key internal information flows to be efficient, and have at least a minimum flow of key external data to remain effective.

Once you have the right external information handy, you can 'navigate' your product effectively through difficult waters and safely reach your destination.

The basic external information you need

Whatever your own industry of product situation, the basic message is that, to fulfil your external role effectively, you must ensure you have fairly complete answers to at least the following basic questions:

1) How is the market for your product changing (size, value, trends, by product segment, region, etc.)?
2) How are customers and their needs changing (customer profiles, segmentation, targeting, etc.)?
3) Do you know what is happening competitively (profiling of key in/direct competition, share, strategy, etc.)?

Armed with this overall understanding, you can start reviewing the various basic aspects of your own strategy, positioning and performance, and identifying how and where you can improve.

Don’t just gather this information for your annual plan and budgeting. You’re far better of collecting it on an ongoing basis. Often, you’ll find that you have a lot of it more or less within reach already.

However, it pays to be well prepared, so conducting international market research can significantly strengthen your marketing position.

Good marketing research can...
• Aid you and your company’s market knowledge and understanding
• Be a highly useful monitoring tool for your position or progress
• Serve as a vehicle for developing your strategic thinking and marketing planning
Facilitate direction on specific decisions or tactical actions you need to take.

In conclusion, practical marketing information and knowledge, obtained through research and analysis, can you make sure you work effectively and that you are doing the right things.

At Clarity, we help you apply fact-based international marketing. International business-to-business companies use our services to undertake action-oriented market & customer research and competitive surveillance - anywhere on the globe.

If you'd like to know more about how we do this, and how we might be able to help you, just call us now at 0845 057 3641 or fill in the form below to arrange an initial free-of-charge consultation:

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