Aligning marketing with business challengesPosted on: April 11, 2019
by Ruth Brooks
Marketing is not simply about branding and creating product demand. It needs to align with the objectives of the rest of the business, address current macro challenges and peaks and troughs in demand. Many companies therefore require a marketing strategy that can help them convert challenges into opportunities by helping them keep pace with rapidly evolving trends and market developments – this could be anything from the recent shift to plastic-free lifestyles to Brexit.
So what are the main challenges currently affecting businesses, and their profit margins, that marketers need to be aware of?
The only constant is that everything – technology, customer preferences, the competitive landscape – has changed and will continue to do so as we fully transition to digitisation. Which means that how products are marketed needs to constantly adapt too. Of course, not everything new is better; but with the right business capabilities in place market unpredictability can become an advantage. It’s those who are willing to embrace uncertainty and take decisive action such as a rapid change in marketing strategy, who will reap the greatest rewards.
As markets and technologies shift, so do rules and regulations. The Business Perceptions Survey 2018 conducted by the HMRC has revealed that over half of firms across the UK expect this burden to increase in the next 12 months. The most common reason why? Brexit and GDPR. The increase in regulation and uncertainty has in turn increased marketing departments workloads, particularly those with responsibility for direct marketing, with teams now requiring the necessary legal knowledge in order to collect and process data. Marketing teams need to comply for both legal reasons, but also to build and sustain customer trust; as customers become more savvy about data use and are more reluctant to give information away freely. As a result, contextual marketing, which fine-tunes marketing content and campaigns to a customer’s situational context (rather than being based on personal data volunteered), is on the rise.
Pressure from new market entrants
A profitable industry will attract competitors looking to achieve profits. If it is easy for these new businesses to enter the market – if entry barriers are low – then this poses a threat to those companies already competing in that market. More competition – or increased production capacity without a similar increase in consumer demand – means less profit to go around. New market entrants affect all industries but have recently had a marked impact on the telecoms and banking industries and energy suppliers.
Products moving towards commoditisation
Intense global competition and outsourcing are squeezing margins, increasing customer price sensitivity, and making it harder to sustain inter-brand differentiation. The product life cycle suggests that, as product categories mature, they become more susceptible to the forces of commoditisation. The difference today is that the speed from launch to maturity is faster than ever before. To delay this, marketers have three options: to innovate; bundle or segment in order to remain competitive within the market. This not only requires a deep understanding of the market the business is operating in, but also the ability to analyse customer needs and demand, to establish the best marketing strategy.
With all these nuances in mind, Wrexham University has introduced an online Master of Business Administration (MBA), specialising in Marketing. The course equips students with the knowledge to appraise emerging market themes and propose strategic responses, and teaches them how to analyse the impacts on marketing, as well as on the wider organisation. The programme also covers how best to deliver customer value and the role that change and creativity plays in organisational survival and growth. The ability to understand not only how such trends strategically fit with business functions and strategy, but how they can grow the bottom line is a skill which is an asset to potential employers.
Wrexham University’s MBA Marketing is 100% online, perfect for those unable to commit to traditional, on-campus learning. With all the course material delivered online, you can study at times that fit in around your current role. The flexible course design also offers six start dates throughout the year, so you can begin studying when it suits you and start within weeks. What’s more, there’s the option to pay as you learn, and you may even be entitled to a UK government-backed postgraduate loan which would cover the full cost of the course.
Applications are now open. To learn more or to apply, visit: https://online.wrexham.ac.uk/mba-marketing/