Thursday, September 10, 2009

Marketing Plan

The information for this article was derived from many sources, including Michael Porter's book Competitive Advantage and the works of Philip Kotler. Concepts addressed include 'generic' strategies and strategies for pricing, distribution, promotion, advertising and market segmentation. Factors such as market penetration, market share, profit margins, budgets, financial analysis, capital investment, government actions, demographic changes, emerging technology and cultural trends are also addressed.

There are two major components to your marketing strategy:
  • how your enterprise will address the competitive marketplace
  • how you will implement and support your day to day operations.
In today's very competitive marketplace a strategy that insures a consistent approach to offering your product or service in a way that will outsell the competition is critical. However, in concert with defining the marketing strategy you must also have a well defined methodology for the day to day process of implementing it. It is of little value to have a strategy if you lack either the resources or the expertise to implement it.

In the process of creating a marketing strategy you must consider many factors. Of those many factors, some are more important than others. Because each strategy must address some unique considerations, it is not reasonable to identify 'every' important factor at a generic level. However, many are common to all marketing strategies. Some of the more critical are described below.

You begin the creation of your strategy by deciding what the overall objective of your enterprise should be. In general this falls into one of four categories:
  • If the market is very attractive and your enterprise is one of the strongest in the industry you will want to invest your best resources in support of your offering.
  • If the market is very attractive but your enterprise is one of the weaker ones in the industry you must concentrate on strengthening the enterprise, using your offering as a stepping stone toward this objective.
  • If the market is not especially attractive, but your enterprise is one of the strongest in the industry then an effective marketing and sales effort for your offering will be good for generating near term profits.
  • If the market is not especially attractive and your enterprise is one of the weaker ones in the industry you should promote this offering only if it supports a more profitable part of your business (for instance, if this segment completes a product line range) or if it absorbs some of the overhead costs of a more profitable segment. Otherwise, you should determine the most cost effective way to divest your enterprise of this offering.
Having selected the direction most beneficial for the overall interests of the enterprise, the next step is to choose a strategy for the offering that will be most effective in the market. This means choosing one of the following 'generic' strategies (first described by Michael Porter in his work, Competitive Advantage).
  • A COST LEADERSHIP STRATEGY is based on the concept that you can produce and market a good quality product or service at a lower cost than your competitors. These low costs should translate to profit margins that are higher than the industry average. Some of the conditions that should exist to support a cost leadership strategy include an on-going availability of operating capital, good process engineering skills, close management of labor, products designed for ease of manufacturing and low cost distribution.
  • A DIFFERENTIATION STRATEGY is one of creating a product or service that is perceived as being unique "throughout the industry". The emphasis can be on brand image, proprietary technology, special features, superior service, a strong distributor network or other aspects that might be specific to your industry. This uniqueness should also translate to profit margins that are higher than the industry average. In addition, some of the conditions that should exist to support a differentiation strategy include strong marketing abilities, effective product engineering, creative personnel, the ability to perform basic research and a good reputation.
  • A FOCUS STRATEGY may be the most sophisticated of the generic strategies, in that it is a more 'intense' form of either the cost leadership or differentiation strategy. It is designed to address a "focused" segment of the marketplace, product form or cost management process and is usually employed when it isn't appropriate to attempt an 'across the board' application of cost leadership or differentiation. It is based on the concept of serving a particular target in such an exceptional manner, that others cannot compete. Usually this means addressing a substantially smaller market segment than others in the industry, but because of minimal competition, profit margins can be very high.
Having defined the overall offering objective and selecting the generic strategy you must then decide on a variety of closely related operational strategies. One of these is how you will price the offering. A pricing strategy is mostly influenced by your requirement for net income and your objectives for long term market control. There are three basic strategies you can consider.
    If your offering has enough differentiation to justify a high price and you desire quick cash and have minimal desires for significant market penetration and control, then you set your prices very high.
    If near term income is not so critical and rapid market penetration for eventual market control is desired, then you set your prices very low.
    If you are not the market leader in your industry then the leaders will most likely have created a 'price expectation' in the minds of the marketplace. In this case you can price your offering comparably to those of your competitors.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dubai Economy

Dubai Economy
Dubai has changed dramatically over the last three decades, becoming a major business centre with a more dynamic and diversified economy. Dubai enjoys a strategic location and serves as the biggest re-exporting centre in the Middle East.

Its low logistical and operational costs and excellent infrastructure, international outlook and liberal government policies are attracting investors in a big way. Activities such as trade, transport, tourism, industry and finance have shown steady growth and helped the economy to achieve a high degree of expansion and diversification.

In order to assist those interested in obtaining further details about the Dubai economy , pages have been provided below with the latest data for key socio-economic indicators. They contain tables on Dubai Economic Statistics extracted from the "Dubai Socio-Economic Development Indicators" including a wide range of current data on the Dubai economy and society. Also, other pages contain the Quarterly Indicators as well as information about Investment in Dubai, industrial projects and commercial/ business centers.

Why Choose Dubai As An Investment Location?

The Dubai economy enjoys a competitive combination of cost, market and environmental advantages that create an ideal and attractive investment climate for local and expatriate businesses alike. In fact, these advantages not only rank Dubai as the Arabian Gulf’s leading multi-purpose business center and regional hub city, but they place it at the forefront of the globe’s, dynamic and emerging market economies.
Dubai, with its ancient commercial and seafaring traditions, has long been recognized as the Middle East region’s leading trading hub and has emerged as its key re-export center. In more recent years, the Emirate has become a major venue for a number of growing, profitable industries and activities:

• Meetings, conferences, exhibitions
• Tourism
• Corporate regional headquarters
• Regional transport, distribution and logistics center
• Banking, finance and insurance
• Business and industrial consulting
• Information and Communications Technology
• Light and medium manufacturing

This all became possible due to Dubai’s warm, welcoming people, world class facilities and infrastructure and farsighted, open and liberal economic policies. Finally, committed to a progressive vision of itself, keen to diversify its economy and diminish its reliance upon shrinking oil revenues, Dubai has begun to develop into the Arabian Gulf’s premier international business center. Consider the factors that contribute to this ongoing success story.

Dubai’s Key Advantages

I. Strategic Location: Dubai is a time zone bridge between the Far East and Europe on the East-West axis and the CIS and Africa on the north-south axis. It is a gateway to a market that can be characterized as:
• Large - well established trading links exist with the greater than 1.5 billion people in the neighboring region covering the Gulf, Middle East/Eastern Mediterranean, CIS, Central Asia, Africa and the Asian sub-continent;
• Growing - Dubai’s total international trade has grown on average by over 11% per year since 1988 and regional economic growth and liberalization should boost demand further;
• Prosperous - a buoyant local economy strategically located in the midst of one of the world’s richest regions and well endowed with ample supplies of cheap energy and primary aluminum; also adjacent to major regional suppliers of vital agro-export commodities;
• Diversified - varied and significant import requirements generate opportunities for product suppliers and re-exporters;
• Accessible - served by over 120 shipping lines and linked via 85 airlines to over 130 global destinations;
• Open - no exchange controls, quotas or trade barriers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Intro to Consumer Behavior

Consumer behavior--what is it?
Consumer Behavior and Strategy
Elements of strategy
Consumer Analysis
Consumer behavior outcomes

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