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Topic: Strategy

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Marketing Consultant Duties

Posted by Anonymous on 250 Points
I was hired as a marketing consultant at a polyurethane foam company (B2B market) and was asked to identify and qualify leads, which I have been doing. I plan to follow up with the leads I promised to send infomation and start to develop a relationship. I am the only marketing person here and I was wondering what the next step should be? My thought is a marketing plan. Also, any suggestions as to how I can meet and exceed my employer's expectations of me as a marketing consultant.

  • Posted by wnelson on Accepted
    Hello again, Jennifer,
    Think of your role there as a "Business Develop Manager" and this entails two areas: 1) Define the market - e.g. do a marketing plan, and 2) Develop accountstrategies.

    For the marketing plan, here are the steps:

    Start with doing your marketing!

    Understand the market
    • How big is the market (revenue, units, average selling price)?

    • Who are the customers?

    • What are their needs?

    • How can you segment these customers by needs and/or demograhics and how big is each segment?

    • How can you best reach these customers (what media, what message, etc)?

    • What are the best sales channels to use to reach these customers - retailers, wholesalers, distributors? Map this out

    Understand the competition
    • Who are the competitors?

    • What share does each of the competitors have or what segments

    • What are the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor?

    • How well does each of the competitors meet the needs of the customers (by segment)

    Understand your company
    • Conduct a SWOT - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your company

    • Comparing your SWOT versus the competitive analysis, how can you use your strengths to attack the competitors' weaknesses, how can you turn your weaknesses into strengths, how can you take advantage of the opportunities, and how can you avoid the threats?

    • How can you position your product/service to better meet the customers needs versus the competition?

    • For which segments do you have the best compelling unique selling point? Also, what are the pricing needs for each based on the value you bring to the customers?

    Now, it's time to put together a plan to reach these customers with a message that will influence them to understand how your company can serve their needs better than the competition. This involves advertising, press releases, preparing collateral material, training salesmen (if you have them), etc. The plans should take into account different approaches for different segments. The ideal first segment in which to start would be one that leads easily to another segment because this set of customers influences another set. When you're done planning how to attack that segment, plan the next and the next.

    Account Strategies
    The next phase is develop account strategies for the major accounts in each of the segments you have selected. This process involves researching the account and finding out their specific needs, corporate direction, their competition, and who the decision makers and influencers are. Plan what product to start with, where to make contact, which pieces of marketing collateral to use (make a folder specifically for that customer), when to introduce your management to further the B2B relationship, forecast sales expectations, etc. Do this with any responsible sales personnel to get their input and buy-in. Use your network to find those key decision makers and information on what influences them.

    Hope this helps!

  • Posted on Accepted
    I suggest you think in practical terms about your assignment and the development of a marketing plan. Your job as a marketer in a B2B environment (I'm also a marketing consultant - with one of my clients specializing in spray polyurethane foam additives, so I know your market more than a little bit) is not so much to sell as it is to speed the process from a customer's initial interest through to their initial order.

    I'd suggest you begin by taking a look at your company's internal processes. Visit with the sales team and leadership. How do they sell, and who in the customer's organization do they sell to? How long does it take them to move from first sales contact to initial order? How is the product being used? It's probably being used in a number of different types of applications, so that will be a relevant clue as to defining the segments of your market.

    What publcations do your sales people and internal management read? What publications do the customers read? You need to get a hold of those publications and get familiar with them.

    Once you've got a good idea of the selling process, marketing's great as a way to add speed. Look at each area of the process and see if there are ways you can add speed - maybe through better or different response materials, perhaps by a subsequent fllow-up mailing. Maybe it's something else entirely.

    Let's face it, you're a neophyte marketer in an organization that doesn't have any other marketers. That means you've got to work, at least initially, as an enabler for the sales team.

    There are lots of web stes, books, tools, etc. you can access to learn more about marketing and the writing of a plan for 2006. However, until you've earned the trust of the sales team and are recognized as a partner and an enabler, your new ideas, not to mention any marketing investment dollars you ask for will be greeted with a healthy dose of skepticism.

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