The best product or service on the market will not be purchased if customers are unaware of its existence. A company’s ability to thrive depends on its ability to market its products and services effectively. According to Cowley-Cunningham et al. (2016), A standard error is that new businesses recognize a market need for a product but fail to advertise it properly. In order to “properly” sell a product, one must do more than disseminate information about it on social media; one must instead devise a comprehensive marketing plan based on in-depth investigation and evaluation. This is a long-term project that will take a lot of effort and time, but the results will be well worth the effort (Acheampong 2017). The section refers to it as SOSTAC (Situation Analysing Objectives, Strategies, Tactics, Actions, and Control) when it comes to marketing strategy. Many different techniques and strategies may be used throughout these stages in order to design the best marketing strategy for a product or service while still keeping the plan focused on the target market. In this paper, The Candy Store firm is used as an example to show the components of a successful marketing strategy.
SOSTAC Situation Analysis
A situational analysis is the first stage in developing a marketing strategy to boost sales at The Candy Store. To do this, you must first figure out where your company is in relation to its rivals and the rest of its (marketing) environment (Huovila 2020). It is possible to undertake this evaluation and audit using a variety of techniques, starting with a macro assessment of the market, followed by a look at rival activities and client demands.
PEST or PESTLE analysis, often known as a STEEPLE analysis, is a popular and helpful macro analysis method. When it comes to looking at a company’s current status, there are several ways. PESTLE analysis is the complete acronym (Salo 2017). As a starting point, keep in mind that not every one of these variables will have an equal bearing on your particular company. There is a lot that may change based on the type of the firm, its size, and current trends in the industry. A complete STEEPLE evaluation will be performed on ‘The Candy Store.
The scale of the sweets market in the UK shows that there is still a strong need for sweets among both children and adults. People often indulge in sweets throughout the year, but this is especially true at holidays like Christmas and Easter when chocolate and other sweets have come to symbolize the season (Ealy 2019). Sweets are also a common kind of reward for youngsters in the UK and are a part of the country’s cultural heritage. Sweets may also be a low-cost personal reward for grownups (see the economic component).
The production of sweets is well-established and does not rely much on advanced technology. Still, it is normally preferred for an organization to have a website and utilize technology to monitor sales and stock levels.
Sweets are still an inexpensive indulgence, even if the UK is going through economic turmoil due to broader political causes. The economic era of protracted austerity and probable recession will have little influence on sweets consumption.
There are two ways to make sweets: large manufacturing in a specialized facility or small-batch artisan production. If packing for sale is considered, the environmental effect is likely to be minor.
The influence of political changes on sweets selling in the United Kingdom is expected to be limited and mostly unchanged (Salo 2017). In terms of ‘Brexit,’ there is just one probable consideration: the continuous discussion and sale and export of sugar, a key component for sweets, which may be decreased in price due to differing trade tariffs agreed upon.
There should be no legal restriction to producing and selling sweets if they comply with food safety rules. Keeping in mind the legalities of operating a company, it is important to follow any relevant regulations (Acheampong 2017). Minimum requirements for this include health and safety, employment, and accounting regulations. A “sugar tax” is being discussed. However, at the moment, it is focused on fizzy drinks rather than real sweets.
If you’re a small store, you may want to think about a small-scale social responsibility campaign since some people may object to selling sweets because excessive consumption might lead to long-term health concerns (Rouhgandom 2019). Most individuals can control how much they consume. Thus this is quite improbable. While there are specific changes in the macroeconomic and political environment that might impact The Candy Store soon, they seem to have no immediate impact on The Candy Store’s operations. As a result, it may be stated that the general trade climate will be favorable.
An investigation of the company’s rivals is the next phase since their existence will affect how The Candy Store promotes and positions itself. Analyzing the activity of rivals and the broader competitive environment may be done in several ways (Röös 2016). Even for a small firm that sells nationwide through its internet, it is critical to keep tabs on what its competitors are doing. It’s best to do this in two phases, the first of which looks at the overall market activity, and the second of which looks at your immediate and direct rivals.
The Candy Store must do an internal SWOT analysis, also known as a microanalysis, to determine the company’s greatest efficiency. As a best practice, The Candy Store should do a SWOT analysis in conjunction with an external evaluation to identify the company’s strengths and weaknesses in the marketplace (Simola et al., 2020). Knowing these dangers and vulnerabilities will allow them to take action before they become an issue.
According to the SWOT analysis, the Candy Store must keep an eye on their rivals, suppliers, and potential customers at all times, even if they are doing well in their local surroundings. For example, they may sell artisan sweets made by local suppliers or collaborate with other small companies that share their ideas in the future (Tardy and Olivieri 2010). Therefore, firms must use their existing brand and reputation in the local market as a springboard for new marketing ideas, knowing that bigger rivals will always be able to offer their products at lower prices. A direct price competition approach is unlikely to succeed in light of this reality. Since huge organizations have an advantage in scale and resources, small firms must find a method to differentiate themselves from the crowd.
The reputation of a company’s brand and how consumers see it from an external viewpoint are particularly crucial considerations for larger organizations. A company’s brand is increasingly recognized as a vital component of its success since some gain much from its reputation. However, branding is a separate field of study from marketing, and the two are not mutually exclusive. When it comes to those who don’t know the difference, this is yet another widespread mistake Cowley-(Cunningham et al., 2016). As a result, consumers’ perception of an organization and, to a lesser degree, rivals is likely to have a significant impact on how organizations react. For example, suppose a firm changes its marketing strategy and no longer synchronizes its activities with its brand and reputation. In that case, this might negatively impact both the business and its brand and reputation, respectively.
It is crucial to know how consumers and rivals see an organization in a social media-driven environment where customers may offer quick feedback, both favorable and unfavorable. Since, The Candy Store is a tiny local firm, customer and competition perceptions may not be as significant to it as they are to a larger corporation (Tardy and Olivieri 2010). This information may be gathered by conducting a brief customer feedback survey. A face-to-face meeting is more likely to be successful than a phone call, but this might be a meaningful and instructive exercise if the resources are available.
When all of these variables are considered together, it becomes clear that the first and possibly most critical step in developing a successful marketing strategy is to perform an in-depth evaluation of all potential market influences. When it comes to understanding their existing market position and prospects, The Candy Store may use this information (Lähteenmäki 2017). There are a few things they may be able to influence, but in reality, the vast majority are out of their power. It is vital to understand where they are now and where they would want to go in terms of market circumstances and realize that marketplaces are always changing. Performing situational analyses and keeping a close eye on the broader market is always worth the time and effort invested in avoiding the dangers and obstacles that have caused businesses to fail. It doesn’t matter how big or little a company is. A comprehensive situational analysis is always a good idea.
In order to do a gap analysis, one must have a firm grasp of both the ideal and real status of a company. You’ll be able to see where you’re making progress toward your long-term goals and where you’ll need further support.
These goals, for example, are quantitative, time-bound, quantifiable, and time-limited in nature. In order to discover where resources should be invested for genuine outcomes, scenario analysis has to be conducted (Salo 2017). They’re practical and realistic in every way. Increasing or maintaining a client base is dependent on a company’s ability to maintain or grow its market share and persuade existing consumers to spend more money with them. Consequently, it’s a good idea to restrict the number of goals to be achieved in a timely way and to review and assess them frequently to ensure their success. Check whether spending per basket has risen and, if so, determine if a more aggressive goal may be established over the following three months.
Marketing strategies may be classified as short-term (up to a year), medium-term (two to three years), or long-term (more than three years) (3 to 5 years). Although it may be better to concentrate on shorter to medium-term marketing strategies, it is crucial to remember that you should always have a broader long-term strategy in place.
The company’s long-term goals must be matched with marketing objectives, and this is done via a long-term strategy. Using STP strategies is likely before participating in high-profile, visible activities resulting from a thorough inquiry (Rouhgandom 2019). The Candy Store is confident in its long-term marketing plan because it has a current client database, the resources required to develop exciting and relevant marketing material, and the capacity to guarantee that its website performs effectively on desktops and mobile devices alike.
It’s vital to remember that the Candy Store is a tiny high-street business with an internet presence. Therefore, certain strategy components are more critical than others (Rouhgandom 2019). It’s expensive to build and maintain a multi-page, multi-functional website, so this might also be a practical issue. If you’re going to have a website, you may as well make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for (Ealy 2019). The Candy Store uses inventory management software to guarantee that consumers won’t be disappointed if they attempt to purchase anything out of stock, which is recognized in the industry as the most frequent cause for customers to leave a shopping basket and never come back.
According to our findings from the situational analysis and market assessment conducted under the STEEPLE aspect, the retro sweets market is rising. Sweets based on current cartoon and film trends are likewise popular with various market sectors. As a result, the candy store must decide whether to concentrate on a single part or both (Simola et al., 2020). By looking at the big-box grocery competitor from a different angle, it becomes clear that going “head to head” with them would be too expensive and that appealing to the adult population with nostalgic sweets would be a better strategy. You can connect with local Artisan producers by doing a SWOT analysis.
At this level of the framework, we get to the “nitty-gritty” of how the strategy will be put into practice. With this agreement, clients may be certain that any marketing materials, such as online content are truthful and trustworthy. The validity of an email database and all people’s permission on that database is essential, but it’s not the only one (Huovila 2020). Make sure you know exactly who your target market is, how to get in touch with them, and what you can do if your target market isn’t clear. Social media advertising and electronic word-of-mouth are two examples. Adults who have a soft spot for vintage or handcrafted goods may prefer using an “old-fashioned” social media platform like Facebook over a more contemporary one.
Local craft fairs and artisan markets may also serve as an additional marketing approach. During these fairs, the Candy Store will be able to meet other local artisan artisans, many of whom will be present (Ealy 2019). As a result of their increased discretionary income and appreciation for the quality of handcrafted or small-batch items, customers at Artisan food markets may be less price-sensitive. Renting a booth, traveling, and putting up a display are all expenditures to consider, as is the possibility of missing out on other business opportunities.
For example, in preparation for Valentine’s Day, a newsletter or seasonal marketing message showing handmade chocolates might be beneficial. A nice time to think about this is the Christmas season (Lähteenmäki 2017). Such marketing operations may also be permissible if they follow a set schedule or habit, sometimes with incentives to purchase, such as discounts or offers. Since reciprocal communication is becoming more significant, it is critical to keep an eye on any social media comments or interactions as part of the marketing strategy. As quickly as possible, negative input must be dealt with, which is of particular significance. In an online environment, quickness of response is seen as critical (Tardy and Olivieri 2010). These include networking, such as joining an organization in the local business community and using this to grow your brand’s reputation and connections with other businesses in the area. Maintaining contact with your local community is essential to networking success. They may act as brand ambassadors by endorsing your company to their personal and professional contacts.
This section focuses on assigning distinct roles and duties to individuals for several different tasks. Someone must be able to explain why the strategy and tactics sections didn’t get the expected outcomes. Due to time and resource restrictions (there is never enough in a day), as well as the lack of past marketing experience, the owner of a small company like The Candy Store may be forced to rely on external resources and expertise to help execute the marketing strategy (Salo 2017). Suppose the small business owner is responsible for the bulk of the activities. In that case, it may be essential to outsource some components of marketing strategy, such as content production and distribution. Due to the owner’s high expectations, there is a tendency to analyze every aspect, which is understandable (Acheampong 2017). These strategies are easier for businesses with more resources at their disposal; they may delegate certain process elements more efficiently. There are times when it’s advisable to relate these activities to your ultimate objectives so that everyone is clear on their roles and responsibilities.
At least in part, it is up to management to make sure that people responsible for carrying out the specified operations do so. The more typical expression is “checking to ensure everything is proceeding according to plan.” Before they become an issue, underperforming areas should be identified and fixed using a proactive and constructive approach (Röös 2016). It is not part of the process to assume accountability for those who fail to accomplish their goals. Because of a competitor’s efforts or public health concerns about sugar intake, the company may change its goals and objectives. The aim should not be abandoned, but it may be essential to repeat it or shift the marketing strategy’s emphasis to another area (Rouhgandom 2019). In order to take advantage of new market possibilities or foresee future market threats, constant monitoring and control program is necessary. It’s also a good time to take stock of what’s working and what needs improvement ahead of future strategic evaluations.
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