Marketing Of Home And Garden Products Business
In its strategic role, marketing your home and garden products business focuses on a business?s intentions in a market and the means and timing of realizing those intentions. The strategic role of marketing when you own a home and garden business is quite different from marketing management, or from marketing for any other business because it deals with developing, implementing, and directing programs to achieve designated intentions regarding products that target a man?s house. There is a saying ?a man?s house is his castle?. We are going to debate a comparison so as to better understand the difference between two concepts involved when promoting and marketing your home and garden products business. To clearly differentiate between marketing management and marketing in its new role, a new term?strategic marketing?has been coined to represent the latter. Within a given environment, when you want to market your home and garden products business, marketing strategy deals essentially with the interplay of three forces known as the strategic three Cs: the customer, the competition, and the corporation. Marketing strategies focus on ways in which the corporation can differentiate itself effectively from its competitors, capitalizing on its distinctive strengths to deliver better value to its customers. A good marketing strategy should be characterized by (a) a clear market definition; (b) a good match between corporate strengths and the needs of the market; and (c) superior performance, relative to the competition, in the key success factors of the business.
All three Cs?customer, corporation, and competition?are dynamic, living creatures with their own objectives to pursue and must be taken into consideration when you sell products for a person?s house and home. If what the customer wants does not match the needs of the corporation, the latter?s long-term viability may be at stake. And viability has a lot to do with home and garden products business. Positive matching of the needs and objectives of customer and corporation is required for a lasting good relationship. But such matching is relative, and if the competition is able to offer a better match, the corporation will be at a disadvantage over time. In other words, the matching of needs between customer and corporation must not only be positive, it must be better or stronger than the match between the customer and the competitor. When the corporation?s approach to the customer is identical to that of the competition, the customer cannot differentiate between them. The result could be a price war that may satisfy the customer?s but not the your home and garden products business?s needs. Marketing strategy, in terms of these three key constituents, must be defined as an endeavor by your business to differentiate itself positively from its competitors, using its relative corporate strengths to better satisfy customer needs in a given environmental setting.
Based on the interplay of the strategic three Cs, formation of marketing strategy requires the following three decisions:
1. Where to compete; that is, it requires a definition of the market for your home and garden products (for example, competing across an entire market or in one or more segments).
2. How to compete; that is, it requires a means for competing (for example, introducing a new home and garden product to meet a customer need or establishing a new position for an existing product).
3. When to compete; that is, it requires timing of market entry (for example, being first in the market or waiting until primary demand is established).
Strategic marketing decisions usually have far-reaching implications. In the words of one marketing strategist, strategic marketing is a commitment, not an act. For example, a strategic marketing decision would not be a matter of simply providing an immediate delivery to a favorite customer but of offering 24-hour delivery service to all customers.
Too much emphasis on ?where? to compete and not enough on ?how? to compete. Experience shows that companies that handle home and garden products have devoted much more attention to identifying markets in which to compete than to the means to compete in these markets. Information on where to compete is easy to obtain but seldom brings about sustainable competitive advantage. Too little focus on uniqueness and adaptability in strategy will have a powerful negative impact on your home and garden products business. Most marketing strategies that target home and garden products lack uniqueness. For example, specialty home and garden stores increasingly look alike because they use the same layout and stock the same merchandise. Ideas for uniqueness and adaptability may flow from unknown sources. Companies should, therefore, be sensitive and explore all possibilities. Inadequate emphasis on ?when?? to compete. Because of the heavy emphasis on where and how to compete, many marketing strategies give inadequate attention to ?when?? to compete. Any move in the marketplace should be adequately timed. The optimum time is one that minimizes or eliminates competition and creates the desired impact on the market; in other words, the optimum time makes it easier for the firm to achieve its objectives. Timing also has strategy implementation significance. It serves as a guide for different managers in the firm to schedule their activities to meet the timing requirement. Decisions on timing should be guided by the following:
a. Market knowledge. If you have adequate information, it is desirable to market readily; otherwise you must wait until additional information has been gathered.
b. Competition. A firm may decide on an early entry to beat minor competition. If you face major competition, you may delay entry if necessary; for example, to seek additional information.
c. Company readiness. For a variety of reasons, the company may not be ready to compete. These reasons could be lack of financial resources, labor problems, inability to meet existing commitments, and others.
Having the ability to do all the right things, however, is no guarantee that planned objectives will be realized, because the home and garden products business is an extremely sensible one. Any number of pitfalls may render the best strategies inappropriate. To counter the pitfalls, the following concerns should be addressed:
1. Develop attainable goals and objectives.
2. Involve key operating personnel.
3. Avoid becoming so engrossed in current problems that strategic marketing is neglected and thus becomes discredited in the eyes of others.
4. Don?t keep marketing strategy separate from the rest of the management process.
5. Avoid formality in marketing strategy formulation that restrains flexibility and inhibits creativity.
6. Avoid creating a climate that is resistant to strategic marketing.
7. Don?t assume that marketing strategy development can be delegated to a planner.
8. Don?t overturn the strategy formulation mechanism with intuitive, conflicting decisions.
Today?s business and marketing managers are faced with a continuous stream of decisions, each with its own degree of risk, uncertainty, and payoff. These decisions may be categorized into two broad classes: operating and strategic. Operating decisions are those dealing with current operations of the business. The typical objective of these decisions in a business firm is profit maximization. The second category of decision making, strategic decisions, deals with the determination of strategy: the selection of the proper markets and the home and garden products that best suit the needs of those markets. Although strategic decisions may represent a very small fraction of the multitude of management decisions, they are truly the most important as they provide the definition of the business and the general relationship between the firm and its environment. Despite their importance, however, the need to make strategic decisions is not always as apparent as the need for successfully completing operating decisions.
Strategic decisions are characterized by the following distinctions:
1. They are likely to effect a significant departure from the established product market mix.
2. They are likely to hold provisions for undertaking programs with an unusually high degree of risk relative to previous experience (e.g., using untried resources or entering uncertain markets and competitive situations where predictability of success is noticeably limited).
3. They are likely to include a wide range of available alternatives to cope with a major competitive problem, the scope of these alternatives providing for significant differences in both the results and resources required.
4. They are likely to involve important timing options, both for starting development work and for deciding when to make the actual market commitment.
5. They are likely to call for major changes in the competitive ?equilibrium,?? creating a new operating and customer acceptance pattern.
6. They are likely to resolve the choice of either leading or following certain market or competitive advances, based on a trade-off between the costs and risks of innovating and the timing vulnerability of letting others pioneer (in the expectation of catching up and moving ahead at a later date on the strength of a superior marketing force). It is important to use proper marketing techniques when you deal with home and garden products. I am sure that you won?t buy home and gardening products from someone that does not know how to properly market and promote its products. Good luck.
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