15 Apr

Funding Masterclasses Part XV: Market Research

Funding Masterclasses Part XV

In our previous blogs on communication and marketing, we’ve covered getting the right message, to the right people, in the right format. But how do you know who are the right people?

Market research can help you to identify the needs of your target customers, if the market is large enough and the expected demand strong enough to provide a viable business opportunity. But market research isn’t all about new markets and customers – often overlooked are your existing customers. You have all the information, but you might not be exploiting it fully. Organisations often spend limited resources chasing new customers before fully exploiting their current!

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have a typical customer or range of customers? (customer profiling)
  • How do you get feedback from customers?
  • Do you know why your product/service was selected?
  • How do your customers find about your organisation?
  • What is your customers spending profile?
  • Is there a market for repeat or follow up business?

If you’ve decided that the current market is saturated, or decided to develop a new product or service, questions to consider include:

  • Who are the competitors? Could they be partners?
  • What is development time?
  • What are costs of development, and how will you fund this?
  • Do you have the skills to develop or do you need specialist advice?
  • Who are the potential customers, and how will you reach them? (customer segmentation)
  • What is the likely demand? (eg market penetration)
  • What will be the return on investment (ROI)?
  • What are the risks to the current business?

When applying for funding, the market research undertaken will demonstrate the need for the project ie it will identify the gap in the market. The initial stage will be desk research (known as ‘secondary research’) looking at what is already publicly available eg web searches, reports, articles, statistics. The next stage will be field research (‘primary research’) where you would do your own investigation into market eg survey, interviews.

If you require assistance on undertaking market research, our qualified advisers can help you. Please contact Sophie Price on 01837 658643.

Liz Abell signature

Managing Director

04 Apr

Funding Masterclasses Part XIV: Marketing

Funding Masterclasses Part XIVOften linked with communication, marketing concerns the promotion and selling of your organisation’s products and services. Marketing is often defined in terms of the 4Ps – product, price, place, promotion.

For each element of the marketing mix there are implementation plans to develop, meaning questions need to be considered. This can be done as a stand-alone activity or part of a more general business planning process. Ask yourself:

  • Against whom and how are you compared? (competitor analysis)
  • What are your current attributes/why do your customers value you?
  • How do you decide on what new products/services to develop? What market research do you do? (more on this in next blog)
  • What is the current market reach of the business?
  • How are you going to get your products to market?
  • What distribution channels will you use?
  • Are any particular customers to be targeted? (market segmentation)
  • How quickly will the market take up new product/service? (diffusion of innovation curve)

The advent of new technology has opened up many opportunities for marketing a business. Some businesses now longer invest in traditional print advertising, relying solely on the businesses generated online. But online doesn’t necessarily mean free – you have to pay to have a business page on Facebook, and don’t underestimate the time it takes to create content for a website. That said, most people will look at a website for information about a business. So, even if you intend to market via parish magazine and or local paper, having a basic website page giving details about who you are and what you do would be useful.

But never forget, for smaller businesses the most effective source of marketing will be face to face or personal recommendation, so it is about YOU. So when deciding on a new marketing strategy a good technique is distilling the message into an ‘elevator pitch’ or seeing if it passes the ‘pub test’.

If you require assistance to market your business, our qualified advisers can help you. Please contact Sophie Price on 01837 658643.

Liz Abell signature

Managing Director

 

01 Apr

Forestry & LEADER Workshops

*** Free focussed session to support forestry and woodland businesses to apply for LEADER grants***

This Forestry Commission run session is most suitable for people who have a clear project in mind and have researched the costs and benefits of their proposal and are ready to apply soon to LEADER.

Thursday 14 April: South Brent Community Centre, South Devon

This 2 hour morning session will be led by a LEADER programme manager and a specialist forestry business advisor. The LEADER representative will go through the grant application forms and the forestry business specialist will be on hand to discuss anything relating to the technical side of your project.

Booking is essential. If you would like to book a place at this event, please respond to Tracy Fry, who will be taking bookings. Please tell Tracy which event you would like to attend and include a sentence or two about your project/what you want the grant for. These are small sessions, for 10-12 people each, so we do recommend that you book early to secure a place.