Friday, April 24, 2009

Branch-Based Marketing

Branch-Based Marketing

Most companies have access to a wide range of market data. In the current economic climate, the need to more proactively reach out to your target markets to keep business momentum is more critical than ever. The key to effective Branch-Based Marketing (or micromarketing) is to understand how this information can be used to build business, turn activities into a workable marketing program and get results!

This blog reviews the basics of Branch-Based Marketing and why it's a proven approach for success. The “recipe” is especially applicable to any business that relies on a network of outlets, stores or branches to reach their customer and potential customers.


"Target marketing"
"Customer focus"
"Marketing to an audience of one"

These buzz works are all synonymous with the term "micromarketing", an approach adopted by many retailers and also embraced by the financial services and telecommunications sectors.

Anyone with a distribution network today faces unprecedented challenges…
· eroding market share due to competition fromonline and other "non-traditional" retail and services institutions
· the emergence of powerful new competitors from consolidations within industry
· increasing pressure to "do more with less" through cost-cutting and streamlining expenses

In the face of these challenges, there is continued emphasis on augmenting branch revenue and profit and, in many cases, mammoth efforts to build a sales and service-oriented branch culture. These efforts have resulted in branch personnel working "harder" at their sales activity, but it has not necessarily resulted in their working "smarter". For example, like retail-oriented businesses in many industries, banks are recognising the need to maximise the effectiveness of local sales efforts through more focused marketing planning.

Micromarketing relies on the effective utilisation of information to provide the right product to the right people through proactive targeting of marketing programs. It goes beyond "sales and service", combining both tactical and strategic market initiatives more effectively.

Within the financial services industry, for example, this means taking advantage of the wealth of customer information that has become available—information including length of residence, age, income, presence of children and history of response to previous offers—and leveraging it to:

· Target specific products and programs to selected customer segments
· Identify new sales opportunities
· Target new prospects with needs similar to those of the organisation's current customers
· Cross sell products within existing customer base
· Develop new products

However this is also true of many newer industries with a retail presence, such as telecom service providers or “telcos” and other retail chain outlets that have a variety of customer information available to them. In fact the secret to this is anyone can market, effectively and it doesn't have to cost money.

The effectiveness with which this is done increases dramatically when people understand how their tactical knowledge of their customer, trade area, products and marketing initiatives can be integrated to develop and implement local, or Branch-Based, marketing strategies that build sales and strengthen customer relations.

Using Market Information

This means using information to its greatest potential. It means going beyond the use of information to target the "right" audience for an offer. Using available information to create programs that are responsive to the needs of individual customers and prospects leads to increased customer satisfaction, sales and achievement of the organisation's strategic marketing objectives.

This is possible only when employees possess the knowledge and skills needed to make the most of the local marketing data that is available to them.

As the Marketing Manager of one of the country's largest “telcos” explained:
"We have loads of data which could be very targeted. The trick is to take the data and turn it into a workable marketing program, achievable by the front-line, and get increased, permanent sales growth."
And results are being achieved. This particular company credits the achievement of Branch-Based Marketing success because it:

Provided the resources, thought process and discipline for front-line managers and their sales staff. These are just as important to linking a sales and marketing type of approach as is the information itself. It showed them how to take available customer and market data and get sales results."

The results of effective micromarketing include:
· Cost efficiencies realised by retaining current customers (and “downstream” relationships) and selling them additional products—making sure that your organisation is their "main provider"
· Reduced waste through the selective targeting of the "right" audience with a product offering
· Increased Return on Equity realised by closely matching the offer to target "share of wallet" recipients
· Successful integration of strategic marketing initiatives an a local, tactical basis

An effective micromarketing program builds an understanding of market planning and its value. It should also provide a framework for analysing the local trade area, developing and implementing targeted marketing plans, monitoring results and making ongoing improvements.

The Ingredients of Success

In today's highly competitive and constantly changing environment, micromarketing has gained widespread acceptance and use. Its application within branch networks, in particular, has grown rapidly in response to competitive pressures from many areas. It has also resulted in a far greater return on the costly "bricks and mortar" and people investments than any other single sales-oriented initiative.

Research has shown that customers still demand an effective branch network to meet their needs.

In the ever competitive branch environment, micromarketing provides tremendous opportunities to develop targeted marketing programs which better meet customer needs, result in increased sales to existing customers and enable organisations to leverage their understanding of current customers to attract new business and new customers.

These opportunities are being realised in organisations where it is understood that information alone is not enough. The understanding of how it is most effectively used and the skills required to plan and implement marketing-programs appropriate for the targeted audience are the ingredients that, in combination, maximise the effectiveness and success of micromarketing programs for their retail network.

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