The traditional marketing process of market research, strategy, and finally, tactics, may not always be feasible for small businesses with limited resources. Mark Ritson, a professor at the Mini MBA, suggests an alternative approach: reversing the marketing process by focusing on strategy first, and then diving into market research.
The Challenge for Small Businesses
Small businesses often face constraints in terms of time and money for quantitative research, making it challenging to follow the traditional marketing process. However, they can still make informed marketing decisions by adopting a more strategic approach.
Reversing the Marketing Process: A Strategy-First Approach
- Market Orientation: As with any business, small businesses should maintain a strong market orientation, constantly engaging with customers and refining their offerings.
- Third-Party Market Segmentation: Instead of conducting extensive quantitative research, small businesses can use existing market segmentation models to create a general map of the market, including market sizing and an overview of customer behaviors.
- Targeting: Based on the market segmentation, small businesses can select their target segments and focus their initial efforts on these specific groups.
- Targeted Ethnography: Once the target segments have been identified, small businesses can engage in targeted ethnography, a process of immersing themselves in the lives of a small number of target customers to gain a deep understanding of their needs and preferences.
- Positioning, Objectives, and Tactics: Armed with insights gained from targeted ethnography, small businesses can then develop their positioning, set objectives, and design effective marketing tactics.
The Benefits of Reversing the Marketing Process
This strategy-first approach offers several advantages for small businesses:
- Cost-Effectiveness: By leveraging existing market segmentation models and focusing on targeted ethnography, small businesses can gain valuable insights without incurring the expenses associated with traditional quantitative research.
- Flexibility: The strategy-first approach allows small businesses to adapt their marketing efforts based on the insights gained from targeted ethnography, ensuring their marketing remains relevant and effective.
- Agility: Small businesses can make quicker marketing decisions by using targeted ethnography to focus on specific customer segments and iterate on their offerings rapidly.
In conclusion, small businesses can benefit from reversing the marketing process by focusing on strategy first and then conducting targeted market research. This approach not only saves time and resources but also enables small businesses to be more agile and responsive to their customer’s needs, giving them a competitive edge in the market.