As with many other aspects of running a service - or any business – there are advantages in having a ‘big picture’ view, so that rather than each marketing intervention being designed and delivered in isolation, it is part of an overall marketing strategy.
In the module on Employer Relations we say this about Employer strategies
“In the busy, pressured environment of a jobshop, careers service or placements office, it is often easier to deal with the merely urgent, rather than the important things. How do you know the difference?
If you don’t have a strategy then you will always tend to be working in reactive way – reacting to the latest email or phone call or suggestion – rather than an active (or pro-active) manner with goals which you wish to achieve for your service.
A strategy will help you decide whether to respond to the latest initiative and how to adapt to changing circumstances – such as a reduction in resources – and will give you a better basis on which to make your case for protecting or increasing your resources.
Of course, your service’s strategy has to be aligned with that of your university if it is to attract support from the powers-that-be and to stand a good chance of success.”
“Strategy is about what you want to achieve. It is generally about medium to long term aims, with an implicit understanding that long term benefits may require short term sacrifices. It is important not to produce a strategy which it is impossible to implement, so the strategy should acknowledge implications for resources or constraints imposed by resource or other factors beyond your control. However the strategy should inform day to day operations rather than describe them in great detail. Where a strategy is concerned with a single focus it is necessary to make sure that it is consistent with existing strategies, or that where a change is needed that there is a good chance that this change will be accepted”.
All of this is equally true of a marketing strategy.
In your assignment you will start to develop a strategic view of marketing your service. In preparation for this, there are three activities to carry out. It is up to you what you choose as the most appropriate area for your analysis. Defining the scope of your strategy is an important consideration. If you make it too narrow then there will be too many factors outside the scope which will reduce its effectiveness. On the other hand, if you make it too wide then your strategy is likely to become unmanageable. Some of the things to take into account are where the boundaries are drawn for staffing and budgetary control, the scope of any existing strategy and the ownership of any brands.
Activity 1 – PEST Analysis
You may already be familiar with this tool. Sometimes the acronym is rearranged to make STEP. The PEST analysis is a useful tool for understanding market growth or decline, and as such the position, potential and direction for a business. Like marketing, it has an external focus. Draw up lists under the following headings of the current situation of your service.
There is an example of a PEST analysis at http://www.businessballs.com/pestanalysisfreetemplate.htm
Activity 2 – SWOT Analysis of your service
You will probably be very familiar with this already. Draw up lists under the following headings of the current situation of your service (not of how it is marketed – that is activity 3). This will give you some ideas about areas where you may wish to focus your marketing activity in the future, (for example to improve on a perceived weak area, counter a threat or sieze an opportunity) or to indicate areas of success which you can use in marketing material.
There is a example of a SWOT analysis at http://www.businessballs.com/swotanalysisfreetemplate.htm
Activity 3 – SWOT Analysis of how your service is marketed
Now repeat the SWOT analysis but this time relate it to how your service is currently marketed. Some things to think about are the impact of current marketing activities, the importance that marketing is given and the resources it attracts.
Important aspects of your strategy will be how you monitor, control and review it. You will need to decide what is appropriate in terms of level of detail and frequency of reporting. You must also decide on what are the relevant performance measures. Finally, you must be prepared to react to what you discover when you carry out the monitoring and make adjustments to your plans as necessary.
There is further useful guidance on compiling a marketing strategy on the Business Link website