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Philip Collard Other Consultant Website
Last edited 03 Aug 2014

Marketing audits in the construction industry


[edit] Introduction

The process of marketing planning begins with the marketing audit, a detailed assessment of :

  • Who we are.
  • What we offer - the number and extent of service ranges.
  • Our current client base.
  • The main feature of services.
  • What we offer as benefits.
  • The competitive advantages we provide above our competitors.
  • Market segments / key sectors we work in.
  • Geographical coverage.
  • The diversity of business.
  • The degree of vertical integration.

All these issues help determine structure and culture, a full picture of where we are now that helps articulate where we could be at some future time. It is this that gives us our true direction.

[edit] The marketing audit

The marketing audit is the collection of data to be converted into useful information for further distillation in the final marketing plan, but there is as much need to formalise or systemise this process, as there is for the marketing plan itself. An outline framework of the type of areas a firm should be examining and the questions it should be asking, is presented below.

Factors to be examined in the external business environment:

  • The wider business environment can be summarised through a STEEP analysis where STEEP stands for Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic, Environmental, Political (also including legal and fiscal / taxation matters).
  • The narrower business environment is the market the business unit is competing in. Factors to be examined here are: its total size by value and volume; whether it is growing, declining or not moving; the different customer/ client groups that go to make up the market e.g. segments and niches; the range of services / products purchased by these customers / clients in this market-place e.g. direct and indirect competitors; prices of services offered; the range of channels open and finally any industry / trade bodies and regulation that may be relevant.
  • Industry or market competitors. Examination of competitors can itself demand a framework of analysis. The best known in this regard is Michael Porter’s five forces model, which is discussed in depth in many marketing and business management books. The constituent parts of the analysis at this stage include who the competitors are; whether they are direct or indirect competitors; their relative size by value and volume / market share; distribution channels used; brand image and values as seen by customers; profitability; structure and key (marketing) strategies; main strengths and weaknesses.

Factors to be examined in the internal business environment:

  • This is a critical assessment of the firm or business unit’s abilities and should include: sales - by service / product category / range, client segments, region / country (where applicable); market shares by value, volume and percentage in each service/ product market; marketing strategies - channel strategies, promotional, pricing and service/ product strategies (as applicable); marketing management / department; marketing information system and research plan(s).

Conducting a thorough marketing audit is a demanding task. The process above is described in list form only. The level of detail entered into on each point will depend on the auditor and the size of the business or importance of that particular market to the firm.

What is more important is how the information gathered is brought together in some kind of meaningful framework which can then be applied to the marketing plan. Two frameworks were mentioned in the audit methodology; STEEP analyses and the Porter five competitive forces any industry will face. These types of frameworks are extremely useful in processing information and putting it into some form of perspective. McDonald, in his book Marketing Plans, recommends drawing the entire constituent parts and multitude of information together through a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis or framework (SWOT). This is particularly convenient because it differentiates between external and internal factors. Thus key points from the internal business environment analysis can be recorded under strengths and weaknesses while external environment factors go under opportunities and threats.

Many companies use SWOTs for a variety of purposes. It is easy to record every single factor generated on the SWOT, but this will make the whole framework unwieldy and defeat the object of its purpose. Far more will be achieved by limiting the SWOT to key factors which have a direct bearing on competitive success in the following period. The objective should be to restrict each SWOT title to one side of text with each point summarized in bullet form.

It is only when there is a full understanding of the scope of activities, that it is possible to match activities to the environment and to possible capabilities. Any future strategy is likely to require a modification of resources but it still must be a reflection of attitudes and beliefs and these can only be distilled from a full audit.

The next stage in marketing planning is to set a long-term direction by creating a three-year plan.

This article was created by --Philip Collard 14:42, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

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[edit] External references

  • Marketing Plans, Malcolm McDonald, Butterworth Heinemann Professional Publishing Ltd.