The Value Proposition

Why should a consumer buy from you?

Competitive Advantages

What makes you better than your competition?

Choosing A Differentiation Strategy

You chose a target market, now what?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Marketing 101: Microenvironment - Publics

This week's Marketing 101 is going to continue on in Marketing Microenvironments.  Today we are focusing on Publics.

In simple terms, a Public is any group of people that may have an real or potential interest in ... or an impact on ... your business's ability to achieve its objectives - whatever they may be.  Why should you care about Publics?  It's simple.  Publics can help, or hinder your ability to get your message out to your customers, and collect value from them.

Financial Publics
Your relationships with Financial Publics are extremely important.  These relationships directly influence your ability to obtain funding for your business.  Financial Publics typically include banks, investment houses and stock holders.  How these groups perceive you will directly affect your ability to get loans, favorable payment terms, and whether or not other Publics choose to do business with you.  For example, if a brokerage perceives that you are having issues internally, or your products have deficiencies, then it may give your stock a low rating.  If that happens, people may sell your stock, your market valuation will decrease, and your customers may start to buy less of your products and services.

Media Publics
Media Publics can be extremely valuable, or they can be a thorn in your side.  Media Publics typically carry news, features and editorial opinions, delivering them to your customers and other Publics.  They include newspapers, blogs, magazines (print and digital), radio (broadcast and internet) and television outlets (broadcast and digital).  You can carry out your "relationship" with Media Publics via VNR's, PR media releases, op ed's, interviews, or open invitations to review your products and services.  Do not be afraid to make friends and connect with people in the media.  You can gently influence what they say about you.  Having a good relationship with people in the media can make a bad situation for your company "tolerable" or a PR disaster in the eyes of your customers.

Government Publics
Take note: Management MUST take governmental developments into account.  You should always keep an eye on the current state of any laws and regulations that effect the production of your products, the day-to-day operation of your business, or the methods you can use to sell your products and services.  Marketers must often consult with government officials, their lawyers, and sometimes lobbyists.  Get to know your local government, and keep tabs on what your government officials are doing.

Citizen-Action Publics
The decisions you make will sometimes be questioned by citizens, consumer organizations, environmental groups, minority groups and others.  Your PR department can help you stay in touch with these groups.  It can keep you abreast of any concerns or problems that arise.  Make it your mission to get to know the citizen groups that may affect your business and your marketing practices.  Make it a point to have a friendly relationship with any of their representatives.

Local Publics
Local Publics typically include neighborhood residents and community organizations.  Businesses will usually appoint a community relations officer to meet with the community, answer questions and contribute to worthwhile causes.

General Publics
A business needs to be concerned with the general public's attitude and perception towards its products and activities in the marketplace.  The perception of the business, it's brands, products and services in the public directly effect consumers buying habits.  Keep an eye on Twitter feeds and FaceBook posts.  You will be able to get a very real sense of the general public's perception of you in the marketplace.

Internal Publics
Internal Publics are groups of people inside your own business.  These groups can consist of employees, managers, volunteers, and the board of directors.  Businesses typically use newsletters, memos, company meetings, intranets and other means to motivate and educate their internal publics.  When your employees feel good working for you, when your board of directors are happy with your success, when your internal communications send the right messages to motivate, encourage, train, and edify your staff, this positive attitude spills over to external publics, and helps to communicate your brand message in the marketplace.

A business can construct strategic marketing plans for some or all of these major Publics alongside it's chosen customer markets.  Suppose a business wants to evoke a specific response from a particular Public, such as donations of time or money (Cause Marketing).  The business would have to design an messaging campaign for this Public that is enticing and persuading enough to coax the desired response.

Is it realistic for all businesses to pay attention to all of these Publics at the same time?  No.  Can you effectively market to all Publics.  Yes and No.  You have to make the judgement where to spend your time and resources.  However, at some point in time you will have to deal with each of these Publics in some capacity.  It is in your best interest to at least get to know them, and when appropriate, take action.