Course Code: Essay Example
This report discussed the main aspects of the marketing plan in relation to MLC Advice Canberra. The objectives of marketing plan according to this report include increasing the market share, creating awareness of the services provided and attracting and retaining customers. This report further identified the main issues in marketing planning which include high competition and changes in the political systems. The main factors which were identified that will affect the operations of the company include the changes in technology, changes in legal systems, competition, social-cultural factors and environmental changes. This report also identified the SWOT analysis in relation to MLC Advice Canberra. The report recommended effective pricing, effective promotions and provision of quality services as the main ways to improve the competitive advantage of the organization.
Table of Contents
7Company background: MLC Advice Canberra
8Environment that impact on the organization
11Competitor analysis and competitive advantage
14Target market segments/segmentation
Marketing is an important component in the success of any organization. Without effective marketing, an organization will not succeed in its operations since the competitive advantage of the organization will be low. It is important the marketing manager should be able to address the various issues which affect marketing function and come up with better strategies in which the organization can create competitive advantage. The marketing function helps to look at the changing dynamics in the market with the aim of focusing on the changes that affect the customers (Kotler & Brown 2013). The main aim of marketing is to ensure customer satisfaction by providing products and services which help to satisfy the needs and demands of the customers. This will in turn help to improve the competitive advantage in the organization by attracting and retaining many customers. In this regard, a marketing plan should focus on the changes in the market like changes in technology and apply appropriate technology in marketing that will help to attract many customers. Marketing plan also helps to ensure an organization creates a competitive advantage by effectively applying the marketing which include the product, place, pricing and promotion (Kotler & Brown 2013). If these components are applied effectively, they will help to increase the competitive advantage of the organization as the organization will be able to satisfy the demand of the customers. It is therefore for any organization to design an effective marketing plan which can help the organization to achieve its competitive advantage and achieve its goals and objectives. In this essay therefore, the main elements of marketing plan will be discussed like the SWOT analysis, marketing objectives and the environment that can impact on the operations of the business. Finally, recommendations will be given based on the marketing mix.
For an organization to be able to be competitive in the global market, it should be able to develop competent team which will help to develop effective marketing plan objectives. The objectives act as a guide to all operations of the organization especially when marketing the products and services of the organization (Fifield 1998). The objectives should be systematic, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. This implies that they should be assessed and quantified over a given period of time and if they have not been achieved then there is need to identify the reasons why the objectives were not achieved and this will help to develop better objectives which can be achieved by the organization. The following are the main objectives of a marketing plan.
The first objective can be to increase the market share by 40% in the target market by the end of three years when the marketing plan becomes operational (Hatton 2000). This implies that the organization should be able to achieve the market share of 40% when the marketing plan becomes operational. After [the end of the three years, the market will be assessed to determine what the organization has achieved at the end of the three years thus this objective is SMART.
Another objective can be to achieve 70% of the product awareness in the market in the first two years when this marketing plan becomes operational (Hatton 2000). This can be achieved by developing effective marketing strategies which will help to create awareness of the company’s products in the market. For instance, vigorous promotions can be done to sensitize the customers on the availability of the products and services in the market.
In addition, there is the objective of increasing the marketing growth by 10% every year when the marketing plan becomes operational (Kotler & Brown 2013). This implies that the organization should try and achieve a growth rate of 10% every year. This can only be achieved if there are effective marketing strategies like competitive pricing to attract and retain customers thus increasing the market share.
Moreover, marketing plan aims to increase the sales of the organization. This is achieve by increasing the promotions which help to create awareness of the company’s products hence increase the sales of the sales (Hsu & Powers 2002). For instance, an organization can target to increase the sales by 20% in the next two years upon implementation of the marketing plan. This is possible since the organization can put measures in place to increase the sales like giving quantity discounts and other after sale services like free transportation.
Marketing plan also aims to increase the competitive advantage of the organization. This is because it helps to create good relationship with the customers through good citizenship and this will help to attract more customers to the organization’s products (Hatton 2000). This can be measured through customer satisfaction. For instance, the objective can be to increase the competitive advantage by 15% in the first two years of operation. This will be achieved by ensuring good corporate social responsibility.
In this regard therefore, marketing plan objectives play an important role in the success of the organization. This is because they help the organization to measure its performance at the end of the targeted period (Hsu & Powers 2002). If the objectives set have not been achieved, there will be more measures and strategies which will be put in place to ensure the organization achieves its objectives targeted.
Despite effective setting of the SMART objectives by the marketing team, there are a number of issues which affect the operations of the organization. An Organization should be able to identify these issues and set measures to manage the impacts so that the objectives can be achieved. The following are the main issues in marketing planning.
The first issue is tough competition in the market. There is high competition in any industry globally and this has made it hard for many organizations to succeed (Jobber 2001). If the organization does get its priorities right, it will be hard for it to succeed in the market. This has led to development of effective marketing plan which prioritize the competitive edge of the organization. Stiff competition comes from the firms in the market which have already established and have stable financial base which they apply to attract and retain many customers.
Another issue in marketing plan is poor results which are reaped from the marketing function. Despite organizations setting their objective right, they don’t achieve their target results (Jobber 2001). The reason is that many marketers set strategies which appeal to them and not the target market. This makes it hard for the marketing function to satisfy the needs of the target market instead they satisfy the organization. This makes the advertising inappropriate to the target market thus the organization cannot achieve its desired outcome.
In addition, there is the issue of developing ineffective marketing plan. Some marketers come up with marketing plan which is too complex to implement (Levinson & Horowitz 2010). When it comes to the implementation stage, many marketers find it hard to implement the plan and the effect is that it becomes ineffective in the target market thus needs to be reviewed. In this regard, there is a waste of resources and the marketing objectives cannot be achieved.
There is also the issue of expecting immediate results after the implementation of the marketing tactics. Effective marketing plan does not give immediate results after its implementation. The management of the organization sometimes becomes impatient and they expect the results immediately (Levinson & Horowitz 2010). This puts the marketing manager under pressure and he or she may put in place short term tactics to achieve results almost immediately like competitive pricing. The short term tactics may not focus in the future needs of the market thus there will be poor long term results hence the organization cannot be competitive in the market.
There are also the changing dynamics of the market which make it hard for the organization to successfully implement its marketing plan (Levinson & Horowitz 2010). Changes in customer preferences and also changes in technology make it hard for the organization to implement the marketing plan to the latter. This is because the marketing plan has to be adjusted to meet the changing needs of the market so that it can be effective. This therefore affects the successful implementation of the marketing plan thus the objectives cannot be achieved.
Company background: MLC Advice Canberra
MLC Advice Canberra is a financial institution which gives professional advice concerning financial matters in Australia. The company has various locations in the country but the headquarters are located in Canberra. The institution has qualified financial advisors who provide financial advice to both small medium enterprises and big and established organizations (MLC Advice Canberra 2013). The main aim of the organization was to offer financial advice to the Australians so that they can be able to develop effective financial plans for their businesses.
Depending on the needs of the client, there are three kinds of financial advices the client can get from the organization. The first piece of advice is the general information which includes the quarries the client can have concerning the financial matters. The financial advisor will then explain the solutions to the client satisfactorily. Another form of advice which is provided by the MLC Advice Canberra financial experts is advice of a specific financial issue (MLC Advice Canberra 2013). This is where the client has some specific information about finance on a particular topic. The advice is specified on a particular matter as specified by the client.
Finally, the financial advice which is given is comprehensive advice. This is the advice which takes into account all the financial areas considering the situation of the organization and the financial objectives as presented by the client. This helps the client to be able to plan for the finance effectively. Other forms of advice which are provided by the organization include the insurance advice, retirement advice and superannuation (MLC Advice Canberra 2013). In this regard, MLC Advice Canberra plays an important role in the success of many organizations in Australia by providing adequate financial advice which helps the management of the organizations to be able to develop effective financial plans. This is helpful in ensuring there is effective utilization of resources to improve the performance of the organization.
Environment that impact on the organization
In any business environment, there are factors which impact on the operations of the business. These factors should be analyzed effectively so that they do not impact much on the business to an extent that the organization can be affected negatively (McDonald 2002). The business environment can be internal or external and both can impact on the operations of the organization. The following are the factors which impacts on the operations of MLC Advice Canberra.
The first factor is the political environment. This is the factor which defines the relationship between the government policies and the businesses. It is the extent to which the government influences the operations of the business. In the first place, the government may affect operations of the organization due to stability (McDonald 2002). This implies that the government may change its policies like licensing policies and this could affect the operations of the business because if the license of the business is revoked, the management of the organization has to follow long procedures before acquiring the license again and this impact negatively on the business.
In addition, the government may impose some tax policies which can affect the operations of MLC Advice Canberra (McDonald 2002). For instance, if the government decides to increase the taxation rate this will affect the business in that the business has to increase the prices for offering financial advice so as to be able to sustain their operations. This will lead to low productivity of the organization.
On the other hand, the government may impose some regulations which can impact on the financial advices offered by the organization. For instance, the government may regulate the number of firms entering into the industry and this could be an advantage to the organization since it will be able to serve more customers due to lower competition (McDonald 2002). The organization will be able to protect its market share since there is limited number or organizations because the government regulates entry of firms into the industry.
The economic environment also affects the operations of the company both negatively and positively. The economic factor influences the number of clients seeking the financial advice. The first factor which influences the economic environment is the inflation rate (Bernd & Lia 2013). High inflation rate will lower the number clients seeking the financial advice since many businesses will go bankrupt and will be closed.
The economic growth rate also influences the operations of MLC Advice Canberra. When there is high economic growth rate in Australia, there will be many investors who would like to seek financial advice (Bernd & Lia 2013). This will impact the business positively as it will have many clients thus increasing the revenue as well as the market share which also influences the complexity of the management because as the organization grows the management aspect becomes more complex.
The fiscal and monetary policies on the other hand influence the operations of the company. The company has to look for better ways to attract more customers when the government regulates the supply of money (Blythe 2001). For instance, the business can lower the remuneration charged for offering the financial advice so as to attract and retain more customers since there is limited supply of money.
Moreover, the interest rates affect the operations of the company. Higher interest rates will compel the management of the organization to look for other better ways of raising money other than bank loans (Blythe 2001). For instance, the business can raise revenue through sale of shares to raise funds for their development projects. When the interest rates are lower, the business can take bank loans to expand their operations to new target markets which will in turn improve the market share of the company.
The social environment is another factor which affects the operations of the company. In the Australian business set up, investors have to find financial advice so that they can be able to develop effective financial plan (Blythe 2001). This is because there is high competition and each organization wants to create a competitive advantage. This implies that MLC Advice Canberra has opportunities to exploit due to social culture of the businesses.
The education level is another social factor which affects the operations of the company. Not many investors in Australia have adequate financial skills to develop effective financial plans. They seek the advice of the professional financial advisors (Ellwood 2002). In this regard, MLC Advice Canberra has opened up many branches countrywide to offer financial advice to the businesses so that they can develop effective financial plans has the company has diversified its target markets.
The social classes of the Australian people has also affected the operations of the company. There is increased number of wealthy people in Australia and they could like to remain wealthy by investing in viable businesses (Ellwood 2002). In this effect, they seek the financial advice from the financial experts and this impact on the operations of the company to hire and recruit more financial experts due to increased demand for their advices. In this regard, the company has been forced to increase the size of the workforce to satisfy the demand of the clients.
Technology has also impacted the operations of the company. Australia is one of the most developed economies. In this regard, there is effective infrastructure which enhances the communication between the company and the clients (Ellwood 2002). As technology advances, there are more opportunities which come which need to be exploited. This has impacted on the operations of the company by increasing the number of customers who seek professional financial advice.
Technology has also enabled the company to communicate with the customers better. Technology has led to better advertisement of the company and its operations. This has improved the number of customers who seek the financial advice from the company (Ellwood 2002). For instance, there is online advertisement which has created awareness of the company’s products among the clients who can access the advertisement online. Hence the company has reached a wider scope of the clients.
In addition, information communication has enhanced the provision of the financial services since the client and the financial advisor can communicate online (Fill 2002). This has enhanced the quality of services because the clients do not have to travel to the advisor’s premises for advice. Video conferencing has been a major concern to improve communication between the client and the financial advisor. This has impacted the company to give information communication technology a priority.
The climate of Australia is predictable and this has improved the performance of many businesses. Many investors can predict the climate and this encourages the investments (Fill 2002). There is no fear that the climate will change and affect many company’s operations and this encourages investment thus increasing the number of businesses which seek the professional financial advice. This impact on the operations of the company in that it has to increase the number of professional advisors to satisfy the increasing needs of the customers.
Competition is another factor which impacts on the operations of the company. There are a number of firms which offer professional financial advice to businesses and this has affected the operations of the company. For instance, MLC Advice Canberra has to lower its cost of offering the services so that it can be able to attract and retain customers (Fill 2002). Failure to develop these kinds of strategies, the customers will run away to competitor companies which offer the same financial services at a lower cost. In this regard, competition has impacted the company to change its operational policies to cope up with the competition in the industry.
Finally, the legal factors can also impact on the company. There are domestic and international laws which guide businesses when conducting their operations. The laws govern the way the company conducts its operations. Some of the laws include employment laws which prescribe how the business should consider the welfare of the employees (Fill 2002). The organization should be able to abide by the employment laws so that its operations should be termed illegal. When the legal laws change, the company also has to change its policies to suit the new legal changes so that it cannot attract legal suits which could otherwise damage the reputation of the company. This will help to ensure smooth operations of the company.
Competitor analysis and competitive advantage
In any business environment, there has to be competition. Competition in business is health because it helps to improve the quality of services offered to customers. It is therefore important for MLC Advice Canberra to ensure it analyses its competitors effectively as well as evaluating its competitive advantage.
In order to analyze the competitors effectively it is important to develop a detailed profile of the competitors. This will help to assess their strengths and weaknesses as well as determining what they do better than the organization. The factors to include in the profile include the background of the competitors which include the key personalities, the corporate governance of the competitors and the organizational structure (Hoyer & MacInnis 2001). This can be used to compare the issues in MLC Advice Canberra and determine which area to improve.
The financial stability of the competitors should also be considered (Hoyer & MacInnis 2001). This includes the dividend policy and the cash flow of the organization. The method of growth also needs to be assessed. This is helpful since it helps an organization to compare how the competitors generate their revenue and how they apply the finance resource to improve their competitive advantage.
In addition, the services provided by the competitors also need to be taken into account (Hoyer & MacInnis 2001). The management of MLC Advice Canberra must determine how the competitors provide their financial services uniquely. This helps the organization to design better strategies to improve the quality of services offered to customers than the services offered by the competitors and this could lead to competitive advantage by satisfying the needs of the customers better.
The marketing function of the organization is another function which should be taken into consideration when conducting competitor analysis (Kerin & Peterson 2013). MLC Advice Canberra must assess how the competitors conduct their marketing function and compare with its marketing function. This is helpful as it helps to develop a marketing strategy which can be better than those of the competitors and this could lead to competitive advantage.
The personnel management should also be assessed. The organization should be able to assess the number of employees the competitors have and the qualifications of the employees. The structure of the organization should be taken into consideration so as to determine how the competitor achieves the competitive advantage (Kerin & Peterson 2013). The strategies which the competitors have put in place to motivate their employees can also be considered. This is important as it will enable MLC Advice Canberra to motivate their employees better and this will help to attract and retain competitive human skills that will enable the organization to achieve competitive advantage.
The competitive advantage of MLC Advice Canberra can be determined by applying the SWOT analysis tool. This is done by determining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats the organization faces. MLC Advice Canberra has strengths which it has applied to increase its competitive advantage (Kotler & Chernes 2012). The financial stability of the organization has led to competitive advantage of the organization. The financial resource is used to install information systems which have improved the quality of services offered to customers. The organization also has competent human skills who offer quality financial services to the clients. This has led to competitive advantage since the customers are satisfied with the services they get. In addition, MLC Advice Canberra has a good brand name and this has attracted many clients than the competitors. The brand name has helped to increase the market share of the organization thus leading to competitive advantage.
However, the organization has also its weaknesses. The first weakness is poor marketing of the services provided by the organization. The marketing of the organization has not been effective and the end result is that the operations of the organization cover a small geographical area since not many clients are aware of the services provided by the organization. Lack of employee motivation is another weakness that the organization encounters (Kotler & Chernes 2012). The management has ineffective strategies to motivate the employees so that they can offer better financial services while conducting their operations. This lowers the competitive advantage of the organization.
On the other hand, the organization encounters some opportunities. The first opportunity is the market development. There is the possibility of developing the market by diversifying its operations. This could help to attract and retain more customers which will lead to increased market share. The development in technology is also another opportunity to the company (Philip 2011). The company can apply information communication technology to serve a wider scope of the clients and this will improve customer satisfaction thus leading to improved competitive advantage. The organization can also conduct market research to identify new opportunities in the market which can be exploited to increase the organization’s revenue.
The threats that may influence the competitive advantage of the organization include the changes in the political systems. The government may change its policies and this could affect the operations of the organization negatively thus lowering the competitive advantage. Increased competition in the industry can also lower the competitive advantage of the organization (Philip 2011). There are many entrants to the industry which implies that the market is being divided and the number of clients is shrinking. This implies that if the organization does not develop effective strategies for attracting more customers its competitive advantage will be lowered.
Target market segments/segmentation
The target markets for MLC Advice Canberra include large corporations and small medium enterprises. This is because the all businesses require financial advice so that they can be able to draft better financial plans for their businesses (Proctor 2000). In this regard, the target market for MLC Advice Canberra will be segmented into established corporations and small medium enterprises. The reason for segmenting the target market into these segments is to help identify various needs of the market segments and provide relevant financial advices which appeal to the respective target market.
In the small medium enterprises, there will be financial advisors who are different from those advising big corporation. This is because the operations of the small medium enterprises are not too complex which implies that they do not require highly trained financial advisors like the large established corporations. In addition, the small medium enterprises will be segmented into urban market segment and the rural market segment (Proctor 2000). The needs of the businesses which are located in the urban centers are different from those in the rural areas hence this will help to identify the specific needs to each market segment. The price charged for offering financial advice in the rural areas should be less than those in the urban areas due to limited income.
The large organizations will also be segmented into profit making organization and nonprofit making organization. This is because the financial needs of profit making and nonprofit making organizations are different and therefore specific advice will be provided to each market segment (Randall 2001). This enables the organization to achieve better results and increase the competitive advantage by satisfying the needs of the customers. In this regard, market segmentation is an important element in the success of MLC Advice Canberra since it helps to satisfy the specific needs of the clients thus attracting and retaining more clients leading to competitive advantage.
In order for MLC Advice Canberra to increase its competitive advantage, it should consider effective implementation of the marketing mix. The first thing to do is to ensure effective promotions. The organization should be able to conduct effective marketing to create awareness of the operations of the organization (Van 2002). The promotions can be done using the posters and internet advertising. This will create awareness of the organization’s operations and services which will help to attract and retain more customers.
The pricing of the services offered by the organization should be effective (Ziethmal & Bitner 2003). The organization should practice competitive pricing so as to satisfy the needs of the customers in the different market segments and this will help to improve the competitive advantage of the organization.
The services should also be of good quality to enable the clients improve their financial planning. This will help to improve the reputation of the organization thus will be able to attract and retain more customers thus increasing the market share of the organization (Ziethmal & Bitner 2003).
Finally, the services offered by the organization should be accessible the customers. The offices of the organization should be located where they can be easily accessed by the clients (Ziethmal & Bitner 2003). The services can also be provided online and this will enable the organization to offer unique services thus leading to competitive advantage.
The proposed budget for implementing the discussed strategies to improve the competitive advantage is indicated below. The source of revenue is the returns from the financial advice offered to clients which is estimated to generate 4M dollars per month.
Cost of implementation (dollars)
Training the employees
Marketing function is the core factor which helps an organization to achieve the competitive advantage. The main objectives of marketing plan include increasing the market share, increasing the competitive advantage of an organization and increasing the penetration of the services offered in the market. Some of the issues in marketing plan include competition, market changes and changes in government policies. This report discussed the marketing plan issues in relation to MLC Advice Canberra. The environmental factors which affect the operations of the organization include technology, regulations by the government, legal changes and social factors. The competitive advantage of MLC Advice Canberra has been based on the SWOT analysis by effectively analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the company. The target market for MLC Advice Canberra includes both large and small medium enterprises. In order to improve the competitive advantage of the organization, there should be effective promotions, effective pricing of the services and ensure the financial advice offered is of good quality to enable clients develop appropriate financial plans.
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