The “Marketing Gap” is literally a gap between the competencies of the existing marketing team and what it takes to compete, win business in the market place.
Without a doubt, it’s important to know your marketing and also market forces. Marketing is related to economics and given the fact that there is a recession looking to hit Australia next year it is essential that you know your product and use that to gauge your place in the market
The first thing to do is put thought into it, reflect on what worked in the last recession and then see if that can be replicated. Businesses should identify consumer spending habits, observe how they are changing, and look at how they can be flexible to match the new buying patterns.
Everyone talks about marketing to attract customers, and this is especially true for the person responsible for marketing within the business - whether it is the marketing manager, the CEO or the company director. However this isn’t the only thing that the marketing leader needs to know.
The person responsible for marketing needs to not only understand marketing but should have sound economic principles and should have the ability to identify what skills are necessary to accomplish goals for the new financial year.
We find that many businesses mistakenly combine marketing with operations, however marketing is more closely aligned with finance and strategy purely because both of these functions look at future revenues for the business. When businesses make this shift in the way they approach marketing, it will be much easier to see how to tackle the upcoming recession and hit the ground running this financial year.
What are the key issues facing a business looking to close their “Marketing Gap”?
The Marketing Gap exists for a number of reasons, ranging from a lack of skill, a shortage of headcount, or a misjudgement of existing competencies.
According to a poll conducted amongst key marketing executives by Nine Dots Marketing, results showed that the ability to recruit, develop and train talented staff was still the number one attribute mentioned by 86% of respondents and one of the most important factors for building stakeholder value. However, only 8% of managers surveyed had completed an individual training plan for their staff over the previous 12 months.
This is a clear indicator that while organisations value the importance of developing their employees, most had not put competency based performance management into practice. If the Marketing Gap is not managed, it affects the commercial viability of a business meaning that the business won’t make money because it can’t meet the needs of the market.
The easiest way to identify if you have a marketing gap is to look at whether you are meeting your revenue goals or not, and then looking at whether or not you’ll easily meet them over the next 2-3 years.
If you’re not meeting your revenue targets, then you have a very clear marketing gap and you need to act with urgency before it’s too late.
If you cannot confidently say that you’ll meet your revenue targets over the next 2-3 years, then you have a clear marketing gap and you have the perfect opportunity to act on it. Regardless of whether you are confident that you will meet your revenue targets over the next 2-3 years or not, it may be a worthwhile exercise to identify changes in the marketplace which may impact your revenue growth, like upcoming legislative changes, emerging technologies, new competitors and so many other variants.
If you are unsure whether you have a Marketing Gap, there are a number of measurement tools that are available. In particular, Marketing Temps have a proprietary set of tools that can help to identify and measure the Marketing Gaps that existing staff have, as well as identifying what is required to fill that gap.
Once you have identified what is required to fill the Marketing Gap, you need to understand how to bridge that gap. The best way to bridge your Marketing Gap is by recruiting the right marketing expertise, however depending upon your needs and also your budget a full time resource may not be something you can justify. In this case you should consider flexible hiring strategies which will provide someone on a temporary, part-time or even a project basis to fulfil the requirement. A flexible hiring strategy is a cost effective way to bridge your Marketing Gap, and in many ways it can also deliver the faster results where specialists are required.
As you collect data from answering these questions, you will be able to identify certain obstacles - or gaps that are beyond the Competency Gap - which you will need to manage in order to ensure that your growth plans are successful. Again, we need to ask the right questions so that from the ensuing answers we can bridge the following strategic gaps:
The Competitive Gap: Can we bridge this gap by actively offering consumers an alternative brand experience to our competitors?
The Usage Gap: Can we bridge this gap by ﬁrstly winning new customers; and secondly increasing the usage and with our existing customer base?
The Distribution Gap: Can we bridge this gap by opening more distribution channels within the existing market area?
The Product-line Gap: Can we bridge this gap by offering our products to new customer segments?