Monday, July 23, 2012

My Marketing Definition

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My Marketing Definition

Marketing is basically the activities that a company performs in order to identify and address customer’s needs. If this is done correctly, the result should equate to success and in turn increased profits.

About eight months ago I decided to make the big leap from corporate America to a more entrepreneurial endeavor. I joined my partner, who happens to be my best friend of twenty years, to help him take his business to the next level. For my experience and knowledge that I have gained over the last fifteen years as a sales director in some of the largest distribution companies in the world, he gave me 10% of the company.

We are Escada, Inc., a small computer distributor located in Miami, FL that focuses on the distribution of refurbished computer systems into Latin America and the Caribbean. We carry factory-refurbished systems from manufacturers such as Hewlett Packard, Compaq, Gateway, Dell, eMachines, etc. The company is small with eight employees but we are growing quickly.

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Since our target market is the reseller channel in Latin America and the Caribbean, we focus our marketing activities to those resellers. It is the responsibility of the computer dealer to market their company to the end user.

With our main product line being Hewlett Packard/Compaq, end user marketing is largely done by the manufacturer. Our main market is the Dominican Republic; it represents about 60-70% of our business. The Dominican Republic is a prime market for factory-refurbished systems. One of our challenges has been to expand into some of the larger more mature markets. Refurbished systems tend to sell better in economically challenged markets where the per capita income level is low. Yes, you might say that there certainly is no shortage of this situation in Latin America, but it has proven to be tough to introduce refurbished systems in some of the larger markets.

One of the things that I have noticed as a newcomer to the company, we really do not have a real marketing plan. Our marketing activities consist of mostly of email blasts, ads in the reseller community journals and of course face to face customer visits via travel from Miami, and in some markets, visits from field sales representatives permanently stationed in-county. We perform frequent customer surveys in order to understand what our customers expect and need from us. It is important to understand our customers needs in order to offer the right services and maintain the proper product mix in order to address those needs. I guess you could say that our organization is both product and market oriented. Although we do have a great interest in our customer needs, you can say we are product oriented because we are marketing well-known products that are already produced. We are market oriented because we also focus on the customer’s market and try to maintain the type of product that they need within our inventory.

Some of the most important needs that we have identified from our customers are

· Having the right product in stock, ready to ship immediately

· A competitive price

· Helpful financial tools such as credit terms

· Quick response to RMA issues such as warranty claims

One of the major challenges we face is to expand our market beyond the Dominican Republic. To do this we must first find the right target market that will embrace our products. We must also understand what are the needs of the customer, in order to have the right product mix and offer the right services. The bottom-line is that we need to have the right product, in the right place, promote it properly, and have it at the right price.

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