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4: Marketing

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4 

Marketing

4.1  Introduction

Whilst everyone uses the word, trying to define what marketing actually is proves to be more complex. Some will cite ‘advertising’, others ‘promotion’ or ‘display’. In many ways it is all these things and far more. The Chartered Institute of Marketing offers this definition:

Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

In other words, by studying and evaluating the market forces and factors affecting a business, the business is able to put itself into a position whereby it may optimize the benefit of its position.

Without good marketing, it is extremely difficult for a business to understand and meet the needs of its customers; with a potential gap between their needs and what the business has to offer, there is the opportunity for another competing business to meet their needs more closely.

While the focus is often on advertising or selling, marketing is a key process that in effect starts with the development and procurement of goods and services to meet the needs or wants of the customer. Interpretation of this may be very important, as the customer is not always aware of these themselves, and often the development of a product meets a need that thus far has not been recognized.

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10: Future Responsibilities

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10 

Future Responsibilities

10.1  Introduction

The future influences the present just as much as the past.

Fredrich Neitzsche

Attempting to look ahead within any business is fraught with difficulty as it is truly a trip into the unknown. That said, the manager needs to be trying to interpret trends and fashions in order to stay ahead of competitors and to meet the future demands of their customers. As identified in the very first chapter, McNair’s Wheel of Retailing theory identifies that retailing does not remain constant. Only those businesses that innovate, adapting to changes within the marketplace, will survive. Sometime this means radical overhauls of practices and product offers.

This is not a new phenomenon, even in horticulture. Many of those businesses with a long horticultural pedigree have only been garden centre retailers for a matter of a few decades – their earlier fame founded on the supply of seeds, bulbs or as growers of nursery stock. As highlighted in Chapter 1, the size, style and ambience of garden centres has also changed rapidly, and there is no reason to perceive that in its current format it is indeed the finished article.

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9: Productivity

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9 

Productivity

Productivity management, in essence the optimal use of resources in meeting the needs of the customer, is a preoccupation of all managers. The outcomes of this optimization should result in a surplus or profit for the business. In whatever sphere, although a loss may be sustainable in the short term, a continuing reduction in capital will put the whole business or initiative in jeopardy.

However, the obvious challenge for many garden centres is to understand how well they are doing. Clearly turnover can be measured against projections, but as these were defined by the business itself, this becomes an exercise in identifying how well the retailer is performing against their own estimates.

Other sources monitoring the retailer’s performance, such as the bank, are again only measuring against the business’s own projections, potentially against a business case that was presented in order to secure the loan or overdraft.

What would be more useful, therefore, would be to evaluate performance against others in the sector, thus giving a better understanding of where the business has the potential to improve significantly – changing the focus of management time and effort.

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5: Managing the Team

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5

Managing the Team

The success of many start-up businesses in the early years is due to the entrepreneurial ability of the individual. Growth in the next phase of development is sometimes stunted because even though the founder is good at exploiting new ideas, they are less able to manage a team and help others reach their full potential. Often the skills that enabled the business to become a success in the early phase can be a barrier to future growth.

A study at the University of Cambridge (Hughes, 1998) looked at a real-time comparison of small- and medium-sized enterprises as they developed in international markets over 10 years. It was discovered that those businesses that stalled or faltered in their growth, when compared to those in the study with steady growth, were characterized by:

ill-defined strategic direction with regard to product and market development; poorly specified (or frequently changed) managerial responsibilities; inadequate devolution of managerial tasks and hence over-burdening of directors who may or may not hold the positions they do by design; and inadequately supported or poorly implemented management training programmes and management information systems.

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2: Consumer Behaviour

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2 

Consumer Behaviour

It’s a simple question: ‘What does the person need?’ However, answering it is far more complex. The decisions and priorities that an individual places upon the purchase of specific products has been studied at length and help to form a framework within which a retailer may work, but there is a significant number of situations where human behaviour is not rational, too.

2.1 The Buying Process

Probably most fundamental to retailers is the understanding of the stages that surround the selection and purchasing of a product. These stages are often presented in the format shown in Fig. 2.1, all of which may be influenced by the retailer. Success is required in all these stages in order not only for a successful purchase to be made but also for repeat business to follow. It is easy for the retailer to over-complicate the decisions the consumer has to make.

Many garden retailers will pride themselves on the range of garden-care chemicals they stock (as a specialist retailer). However, if the choice of weedkillers

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