GUIDELINE ON MARKETING-CO-OPERATIVES

marketPURPOSE

The marketing management guideline provide minimum standards that co-operative societies should have in order to create or change the perception of a product or service in the eyes of the target audience by making use of research and communication media. Each co-operative should however, formulate its own detailed marketing policies that take into account its special needs and circumstances.

SCOPE

The guidelines provides practices in marketing management.

RESPONSIBILITY

It is the responsibility of the board to ensure that the co-operative society develops policies that would lead to best practice in marketing function. Marketing policies include areas such as:

MARKETING RESEARCH

Co-operative societies require detailed and objective understanding of their own business and market in which they operate, in order to make fact based decisions regarding their operations. This means that the co-operative societies need to invest in research to collect the data required to perform accurate market analysis. As the marketers employ a variety of techniques to conduct market research, the small co-operatives should pool resources to enjoy research benefits.

MARKETING STRATEGY

Co-operative should use information obtained from market research to make key strategic decisions and develop a marketing strategy designed to maximize the market share, revenues and profits. By selecting target segments the co-operative would subsequently allocate more resources to acquire and retain customers in the target segment(s). Some of the other innovative strategies that a co-operative could pursue include:-

Market Niche

The co-operative could identify market niches. A market niche is defined as an area of consumer need that is not being completely satisfied and is often too small for larger businesses to pursue. A co-operative could pursue niche opportunities in the area of:

  • Product differentiation and certification. The co-operative emphasizes the product/service’s characteristics which are different from competition such as organic, pesticides free, certified among others.
  • Value-added processing. The co-operative adds value to raw products to create new product or product use based on consumer demand.
  • Encourage partnership between the consumer and the co-operative. The partnership could take the form of contract for products and prepayments.

Promotion Strategies

The co-operative should adopt promotion strategies that ensure that it reaches the target consumers and develops relationships with them to encourage use of product or services. Some of the promotion strategies that a co-operative could apply include.

  • Purchasing media advertising (newspaper, radio, TV, yellow pages, etc.)
  • Organization direct mailing of announcement flyers, coupons, newsletters among others, to current consumers and other target consumers.
  • Posting signs or posters in areas frequented by target consumer.
  • Participation in or hosting community or regional special events.
  • Participation in public interest events- events with community groups which builds a relationship and reputation as a generous and involved community member.
  • Utilizing the internet

MARKETING PLAN

After the co-operative identifies its strategic objectives, selects the target market, determines the desired position for its product or brand, a marketing plan should be developed. The marketing plan specifies how the chosen strategy will be executed and the set objectives achieved. The content of marketing plan includes:

  • An executive summary.
  • Situation analysis to summarize facts and insights gained from market research and marketing analysis.
  • The co-operative’s mission statement or long-term strategic vision.
  • A statement of the co-operative’s key objectives, often sub-divided into marketing objectives and financial objectives.
  • The marketing strategy the business has chosen, specifying the target segments to be pursued and the competitive positioning achieved.
  • Implementation choices for each element of the marketing mix (4Ps).
  • A summary of required investments (in people, programs, ICT systems, etc.)
  • Financial analysis, projections and forecasted results.
  • A timeline or high-level project plan.
  • Metrics, measurements and control processes.
  • A list of key risks and strategies for managing identified risks.

MARKETING INFORMATION SYSTEM

The co-operative will need to design marketing management system that provides cross-functional leadership for various marketing activities. This system should provide pertinent information for decision making, feedback and monitoring and evaluation.

FEEDBACK AND CONTROL SYSTEMS

The co-operative society shall design various control systems, such as sales forecasts, sales force and reseller incentive programs, sales force management systems, and customer relationship management (CRM) tools to measure progress against objectives. It is the responsibility of marketing managers to ensure that the execution of marketing programs achieves the desired objectives and does in a cost-efficient manner.

(Excerpt from Chapter 7: Co-operative Society Management and Prudential Guidelines Manual Template-Developed by VAS Consultants Ltd)

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