Marketing Education Pt. 4

Marketing Education Pt. 4

Industry Analysis: Current Status for Marketing Agencies

According to the Canadian Government’s “Job Futures” research, the ‘Sales, Marketing and Advertising Managers’ (NOC 0611) category has the highest 2007 employment outlook rating of ‘Good,’ with an average hourly pay of $28.06 compared to the Canadian average salary of $16.91, and a two percent unemployment level. The rate of self employment in this industry is the same as the national average (Job Futures). The self employment rate is important because it demonstrates the adaptability and significance of a specific skill set to operate independently.

NL has a “Fair” rating for NOC 5241, Graphic Designers & Illustrators (HRSDC) and a pay rate of $15/hour in NL after 4 years of employment (Stats Canada). A ‘Fair’ rating from Job Futures fits in the middle of the employment spectrum between Good and Limited.

Available marketing data for NL is very thin and non existent for Central Newfoundland. Therefore, the three mentioned research initiatives noted in the preface were carried out. In general, two conclusions can be drawn from the results of this research, one quite exciting and the other equally guarded. The most obvious fact is that there is no established business in Central Newfoundland that operates as a marketing consultancy. The critical question that needs to be asked is: has no one thought to enter such a venture or is it so simple that there is no market for a marketing consultancy? This research was designed to answer that question.

For Central Newfoundland, marketing is the domain of the accountant – often an afterthought. When an entrepreneur generates an idea, they may approach an accountant to measure their business idea’s feasibility. The idea is reviewed and the client is asked to write a business plan. Though this plan does contain a subsection called the marketing plan, it is generally nothing more than a sales forecast. There is no advertising plan, no location consideration, no price (a banker actually provided assistance on this from practical knowledge, not knowing she was developing price points), or any other marketing elements. The figures presented in a marketing plan are often accepted on good-faith and their accuracy is at the entrepreneur’s peril. The accountant will take the sales projections and build the necessary financial reports, based on industry standards for that particular sector and region, to determine feasibility. The consensus of the expert group is that the majority of businesses fail due to poor planning. This is not a comment toward the accountant but the entrepreneur responsible for developing and carrying out the business plan.

What I find interesting is that access to capital is generally the main reason for business failure. Poor planning, for which there is no excuse, was often cited by the expert group as the primary reason for local business failure. Most new entrepreneurs have little to no academic background in business and this vital step in neglected.

Status: The following is the consensus of the “Expert Group:”

Of all the questions that I posed regarding local business weaknesses, the aspects of marketing were very consistent. If there is one identifiable skill that is lacking among business people, it is the skill to market products and services. Though control over cash flow was probably the most lacking, it was recognized that support for accounting can be easily had; not so for marketing related problems.

There are very few, if any, options for people to seek marketing expertise. If one new local business service was needed, it would definitely be a marketing consultancy. What was interesting was that, of the many names and companies that were mentioned, nearly all were accountants or financial service providers. Only one person could think of a “brand name” marketer that operated in Central Newfoundland but this person was not located in Grand Falls-Windsor.

Among entrepreneurs, the priority for the marketing element of the business plan was near the bottom. Interestingly, one business development agency’s business plan contained 6 pages on marketing, 6 pages on accounting, and 4 on pages finance. Another agency identified marketing as such a dangerously neglected aspect that they provide their clients with a separate marketing guide. What was odd was that the marketing guide still focused on accounting and offered little in the way of marketing guidance.

Summary of Status

From my exhaustive research, one simple conclusion can be made: aside from one marketer in Gander, there is no status of marketing agencies in Central Newfoundland because there are no marketing agencies in Central Newfoundland. I did discover a marketing agency that existed in the early ‘90s, Improvison, which was headed by Sean Cooper. If need could be put on a scale, marketing support would be rated the highest. Unfortunately, the prospects for a local marketing agency are somewhat different.

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