Marketing Education Pt. 6

Marketing Education Pt. 6

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats – SWOT Analysis Continued


  1. The Expert Group strongly believed that if funding in the form of grants were available for a marketing consultant to provide training, the demand would materialize. In my research, I did locate such funding but it was not being utilized, to the amazement of the respective expert.
  2. Customer service training was highlighted as a priority. The opportunity that exists is that there is no such trainer, at least none the expert group could recall.
  3. Of all the business that received funding in the form of training grants, low and no interest loans or financing, after one or two years, a ball-park failure rate for those businesses was 15 percent. When asked if, from a marketing standpoint, whether these businesses were saveable, 25 percent were considered saveable. What contradicts this statement is the following from CA magazine; Gerard Berube writes, “two out of three new businesses (SMEs) fail within five years; and for every business that is born, another dies. Only 25 percent of family SMEs survive the transition from first to second generation and barely ten percent make it to the third generation.” I could not conclusively find out how much of a market there is for helping save such businesses.
  4. Other than an significant percentage of personal equity, a sound business plan is what convinces a lending institution to grant credit. The main aspects of a business plan are 1) the actual idea, 2) the financials (generated by accountants), and 3) the marketing plan. What I have discovered is that the source of information in the 3-year financial projections are, in fact, actually based on the marketing plan. But often, the marketing plan is so weak that an accountant has to analyze the market and use similar businesses and markets (models) to make reasonable projections. This is the realm of the marketer. Unfortunately, the task is often performed by the accountant.
  5. The opportunity of actually offering something that has never really been done at a local level. Most marketing plans only focus on projected sales that are similar to other businesses in the same sector. There was only one local entrepreneur (from an expert’s memory) that actually had any skill with developing a marketing plan.
  6. After the first three meetings with members of the expert group, two unexpected opportunities were identified. The first was a marketing diagnostic, much like a trip to the dentist (and probably as popular), to assess the goals, strategies, and tactics of local businesses. The second need was a local “think tank” that could share expertise and help one another in dealing with specific clients. The think tank could come in the form of a referral network or a private online forum where members could include accountants, bankers, business instructors from schools, federal, provincial, and regional development officers, and the local “marketing expert.”
  7. It was suggested that I focus on larger businesses for advertising revenue and smaller, or growth oriented, businesses for consulting revenue; “most of the larger businesses will have in-house marketing that would probably make use of your advertising expertise but they will handle there own marketing plans. Smaller businesses won’t spend on advertising but will eventually see the value of a marketing consultancy (if there is positive word-of mouth advertising/buzz).”
  8. One capital access source said they generally refer those seeking small start-up loans ($25,000-$30,000) to their website and follow the provided business plan. For those entrepreneurs seeking $200,000 or more, an accountant generally helps prepare the business plan including three years of financial projections. It may be possible, then, that either the accountant’s control is the major influence in decision process. If a marketer can work with the accountant to develop the initial plan, then this would present an opportunity. Otherwise the opinions of accountants are threats.
  9. Some forms of advertising have not entered the local market. There is little use of:
    • billboards
    • side-walk art
    • locally based webcast radio
    • electronic scrolling signs for store windows (to be rented out)
    • static cling letters to create temporary signs in the mall or other store fronts (instead of permanent silk screened sheets that may be useless after the intended sale).
    • a local ad supplement for used autos and goods (much like Autotrader)
  10. Suggestions also included aligning myself with a John’s marketing firm and operate as their off-Avalon consultant.
  11. I was also told to focus on the big picture, to think nationally and globally; “this is an intellectual property proposition, if you are good you will be discovered.”
  12. Target Advertising: A brokerage service that matches a clients needs to the most appropriate medium (print, radio, TV, web, etc) and then designs for that format. When I asked what the reaction from the radio stations and printers would be, it was simply stated that they would have no choice but to work with me.
  13. Professional networking: Grand Falls-Windsor has several lawyers and accountants. I was told that most would be receptive to allowing me to enter their referral network. More importantly, it was agreed that with a little word-of-mouth, people would seek me out.
  14. An amazing opportunity was identified in my research was the Job Creation Partnership (JCP) through Service Canada. The JCP offers an employment subsidy that provides a livable wage, similar to employment insurance, for up to one year.


  1. Government handouts have created a systemic problem. Similar to corporate welfare, small businesses are consistently looking for handouts. As weak as advertising and marketing is, if this funding disappears there may be an even lower demand for my services (at least initially). There were also other comments regarding financial handouts but those comments were beyond the scope of this research.
  2. Through all forms of research, I have identified the most significant threats. Two members of the expert group have expressed interest in the same proposition I am putting forward. This market definitely could not handle three players.

Summary of the SWOT Analysis

The need for a marketing agency is strong but the willingness or ability to pay for my proposed service may not be as strong; therefore only one-half of the demand equation can be counted on. If funding can be acquired or if I provide a quality service and build my brand through successful cases, then the operation will be a no-brainer. In general, the guarded comments were:

  • Put you big toe in first to test the market.
  • Have a stable job and do this part-time until you build up enough clients.
  • The Grand Falls-Windsor market is not big enough to support a marketing consultant; the surrounding region (a 100km radius) may be feasible (a worse case scenario that assumes no grants that support marketing) but there would most definitely be a market if I targeted the entire Island.

Overall, the most optimistic opinion with regard to my proposal could be stated as, “I would love to have a marketing expert that I could send some of my clients to.”

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