Qualitative research has adopted the underlying
assumption that individuals have an active role in the construction of social
reality. The focus of such type of research is on “What it all means for the
people involved” (Boeije 2010, 6-12). Within the framework of this report,
there are two parties involved in the partner relationship. On one side there
are the partners and on the other side stands Belden. After looking into what
Belden does, the next perspective to consider is the partners’ one. Therefore,
to be able to answer the question, one needs to capture the partners’ point of
view and then extract what is relevant from it. To enable this, data will be
collected via primary research. More concretely, non-standardised personal
interviews will be made use of. As mentioned before, the researcher will do an
exploratory study. Also, the nature of this question supposes that a good
comprehension of the partners’ opinions is vital. For this purpose, semi-structured
interview will be more appropriate. Thus, the author will pick several topics
of interest which will set the direction of the conversation and consequently a
framework. In the meantime, this type of interview allows the respondents to
explain their motives, opinions and experiences. In addition, the probing
aspect of this data collection method will allow the interviewer to get an
in-depth understanding of the data. Another benefit is that it can broaden the
horizon and show areas of the problem which have not considered previously.
As there are about 200 (600) channel partners in EMEA,
the available time will not be enough to approach all of them. Hence, a “sample”
of the “population” will be selected. (However,) It should be mentioned that
the term sample in qualitative research does not fully coincide with its
meaning in quantitative research. The reason is the following. Based on the
findings for the sample in a quantitative research, one can make assertions for
the entire population. On the contrary, samples in a qualitative research aim
to represent a wide range of opinions, perspectives and experience. Hence,
samples do not replicate frequency of the observed behaviour in wider
population. Therefore, one cannot expect a statistical inference from a sample
in qualitative research.
To select a sample for this research activity, the
following will be done. First, all channel partners who do business with Belden
in EMEA will be identified. After that, these will be compared based on the
revenue they have generated for Belden. For this purpose, the time period from
1st January 2017 until 31st August 2017 will be observed.
These would then be expressed as a percentage of the total turnover. Thus, one
would be able to find out the most profitable partners for Belden and begin
identifying and analysing their perception.
In addition, the research will also make use of
secondary data. To be specific, a Voice of Customer survey conducted by the
company in 2016 will be explored. The outcomes from it will supplement the findings
from the interviews and set them in context. Nevertheless, the survey will not
be the foundation for the recommendations of the current report. The reason is
that data from the Voice of Customer may be presented in a way that puts the
company in favourable light.
To select the
topics, the VOC will be revised and the comments mentioned there. It will be
put in appendix.
Maybe include the values of the company?
c/ “What are the
best practices in channel marketing introduced by World Class B2B companies?”
The nature of this question requires desk research to
be used as a data collection method. The research activity aims to look into
the best practices currently available in respect to channel marketing. Generally,
best practices can be described as the working methods proven to be most
effective when running a business. Each functional group within an organisation
can make use of them to achieve better results. Also, best practices can be used
as a benchmark to share and compare business performance. Even though companies
tend to share their practices, some are considered to be a trade mark or a secret.
This could mean that they have been patented.
To get an understanding of what is it that one is
looking for, first general
practices in channel marketing will be identified. Having this
information in place, the investigation will proceed by scanning the World
Class B2B companies for practices they already apply.
In order to select companies, three guiding criteria will
be used. First, the form of operation should be B2B. This alone supposes that
the companies do business with the help of intermediaries such as channel
partners (distributors). Secondly, high importance will be placed on companies
with international background. Thus, it will be easier to relate them to
Belden. Lastly, the research will concentrate on companies from the technology
sphere which have proven to be the best at what they do. The reason to focus on
them lies in their resources and technological development capabilities.
d/ “How do
industry competitors of Belden design their channel marketing activities?”
With this question, the research aims to find out what
is it that competitors do for their channel partners. It will give some
insights into their marketing efforts. The data will be collected via desk
research. Due to the fact that Belden operates in an industry with a lot of
players, the research has to be selective. Therefore, the following will be
done. To begin with, direct competitors of Belden will be identified. These are
companies that offer the exact same products and/or services as Belden does and
target the same market. Specifically, the research will look into cable and
networking manufacturers that also do business in EMEA. While identifying these
competitors, their financial performance will be taken into account as well.
Lastly, the distribution model used by the selected companies should be similar
to Belden’s. This means that they should be selling through intermediaries.
After analysing the information and answering the four
questions, conclusions on the subject matter can be drawn. However, in order to
provide adequate recommendations, this report will make use of another model
widely applied in strategic management, namely SWOT. According to it,
successful marketing strategies rise up out of a comprehensive situation audit (Menon, Bharadwaj, Adidam & Edison 1999). This
includes a systematic review of both the external and internal environment of a
company. In other words, the model looks
at the opportunities and threats a company faces as well as its
own strengths and weaknesses. However, at the marketing
level, there is a pervasive consensus that the SWOT framework offers incomplete
answers. To overcome this issues, the managers are to consider two
perspectives, namely front-end and back-end.
Once the SWOT summary of the company’s marketing
situation is created, the back-end planning perspective is provided. It shows
the controllable and uncontrollable events/trends/variables in the environment.
Besides evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,
information about competitors and customers should be gathered to assist in the
decision making process. This knowledge referred to as marketing intelligence
or front-end intelligence is crucial to define and justify the overall
strategy. By acquiring marketing intelligence, one is able to make (well) more
informed decisions and to establish a clear purpose of the course of action.
(well-designed course of action)
this, the overall strategy is defined and justified. By acquiring marketing
intelligence, one is able to make more informed decisions and to establish a
clear purpose of the course of action. The front-end intelligence perspective
focuses on the categorisation of the variables/trends/events as desirable or
undesirable for the competitive position of the firm. Thus, one can say that in
essence effective strategic marketing is based on the combination of good
front-end and back-end planning. As suggested by Liedtke the synthesis of these
two create value not only in aligning the four SWOT components. Moreover, the
synthesis of swot must adhere to a core logic that brings coherence to the