Thursday, September 20, 2012

What About Your Stakeholders?

All marketers have stakeholders--but who are they and what do they want? Use this list as a starting point for identifying the people and organizations that (1) can affect your marketing performance or (2) are affected by your marketing performance:
  • customers
  • employees/managers
  • owners/shareholders
  • government (regulators, legislators, etc) 
  • members of the media 
  • securities analysts 
  • suppliers, partners, and service firms (ad agencies, banks, etc)
  • special interest groups
  • competitors
Depending on your market, mission, goals, and plans, you may have other stakeholders. For example, if your company is involved with cause-related marketing, the nonprofit group that benefits from this connection is definitely a stakeholder. Why? Because the amount of money it receives depends on your marketing performance in the cause-related campaign.

In other words, UNICEF is a stakeholder of Giorgio Armani Fragrances and other corporate partners that sponsor the UNICEF Tap Project to get clean drinking water to children worldwide.

As you create your next marketing plan, take time to list your stakeholders and identify how they affect you and how you affect them. If their influence is particularly important to the success of your marketing, think about what they want or expect from your organization and what you can do to communicate with them, if appropriate.

Remember, it's illegal to communicate with competitors to coordinate pricing decisions, for example. Yet for industrywide challenges such as conserving natural resources or reducing fraud, representatives of competing firms might serve together on panels or committees. A number of competitors are members of the Sustainability Consortium, a group that's developing methods for measuring and communicating the environmental impact of goods and services. All are stakeholders in the system that will emerge from this consortium...and as customers, we're stakeholders, as well.

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