Strategic marketing of ABC consulting services.
ABC Consulting Services is a Consulting Engineering firm based in Pietermaritzburg. Primary and secondary research was conducted in an attempt to identify the key marketing issues that ABC Consulting Services faces in its internal and external environments. The primary research done on the company (micro factors) and its environment (macro factors) was in the form of qualitative descriptive research with the source of information coming from internal semi structured focus groups and questionnaires sent to selected individuals involved in the consulting engineering industry. The secondary research includes a study of the current state of the South African Consulting Engineering industry. The content analysis of the primary and secondary research resulted in the identification of six key threats in the macro environment and five main opportunities for the company to increase its current work. The key threats identified are the lack of engineering skills, the lack of skills in the client organisations, inexperienced firms in the market, tendering processes and slow payment from clients. With further unpacking of these issues, it was found that many of the issues are as a result of the lack of skills in client organisations. The opportunities identified include agricultural development for historically disadvantaged individuals, the relatively low value of the Rand making the company's services cheaper for internationally funded projects, increased infrastructure budgets as a result of the 2010 Soccer WorId Cup, agricultural development in Africa and an increase in floodline determination work. The internal resource analysis identified that that the company is very strong in terms of the quality of its human resources; however, it is under staffed for the current work load. Financially, the company is in a good position and the current environment should continue to yield very good returns in the short to medium term, however, the firm is inflexible in terms of financial commitments. The firms lack of formal marketing systems and their low client and contact bases in Government departments were identified as weaknesses. The company's facilities and processes are good and represent a strength, however there are some procedures such as quality management systems which need to be implemented. It is recommended that the company institute formal marketing procedures and market themselves to prospective clients by means of networking and doing presentations to selected prospective clients in order to inform them of the service that the company has to offer. The company should also do limited advertising in selected specialist magazines which deal with irrigation and the sugar industry. In order to establish themselves as leaders in sugarcane estate development, they should write and present papers at the annual SASTA conferences. To promote the profession, they should do presentations at high school level to encourage high school students to study engineering and at a University level; the company should offer their services to the local University for lecturing certain modules of suitable courses. This can be used as a platform for promoting the profession to the students to encourage them to stick to engineering as a career. To solve the staff shortage problem, the company should recruit two new engineers, one with approximately 3 years relevant experience and another with approximately 5 years relevant experience.