Commercial marketing: Get your assets working

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Tuesday, October 14th 2014
Author: Ian Farrow, Westco Director

Council officers are being asked to become budding Sir Alan Sugars in the pursuit of revenue to help protect front line services. This is as it should be but how many councils are commercially minded and have the right skills to bring forward sustainable business plans?

 


Council officers are being asked to become budding Sir Alan Sugars in the
pursuit of revenue to help protect front line services. This is as it should be but
how many councils are commercially minded and have the right skills to bring
forward sustainable business plans?

 

We have seen too many services or ideas go out to market unprepared and what could have been potentially good opportunities wither on the vine. This is not only lost opportunity but also usually costs resources setting up.


At Westminster City Council we have developed a Commercial Board that sits a bit like the Dragons Den to assess opportunities and ensure that only those with sustainable commercial plans are taken forward. Our budding entrepreneurs are helped by Westco’s commercial team to develop plans through tools such as market testing, competitor analysis, brand differentiation and positioning, sales forecasting and crucially resource management in the delivery of new services and products.


They then pitch ideas to our Dragons who are experienced private sector wealth creators and as tough as their more famous TV counterparts. The results are encouraging. We get watertight business plans and we train up our people to become more commercially savvy. Our teams also work closely with those responsible for the reputation management of the authority and therefore ensure that an holistic overview of commercial opportunities is taken. We make sure that these are linked to the ethos and reputation of the council so that residents understand why commercial actions are taken and support them.