U.K. Hit By Worst Economic Contraction On Record Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Britain’s economy shrank by a record-breaking 9.9% in 2020, new figures by the Office of National Statistics show, highlighting the impact of Covid-19 restrictions, employment uncertainty and reduced demand, with limited growth in the final quarter narrowly avoiding a double-dip recession.  

The Office for National Statistics said Friday that the U.K.’s economic output fell by 9.9% in 2020, the largest annual fall on record.

Though the economy grew 1% in the last quarter when looser restrictions boosted the services industry, overall output was down 7.8% from the last quarter of 2019, the ONS said. 

The slump is twice that of the 2009 financial crisis and is possibly the worst in 300 years, with models from the Bank of England suggesting a decline of 13% during the Great Frost of 1709.

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U.K. finance minister Rishi Sunak said the figures show that the U.K. has suffered a “serious shock” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“While there are some positive signs of the economy’s resilience over the winter, we know that the current lockdown continues to have a significant impact on many people and businesses,” Sunak said, adding that his focus “remains fixed on doing everything we can to protect jobs, businesses and livelihoods.”

Key Background

The pandemic and associated public health restrictions made for an economically bumpy 2020, especially in economies like the U.K. which are heavily reliant on services. In the U.K., the first and second quarters of 2020 shrunk the economy by 2.9% and 19% respectively, but there was record growth of 16.1% in the third as restrictions were lifted. 

Tangent

In contrast, the U.S. economy shrank by a record 3.5% in 2020, the worst year since the aftermath of World War 2.    

What To Watch For

Strict public health measures and a resurgent wave of Covid-19 infections driven by a dangerous new variant of the virus have the U.K. economy likely falling again in 2021. While the U.K. has the worst coronavirus death rate in the world, it also has one of the best vaccination records, priming the country for an economic comeback. The BBC reported Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane describing the economy as a “coiled spring” ready to release large amounts of “pent-up financial energy”.

 Further Reading

GDP first quarterly estimate, UK: October to December 2020 (ONS)

UK economy suffered record annual slump in 2020 (BBC)

UK economy shrinks by most in 300 years (Financial Times) Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip

Robert Hart

Robert Hart

I am a London-based reporter for Forbes covering breaking news. Previously, I have worked as a reporter for a specialist legal publication covering big data and as a freelance journalist and policy analyst covering science, tech and health. I have a master’s degree in Biological Natural Sciences and a master’s degree in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. Follow me on Twitter @theroberthart or email me at rhart@forbes.com 

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BBC News

The “economic emergency” caused by Covid-19 has only just begun, according to the UK’s Chancellor Rishi Sunak, as he warned the pandemic would deal lasting damage to growth and jobs. Please subscribe HERE http://bit.ly/1rbfUog​ Official forecasts now predict the biggest economic decline in 300 years. The UK economy is expected to shrink by 11.3% this year and not return to its pre-crisis size until the end of 2022. Government borrowing will rise to its highest outside of wartime to deal with the economic impact.

The government’s independent forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expects the number of unemployed people to surge to 2.6 million by the middle of next year. It means the unemployment rate will hit 7.5%, its highest level since the financial crisis in 2009. Newsnight’s Political Editor Nick Watt and Policy Editor Lewis Goodall report. #BBCNews#Newsnight#Coronavirus​ Newsnight is the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs TV programme – with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews. Website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsnight​ Twitter: https://twitter.com/BBCNewsnight​ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bbcnewsnight

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Five Lessons From The Pandemic Light A Path Forward To The Future Of Work

Finally, we are nearing the end of the 2020 tunnel and seeing encouraging glimmers of light. While the pandemic is not yet under control, we do have promising vaccine news as 2021 approaches, and many countries in the Asia-Pacific region have returned to on-site work. We see stabilization in US government after months of uncertainty, and the beginning of commitment and action to address longstanding racial and social justice inequities.

At a more granular level, these months of operating in survival mode have provided valuable insight into how organizations and people can truly move forward from this disruption and position themselves to navigate the future disruptions that are bound to occur. In short, we see a path toward thriving, not merely surviving.

The lessons learned over the past eight months bring sharp focus to global human capital trends that have been evolving for years—trends in well-being, reskilling, superteams (combining humans with machines), workforce strategies, and the role of HR. Even more, these lessons reinforce the overarching need to build the human element into everything an organization does in order to create lasting value for workers, organizations, and society at large.

1. Human potential is our greatest untapped asset.

Organizations have tended to think about what people can do in terms of the bullet points on their resumes and job descriptions. But none of us really knows what we’re capable of and what our limits are until we’re tested and pushed to those limits. The past eight months have been a defining test. They’ve taught us that people can operate differently. They can adapt and perform in ways far beyond what their jobs and roles specifically call for and do what has to get done.

We must now challenge how we think about the workforce and use technology to help identify and unleash human potential within and beyond the organization. This includes retaining the magic that comes from empowering people to break through hierarchy and bureaucracy, lead at all levels, and roll up their sleeves to get the job done.

2. True top-of-the house leadership looks like nothing we’ve seen before.

For years we’ve talked about “tone at the top” and the importance of top-down leadership. Now we have stellar examples of what that looks like: examples of CEOs being more transparent and human than they’ve ever been before. This includes opening dialogues on tough issues like racism and well-being and allowing them to be front and center, and generally leaning into issues that go way past the traditional C-suite agenda.

Senior leaders now have the opportunity to embody the organization’s purpose—its set of values supporting economic, social, and human interests—to infuse meaning into work that mobilizes employees around common, meaningful goals.

3. Leadership and culture are about connection and empowerment.

As people isolated at home, team leaders became the organization’s lifeline. It became their responsibility to not only focus on outcomes and organize the work accordingly, but also think about the moments that mattered culturally and foster trust in the organization. If they didn’t have empathy, listening skills, the trust of their teams, and the ability to communicate, manage, and lead, work suffered or at times didn’t get done at all.

Going forward, leaders and teams at all levels (not just higher levels) must develop capabilities that enable them to work and lead effectively while supporting the human needs of their team and representing the organization’s culture.

4. Work is the most underutilized source of value.

Work is more than simply the output it produces. It’s a powerful human force—a way for people to connect to a purpose, feel motivated, build relationships, and showcase their true capabilities. Yet no one is responsible for driving work transformation, keeping up with the pace of change, or harnessing what it can bring to the enterprise.

Organizations now have the opportunity to re-architect work for the future, not as a mechanized process, but as a flow that aligns with ways humans think and engage, and that continues to evolve. By its handling of COVID-19 challenges, HR has earned the right to spearhead this effort on behalf of the organization.

5. Ecosystems are essential to extend organizational capabilities.

The sheer enormity of the past year’s challenges proved the value of being able to leverage external partners and resources to accomplish what organizations couldn’t do on their own. For example, one transportation industry CEO related to us that, given the company has no Chief Medical Officer, he was able to enlist a top academic medical center to provide that guidance. In another example, we’re working with a group of 10 CHROs to build a cross-organizational learning program aimed at moving Black and Latinx professionals from the director to the executive level.

Going forward, organizations should deliberately cultivate an ecosystem of partners, vendors, alternative workers, and professional networks, realizing it’s the new reality of how work gets done.

From hard-learned experience to a leap forward

It would be a tremendous waste to treat the past year as a detour—a momentary delay that leads us right back to the path we were on. Instead, we need to treat 2020 as a shortcut that showed us how to leapfrog to our desired destination: a place where we’re not merely surviving, but thriving.

With the end of 2020 in sight, we have the means to createthe light we want to step into. There’s no “waiting for a better time”—the time is now. We’ll be sharing more insights on how organizations can get this done in the coming weeks in Deloitte’s 2021 Global Human Capital Trends (sign up to receive a copy here).

This piece was co-authored by Jeff Schwartz, principal and US leader for the Future of Work, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Erica Volini

Erica Volini

Erica Volini is the Global Human Capital leader for Deloitte Consulting. Throughout her career, she has worked with some of the world’s leading organizations to link their business and human capital strategies. She is a frequent speaker on how market trends are shaping the future of work and the HR profession and is a recognized thought leader in the trends shaping the world of human capital today.

Steve Hatfield

Steve Hatfield

Steve Hatfield is a Principal with Deloitte Consulting and serves as the Global Leader for Future of Work for Deloitte. He has over 20 years of experience advising global organizations on issues of strategy, innovation, organization, people, culture, and change.

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A new global initiative will use nuclear science to better manage pandemic threats, such as COVID-19. The IAEA Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) project will establish a global network to help national laboratories in monitoring, surveillance, early detection and control of animal and zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19, Ebola, avian influenza and Zika. ZODIAC is based on the technical, scientific and laboratory capacity of the IAEA and its partners and the Agency’s mechanisms to quickly deliver equipment and know-how to countries. Subscribe for more videos: http://goo.gl/VxsqCz Follow IAEA on social media: Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/iaeaorg/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/iaeaorg Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+iaea Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/iaeaorg/ LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/iaea © IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication http://iaea.org

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These Decision Making Tactics Can Help You Formalize Your Process and Make Better Choices

Entrepreneurship is, in large part, reliant on decision making for success. After creating your business plan, you’ll have a blueprint for what you want your business to be and how you’re going to develop it; but moving forward, you’ll be faced with countless tough decisions. On a small level, how do you want to prioritize your day? How are you going to negotiate this deal? On a larger level, who are you going to hire for this position? How will you challenge this new competitor? How are you going to pivot the business to escape bankruptcy?

It’s no surprise that some of the best entrepreneurs also happen to be the best decision makers. They’re able to take any decision, big or small, and address it in a way that’s both objective and appropriate. That doesn’t mean they make the right call every time; we all make mistakes, and successful entrepreneurs are no different. But over time, their decisions tend to lead them in better directions.

Related: How to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Better Business Decisions

So what actionable steps can you take to make smarter decisions in your business?

What is a smart decision?

First, we have to define what a “smart” decision is. Smarter decisions tend to have a few things in common:

  • Objectivity. Good decisions are objective, based on facts and logic.
  • Stoicism. Decisions shouldn’t be influenced by raw emotions (in most cases).
  • Full information. The more information you have, the better.
  • Alignment with goals and values. Good decisions should be aligned fully with your company’s goals and values.

How can you achieve these qualities in your decision making?

Reduce decision fatigue

Decision fatigue is a simple psychological concept that many of us underestimate, but the more decisions we make in a given period, the weaker our decision-making abilities become. Over time, we become bogged down with stress and distractions, and ultimately make worse decisions for ourselves and our businesses. This even occurs with tiny, seemingly inconsequential decisions.

Many famous entrepreneurs and leaders, including Barack Obama, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg, have strategies in place to reduce decision fatigue by stripping away unimportant decisions. For example, you might wear the same thing every day or have the same thing for breakfast. It may not seem like much, but over time, making fewer decisions each day can make you a better decision maker.

Get all the facts

As a leader, it’s important to be decisive, but it’s also important to have all the facts before you move forward with any decision. Are you sure that all the information you have is accurate? Are there any details you might be missing? What are the alternatives?

Related: Best Ways to Use Data in Making Decisions

Get to a neutral emotion

When it’s time to make a final decision, you have to remove emotion from the equation as much as possible. If you’re making an impulsive call about an emergency situation, this can be extremely difficult. However, there are a number of techniques that can help you, such as:

  • Walking away. Sometimes, moving to a different physical location is all it takes to shift your mindset. If you’ve ever experienced road rage, you know that as soon as you’re parked, away from the road and out of your car, the situation doesn’t seem so bad. Try walking away and thinking through your decision in another, less intense location.
  • Meditating. Many people swear by the power of meditation. Simply taking a few minutes to reflect on your own state of mind can be enough to dissolve the emotions that might otherwise influence your decision.
  • Considering the decision from an outside perspective. You can also get a better sense for the objective reality of the situation by considering it from an outsider’s perspective. A common trick is to make your decision as if you’re advising a friend: If one of your closest friends were in this position, what would you tell them to do? You’ll suddenly consider more variables, and you’ll feel more detached from the situation (in a good way).

Talk to other experts

While the final decision is yours, it can be helpful to learn about the perspectives of other experts in this area. Do you have employees or partners who can share their ideas and gut feelings? Do you know of mentors or experienced professionals you can call for some quick advice? If you don’t have anyone to personally contact, you can substitute reading or podcast listening; what do other experts have to say about this situation?

“Good” decisions and “bad” decisions aren’t defined by the outcomes to which they lead; instead, they’re defined by the process used by the person making them. You can make better decisions by reducing decision fatigue, getting more information, clearing yourself of emotion and talking to other experts. This doesn’t guarantee all your decisions will work out, but it will increase each decision’s likelihood of success.

By: Timothy Carter Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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Black Businesses Receive Tech Industry Push Ahead Of Holiday Shopping Bonanza

The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt Black-owned businesses a tough hand. Stifled by stay-at-home orders, on-again off-again store closures and stricter limits occupancy limits, many businesses are struggling to outlast the seemingly unending virus outbreak.

Although they’ve rebounded slightly in recent months, Black-owned stores have experienced the greatest decline this year, plummeting from 1.1 million businesses in February to 640,000 in April—a 41% drop.

But spurred by a national movement to support Black businesses, which kicked off this summer, a new number of corporations are taking small steps to put the Black in Black Friday.

Black Friday online sales pulled in a record $7.4 billion in 2019— the second largest online shopping day ever and a 19.6% increase over the previous year—while the holiday season overall generated more than $72 billion in online sales, according to Adobe Analytics. Online sales for this Black Friday are projected to generate $10.3 billion.

The surge in digital spending over the holiday season and the heightened visibility that’s been awarded to small businesses through corporate sponsorships could have a considerable impact on Black businesses in particular, sustaining them through the a few more months of the pandemic.

Facebook, for one, launched its #BuyBlackFriday initiative and a corresponding toolkit and gift guide in October as part of a broader three-month campaign to buttress small businesses during the holiday season.

The gift guide features products from Black-owned businesses and was curated alongside the U.S. Black Chambers and several corporate partners. 

“Black-owned businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, closing at twice the rate of other small businesses,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a blog post announcing the initiative. She added, “But we know that millions of people want to help.”

The campaign runs through Black Friday on November 27, a symbolic starting gun for the holiday shopping season.

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“I’ve seen firsthand the strain and struggle that Black-owned businesses face,” Jean said in a statement. “For many of them, this holiday season will be critical to their survival.”

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TikTok also announced #ShopBlack, an in-app campaign that allows users to create videos spotlighting their favorite Black-owned businesses or to share their experience as a Black entrepreneur.

As small businesses reel from the pandemic’s economic disruption, many big retailers have had breakaway growth. Amazon’s profits and sales exceeded analysts’ expectations, reporting a 37% sales growth and tripling its third-quarter profits as more shoppers turn to the e-commerce giant during the pandemic. 

But celebrities and influencers alike have started to leverage Amazon’s omnipresence to highlight Black sellers on the platform. Nearly 70% of the products on Oprah Winfrey’s highly anticipated annual list of her favorite things are created by Black-owned or Black-led businesses this year and all are available for purchase on Amazon.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

The billionaire media mogul has partnered with Amazon on the list since 2015 and her yearly picks have provided brands with considerable gains in sales since the list’s 1996 advent.

Black Americans have developed a growing presence among small businesses owners and could stand to gain considerable sales from dedicated shopping holidays like Small Business Saturday, which raked in an estimated $19.6 billion in 2019. And while physical distancing measures will significantly curb foot traffic this year, more than 112 million Americans visited a small business on that day last year, a record high.

As shoppers increasingly reject winding lines that snake around the store, a trend that’s long been in the making but was exacerbated by the pandemic, they’re also looking to support independent local businesses—a potential boon for niche Black businesses with an online presence this holiday season. Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

Ruth Umoh

 Ruth Umoh

I’m a reporter covering the various aspects of diversity and inclusion in business and society at large. Previously, I was a reporter at CNBC, where I focused on leadership and strategic management. I’ve also dabbled in video journalism, working as a breaking news digital producer for New York Daily News, followed by a yearlong stint as a producer at Rolling Stone. My work has been featured on New York Daily News, Yahoo Finance and Time Out. I’m a proud alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, receiving honors for my investigative thesis on the alarming number of physicians dying by suicide. Tweet me @ruthumohnews or send tips to rumoh@forbes.com.

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MarketWatch

Black business ownership fell more than any demographic group since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We spoke to some across the nation who are still fighting to survive. See this video on MarketWatch: https://www.marketwatch.com/video/sec… MarketWatch provides the latest stock market, financial and business news. Get stock market quotes, personal finance advice, company news and more: https://www.marketwatch.com/ Follow MarketWatch on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marketwatch Follow MarketWatch on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarketWatch Follow MarketWatch on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marketwatch/ Follow MarketWatch on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/mark…

Market Alignment With Segmentation and Differentiation

This is the second in an exclusive series of articles from Total Alignment authors Riaz Khadem and Linda Khadem titled “The Alignment Factor.” Check back in every Thursday for new installments. 

Businesses small and large are being impacted by the pandemic, and entrepreneurs are not immune. In order to survive and prosper during these difficult times, it might be necessary to reinvest in your business concept and redesign your offerings.

As a successful entrepreneur, you have been aligned with your market, but are you still aligned? Do your customers need the same things as before, with the same mode of delivery? For example, imagine a previously successful restaurant that has lost its customers during the pandemic. Does the owner truly understand the current needs of his customers beyond the menu it used to offer or the ambiance it had created before? 

Related: The Alignment Factor’: The Keys to Internal Alignment

What Is Market Segmentation?

In a nutshell, it’s grouping heterogenous people into homogeneous groups, or segments, by some criteria related to their needs. By defining a segment and focusing on the needs of that segment, and aligning products or services with those needs, you have taken steps toward market alignment. The key characteristics of a market segment could be similar customer needs or preferences. In a company with multiple locations, a segment will likely account for geography, demography and choices people make, the type of services they value and the quality they expect. In a smaller company, it could be a subset of these criteria.

Let’s look again at restaurants. Assuming the wearing of masks is a pretty universal requirement, the first pressing issue for owners is how to proceed over the next few months. Should the restaurant continue to offer inside dining? If so, how do you protect the customers? Usually, this is met by distancing the tables farther apart, requiring the servers to wear masks and hopefully the kitchen staff to wear masks and gloves. But what about the substantial number of people who now want to-go meals? Should they be forced to walk into a restaurant where people are eating (obviously without masks) to pick up the food? Or, more conveniently, can the restaurant offer to bring the food to the car? What about payment? Does the customer need to enter the dining room and present his credit card? Or can they pay over the phone or on the website when ordering?

These issues are not unsolvable, yet many restaurants seem unable to adapt. Perhaps it is a rigidity in the way the owners see their establishments and an unwillingness to re-evaluate the new needs of the market segment they were serving. It’s crucial to re-evaluate your customers and perhaps re-segment your market in line with the new reality. Otherwise, precious resources can be wasted on activities that are no longer in alignment. Flexibility and creativity at this juncture can mean the difference between success and failure.

What Is Differentiation?

After re-defining your market segments, you will have to identify what is important to customers in a segment likely to buy your product. Value drivers could be cost, quality, features, safety, buying experience, after-sale support, etc. In a restaurant, they could include the cost of items on the menu, the quality of the food (e.g. organic or not; using meat and poultry and sea food from sources that care for the animals well in a healthy environment), the variety in the menu, safety in the process of acquiring the food and eating, the restaurant experience and treatment received after the service is completed.

For each segment, evaluate the importance to the customers of each appropriatevalue driver on a scale of low to medium to high. For example, quality might be high for a segment while cost is a medium. Safety could be high, and follow-up support could be low. The evaluation should be based on data, not just opinion. You may need to use customer surveys to hear the voice of the customer.

Next, evaluate the same value drivers in terms of how your offering is different from your competitors. For example, is the quality you offer significantly better than your competitors? Is the cost you offer substantially lower than your competitors? Are the features you offer unique to you and unavailable to the customer from other suppliers? As you evaluate your value drivers, you can assign a low, medium or high rating to each. For example, if your value driver is features, and you offer unique features no one else is providing, your differentiation would be high. If everyone offers the same features, then your differentiation is low. Again, the evaluation should be based on data. 

After evaluating your differentiation on each of the value drivers, you have a set of two evaluations for each one: The first is how important the value driver is to the customer in a segment, and the second is the differentiation of that value driver from your competitors. You can plot the two evaluations on a two-dimensional grid, the scale being low, medium and high on both axes

The value drivers that fall in the (High:High) category should become your primary focus, both in terms of the message you send to the customers in that segment and in terms of making absolutely sure that those value drivers are perceived by your customers as you promised — or even better. For example, if quality and safety have been evaluated as (High:High), your resources should be directed toward making sure your customers are aware of your differentiation and that your quality and safety are, in fact, at the highest possible levels.

Strategies for Each Segment

Your market segments don’t all deserves the same attention. You could close out some segments and put your investment into others, especially during these challenging times. As entrepreneurs, you will have a preference based on emotional attachments. This is dangerous, as your pet offering might not be appropriate for all segments. Having re-segmented your market during this pandemic, you are in a position to decide where to put your energies and investment. You will have to choose the segments to grow, those that could stay at the same level of growth and those you should exit.

How do you make such decisions? There are guides in the management literature to help you do this. Essentially, for each segment, you perform a two-fold evaluation: How strong is your segment compared to your strongest competitor in terms of the internal processes that deliver value to the customer? And how attractive is the segment to an investor?

If you are much stronger than your strongest competitor, then your strength in that segment would be high. If you are at the same level as your strongest competitor, your strength would be medium, and if you are weaker than your strongest competitor, your evaluation in that segment would be low.

As for market attractiveness, you will have to evaluate whether the market in a segment is extremely favorable, (considering a set of external criteria) or not. The external criteria could include the size of the market, the growth of the market and the profitability of the market. If the market segment is favorable, then the evaluation for that segment would be high. Otherwise, it could be medium or low. The value of this exercise is that it will enable you to see the relative position of your different segments compared to each other.

The segment with high strength and high market attractiveness (High:High) is the one that deserves your attention the most, and the segment that has low strength and low attractiveness (Low:Low) can be divested unless it provides input into an attractive segment. Other segments will require appropriate strategies based on their evaluation.

Related: The One System That Changes Employees’ Behavior

Strategic Mindset

The strategic mindset we are proposing in this article will help you arrive at a set of strategies appropriate to each of your market segments. To develop a strategy, you need to have identified your market segments, differentiation and the relative position of your segments on the business strength/market attractiveness continuum.

Choosing where to put your time and investment will be key to your survival and growth, enabling you to make sound decisions and use your precious financial and human resources to deliver maximum value to your customers.

By: Riaz Khadem and Linda Khadem Business Strategy Experts

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tutor2u 112K subscribers The STP (segmentation, targeting & positioning) model of marketing is outlined in this revision video. #alevelbusiness#businessrevision#aqabusiness#tutor2ubusiness#alevels#edexcelbusiness#businessalevel

https://www.tutor2u.net/business/reference/market-segmentation

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