Marketing Planning - 10 statements to test your strategy
At this time of year many consultancies offer advice about strategy for the year ahead. This often takes the form of a template for assessing your current marketing activity – often called a marketing audit – and a second template which becomes a marketing plan when all the boxes are filled in. Indeed you can even buy software which is supposed to be able to do this for you: look no hands! There is nothing wrong with this approach except that, in our experience, most people run out of steam around Q42 or throw the thing into the wastepaper basket in exasperation on the fourteenth irrelevant question.
We offer a different approach and one we like to think is more practical and realistic. We offer below 10 statementswhich you can use to determine whether you think you have a winning strategy to get you through the coming year. If not, you may need to re-think where you are going or get some help.
1. A deep understanding of the market
Everything starts with this and without it you are shooting from the hip. One of consultants often comes comes back form client meeting muttering about aspirins looking for headaches.
2. Clear marketing objectives
Understanding the difference between company objectives and marketing objectives and how the one segues into the other.
3. Creative segmentation, targeting and positioning
Creative because in today’s economy the prizes go to those who come up with an innovative new way of solving (often old) problems. Out with me-too propositions. High profit sales don’t come from doing the same as everyone else.
4. A pipeline of new products
Otherwise there will no constant stream of high profit sales.
5. Prices set for maximum long term return
Creative segmentation and differentiated product positioning make this possible.
6. Integrated marketing communications
As media fragment it becomes increasingly difficult and increasingly important to get the maximum bang from the promotional buck across all media options. One marketing adage to hang onto is: repetition brings results. Add to that consistency and you are well on the way to making your message stand out from others.
7. Active management of channels to market
The internet is changing everything. Yesterday’s channels may be today’s oxbow lakes.
8. Market focused organisation structure
Continual need to reinvent the organisation around the needs of the marketing mix (see point 10 for elaboration of this)l.
9. Constant monitoring and adjusting to market changes
The world is changing rapidly and constant vigilance is required.
10. A marketing plan to deliver the above
This is your route map to make the above happen: which customers with which products and at what price. Channels to market and channels of communication.
Less these 10 statements wear your patience we offer one simple question which may serve to shortcircuit even this short form marketing audit:
Why should customers buy - and continue to buy - my products or services rather than my competitors?
Unless the answer is clear and unambiguous you may not have a winning strategy.