Four Questions Your Marketing Plan Must Answer – 3: What Are Your Challenges?

This is part of a continuing series on developing a marketing plan which will cover establishing your starting position, setting optimal goals, analyzing the challenges you’ll face, and developing strategies to achieve your objective.

Where Are You Now?

A good marketing plan starts with your current position. Where are you in the market? Are you a totally new entrant? Are you an up-and-comer or an established player?

This initial stage should examine your pre-existing marketing position, if you have one. It should also address what you intend to achieve. Are you trying to reinforce what you have already accomplished or looking to build upon it?

Once you have fleshed out a starting position, you can begin to map out where you intend to go by taking a close look at your marketing fundamentals, such as your current marketing mix, also known as the Four P’s:

  • Product: what you are selling
  • Price: what you are charging
  • Promotion: how you are communicating to buyers
  • Place: where you are selling

Service industries often use a Seven P’s model that adds:

  • Process: organizational tools such as job queuing and query handling, and value-added services such as warranties
  • People: the staff you employ and how they represent you
  • Physical Environment: proof that the service was delivered like packaging or even something like a scar from a surgical procedure

This initial part of the plan is where you consider what exactly makes you unique and valuable so that later you can develop processes that will reinforce that identity.

Knowledge is Power

To develop an effective marketing plan, it is important to carefully analyze the market research you’ve done as part of your marketing strategy and include details about your current target market.

  • Who is your customer?
  • What problem are you solving for them?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What kinds of communication resonates with them?

Market research should also make clear the specifics of the market itself.

  • What dynamics are in place?
  • What patterns are occurring?
  • And, what kind of sales volume can the market sustain?

Once you know with some certainty where you currently stand in the market, you can start thinking about the next important question to answer: Where Are You Going? We’ll help you unpack that issue in the next post in this series so, stay tuned.

Do you have all the insights you need to take full advantage of your brand? Download our Blueprint for Successful Branding and get started now.