Basic Marketing Planning

(Please refer to Competitive Strategy Analysis Questionnaire as a first step.)

Market Research

What information do we have about the market we plan to target? Number and kinds of customers, their evolving needs, the current competition, etc.

What is the customer-perceived value of our products/services relative to the price?

What is the customer-perceived value of our products/services compared to our competitors?

What is our current status (market share, reputation, price point, quality, etc.) in each market we serve? How do we know or how could we find out?

Who are our top 3-5 competitors in each market we serve? What are the strengths and weakness of each one? Why do customers choose to do business with those competitors? How easy or hard would it be for customers to change their supplier? What would it take to have them at least consider a change to us?

What else do we need to learn to do effective planning? What resources can we tap into to help us learn what else we need to know?

Big Marketing Decision

How will we compete in our arena?

Choose one:
We will be a low price provider


We will be a higher priced well-differentiated provider

Choose one:
We will provide products and services to a broad customer base


We will focus on a specific kind of customer

How do our current customers view us relative to the above choices? Why?

What do we have to do to realign or reinforce customer perceptions about who we are?

The 5 P’s

Product Strategy: have the right/best product/service

Pricing Strategy: price and perceived value in relation to profit

Place/distribution Strategy: sales and distribution locations/ease of access

People Strategy: who we target e.g. purchasing agent, engineer, CEO

Promotional Strategy: advertising, sales promotions, public relations, direct mail, trade shows, facilities and plant tours, brochures and other presentation materials, internet, other

Marketing Budget

How much can we (are we willing to) spend on marketing? Consider budgets for marketing personnel, research and analysis, promotion of products/services/brand, other.

Action Plan Guide

For each action below, determine who will do what by when.

1) Create current and future positioning statement.

2) Define our profile with respect to price vs. differentiation and broad vs. focused customer base.

3) Define the target markets – who are our current and potential customers? What are our primary and secondary markets?

4) Describe the market segmentation – within the target market, how do the needs of specific customers vary and how does that effect our costs and pricing? Where do we now (and in the future) make our greatest revenue and/or profits?

5) Determine how to monitor and respond to external trends.

6) Determine what additional market information we need and how to get it.

7) Determine what additional information we need about specific customers or competitors and how to get it.

8) Review all (or at least best) current customers. Document and discuss who they are, what products/services they are using, how they learned about our company, what media they utilize to access product/service information, the level of satisfaction with us, and what else we can do to provide greater value (and at what price).

9) Define and implement an on-going customer satisfaction assessment process designed to improve customer retention and increase penetration.

10) Define and implement a process for identifying and researching potential customers.

11) Define and implement a process for identifying customers, products/services to eliminate due to high maintenance costs and/or low profitability and/or refocused target strategies.

12) Define product strategy. What products/services do we currently offer? What changes should we make in current products/services? What new products/services should we introduce and when?

13) Define place/distribution strategy. What is our current way of getting products/services to customers? What changes should we make and why?

14) Define people strategy. To whom do we target our marketing and sales efforts? Is this the right person/position? What changes should we make and why?

15) Define promotion strategy. What mix of activities and communications do we use now to reach the target people in each of our market segments? What changes should we make to most effectively use staff time and financial resources? Which marketing tools will serve us most effectively at what costs?

16) Determine and allocate budget for marketing activities and personnel.

17) Review and refine sales plans and goals. Define methods to acquire new customers and to expand sales for current customers in alignment with market strategy.

18) Review the above at least yearly.