Where do you stand?
Where does your company/product stand now, in the market and in peoples minds?
In many ways this is the most important question of the five; it certainly requires the most work to answer.
We need to assemble and arrange – usually in a thick Fact Book – as much real-world business data as possible. We are looking for product purchase
and usage habits, market growth rates, pricing, target groups’ attitudes and feelings, your competitive position and much more.
Answers to this question provide much of the information required to tell us where the product or service stands now in people’s minds. It goes a long way to answering the first stimulus-response question “What do people think of my product right now?”
How did you get there?
What factors have contributed to your company/product strengths and weaknesses?
Throughout the process of assembling and arranging the information in the previous section, key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) will surface. These are isolated and identified in this section. What we’re searching for are powerful leverage points for developing effective marketing communications strategies.
Where could you be?
What, realistically, could be the position of your company/product in the future?
This stage requires the first important application of imagination. In relation to its current position, where could your company, product or service be? This must be a hardnosed assessment of what is realistic and profitable this year and in the years ahead.
How will you get there?
What changes to what elements in the marketing mix could achieve your objectives?
Now we start planning – setting out what must be done to reach your objectives. Marketing strategies might include product or service improvements, pricing changes, strengthened distribution networks, etc.
Communication strategies will clearly define target groups to be reached, and how their awareness, attitudes and behaviour will be altered. The Communication Plan flows from these strategies and specifies which vehicles will be used, in what time frame, at what cost. It’s your assurance that your marketing effort and communications effort are working together.
Are you getting there?
Is the marketing communications plan achieving its objective and is the total effect working?
Is the Communications Plan achieving its objectives and is the total effort working? This planning format recognizes that there must be a continuous process of learning and responding to changing market conditions. As soon as we ask “Are we getting there?” we are in effect asking “So now where do you stand?”