Situation Analysis for Marketing Plans that You Develop – Your First Strategic Step
Creating a situation analysis for the marketing plans you are developing means understanding your product, customer base, and everything else that could impact your marketing effectiveness.
Here’s the problem…
Most people charge into marketing their business by making assumptions that may not be grounded in reality. Without properly conducting a situation analysis for the marketing plans we are working on, our natural bias tends to blind us from much of what’s really going on. Without an objective review of all aspects of our current situation, we will likely miss opportunities and problems that are positioned to impact us.
And if you don’t fully and correctly understand where you are, how will you create an effective plan for how to get where you want to go?
The solution is simple.
Although the more thorough you are the better, conducting a situation analysis for the marketing plans you are developing does not need to be a long drawn out affair. Even a simple analysis, can be a crucial first step by providing an objective first look at your business and the environment in which it operates.
Often we are too close to the market or issues addressed to be truly objective. Yet our belief that we are balanced in our views can lull us into complacency, closing us to what’s apparent.
For example, everyone tends to lean more towards seeing the glass as half empty or half full, but not both. This creates a natural bias that blinds most of us from not seeing the other side of many situations.
By implementing a situation analysis for marketing plans we are working on, problems and opportunities we may never have considered, suddenly pop to the foreground.
How to Implement a Situation Analysis for Marketing Plans You Are Working On
If you are interested in developing a realistic and effective marketing plan, the crucial first step is defining what business you are truly in.
This may seem a little basic until you consider companies like Starbucks and Apple Computer.
People often define Starbucks as a coffee company. But that would make it the same as Maxwell House brand coffee, which it is not. Referring to it as a coffee shop doesn’t fully explain why they sell music CDs or why they have free Wi-Fi at every location.
With all the students and businesspeople using Starbucks daily as a conference room or an office away from home or away from the office, the definition of what Starbucks is becomes more complex than the initial definitions that come up. But properly defining Starbucks has been crucial to understanding of how the company will do business in the future.
This comes out when you so a situation analysis for marketing plans you are developing.
Apple Computer is another example of a successful company without a simple definition of what they are.
Apple is more than just a computer company. Through their iTunes store they are the largest seller of music in the world. Plus, they earn a fortune from people and businesses who sell apps for their iPhone and iPad — about 30% of the revenues from every sale.
Conducting a situation analysis for marketing plans developed for a paint company I worked with got us to redefine their core business. Once we redefined them away from just “paint” to “paint and coatings,” suddenly our market significantly expanded to protective coatings and texture coatings for wood and metal surfaces.
With the expanded definition we were able to pursue and win a wide array of clients in industries we would never have considered pursuing previously.
For example, we became a major supplier of guitar surfaces to one of the world’s prestige guitar manufacturers. Instead of just providing cans, we installed unique experimental coatings (at ridiculously high profit margins), giving their guitar bodies an unusual, sleek, rich feel that could not be duplicated by their competitors.
See Page 2: Using a SWOT Analysis to Boost Your Situation Analysis for Marketing Plans