What is strategic thinking? It’s an activity that starts well before the first sale and continues well after the first sale. How does that translate into practical terms? There are two stages in strategy making. The first is planning and research, and the second is measuring and testing.
“Establishing favourable arrays and configurations (strategic posture) will provide you with the positional advantage (p21)…Managing a large group is no different from managing a small one if the organisation is sound (p32).”
– The Art of War by Sun Zi (translated by Dr Han Hoing Tan)
There are various aspects associated with Planning and Researching. Most people start with researching the product itself and understanding what they are selling. Earlier in One Week At A Time we talked about the Star Product (refer to Week 9). The Start Product is the one thing that the business loves doing and can sell as a unique product to them, that is profitable. Once this is determined, researching your Target Market (i.e. the best group of consumers that are suited to the Star product) and conducting a S.W.O.T. Analysis usually follows.
Target Market Research
To find out who is suited for your Star Product these are some of the best, most practical questions to ask:
Business to Consumer (B2C)
(if the product is directly aimed at a group of people)
- What is their average age?
- Are they majority Male/Female?
- Are they married? With or without children?
- Earning capacity?
- Where do they go out for entertainment?
- Do they own/rent/buy property?
- Where do they take their holidays? Do they work out (gym)?
- Where do they like to go out to eat? How often do they dine out?
- What kind of technology do they use?
- What social media are they one?
Business to Business (B2B)
(If the product is aimed at other businesses who on-sell it to consumers)
- What is target business’ size?
- What are their supplier policies?
- Do they go to tender? How often do they tender?
- What is their market position?
- Are they a large/medium/small player in their market?
- What are they lacking? Can you provide any unique product or service just for their business?
- Do you have many other suppliers jockeying for position to gain business with this company?
- Who are the gatekeepers?
- Who are the decision makers?
- How much business does this company represent to you?
- Are they in a position of power over your business?
Whether a business operates either B2C or B2B both variations need clearly defined products. A Business Leader will be required to clearly define the product they are marketing. Listing out the attributes (features) shows a manufacturing/servicing knowledge, and demonstrating how the features benefits the target market is essential. Ensure that in each marketing activity the business has shown how that Star Product provides a solution to a problem.
Lastly, when researching your Star Product and finding your Target Market, ensure the Start Product is delivered in a way/time/place that suits the target market. Simply adjust the business so it can connect with the Target Market’s habits. Knowing your Target Market and acting on the information about the Target Market’s world and habits will significantly increase the number of opportunities a business gets to sell to its products.
SWOT stands for the Strengths (S), Weaknesses (W), Opportunities (O) and Threats (T) of a business, product or situation. Often call the “Situational Analysis” as it can be used as a ‘snapshot’ of what is happening (the situation) at a given point in time. The SWOT can be expressed as a list under each of the headings or as a table of comparison against another business, product or situation.
A SWOT is zero dollar cost to a business, and only requires allocating time for a team to get together and develop it. Certainly a highly valuable, strategic tool that can be refreshed and applied to businesses. It will return dividends by producing longer lasting profits and sustain a business through each period and cycle. SWOT’s are used by the whole business community from sole traders, start-ups and small businesses, all the way to massive multi-national worldwide organisations.
Measuring/testing different strategies and fine tuning those strategies based on results will help grow a business into the long term. A business is much like a plant, it requires nurturing, checking, adjustment in order to find the optimum positions/best variations of light. Checking progress and being attentive means a business is always ready for the next opportunity to sell and to improve. If a strategy has not worked this time around – it doesn’t mean shelf that idea – it may work again under altered circumstances (e.g. try different timing, different price strategy, updated packaging etc).
Next week, we will discuss the specific measurements/data and what to do with it all. It’s important for a business on a tight budget to ensure that for every 1 dollar spent, 2 dollars comes back into the business (lead generation). The main point here, however, is to keep going.
Try different channels, try different times of the year and invent different events. Find out what really gets the responses of the Target Market for your products or services. Do they respond to your Facebook advertising? Are they calling your business more than emailing? Are they registering or buying via email campaigns? Do they buy your product mainly online? Do they prefer to speak with fuller sales discussions face-to-face? Whatever the preference, it will pay off in the long term when you find out what makes your Target Market tick.
Marketing and advertising allows consumers to know 2 major things: (a) the business exists and (b) the business is ready to service them!
Simple One Page Marketing Plan
A plan with all the above research information could wind up being 20, 30, 40 pages long and perhaps difficult to communicate back into the business. Placing thoughts in a short format can make it easier for time poor Business Leaders to pick out the main activities, and focus on delivering only the top marketing objectives.
One Week At A Time has devised a One Page Marketing Plan for small to medium sized businesses and their Business Leaders. It’s easy to understand, simple to use, and effective in helping teams get on board with the vision and the marketing strategy.
To find out how to simplify all the information from your marketing research into one document contact Action Centre via email firstname.lastname@example.org or email Brett Burden directly at email@example.com. Alternatively call 1300 971 763 to request a copy of the One Page Marketing Plan.
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