A good marketing plan should include a description of the company's Current Situation.
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The Current Situation outlines some key facts about the state of the business. You have considerable flexibility in describing your current situation, but the section will typically include some discussion of your business location, your target markets, and the competition.
While describing your current or planned business location, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- If you do not yet have a business location, name areas or properties under consideration and the criteria you will use in selecting a location. Consider customer proximity, parking availability, accessibility by public transportation employee availability, inventory storage and movement, compliance with federal, state and local laws and codes (such as those for zoning, safety or health), security, and site expansion potential.
- List any negative aspects of your location that would affect sales (such as a lack of sufficient parking) and try to list solutions for such problems. Remember that no location is perfect- try to turn every negative around and make it work for you.
- Describe any plans for the future expansion of your business. Do you intend to move? Will you offer additional goods or services as you grow? Will you hire employees?
- If you offer or plan to offer a service or product in a manner that does not require customers to visit a location, include a description of how you and your customers will meet or interact- how services and products will be exchanged. This may be the case if your product is a consulting service you provide from home or at a client location. Also, if your products are offered through catalog sales or on the Internet, you would describe how your services and/or products would be exchanged with customers.
Target Market Description
Critical to your success in marketing any product is aiming all your marketing efforts at a target market. As such, you should discuss your target market when you describe your Current Situation in the marketing plan.
This is extremely important. After all, planning your marketing strategy without knowing to whom you're trying to appeal is like planning a party without knowing anything about the people attending.
- Describe the size of your target market. Remember, a market is people with something in common, not a place or a thing. Be specific and include statistics about the size of your target market. Include information on whether the size of your target marketing is growing, shrinking, or staying the same. If the size of your target market is changing, explain why.
- Discuss characteristics they share such as age, income level, sex, race, number of children, marital status, where they live, etc.
- Identify habits or hobbies they exhibit. For example, your target audience may tend to be workaholics, which makes them good candidates for meals delivered to their homes or offices.
- Review their wants and needs they have and how your product fulfills them. For example, most single, working mothers often need affordable, quality daycare for children.
- Describe your market's buying habits For example, how do they spend their disposable income? When do they buy? How much? How often?
You may have more than one target market. If this is the case, identify your primary market - the customers who buy your products or services most often. Then, include secondary groups if you feel they will provide significant business. For each group, you must identify their characteristics, needs, etc. because you will most likely change your marketing strategy accordingly.
Who are your top competitors? As part of the marketing plan, it's a good idea to include a discussion of the competition. In other articles on this site, we explain how to conduct a thorough competitive analysis and how to evaluate competitive threats.