Where are we now?
The marketing audit and your Situation Analysis
In many ways this is the most important part of the marketing planning process. If someone asked you “How do I get to London?” it would be very difficult to answer without first knowing where they are now. Once their current position has been established it is much easier to give directions to their future destination. That is the principal of this marketing plan framework.
The ‘where are we now?’ part of the marketing plan, involves research, information collection, honesty and analysis. It is the foundations upon which the marketing plan is built. It consists of an audit, which is then analysed to create your Situation Analysis.
The more you know, the more accurately you can target the right customers, with the right message.
Things outside of your control
- Area to research – Macro
- Political / Legal
Things within your control
- Area to research – Micro
Things you can influence
- Area to research – Meso
- Your market
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
The final part of the marketing audit is the SWOT analysis. Having done the honest appraisal above you must now analyse this information. How can you build on your strengths, resolve weaknesses, exploit opportunities and confront threats? Once the SWOT analysis is complete you will have established ‘where you are now’. This information should be summarised in a Situation Analysis.
Where do we want to be?
An objective is a specific statement of something you want to achieve. Objectives within a marketing plan must be informed by the marketing audit and must link back to your overall business plan.
How might we get there?
Strategies are the concrete ideas that set about achieving your objectives. It is essential that you use the knowledge gained from the marketing audit to develop your strategies.
Which way is best?
Specifically what are we going to do? Your Action Plan. How are you going to use the marketing mix?
How can we ensure arrival?
Implementation and control
Implementation must be carefully controlled if the plan is to be delivered. Regularly check your achievement against your plan and take any corrective action necessary.
We got there!
Continually build on your marketing planning. Once you have done one audit it is much easier the next time as you will have laid the ground works.
Marketing planning is a continuous process. One plan should feed into the next. Never stop scanning your marketing environment. Save things of interest. The more you know about yourself, your market, the environment and most importantly your customers – the more profitable you can be.
Good marketing can put you one step ahead of your competitors. You can spot trends and gaps in the market that you can take advantage of.
Your customers should be central to everything you do throughout your organisation. You are in business to serve them. Profitably.
A final thought:-
“Planning without action is futile. Action without planning is fatal.”
Document produced by Fill the Gap Marketing Ltd for use only by the company it has been presented to based on a model by PR Smith
A marketing plan should not be considered as being rigidly prescriptive, nor should you be averse to going back and making any necessary amendments – or even drastic changes – as your familiarity with, and experience of, your market grows.