The process involves a series of workshops where knowledge and ideas are generated, gaps in understanding acknowledged and actions agreed to acquire the missing information for the following workshop. A marketing template is completed including action plans with clear responsibilities and dates for completion. The process also includes agreement on priorities and specific measurements for success.
At all times the focus is on what we need to understand to increase our sales revenue. Weaknesses and threats must be acknowledged and counter-attacks created. Apparent criticisms should not be taken personally (easier said than done, but important to be aware of). Similarly, criticisms should not be made at a personal level; we are all working toward the same goals. We need to be honest about our individual, group, and organizational strengths and weaknesses.
For agreed cases we will try to truncate the process, to focus on immediate market planning concerns. Generally there is a need to focus on key potential unique selling points and try to get a clear understanding of how to emphasise these and raise demand, exploit strengths and counter-attack the competition.
The workshop(s) will ideally cover:
- A clear understanding of our internal strengths and weaknesses, external opportunities and threats. This will include assessment of knowledge, skills and capabilities, internal influencing factors, strategic intent, alliances and current/past client experience.
- The specific market for our type of products; potential by segment.
- The general and specific competition for our product range; current and future; their strengths and weaknesses; where are they going and why; how do we compare?
- Future scenario focus – what are the implications of possible market/competitor/client changes? What are the risks of our taking specific approaches? What contingencies should we set in place?
The devil in the detail – Therefore… exactly what is our value proposition? Exactly how do we communicate this? To whom? Through which medium?