Four Key Questions to Consider When Developing Your Marketing Plan for Products and Services
When creating your marketing plan, there are four key questions that you must consider as frequently as possible, to test any ideas you may have for products and services.
Key Question 1: Is there really a market?
The first of the four key questions you must consider for your marketing plan is if there are people who will actually buy your products and services. There may be a good reason why other companies aren’t making these products and services available. To discover the answer, great companies try several variations of the product side by side and see which works best for customers.
The only real test is a market test. Only live customers can tell you if you have a winner or not. Get a prototype, a model, or a written description or picture, and test the new products and services in the marketplace. Offer it, sell it, or give it away to customers and see how they respond.
Whatever you do, aim for immediate feedback. Don’t be shy. Get responses from those you will expect to buy the products and services as soon as it is available. In most cases, your initial product or service idea is deficient in some way. But by changing it in response to customer comments or complaints, you may develop products and services that become a market leader.
When developing your marketing plan, always assume that a competitor is rushing to bring similar products and services to the market. Develop a bias for action. Avoid paralysis by analysis. Instill a sense of urgency at all times.
Key Question 2: Is the market big enough to make it worthwhile pursuing?
Another one of the key questions to consider for your marketing plan is if the market is large enough to justify all the time, trouble, effort, and expense necessary to develop the products and services and bring it to market? Can you sell enough of your products and services to make it economically worthwhile? There are many products and services for which there is a definite market, but the market is too small to make it worth pursuing. Market research in this area can be invaluable in helping you to make the right decision when developing your marketing plan.
Key Question 3: Is the market for your products and services concentrated enough?
Assuming that there is demand for your product, and the demand is large enough, do the means of advertising and promoting the product exist that would enable you to sell to that market in a cost effective way?
In his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, Chris Anderson argues that when the major competitors fight over selling the most popular books and movies, the profit margins for those few big ‘‘hits’’ get slammed. Blockbuster movies and books tend to get deeply discounted in price by big retailers and flame out in popularity quickly. In contrast, specialized products have a ‘‘long tail’’—they stay popular in smaller quantities and are sold at higher margins by more specialized retailers. Instead of going after the obvious blockbusters, Anderson advises savvy marketers can go after narrower, more specialized segments of customer groups all over the world.
Online services make accessibility to these unique customers easier and cheaper than ever. At the same time, however, the lower costs of entry also mean that more retailers are competing for the attention of consumers in every aspect of electronic commerce and making it harder to cash in on the long tail.
Key Question 4: Who is your competition?
Lastly, one of the key questions you must consider for your marketing plan is who are your main competitors in the market? Even if your product isn’t out there (yet), there will always be competition for the customer’s dollar. That’s how you should think about it when developing your marketing plan. Remember, the overwhelming majority of new product or service offerings fail because there is no market, or the market is not large enough, or the market is not concentrated enough to be reached in a cost-effective manner, or your competitor’s offerings are superior to yours in some way.
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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.