TO BE CONTINUED WITH THE BOOK: SUCCESSFUL MARKETING PLANS IN A WEEK. BY ROS JAY AND JOHN SEALEY.

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MONDAY: ASKING QUESTIONS.

There are two stages to this: asking the right questions, and finding out the answers. Today we are going to concentrate on the questions.

In order to establish where you are now, you need to ask specific, thoughtful questions about:

  • Your product or services.
  • Your customers and prospects.
  • Your competitors.
  • Your business.

QUESTIONS ABOUT PRODUCTS OR SERVICES:

What exactly is it that you’re marketing? You need to describe your product or services range and every variable that it has.

This is the main reason why businesses fail to construct a strong message that fulfils the needs of a market. They take for granted that the market place knows what they offer and what their offering will do for them.

Questions to ask about your offer  :

  • What is our product or services?
  • Where do the raw materials come from?
  • What is the packaging line?

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT SELLING?

  • How is the product transported?
  • Where is it sold?
  • In what form does it reach the customer?
  • Does it need explaining?
  • Is it easy to use?
  • How easy is it to increase production if sales go up?

Another way of coming up with the right questions is to ask a focus group of your ‘A class’, those who are loyal, love your services and are a pleasure to work with. They can ask questions of you that you may never have thought of. In addition, they are asking from their own perspective and for their own benefit.

TIP: SINCE YOU WILL BE REVIEWING AND UPDATING YOUR MARKETING PLAN REGULARLY, YOU CAN ALWAYS ADD INFORMATION LATER. BUT TRY TO COVER EVERYTHING YOU CAN FROM THE START. 

QUESTIONS ABOUT CUSTOMERS AND PROSPECTS:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What are their buying trends?
  • How much will they pay?
  • How do they know about your product or services?
  • Where do they buy?

Questions to ask about customers’ attitudes:

  • What do they like about our products or services?
  • What do they dislike about it?
  • What do they like about this type of product or services?

USP = Unique Selling Proposition.

EVP = Extra Value Proposition.

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR COMPETITORS:

Your marketing plan must, therefore, take into account satisfied-but open-minded-customers as well as those remain loyal.

Far too many people fail because they convince themselves that they are wonderful and the competition is hopeless, so there is no need to change.

TIP: THE SEVEN MOST EXPENSIVE WORDS IN BUSINESS ARE ‘WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY.’ BY CONSTANTLY ASKING QUESTIONS, YOU MOVE AWAY FROM THOSE DEADLY WORDS.

Questions to ask about your competition:

  • Who are our competitors?

Questions to ask about their offer:

  • Do competitors offer anything beyond a basic service or product?
  • What have that our competitors go that we haven’t?

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS:

If you haven’t come across this before, SWOT analysis is simply acronym for:

  • Strength
  • Weakness
  • Opportunities
  • Threats.

SUMMARY:

The quality and timing of the questions you can ask dramatically change the direction of your business. If your competitors ask the correct questions, find the answers and you don’t, they’ll have a competitive advantage.

You may already know the answers to some of the questions we’ve asked. Tomorrow (TUESDAY) we’ll find out how to go about answering the rest of them.

 

With respect.

 

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