Marketing Planning – 10 Questions to Help You Prioritize Your Marketing Investment

Many firms have no difficulty developing ideas about where they should be channeling their marketing effort.Where some fail is in deciding which ideas to pursue and then committing sufficient resource and time to bring about success. And often that can mean saying no to some opportunities. As an example, Steve Jobs has declared that Apple would not have had the resources to develop the iPod if they had also tried to develop a PDA.

“People think focus means saying yes to the things you’ve got to focus on.

But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundreds of other good ideas.”

Steve Jobs

With that in mind, here are 10 questions professional service firms should ask in order to identify their top priorities for investment. You can use these questions as a stimulus for discussion and debate. Or you can use them to build a decision making model with scores and different weighting for each question.

  1. Brand strength – does the market consider the firm capable of doing such work?

  2. Market share – does the firm have an appropriate level of relative market share and has the firm been successful in developing business in this area in the past?

  3. Customer loyalty – will the clients provide repeat business and will they provide positive word of mouth?

  4. Distribution strength – does the firm have offices / resources in the necessary geographical locations?

  5. Market size – is there sufficient potential work in the marketplace to make the marketing effort worthwhile?

  6. Market growth rate – is the market growing or will new business require winning clients away from competitors?

  7. Competitive intensity / rivalry – how many other firms are offering a similar service to the target market?

  8. Opportunity to differentiate – is the firm’s offering at all different from what the competitors are offering?

  9. Profit margin – can the firm charge its desired fees?

  10. Internal commitment – is there sufficient support and commitment amongst the professionals within the firm to ensure marketing efforts are carried out in the medium to long-term?

Applying the questions consistently to each of the opportunities you’re considering will help you evaluate them and encourage buy-in of the selected strategy. The discussion and results will also help identify strengths and weaknesses that you can use to refine your strategies and give you some measurable objectives to incorporate into your business and marketing plans.

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