Markets and products have become extremely fragmented. There are hundreds of special-interest magazines, for example, each targeted to a very specific market segment. It's the same with restaurants, cars and retail clothing stores, just to name a few industries.
Positioning your product competitively requires an understanding of this fragmented market. Not only must you be able to describe your product, you must also be able to describe your competitor's product and show why yours is better. Positioning your product involves two steps. First, analyze your product's features, and decide how they differentiate your product from its competitors. Second, decide what type of buyer is most likely to purchase your product. Pricing and placement are critical to competitive positioning. In today's marketing culture, pricing cannot be separated from the product.
Take grocery stores, for example. The full-service supermarket is still the most popular form of grocery distribution. But today, busy families want faster service and more convenience, even if it means higher prices. As a result, convenience stores, home delivery services, personal shoppers and takeout restaurants have proliferated. At the same time, warehouse grocery retailing has also increased. Warehouse stores cater to customers who prefer low prices to convenience.
Describe your target customer. Developing a profile of your target customer is the second step in an effective marketing plan. You can describe customers in terms of demographics-age, sex, family composition, earnings and geographical location-as well as lifestyle. Ask: Are my customers conservative or innovative Leaders or followers Timid or aggressive Traditional or modern Introverted or extroverted How often do they purchase what I offer How much of it at a time Are there peak buying periods or times of the year when people won't buy my product or service
The simple truth is that the type of ad that pays off immediately will work less and less well the longer you keep running it. And the ad that will make customers think of you immediately when they need what you sell (true branding) usually doesn't begin showing any encouraging results for at least some weeks. These are the ads that will work better and better the longer you keep running them. But most advertisers will cancel these ads after some weeks.
The thing to remember when developing your marketing plan is that you're not looking for what works. Every type of advertising works to one degree or another. What you're looking for is the best long-term use of your ad budget. Then you have to develop an advertising message within your marketing plan. The questions you're trying to answer are these: "What do we need to say to the customer and how often do we need to say it And which media will give us the most efficient long-term