In the Current Situation section of your marketing plan, you will provide information about your location, target market and competitive environment. you will briefly describe the competitive environment and key issues your company faces in this section; more detail is provided in the Competitor and Issue Analysis section.
Describe your current or planned business location.
- If you do not yet have a business location, name areas or properties under consideration and the criteria you will use in selecting a location. Consider customer proximity, parking availability, accessibility by public transportation employee availability, inventory storage and movement, compliance with federal, state and local laws and codes (such as those for zoning, safety or health), security, and site expansion potential.
- List any negative aspects of your location that would affect sales (such as a lack of sufficient parking) and try to list solutions for such problems. Remember that no location is perfect - try to turn every negative around and make it work for you.
- Describe any plans for the future expansion of your business. Do you intend to move? Will you offer additional goods or services as you grow? Will you hire employees?
- If you offer or plan to offer a service or product in a manner that does not require customers to visit a location, include a description of how you and your customers will meet or interact - how services and products will be exchanged. This may be the case if your product is a consulting service you provide from home or at a client location. Also, if your products are offered through catalog sales or on the Internet, you would describe how your services and/or products would be exchanged with customers.
Target Market Description
Critical to your success in marketing any product is aiming all your marketing efforts at a target market. Planning your marketing strategy without knowing to whom you're trying to appeal is like planning a party without knowing anything about the people attending.
- Describe the size of your target market. Remember, a market is people with something in common, not a place or a thing. Be specific and include statistics about the size of your target market. Include information on whether the size of your target marketing is growing, shrinking, or staying the same. If the size of your target market is changing, explain why.
- Describe your target market in the following terms:
- Characteristics they share such as age, income level, sex, race, number of children, marital status, and where they live.
- Habits or hobbies they exhibit. For example, your target audience may tend to be workaholics, which makes them good candidates for meals delivered to their homes or offices.
- Wants and needs they have and how your product fulfills them. For example, most single, working mothers often need affordable, quality daycare for children.
- Describe your market's buying habits For example, how do they spend their disposable income? When do they buy? How much? How often?
You may have more than one target market. Identify your primary market - the customers who buy your products or services most often. Then, include secondary groups if you feel they will provide significant business. For each group, you must identify their characteristics and needs because you will most likely change your marketing strategy accordingly.
Competitive Analysis and Issues Analysis
Understanding your competition and outside issues facing your company will help guide you in developing your marketing objectives and marketing strategy. In this Current Situation section of your marketing plan, include only a snapshot of your competitors and brief descriptions of external issues that are relevant to your business; then describe them in detail in the Competitor and Issues Analysis section of your marketing plan.
A competitive analysis includes information about other individuals or companies (competitors) whose products compete with yours. Your potential customers will make a choice between spending their money with you or with your competitor.
An issues analysis briefly lists key external issues (such as new legislation or the impact of a technological advancement) that present potential challenges or opportunities for your business.