Now that we understand what the general approach is to pulling together a marketing plan, there are a number of elements that stand out as essential to look at in order to meld it into a workable strategy. One of these things is the nature of the competition…that is, the competitive environment.
Competitive analysis is one vital consideration to preparation of the marketing plan, because it interrelates so closely with such things as the customer, the industry, production issues, the regulatory environment, etc. All of these things are looked at in their own right as a part of the SWOT and the planning process. Again, all of it together goes into the decisions associated with the marketing strategy to be used.
Lots of questions need to be answered here, but I think the most obvious question for the marketing teams is “who do we compete with?” Sounds like an easy question, but it can be more complicated than you think. For example, do Italian restaurants compete with other Italian restaurants or with all restaurants? Good question. Marketers need to define their competitive environment.
One way to do that may be to look at it from the “basis of competition.” The basis of competition may be customer oriented. If so, marketers need to know who the customers are, where they are, and what their characteristics are, which would consider demographics, behavior, benefits sought, and what it takes to satisfy their needs.
Another consideration of the basis of competition is to consider if the competition is marketing oriented. Here we first look at the marketing mix: Product-What is the product/service? What are its benefits? Who does it benefit? Place-Where is it purchased? How do we get it to the point of consumption? Do we take it to them, or do they come to us? Price-How is it priced? What is the profit margin? Or said another way, what are out...