A reality check on your marketing strategy
Scenario' is a practical tool designed to help you make sure that you have a winning marketing
strategy to support your brand. You will do a reality check on those dreams of success to learn
if they make any sense.
The 'Marketing Strategy' is the way we have come up with for achieving our marketing goals and it
should include two mandatory elements:
- Which target
consumers whom we can reach, hold a viable potential to buy whatever we intend to
- What is the
offer (the entire marketing mix) we will be presenting to these consumers in order to
appeal to them and thus realize the said potential, given their
You must not
think of these as two separate questions but rather as two parts of the same idea. Let me
clarify. What are "target consumers with a potential to buy"? These are consumers (a sizeable
enough group with buying power) likely to desire what you are offering.
Why would they
want it? That is the potential that you are supposed to identify. There may be several reasons.
For example, maybe they are not consumers of your kind of product yet, however, they might be if
something happens, or if they are exposed to a certain message. It could be that they have
special needs or preferences, which up until today were not catered to by any of your
competitors' offers (and don't forget that psychological, social, aesthetic, … needs are real
needs). Maybe they are bored with what they routinely buy. When you identify such a situation,
you know that the potential is there.
potential is only the initial stage of your mission, of course. Your strategy would also have to
include something that you are going to offer these consumers that might improve their situation
in a certain way, solve a problem, give them more than what they already get for the same price,
or open new opportunities for them. In short – something that will motivate them to buy from you
and thus materialize the potential.
Scenario' is a synopsis of the logic of your marketing strategy. In the same breath, it also
enables you to make sure that that logic really works. The 'Marketing Scenario' translates the
'Marketing Strategy' to simple everyday language. How will it happen in reality? How will the
materialization of marketing goals occur? I don't know whether or not you have already sunk in
this fact, but marketing goals are achieved through customer acts. So, let's assume that we
install a webcam with enhanced psychological insight capabilities inside the market and that it
captures the materialization of our marketing plan, one purchase after another.
What is the
Scenario' is an amazingly simple tool to use: Only four questions. Are you jotting this
1. Who are the people
who we believe have the potential of buying what we intend to
Yes, these are the same people we so often refer to as the 'Target Consumers'. First, we must
define our targets. What do these people have in common that makes them probable prospects (in the
sense that they are likely to be particularly interested in our offer)? We could use demographic,
socioeconomic, psychographic, as well as lifestyle descriptions. Note that at times, we target not
a specific group but a wide almost indefinable group of people in a specific mood, a specific
situation, or a specific need or state.
Make room for
another possibility. You can target not a defined group of consumers but rather a state of
need/desire or a consumption context shared by many diverse consumers at one time or
2. What precisely
should they be doing (that they are not doing already and will probably not do if we will not
intervene), that would direct them to eventually choose our brand
specifically? It is, by the way,
the first and only objective of branding. What do they have to do so that your marketing plan will
materialize (even before the actual purchase)? Do they have to go somewhere? To call? To agree to
meet your salesperson? To stop and pick out your product from the shelf? Which activity, which does
not occur today, would lead them in the correct path on the way to buying?
3. What is the sound
reason that should motivate them to change their behavioral inertia? How will they benefit from
that change? Why would you, in
their place, buy what you are offering? You can think of it as your differentiating factor (what
makes you differentially better?), or as your competitive advantage (what makes you comparatively
better?), according to your preference. What could make their situation better compared to their
current standing and to the other options available to them in the market?
4. How exactly will
they extract the benefit (that which answers question 3) according to your marketing
plan? That is not a repeat
question. Notice that the third question dealt with the 'why' of the target consumer's planned
motivation, and now, we are trying to understand the 'how' of your marketing plan. How are you
planning to provide the benefit defined in the answer to question 3? If, for instance, you said
before that you are making something more accessible, easy or comfortable for them, now explain how
it will become more accessible, easy or comfortable, due to you product.
Let us look at an
example: The introduction of Palm Pilot to the market. O.K.? Just the main
1. "Residents" of the
business community, gadgets fans, who manage a dynamic, constantly changing schedule, and have not
yet embraced the electronic organizers, or were disappointed by them because of their being
laborious to update and generally unreliable.
2. … will step into the
nearest office equipment store and ask about the Palm Pilot.
3. … because at last
there is an organizer which is not only sophisticated, small and wonderfully shaped, but is also
easily kept up to date and preserves the stored data
when damaged or when upgrading to a new model
4. … because the Palm
Pilot can 'converse' with the PC, making the updating process a simple task to perform, as well as
enabling creation of backups which could be easily transferred on to the next generations of
That is what the
'Marketing Scenario' is all about. All you have to do is answer the questions. Be precise. Be
thorough. Be honest. Do it in writing. Even if you're absolutely sure that the answers are
positively clear to you and there's nothing to be gained. Only when your 'Marketing Scenario' is
totally translated to a written text, should you go on and proceed with the brand development
process. Otherwise – you will get trapped along the way, and don't say I didn't warn
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