Alas, this is my last blog post before school starts. I’m sure I’ll have something to complain about next week, but I’ll probably have also learned some new things to pass on to all you lovely readers. This week is all about the situation analysis in an IMC plan. This is the background on which the plan is built.
My biggest advice for this is to make sure everything you use is actually relevant to your plan and you relate back to it. Is there an internal issue with production? Then talk about how you’re going to fix that later. Is there an external issue with competitors? Then talk about how you’re going to combat that in your plan.
For the internal factors, there are the promotional capabilities of the brand, previous promotional programs they’ve done; what went well, what didn’t, what can be improved upon, etc. Also, discuss the brand image, product/service strengths and weaknesses, price, and distribution. How is the pricing compared to the brand’s competitors? What’s the profit margin? And, is distribution efficient and effective related to the available budget.
For the external factors, there is the customer behaviour analysis, the competitive analysis, and the environmental analysis. Sounds shorter right? Nope. Sorry. You have to be damn thorough in all of these. In the customer behaviour analysis, you should cover who buys the product or service, who makes the decision to buy the product, who influences the decision to buy the product, what needs must be satisfied from the purchase, why do customers buy a particular brand, where do they go or look to buy the product or service, are there seasonality factors, and any social, lifestyle, or demographic factors that influence the purchase decision. In the competitive analysis, you should discuss who the direct and indirect competitors are. The difference is that fast food restaurants are direct competitors, while any other type of restaurant is an indirect competitor. Also, discuss what key benefits and positioning are used by the competitors, as well as your position relative to your competitors, how big their promotion budgets are in comparison to yours, and what promotion strategies they’re using. Lastly, for the environmental analysis
Lastly, for the environmental analysis, there are subcategories for this. Oh yes, so many sections and subsections and categories and subcategories and explanations I want to cry. Anyway, first, cover the external environmental factors such as sociocultural, political/legal, technological, and economical; remember, only factors relevant to your plan. Next, quickly talk about the market size and growth. This is important because you want to see if there are enough prospects in the geographic area that match your demographic in order for it to be worthwhile. Also, cover any consumer trends that may be an opportunity for the brand. Seasonality should also be covered more, perhaps there are holidays or other occasions that impact sales. Lastly, look into any major events that could influence business in the coming year. For example, every business in Canada did something about the sesquicentennial – man I love saying that.
Okay, enough learning for now. Here’s the situation: A friend from out of town is staying with Andrew and me this weekend and there are multiple pizzas on the way. So I bid you all adieu and be writing next week as a grouchy college senior. Can’t wait.