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    What are the critical assumptions in marketing plans? When and where do we typically have the least data?

     (ep10118)
  1. First, you better know where you are on the product life cycle. If you donít understand if you are on the gain, the flat, or the decline you really canít make good decisions. Second, you need honest, soft market data because your clients and would-be customers never see you the way you see yourself. Third, you need hard data. You need to find out what the total available and served available markets are. If you donít know these two things, you donít know what percentage of the market you can get, or how much money you can make or lose in this market area. Fourth, you need to know if you truly have product differentiation. If you cannot define the differentiation at the beginning of the market study, you are dead. Fifth, you need to have a strong understanding and faith in your distribution system before you sit down and write the plan. The distribution system includes not just the shipping, storing, inventory, etc., but it is the selling part. The selling part is very emotional and should be synonymous with endearment. Your sales people have to have some level of endearment, or can gain it, with the people who are the target of this study. The least data you typically have is the soft dataóqualitative information. Find out where your soft underbelly is and put armor on it.
  2. Number six might be having a real understanding of what resources will be available to you for execution of the marketing plan. Iíve seen many plans that were somewhat unrealistic and didnít reflect reality in terms of budget and the application of qualified manpower.