Sometimes, the best thing you can do in a planning session is ask questions. Here are a few to help focus your next planning session:
- Strategic planning:
- In what direction are consumer trends driving your business?
- Where should you invest your marketing dollars?
- How can you leverage your results?
- What lifestyle characteristics define the consumer groups you want to/should target?
- What new groups are the best opportunities?
- Are you aware of your highest impact customers?
- Marketing communications:
- What marketing messages resonate strongest with your target consumers?
- Is your marketing proven, fresh, and creative?
- How can you minimize disconnects?
- Is your brand an intersection of quality product and a quality experience in obtaining your product?
- Has your brand been consistently applied through logo, service philosophy, service delivery, and emphasis on meeting the customers’ needs?
- What is the best way to communicate with your consumers?
- What channels work best?
- New product/service development:
- What lifestyle need can your new product or service fulfill?
- What new products are opportunities?
- What does your market demand?
- Product/service redesign:
- What changes in consumer lifestyles impact your product or service?
- How should you change your offerings?
- What lifestyle do you need to satisfy that competitors do not?
- How do you communicate your superiority?
- Does your marketing message present a clear, sustainable difference?
- What is your sales process?
- How do customers respond?
- Are service and sales the true focus?
- Does your staff sell all the time, to each customer, at each branch?
- Are you coaching?
- What are consumers’ attitudes about price, value, quality?
- How do they feel about spending and saving their money?
- What price should you set?
- Brand loyalty:
- How do consumers perceive the role of brand in the shopping process?
- How can you encourage strong brand loyalty?
- What programs work?
- Market share:
- What do consumer trends suggest about the future of your business?
- How can this help you create a sustainable competitive advantage over your competitors?
- Community Involvement:
- Is your institution known as a community leader?
- Are you positioned in the community to be a part of major opportunities?
- Are you, your marketing team, branch personnel, and operations aware of the competition’s products/services and their clear advantages?
- Can you identify the opportunities?
Where are you strongest? Where do you need the most work? What issues arise from these questions that will most impact income, staff retention and customer experience? Prioritize.
Sometimes planning isn’t just about laying out all of the answers. What questions above could you NOT answer? What are you just guessing on? Add a plan to get those answers in the next few months.
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