Hopefully, if you are in a switched on organisation, the marketing communications team will be involved from the earliest stages. At the very least, ensure your Product Marketing Managers have provided a full briefing on the new product. Ideally, the structure of this should follow the structure of the Market Release Document (MRD). The MRD is a collation of all the important information such as; Why is this product being developed in the first place? Who are the competitors in this space? What is the pricing and positioning strategy? Are there any challenges or preconceived ideas about this product? Why should the public buy this product rather than the competitor’s offering?
From all this information you will be able to build your knowledge and understanding and you can begin to develop the hierarchy of messaging and the unique selling points (USP) or key differentiators.
A useful method to use in this early ‘scoping’ phase is to conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
To do this, you must be able to specify the raison d’etre of the product or solution. What goals and objectives have been asserted up to this point? Then you can look at the internal and external factors that are favourable and unfavourable to achieve that objective.
Get real with goals and objectives
The first step is to understand that realistic and achievable goals and objectives can only be set after the SWOT analysis has been performed.
- Strengths: characteristics of the business, or product that gives it an advantage over others. These are internal elements.
- Weaknesses (or Limitations): are characteristics that place the business or product at a disadvantage relative to others. These are internal elements.
- Opportunities: chances to improve performance (eg, make greater profits) in the environment. These are external elements.
- Threats: situations that may cause trouble for the business or product. These are external elements.
Identification of SWOTs is essential because subsequent steps in the process of planning for achievement of the selected objective may be derived from the SWOTs.
Are the goals and objectives attainable, given the SWOTs?. If the objective is NOT attainable a different objective must be selected and the process repeated.
Once you have a solid, signed off SWOT analysis, and a list of attainable goals and objectives you have your springboard for meaningful, creative ideas.
If you would like more detailed information about SWOT analysis, or you would like me to develop one for you, please complete the form on the Contact me page.