MR. ARFUSO MARKETING I MOA
MARKETING OPPORTUNITY ANALYSIS TEMPLATE
The following is a template for developing a/your marketing plan. Use this template as your means
to write an effective Marketing Opportunity Analysis to effectively and efficiently sell your product.
I. Executive Summary.
An MOA is a one-to-three page synopsis of the plan providing highlights of the current
situation, objectives, strategies, principal action programs, and financial expectations.
Make this portion of your MOA all-inclusive. This section also has to be written with the
executive in mind. Remember most executives that will read this document only want the
down & dirty facts. They do not want to read the “fluff” so, use this section to concisely
convey the meat of your product presentation.
II. Situation Analysis. In total, this is considered the most important part of your MOA.
Generically, this whole section of the MOA is classically known as a S.W.O.T. analysis.
(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
A. Industry analysis.
1. Market. (Where will you do business? Identify the market)
a. Size, scope, and share of the market; sales history of producers and their market
shares. This section requires a total examination of the market potential for
your product. This may include a local, regional, national and international
marketplace. This is part of what you need to determine. Do not assume that
selling locally is the easiest way to go. Sometimes, simply by virtue of how you
market makes you an international player. This is especially true if you use an
Internet web site to sell your product.
b. Market potential and major trends in supply and demand of this and related
products. Potential relates to exactly how your product fits and whether or not it
fulfills the wants or needs of your potential target audience. Describe the
potential your market exhibits.
c. Distribution channels. (How do the players in your industry get their product to
market? Train, truck, air, or ship, this also includes how they distribute
personally. In other words, do they market this product directly, do they use an
Internet site, a bricks & mortar store front or door-to-door?) There are many
ways to distribute, clarify and justify each method used.
d. Selling policies and practices. What are the standard operating procedures
(S.O.P.‟s.) These are the rules that typical employees in your industry follow.
e. Advertising and promotion. How do you competitors promote their products? Are
their methods valid, are they effective, can you do better, what do they do wrong,
what do they do right?
2. Industry attractiveness. What is the market outlook, is this a declining or growth
industry? Describe the life cycle for your product, which stage does the product
fit? Where is the market, does it exist locally, regionally, nationally or
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internationally? Is it difficult to bring product to market? Will it be easy or difficult
to commence selling? Are there any issues that must be addressed to begin
a. Market factors.
1) Size. What is the relative size of your market? Take these numbers from your
competition. Most companies, especially larger ones will keep a good accounting
of this. The only reason this could be difficult to estimate would be in the event
your product is innovative and new to market. Products that replicate existing
products have an easier time of entering the marketplace.
2) Growth. What potential exists in the marketplace for your product? Do you
anticipate the market to grow? How much? How soon? With relative ease?
3) Seasonality. Is the market for your product seasonal? Is this an issue, what
sort of contingencies plan do you have in place to mitigate this? How will you
survive during the off-season? Are there other ways or uses for your product
that will cross over and offer other ways for your product to be utilized? For
example, pipe cleaners were originally designed specifically to clean pipes.
People who use them in crafting to create all sorts of things developed a
secondary market for pipe cleaners.
4) Stage in life cycle. Make sure to properly identify the stage of the product life
cycle your product fits in. Remember the primary four stages, proper
identification of the placement of your product is crucial. Miss this step and it
could cost you dearly.
b. Industry factors.
1) Capacity. What is the industry capable of producing? Does the capacity meet
existing demand? Will you attack demand by trying to increase it, or will you
simply choose to take or cannibalize demand from your competitors?
2) New product entry prospects. How difficult will it be for you to enter the
market? Or, on the contrary, will it be relatively easy? Explain why? Are you
being realistic? Take into account everything that relates to your product.
Leave no stones un-turned.
3) Threat of substitutes. Based on your evaluation of all your potential
competitors, how much of a threat do they pose? Are there several layers
of substitutes? Are some tougher than others? Will you be able to deal
with them effectively?
3) Power of suppliers. Will this be an issue? How will you counter this? Is
manufacturing on your own a possibility? Is it a realistic possibility? Can you
develop your own means to develop or produce your product? Is it worth it?
4) Power of buyers. As in the Wal-Mart Example, will you be chained to one or
more powerful buyers that will dictate what you will sell your product to them
for? Can you sustain this? Is this a viable way to conduct your business? Can
you source or find other means to sell your product to lessen your dependency
on the powerful buyer?
5) Rivalry. Does this exist? One of the world‟s greatest known rivalries exists
between Coke & Pepsi. Each must constantly match the other tit for tat while
doing business. One failed move allows to the other to gain valuable market
share. Each must match the other‟s moves simply to remain on par, and
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certainly not to gain an advantage. This competition teeters constantly. Neither
really gains an advantage, the sad truth is that each must spend 100‟s of millions
to simply hold share.
c. Environmental factors.
1) Social. What sort if any social issues exist? Is yours a socially sensitive product?
Why is it a socially sensitive product? An example of a socially sensitive product
would be a tattoo parlor. Anything that society may frown on is considered to fit in
this category. Another example would be so-called sin products such as alcohol,
tobacco or gaming. On the contrary, your product may be socially sensitive such
as being green or environmentally sensitive. These products may be difficult but
rewarding to bring to market. An example of this would be Star-Kist‟s
2) Political. These issues typically center on products that garner political
attention. Cigarettes, alcohol and gasoline fit this category. Products that
attract political attention may be somewhat difficult to market. A recent
example of this would be both the banking and mortgage lending industries.
Now that the federal government has had to intervene to stave a major
market meltdown, government will take a proactive role in monitoring and
watching these industries.
3) Demographic. What demographics factors are affected? Why are they an
issue? An example would be marketing to an ethic group, such as selling a
Latino/Latina geared product in or out of the correct market place. Does it
make sense to market your product if the target market is not represented
where you plan to sell? Another consideration would be age sensitive
products, for example would you sell skate boards in a neighborhood where
the average resident‟s age is 60 years old? Or, would you take on the
challenge McDonald‟s did by selling hamburgers in India?
4) Technological. Does it make sense to sell your product in a place where
technology is not accepted? Would you attempt to sell technological
products in an Amish community? (The Amish are a sub-culture or religion
that live in the primarily back east Pennsylvania has the largest Amish
population) They are technology resistant. No cars, no TV, I believe they use
electricity, but to a limited extent.
5) Regulatory. Is the industry you have choosing highly regulated? Why is it
regulated? Does this help or is it a challenge? Why is it a challenge or why
isn‟t it? What exactly is regulation? Why do you think or why is that your
industry is regulated? Typically, industries are regulated because of past
issues in the industry itself. A recent example is the medical profession in
Las Vegas. A rogue doctor practicing medicine in an unsafe and unethical
manner put thousands of patients at risk for contracting HIV. The agency
responsible for monitoring the practices of physicians will certainly be more
diligent in auditing physicians. Is your industry similar?
B. Sales analysis. Do a complete analysis based on sales. Where do you think you fit?
Can you meet your goals? Are they attainable? Use the templates provided on my
website to forecast or predict sales for both your product and the industry.
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1) Market area performance versus company average. How do your
projections compare to industry? Do you project higher or lower than the
industry? Why, can you explain the difference? Is it normal or abnormal?
Is it manageable? Does it matter?
2) Trends of sales, cost, and profits by products. Are sales and costs
following a pattern? Is the pattern consistent? Why is there a trend? Is it
3) Performance of distributors, end-users, key customers. You must know
the ability of key players in your industry to perform. If there are powerful
suppliers or buyers in your industry, you must be able to identify and
understand their influence in your market.
4) Past versus current results by area, product, channel, and so on. Again, it
is important to understand every aspect of sales both past and predicted.
Failure to properly estimate this could seriously impact your product‟s
C. Competitor and company analysis. Take a complete and through look at each and
every competitor that you will compete with. You have to be comprehensive here,
make sure to include all of your competitors. Make a product book that depicts all of
the comparative traits of all of your competitors. List their attributes and their flaws.
Pay special attention to what they do well and what they poorly. This will be the basis
for your marketing strategies.
1) Behavior. What is it that influences your consumer‟s purchase? You must
clearly identify what it is that drives the market. Once you have a handle on
this, it becomes a relatively easy task to pinpoint and target your market. The
following are the major issues to consider when deciding consumer sentiment
a. Product features. What features or utility do you offer? Bells &
whistles, are you different, are you better, are you faster, slower,
shorter, fatter, tastier, more buttons, less buttons, more functional,
more modern, up-to-date, innovative, inspirational, motivational, you
name it. Customers purchase for many reasons, features can be an
important reference point for choices.
b. Objectives. Your Goals
c. Strategies. Your plan, how you are going to get where you need to go.
Have to know where you are going in order to be able to get there.
d. Marketing mix. The four P‟s (product, place, price & promotion)
e. Profits. Is your product profitable? Can it be made more efficiently?
The more efficient the production process, the sales process, the
operational process, the more the potential for profitability. Focus on
the entire process surrounding the marketing of the product makes you
efficient. Stick to the knitting, do what you do best! Focus on core
f. Value chain. Value added features or attributes. The more you offer,
the more you can charge. The more utility, the more customers are
willing to pay.
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2) Resources. What sorts of resources are there? Is or are they readily
available? Is there a need or demand for more? Can they be accessed?
Are new sources available or necessary? Is there competition for these
resources? Is the source for these resources renewable? Is this even an
issue? Could it become an issue in the future? Make sure you thoroughly
investigate this. Whatever your product, you need to insure a constant flow
of the raw materials that are necessary for the production of your product.
a. Ability to conceive and design new products. What will this take, is
this an easy or a simple process? Can new products be brought to
market without issue, or with relative ease?
b. Ability to produce or manufacture. Will you manufacture in the US or
abroad? Availability to resources, is it cheap to manufacture, will you
have to outsource? Will you make it, or will someone make it for you?
c. Ability to market.
d. Ability to finance. Expensive, or reasonable to buy, manufacture, sell?
Is money tight, easy to acquire? Given today‟s economic climate,
getting money to finance operations, introduce new products, or buy
new equipment is relatively difficult to obtain.
e. Ability to manage.
f. Will to succeed in this business. How serious and committed are you?
Are you willing to work and do what it takes to make your product a
3) Expected future marketing strategies. Do you need to adjust to
accommodate and insure your product‟s sustainability in the future?
What sort of adjustments to your strategy do you need to make to
guarantee your product‟s success over the long haul? Do you need to
develop new products to continue the life of your product line? Can one
product carry you for the long term? Will your product require a constant
flow of newer generation modifications? Can you afford this?
D. Customer analysis. This is possibly the most important component of your MOA.
Knowing your customer from every angle will certainly insure or at least assist you
in being successful in marketing your product. To know your customer is to be
successful. That success is sustainable through knowing every possible subtle
aspect of your target market.
1) Who are the customers? Age, race, sex, ethnicity, preferences? Or, does
your product cross-demographic boundaries? Do multiple age groups, both
sexes, many races buy equally? Is this intentional or purposeful? Is it
necessary, or an issue? Is it better for one specific demographic group to
buy? Why, or is this not an issue?
2) What do they buy? How much, in what quantity, What sort of packaging,
what color, what texture, what size, how large, how little, how often?
3) Where do they buy? Is your product a convenience item, is it a want, a
need? Do they buy in bulk, over the Internet, at a warehouse store, from a
catalog, over the phone?
4) When do they buy? Is yours a seasonal product? Do people typically buy
your product once a year, for an annual holiday or time of year? Is your
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product something that is easily substituted, is it needed daily, weekly or
less often? Is this a product used during the day or even at night? Does it
matter? Or does it not matter?
5) How do they choose? Are the consumer‟s choices easily influenced? Is the
demand elastic or inelastic? Why do they choose they way they choose? Is
their demand cyclical? Is demand connected to anything? Are there any
complimentary products? Does it make sense to advertise one over the
other to stimulate sales?
6) Why do they select a particular product? Convenience, inertia, laziness,
familiarity, convenience, utility? Do people buy because they have to, or
need to? Can people do without your product, is it necessary, and is it
7) How do they respond to marketing programs? Is marketing a vital part of
their choosing, or decision-making process? Is marketing necessary, or
do they buy regardless, as in the purchase of staples items such as milk,
eggs, bread, and gasoline? Does marketing incrementally increase
sales? Is marketing vital? How much or how little is needed? Some
products sell themselves, does yours?
8) Will they buy again? (Loyalty) How do you know? Market research, repeat
intentions, why do they buy again, is your product disposable, it is long
lasting, and does it have a short useable life? Does it make sense to
increase the useful life of your product; can you charge more by adding life
to your product? Or, in the final analysis, does it make no sense at all to
increase the useful life?
9) Long-term value of customers. How much is each customer worth?
Calculate the value of a customer that is loyal and buys your product
exclusively over the length of their entire life.
10) Segmentation. How is the market divided? Can you gain more? Is it
feasible, or possible? How long will it take, will it require a long time, or is
it relatively easy to accomplish.
E. Planning assumptions and forecasts. Projections of future sales and trends in the
market are essential to the long-term success of your product. Making a valid
projection requires a little bit of luck, intuitiveness, insight, research and gut feel.
The closer you get, the better you are at gauging your business, and the better your
projection will be.
1) Market potential. Where do you see the market going? Is it favorable or
not? Is there anything you can do to improve the direction your market is
taking? Why is potential an issue, why should you strive to improve it?
2) Projections, predictions, and forecasts. Being able to predict where the
market is headed is a useful tool in your arsenal to effectively market your
product. Research is key in being able to predict where things are going to
go and how they will get there. Perfect information makes the unclear,
crystal clear. Obviously, it is almost impossible to predict everything with
absolute accuracy. Try to achieve the best possible outcome by spending
as much time as necessary to improve the likelihood of success in your
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forecasting & predictions.
A. Corporate objectives (if appropriate). Only if this is applicable. This may not be an
issue and will depend on the business structure you choose. This may also not be an
issue for many years and is certainly dependant on the growth you anticipate your
product will exhibit. For this exercise, pick your businesses‟ structure and then move
forward with the assumption that this is how you will proceed.
B. Divisional objectives (if appropriate). Again, this choice will be up to you. Be realistic
and consistent. Make your choice and stick to it. Obviously, you will have to make an
educated decision here. But, make the obvious choice, pick according to what is
reasonable. Don‟t be unrealistic; pick your choices as predicated by your industry. If
the majority of those that operate in your industry do things one way, it is not
reasonable to suggest you will do things very differently. Yes, in order to differentiate
yourself, you will do some things differently, however, for the most part, your
operation will very similar as opposed to being dissimilar.
C. Overall marketing objectives.
1) Sales volume and profit (sales, share, and so on).
2) Market acceptance (brand equity; customer acquisition, retention, expansion, deletion).
D. Program objectives. Pay close attention to these. These aspects of your MOA are
very important. You can afford to maybe skip on some other portions of your MOA,
but this is not the case here. You have to be spot on with these vital pieces of the
marketing plan. If you miss the mark on any of these components, you will face dire
consequences. Miss any of the following decisions and you will find yourself in the
dreaded .99cent store.
1) Pricing. What and how will you price? Will you offer quantity discounts, will
you offer coupons to entice sales, will you price differently based on location,
will price be flexible, will there be wiggle room, who sets the final price, do you
offer a product that has a extraordinary margin, can and will you offer a
discount to seniors, school teachers, fellow Latinas/Latinos etc.? There are
many considerations in pricing. Will you practice pure pricing discrimination,
where patrons that utilize your service are offered different prices? An
example of this is movie pricing; patrons that go earlier in the day are offered
matinee prices. Or how about early bird specials in a restaurant or happy
hour in a sushi bar?
2) Advertising/promotion. TV, radio, print, billboard, face-to-face – how will
you perform this function? Give this a lot of thought; the way you send your
message is crucial to your success. Maybe products fail because of failed
advertising or promotion. Think this through; some means of advertising
are more efficient while others are less expensive. Maybe you need to do a
combination of several methods. Some may be more conducive to your
product. For example, a product such as a computer/gaming console game
may require an actual demonstration. A service is very hard to describe,
some are impossible to describe, maybe in these cases, a TV spot may be
necessary. For even more complex ideas infomercials may fit the bill. This
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is not easy; make a reasoned and rational choice.
3) Sales/distribution. How will you get your product to market? Which
method/s make the best sense? If your product is being manufactured in
another part of the world, costs to get your product to the end location may
be restrictive. The costs to getting product to market are as important a
component in the pricing of a product, as is the actual cost of making the
product itself. For example, if you are selling things that could potentially
weigh a significant amount say a washer/dryer – it may cost as much to
transport your product from it‟s manufacturing site as it cost to make it in
the first place. This is a vital consideration in determining price.
4) Product. How many do you offer? Will there be multiple choices? Multiple
colors, multiple sizes? If your product is a clothing item, how do you decide
which sizes to offer? Do you only offer the most popular sizes, or do you
cater to those that are normally left out. Lane Bryant makes it their primary
mission to supply clothes that are fashionable and that come in all sizes for
plus-size women. After all, the average woman is not a size 2,4, or 6. In
doing this, they differentiate themselves from most clothing manufacturers.
They are narrowing their segment and clearly they are choosing to do
business in a niche market. Maybe this is a consideration in the marketing
of your product. Give this some thought. It may work in marketing your
5) Service. During and after the sale. How will you address warranty issues?
Who will your customers call? Will you outsource this? Why, is it cheaper to
do this, or is it more efficient and cost is not an issue? Remember, larger
companies outsource tech support. It is cheaper and more efficient, mind you;
it may not be more effective. Being efficient and effective normally does not go
hand in hand.
IV. Marketing Strategy. (How the objectives will be achieved.) After completing the bulk of
your research, you will formulate your strategies based on what you have discovered. This
is truly the culmination of all your work. Everything you have done thus far was to be able to
come up with a working strategy to sell lots of what it is you make or market. This is where
you will have to think and think hard using all of the information you have compiled so far.
Easily, this is the second most vital portion of the MOA. The first was to figure everything
out; the second is what you do with the information you have gained. This or these become
your Marketing strategies.
A. Customer targets. Who do you go after? Why? Explain this in detail. This may be
obvious and it may not be obvious. Remember the Victoria‟s secret example:
women are the obvious target market, however, men who buy lingerie for their
wives and men that buy for their girlfriends are a secondary mark et for lingerie
purchases. Sometimes a large segment of potential customers are not so obvious.
B. Competitor targets. Who are your primary competitors and who will you focus your
attention on? Why do you choose them, why are they your primary targets? How
do you decide, what factors did you consider? Do you have many or are you
shielded? Why do you have more or less? Is this significant, does it give you an
advantage? Can you mitigate this, or is it just a fact of life? Can you work with this,
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or is it a deal-breaker? When does it become an issue, or is it an issue from the
get-go? What happens if a new competitor comes to bear in the market? When
and how do you assess the market? Do you periodically check to see if more
competitors are entering the market? How do you do this?
C. Core strategy. What is your overall strategy, this is usually the underlying and most
basic strategy. This is usually a function of what you do best.
D. Strategic alternative/s considered. What is your plan B? Hopefull y, you do need a
plan C. Poor planning would require you stick to what you have developed. In a
perfect world, you do not deviate from your plan. If, you did your homework, your
plan based on that work, should be sound.
V. Marketing Programs. After doing the S.W.O.T. analysis, this is the second most important
part of your MOA. This is the reason you do a MOA, so that you can effectively and efficiently
develop a marketing program. Marketing will make or break your efforts at selling your
product/s. Without good marketing, your product will certainly fail, and we all know what this
means. We never want to find ourselves in a position of having to give our „stuff” away just to
A. Product development. Why? When? And How? There are very few products that
are timeless, meaning that they will always remain exactly the same. In fact, even
the most boring and mundane products get a face-lift every so often. Take a
hammer for example; there really aren‟t too many things you can do to mak e a
hammer better. Especially with the intent of adding utility or to charge more. But
even the lowly hammer gets a re-vamp every once-in-a-while. With the advent of
newer, lighter composite materials, handles for hammers are being made out of
carbon fiber. Hammer heads are being made are of stronger and rust resistant
metals. So, regardless of your initial product design, invariably, you will need to
constantly develop newer versions of your original product. You will know what to
make based on what your customers tell you. As an effective marketer, you need to
B. Advertising/communication. Which mediums do you choose, some are better than
others, and some make better sense? For example, if your product is a sports drink,
you may want to choose a celebrity athlete to endorse your product. However, be
warned, celebrities do not come cheap. The credibility that they bring to the table is
costly. Well-chosen endorsers will pay for themselves many times over. For
example, Nike pays tens of millions to have Tiger Woods endorse Nike products.
The perception is that because Tiger is so good at his profession, most believe that
by using the same products they too can improve their golfing game. Is this rational?
Actually, it really doesn‟t matter, you have to do what your customers want. It is not
about doing what you want. Ignore your customers and again, you know where your
product will end up.
C. Pricing/promotion. What are your pricing objectives? Based on these objectives, you
build your marketing programs. This process is intuitive, first you assess your
industry, then you evaluate your customers, then you make some decisions, then you
D. Distribution. Again, based on your strategy, your distribution portion of your
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marketing program should align with your overall intent.
F. Direct marketing and customer management. Will you direct market? How will you
accomplish this, in order to direct market, you have to have detailed customer lists.
An example of this is a person that is able to gather lists of people that need a
good/service. A person that offers smog tests as their service can purchase lists
from the DMV that states whose cars need to be registered in the next 90 days.
From this list, mailing lists can be developed and these people can be direct
marketed. A mailer offering a needed service is a good ploy. The intent is that
because the service is needed, the recipients of the direct mailer are more likely to
respond. But do they really? Managing customers typically requires the
management of databases with customer information. Many do this today. It is an
efficient means of targeting their customers with “offers.” Hotel/casinos do this very
well with their players/rewards cards. Casinos know their customers and they do
everything under the sun to keep their customers. Using elaborate databases,
casinos are able to send their loyal customers offers at whatever interval they
desire. With the sole intent of getting them to visit their property again and again.
The more they visit, they more they play.
G. Internet. This poses its own set of challenges. Getting people to a website to
begin with is the difficult thing to do. This is also a case where people‟s privacy
and personal information are at risk. Many savvy marketers employ cookies to
track their customer‟s preferences and their buying habits. This is exactly what
made Google‟s developers so incredibly rich. They developed a way to “monitor”
customer‟s buying habits and how to tailor marketing materials to those individual
habits. Very effective and very expensive technology. The average Joe cannot
afford to do this. Being the first name on the top of an Internet search is not a
cheap proposition. Any one can make a website, the question is how do you get
people there to visit and to buy? This is where the whole notion of free offers and
pop-ups came from. This is merely a way of getting people to visit websites in
hopes of “claiming” their free prize. Unfortunately, people figure out quickly that
“free” certainly is not free. Once there, people are asked to give information such
as their email address. Armed with this, marketers cannot bombard potential
customers with offers. Some buy, most do not.
I. Partnerships/alliances. Sometimes it is cheaper to partner up than to go it alone.
This is a viable choice; it also offers smaller players economies of scale, which in
turn benefit both partners. For example, two companies that basically do the
same thing can become one and in doing so, save in the costs of doing business.
Maybe by partnering up, you will now be able to save a significant amount of
money on shipping, because your shipping requirements put you into the next
pricing tier. The same holds true for the purchase of the resources needed to
make your product. By partnering up, it may now be possible to buy larger
quantities of raw materials. Overall, partnership or alliances can make smaller
companies more competitive by joining forces. This may or may not be a
consideration for your market. Understand the term of econom ies of scale, and
this will make total sense.
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J. Market research. Market research is imperative, do not guess, make educated
decisions. Market research does not have to be tedious and costly, there are
many ways to measure customer sentiment. It can be as simple as just asking
your patrons what they think, to offering incentives for customers to complete a
VI. Financial Documents.
A. Budgets. Budgets are just elaborate and detailed “guesses” This is especially true in
the development of a brand new product. If the product already exists, it is possible to
make an educated guess of associated costs and market potential based on what
others have done. In the case of a brand new product, the guesswork is not so easy.
This is when you have to create many “what if?” scenarios. The more “what ifs?” the
better. It is better to over think here than you may want to. It is better to err on the side
of caution and to over estimate. In this way, you are not caught in a situation of being
B. Pro forma statements. Again, as with estimated budgets, you just have to do your
best. Leave no stone unturned. Think things through, be prepared for every
possibility. Leave yourself some wiggle room, be realistic, then add 15 -20% to the
bottom line for the “Oh No!” factor. It is better to over estimate, than to under
VII. Monitors and Controls. (Specific research information to be used:)
A. Secondary data. After you have built a system and it is put in place, you have to
monitor its effectiveness. You want to be dynamic rather than static in assessing the
effectiveness of your control systems. Failure to do this will cost you dearly. The
more often you re-evaluate the better. Don‟t just assume all is well and never
double-check your efforts. Owning a business and making a product successful is
an ever-constant job. You cannot check too often. The more you check things the
better. Never leave anything to chance. Be proactive; don‟t wait for your accountant
to tell you your system has failed. By then, it is too late. Best to just move on.
However, the sooner you catch your mistakes, the better also. Better to catch a
mistake after hours and not days. In either case, you lose money. The more often
you check, the less you lose. Several hours are better than several days, anyway
you look at it. You should know this by doing your own hourly, daily, and weekly
evals. The more often, the better.
1. Sales reports. How are your sales teams doing, are the meeting your
expectations, are they meeting quotas or goals? Are they following your
S.O.P. to a tee? Or are they just doing their own thing? Which do you
prefer, the answer should be obvious. Pull reports often, again, as with the
above example, trying to solve issues long after the fact, are difficult to
2. Orders. Are your product orders being handled as directed? What can be
done to correct, or is correction even necessary? Is the product fulfillment
department efficient and effective? There is nothing worse than to work hard
MR. ARFUSO MARKETING I MOA
and spend good money to get people to buy from you, only to screw things up
when it comes to product delivery and order fulfillment. It is hard enough to
compete for limited consumer dollars. Make sure your system allows for a
way for customers to tell you how their overall buying experience was. Don‟t
be defensive, for every customer that tells you everything is fine, ten others
that experience a problem say nothing. Just because no one says anything,
doesn‟t mean that everything is fine. In fact, quite the contrary, if you do not
develop a way for customers to tell you what you do wrong, you will simply
fade away thinking all is well, when invariably it is not.
B. Primary data.
1. Sales records (Nielsen, IRI). Sometimes it is hard to gauge how well you are
doing. Small Mom/Pop businesses usually can do this internally; larger
companies are usually not well equipped to do this on their own. In many
cases, a firm that specializes in this sort of research handles this sort of
2. Specialized consulting firms. There are firms that specialize is telling you how
to address the concerns of your business. This can be valuable or it can be a
total waste of time. Everything is relative, if you ask a brain surgeon to look at
a bad knee, chances are, he/she will find an explanation that has to do with
something being wrong with your brain. You should know your own business
well enough to know if things are not functioning well. In the event you
become myopic, an outside set of eyes can be invaluable. For example, If
you run a restaurant, ask a fellow restaurateur to watch, listen and evaluate
your business. Someone with industry specific knowledge is best. A generic
business consultant may or may not have intimate knowledge of your product
or your industry. Stick to the experts in your field.
3. Customer panel. A group of customers that give you valuable feedback.
VIII. Contingency Plans and Other Miscellaneous Documents.
A. Contingency plans. Be prepared! Know what to do in the event of a market
inconsistency. You can never address all possibilities, but it is certainly a good idea
to sit down and think of as many as you can. This is like practicing for a game, or for
a concept if you play an instrument. You will play, manage, and produce the way
you practice or plan. If you practice or plan for everything, you will be able to deal
with anything that comes your way. Of course, as stated above, you never be
prepared for everything, but it is better to be prepared for most abnormal events
than none at all.
B. Alternative strategies considered. Think everything through!!
C. Miscellaneous. What else can you think of?