Always review the critical alignment between your product and your marketing strategy. Your product or service tactics should be interactive and interdependent with your marketing tactics. Setting target markets and working with personas should be extremely important input for your product or service development. Don’t do this in a vacuum. One of the most common mistakes caused by lack of planning is developing product or service features for their own sake, or because the team wants them, without regard to the target market, why people buy, and what they want and need. Peter Drucker wrote:
The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.
– Peter Drucker
One big mistake I made along those lines was a product without a strong enough packaging design, going to retail markets. On the other hand, I had a big win by being very early in the business of offering software downloadable online. Both were examples of the crossover between product and marketing, reflecting target market, segmentation, and distribution portions of the marketing plan.
Make sure everything you have in a pitch or formal plan matches what you have already in strategy, tactics and specific milestones.
If you’re running an existing business, review your business offering. How well does it match your strategy? Can you do it better than you do now? How? What will that take? What does your market want from you that you aren’t doing? What might be the strategic growth opportunities? Are there new developments in the competition that might affect your business offering? Should you be changing formats, packaging, pricing, shipping logistics, or something else? Should you be doing something about sourcing?
Startups normally need to include more information on design, prototypes if required, configuration, sourcing, and technology. Are you registering patents? Licensing from somebody? Make sure that you’re connecting dots to deliver what you must. And make sure what you deliver matches your identity and target market.
And take the opportunity to review your team functions and responsibilities. You should have somebody responsible — a single person, not a group — for every important task. And your plan should identify that person. Your tactics need responsible managers.