Don’t Start at the End and Move Backwards—-Always Move Forward!

Don’t Start at the End and Move Backwards—-Always Move Forward!

Step Two in Developing an LSM Plan

I can’t tell you how many people start to create their Local Store Marketing plan with a list of ideas already in mind.  There’s nothing wrong with having ideas, of course, but it’s important to make sure that those ideas will deliver the results that you want.  The G.A.M.E. method of Local Store Marketing walks you through each step to help ensure that you will get the outcome you want.

G.A.M.E.:  Gather, Analyze, Make a Plan and Execute has proven to be successful in driving sales and building long-term community relationships for many local retailers.  Once you’ve gathered the data you need to analyze (see Getting Deeper into the G.A.M.E.) you’re ready to start finding the best opportunities to build sales for your local business.

By analyzing this information, you can focus in on the traffic generators, target consumers and sales opportunities that will yield the greatest potential return on your investment of time and money.  The easiest way to sort through this is with a SWOT Analysis.

SWOT Analysis

Kick Ass SWOT Analysis

  • Create a quadrant grid and label it with Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
  • Now start thinking about each piece of data you gathered in Step One of the G.A.M.E. process. This requires some brain power.
    • How do your prices compare to your competitor’s? Do your customers see this as a Strength or a Weakness?
    • What does your product mix tell you? Are sales of certain items higher than others?  These items are driving customers into your business and are a Strength.
    • Does the competition offer a wide variety of products, while your offerings are more limited? This could be considered a Weakness.
    • Is there a new competitor opening up nearby or is construction occurring on the road outside your location?  These are Threats.
    • Is a new apartment complex being built across the street? This is an Opportunity.
    • How do the different pieces of data correlate to each other? For example, if your sales are highest on Wednesday, but your transactions are lower than normal, then the result is a higher average check on Wednesdays.  What’s causing that?  Do you see larger groups coming into your location on Wednesdays?  Does the local softball field host league games every Wednesday?  The key is to keep asking yourself WHY is something different occurring?  Once you know the answer, put it in one of the quadrants on the grid.  Local softball teams playing every Wednesday is an Opportunity.
    • Do you face staffing issues once employees go back to school at the end of the summer? If so, that would be a Threat.
  • Some observations may fall into more than one category. For example, while your offerings may be more limited than your competitor’s, you may have the advantage of better prices and offering greater value.  This finding could fall into both the Strength and Weakness columns.

Large apartment complex

As you work your way through your SWOT analysis, different areas will come into focus and you will begin to see which might have the biggest impact on your overall success.  For example, a large apartment complex opening across the street may be a bigger opportunity than the local softball teams playing on Wednesdays.  Or a local office building may house a corporate training center which brings in hundreds of trainees each month.  Highlight these on your quadrant chart.  Remember to keep looking at the data and asking WHY is this happening?  This will help uncover the areas you want to focus on.

Three Primary Areas of Focus

Evaluate your findings and determine what will be the three primary areas of focus for the LSM plan you are creating.  Limiting yourself to three areas per plan will help ensure that you aren’t trying to accomplish too much at one time.   You will determine your areas of focus by evaluating which Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities or Threats could have the biggest impact on your business.  Once you’ve identified these areas, you’ll need to establish the specific goal you want to achieve with each.

Top Two or Three Goals

With your three primary areas of focus in mind, define the top two or three goals you’d like to address.  Each goal should be measurable and directly related to an area you are focusing on.  Goals can be set to target many different aspects of your business, depending upon which you think will have the biggest business impact.  Your goal might be one of these:  to beat last year’s sales, to increase transactions, to improve guest satisfaction, to garner long-term community goodwill, to improve employee morale, etc. Just be specific and make sure it’s measurable.

Here are a few examples:

  • Area of Focus: Leverage the new apartment complex across the street
    • Goal: Increase sales of a specific product by 30%
  • Area of Focus: New competitor opening
    • Goal: Keep transactions equal to previous month’s transactions
  • Area of Focus: Community support of the many schools and libraries in your immediate area
    • Goal: Arrange for four fundraising activities

target

Targets

Now select who your consumer targets will be.  It might be local office workers, morning commuters, college students….whoever you need to reach in order to achieve your goal. Here’s how the above examples look with targets added:

  • Area of Focus: Leverage the new apartment complex across the street
    • Goal: Increase sales of a specific product by 30%
    • Target: Residents of the apartment complex
  • Area of Focus: New competitor opening
    • Goal: Keep transactions equal to previous month’s transactions
    • Target: Families in your trading area
  • Area of Focus: Community support of the many schools and libraries in your immediate area
    • Goal: Arrange for four fundraising activities
    • Target: PTA representatives, school and library administrators, band directors

Once you’ve identified your areas of focus, your goals and your targets, you are ready to move on to creating an LSM plan.  Step Three is where those ideas that you listed earlier may come into play.  I’ll review the details of Making a Plan in my next article.  In the meantime, Gather your data and Analyze it to ensure you know exactly what you want to achieve with your LSM plan.

Want to learn more about the G.A.M.E. method?  Check out Steps to Creating a Local Store Marketing Plan.

 

 

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