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The Marketing Scenario is a practical tool designed to help you make sure that you have a winning marketing strategy to support your brand. You will do a reality check on those dreams of success to learn if they make any sense.

Before we discuss the Marketing Scenario, I want to clarify a crucial notion regarding the marketing strategy. The marketing strategy is what we have come up with for achieving our marketing goals, and it should include two mandatory elements:

  • Which target consumers we can reach hold a viable potential to buy whatever we intend to sell?

  • What is the offer (the entire marketing mix) we will be presenting to these consumers to appeal to them and thus realize the said potential, given their alternatives?

You must not think of these as two separate questions but as two parts of the same idea.

Let me clarify. What are “target consumers with a potential to buy”? These are consumers (a sizeable enough group with buying power) likely to desire what you are offering.

Why would they want it? That is the potential that you are supposed to identify. There may be several reasons. For example, they may not be consumers of your kind of product yet, but they might be if something happens or if they are exposed to a certain message. It could be that they have special needs or preferences, which up until today were not catered to by any of your competitors (and don't forget: needs that are psychological, social, aesthetic, etc. are real needs).

Maybe they are bored with what they routinely buy. There might be certain consuming circumstances, or usages, that they are not familiar with yet. Perhaps they would have been willing to buy more had they been offered different terms of payment, or more convenient buying possibilities. When you identify such a situation, you know that the potential is there.

Identifying potential is only the initial stage of your mission, of course. Your strategy would also have to include something that you are going to offer these consumers that might improve their situation in a certain way, solve a problem, give them more than what they already get for the same price, or open new opportunities for them—in short, something that will motivate them to buy from you and thus materialize the potential.

The Marketing Scenario is a synopsis of the logic of your marketing strategy. In the same breath, it also enables you to make sure that that logic really works. The Marketing Scenario translates the marketing strategy to simple, everyday language. How will it happen in reality? How will the materialization of marketing goals occur?

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Dan Herman, PhD, CEO of Competitive Advantages, is a strategy consultant, keynote lecturer, workshop/seminar leader, and author of Outsmart the MBA Clones: The Alternative Guide to Competitive Strategy, Marketing, and Branding (www.outsmart-mba-clones.com).