Having studies Porter’s model, here’s your to-do list.
1. Describe your business and marketing strategies in terms of your target customer. You know them by now, right? : ) Does your product or service appeal to a wide spectrum of consumers? (such as gasoline) or is it very niche (such as Helvetica Rules t-shirts?)
2. Describe your price point and cost structure compared to the competition. (You have identified them by now too – right?) Do you deliver your product or service at a lower cost? Is your price point the same, higher or lower?
3. Given your answers to the above 2 questions, select which of Porters strategies best describes your strategic situation. Be honest.
4. Pick your direction. If you overlap into several categories, ok. Many small businesses do and many marketers run with that. However, in business strategy planning, there is almost always a gap between where you see the business right now and where you want it to be. So pick where you want to be.
Meaning that you will need to make changes (pull some levers) in your business strategy and actions to align yourself closer to the generic strategy which you feel will best meet your marketing/business objectives. If you don’t make changes, you don’t move. If you make changes and go in the wrong direction (such as marketing high-priced “Helvetica Rules” t-shirts to a mass audience) you can always pull back and re-align.
5. Re-visit your strategy every 3 months. Look at the actions you have taken recently and compare them against your overall strategy. Do they make sense? Do they move your business in the direction you want to go?
Ok, enough about Porter. Time to get back to my original thread on building a brand promise for your small business.