One of the most important ways to determine Marketing Plan components like Situation and Strategy is to obtain insights and input from your current customers. No one can give you a more objective and unvarnished perspective like the people you’re trying to please on a daily basis. So ask them what they like about your company, what they dislike, and how your products and service could be improved. This all speaks to customer satisfaction. (Important tip: Avoid being defensive when customers point out your weaknesses.)
There are many ways to garner this feedback. The simplest, of course, is to talk to customers in person or by phone. But whether you have dozens or hundreds of customers, you’ll need a more sophisticated (and more expensive) survey strategy. This may include hiring professional interviewers and/or researchers. Among the tactics you can explore are direct mail, telephone interviews, personal face-to-face interviews, and group discussions – which are similar to focus groups, only with your current customers.
A very popular and less costly tactic is eliciting customer feedback online. Online survey tools such as Survey Monkey and Survey Gizmo let you draw up questionnaires and capture specific feedback from your customers. And services such as SocialMention, Trackur or Sprout Social track mentions of your company on social networks and forums.